How to Create a Bill for Congress

by Chelsea Day

If you feel passionate about a particular subject, or simply feel that it should be addressed in Congress, creating a bill can be a good way to draw attention to the issue. Here are the steps that any Senator or Representative should take to create a bill for presentation to Congress. Bills can address district concerns, state issues or national topics, and call for regulation, funding, or recognition.

Come up with a good idea for a bill. Your bill will address an issue that you think needs to be addressed in order to receive regulation, restriction or funding. Search current and past Congressional bills to make sure your specific idea hasn't already been addressed.

Gain support for your bill to increase its chances of being passed. Find members in Congress who will support your bill. Enlist the support of any colleagues who are willing to co-sponsor the bill with you or assist with researching and writing. Search online for lobby groups who would help draw attention to the bill.

Research your issue. Georgetown's online Law Library has great online access to records of congressional meetings, committees and reports about your issue. FindLaw has overviews and news about all legal issues. Institute any assistants or support staff you have available to help with research.

Develop an outline. All bills have the same general structure. Look at a previous bill to see how bills are formatted. You will need to divide your issue into sections based on important points/issues related to your bill.

Once you have an outline of a bill with sections, you will need to elaborate on the sections by expounding on the sections with further ideas (subsections) and issues that apply to each idea/subsection. Every subsection should be numbered, and every paragraph under each subsection (aside from the initial, heading paragraph) should be lettered. A basic example of this outline structure is: Section 1: Right to Obtain Firearms Subsection (a): Definition of Firearms Paragraph (1): A shotgun Paragraph (2) A rifle Writing the bill will be easier if you refer frequently to the example bill and format your bill in the same manner.

Present your bill in Congress. It needs to be passed in either the House of Representatives or the Senate before being referred to the other legislative branch. Ultimately, for a bill to pass it will need to be approved in both branches of Congress and be signed by the President.

About the Author

Chelsea Day started writing professionally in 2005 and has been featured in publications such as "Beverly Hills 90210" and "The Travel Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from University of California, Los Angeles and runs the popular lifestyle blog Someday I'll Learn.

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