Legislative Drafting and Public Policy

Section 1, Fall 16

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 7/12
Credits: 3

Course Description

This seminar focuses on legislative drafting and statutory interpretation. We will briefly review separation of powers issues, the canons of statutory interpretation, dealing with the press (both as a lawyer and as a legislator), and issues addressed in a legislative, administrative, and regulatory practice, and then engage in practical exercises related to the drafting, consideration, lobbying, and adoption 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), which, for students who completed the Law School's Skills Requirement prior to this fall, may satisfy the Law School's Upper-level Writing Requirement.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Midterm Type (if any): Due Date Only
Description: <span style="line-height:107%;font-family:'Times New Roman',serif;font-size:12pt;">A research paper, a final draft of the student&rsquo;s legislative proposal (not a re-write of the research paper) incorporating amendments adopted by the class, and a class presentation. Papers will be due via LawWeb by 9:00 pm (EST) by October 17, 2016. NOTE: the paper does not satisfy the Upper-Level Writing Requirement unless a student (who has completed the Skills Requirement at the time of the course) timely submits a completed Writing Requirement Intent Form to the Student Records Office - retroactive exceptions will not be granted. Students who have not yet satisfied the Skills Requirement may not petition for the paper to satisfy the Upper Level Writing Requirement.</span>

Final Type (if any): Due Date Only
Description: By 4:30pm (EST) Friday, December 9, a rewrite of each student’s draft bill (but not the research paper) incorporating the amendments the class voted to adopt to the student’s draft bill.
Final Exam Notes:

By 4:30pm (EST) Friday, December 9, a rewrite of each student’s draft bill (but not the research paper) incorporating the amendments the class voted to adopt to the student’s draft bill.

Written Work Product
Written Work Product:

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: None Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: Yes
Course Notes: The seminar will meet Aug 31 and Sep 1, 7 and 8. We then will take a five-and-one-half-week break for students to complete their research papers, which will be due by 9:00 p.m. on October 17. The seminar will then resume beginning on October 19, for student presentations of their legislative proposals on as many Wednesdays and Thursdays through December 7, except  the Thanksgiving week (November 23 and 24), as are necessary for there to be one class scheduled for each student presentation.   ATTENDANCE: 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.

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: Yes
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

General Information

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens:
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: