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Handout A: House Bill Writing Directions


As a member of Congress, you are tasked with drafting a bill for the United
States House of Representatives. Use the template at the bottom of this handout as a guide to draft your legislation.

Writing a Bill

Determine a topic that you believe is important. It may be a local, state, or national law, but be specific as to which level of government to which your law applies. State this in your one sentence summary starting at line 9 on Sample Bill Setup and again in the main provisions.

Begin developing your ideas today. Your final, typed bill is due on ________________________.


  1. Heading: see sample below.
    Follow the structure of the sample bills you were provided on Handouts B and C.

    1. Section 1: Short Title: “This act may be cited as the [title of your bill] act.” Be creative but serious.
    2. Section 2: Purpose: Explain the goals of your law and what you want to accomplish.
    3. Section 3: Definitions: Define unusual terms or phrases or those you want to highlight.
    4. Section 4: Main Provisions: Explain the details of your law and how you will accomplish your goals.
    5. Section 5: Appropriations:
      • How much will it cost?
        • Start-up costs
        • Continuing annual costs
      • Source of money
        • Taxes (Raise taxes – by how much)
          » Income tax
          » Property tax
          » Sales tax
          » Excise tax (alcohol, tobacco, gasoline, etc.)
          If your bill relies on cutting spending to another program, you must explain how you propose to do so.
        • User Fee (Such as entry fee to a national park, camping fee for a national park, or highway toll)
        • Eliminate a program.
        • Borrowing (Sell bonds – annual interest expense and source of funds to pay the
          interest must be estimated.)
        • No Private Sources (They are rare and neither continuing nor reliable.)
      • If your bill saves money, estimate the initial and annual savings in dollars. Clearly
        explain how it saves money with detail.
      • This is all a best effort guess. Use logic and common sense to estimate costs. You may research for more accuracy.
    6. Section 6: Penalty Clause (Penalties)
      • Encourage compliance
      • Punish violators
        » Fine – how much?
        » Jail time – how long?
        » Others
    7. Section 7: Effective Date

    All lines on each bill must be numbered with the first line each page always 1. (See below for first page numbering.)

Sample Bill Set-Up

Your signature here

Student Congress 2016

House Bill No. _________

Creating a law… (one sentence summary)


introduced the following bill,

(Your typed name)

which was introduced to the Committee on



An Act

  1. Be it enacted by the Student Congress,…
  2. Section1: Short Title

  4. Section 2: Purpose