Bill Drafting: Revision Suggestion Codes
For resources on bill drafting and examples, please visit the Bill Drafting section of our Resource Directory. Below is an explanation of each section of the bill rough draft review rubric. If you have additional questions, please feel free to email us at email@example.com
A: Title doesn’t accurately state the purpose and function of the bill
The title of your bill currently doesn’t accurately capture the purpose and function of your bill. The title must include a short and plain statement of the topic addressed.
B: Action on the bill’s statute (creating, amending, repealing) is missing/incorrect
The title doesn’t state whether the statute your bill affects is being created, amended, or repealed or misidentifies the action being taken by your bill. You have three options when writing a bill: Creating an entirely new statute, amending a current statute, or repealing (deleting) a statute completely.
C: Statute is missing/incorrectly formatted
The title is missing which statute your bill is affecting, or that particular phrase is incorrectly formatted. Here’s an example of a correctly formatted title:
An act relating to examples, amending section 123.45, Florida Statutes, providing legislative intent, providing definitions, providing guidelines, providing appropriations, providing penalties, providing enforcement, providing nullification, and providing an effective date.
D: Does not list all sections of the bill
Your title must list each section of your bill. In the example above (In the explanation for “C”) you can see each section listed in correct order.
E: Issue cannot be addressed by the state legislature
Your bill’s topic is an issue that cannot be addressed by the Florida state legislature in the form that is currently is in. This is likely due to your bill attempting to take action on a federal (national) or international level.
F: Enacting Clause is incorrect/missing
The enacting clause is what empowers your bill to take action. Make sure to include it in the following format: BE IT ENACTED BY THE FLORIDA YMCA YOUTH IN GOVERNMENT STATE LEGISLATURE
G: Legislative Intent has less than 3 “Whereas” statements and/or is missing a “therefore” statement
Your Legislative Intent must include at least 3 statements beginning with the word “whereas” (synonymous with because) that describe reasons why your bill needs to be passed. These most commonly explain different aspects of the problem your bill is attempting to solve.
Additionally, your Legislative Intent concludes with a “therefore” statement. This is the conclusion of your “whereas” statements. It tells members of your chamber and committee what your bill does to solve that problem. Below is a correct example of a Legislative Intent section:
“Whereas, new delegates oftentimes need individualized help in drafting their bills; and
Whereas, 100% of chapter advisors have additional responsibilities beyond Youth In Government (according to the Florida YMCA Youth In Government State Office); and
Whereas, students who receive feedback on their rough drafts have a greater ability to present better legislation at State Assembly,
Therefore, the Florida YMCA Youth In Government State Office and Graduate Advisors will provide individualized feedback on bill rough drafts through a grading rubric.”
H: “Whereas” statements are missing statistics and/or sources
Your Legislative Intent should provide statistics and sources to assist with proper identification and explanation of the problem your bill is affecting.
I: Legislative Intent is incorrectly formatted
Your Legislative Intent is incorrectly formatted. For an example of a correctly formatted Legislative Intent, please view the example in the explanation of code “G” above.
J: Problem is not well defined
Your Legislative Intent is the only section of your bill that gets to explain why your bill needs to be passed. The first step in successfully presenting those reasons is making sure your committee and chamber understand what problem your bill solves, and the scope of it.
K: No clear solution is specified
In addition to explaining the problem your bill solves, your Legislative Intent must explain why your bill is the best possible solution to the problem. Make sure that it clearly states how your bill will solve the issue.
L: Solution is not consistent with the bill’s title
In a sense, your Legislative Intent is an expansion upon your bill’s title. Make sure that the solution presented in your Legislative Intent mirrors the short phrase explaining your bill in your title.
M: Words defined are not relevant to the bill
Your definitions section should only include definitions for words that are either outside of common vocabulary (troglodyte, for example), or is being used beyond its dictionary definition. For example, for a bill requiring the spay or neuter of common household pets, you should define “common household pets” to avoid confusion/misinterpretation.
N: Definitions are vague or unclear
The purpose of your Definitions section is to eliminate all possibility of confusion on what your bill accomplishes. Make sure to be specific and concise without leaving room for interpretation.
O: Terms are unnecessarily complex and can be easily simplified
A well written bill is easily understood. As the majority of your chamber and committee will have limited time to read your bill before having to vote or rank on it, make sure to use the simplest language possible. For example, use complicated instead of erudite. Well written legislation is crystal clear and elegantly simple.
P: Other terms in bill need defining
Search your bill for terms that fit the criteria mentioned in the explanation of code “M”. We suggest writing your Definitions section last, once you have finalized your word choice for the rest of your bill to avoid missing any potentially confusing words.
Q: Statute is missing/incorrectly formatted
Your Guidelines section is missing which statute your bill is affecting, or that particular phrase is incorrectly formatted. To view correctly formatted Guidelines, view the Sample bills section of our Resource Directory.
R: Action on Statute is missing/incorrect
Your Guidelines section doesn’t state whether the statute your bill affects is being created, amended, or repealed or misidentifies the action being taken by your bill. You have three options when writing a bill: Creating an entirely new statute, amending a current statute, or repealing (deleting) a statute completely.
S: Statute’s text is incorrectly formatted
Your Guidelines section is the actual text of your change to Florida law. In order to make that change clear the following formatting is used for your statute’s text:
New text that you are adding to the statute is underlined.
Current text you are not changing is left as is.
Current text you are removing is stricken.
For correctly formatted examples of a Guidelines section, visit the Sample Bills section of the Resource Directory.
T: Does not clearly explain how the bill will accomplish the solution
As your Guidelines is the actual text of your change to Florida law, it’s incredibly important that it accurately and clearly explain every aspect of your solution. If your Guidelines section is vague or unclear, it will be impossible to ensure that what your bill actually changes matches your intention.
U: No specific agency/organization is mentioned (Enforcement)
If no specific agent is mentioned in your enforcement, it will be impossible to adequately enforce your bill. Specify which government agency you want overseeing the implementation of your bill. For example, instead of choosing the entire Florida government, if your bill is on the labeling of imported vegetables, specify the Florida Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
V: Jurisdiction of cited agency is incorrect/unreasonable (Enforcement)
Make sure to research the designated powers and responsibilities of the agency/organization that you designate to enforce your legislation. Also, make sure that the Florida legislature has the ability to give that agency responsibilities. For example, federal or international agencies are not controlled by the state legislature.
W: No specific agency/organization is mentioned (Appropriations)
Just as in Enforcement, Appropriations should mention the specific agency and/or organization you will be providing or taking funds from in order to accomplish your legislation.
X: Doesn’t specify if new forms of revenue are required or if funding will come from existing sources
If your bill requires funding beyond existing means, make sure to include how you will be generating that revenue. If your bill does not, make sure to include an explanation of how your bill will not require additional revenue.
Y: Nullification Clause is incorrect/missing
The Nullification Clause is what allows your bill to supercede all other existing laws that contradict your bill. It should read: “All laws or any portions thereof in conflict with these provisions are hereby null and void”
AA: Effective Date is chronologically impossible
The Effective Date of your bill must be set after State Assembly, which ends February 14th, 2014.
BB: Effective Date does not allow enough time for bill to be implemented
Make sure that your Effective Date allows enough time for the public to be informed of the change in law, as well as any additional implementation steps to be made. If your bill includes major construction, changes in government administration, etc, include that delay in the time necessary before your Effective Date. If that’s confusing, try thinking of your Effective Date as the time when your Penalties section starts to be enforced, rather than when your bill will start to be implemented.
CC: Unable to understand author’s intent & proposed solution
The draft of your bill is unclear as to what problem it will be solving and how. Read through your draft and assess whether or not it describes your problem and how it will be solved.
DD: Contains incomplete sentences
Legislation is comprised of complete sentences, be sure to reword and edit any fragments.
EE: Contains unclear/confusing language
Review your draft for any particularly ambiguous lines that do not clearly state your bill’s intent.
FF: Contains grammatical errors
Be sure to spell check and have someone review your draft for grammatical errors before submitting your final draft.
XX: Bill insufficiently complete to be reviewed
The draft was largely incomplete/did not contain enough required sections to be reviewed properly
YY: Draft was not submitted via the Deledex
Be sure to submit your bill on the Deledex, by clicking on the State Assembly 2015 link on the left-hand toolbar and scrolling down past your basic registration options to include which bill you would like to submit with your State Assembly registration.