What is a Youth & Government bill?

A bill is an idea for a new law, and is written by students (delegates).  The bill will be printed in a bill book. Every delegate will receive a bill book.  Bills will be discussed in committees formed of delegates at the state conference.  If the committee thinks that the bill would make a good law, they will send it to the legislature where it could become a law.  All bills must be state issues only.

 

Step 1- Develop an Idea for a Bill

Ideas for state laws come from citizens who have ideas on how to improve their lives.  There are many laws already in existence in Ohio, but these laws can be amended for further improvement.  Your idea for a bill must be for either a law that does not yet exist, or will be an amendment to an existing law.  This means that you will need to do some RESEARCH.  In the box below, write down your ideas for a law, which would improve the lives of the citizens of Ohio.  Some topics for ideas are:

  1. Education
  2. Green Technology
  3. Public Health and Safety
  4. Crime
  5. Pollution
  6. Racial Problems
  7. Internet censorship
  8. Civil Rights
  9. Unemployment

 

Still having trouble coming up with an idea?  Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What conditions exist in your school that make in difficult for you to get the best education?
  2. What conditions exist in your city that makes it difficult for you to feel safe?
  3. Are there enough employment opportunities for your family?
  4. Does your family have health care?
  5. Do you agree with the current laws for hunting?
  6. Does your city have enough opportunities for recreation?

 

Step 2 - Research Your Bill Idea

A law may already exist for your idea, but it could be improved.  How can you find out?

  1. Go to http://codes.ohio.gov/ and type in a keyword.  The site will do a search for you.
  2. Talk with your advisor and principal.
  3. Talk to your city council representative.
  4. Call your senator or representative’s office.

 

Step 3 - Draft Your Bill

Writing Your Bill

Bills are to be written by students only.  You and your partner should work as team, so that each of you contributes about the same amount of work.  Listen to each other’s ideas and cooperate in the writing process.   Your advisor, teachers, principal, parents, and elected officials can offer helpful suggestions that will help you prepare your bill.  Remember, your bill must be a Ohio state issue.  Bills must be researched, and no longer than one typewritten page.

Great Resource to use: http://www.lsc.state.oh.us/guidebook/chapter6.pdf

The bill must include:

  1. Title
  2. Amending or Enacting Clause
  3. Body of the Bill

Title:  The first part of the Bill.  Clearly states the subject without going into detail.  Begin with, “A bill to…”

Enacting Clause:  BE IT ENACTED BY THE YOUTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO

Body of the Bill:  The body of the bill specifies how the bill will fulfill the requirements you wrote in your title.  These specifications are separated into sections.  A good bill should have enough information to need at least 5 sections.  Each section is a sentence or short paragraph with complete thoughts.  Say what you want to say in as few words as possible.  See the sample bill attached for an example of how to write your sections.  YAG Bills are limited to 33 lines double spaced.

Your sections need to include:

  • Definitions of the terms of the bill
  • How the bill will be funded
  • Who will enforce the bill
  • A penalty for not following the new law
  • An effective date

Definitions:  Define specifically who or what this bill is about.

Funding:  Where will the money come from to fund your idea?

Enforcement:  Who will make sure everyone follows the new law?

Penalty:  A bill must specify a penalty for non-compliance.  The penalty could be a fine, loss of a privilege, mandatory community service, jail time, etc.  The penalty should match the severity of the crime.

Effective Date:  A bill must specify a time when the bill will be come effective.  Consider how long it will realistically take to follow all the specifications you have outlined.

Now you are ready to draft your bill.  Below is a bill template.  Write your draft in the spaces provided.  Use only the number of sections you need.  Additional sections can be added if necessary.

 

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