Guidelines, Submitting and Drafting a Bill
TYPES OF LEGISLATION THAT MAY BE SUBMITTED
Remember that our program deals only with Maine issues and Maine law, changes in federal statutes and rules can’t be submitted. Also, bills must be in accordance with the Maine Constitution and the Constitution of the United States. Bills may only be submitted by completing the online bill submission form.
There are 4 types of submissions possible.
1. BILL: A bill may do any one or more of the following; create a new law, amend an existing law, or repeal an existing law.
2. CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT: a change to the Maine Constitution, this requires a two-thirds majority of both Houses to pass. The title of the bill would need to read: “A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: An act to the qualified electors of Maine an Amendment to Article _____ of the Maine Constitution to...................
3. REFERENDA: This would put to the voters of the State of Maine the passage or rejection of your proposition. The correct title would read: “A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: An act to _________(describe the content of the act), providing that the proposed act be submitted to the qualified electorate of the State of Maine.
4. JOINT RESOLUTION: Used to express a desire, an opinion, sympathy, a request of the legislature, to express the will of the legislature to the United States Congress, to amend the rules of the House and Senate, or to ratify a proposed Constitutional Amendment. The title should read A Joint Resolution of the Maine State Senate and the Maine House of Representative of the YMCA Camp of Maine Youth in Government program...............
DRAFTING YOUR BILL
In drafting your idea answer the following questions. These questions are on the State of Maine website in the section where Legislators go to submit new bills. They are told they must be able to answer these questions in order to submit a bill. To look up existing bills or get other information about drafting a bill checkout:
GUIDELINES FOR THE BODY OF BILLS
1. NUMBERED LINES: Line numbers will be added after bills are submitted..
2. SECTIONS AND SUBSECTIONS: Should be bold & underlined with an Arabic number SECTION 1
3. DEFINITIONS: terms unfamiliar to the general public should be defined, or any term that a meaning unfamiliar to the general public should be defined.
Use the following format:
(Term or phrase) defined- A word or phrase meaning.....................
DEFINITION of CLIENT----a person using the service of this agency.
4. PROPOSITION: How do you propose that the outcome of the bill is to be accomplished?
5. PROCEDURAL or ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS: Who will enforce or see that the proposition is accomplished. ?
6. SANCTIONS and PENALTIES: What will happen to those in violations of the proposition
7. REPEALING or SAVING CLAUSES: If any existing laws are to be repealed, or if any existing laws are to be saved because of the proposition they should be correctly noted.
8. ENACTMENT CLAUSES: When will this bill take effect, immediately upon passage, 90 days after passage, or another time set by the authors
(THE FOLLOWING SECTIONS ARE REQUIRED IN ALL BILLS)
FISCAL CONSIDERATION: How much will this bill cost to implement, and where will any needed money to fund the proposition come from? This must be a realistic number, not simply a guess you need to research an estimated cost. DO NOT PUT $7,000.00 FOR PRINTING. ONLY REAL COST OF IMPLEMENTATION.
STATMENT OF FACT: This is where you place facts that support your bill, this is not a place to put a written argument, only facts are to be a part of this section. Facts must be verifiable, and statistical.
JUSTIFICATION: This is the place where the author can give their reasons for writing the bill and giving their opinions and arguments for this bill.
REFERENCES: List any research materials used in drafting your bill, this will allow others to check out your sources. They should be listed in bibliography style including magazines, newspaper, Internet, reference books articles, or interviews with local officials.
BILL SUMMARY: The final section of the bill should be a 2 or 3 line summation of the purpose of the bill.
What do you want to happen because of this bill?
GRAMMAR SUGGESTIONS FOR DRAFTING A BILL
1. Use the present tense
2. Use simple language. Don’t use two words when one will do, don’t long if a short one will do.
3. Use the active voice, not passive (example “shall appoint”, NOT “shall be appointed”)
4. Use singular instead of the plural when possible.
5. Use the article “a” or “an” for more precise writing. (example “A person who....”, is better than “any person...., each person....., or all persons....)
6. Use gender-neutral language when referring to the person affected by the bill. Words like “member, person, individual or applicant”.
7. The word “shall” should not be used to state a legal result or fact. (Example “A person who violates this is guilty of a felony”, NOT “A person who violates that act shall be guilty of a felony”.
8. Use “Shall” when you are imposing a duty or indicating that an action is mandatory.
9. Use “May” for something optional or when a right, privilege or power is conferred, say “May Not” to express a prohibition. Avoid double negatives such as “Can’t not choose to...”
10. Capitalize as little as possible according to standard usage.
11. Use correct punctuation to support your idea and avoid ambiguity
12. Avoid abbreviations. If you use them to spell out the first time it is used then show in parentheses.
13. If you can’t avoid provisos, introduce an exception or limitation with “except that”, “but” or “however” or simply state a new sentence.
14. If the circumstances in which rule are to apply can be stated briefly and simply they should precede the rule itself.
15. A direct statement should include all persons & things covered by the rule if 1 exception place at the end.
16. SPELL AND GRAMMAR CHECK YOUR BILL: the way you submit the bill will be the way it appears in the bill-book
HEADER FORM GUIDELINES FOR BILLS
Sponsor: The name of the prime sponsor of the bill
Co-Sponsor: Up to 3 other names of those assisting with the drafting of this bill
School / Club / YMCA: What is the name of your delegation?
Endorsed By: Name of Advisor, Bills will be emailed to them to confirm they have approved the bill.
Bill Title: A short descriptive title with the opening,
Don’t use cutesy titles
If the bills revise or amends existing law the Maine Revised Statute Annotated (MRSA) title number must appear.
Statement of Fact: These must be verified able statistics and facts that will support your bill.
Justification: This is your place to give your opinion and argument for your bill. Limited to 2-5 lines
Fiscal Consideration: What impact on the Governor's Budget will your bill have?
The author is required to give a realistic estimate of the amount of money it will cost to implement this bill, or
the amount this bill will generate.
How much will the bill cost to implement or how much revenue will the bill generate.
Revenue Positive: This type of bill will generate money (ie Tax, Fee, Fine etc) for the Governor's Budget
Revenue Negative: This bill will cost money and will impact the Governor's Budget
This must be a realistic estimate of the cost or revenue that will be generated by the bill.
References: List any sources you used to draft the bill, including where you found your facts used in supporting the bill.
Bill Summary: This will be a 2 or 3 line brief summation of what the bill will do.