In competitive speech and debate at the high school level, student congress is one of the most exciting and realistic events offered. Students are required to write and debate pieces of legislation as actual legislators do while in session. Specifically, students may draft legislation that proposes a law and explains how the implementation of the bill will occur.
Lower the Drinking Age
A bill to lower the drinking age works only at the state level, but is a great piece of legislation in that it provides for good debate on both sides. Additionally, in 2009 the debate over lowering the drinking age was ignited in response to college administrators' claim that the current drinking age leads to higher rates of binge drinking. A bill to lower the drinking age must specify what the current drinking age is, what the lowered drinking age will be, how this change will interact with existing laws and how the bill will be funded and enforced.
Abolish No Child Left Behind
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is a federal policy that monitors the quality of K-12 education across the United States. Since its inception in 2001, NCLB has received strong criticism and support, making it an ideal topic for legislative debate. It is important to remember that because NCLB is a federal policy, this bill will only be viable at the national level. A bill to abolish NCLB must specify the time frame for phasing out the legislation, what system if any will replace NCLB, and who will oversee the phasing out of NCLB.
A bill to legalize marijuana is applicable at both the state and national levels of competition because both the federal government and individual states have laws regarding marijuana. Best of all, the debate over the legalization of marijuana is full of diverse opinions and has been discussed as recently as March 2011. A bill to legalize marijuana must address the current legal status of marijuana, how the bill will change existing laws on drug charges for marijuana, and how the bill will be enforced and regulated at the state or federal level.
Establish an Official Language
Since the early 2000's, states, particularly those along the U.S.-Mexico border, and the federal government have contemplated establishing English as the official language. The establishment of English as the official language means that all government business and documents will only be offered in English. A bill of this nature must specify the time frame for transitioning to English as the official language, how this will interact with other laws at the state and national levels, and the extent to which English will be used primarily.
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