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Background

In the legislative branch, there are several kinds of acts congress can initiate:

  1. A Bill, which is a proposed law that originates in either the House of Representatives or the Senate. When passed, bills can become one of two things:

    a. A Private Law, which is a law that only affects a private individual or individuals.

    b. A Public Law, which affects the entire nation. Joint resolutions (described below) can also become Public Laws.

  2. A Concurrent Resolution, which is legislation that relates to the operations of Congress, including both chambers, or expresses the opinion of both chambers on public policy issues.

  3. A Joint Resolution, which is functionally the same as a bill
  4. A Simple resolution, which is legislation that related to the ooperations of a single chamber or expresses the collective opinion of that chamber on public policy issues.

A discussion a friend and I talked about certain acts of congress. We came upon the issue of how throughly researched a law needed to me when stating claims (the example we were talking about, was this simple resolution). This led me to question..

Question

Does each different kind of legislation need to meet a certain level of rigor in research before being brought to the floor?

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No

No, there is no formal requirement for any degree of research before any bill or resolution is passed.

The claims in the text of your bill need not be based in any kind of research. You can browse the House and Senate rules for introducing bills yourself and see that there is no such requirement.

The text of bills/resolutions are often written by legislative staff (the Office of Legislative Council for the House). Their office is composed of legal professionals, not subject matter experts, so they wouldn't likely have the skill set to research the claims in a bill/resolution.

As a former (state) legislative staff person myself, my own experience is that the people who draft bills/resolutions are typically committed to a kind of neutrality: they don't put themselves in a position to judge the content, only to help develop it into a functional form that supports the legislator's intent.

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