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Posted May 16, 2000
During the writing of HOW A BILL IS PASSED, I tried to keep my sights set on the human stories behind the movement of successful legislation. Everything in the legislative arena is driven by politics, and my book on the give-and-take of bill passage makes note of that fact. Most successful bills reflect either the politics of today or the politics of tomorrow. The middle school readers who are the main audience for HOW A BILL IS PASSED will be made aware of how our politicians use bills to modify government practices to suit their particular views. Accordingly, I settled on two pieces of real-life legislation as examples of the process. The 1999 Ed-Flex bill relaxed some restrictions on the use of federal education subsidies, over the objections of those who expressed concerns that the money would thereby be denied to lower income children. At the state level, I examined the 1999 Oregon Charter Schools bill, which was hotly opposed by teacher's unions, but was eventually signed into law by Governor John Kitzhaber. In both instances, I described the often rocky mechanics of a bill's movement through the legislative bodies, from the moment it lands in the hopper to the day it arrives on the chief executive's desk. I show that government is a fluid entity, not something set in concrete. Laws that meet our needs must be constantly invented, reviewed, updated, and revised. While legislative action may seem mysterious, especially to the young, the truth is successful bills are generally the result of consensus among competing groups within our society. Along with an overall picture of a complex process, I have made every effort to provide young readers with telling details that will help them understand what adults are doing when they commence making laws. Political Science studies have consistently shown that it is our very brightest students who are most keenly interested in public affairs. It is my sincere hope that these students will find HOW A BILL IS PASSED and my companion volume, HOW TO BECOME AN ELECTED OFFICIAL, worthwhile and eye-opening resources.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.