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its known that in order to make or change a law, a bill is needed which is introduced to congress and the senate etc....

The question: If a citizen is directly affected by a current "unfair" law and wishes to change it, who exactly can the personal bill be submitted to? I've heard that it needs to go through a congress representative, but how can an ordinary citizen hope to get through to one? Is there any other way that a personally-written bill be submitted to congress or made into a law?

How can a citizen make a change in an unfair law? (who can the bill be reasonably submitted to?)

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    Please add a country tag. – Denis de Bernardy Apr 17 at 4:04
  • @DenisdeBernardy I don't have enough rep – Yaakov5777 Apr 17 at 4:10
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    In that case drop a comment to say the country, and someone else will add the tag. Or edit the information in the question. The answer will be quite different depending on which country you're discussing, and over a dozen countries have a bicameral congress with an upper house called the senate. – Denis de Bernardy Apr 17 at 5:21
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  • Go through the legal system. In most countries, "ordinary" laws are subject to review by constitutional courts. One would have to argue that the law unfairly impacts constitutional principles like equal protection under the law or due process.
  • Talk to the local representative. Most want to be reelected, and they will listen to constituents and consider their concerns. (They might not act in the end, if the unfair law is popular, but they will take even one irate voter into consideration.)
  • Form a "grassroots" political movement. If other voters are also upset about the unfair law, elected representatives will listen even more.
  • Join an existing political party and try to influence their policy. That can be long and difficult.
  • Hi, what does exactly "go the legal route" entail? Meaning take care of the current case without changing a law? Also by "localrepresentative" do you mean the local city council /mayor, or the attorney general, or a congress representative? If its the later, how can an ordinary citizen hope to get in touch with him/her? – Yaakov5777 Apr 17 at 5:17
  • @Yaakov5777, that depends on the country. With local representatives, I mostly mean elected members of parliament. With legal proceedings, for instance the US has Certiorari cases. Many other constitutions have similar means. – o.m. Apr 17 at 5:38
  • yes IM referring to US – Yaakov5777 Apr 17 at 20:02
  • @o.m. - Perhaps "Go through the legal system" might be a bit clearer. I also first interpreted it in the sense of legal vs illegal. – Bobson Apr 17 at 20:48
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    @Bobson, edited. – o.m. Apr 18 at 4:38
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In the US, there is no procedure of "personal bills". There is no way for an individual to draft a bill and have it considered by Congress. That is not the way the system works.

You can certainly try to influence your congressperson. This is called "Lobbying". Your Congressperson will have a local office in your district, or you can go to Washington. The Quakers have some guidance on how to lobby. You talk to your congressperson and try to persuade them of value of your case. You can also arrange meetings with other members of Congress, especially if you think your local Congressperson will be unsympathetic to your views.

It is unlikely that a change that you alone want to make will ever become law. However laws do change, and if you and like-minded people make your point, then can change in the way you want. But beware; there is no correlation between how much you want the law to change and how likely it is to change.

  • "It is unlikely that a change that you alone want to make will ever become law." If the change that you want is not something that anyone else with political power has an interest in opposing, it will happen easily. Maybe 80%-90% of legislation consists of innocuous bills of this type. – ohwilleke Apr 18 at 20:04
  • If nobody else wants to make the change, then it is unlikely to be innocuous. – James K Apr 18 at 23:08
  • Often nobody else wants to make the change because it is technical or visible only to those who are in the trenches dealing with a problem. – ohwilleke Apr 19 at 16:39
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Is there any other way that a personally-written bill be submitted to congress or made into a law?

No. There is no way to pass a federal law (states may have different rules) without having it introduced by a Representative.

If a citizen is directly affected by a current "unfair" law and wishes to change it, who exactly can the personal bill be submitted to? I've heard that it needs to go through a congress representative, but how can an ordinary citizen hope to get through to one?

There are a number of ways to reach a Congressional Representative:

  • Many Representatives engage in town halls. You can just go to one.
  • Go to their office in Washington, DC and ask to see them.
  • Find a place where they are going to be and talk to them as they enter or leave.
  • Call their campaign and offer to make a donation with the stipulation that you have a chance to talk before handing over the donation.

You can also simply call the Representative's office and talk to staff about your problem. There may be a way short of legislation to address your specific issue. Perhaps there is an exception process.

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