How Our Laws Are Made
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How Our Laws Are Made

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Civics Lesson on how a bill becomes a law.

Civics Lesson on how a bill becomes a law.

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    How Our Laws Are Made How Our Laws Are Made Presentation Transcript

    • How Our Laws Are Made
      January 18th, 2010
      Presented by: Tim Deacon
    • The U.S. Congress
      2
      The Congress of the United States of America
      One of the most practical safeguards of the American democratic way of life is this legislative process with its emphasis on the protection of the minority, allowing ample opportunity to all sides to be heard and make their views known. The fact that a proposal cannot become a law without consideration and approval by both Houses of Congress is an outstanding virtue of our bicameral legislative system. The open and full discussion provided under the Constitution often results in the notable improvement of a bill by amendment before it becomes law or in the eventual defeat of an inadvisable proposal.
    • The U.S. Congress
      3
      The House of Representatives:
      • Designed to be closer to people .
      • Elected by the people
      • 435 members (since 1911)
      • Must be 25 years old, citizen for 7 years, resident in state (when elected)
      • Smaller districts
      • State populations during census determines number from each state
      • 2 year term
      • Entire body elected every 2 years .
      • Revenue bills must originate in the house
      The Senate:
      • Designed to be removed from the people
      • Originally elected by state legislatures
      • 100 members
      • Must be 30 years old, citizen for 9 years, resident of state (when elected)
      • Elected on an at large basis
      • There are two Senators from each state
      • 6 year term
      • 1/3 up for election every 2 years = more continuity and stability
      • Advising and consenting to treaties and certain Presidential nominations
    • The U.S. Congress
      4
      The House of Representatives:
      • Compensation:
      • Member $174,000
      • Leaders $193,400
      • Speaker $223,500
      • Personal Staff:
      • 18 permanent and 4 non-permanent aides
      • Perks:
      • Travel allowance
      • Office space
      • Franking privileges
      • Foreign travel
      • Health Insurance
      • Retirement pensions
      • Legislative immunity
      • Cannot be arrested or detained while going to or from a session of Congress
      The Senate:
      • Compensation
      • Member $174,000
      • Leaders $193,400
      • Personal Staff:
      • Between 26 and 60 aides (depending on size of state)
      • Perks:
      • Travel allowance
      • Office space
      • Franking privileges
      • Foreign travel
      • Health Insurance
      • Retirement pension
      • Legislative immunity
      • Cannot be arrested or detained while going to or from a session of Congress
    • 5
      How Our Laws Are Made
      Floor Action
      Conference Committee Action
      The President
      The Bill Becomes A Law
      Introduce
      Committee Action
      The process of passing a bill into law is one of deep complexity. It is a lengthy process which has many blockades in its course.
      There are six steps which help to explain the stages and process of law making. These steps include:
      • the bills introduction to legislation
      • the committee action
      • the floor action
      • the conference committee action
      • the President action (or inaction)
      • the bill becoming a law
    • 6
      Someone has a “great” idea…
      Floor Action
      Conference Committee Action
      The President
      The Bill Becomes A Law
      Introduce
      Committee Action
      IDEA
      Concerned Citizen, Organization, Group, or Legislature Suggest Change
      House of Representatives
      Senate
      PROPOSAL DRAFTED
      There are four (4) types of proposals.
      TYPES of PROPOSALS:
      BILL – used for most legislation. Can be either public or private. Originate in House or Senate.
      JOINT RESOLUTION – Originate in House or Senate. Joint resolution may include a preamble before the resolving clause.
      CONCURRENT RESOLUTION – a matter affecting the operation of both houses. Usually not a legislation.
      SIMPLE RESOLUTION – a matter affecting the operation of only one of the houses. Usually not a legislation.
      PLACE BILL IN HOPPER
      HAND BILL TO CLERK OF THE HOUSE
      ASK PERMISSION OF PRESIDING OFFICER TO INTRODUCE BILL
      NO
      GRANTED?
      TABLE BILL UNTIL NEXT DAY
      YES
      INTRODUCE BILL
      INTRODUCE BILL
      ASSIGN A NUMBER (HR – 1)
      ASSIGN A NUMBER
      (S – 1)
    • 7
      What is (and isn’t) in the bill…
      Floor Action
      Conference Committee Action
      The President
      The Bill Becomes A Law
      Introduce
      Committee Action
      House of Representatives
      Senate
      REFER BILL TO COMMITTEE(S) BY SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE
      (May be split among committees)
      REFER BILL TO COMMITTEE(S) BY PRESIDING OFFICER OF THE SENATE
      (May be split among committees)
      PLACE BILL ON COMMITTEE CALENDAR
      PLACE BILL ON COMMITTEE CALENDAR
      HOLD HEARINGS
      HOLD HEARINGS
      SEND BILL TO SUB-COMMITTEES
      SEND BILL TO SUB-COMMITTEES
      SUB-COMMITTEES MAKES REVISIONS AND ADDITIONS
      SUB-COMMITTEES MAKES REVISIONS AND ADDITIONS
      SUB-COMMITTEES REPORT FINDINGS TO FULL COMMITTEE
      SUB-COMMITTEES REPORT FINDINGS TO FULL COMMITTEE
      COMMITTEE COMPLETES WRITTEN REPORT AND SENDS TO HOUSE
      COMMITTEE COMPLETES WRITTEN REPORT AND SENDS TO SENATE
    • 8
      Let’s talk about this bill and then vote on it…
      Floor Action
      Conference Committee Action
      The President
      The Bill Becomes A Law
      Introduce
      Committee Action
      House of Representatives
      Senate
      BILL IS PLACED ON CALENDAR
      Placed in order that they are received. Scheduled based on importance.
      LIMITED DEBATE
      (Limited by rules formulated by Rules Committee.) Entire committee debates and amends bill. Debate guided by sponsoring committee with equal time for both parties.
      VOTE ON BILL
      VOICE VOTE – Say “Aye” or “Nay.”
      DIVISION VOTE – Stand and be counted.
      RECORDED VOTE – Recorded electronically.
      FAIL
      PASS
      PASS OR FAIL?
      SEND TO SENATE
      BILL DIES
    • 9
      Let’s talk about this bill and then vote on it…
      Floor Action
      Conference Committee Action
      The President
      The Bill Becomes A Law
      Introduce
      Committee Action
      House of Representatives
      Senate
      BILL IS PLACED ON CALENDAR
      Placed in order that they are received. Scheduled based on importance.
      BILL IS PLACED ON CALENDAR
      Placed in order that they are received. Scheduled based on importance.
      LIMITED DEBATE
      (Limited by rules formulated by Rules Committee. Entire committee debates and amends bill. Debate guided by sponsoring committee with equal time for both parties.
      UNLIMITED DEBATE
      Debate is unlimited unless Cloture is invoked. (60% of the full senate agrees on ending discussion) Members can speak as long as they wish, often using a filibuster to “talk a bill to death.”
      VOTE ON BILL
      VOTE ON BILL
      VOICE VOTE – Say “Aye” or “Nay.”
      DIVISION VOTE – Stand and be counted.
      RECORDED VOTE – Recorded electronically.
      PASS
      FAIL
      PASS
      FAIL
      PASS OR FAIL?
      PASS OR FAIL?
      SEND TO SENATE
      SEND TO PRESIDENT
      BILL DIES
      BILL DIES
      HOWEVER, BEFORE SENDING A BILL TO THE PRESIDENT, THE HOUSE AND SENATE MUST BE IN AGREEMENT, WITH JUST ONE BILL.
    • 10
      What if the Senate and House Disagree?
      Floor Action
      Conference Committee Action
      The President
      The Bill Becomes A Law
      Introduce
      Committee Action
      House of Representatives
      Senate
      FORM CONFERENCE COMMITTEE - Members from both chambers form committees to discuss and work out differences.
      WORK OUT DIFFERENCES (COMPROMISE) - Can’t we just work together.
      REWRITE A BILL AGREEABLE TO BOTH HOUSES. PREPARE A CONFERENCE REPORT.
      SEND CONFERENCE REPORT AND NEW BILL TO HOUSE AND SENATE.
      PASS
      FAIL
      FAIL
      PASS
      PASS OR FAIL?
      PASS OR FAIL?
      SEND TO PRESIDENT
      SEND TO SENATE
      FLOOR ACTION
      FLOOR ACTION
      BILL DIES
      BILL DIES
    • 11
      It is now up to the President…
      Floor Action
      Conference Committee Action
      The President
      The Bill Becomes A Law
      Introduce
      Committee Action
      The Office of The President
      BILL REVIEWED
      BILL SIGNED
      BILL VETOED
      (“I Forbid”)
      BILL NOT SIGNED
      BILL WILL BECOME LAW
      SENT BACK TO CONGRESS WITH EXPLANATION
      IS CONGRESS IN SESSION?
      NO
      YES
      BILL DIES
      BILL WILL BECOME LAW
      House of Representatives
      Senate
      YES
      YES
      NO
      NO
      2/3 IN FAVOR?
      2/3 IN FAVOR?
      SEND TO SENATE
      BILL WILL BECOME LAW
      BILL DIES
      BILL DIES
    • 12
      …and finally, it becomes law.
      Floor Action
      Conference Committee Action
      The President
      The Bill Becomes A Law
      Introduce
      Committee Action
      The Office of The President
      Congress
      BILL SIGNED BY PRESIDENT
      BILL NOT SIGNED BY PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS HAS ADJOURNED
      VETO OVERRIDDEN BY CONGRESS
      THE BILL BECOMES LAW
      LAW ASSIGNED OFFICIAL NUMBER
    • 13
      • I’m just a bill,
      • Yes, I’m only a bill,
      • And I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.
      • Well, it’s a long, long journey
      • To the capital city,
      • It’s a long, long wait
      • While I’m sitting in committee
      • But I know I’ll be a law someday . . .
      • At least I hope and pray that I will,
      • But today I’m still just a bill.
      • {Interlude}
    • 14
      • I’m just a bill,
      • Yes I’m only a bill,
      • And I got as far as Capitol Hill.
      • Well, now I’m stuck in committee
      • And I sit here and wait
      • While a few key Congressmen
      • Discuss and debate
      • Whether they should
      • Let me be a law…
      • Oh how I hope and pray that they will,
      • But today I am still just a bill.
      • {Interlude}
    • 15
      • I’m just a bill,
      • Yes I’m only a bill,
      • And if they vote for me on Capitol Hill,
      • Well then I’m off to the White House
      • Where I’ll wait in a line
      • With a lot of other bills
      • For the President to sign.
      • And if he signs me then I’ll be a law . . .
      • Oh, how I hope and pray that he will,
      • But today I am still just a bill.
      • {Interlude}
    • 16
      • No! But how I hope and I pray that I will,
      • But today I am still just a bill!
      • {Interlude}
    • 17
      Acknowledgementfor Song
      • School House Rocks website.
      • http://media.atlantic-records.com/media/schoolhouse_rock_rocks/schoolhouse_rock_rocks/bill.wav