Subchapter B. DRAFTING FUNCTIONS AND PROCEDURES
DRAFTING LEGISLATIVE DOCUMENTS
13.11. Scope of drafting.
13.12. Objectives in drafting.
13.13. Duty of draftsman.
13.14. Changes in prepared drafts.
13.15. Identifying source of request.
13.16. Subject classification of document.
13.21. Existing law.
13.22. Bills of current session.
13.23. Bills of past sessions.
13.24. Laws and bills of other states.
13.25. Suggested state legislation.
13.26. Uniform state laws.
TRANSCRIBING DOCUMENTS AND FOLDERS
13.32. Page and line numbers.
13.34. Distribution folders.
13.35. Bureau folders.
PREPARATION OF BILL COVERS
13.41. Number and type.
13.42. Bill identification and number.
13.43. Type of bill.
13.44. Title of original bills.
13.45. Title of amendatory bill.
13.46. Title of supplement or joint resolution.
13.47. Date lines.
PREPARATION OF TRACER CARDS
13.51. Requester and classification number.
13.53. Draftsman and transcriber.
13.54. Delivery information.
13.55. Type of bill.
13.56. Other information.
13.61. Purpose of proofreading.
13.62. Scope of proofreading.
13.63. Title of bill.
13.64. Table of contents.
13.66. Cross references.
13.67. Effective dates.
13.68. Errors in form.
13.69. Notation and distribution of corrections.
13.70. Corrective reprints.
DRAFTING LEGISLATIVE DOCUMENTS
§ 13.11. Scope of drafting.
The work of bill drafting includes the preparation of legislative documents used in the legislative process. Those most frequently in demand are bills, resolutions, amendments to bills and resolutions, citations and conference reports.
§ 13.12. Objectives in drafting.
The prime objective of the draftsman is to express himself in form and language so that there can be no doubt in the mind of any intelligent reader as to what is sought to be accomplished. This is true in all his work and especially true in writing bills. Perfection in bill drafting is attained only when a person reading in bad faith cannot pretend to misunderstand. The pinnacle of perfection here as in other matters is probably never attained. Success is measured by how near to it one comes.
§ 13.13. Duty of draftsman.
(a) General. It is not always possible to foresee and provide for every situation that should be covered by a bill. While this may be primarily the function of the proponents of a measure, the draftsman fails in his calling who does not detect and supply or suggest an omission or an error in the proposal as submitted to him. Frequently the application and details are left entirely to the draftsman. It is always his duty to guard against violations of the Constitution and unintended effect on existing law.
(b) Amendatory bills. Before preparing an amendatory bill, it is necessary to make a proper search of prior amendments to the provision to be amended. Where the provision has been amended, it is necessary to ascertain that the last amendment has taken into consideration all preceding amendments. This is particularly important in the case of sections amended more than once in the same legislative session.
(c) Amendments to bills. In preparing amendments to bills, the draftsman must be sure that he is working with the correct print of the bill and must check prior amendments to the statute to be amended, if any, as well as the title, effective date and the proofreading correction file.
§ 13.14. Changes in prepared drafts.
Frequently the request for a bill is made in the form of a prepared draft, where all the language or changes in language has already been supplied. In such cases it is the function of the draftsman to check it for accuracy and consistency with other laws and to make necessary changes and corrections.
§ 13.15. Identifying source of request.
§ 13.16. Subject classification of document.
In order to be able readily to find office files of work prepared by the Bureau, bills and resolutions are classified by general subjects in accordance with a schedule established by the Bureau. In writing bills and resolutions, it is the duty of the draftsman to select the most appropriate category and place its number at the top of his draft. If more than one subject seems applicable, the class that has the most restricted scope is used. In amendatory bills, the subject of the amendment governs, not the general subject of the statute amended. The transcriber uses this number on the Bureau folder and on the tracer card. Amendments to bills and conference reports are filed according to bill numbers and require no classification number.
§ 13.21. Existing law.
(a) Preliminary search. On being given an assignment, the draftsman first finds the present statute on the subject if there is one. The index to Purdons Statutes is the most comprehensive guide to this information. The indexes in the Laws of Pennsylvania may be helpful if there is reason to believe that the statute is of a particular year or period of time. If the statute on the general subject has been compiled in a bulletin, the table of contents and index of the bulletin may be consulted.
(b) Full text computer search. The entire text of Purdons Statutes is presently available in computer-searchable form through the facilities of the Legislative Date Processing Center, Room 47, Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. By framing an appropriate search question it is possible to locate all sections of Purdons Statutes which contain a specified word, term or phrase.
(c) Existing law adequate. At times the preliminary search reveals that what is proposed is already the law. In that case the attention of the proponent is called to that fact and no bill will be prepared.
§ 13.22. Bills of current session.
As a session progresses and the number of bills presented increases, it becomes more and more important to check the weekly histories of the current session for identical or similar bills. If the same bill has already been introduced in either house, the attention of the person requesting the bill is called to this fact so that he may determine whether he nevertheless wants it in the same or a different form.
§ 13.23. Bills of past sessions.
(a) General. The next step is to determine whether the desired bill has been introduced at or prepared for an earlier legislative session. For this, the indexes of bills in the Senate and House histories are used. It is usually not worthwhile going back more than two or three sessions. The Bureaus typewritten drafts filed under the appropriate classification number are also helpful. If a bill is found that accomplishes what is requested or something similar to it, it can be revised in much less time than it takes to write a new bill.
(b) Precautions. No bill prepared for an earlier session is used without checking for changes in the law since it was prepared, nor without being quite sure that all dates appearing in the draft are made current. It is also frequently possible to improve the style and substance of the draft. It must not be assumed that because a bill has been used it is perfect. A great many very badly drawn bills are introduced each legislative session. It is particularly important to review an earlier bill with a view to conforming it to intervening changes in related laws (e.g. appeal procedures, change in names of government agencies, etc.).
§ 13.24. Laws and bills of other states.
If a similar request has been presented in another state, the bill or statute, if enacted, from that state usually is very helpful. In many cases there may be several states with statutes or bills on the subject. A comparison of them invariably proves fruitful. In following a draft of another state, it is necessary to change it throughout to conform to Pennsylvania statutes and terminology. Copies of statutes and bills of other states are usually furnished promptly by legislative service agencies in the various states. Information as to what states have laws or bills on a subject can usually be obtained from the Council of State Governments, Iron Works Pike, Lexington, Kentucky, 40505.
§ 13.25. Suggested state legislation.
Annually, the Council of State Governments publishes a volume containing and entitled Suggested State Legislation, covering a variety of subjects. In addition, a cumulative index covering suggested state legislation for the years 1941 through 1973 has been published. Both publications are available in the Bureau library and provide a good source of suggestions for drafting bills.
§ 13.26. Uniform state laws.
Periodically, the Commissioners on Uniform State Laws draft uniform and model statutes for consideration and adoption by states. Numerous uniform statutes have already been enacted in Pennsylvania. Copies of uniform and model statutes may be obtained from The National Conference on Uniform State Laws, 645 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 510, Chicago, Illinois, 60611.
TRANSCRIBING DOCUMENTS AND FOLDERS
§ 13.31. Headers.
(a) General. In the upper left hand corner of the first page of each document prepared by the Bureau appear the initials of the draftsman and transcriber, the date and, if applicable, the classification number as follows:
CM:KC 05/24/73 # 54.
(b) Computer documents. On documents inserted into the computer, an additional identification is included as follows:
1973D03638 03638 CM:KC 05/24/73 # 54.
(c) Printed bills. Printed bills contain an identification code on the bottom of the last page as follows:
In the foregoing example:
(1) A means January, B means February, etc.
(2) 22 is the day of the month.
(3) L means the document was approved by the Bureau. S is used where the document is prepared or submitted without change.
(4) 54 is the subject classification code used by the Bureau.
(5) JR are the initials of the draftsman.
(6) 1973 is the session year.
(7) O means regular session. 1 is used for Special Session No. 1, 2 for Special Session No. 2, etc.
(8) H2031 means House Bill No. 2031.
(9) B means bill. R is used for resolution.
§ 13.32. Page and line numbers.
The pages of each document consisting of more than one page are numbered beginning with page 2. A document inserted in the computer may contain line numbers at the left hand margin beginning with number 1 on each page.
§ 13.33. Spacing.
§ 13.34. Distribution folders.
All final documents, except conference reports, for distribution to members or other persons are placed in a manila folder containing a gummed label on which is typed the name of the person for whom the document was prepared (preceded by the word Honorable for members and others entitled to distinction), and if requested by someone else Requested by followed by the name of the requester; and, except for bills, in the lower left hand corner, the words, Resolution, Citation, Amendments to Senate Bill No. 38, or Amendments to House Bill No. 44, as the case may be. Most work done by the Bureau must have the name of the Bureau stamped on it. On bills this is printed on all four of the backed copies, on the part of the cover folded over the front of the bill. On resolutions, citations and amendments to bills the top of the first page of the first three copies is stamped. Conference reports are not stamped.
§ 13.35. Bureau folders.
Copies of final documents and related material are placed in a manila folder containing a gummed label on which is typed, in the upper left hand corner, the classification number, if any, and the initials of the draftsman and transcriber. In the upper right hand corner of the label is typed the name of the person requesting the document and immediately below, the date on which the document was made. Immediately below, centered on the label, appears the title of the bill and storage information. On documents other than bills the words Resolution, Citation, or Amendment, appears in lieu of the title accompanied by the bill number being amended or the subject matter of the resolution or citation.
PREPARATION OF BILL COVERS
§ 13.41. Number and type.
Regardless of how many copies of a bill have been made, if it is a final draft, four copies are backed with a bill cover on which is endorsed in printing the form prescribed for bill covers. Three different types of covers are provided. In the absence of specific instructions to the contrary, yellow covers are placed on bills prepared for Senators, blue covers on bills prepared for House members, and green covers on all other bills.
§ 13.42. Bill identification and number.
At the top of the printed form on the back of the bill cover appear the words: Senate No.
, House No.
, or No.
, as the case may be. The number is filled in when the bill is introduced.
§ 13.43. Type of bill.
Immediately following the bill number, appear the words An Act. If the bill is a supplement or joint resolution, these words are stricken and in their place the words A Supplement, or A Joint Resolution, as the case may be, are inserted.
§ 13.44. Title of original bills.
In the space following the type of bill designation, the balance of the title is written in single space. The first line is brought out to the margin. The balance is indented two spaces. If the title is short and the space permits writing the whole title without crowding, the whole title is written. Otherwise, the first part of the title is written as far as it can be included without crowding, and the balance of the title is omitted, substituting three asterisks to indicate omission, unless the last provision of the title refers to making an appropriation, in which case this reference is added after the asterisks.
§ 13.45. Title of amendatory bill.
The title shows the citation of the statute amended, its title or short title in quotes and the new matter. The official or unofficial short title is used, if the statute amended has one. If there is no short title and the title of the statute amended is long, enough of the title is copied to give some indication of what the statute is about, followed by three asterisks inside the quotation marks. If the new matter is too long to go on the cover, as much as is possible is added followed by three asterisks to indicate omission.
§ 13.46. Title of supplement or joint resolution.
§ 13.47. Date lines.
Besides the title, the only thing that is typed on the bill covers is completing the year on each of three date lines. The remaining blanks are filled in when the bill is introduced and reported from committee.
PREPARATION OF TRACER CARDS
§ 13.51. Requester and classification number.
For each bill and resolution a tracer card is prepared. On this card appears first the name of the person for whom the bill or resolution is prepared. Immediately following, appear the words House, Senate, Dept., and Misc.. Underscoring is used to indicate whether the person whose name appears above is a Senator, a member of the House of Representatives, an officer or employee of a Commonwealth agency, or if he does not fit in any of these classifications, miscellaneous. In the upper right hand corner appears the classification number of the bill or resolution.
§ 13.52. Subject.
The next space is designated subject. In this space is indicated what the bill or resolution is about. If it is a bill amending an existing statute, included, in figures, is the year, page in the Laws of Pennsylvania and number of the statute being amended.
§ 13.53. Draftsman and transcriber.
Below the subject to the left is a space indicated Drafted by. In this space is inserted the name or initials of the draftsman. The next space designated Typed by is for the name or initials of the transcriber.
§ 13.54. Delivery information.
The following space designated Delivered by
Date is left blank. This is completed when the documents are picked up at the Bureau.
§ 13.55. Type of bill.
The three spaces at the bottom of the card designated Amendment, Supplement, and New are used to indicate whether the bill is an amendment to existing law, a supplement to existing law, or a new bill having no direct reference to existing law. An X is placed under the appropriate heading.
§ 13.56. Other information.
The larger space in the lower right hand corner designated Remarks is used to indicate the fact that a bill has been written both for the House and the Senate, if such is the case; if it was requested by someone other than the person whose name appears at the top of the card, the name of the person making the request after the words Requested by; whether extra copies are made; whether the draft is a Resolution, Concurrent Resolution, Citation, or Appropriation; storage information; and other matters of importance.
§ 13.57. Disposition.
The tracer card is fastened to the outside of the distribution folder with a paper clip. All tracer cards are removed before any work leaves the Bureau, and a notation made, in the space indicated, of the date and the name or identity of the person taking it out. They are then filed according to the classification number under the name of the member or other person making the request.
§ 13.61. Purpose of proofreading.
The objectives in having bills proofread are to have important errors corrected before the bill is introduced or becomes a law, and to find minor errors that can be corrected in editing copy for the slip laws and Laws of Pennsylvania.
§ 13.62. Scope of proofreading.
Every transcribed copy of a bill is checked against the manuscript from which it was copied. Original bills are read by one person for misspelled words, transposed lines and errors in language. Amendatory bills and bills containing repeals or other references to or quotations from existing law are proofread by two persons against the language in the Laws of Pennsylvania. In addition, all references to existing law are carefully checked as to date, page in the Laws of Pennsylvania and act number and as to whether there are intervening amendments, repeals or other circumstances affecting the language or status of the provision referred to or amended. For this purpose, the marked copies of the Laws of Pennsylvania are used.
§ 13.63. Title of bill.
(a) General. Changes in the draft of a bill after it is completed or amendments to a bill after it is introduced often necessitate a change in the title of the bill. It is necessary to determine that all changes come within the scope of the title and if not, that the title be changed or amended accordingly.
(b) Title of statute amended. It is also frequently important to amend the title of an existing statute so as to incorporate changes made by amendments to the statute. This, of course, does not take the place of the new matter in the amending title, which still must adequately cover the changes. The importance of amending titles of existing statutes is to avoid incomplete coverage in the titles of future amendments.
§ 13.64. Table of contents.
If an original enactment has a table of contents and during the course of drafting or by amendment of the bill after it has been introduced, a change is made in any heading appearing in the table, it is necessary to determine that the change is also made in the table. In amending an existing statute that has a table of contents it is not necessary to amend the table of contents even though a heading appearing in the table is amended elsewhere in the bill.
§ 13.65. Headings.
When a section or other subdivision having a heading is changed either in the course of drafting a bill or in amending a bill after it is introduced it is necessary to consider whether a corresponding change is needed in the heading. This also applies to the original preparation of a bill amending an existing statute having section or other subdivision headings. It is frequently necessary to amend these headings as well to prevent their becoming misleading.
§ 13.66. Cross references.
When a bill has been written either in whole or in part, and a change is made involving a change in the numbering or lettering of sections or other subdivisions, it is necessary to check the entire bill for cross references that may be affected. The same is true in amending bills.
§ 13.67. Effective dates.
Effective dates are checked at every opportunity. This becomes increasingly important as a session continues. Frequently a date specified in a bill is passed before the bill is acted on by the Governor, or a bill without an effective date provision intended to take effect on a particular date does not become a law until later. While existing law provides when such statutes become effective it often happens that another date may be more desirable.
§ 13.68. Errors in form.
While it is incumbent on the proofreaders to check bills for form, no correction is made without consulting one of the draftsmen as to whether the deviation in form may affect the validity of the statute. A bill is not reprinted because of bad form unless the defect is fatal, such as citing an entire section for amendment and setting out a part only. Improvements in form should be made only if other changes are necessary.
§ 13.69. Notation and distribution of corrections.
(a) General. All corrections to original transcribed copies of bills are marked on such copies and corrections are made and final copies prepared. All corrections on printed bills are noted in the Bureau files so that corrections may be made by amendment or in editing statutes for printing.
(b) Formal amendments. Corrections requiring a change in language are typewritten in the usual form and sent to the committee chairman if the bill is in committee, otherwise to the majority leader of the house in which the bill is pending. The first page of all correction amendments and the envelope in which they are delivered are stamped Legislative Reference Bureau Bill Reading Corrections. The envelopes containing vital corrections must also be stamped to call attention to the fact that without the amendments the bill may be fatally defective.
§ 13.70. Corrective reprints.
Occasionally, bills reprinted for the purpose of incorporating amendments adopted by either house or a committee contain errors which merit correction before consideration by the house having possession of the bill. In such case, the bill is reprinted without formal amendment with the caption at the top of the first page of the bill HOUSE AMENDED or SENATE AMENDED immediately followed on a separate line by CORRECTIVE REPRINT.
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