Development Edition

Drafting Your Own Legislation

 

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DEVELOPMENT EDITION

PASLAN recommends that you find a bill pending if this is your chapter’s first foray into citizen lobbying and advocacy.  However, any dedicated group can choose to draft their own legislation, just know this is going to be a much lengthier process.

THIS IS A DEVELOPMENT EDITION, however since there is no formal edition of this workbook, this is a good place for any chapter to start.

It’s also important to recognize that whatever legislation you draft may not look or function exactly the way you want it to once it passes through committee.  You will want to determine which parts of your bill are negotiable and which are non-negotiable.  Keeping this in mind while you are drafting your legislation will be important when you are pitching your legislation to legislators for sponsorship.

 

The following comes from The Pennsylvania Code website.  This is a good place to start if you want to draft legislation specific to Pennsylvania.

   Title 101 (General Assembly) is published for information purposes only under 45 Pa.C.S. §  702 (7). The Director of the Legislative Reference Bureau finds this document to be general and permanent in nature. This document is not a rule or regulation, and it may be modified at any time without notice as circumstances may require.
 PART I. Legislative Reference Bureau
  Subpart A. Preliminary Provisions
    Chapter 1. General Provisions   (View pdf)
    Chapter 3. Organization and Function of Bureau   (View pdf)
  Subpart B. Legislative Procedure Manual
    Chapter 5. Preliminary Provisions   (View pdf)
    Chapter 7. General Assembly   (View pdf)
    Chapter 9. Legislative Documents   (View pdf)
    Chapter 11. Printing and Distribution of Final Enactments   (View pdf)
  Subpart C. Legislative Drafting Manual
    Chapter 13. General Provisions   (View pdf)
    Chapter 15. Statutes   (View pdf)
    Chapter 17. Other Legislative Documents   (View pdf)
    Chapter 19. Forms   (View pdf)
  Subpart D. Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Style Manual
    Chapter 21. General Provisions   (View pdf)
    Chapter 23. Format and Style   (View pdf)
    Chapter 25. Codification Procedures   (View pdf)
    Chapter 27. Forms   (View pdf)
  Subpart E. Statements of Policy
    Chapter 31. Right-To-Know Law   (View pdf)
 PART II. Joint State Government Commission [Reserved]
 PART III. Local Government Commission
    Chapter 301. Compilation and Distribution of Publications   (View pdf)
    Chapter 303. Right-to-Know Law—Statement of Policy   (View pdf)
 PART IV. Legislative Budget and Finance Committee
    Chapter 401. Access, Maintenance and Disclosure of Records—Statement of Policy   (View pdf)
 PART V. Legislative Data Processing Committee
  Subpart A. Preliminary Provisions
    Chapter 501. General Provisions   (View pdf)
  Subpart B. Computer Systems
    Chapter 521. LDPC Acceptable Use Policy   (View pdf)
    Chapter 551. Legislative Intranet   (View pdf)
 PART VI. Pennsylvania Commission on Interstate Cooperation [Reserved]
 PART VII. Capitol Preservation Committee
    Chapter 701. Right-to-Know Law—Statements of Policy   (View pdf)
 APPENDIX A. RIGHT TO KNOW LAW APPEALS   (View pdf)

PASLAN recommends new chapters adopt existing legislation

Drafting legislation takes a skill set few of us have

PASLAN will do everything to support your chapter if you choose to draft your own legislation.  This is a long and arduous process.  Depending on the type of legislation and how it modifies existing law you will need to seek out the help of experienced legal writers who can help you with this process.  There may be professors on campus who can help you, but it is important to remember your own chapter’s timeline.  Campus chapters will inevitably have turnover of membership as members graduate and writing a bill could take the entire academic year to complete.  The majority of bills introduced are not even heard in committee until the second or third time they are reintroduced in session.  If the majority of your chapter is dedicated to continuing the process of advocating for your legislation, and it’s membership will be around for the at least 3 more years, then you may be well positioned to take this approach.  Once your legislation is complete you’ll need to find sponsors for your legislation in both the House and Senate.  This can be a lengthy process in and of itself.  For these reasons PASLAN advises that you find current pending legislation to advocate for.