How a Bill Becomes a Law

By Leslie Knope
The “Fun in the Sun” Act has passed, and it’s a lesson to all of us that government can still do good! So gather ’round, curious citizens, and take a look at how a bill becomes a law… Leslie Knope style!
STEP ONE: COME UP WITH THE IDEA!
It all starts with the idea! I keep a journal of all of my ideas for how to make Pawnee better. And when I fill up one journal, I start another one. I’m currently on journal #612!
The best ideas benefit everyone. Somehow, that doesn’t stop some people from opposing them. Here’s a Knope Tip, though: Don’t think of them as opponents; think of them as pre-supporters!
STEP TWO: WRITE THE BILL! This is easier said than done because I can’t type as fast as I can think, so I dictate the bill and type it up later.
Sometimes I’m so caught up that I leave myself notes for other things, like ways to increase park playground efficiency, other uses for tennis courts in the winter, etc.
When I’m typing up the dictation, I hear these, and I get super excited. It’s like finding a $20 bill in your pocket. And I get to spend it all on Pawnee! Win win!!
STEP THREE: THE BILL GOES TO COMMITTEE!
This is where we separate the women from the girls. The Amazons from the regular female warriors. The Earharts and Rides from the run-of-the-mill aviatrixes and astronautesses. The bad bill ideas… from the good bill ideas!
Everyone weighs in, offers their two cents, and we take a red pen to the bill – hopefully to add more amazing content.
Some call it the boring part. I call it a wondrous thrill ride through the inner bowels of the governmental legislative process.
STEP FOUR: THE BILL IS DEBATED!
This step is crucial because it’s important to hear every argument and for me to change everyone else’s mind so we’re all arguing for the same side – mine!
STEP FIVE: THE BILL IS VOTED ON!
Now it’s time for City Council to step into the ring and do what it does best. Vote on bills!
I also think we’d be pretty great as a bar trivia team. That’s why I have us booked for the next 12 Sundays at Scully’s!
Sometimes it’s 5-0, sometimes 3-2, and, sadly, sometimes great bills don’t pass. But we never give up!
STEP SIX: IF ALL THINGS GO WELL… THE BILL BECOMES LAW!
It started out as an idea, but with time, hard work and a dash of civil ingenuity, that bill has become a law!
Nature has metamorphosis – when a humble caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly. Democracy has the legislative process – when a humble Knope idea caterpillar becomes a beautiful Knope law butterfly!