This topic contains 10 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Jen Loving 9 months ago.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Author
  • #45323


    Learning Objective: Explain the function of the legislative branch.

    1. Lawmaking: How A Bill Becomes A Law
    2. Lawmaking: Bills in Committee
    3. Lawmaking: Resolutions

    Answer the question:

      Why do you think only 1 in 10 bills actually becomes a law?
    • This topic was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by  s.wilkes.

    Natalie Parker

    Bills have a lot of complexity that make them difficult to pass, separate from simply agreeing on the foundational policy ideals that the bills mean to support. There are many steps in the process whereby congressional representatives can put stop gaps in on certain bills, and also where people can give public comments or testimony. When a bill fails, I don鈥檛 always believe that it is about a disagreement about the big picture ideology, but it is rather about the law within the bill or whether various parts of the bill support all policies.

    When I worked for the Kansas Legislature, I sat in on the House Judiciary Committee, which gave me an appreciation for just how intricate law is. Once, the committee passed a bill and then had to backtrack because they realized that they had accidentally made something legal that they really didn鈥檛 want made legal. The law has a lot of loopholes and it takes a well-informed mind to understand all of a bill鈥檚 parts. If there is a loophole or error in a bill, that is a chink in the legal armor, so to speak, that I would hope our representatives are working to fix.

    There is a great YouTube channel called Crash Course that provides educational videos about various topics. I really recommend How a Bill Becomes a Law and Congressional Committees, if you want to delve deeper!


    Dana Brayshaw

    Since all bills have to go through such a long process to actually become law this helps with weeding a lot of the bills out. Amendments and modifications to the language within bills also must take place. There has to be a compromise to make sure that everyone feels they are passing a law that is appropriate. Hopefully, there will be a broad representation in the legislature so that laws are passed which will benefit the majority of people. So I think it is good to see that only 1 in 10 bills become law as it shows that lawmakers are proposing lots of changes but every bill that is proposed shouldn’t necessarily become law.

    I think many times when a bill is pushed into law too soon you can see there can be loopholes found as Natalie was speaking about. Although I feel that if there is a will there is a way and if someone wants to find a loophole or a different interpretation of the law the way they see fit, we can get into trouble. That is why we have the judicial branch to help us interpret the laws if need be.


    Viviana Gonz谩lez

    I agree with Natalie and Dana, the process to pass a bill is complex and requires a lot of input from different interests. A bill could seem to be addressing a specific topic, but most likely, it will affect something else. It is important to go through a thorough review process and to hear from different parties (and take their viewpoints into consideration) before passing a bill to ensure the legislature understands what they are voting for and how it will affect other interests or rights. However, when people are dealing with very difficult situations, and a bill under consideration is the key to their relief, this long process can be very frustrating.


    Steve Spears

    I was actually surprised to hear that 1 in 10 bills become law. I would have guessed that number to be lower. I agree that besides ideological differences between the parties, a main hurdle to passing legislation is the complexity of the solutions needed to solve modern problems. With more complex legislation, it increases the chances of consequences contrary to the original intention of the bill. For this reason, it is critical that all bills are rigorously scrutinized, and independent experts in a given field are relied on to craft the right solutions.


    Michael Wile

    Only 10% of bills become laws because the legislative process is rigorous. By rigorous, I mean that the bill must be examined by legislative committees and subcommittees with various experts testifying for and against various aspects of the bill. There are usually amendments and compromises along the way to becoming a law. If the process were not rigorous, then we would have many bills passed that were not examined thoroughly and there would be many unintended consequences. After all we want good laws that improve our lives not laws that make things worse.


    Michelle Fernandez

    1 in 10 seems like a lot…kinda. Knowing how much goes into passing a bill. its hard to imagine the original ideas get communicated to the end results. This cant happen without articulate writing of the original proposal. i say this because each step of the way, each committee that hears this bill will see it from a different perspective. they will interpret it thru the viewpoint of their committee or cause. This i where things can be added or taken away that can make the next group find their issues too. I’ve had the opportunity to sit in on hearings in the past and even got to testify, amazed at how one committee bypassed the whole bill just to concentrate on a little part that they were concerned would how an admin expense to it and that wasn’t in the budget so it was passes to ways and means committee. Everything else was good but that was out of their hands. so disappointing.


    Krista Davidson

    Considering the arduous journey that bills go through to become law, I’m surprised we get 10% passed. Natalie, thanks for sharing your resources. I found the Crash Course information particularly helpful. Even though lawmaking is so difficult, the presenter on Crash Course made an important point that helps me wrap my head around the process. The presenter said “It might be frustrating but strangely comforting that Congress and government as a whole were designed to make it difficult to get things done. A King can be efficient, but tyrannical. This reduces the likelihood that authoritarian laws would pass.” Even when it doesn’t seem that anything is getting accomplished between the legislative and executive branches these days, the picture is a little bit bigger for me now, and this is a small comfort.


    Ashley Castello

    I would imagine that only one in ten bills becomes a law because of the complicated process that it must undergo in order to be passed. I also think that another reason that the number is so small is that a bill has to pass both houses of congress in order to become a law, and our two parties are currently so divided. When each party controls one of the houses of congress, and it’s difficult for them to agree on anything, this will make it difficult for laws to be passe.


    Ken Martin

    Some bills are introduced knowing they will die in committee. Some times for posturing, spite or just to show that the legislature “heard” the voice of the people and reacted. There is a little more oversight now in that pork projects aren’t inserted into bills that sweeten the chances of it getting through the chambers.

    A lot of time and effort is spent on the pretense of, “will it hold up in court?”. Sometimes laws are passed just to be challenged in the courts. We may be seeing this sooner than later.

    Ten percent seems about right though. A lot of little laws get through that are unseen by most that play into the average.


    Jen Loving

    I think only 1 in 10 bills become law because the process is so long and drawn out. I feel it needs to be that way though to make sure every part of the bill is addressed. While it can seem frustrating I feel it is necessary to be that way.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Sign up for E-mails, Dateline Magazine, and other ways to stay connected.