Bill Development

BILL DEVELOPMENT

One of the major components of the MLC is the development of your delegation’s “bill.” Your bill is a piece of legislation authored and sponsored by your delegates. Your delegation must submit one bill per 25 delegates. Your bill will be assigned a House of Origin when you submit it online at our bill submission website calymca.org/bills.  The House of Origin is the House (Assembly or Senate) in which your bill starts out.

You should be familiar with the process by which a bill becomes a law. First, a bill is written and introduced in Committee. If the bill passes through committee, it goes to the House of Origin for consideration. If it passes through the house, it must go to the opposite house (Assembly or Senate) to begin the process again. Bills that pass both houses go to the Governor for approval or veto. At any point during this process, the bill can be Amended (changed) or Postponed Indefinitely (killed).

Due to limited time, Bills that pass through the House of Origin in the MLC are placed on a consent calendar in the opposite house. That house then votes to ratify the entire calendar. Unless, a member elects to have a bill pulled from the consent calendar, it should pass its opposite house. Once passed by both Houses, the bill goes to the Governor to be signed or vetoed. If time permits, the Houses may elect to reconsider any Bill vetoed by the Governor. A 2/3 majority is required to overturn a Governor’s veto.

There are actually four types of legislation that your delegation may choose to create. They are:

  1. Bill: A document that creates a new law or adds to, repeals, or amends (changes) current laws.
  2. Constitutional Amendment: This proposes a change in the State Constitution.
  3. Joint Resolution: Suggests legislation, to the Congress of the United States that the State of California would like to see implemented. This allows a State to have influence over Federal decisions.
  4. Concurrent Resolution: Makes a recommendation to a State Department or Board. 

CREATING YOUR BILL

Begin by having your delegates brainstorm topics of interest. Most delegations create several bills which they narrow down during a Bill Hearing Night. Bill Hearing Nights are a great opportunity for parents and VIPs to see firsthand what you have been working on.

Once you have topics, you will have to research applicable laws. California codes can be found at www.leginfo.ca.gov and www.legal.gsa.gov. You will need to find the section of law that most closely relates to your bill topic. Once you have found the code that most directly applies to your bill, you must decide whether your bill is an attempt to Amend, Repeal, or Add to a section. Youth & Government will send you an electronic template in which to enter your bill. Please do not re-format the template, simply enter your text into it. Include the number and section of the code your bill relates to.

You will need to choose a sponsor for your bill. The sponsor introduced the bill in committee and on the House floor. They will advocate for your bill to be passed. Your sponsor must be a member of the same house as your bill. 

THINGS TO REMEMBER DURING BILL CREATION

There are certain bill topics that come up almost every year. To help reduce the amount of bills that need to be combined, try to avoid these topics:

  • Legalization of Marijuana
    Lowering the drinking age
  • Legalization of prostitution
  • Gay marriage
  • No more curfew
  • No more draft
  • Euthanasia
  • Restrictions on driving for the elderly
  • Any current hot button issues

If your delegation does feel very strongly about one of those areas, they should have a very creative solution or they might have to combine their bill with another delegation’s bill.

There can be no silly bills (i.e. changing the state bird from the Quail to a Rubber Ducky). All legislation needs to be serious.

Make sure any legislation your delegation produces is ready at least a week before the deadline to turn it in to Y&G. This will give you plenty of time to have your Executive Director or School Principal review it and sign off on it.

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