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The Words Behind How a Bill Becomes a Law

I’m just a Bill/yes I’m only a Bill/and I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.

People of a certain age know exactly what that’s from, and while I’m not going to spend space explaining the Schoolhouse Rock song, I will explain certain words’ correct usages.

This post’s genesis was a conversation I had with my daughter, a fifth grader. She told me today that she thinks she will be learning how a bill becomes a law. I told her in two sentences: “Congress passes a bill. The President signs it into law.”

But am I correct in saying “passes a bill?” The answer is yes.

There are four words that often accompany stories or conversations related to legislation: adopt, approve, enact and pass.

Bills are passed. Laws are enacted. Everything else is either adopted or approved.

Remember that the next time you vote in favor of a ballot proposition.

Until next time! Use the right words!


September 30, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , ,

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