To make the most of your limited time in Springfield, you should ensure that you are as well prepared as you can be before you arrive. Your first priority should be prepared to debate your own bill, but additionally, you should also be prepared to discuss other bills.
Prepare to Debate Your Own Bill
The best way to prepare yourself to debate your own bill in Springfield is to simply know absolutely everything you can about the details in the bill, statistics to back up your arguments and plenty of answers for others’ questions. By downloading the Bill Prep Checklist and filling it out completely, you should have a solid document to reference during debate.
Prepare to Debate Other Bills
There are a variety of reasons that you may or may not want to vote for any particular bill, but you should always know what you are voting on. In order to better understand the bills, debate time is provided in the legislative process. You should take the allotted debate time to make the most of your Youth and Government Weekend.
The best way to prepare is to study the bills before you board the bus to come to Springfield. You can better prepare by:
- Read the bills in your committee. You can find in your bill book the bills that are assigned to your committee. Read them and see if they make sense to you.
- Pick out bills to focus your attention on. You should pay special attention to the bills in your committee, but you should also take the time to find some other bills that you either heavily support or oppose so that you will be prepared to talk about them on the House or Senate Floor.
- Do some research on the bills. Line up facts and figures you find on the internet or in your local library that will back up your arguments.
These simple questions will help you to better understand the bills you are voting on if you ask them during debate:
- How much will the bill cost to implement? 99.9% of all bills have some cost associated with them. Ask the sponsor who will be paying for the bill, and most importantly, how much.
- Who does the bill effect? Is everyone in the state going to have to live with the effects of the bill? Will a substantial number of people object to the new requirement?
- What does the bill actually do? Some bills are written with the best of intentions, but they do not accomplish the sponsorâ€™s goal. Does the bill do what the sponsor wants it to?
- When does the bill take effect? If the bill is a dramatic change of current law, will it take a long time to implement, and is there a process defined in the bill for the implementation?
- What area does the bill effect? Is the bill going to effect the entire State, the City of Chicago, downstate, or just one community? Will the bill cause a problem for some people in one area of the State while it helps another?
- Does the bill violate a personal feeling or moral that you hold? Many times you will want to vote for or against a bill simply because of your personal feelings. It is important that during debate that you try to incorporate your personal beliefs. You will be trying to convince others to vote for or against a bill, and your personal beliefs are not going to sway others in one direction or the other. You will need to be able to backup your feelings with a real argument that explains why a bill is good or bad.