This collection of worksheets helps you see the process of forming a law in the United States.

The series of events that needs to take place in order for a new law to be accepted and enforceable in the United States. The process of creating a law is long and arduous. The system of checks and balances, built into the constitution, makes sure that a law is well debated and long thought through by many people before it enforceable. The process starts when a Representative drafts and writes a bill (the finer points of the law to be). This Representative then seeks out other like-minded Representatives to support (sponsor) the bill. In this way they introduce it for consideration to Congress. It is then passed on to Congressional committees or subcommittees who are seen as experts in the area that the bill is concerned with. These committees further researches and evaluates the merits of such a law. They may make revisions to the document that they deem necessary. When a committee approves a bill, it is then sent to the House floor where it is debated upon and any final changes based on recommendations may be made. It is then voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives. If it is approved by a majority vote, the bill moves on for a vote at the Senate. It goes through all the same steps at the Senate that it went through in the House. Again, a majority is needed to pass it on to the President. If the President signs the bill, it becomes a law. The President can also send it back to the House for further revision or just do nothing.

This selection of worksheets looks at all the intricate parts of how a bill is shaped and focused into finally becoming a law. We look at the roles and responsibilities of all elected officials along the way. We also help student dissect some common political jargon that is often heard, but not understood by most. This process is looked at both the federal and state level. We finish off by looking at the difference between public and private bills.

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What Is the Process?

To introduce a bill, the sponsor places the document in a special box to the side of the clerk's desk called the hopper.

What Is the Process? Multiple Choice Questions

Once the sponsor knows that the bill has some support, the sponsor introduces it into the House of Representatives for consideration.

The Role of the Committee

When a bill is assigned to a committee, it's the committee's job to talk about it and get it into shape to be a law.

The Role of the Committee - Short Answer Questions

When a committee doesn’t take any action on a bill they receive, or if they decide to stop working on a bill they don't support, then we say that the bill "died in committee" and it will not become a law.

The Conference Committee

Because a bill is frequently revised in committee, it is not uncommon for the House and Senate to pass two different versions of the same bill.

QUESTIONS: The Conference Committee

The Conference Committee is usually composed of members from both the House and the Senate. These individuals are typically the more senior members of the standing committees that worked on the original bill.

Quorum and Voting

A quorum is the minimum number of members of a group or organization that need to attend a meeting in order for whatever takes place at the meeting to be valid.

QUESTIONS: Quorum and Voting

There are different ways that Congress can vote on a bill. In a roll call vote, the clerk calls each member by name, and the member calls out their vote ("yea" or "nay") when they hear their name.

What Is A Model Bill?

The U.S. Constitution gave the Legislative branch of government the power to create laws. But does that mean that Congress actually writes all the laws that it passes?

QUESTIONS: What Is A Model Bill?

A bill is a document that describes an idea for a law. A model bill (also called a model act, model law, or model legislation) is a proposed version of a bill meant to guide lawmakers as they draft what will become the actual bill that will be introduced to a legislative body for voting.

What is a Veto? Reading Passage

Sometimes the President does not want it to become a law. This can be the case when the President disagrees with a bill, or thinks it unnecessary, or feels that it does not align with his or her specific agenda for the country.

Questions: What is a Veto?

When the President vetoes a bill, it returns to the chamber of Congress that originated it. There, the President's objections are read aloud, and the body debates it again.

Creating Laws at the State Level

The process by which a bill becomes a law in a state is very similar to how a bill becomes a federal law in Congress.

Questions: Creating Laws at the State Level

Just as with a federal bill, a bill at the state level can "die" in committee if the committee does not take any action on the bill. If a bill is revised and/or approved, it goes back to the legislative body for a Second Reading.

The Filibuster

A filibuster is a very long speech that is intended to delay the process of a legislative assembly without technically breaking any rules.

Filibuster - Short Answer Questions

There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution about the filibuster. It became possible when the Senate removed a provision from its rules known as the previous question motion, which allowed a simple majority to force a vote on whatever question was under debate.

Sponsors and Cosponsors

Before an idea can become a law, it is described in a document called a bill. Anyone in the country can write a bill.

Sponsors and Cosponsors - Questions

Typically, before a sponsor will actually introduce a bill, he or she will want to ensure that other members of Congress will support it.

Public vs. Private Bills

Before a law becomes a law, it is a document called a bill. A bill is a description of the idea for a law. A bill can originate in either the House or the Senate, but bills having to do with revenue always originate in the House of Representatives.

Public vs. Private Bills - Short Answer

For both public and private bills, the process of becoming a law begins when a member of Congress introduces it to the House or the Senate.