Have questions?  Well you’re not alone!  We’re currently working on a full FAQs page to help answer your questions.  If you have a specific question at this time, please do not hesitate to contact us at mike@njyouthandgov.com.  Remember, a prepared delegate is a happy delegate ready to make the most out of their YAG experience.

What should I wear to Pre-Leg/Conference?

Great question– delegates at both Pre-Leg and Conference are expected to dress in business formal attire.  For a breakdown, take a look at our short guide to the YAG Dress Code.

What is Parliamentary Procedure, and why do we have to learn/use it?

Parliamentary Procedure (Parli-Pro) is a set of rules put in place during sessions in able to better allow delegates to have a fair chance at voicing their opinion.  Based off of Robert’s Rules of Order, Parli-Pro is used in most formal settings in real legislative bodies, such as the NJ State Legislature, Congress, and even the United Nations.  For more information about the procedures themselves, check out this Motion Guide.

I’m having trouble thinking of ideas for my bill– can you help me?

There are three good places to find ideas: From the Youth and Government World:

  1. The Governor’s Agenda: The Governor’s Agenda is a resource created by the Governor and his or her Cabinet which highlights the issues that they think are relevant for this year’s conference.  These topics are relevant to the roles of each of the Cabinet members, such as Human Services, Environmental Protection, Health, Labor & Economic Development, Education, and Transportation.  They are formatted in a paragraph format.  You are free to base your bills from these topics.
    • If you base your bill off of a Governor’s Initiative topic, your bill will be flagged as a GI Bill. Cabinet members work one-on-one with the authors of GI Bills and they can also speak pro on the bill in Chamber at conference.
  2. The Officer’s Topic List: The Officer’s Topic List is created by the officers (chairs, clerks, etc.) about the issues that they feel passionately about and are relevant to this year’s conference.  The description of these topics is broken down into a) the topic, b) necessary background on the topic, c) possible solutions, d) evidence that the suggested solution will work, and e) the impact of the solution.  You are free to base your bills from these topics.

From Your World:

  1. Your community– listen to your parents, neighbors, and teachers when they express their concern about something that the state should or should not be doing.  Many problems encountered in daily life can be addressed by the state legislature.
  2. News– what are the headlines saying?  What do “most NJ citizens” think are hot-button or important issues?  What problems are we, as a state, facing?
  3. TV shows– especially procedural shows, such as Law & Order or CSI, can sometimes give you ideas when legal loopholes are presented or made central to an episode.
  4. Social Media- What are people talking about on the internet?  What seems to be the concerns of regular citizens?

How do amendments work, and when can I use them to amend my bill?

Check out our guide to amendments! What are the “buckets”? At the beginning of the conference, you will meet in committee sessions with other authors of bills with similar topics. Bills will be placed in groups of four or five depending on the topic and delegation, at the discretion of the committee chair. These groups are the buckets. In order to ensure that only the strongest bills in a particular topic pass through, delegates will vote on bills within a bucket and only the two highest ranking bills will move on to the Senate and Assembly.

Why do I need to have a co-sponsor?

Though your bill will go through a long process before it can reach the Governor’s cabinet, the three official requirements are that it be passed through your committee, and both legislative chambers — the Senate and Assembly. As a delegate, you will be placed in one committee and ONE chamber- the Senate OR Assembly.  You will represent your bill in your particular chamber.  However, you will not be able to represent your bill in whichever chamber you are not in.  Instead, you have a co-sponsor whom you have briefed on the specifics of your bill.  This person will spend conference in whatever chamber you are not in and will represent your bill in that chamber.

What should I be doing if I want to run for an officer position?

You do not need to do anything before conference starts. When you arrive at YAG, you will be given a binder in which you will find a form that you must fill out, have signed by your delegation advisor and turn in at a meeting on Saturday night (additional information will be provided at conference). On Sunday morning, officer candidates (for positions other that Cabinet members) will present speeches and be asked to answer one question at the discretion of their chair. Officers (other than Cabinet members) for the 2017 conference will be announced at closing ceremony on Sunday.  Those interested in a position on the Cabinet will apply for one of the following positions: Human Services, Environmental Protection, Health, Labor & Economic Development, Education, or Transportation after Conference concludes.  Those interested will be selected by the newly-elected Governor and the Program Directors based on their responses to an assignment.  The process will also include a series of interviews over Skype.  Cabinet members for the 2017 Conference will be announced around the end of July.

If I’m interested in participating in conference but don’t want to write or debate legislation, what can I do?

There are many different roles that delegates can fulfill at conference. Other than being a legislator, delegates can also be a lobbyist, a member of the courts, the Emergency Response Committee or a member of the Press Corps.

What happens after my bill is passed by the Youth Governor?

If, after passing through the Senate and Assembly, your bill is signed by Governor Gnanaseharan, your name will be announced during the closing ceremony and you will receive a copy of your signed legislation.  Additionally for this year and future years, the officer corps is trying to collaborate with New Jersey elected officials to see if the state would be willing to consider any legislation that comes out of the YAG program.

What does it mean to be in “pro/con” debate?

Pro/con debate is a form of debate meant to encourage delegates to fully examine both the merits and detriments to a piece of legislation. Pro/con debate will always start and end on a con speaker, and will alternate in between pro and con speakers throughout the debate. Motions to hear amendments may only be made on con time.

What is Speed Pass?

Speed Pass, formerly known as “Consent Calendar”, is a list of less debatable bills that delegates expect to be unanimously or nearly-unanimously passed through chambers. Speed Pass can be a powerful tool for delegates as they would otherwise be required to spend time debating and passing legislation that is routine, non-controversial or both. Instead, delegates can opt to place their bills on the Speed Pass docket. The process of bills will be as follows: Speed Pass bills will not go through the bucketing process, but all bill authors must be present in committees to debate and vote on other bills.  In chambers, authors and co-sponsors of Speed Pass bills will be allowed a two-minute opening speech, the chair will ask to hear one con speaker and then the Chamber will move to a vote on the bill. If the bill is passed through both Chambers, it will be placed on the Governor’s desk for consideration and follow the process of a regular bill thereforth.