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Research Papers on a Key Piece of Legislation

Students are often asked to overview a key piece of legislation. Below is an outline of how to organize a project on legislation. The example used is for a health problem that can be solved through legal means.

Students will identify one key piece of legislation that is currently making its way through a state legislative process in California or other state, but that has not yet passed or been enacted. California, as well as many other states, maintains a website that follows proposed bills throughout the legislative process.

Students should select a bill that has been proposed in response to a perceived public health problem which includes the following:

Key Piece of Legislation
  1. Overview of the health problem: An overview of the public health problem that is being addressed by the bill. Discuss the current status of the problem, number of people affected by it, etc. Provide a summary of the proposed bill.
  2. Severity of the problem: Discuss the research behind the health problem. Is there consensus among researchers regarding its severity and how to best deal with it? What would realistically happen if no intervention was implemented? Please make sure to cite all references to the literature to support your statistics and data.
  3. Overview of the bill and Stakeholders: An overview of the proposed bill in terms of its specific provisions. Do not just discuss what the promoters promise that it will accomplish. Make sure to read the fine print and see exactly what the bill will do. Describe who the stakeholders are that are affected in any way by this bill.
  4. Promises/ Expected Outcomes: Who are the promoters of the bill? Descibe what the promoters of the bill believe that the bill will accomplish. Make sure to discuss what specific health outcomes that the promoters say will occur if the bill is passed.
  5. Problems: Describe what individuals or groups are opposed to the bill and why they are opposed. Make sure to research special interest groups such as professional trade associations, industry groups, etc. to see what type of lobbying efforts they are making with respect to the bill.
  6. Recommendaton: What is your recommendation regarding this bill. Make sure to back up your opinion with the facts.

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