Formatting Guidelines

Sample Bill

All Bills must contain the following sections:

I:  Title – The New Jersey Constitution requires that a bill title cover only one subject and that the title be phrased to identify that subject.  The title serves as a means of identification not as a table of contents for the bill.

  • Begin the title with the phrase “An Act Relating to…
  • The subject is to be expressed in general terms, not in minute detail.  For example: 
    • (i) “An Act relating to domestic animals” rather than “An Act relating to cats, dogs, birds, etc.” 
    • (ii) “An Act relating to personal income taxes” rather than “An Act relating to tax exemption for minors and senior citizens”
  • If the bill repeals an existing law, use “An Act to Repeal New Jersey Statute…” 
  • It is standard practice to designate amended or repealed statutes in the title. 
  • Nothing prohibits amending or repealing a number of laws in one bill as long as the parts all relate to one subject.  List all statute numbers in numerical order in the title. 
  • Special Clauses
    • If a bill contains an appropriation, add the phrase “and appropriating money”
    • If a bill increases penalties, add the phrase “and adds increased penalties”

II:  Enacting Clause

  • Each bill is required to have the following phrase:
    “Be it enacted by the Youth Model Legislature of that State of New Jersey that …” 
  • The remainder of the clause should specify what the bill will do.
    • Example:  “Be it enacted by the Youth Model Legislature of the State of New Jersey that a Technology Education Program be established in all public high schools.” 

III:  Body of the Bill

  • This section details the text of the legislation.  It does the “work” of the bill. 
  • There is to be separate numbered sections for each main idea of the bill or for each amendment. Repeals are to be grouped together.  Sections are to be numbered with roman numerals. Skip a line between each section. 

IV:  Statement of Intent

  • Begin this section with the phrase “This purpose of this bill is …” and then describe what you hope to accomplish with the bill. 
  • This section is a great opportunity to provide some justification about why your bill is important and needed. 

V:  Effective Date

  • Begin this section with the phrase “This bill shall take effect …” and specify a date or time period, such as “6 months after being enacted.” 

VI:  Author’s Note

  • Provide any information that does fit into any of the other sections, but is pertinent to your bill. 
  • This is an excellent opportunity to clarify any vague portions of your bills, such as justification for a high cost of implementation or rationale about an otherwises unclear segment. 

VII:  Fund Summary

  • Include information about where funds for your bill will originate, where funds generated for your bill will go.
    • Example: “Funds necessary for the implementation of this law will come from the New Jersey Department of Energy. Funds generated as a result of this law will go to the New Jersey Department of Energy. The implementation of this law will fall under the jurisdiction of jointly the New Jersey Department of Energy and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.” 

Amending Existing Statutes

  • When writing amendments it is important to make clear what the change or changes will be in the statute. 
  • Use a separate amending clause in the body of the bill for each statute being amended.  It is not sufficient to simply state it in the title. 
  • The new section or phrase shall be set forth at full length. 
    • Example:  “NJS 171.0030 is amended to read ‘171.0030 – THE SENATE SHALL CONSIST OF 50 MEMBERS.’” 
  • The new section or phrase shall be written in all capital letters. 
  • Always cite the full statute number.