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Have you ever wondered what a bill looks like?

Do Representatives and Senators get a printed copy of a bill to study? Do bills have a special format?

This activity will help you gain a better understanding of a bill's structure and some of the things a Representative might consider when writing them. Follow the directions carefully and you'll be able to draft a simulated bill of your very own!

Activity Objective: To create a simulated bill in attempt to better understand the thought process involved in writing an actual legislative bill.

What kinds of laws would you make?

1.Think of an idea you would like to see made into a law. Give your idea a title. Bill titles typically begin with the word "To" and are followed by a verb. Ex: ...to amend, to protect, etc...

Bill Title:      To: 
2. Write the name of your school or class in the space provided. In a real bill this space is reserved for the name of the bill's originating chamber.

School Name:    
3. The name(s) of the sponsor and cosponsor(s) of your bill comes next. You may list as many cosponsors as you like.

4. Now write the body of your bill, which will include any details and explanations. The body of a real bill can be many pages long.

Bill Body:

Please Note: The text of your bill must be limited 1000 characters.
Please do not use special characters or copy and paste from other programs.

You have characters remaining for your bill body.

5. You will have to decide if your bill should be public or private. A private bill affects a specific person or organization rather than the population at large. A public bill affects the general public.

Bill Type:  Public  Private    
6. Finally, you must decide where your bill will originate. Laws that originate in the Senate are designated with the letter "S," followed by an identifying number which is assigned by the Secretary of the Senate. Laws that originate in the House of Representatives are designated "H.R.," "H.Res," or "H.ConRes," followed by an identifying number assigned by the House Clerk. The number for your bill will be automatically assigned by the computer.

Originating Chamber:  House  Senate
7. Press the "Build Bill" button and watch your idea become a simulated bill. You can even print it out and compare your bill with a real bill on THOMAS, the official U.S. Government site for bills and laws.


Parents & Teachers
Tools for Learning

Did You Know?
A Little Known Fact
John Quincy Adams' nickname was "Old Man Eloquent." Learn more nicknames in Time Warp: People!

Check This Out!
What is that?
Find out how the party "whips" got their weird name in Learn About Congress.

Glossary Terms
Key Words
Use the glossary to learn key terms.


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