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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

How a Bill Becomes a Law

The Future Now Finance activity will take place tomorrow in the Aux Gym. You are assigned a session based on your 5th hour teacher (see below). The session times are listed below as well. If you miss APGOV as a result of this, please make sure you complete items #3 & #4 and watch the CrashCourse video on the bill making process.

5th Hour TeacherSession5th Hour TeacherSession
Abeyta, David4Jones, Mireille D4
Backes, Maddie3Keedy, Carissa2
Bilen, Jennifer A4Kenealy, Jared A3
Black, Misty D2Larson, Matthew J2
Bonnot, Lora4McCabe, Melynda4
Brendel, Chablis4McCully, Wesley3
Brownlee, Kimberly R3Morgan, Joseph4
Career Center1Morris, Cary Andrea4
Chatlos, David James1Oliphant, Lisa2
Clemens, Kenneth2Person, Steven L4
Danneman, Jake4Phillips, Christine D4
Dowden, Kathryn4Plaster, Lindsey1
Fairhurst, Michelle1Pratt, Touria4
Falkner, Veronica4Price, Joseph4
Fish, Spencer4Pugh, Charles M4
Fowler, Joellen G4Regan, Thomas2
Gates, Kurt E1Robinson, Jessica2
Goeglein, Thomas1Silvey, Traci4
Harris, Lynnita4Sorens, Laura H2
Harrold, Rebecca4Sparks-Woodward, Ronna J4
Hartman, Brian2Taylor, Stephanie L3
Hernandez, Christine1Walker, Megan D4
Hubinger, Gretchen2Warner, Mark C4
Hustoft, Juli1Williams, Barbara L3
Jacob, Jamie2Yerino, Lario4

Juniors have been assigned to one of four sessions to take place at the following times:
·         Session 1 runs 8:15 AM – 9:45 AM
·         Session 2 runs 10:00 AM- 11:30 AM (students in this session eat 2nd lunch shift)
·         Session 3 runs 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

·         Session 4 runs 1:45 PM – 3:15 PM

How a Bill Becomes a Law

The legislative branch is responsible for making the laws. However, that process is cumbersome and complex, designed to make the passage of bills difficult. Today we will look at the process of how a bill becomes a law.

1. Discuss the following quote:
"Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made." -Otto von Bismarck

2. Look at the following chart. What conclusions can you make from the information? What explanations are there for the low number of bills being passed in recent years?

3. Read the following selection on how legislation is made.  As you read, take notes on the process. For each of the blue subheadings (Developing Legislation, Drafting Legislation, etc.) write down the main points/important info. You can stop when you get to the Budget Process.

4. This page lists all of the presidents and their vetoes. How frequently is the veto used? How successful are attempts to override vetoes? Which president had the most vetoes? Most vetoes overridden?


Additional Readings:

US Constitution.net: How a Bill Becomes a Law

Project Vote Smart: How a Bill Becomes a Law

Friday, February 17, 2017

Congressional Committees

The real work of Congress is usually not done in a full session on the floor of the Capitol, but through smaller, specialized groups called committees. Today, we are going to look at the work of committees and how they operate.

A good reading background on committees can be found here.

Key Questions:
1. What is the purpose of committees?
2. What do committees do?
3. What are the three types of committees?
4. What are the important committees for each chamber?
5. Why is membership on committee important/how is it determined?
6. What is the role of the committee chair/how is committee chair selected?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Commerce Clause

HW due today: Read 345-357 and take the reading quiz.

Essential Questions for the Day
  • What powers are given to Congress by the Commerce Clause? 
  • How have the decisions of the Supreme Court interpreting that Clause operated to both expand and restrict Congressional authority over time?

Key Constitutional Provisions:

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3

The Congress shall have the power …
…to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes…

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18
…to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Activity: Can Congress Make This Law?

1. Recently, a freight train crashed when it entered Kansasippi, because the train operator didn’t recognize Kansasippi’s unique warning signal. Congress wants to pass a law that requires all states to use uniform warning signs and signals for trains.

2. Congress wants to pass a law that bans employment of children under the age of 18 in factories which make products that are sold in other states.

3. Tomato prices have been plummeting and tomato farmers aren’t making enough money to keep planting their crops. In order to limit the overall tomato crop, thereby raising tomato prices, Congress wants to pass a law that prohibits all U.S. farmers that sell vegetables from growing more than 500 pounds of tomatoes each – even for their own consumption.

4. Lawmakers are dismayed by the number of shootings that take place in schools. Congress wants to pass a law that makes it a federal crime to possess a gun on the property of a public school.
5. Congress wants to pass a law setting a national maximum speed limit at 55 mph.

6. Congress passes a law that requires all citizens to purchase health insurance, otherwise they will be fined.

Important Court Cases

  • Gibbons v. Ogden
  • Heart of Atlanta Motel v. US
  • US v. Lopez
  • Gonzales v. Raich
  • NFIB v. Sebelius