RTBA or Read The Bills Act is an important law that requires the US Congress to read legislations that it needs to pass. The bill had been initially drafted by Downsize DC that was a non-profit organization seeking to reduce the federal government’s size. This proposed legislation is basically an attempt to stop passing of bills which are lengthy and typically approved by Congress members who do not even have copies of it made accessible to them. So, the proposed bill was an effort to thwart the growth and size of the government.
About Read The Bill Act:
A separate bill called Read The Bill Act was then framed that would require bills to be publicly posted for at least 72 hours before being considered by the Congress. Unlike the previous proposal, this bill was supported by the ReadTheBill.org. The main aim was to enhance the government’s transparency. The version introduced in the Senate was slightly different and it required the Congressional Budget Office to offer an assessment of this proposed law.
How a bill become law:
- Every law begins with an idea which can from anyone; you can then get in touch with your elected officials to share this idea. When they are eager to make it into legislation they draft a bill.
- This bill may originate in any of the two houses of the Congress. It must be introduced by its main sponsor, who can be a House of Representative or Senate member. Bills are placed inside a hopper in the House of Representatives.
- After this, the Senators and Representatives will meet in small groups to discuss, research on, and make amendments to the bill in question. They will cast votes either in favor of accepting or rejecting the bill or its changes before it gets sent to the Senate or House of Representatives floor for debates; it may also be referred to subcommittees to undergo further research and deliberations.
- Now, the members of both Houses get to debate the bill, propose changes as they deem fit before votes are cast. When the majority votes pass the bill in one House, it is sent to the second house for undergoing a similar process of debate, committees, and votes. Both the Senate and House of Representatives must agree on one version of this bill before the President steps in.
- When this bill comes to the President, he may reject it and send it back to the Congress stating his reasons. Congress has the power to override the President’s veto if it gets 2/3rd majority votes of members from both Houses and then it becomes a law. Alternatively, the President may refrain from taking any action at all.
How to read a bill:
- If you can scan the bill’s substantive provisions, you get important information about it just like the caption will tell you what its subject matter is.
- You must check to find out if the bill adds new language or changes existing language, and look for stricken, bracketed language.
- You need to look for definitions which tell you about the bill’s scope and offer clues about its focus.
- You must scan recital for every section to see if it is amending or adding only one section or subsection, an entire chapter or sub chapter, or a series of changes.
- At times a bill makes one substantive change that needs to have related changes in other sections; they are known as conforming changes which you need to identify.
- Finally, you need to look for provisions that the bill repeals.