Fall 2014
    Law No.: LAW9074
    Sched. No.: 114820963

Legislative Drafting and Public Policy*
Section 1
Kneedler, H L.
Mullen, Edward A.

Administrative Information:
During SIS enrollment, check on SIS for real-time enrollment numbers
Days, Times (Room):WR, 1930-2200 (WB127)
Capacity:12 **This information is current as of 05/21/2015 06:15:02 AM**
Current Enrollment:6 **This information is current as of 05/21/2015 06:15:02 AM**

Course Description:

CLASS SCHEDULE: The seminar will meet August 27 and 28 and September 3 and 4. We then take a five-week break for students to complete their research papers, which will be due by 9:00 p.m. on October 14. The seminar will then resume after the Fall Break and meet for student presentations, beginning on October 16, of their legislative proposals on as many Wednesdays and Thursdays through December 3, except for November 12 and 13 and the Thanksgiving week (November 26 and 27), as are necessary for there to be one class scheduled for each student presentation.

COURSE CONTENT: This seminar focuses on legislative drafting and statutory interpretation. We will briefly review separation of powers issues and the canons of statutory interpretation and then engage in practical exercises related to the drafting, consideration, lobbying, and passing of legislation (in the committee context). Students will have an opportunity to draft legislation, and write a substantial research paper, on a topic of interest to the student, and to draft and debate amendments to proposals offered by other members of the class on a variety of topics. In addition, students will have the opportunity to engage in oral advocacy in support of their proposal (a draft bill) and for and against proposals offered by others in the class. The Professors enjoy nearly 50 years of experience interpreting, drafting, and passing statutes at the state level. Past research paper topics have included: domestic violence, euthanasia, affirmative action, a two-term Governor in Virginia, sexual harassment, gun control, recycling, oil spill liability, migrant farm workers, hostile corporate takeovers, sexually transmitted diseases, fetal abuse, dram shop legislation, non-tidal wetlands, animal rights, campaign finance reform, conflicts of interest, joint custody, criminal record checks for child care workers, drug testing of public employees, surrogate parenting, workfare, the State Lottery, hate-violence, and landlord-tenant law revisions. Each student will be required to prepare a draft bill (either something original or amendments to an existing statute; state law proposals are preferred over federal law proposals, but the state need not be Virginia), and a supporting commentary (your substantial research paper) of 7,500-10,500 words, exclusive of footnotes (i.e., the equivalent of 25-35 pages of text). The first class meeting will be an introductory session. The next three sessions will cover separation of powers, lobbying, and statutory interpretation problems and techniques. The remaining sessions will be devoted to consideration of specific legislative proposals prepared by students in the class. Each student presentation session will be conducted in the format of a legislative committee debate. All students will be expected to have read each proposal and supporting commentary. The student who prepared the proposal will present it for adoption, making whatever oral presentation in favor of the proposal he or she wishes. The remainder of the session will be devoted to a “committee” debate of the issue, with a view towards adopting the proposal or some amended version thereof. Once in a while the “committee” will vote not to adopt a proposal at all; no penalty attaches to that happening. The Professors certainly have seen good ideas rejected by the real-world legislature. Following the session at which his or her proposal is discussed, each student will be required to prepare a final draft of his or her legislative proposal (not a re-write of the research paper) that incorporates amendments adopted by a majority vote of the “committee.”

ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENT: Enrolled students who do not attend the first class session will be dropped. Students seeking to enroll in this course must attend the first class session.
COURSE REQUIREMENT: A research paper, a final draft of a legislative proposal (not a re-write of the research paper), and a class presentation.
NOTE: Students who have satisfied the professional skills requirement prior to fall 2014, may petition the instructors to use this seminar to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement by submitting a completed Writing Requirement Intent Form to the Student Records Office no later than October 1, 2014 - retroactive exceptions will not be granted.

This course is on the professional skills course list.