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Subject: US Amendments

Hi Everyone,
First of all, I have included a Zip file containing some sample amendment documents. There are samples from California, New Mexico, and the U.S. Federal Government. For California, we have created a dummy amendment document as the actual documents are not part of the public record and are not published.
Next, I want to define some terminology we use in the US to see how it aligns with European and other overseas practice:
1) A Bill is a document, made up of bill sections, of proposed law. Each bill section can create an Act/Code, change existing law, or make a statement of some sort.
    - Mostly, a bill changes existing law (acts or codes). It isn't common to create a whole new law.
    - Changes to law are to add, "amend", or repeal parts of an existing law.
    - It is common (not quite universal), that all changes be to units of law. For instance, in California and in many states, sections of the law must be amended in their entirety - all the old wording is replaced with new wording even if the real word change is very minor.
    - It is common (not quite universal), that global changes (i.e. changes to all occurrences of a word in the law) are not allowed.
    - The initial version of a bill will often state the intent for the bill, but not propose any changes to the law until the bill is later amended to include those changes. This is done to meet bill introduction deadlines.
2) A Statute is simply a bill that has been enacted to pass into law (a statute is also sometimes called a "chapter" or a "session chapter" reflecting how it is identified. For instance, Assembly Bill 11 might become Chapter 5 of the Statutes of 2012)
    - A bill is proposed law while a statute is enacted law. A statute is virtually the same document as the bill, just later in its lifecycle and without any redlining.
    - When the changes to law contained within a statute are applied to the codes, this is called "code compilation.  I think of "consolidation" as separate from "compilation", but this gets blurred especially when dealing with the US Code.
3) An amendment document is a set of proposed changes to a bill, proposed during a legislative session, and prior to enactment of the bill. Sometimes an amendment document is called an "Instruction Amendment" or a "Floor Amendment".
    - An amendment document almost universally (in the US) calls out changes to the bill using page and line numbers. - i.e.: On page 5, line 2...
    - These changes are usually word by word changes - i.e.: strike this, insert that.
    - Each change is called an amendment - and are itemized in a list within the amendment document
    - In some states, like California, amendment documents are units of voting. When an amendment document is approved, all of its contained amendments are used to produce a new version of the bill.
    - In some states, like Kansas, the individual amendments bundled within an amendment document can be individually voted and adopted.
    - In California, amendment documents are serialized. If multiple amendment documents are proposed simultanteously, only one will pass to create the next version of the bill. For this reason, an amendment document often contains a number of amendments, perhaps resulting from committee hearings, which have been agreed upon ahead of time. Different proposed parallel amendment documents might contain some of the same individual amendments if there is no controversy regarding those amendments.
An important consideration here is that we use the word "amendment" to refer to two distinctly different things:
  1) When a section of existing law is changed by a bill, we say that it is amended. Up till now, I have equated these proposed changes to active mods in the bill using Akoma Ntoso structures.
  2) When changes to the wording in a bill are proposed, those changes are called amendments. Up till now, I have equated the RESULTS of amendments of this sort to passive mods in the bill using Akoma Ntoso structures.
Please discuss difference between my terminology and yours.
   Where is the difference?
   Where is the terminilogy the same?
   Where do we use the same word, to mean distinctly different things?
-- Grant
Grant Vergottini
Xcential Group, LLC.
email: grant.vergottini@xcential.com
phone: 858.361.6738

Attachment: US Instruction Amendments.zip
Description: Zip archive

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