Spring 2022 - 59110 - PA 383C - Policy Development

Legislative Development: from Ideas to Options to Legislation



Participants will work through the process of transforming policy ideas into legislative language. Successful participants will be able to analyze legislative provisions and draft legislative proposals that can be converted into bill language. They will also be able to critique legislative provisions for impact and unintended consequences. 

Brief Description 

The course will open with an overview of legislative development and the various ways policy ideas are whittled into legislative language. The emphasis will be on converting options into statutory provisions, not on legislative rules and procedures. It will cover the basic principles and key elements of legislative development. Regulatory implementation will also be discussed. 

The second part of the course will explore case studies of legislative development in selected policy areas (including but not limited to): employment policy, global health policy, agricultural policy, immigration policy, trade policy, and voting rights. These issue areas will be used to illustrate the various approaches to legislative development, such as initiative of executive branch, priority of a legislator; advocated by interest group, driven by public opinion and responding to judicial rulings. Participants collectively will select the legislative issues covered in the final two classes the week before Spring Break, and the professor will assign appropriate readings. Participants will make two-minute presentations on a legislative issue discussed in the class. 

The third and final part of the course will engage the participants in drafting a legislative proposal on an issue of their choosing (approved in advance). They will gather the relevant census and administrative data, current statutory and case law, regulations, and other key resource materials (e.g. U.S. Government Accountability reports, Congressional Budget Office analysis and think tank research studies) as background for their legislative analysis. While each participant will draft their own bill or legislative provision, the class as a group will engage in assessing the impact and potentially unintended consequences of the bill or legislative provision. 

Given the time frame of the class, the 3 parts will not be sequential. More precisely, the discussions of the case studies will overlap with the discussions of the basic principles and key elements of legislative development as well as with the actual drafting of legislative proposals. 2 


The professor reserves the right to make modifications to this syllabus, with the promise to provide adequate advance notice. 

Weekly topics and readings are available in "modules" for each class meeting. Links to Prof. Wasem’s video lecture on the week’s topic are also posted in the module. 

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