Any 4-H member, regardless of age or planning on attending Texas 4-H Congress, must submit a legislative bill for consideration. Participation in the bill writing exercise allows 4-H members the opportunity to become engaged in the legislative process and the 4-H citizenship project. 4-H members attending Texas 4-H Congress will be required to submit at least one bill (this includes any youth leadership teams) prior to their registration to the event being accepted.
Committees are a bit different this year and will include an Agriculture and Livestock focused committee. The committee structure for Texas 4-H Congress 2020 follows.
- Agriculture and Livestock (AGL)
- Education (EDU)
- Energy and Environment (EEV)
- Government, Finance, & Appropriations (GFA)
- Homeland Security and Public Safety (HPS)
- Judiciary and Juvenile Justice (JJJ)
- Public Health & Welfare (PHW)
To learn more on how to write and submit a bill download the “Preparing a Legislative Bill for Texas 4-H Congress” as well as work with your county Extension agent or a volunteer.
Texas 4-H Congress is based on 4-H members from across the state submitting bills for consideration by the House of Representatives and Senate, with hopes of the bill ending on the desk of the Texas 4-H Congress Governor for signage into law. This is a very serious process, because the more complete and well-written the bill is, the better chance it will have to be included in the Texas 4-H Congress Bill Book (book of all bills to be considered) and be introduced into the legislative process.
Researching an issue for a Texas 4-H Congress Bill
Texas 4-H Congress is a mock legislative event that allows the young people of Texas to experience and learn first-hand the legislative bill process. This process can include gaining knowledge of what laws and regulations are currently in place, and those laws that would help make Texas a better place to live. The strength of the event comes from the quality of the bills that are submitted for consideration by the 4-H members. Therefore, 4-H members are encouraged to plan ahead, research, and prepare for the event.
In preparing to develop and write a bill it is important to research a topic that is personal, yet one that effects the citizens of Texas. This could include topics in the area of agriculture and livestock; education; public health and welfare; homeland security and public safety; judiciary and juvenile justice; government, finance and appropriations; or energy and environment. In researching a topic, it should be considered if an existing law or regulation is already in place that addresses the issue. If a law is not currently being enforced, then information on the cost of enacting a law, who would enforce it, and penalties for those not abiding by the law will need to be researched and decided. Each of these factors should be in line with other like laws and regulations.
As a 4-H member researches a specific bill or issue it is important to remember that Texas 4-H Congress is addressing issues impacting Texas. Issues that are more national or global should not be submitted as a bill due to the state government not being able to enforce federal laws.
All research done for a bill should be from research based sources. While personal situations can help establish the purpose of the bill, research supporting the need, the enforcement, and penalties should all come from sources that can be documented as being research based.