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ACT AND IMPACT CIVICS SKILLS FOR THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS

version 1.o | 2011


Madeline Hall

Civics Curriculum Editor

Sarah Schacht

Civics Curriculum Editor

Nick Peterson Writer

Amy Huber

Graphic Designer amymhuber.com

1037 NE 65th ST. # 264 Seattle, WA 98115 206.909.2684 http://knowledgeaspower.org

You're reading a civics curriculum created by a nonpartisan, 501c3 nonprofit organization, called Knowledge As Power (KAP). This curriculum was designed by interns and volunteers with input from teachers. KAP created the curriculum because we saw few hands-on classes or school texts that gave American kids experience and confidence in the lawmaking process. Sure, kids and young adults still learn about the three branches of government, and importance of voting, but few of them know how to be active, informed citizens in the lawmaking process. Tons of organizations and schools encourage young adults to vote. So, every two to four years, they do. 2008 saw some of the highest voting rates for young people, ever. But voting, without civic engagement in the lawmaking process, is like going to the dentist every six months, but not brushing in between. The health of our democratic process requires that each of us, as we're able to, engage in the lawmaking process and make our voice heard. KAP's civics curriculum, Act & Impact, is designed to teach civic skills to 8th to 12th graders, providing education and experience within the process, without judgment or persuasion on any political topic. Teachers and parents can integrate the curriculum into classes, pair KAP's online legislation tracking tools from http://knowledgeaspower.org. At KAP, we hope Act & Impact will help schools to graduate young people with the experience and confidence to be informed and active citizens.

Act and Impact, 2010.


CONTENTS SECTION 1

| THE LAWMAKING POWER OF THE GOVERMENT READING HOMEWORK QUIZ

SECTION 2

| HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW READING HOMEWORK QUIZ

SECTION 3

DISCUSSION

| COMMUNICATING WITH LEGISLATORS |

READING HOMEWORK QUIZ

CLASSROOM CONGRESS

Act and Impact, 2010.


YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND WHAT THEY DO

YOUR

REPRESENTATIVES AND

WHAT THEY DO

LAWMAKING POWER OF THE GOVERNMENT STATE GOVERNMENT POWERS OF THE STATE GOVERNMENT To control the right to vote for state governments To manage a system of public education To establish marriage and divorce laws To create laws regulating corporations To establish traffic laws To regulate business within the state The Constitution allows state governments all powers not assigned to the federal government or banned by the Constitution

POWERS NOT ALLOWED TO THE STATE GOVERNMENT To enter into agreements with other countries without the approval of Congress To issue money To hinder anything bound by contract To tax imports or exports To keep military personnel during times of peace without the authorization of Congress

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT POWERS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT To To To To To To To To To

regulate business between states and foreign countries define citizenship issue money manage the postal system regulate patents and copyrights create lower level federal courts than the Supreme Court declare war build and support the armed forces pass necessary laws

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FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENTS POWERS SHARED BY FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENTS: To To To To To

tax borrow money create prison laws establish banks acquire property for public purposes and the public good

POWERS NOT ALLOWED TO THE FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENTS: To pass bills that declare someone guilty of a crime without trial and impose capital punishment upon them To pass laws after the fact (retroactively) To give titles of nobility

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COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR

To suspend the right to trial except during rebellion or invasion To favor in business or revenue parts of any state To take money from the Treasury unless directed by a specific law To allow someone in federal office to accept gifts from a foreign country without the approval of Congress To impose taxes or exports

YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND WHAT THEY DO

POWERS NOT ALLOWED TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT


YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND WHAT THEY DO

YOUR

REPRESENTATIVES AND

WHAT THEY DO

HOMEWORK SHEET 1) What is your zipcode? 2) Based on your address, what Legistive District (number) do you belong to? 3) Who are the two house members that represent your Legislative District? 4) How long is the term of a State Representative? 5) Who is the Senator that represents your Legislative District? 6) How long is the term of a Senator? 7) How many Congressional Districts are there?

8) What Congresional District do you belong to? 9) Who is your US Representative? 10) How long is the term of a U.S. Representative? 11) WHo are your State Senators? 12) How long is the term of a U.S. Senator?

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AND

WHAT THEY DO

QUIZ 1) List your Zipcode: 2) Name the two Representatives from your Legislative District. 3) Name the Senator from your Legislative District. 4) How many Legislative Districts are there in your state? 5) Who is the Representative from your Congressional District? 6) Name both of of your state's Senators. 7) Name one state issue that is either on a bill or that you would like to see on a bill. Why should people care about this issue?

8) Name one Federal Issue (Different from the one in question #6) that is either on a bill or that you would like to see on a bill. Why should people care about this issue?

9) Using one of the issues in question #6 or #7, Give a brief personal story about why this issue matters to you.

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COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR

REPRESENTATIVES

YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND WHAT THEY DO

YOUR


HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW

HOWA BILL BECOMES A LAW TRACKING A BILL What you can do: As an activist, writing a letter or sending an e-mail is a great way to let your lawmaker know there is an issue you care about that you would like to see introduced in a bill.

1) INTRODUCTION The bill is introduced in the House of Representatives. WHAT YOU CAN DO: After a bill has been introduced, track its progress. Make it known to your legislator whether you support or oppose the bill.

2) HOUSE PROCESS A member of Congress submits the bill to the Clerk of the House, who submits it for processing. The Speaker of the House then sends it to the appropriate committee. WHAT YOU CAN DO: It is important to know what committees your legislator is on. If they are on a committee that deals with a bill that you care about then they have a great deal of power and influence over the bill and where it goes.

3) COMMITTEE ACTION (HOUSE) The House committee studies the bill. The committee may hold hearings, which ultimately results in the bill being approved, amended, or not approved. If the bill is approved, it is placed on the House calendar. WHAT YOU CAN DO: It is important to track any amendments or changes made to your bill because those updates could cause you to change your position. Even if your legislator is not on the committee related to your bill, you can ask them to speak to legislators that are on your behalf.

4) ADVANCEMENT (HOUSE) The Rules Committee has the power to push specific bills ahead that –– it views as more important. It can also block bills it disapproves of. WHAT YOU CAN DO: If you are part of an interest group, it really helps to get like-minded people to contact their legislators to make your bill a priority. It is important for the group to stay on message when they make contact.

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The bill is read and debated on the floor of the House. After any changes or approval the House sends it to the Senate. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Even if your lawmaker is not on a committee that deals with your bill, you can ask them to speak to the floor on behalf of his constituents. They can voice support and concerns over the bill that you have voiced to them.

6) TO THE SENATE The Clerk of the Senate sends the bill to the presiding officer of the Senate (usually the Vice-President), who sends it to the appropriate committee. WHAT YOU CAN DO: The process that the bill takes through the Senate is virtually the same as through the house. Follow the same steps and get in contact with your Senator and let them know your position.

7) COMMITTEE ACTION (SENATE) The Senate committee studies the bill. The committee may hold hearings, which ultimately results in the bill being approved, amended, or not approved. If the bill is approved, it is placed on the Senate calendar.

8) ADVANCEMENT (SENATE) The Rules Committee has the power to push specific bills ahead that it views as more important. It can also block bills it disapproves of.

9) SENATE ACTION The bill is read and debated on the Senate floor. If the Senate approves the same version as the House it is sent to the President for signature. If the Senate approves a different version, the bill must go to a joint committee for the House and Senate to reach an agreement. It must pass both houses again and then it goes to the President. WHAT YOU CAN DO: If your bill has made it to this point, you may want to make a call to your Senator and let them know your position. It is almost always better to write a powerful letter or e-mail however, they may not reach your lawmaker in time if a bill is already being debated on the floor. In this case, a phone call may work better. A follow up phone call (if you have written a previous letter) is also a good idea.

10) ACTION BY THE GOVERNOR The Governor signs or vetoes the bill or allows it to become law without signing it. the state legislature can overrule a veto by a twothirds vote of both houses.

11) NEW LAW The Secretary of State affixes the Great Seal of the United States and the bill becomes a law.

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HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW

5) FLOOR DEBATE


HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW

HOWA BILL BECOMES A LAW HOMEWORK Find a state bill that that addresses an issue that you care about. List the number and the title of the bill below.

1) Where is this bill in the process of becoming a law?

2) What does this bill attempt to address?

3) What are its intended outcomes?

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HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW

4) Do you support this bill? Why or why not?

5) List three possible responses people might give to your position on the bill.

6) How have your representatives voted on this bill? What are their positions on it?

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HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW

HOWA BILL BECOMES A LAW QUIZ Find a state bill that that addresses an issue that you care about. List the number and title of the bill below.

1) Where is this bill in the process of becoming a law?

2) What does this bill attempt to address?

3) What are its intended outcomes?

4) Do you support this bill? Why or why not?

5) List three possible rebuttals to your position on the bill.

6) How have your representatives voted on this bill? What are their positions on it?

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YOUR

LEGISLATOR

POWERFUL PHONE CALL HOW TO MAKE A POWERFUL PHONE CALL Just like with a letter, it is very important to say your name and address when you make a phone call so the office identifies you as a constituent. Be clear about your position and refer to any bill by its official number Phone calls must be brief. There may not be time for a personal story like with an email. Request a response so the legislator or her staffers know that you really care about this issue. The office knows you will be watching when it comes time to vote. Always be polite and courteous. You most likely will not speak to the legislator herself, but her staffers can relay your message so it is important that you treat them with respect.

WHEN TO MAKE A PHONE CALL Phone calls are good for instant communication. If a bill is being debated on the floor and you need to reach your lawmaker immediately, a phone call may be the best source of communication. Phone calls work best when they act as a follow-up to written messages. It shows you really care about an issue and your call may be taken more seriously of you have a previous relationship with your legislator's office. If you want to schedule an in person meeting with your legislator, a call is the best way to do that. Calls can be used out of session when your lawmaker will likely have more time to sit down and meet with you.

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COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR

COMMUNICATING WITH


COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR

EXAMPLE PHONE CALL -IDENTIFY YOURSELF YOU: Hello, my name is Monica Smith. I am a constituent from Ellensburg.

-WHERE YOU LIVE

STAFF: Thanks for calling. What’s your mailing address?

YOU: My mailing address is 55 Main Street, Ellensburg, 99999.

STAFF: Excellent. How can we help you?

-ASK

YOU: I would like to ask for my representative’s support of SB 8765, a bill that allows licensed drivers between 16 and 18 to carry one passenger in their car who is not a member of their family.

STAFF: Okay.

-SUPPORT YOUR POSITION

YOU: I have a 17 year-old sister in high school. All her friends are forced to take different cars when they meet as a group. It puts more drivers on the road and creates more traffic. Allowing teen drivers to carry one non-family member encourages carpooling. There are already laws that punish irresponsible drivers, and teen drivers were qualified to get their license in the first place. Allowing teens to have a friend in the car will not change their driving habits. -STATE HOW YOU WILL FOLLOW UP

STAFF: Thanks for sharing your views. I will let the member know.

YOU: Thanks very much, are there ways I can be updated on what your office is doing? -THANK

STAFF: If you call head legislative assistant, Rick Henry, in a couple of weeks he will let you know.

YOU: Thanks, again.

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A call made during business hours has the best chance of being taken by a person and not a machine. It also shows a level of professionalism. If you do reach a person, they will likely be polite but succinct. Get to the point quickly. It is quite likely you will not reach your legislators personally. Staffers often take phone calls but they relay the messages to their boss. Be polite and courteous with staff as you would be with your lawmaker.

PRACTICE EXERCISE Prepare a written script for what you would say to a staff member in your legislator’s office. Then, with a partner, practice by having one person act as the caller while the other person acts as the staff member taking the call.

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COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR

WHAT TO EXPECT


COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR

LEGISLATOR

EFFECTIVE E-MAIL SENDING AN EFFECTIVE EMAIL It is very important to remember to avoid form letters, petitions, etc. When writing to your legislator. Impersonal messages like these will not be taken as seriously as a unique, individual, well thought out letter. Personal stories are the best way to make an impact on your legislator. A personal story makes your message hit home with your lawmaker. Use a basic advocacy headline that makes it clear what your message is about. For example, “SB5611-98115-5542.” (See page 19 to learn more about basic advocacy headlines) One of the first things you want to do is identify yourself as a constituent. Your name and address should appear at the top of the message. Remember to be brief. You should be clear and to the point. Make a specific request in your message. Let your legislator know you want a specific action taken on a specific issue, do this at the beginning and end of your message. Proofread your e-mail (spelling, grammar) so that it reaches your lawmaker and doesn’t end up in the spam file.

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RepresentativeFranklin@WA.House.com Teacher@email.com HB1234-Pro-9999-5555 Dear Representative Franklin My name is Monica Smith. I live at 1234 Main Street in Seattle, WA, 99999. I am writing as a constituent because I would like you to support HB1234 that bans people from using MP3 players when they drive. A couple of weeks ago, while driving home I was rear ended by a pick-up truck. The man driving the truck had been changing the music on his iPod and hit my car when I was stopped at a red light. I was lucky to not be injured because he was not going very fast. I believe that personal MP3s allow people to lose their focus while driving. It also makes it harder for them to hear sirens or warnings of other vehicles. I wrote this e-mail hoping that you would realize how dangerous driving with personal MP3s is and how it takes away from concentration on the road. Please support the bill so we can all be safer when we drive.

Thank you, Monica Smith

DID YOU KNOW?

OUT OF SESSION COMMUNICATION Legislators are always busy, but they are much busier in session than out of session. Session dates vary on the local, state, and federal levels and you can find that information online. If you call to set up a meeting with your lawmaker out of session, you are competing with far less people with much less power than if you call them in session. Sometimes, contacting your legislator out of session can prove to be a very effective way of getting their attention.

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COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR

EXAMPLE MESSAGE


COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR

LEGISLATOR

WRITING A POWERFUL EMAIL: WORKSHEET You have been given instructions and an example of what an effective e-mail to your legislator looks like. Now you will be given a chance to write your own example e-mail incorporating all of the components described to you in the example provided. DIRECTIONS: First, identify an issue that you care about that you would like to write to your legislator about. Clearly define that issue in the space provided below. Next, you will need to use the template provided to include all the elements of an effective e-mail. Number the sentence where each can be found: Identify yourself as a constituent. This is the most important part of your e-mail, make sure it is at the top and very clear in your message. Your legislator will only consider your message if he identifies you as a constituent. Make a clear request in your e-mail. It should be specific, clear, and concise. This should appear close to the opening of your message, make it known what you want. Personalize your message. Tell a quick story that gives your message an emotional feel, this helps make an impact on your lawmaker. The story should help highlight why your request is significant. It is also good to end your message with your request. Stay on message, it really emphasizes your point when you make your request twice, at the beginning and the end, such as, “I’m asking you to vote for bill number 9568.” Some things to keep in mind: Keep your message short, a couple of paragraphs is plenty. Legislators will not take the time to scroll through a message, a few paragraphs is what you want. Be sure to proofread your message and remove any spelling or grammar errors. E-mails with spelling mistakes can accidentally end up in junk mailboxes. Make sure your e-mail gets through. YOUR ISSUE: YOUR MESSAGE:

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A SIMPLE EMAIL HEADLINE FORMAT HELPING YOUR EMAIL BE MORE EFFECTIVE IT'S SIMPLE

Your message is unique, their email inbox is complicated. Here's how to be heard in the legislative process while still being you.

CITE YOUR LEGISLATION ID NUMBER. See example below. By citing your bill number first, the legislator will know what you you're writing in on. NAME YOUR POSITION. Declare your position on the bill so legislators can count and read similar emails together. MENTION YOUR ZIP CODE. You 're a consituent. ID yourself by citing your Zip Code. ADD YOUR ZIP + FOUR NUMBER. Your Zip + four number says what neighborhood or area you are in.

WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE IN ACTION AS AN EMAIL SUBJECT LINE? BAH's make great subject headlines because they make your email easier for a legislator's office to organize, and therefore, easier to read and respond to. HERE'S AN EXAMPLE:

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COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR

BASIC ADVOCACY HEADLINES:


COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR

BASIC ADVOCACY HEADLINES: A SIMPLE EMAIL HEADLINE FORMAT HELPING YOUR EMAIL BE MORE EFFECTIVE POSITIONS There's a few different posotion titles you can use to easily ID what position you're talking within your email. This allows Legislators to read through all the "pro" emails or the "con" emails at one time. THis makes the process of understanding what consituents want a lot easier and more organized. IF YOU ARE IN FAVOR OF A BILL YOU'RE: Use when you're regerstering support advocating for, excited about, or a friend of a piece of legislation. SO YOU'RE AGIANST IT? Con registersters your disapproval, dislike, distain, etc. for a bill. Or simply, that you don't support this bill. GOT A BURNING QUESTION? Use the question mark to signal you need an answer reguarding their position on the bill's content or impact. Your legislator is a resource; get your questions answered. YOU'VE GOT RESEARCH TO SHARE You don't have an opinion, but you do have research on the topic of this bill. Your neighborhood did a traffic survey, you've an expert on the subject, you've got data, research, or an observation to share. SUGGEST AN EDIT You can dislike a sentence, but still support a bill. You can strile a paragraph, or a page. When you don't want to throw the bill out with the bath-water, suggest to ammend.

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COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR

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COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR

LEGISLATOR

WRITE TO YOUR LEGISLATOR:HOMEWORK You have now been given all the tools you need to write a strong message to your legislator. When you e-mail your legislator, remember to give a clear indication of the bill you support. Be sure to “CC” your teacher in the message.

REACTION: Do you feel that contacting your legislator will make a difference? Why or why not?

Did you receive a response from your legislator? Were you satisfied with this response?

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COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR

What is the most recent update on your bill? Where is it in the process?

What is the most useful thing you learned throughout this process?

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HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

CLASSROOM CONGRESS During this course you learned about the different powers of each branch of government, how a bill becomes a law, and how to be an active citizen. Now it is your turn to make the laws! For the final project you and your classmates will simulate a session of the United States Congress, writing bills, making speeches, casting votes, and applying what YOU know about government to change America.

DURING CONGRESS: Classroom Congress consists of the following readings and activities:

READING 1: Choosing Your Bill Topic

HOMEWORK 1: Bill Topic Proposal Sheet

READING 2: Drafting Your Bill And Formatting

Your Bill

HOMEWORK 2: Bill Draft

READING 3: Preparing For Classroom Congress

And How A Bill Becomes A Classroom

Congress Law!

HOMEWORK 3: Speech Preparation

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CHOOSING YOUR BILL TOPIC As a member of congress, you are responsible for creating and passing laws. For this simulation you will work with your classmates to draft and hopefully pass a bill addressing a cause you are passionate about.

1. Your teacher will pair you up with a partner who is a member of the other legislative body. If you are a Congressman you will be paired with a Senator House and if you are a Senator you will be paired with a Congressman. 2. The next step is to choose a political topic to write your bill about; you can select one from a list provided by your teacher or read a newspaper or watch the news to get ideas. 3. Take a stance on your topic, for example, if your topic is, cloning decide if you want to expand cloning rights, or prevent future cloning. You may use your old homework assignments to help you formulate your opinion. 4. Ask yourself, “How do I want to change the current laws to fit my opinion?� For example, if you want to decrease marijuana consumption, you might want to write a bill that requires harsher punishments for people caught using and growing marijuana. Make sure your law falls within the jurisdiction of the federal government. If you need help look at the Powers of the Government handout given to you earlier in the course. Take a look at what the constitution says the federal government has power to do and Supreme Court precedent by looking at court history or reading the Constitution. The Constitution explained: http://www.usconstitution.net/ constquick.html Supreme Court Cases Explained: http://www.streetlaw.org/en/ landmark.aspx

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HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

READING 1


HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

KAP CIVICS CURRICULUM FINAL HOMEWORK 1 CONGRESSIONAL SIMULATION BILL TOPIC PROPOSAL SHEET YOUR NAME PARTNER’S NAME __________________________________________________ Topic of your Bill:

Explain in a paragraph why you choose this topic:

Explain in a paragraph how your bill will change current laws and how it will impact Americans:

List 5 different websites and 3 different print resources you will use to research your topic’s history and write your bill:

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DRAFTING YOUR BILL 1. To begin, draft the purpose of your bill, in 5-15 words. Think, “What is it you want your bill to accomplish?” This will acts as part of your bill’s title. For example if you are writing about, cap and trade, your purpose might be, to create a successful environmental policy and curb greenhouse gas emission. 2. Next you need to write a short paragraph that will describe the rationale for proposing your bill, the reasons and facts behind your opinion. The paragraph should answer questions such as, “Why is you bill needed? How would your bill fix the current problem? Why is your bill important?” Use your additional resources and research to write this section of your bill. 3. After providing reasons and facts to persuade congress to pass your bill, you will describe the changes your bill will have to the current system. This will be the body of your bill. a. The body of your legislation should be divided into sections. b. The first section should be the main change that you are implementing. For example, “This bill bans the use the animals for cosmetic testing.” c. The next sections should establish any exceptions and restrictions of your bill. d. You may also include subsections if you wish to be more specific about a particular limitation or enforcement.

FORMATTING YOUR BILL 1. Place the title of your bill in the center at the top of the page. The title should read “A Bill to…” The purpose of your bill that you drafted in the beginning should come after the words “A Bill to…” Make sure your title is catchy and informative because it will be the first thing that people will read when they are debating your piece legislation. For example, A Bill to Create a Flat Tax, A Bill to Protect Minors by Illegalizing the Use of Tanning Beds. 2. Then type the names of the sponsors, under the title; make sure to state which student will be a senator and which a representative and the school each sponsor attends. 3. Next write out the rationale paragraph, the reasons and facts behind your proposition. 4. After the rationale, type the standard first line of all bills, “BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that:” 5. Lastly, write out the different numbered sections of your legislation. 6. Don’t forget to proof read your bill and put the contact information for each student that the bottom of the page!

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HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

READING 2


HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

HOMEWORK 2 BILL DRAFT

A BILL TO insert the “purpose” of your bill here SPONSORED BY: Senator ________________from _______________________ Representative__________________from________________ Write your rationale paragraph here, explaining why your bill is necessary. Make sure to answer the questions, “Why is you bill needed? How would your bill fix the current problem? Why is your bill important?” Use the information you have gathered from your research to write facts and cite experts. ___________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and the House of the Representative of the United States of America in Congress assembled that: Section 1. This section is the main change your bill will be making _______ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ ____________________ Section 2. These next sections are the restrictions, exceptions, or time frame of your bill _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ Section 3. ____________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________

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READING 3 PREPARING FOR CLASSROOM CONGRESS! 1. After you have written your bill and turned it into your teacher, you and your fellow sponsor will be in charge of writing two speeches to give in committee 2. One sponsor will give the opening speech. This speech will be a persuasive speech arguing why your bill should be passed into law. You can use to rationale paragraph is your bill as a reference but do not read directly from it. This speech will be three minutes long. 3. The other sponsor will give the closing speech. This speech will refute the arguments others make against your bill. You must research why people are against your bill and then say why they are wrong. This speech occurs at the end of the debate of each bill and is also three minutes long. 4. Your teacher will give you a list of all the other student’s bill’s before the Classroom Congress so you can see what issues will be debated and research arguments for or against the bill. 5. Each student must make three subsequent speeches. These are short speeches arguing to either pass or block another student’s bill. You should research beforehand and prepare a short one-minute speech.

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HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

Section 4.________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________


HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

HOW A BILL BECOMES A CLASSROOM CONGRESS LAW! 1. The first day of Congress, students will be divided into the Senate and the House. The Senators will sit on one side of the room and the House Representatives of the other. Your teacher will hand out a copy of each student’s bill. 2. Your teacher will list the order in which the bills will be debated. To begin one sponsor of the bill either the Senator or the Representative will give the 3-minute opening speech. 3. After the sponsor’s speech, there will be a two-minute question period. During this period students may ask both sponsors questions about their bill and why it should be passed into law. 4. Then students will have the opportunity to give their subsequent speeches. These shorter speeches are one-minute speeches and should be prepared by students beforehand. The speeches should alternate with one negative (against the bill) and one affirmative (for the bill). 4. Students may add amendments to others bills, by writing them down on a piece of paper and proposing them to the committee. The sponsors of the bill is then able to decide if the amendment is friendly (in favor of the main point of the bill) or unfriendly (against the main point of the bill.) If an amendment is deemed unfriendly then the committee must vote on the amendment’s addition. If the amendment is friendly, then the amendment becomes part of the bill. 5. After the bill has been adequately debated the second bill sponsor will close the debate with the 3 minute closing speech they previously prepared. 7. Now debating is over and the committee chair (the teacher) will call for a standing vote to decide if the bill is passed. The House and the Senate vote the bill will on separately. In order for a bill to be passed, the number of affirmative votes (votes for the bill), must be greater than the number of negative votes (votes against the bill) and withstanding votes (undecided votes for neither the affirmative nor negative) combined. The teacher will call for the House to vote and then follow with the Senate. 8. If a Bill passes in the House and the Senate it becomes Classroom Congress Law!!!

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SPEECH PREPARATION Name of Bill Sponsor giving opening speech_____________________________ Name of Bill Sponsor giving closing speech___________________________

OPENING SPEECH WORKSHEET For the opening speech it is important to not only give a clear picture of your bill topic but also assert why passing your bill will improve the current situation. Here is an outline to follow.

1. INTRODUCE YOURSELF Hello, my name is Senator/Representative ____________________________. Today 2. INTRODUCE YOUR TOPIC I am here to speak with you about the issue of ________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ THIS ISSUE IS IMPORTANT TO ME FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS: a._____________________________________________________________________ b._____________________________________________________________________ 3. INTRODUCE YOUR POSITION My fellow Congressman______________________ and I have designed a bill to (explain here the purpose of your bill here) ___________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ _________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________

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HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

HOMEWORK 3


HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

4. EXPLAIN WHY YOUR BILL SHOULD BE PASSED Passing this bill is essential to well being of United States citizens for the following reasons, (explain the rationale for proposing your bill here) __________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________

5. Close with a powerful statement about how your bill will make America better and what will happen to the US if the bill is not passed My fellow Congressmen I urge you to pass this bill for the reasons I have previously described. Additionally, without this bill __________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________

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CLOSING SPEECH WORKSHEET The Closing Speech occurs at the end of the debate and is the last chance you have to convince other congressmen to vote for your bill. It is important to reiterate main points made in the opening speech and refute some of the points made my your opinions during the previous negative speeches. 1. INTRODUCE YOURSELf Hello, my name is Senator/Representative ____________________________

2. REINTRODUCE YOUR TOPIC As Senator/Representative __________________________discussed earlier.

3. REITERATE PREVIOUS POINTS It is essential that our bill concerning ________________________________ _________________________________be passed for the following reasons: a._____________________________________________________________ b._____________________________________________________________ c._____________________________________________________________

4. STATE CLAIMS MADE BY OPPOSING SIDE Members of congress against this bill believe that a._____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ b._____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

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5.REFUTE THE ABOVE CLAIMS MADE BY PEOPLE AGAINST YOUR BILL These Congressmen, however, are wrong because: a.______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ b.______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ c.______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________

6. CLOSE WITH A POWERFUL STATEMENT ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF VOTING TO PASS THE BILL. My fellow Congressmen, I have refuted the claims made my opposition and proven that passing this bill is the best solution to (describe the problem your bill aims to solve) ___ _______________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ because (repeat the most important way your bill solves the problem) ____________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________. Thank you for your time and please vote to pass this bill.

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HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

c.______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________


HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

SUBSEQUENT SPEECH WORKSHEET During Classroom Congress you are required to make three short speeches either in support or against other bills written by your peers. Your teacher will give you a list of the bills other students wrote and you will have the opportunity to research topics your are interested in and form an opinion of their bill.

SUBSEQUENT SPEECH #1 BILL TOPIC _________________________________________ BILL SPONSERS_______________________________________ I AM FOR/AGAINST THIS BILL FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS: 1.____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ 2.____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ 3.____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

IF “AGAINST” THE BILL, REFUTE A POINT MADE BY THE ORIGINAL SPONSORS: The Bill Sponsors believe that _____________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ but they are wrong because _______________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

IF “FOR” THE BILL, ADD ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY THROUGH A STORY OR INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT A POINT MADE BY THE MAIN SPONSOR. The sponsors of bill state _______________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

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SUBSEQUENT SPEECH #2 BILL TOPIC _________________________________________ BILL SPONSERS_______________________________________ I AM FOR/AGAINST THIS BILL FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS: 1.____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ 2.____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ 3.____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

IF “AGAINST” THE BILL, REFUTE A POINT MADE BY THE ORIGINAL SPONSORS: The Bill Sponsors believe that _____________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________ but they are wrong because ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________

IF “FOR” THE BILL, ADD ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY THROUGH A STORY OR INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT A POINT MADE BY THE MAIN SPONSOR. The sponsors of bill state ________________________________________ __________________________________________________________. I agree with their point and in addition, (discuss a fact or story in support of the bill) __________________________ ______________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________.

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HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

I agree with their point and in addition,(discuss a fact or story in support of the bill) _______________________________________________________ _________________________________


HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

SUBSEQUENT SPEECH # 3 BILL TOPIC _________________________________________ BILL SPONSERS______________________________________ I AM FOR/AGAINST THIS BILL FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS: 1.____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ 2.____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ 3.____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ IF “AGAINST” THE BILL, REFUTE A POINT MADE BY THE ORIGINAL SPONSORS: The Bill Sponsors believe that ______________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ but they are wrong because _______________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

IF “FOR” THE BILL, ADD ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY THROUGH A STORY OR INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT A POINT MADE BY THE MAIN SPONSOR. The sponsors of bill state ________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________. I agree with their point and in addition, (discuss a fact or story in support of the bill) _______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ____________________.

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TYPES OF LEGISLATION: BILL- Creates a new law CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT- adds a new amendment to the constitution. CONGRESSIONAL RESOLUTION- describes an opinion or sentiment of the congress. 6) To begin, draft the purpose of your bill, in 5-15 words. What is it you want your bill to accomplish? This will acts as part of your bill’s title. For example if you are writing about, cap and trade, your purpose might be, to create a successful environmental policy and curb greenhouse gas emission. 7) Next you need to write a short paragraph that will describe the rationale for proposing your bill, the reasons and facts behind your opinion. The paragraph should answer questions such as, “Why is you bill needed? How would your bill fix the current problem? Why is your bill important?” 8) If you are writing a congressional resolution you will want to include “whereas” statements. They are statements that give additional reasons, for congress to pass the resolution. They are often opinion. Whereas, drilling in ANWR is hazardous to the surrounding wildlife. Whereas, drilling in ANWR could release tons of harmful methane frozen under the artic tundra. Whereas, the United States should diverge from relying on oil as an energy source. 9) After providing reasons and facts to persuade congress to pass your bill, you will describe the changes your bill will have to the current system. This will be the body of your bill. a. The body of your legislation should be divided into sections. b. The first section should be the main change that you are implementing. For example, “This bill bans the use the animals for cosmetic testing.” c. The next sections should establish any exceptions and restrictions of your bill. d. You may also include subsections if you wish to be more specific about a particular limitation or enforcement.

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2) Then type the names of the sponsors, under the title; make sure to state which student will be a senator and which a representative and the school each sponsor attends. 3) Next write out the rationale paragraph, the reasons and facts behind your proposition. 4) After the rationale, type the standard first line of all bills, “BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that:” 5) Lastly, write out the different numbered sections of your legislation. 6) Don’t forget to proof read your bill and put the contact information for each student that the bottom of the page! 7) CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE JUST WRITTEN A PIECE OF LEGISALTION!! BRAVO!!

1) The first day of Congress, students will be divided into Senate Committees and House Committees. One bill sponsor will be a Senator and one will be a Representative. Each will debate the bill in their committee. 2) Each bill sponsor will give a 3-minute opening speech. The goal of the speech is to persuade the committee to pass your bill. 3) Then the committee will debate the bills. After the sponsor’s speech, there will be an impromptu main negative speech (against the bill) and 1-minute subsequent speeches alternating affirmative (for the bill) and negative (against the bill.) 4) Students may add amendments to others bills, by writing them down on a piece of paper and proposing them to the committee.

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HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

1) Place the title of your bill in the center at the top of the page. The title should read “A Bill to…” The purpose of your bill that you drafted in the beginning should come after the words “A Bill to…” Make sure your title is catchy and informative because it will be the first thing that people will read when they are debating your piece legislation. For example, A Bill to Create a Flat Tax, A Bill to Protect Minors by Illegalizing the Use of Tanning Beds.


HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

The sponsor of the bill is then able to decide if the amendment is friendly (in favor of the main point of the bill) or unfriendly (against the main point of the bill.) If an amendment is deemed unfriendly then the committee must debate it and vote. If the amendment is friendly, then the amendment becomes part of the bill. 5) After the bill has been adequately debated, a student will make a motion “to move to previous question.� The committee will vote on this motion with a simple vocal vote. If the motion is passed subsequent speeches are over the committee will move to closing speeches. 6) The main negative speaker will give a 1-mintue or less closing speech and the bill sponsor will close the debate with a 1-minute or less closing speech. 7) Now debating is over and the committee chair (appointed by the teacher) will call for a standing vote to decide if the bill is passed. In order for a bill to be passed, the number of affirmative votes (votes for the bill), must be greater than the number of negative votes (votes against the bill) and withstanding votes (undecided votes for neither the affirmative nor negative) combined. 8) If a bill is passed on the first day of congress, in identical form in both the Senate and the House Committees, then the will move on to Full House and Full Senate. 9) On the next day of Congress, all Senate Committees will move to Full Senate and Full House Committees will move to the Full House. 10) During the Full House and the Full Senate Committees, students will debate the bills that were previously passed identically, in both committees. The House and Senate will both debate each bill in the same style they were debated in the committees. 11) If a Bill passes identically again in Full House and Full Senate it becomes Classroom Congress Law!!!!

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A BILL TO RESTORE THE POWERS OF THE REGULATION OF CURRENTLY CONROLLED SUBSTANCES, NOT CROSSING THE BORDERS OF STATES, TO THE RESPECTIVE STATES OF PRODUCTION/CONSUMPTION Sponsored by: Senator X of Garfield High School Representative Y of Garfield High School

Over the last century, many acts have been passed to prevent the

distribution, irresponsible usage, and abuse of drugs in America. In 1970, the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 was passed, re-enforcing the government's control of drugs. This act, as well as parts of preceding and subsequent acts, addressed the issue of the legality of drugs in the United States of America. Though this act was passed by the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, it is direct contradiction with the tenth amendment of the constitution, which states that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”. Unlike the prohibition of alcohol, for which the 18th amendment was passed, the prohibition of the “Schedule I” substances of the Controlled Substances Act (which is Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act) and the regulation of “Schedule II,” “Schedule III,” “Schedule IV,” and “Schedule V” substances are not powers granted to the federal government by the constitution.

BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled that: SECTION 1 Within one year of the passing of this bill by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America, the Federal government of the United States of America shall cease all actions and investigations specifically concerning the production, distribution, or consumption of all controlled substances, narcotics, or other intoxicating substances where there exists an absence of evidence of interstate smuggling or the intent of interstate smuggling.

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HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

EXAMPLE BILL


HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

TEACHER'S GUIDE Conducting classroom congress is much easier than one would imagine and a fantastic way for students to use their knowledge of the legislative process on a practical level. Students will have first hand experience writing policy and becoming advocates for their own work. Students will become informed about political issues and develop thoughtful opinions on controversial subjects. A classroom congress is the best way for students to combine their advocacy training, persuasive writing, and civics knowledge to create a product they are proud of.

HOW TO CONDUCT A CLASSROOM CONGRESS: It Is Essential Teacher Understand The Manner In Which Congress Will Be Conducted. This Exercise Is Best Done With A Large Number Of Students So Combining Classes With Other Social Studies Teachers Is Ideal.

PREPARATION 1. Students are paired up (by choice or by teacher assignment) and must come up with an issue and a position on said issue they both agree upon (see section How to Write a Bill). One student will act as Representative and the other as Senator. 2. Students should be allow at least 60 minutes to brainstorm and research with their partner. 3. Topics and Bill Titles (see How to Write A Bill) should be turned into the teacher within the next 2 days. 4. Then in 3 days to a week students should turn in rough copies of their bill for editing. 5. At this point teachers should review bills and return suggestions to the students. 6. Students will submit a final version of their bill to the teacher within two days of the rough draft’s return. 7. The teacher shall create the Orders of the Day which is an outline of the order in which the bills will be debated and what bills will

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a. The teacher should present their bill by giving a 3-minute persuasive speech to the class. The bill material of the teacher should not be a political issue rather something more trivial such as, A Bill To Bann Homework. b. Students should then give 1-minute subsequent speeches for and against the teacher’s bill. c. Then after ample debate has occurred the teacher (who will also act as chair) shall motion to move to previous question. This means that the debate is over and the teacher shall give a final quick speech to ask for the students’ votes. d. Then a standing vote shall be conducted and it shall be determined whether or not the bill has been passed. In order for the bill to become law the number of votes for the bill must outweigh the number of con votes plus the number of abstaining votes.

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HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

be debated on a given day (Congress is likely to span over the course of a couple class periods). 8. The teacher shall create the bill docket for the students which is a combined file of all the bills to give to the students at least three days before so they can see what issues they will be debating and research other students’ bills so they can make an informed subsequent speech. 9. Students are likely to be nervous about giving an aural presentation and may be confused about the procedure. It may be helpful if the teacher writes his/her own bill and presents it to the class just as students will do. This way the students will be able to understand the process of Classroom Congress before they take center stage.


HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW CONGRESS DISCUSSION | CLASSROOM

DAY OF CLASSROOM CONGRESS 1. The teacher will have the Orders of the Day, a list of the order the bills will be debated, written on the board. 2. Classroom Congress can be as serious or relaxed as the teacher desires. Students can dress up for the presentation or wear normal clothes. 3. The teacher will act as the chair of both Committees.

COMMITTEE CHAIR GUIDE I. II. III. IV.

V.

Chair (Teacher) calls committee session to order. Chair introduces his or herself Have committee members introduce themselves. Chair reads the Orders of the Day (this is the order in which the bills will be debated and will be arranged by the teacher prior to the congress) Begin debate on the bills.

a) Chair reads bill number and title and makes sure each student has a copy of the bill. b) 3 minute opening presentation by one sponsor. c) 1 minute subsequent speeches by other students alternating con, pro, con, pro, con d) Entertain appropriate amendments e) End debate at the appropriate time f) Have the second sponsor give a 3-minute closing speech advocating for the bill. g) Take a standing vote on bill. h) Begin debate on the next bill

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Bill Proposal Assignment __/10 Rough Draft of Bill __/10 Final Draft of Bill __/20 Three Minute Main Speech __/20 One Minute Subsequent Speech __/5 One Minute Subsequent Speech __/5 One Minute Subsequent Speech __/5 Questions and participation __/5h) Take a standing vote on bill.

ADVANCED OPTIONS COMMITTEES e. Make a list of representative and senators (these will be the groups of students that will make up full house and full senate) If there are 40 students in a classroom 20 will be representative and 20 will be senators and their will be twenty sponsored bills f. Then based on the number of students in the classroom divide each group into subcommittees for example Senate sub-committees A and B will consist of 10 students and Representative subcommittees A and B will consist of 10 students. g. The division of students into subcommittee can be based on the type of laws written. Teachers have the option of putting all similar bills in the same subcommittee or dividing up the students so that they get to debate a wide variety of bills. 10. After giving students their sub-committee assignments the teacher should set a date for the congress to begin session. The final version of the bill should be due three days prior so teachers can photocopy bills to hand out to other students. 11. The teacher shall select chairs for each sub-committee. Chairs should be outspoken students who understand the legislative process well and able to maintain decorum in the sub-committee at all times.

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GRADING RUBRIC


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