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|Bill Drafting Manual|
The essentials of good bill drafting are accuracy, brevity, clarity, and simplicity. The purpose and effect of a
legislative measure should be evident from its language. Choose words that are plain and commonly understood
(Article 4, Section 20 of the Constitution of the State of Indiana).
B. STATUTORY AND CONSTITUTIONAL CONSIDERATIONS:
When drafting legislation, a drafter should consider constitutional (both federal and state) restrictions on legislative measures. In addition, the drafter should be aware of statutory rules for drafting and construction of statutes.
The following is a list of commonly referred to provisions:
INDIANA CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS:
ARTICLE 1 BILL OF RIGHTS
Art. 1, Sec. 24 Prohibition against ex post facto laws and laws impairing the obligation of contracts
Art. 1, Sec. 25 Taking effect of laws may not be contingent on any other authority, other than that set out in the Constitution
ARTICLE 2 SUFFRAGE AND ELECTION
Art. 2, Sec. 9 Prohibition against dual office holding
ARTICLE 3 SEPARATION OF POWERS
Art. 3, Sec. 1 Separation of powers
ARTICLE 4 LEGISLATIVE
Art. 4, Sec. 1 Enacting clause
Art. 4, Sec. 17 Revenue raising statutes must originate in House Bills
Art. 4, Sec. 19 One subject matter requirement
Art. 4, Sec. 20 Laws to be plainly worded
Art. 4, Sec. 22 Special legislation prohibited
Art. 4, Sec. 23 Laws to be general and of uniform operation throughout state
Art. 4, Sec. 24 Special relief legislation
Art. 4, Sec. 28 No act to take effect until published and circulated, except in emergency; emergency clause required
Art. 4, Sec. 30 Eligibility of Legislators for other offices
ARTICLE 5 EXECUTIVE
Art. 5, Sec.14 Passage of bills; action by Governor; veto power; General Assembly required to reconsider and vote on vetoed bills
ARTICLE 8 EDUCATION
Art. 8, Sec. 2 Fines assessed for breaches of state penal laws to be deposited in common school fund
Art. 8, Sec. 3 Principal of common school fund may not be diminished
Art. 8, Sec. 7 State trust funds may not be used for purposes other than that for which established.
ARTICLE 10 FINANCE
Art. 10, Sec. 1 Uniform and equal rate of property assessment and taxation
Art. 10, Sec. 5 Incurring state debt prohibited, except in certain situations
Art. 10, Sec. 8 Authority to levy income tax
ARTICLE 11 CORPORATIONS
Art. 11, Sec. 12 Loaning credit of state prohibited
ARTICLE 13 INDEBTEDNESS
Art. 13, Sec. 1 Debt Limitation
ARTICLE 15 MISCELLANEOUS
Art. 15, Sec. 2 Maximum term of office four years for office created by General Assembly
INDIANA CODE PROVISIONS:
IC 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS
IC 1-1-1 Implementary Provisions for the Indiana Code
IC 1-1-1-5(f) Headings of titles, articles, and chapters not part of law
IC 1-1-1-8 General severability provision
IC 1-1-2 Laws Governing the State
IC 1-1-3 Proclamation Date; Effective Dates of Session Laws
IC 1-1-3-3 Effective dates generally
IC 1-1-3.1 Effectiveness of Acts Passed Over the Governor's Veto
IC 1-1-3.5 Political Subdivisions Classified by Population; Effective Date of Decennial Census
( See: discussion concerning the use of Population Parameters, Page 36).
IC 1-1-4 Construction of Statutes
IC 1-1-4-1 Statutes to be given their plain meaning.
Singular includes the plural.
Masculine gender includes females.
IC 1-1-4-5 Definitions that apply to the construction of all Indiana statutes
IC 1-1-5 Effect of Repeal; Reservation of Legislative Authority
IC 1-1-7 Interpretation of Registered Mail as Certified Mail
IC 4 STATE OFFICES AND ADMINISTRATION
IC 4-1-1 Fiscal Year
IC 4-1-8 State Requests for Social Security Numbers
IC 4-13-2 Financial Reorganization Act of 1947
IC 4-13-2-19 Reversion of funds at end of state fiscal year
IC 34-28-5-4 Infractions defined
IC 35-50 Criminal Sentencing Structure
IC 36-1 Home Rule for Local Government Units
(1) Sentence Structure
Use short, simple sentences. Avoid excessive use of dependent clauses, parallel clauses, compound sentences, and other complex sentence structures.
(2) Subject of Sentence
Unless it is clear from the context, use as the subject of each sentence the person or entity to whom a power, right, or privilege is granted or upon whom a duty, obligation, or prohibition is imposed.
Use the present tense. However, when it is necessary to express a time relationship (such as when there is a condition precedent to the operation of the law), state the facts that are concurrent with the operation of the law as present facts and the facts precedent to its operation as past facts.
Example: If a person has finished the training, the person may . . .
When the future tense is appropriate, use "will".
Example: If the director determines that the computer system will cause problems, the director shall . . .
Use the indicative mood.
Don't say: Say:
The report shall include . . . The report must include . . .
A person shall be entitled . . . A person is entitled . . .
Use the active voice whenever possible.
In rare instances the passive voice may be used, such as when the subject of the sentence is the focus of some action to be implicitly taken by another person who is not mentioned in the sentence.
Example: A person who commits a Class D felony shall be imprisoned.
(6) Number: Singular vs. Plural
Use the singular instead of the plural, since singular words apply to several persons or things as well as to one person or thing.
To the extent possible, avoid words importing gender.
Be consistent in the use of language throughout the legislative measure. Do not use the same word or phrase to convey different meanings. Do not use different language to convey the same meaning.
Be consistent in the arrangement of comparable provisions. Arrange sections containing similar material in the same way.
Omit unnecessary words.
If a word has the same meaning as a phrase, use the word.
Use the shortest sentence that conveys the intended meaning.
(10) Commanding, Authorizing, Forbidding, and Negating
To create a right, say "is entitled to".
To create discretionary authority, say "may".
To create a duty, say "shall".
To create a condition precedent, say "must".
To negate a right, say "is not entitled to".
To negate discretionary authority, say "may not".
To negate a duty or a mere condition precedent, say "is not required to".
To create a duty not to act, say "shall not".
[From: Dickerson, F.R., Legal Drafting, West Publishing Company (1981), p.182]
Avoid false imperatives. Avoid using hortatory qualifiers such as "will", "should", and "ought" in the text of a legislative measure.
(11) And; Or; And/Or
"And" usually stands for the conjunctive, connective, or additive; "or" for the disjunctive or alternative. An ambiguity occurs where it is not clear whether the inclusive "or" (A or B, or both) or the exclusive "or" (A or B, but not both) is intended. It is also not always clear whether the several "and" (A and B, jointly or severally) or the joint "and" (A and B, jointly but not severally) is intended. To avoid this ambiguity, say the following as appropriate:
(a) "A or B" where the exclusive is intended.
(b) "A or B, or both" where the inclusive is intended or where jointly or severally is intended.
(c) "A and B" where the conjunctive, connective, or additive is intended.
Never use the term "and/or".
(12) Such; Said
Use the articles "a", "an", and "the" instead of the words "such" or "said". It is appropriate to use "such" to express an example.
Example: The commission may take steps to provide compliance, such as ordering the applicant to submit a verified statement.
Also, do not use "any", "each", "every", "all", or "some" if "a", "an", or "the" can be used with the same result.
(13) Which; That
Use "which" and a comma to introduce a nonrestrictive clause. A nonrestrictive clause is a clause that is not needed to clarify the meaning of the word that it modifies.
Example: The application, which need not be verified, must be signed by the applicant.
Use "that" to introduce a restrictive clause modifying the nearest antecedent. A restrictive clause is a clause that is needed to make clear the meaning of the word that it modifies.
Example: An application to renew a license that has been revoked must be signed by the applicant.
(14) Limitations, Exceptions, and Conditions
Limitations or exceptions to the coverage of the legislative measure or conditions placed on its application should be described in the first part of the legislative measure--i.e. at the beginning of the title, article, chapter, section, or noncode provision [see Bills, Page 22]. If they are numerous, notice of their existence should be given in the first part of the legislative measure, and they should be stated separately later in the legislative measure.
If a provision is limited in its application or is subject to an exception or condition, it generally promotes clarity to begin the provision with a statement of the limitation, exception, or condition or with a notice of its existence. Avoid using "notwithstanding" to express a limitation of a general provision of the same legislative measure.
The purpose of tabulation is to break down the elements of a sentence into readily identifiable components as an aid to understanding. Break a sentence into its parts and present them in tabular form only if this makes the meaning substantially clearer. There are two basic types of tabulation, listing and sentence. It is important to remember, however, that no matter which style is used, the introductory language preceding the tabulated material must apply to all of the elements because those elements are a part of the whole thought.
Often it is possible to use either style of tabulation. Use the style that works best within the context.
Avoid beginning a new sentence after a tabulation. If the sentence is not a part of the tabulated series, it is better practice to draft it as a separate subsection or section.
The first style of tabulation is known as a listing. As the name implies, each element is listed after the introductory clause and begins with a capital letter and ends with a period. When a listing is used, the introductory language must include the words "as follows" or "the following".
Example: Sec. 1. The application must include the following information:
(1) The applicant's name.
(2) The name of the sponsoring agency.
(3) The name of the city in which the event is to take place.
Each listed element can have subelements, but each element must end with a period even if it has subelements.
The second style of tabulation is known as sentence style. This style is best envisioned by thinking of a sentence with a series of elements where each element is given a line of its own, where each element has some type of designation before it, and where the commas are replaced with semicolons. Use the following sentence for an example: "To be entitled to vote, a person must be a resident of Indiana, at least eighteen (18) years of age, and registered with the county election board.". When this sentence is tabulated as follows, it is easier for the reader to quickly identify the three qualifying elements:
Sec. 1. To be entitled to vote, a person must be:
(1) a resident of Indiana;
(2) at least eighteen (18) years of age; and
(3) registered with the county election board.
Note that the conjunction always follows the next to last element in the tabulation, and that the only permissible conjunctions are "and" or "or". The conjunction, however, applies to each element in the tabulation and not just to the last two elements.
This style of tabulation can be expanded with each of the elements having subelements.
Listings Without Numbering or Lettering
The numbering or lettering of a listing of elements when using listing style is not required when:
(a) the elements may be listed in order (such as alphabetical order, numerical order, or Indiana Code cite order);
(b) it is likely that the listing will be frequently modified; and
(c) there is no need to cite to a particular element within the listing.
Example: Sec. 2. The following drugs are controlled substances:
Example: Sec. 1. The following agencies are not abolished:
Department of administration (IC 4-13-1-2 )
Legislative council (IC 2-5-1.1-1)
Regional planning commissions (IC 36-7-7).
A variation of the listing style of tabulation is the style of tabulation used when writing formulas. The style is the same as the listing style except that the word "STEP" followed by the appropriate numeral written out in capital letters is substituted as the first division. This style is most frequently used for tax, school finance, and mathematical computations.
Example: Sec. 2. The amount of credit a taxpayer is entitled to under this chapter is
determined in STEP FIVE of the following formula:
STEP ONE: Add:
(A) the costs paid by the taxpayer for the qualified energy system; and
(B) the cost paid for its installation and materials used in its installation.
STEP TWO: Subtract five hundred dollars ($500) from the sum determined under STEP ONE.
STEP THREE: Multiply the remainder determined under STEP TWO by two (2).
STEP FOUR: Divide the product determined under STEP THREE by three (3).
STEP FIVE: Determine the lesser of the following:
(A) The quotient determined under STEP FOUR.
(B) One thousand dollars ($1,000).
As a general rule, capitalization should be used sparingly.
Do capitalize the following:
(a) The first word in a sentence and the first word in tabulated items in the listing style.
(b) Geographic names.
Examples: Ohio River; Marion County; Hoosier National Forest
(c) Months and days of the week.
(d) Names of streets, roads, parks, and buildings.
Examples: the White House; U.S. Route 50; Garfield Park
(e) Names of nationalities and languages.
Examples: Spanish-speaking people; English language
(f) Political parties and religious denominations.
Examples: the Democratic party; the Republican party; the Methodist church (but, First Methodist Church)
(g) Official titles of organizations and institutions.
Examples: Associated Press; Indiana University; Indiana State Medical Association
(h) Federal and international entities. Always use the correct name of an entity, and do not use acronyms as abbreviations.
Examples: United States Department of the Interior; United States House of Representatives; United States Senate; Federal Bureau of Investigation; World Bank; United Nations
(i) Titles of specific acts, federal laws, and other official documents.
Examples: Equal Rights Amendment; Internal Revenue Code; Social Security Act; the Constitution of the United States; the Constitution of the State of Indiana; Rules of Trial Procedure
(j) References to the "Indiana Code".
(k) Titles of honor and respect, when preceding the name.
Examples: Governor Frank O'Bannon; State Senator Robert D. Garton; State Representative John Gregg; Senator Richard Lugar (but, senator of Indiana); Queen Elizabeth (but, queen of England)
(l) Holidays, religious days, and historic events.
Examples: Fourth of July; Thanksgiving Day; Passover
(m) Titles of books, magazines, newspapers, and periodicals.
Examples: the Indianapolis Star; the Indiana Register
(n) The first word after each "Whereas" in a resolution.
Example: Whereas, The protection and welfare of the children of Indiana is of primary concern . . .
(o) "Class" when referring to a criminal penalty or a type of infraction, such as a "Class B felony".
(p) The second word of hyphenated titles, such as "Community-Board".
(q) The first letter of all significant words in an Indiana Code chapter heading.
Example: Chapter 2. Prohibitions in the Sale and Use of Certain Detergents
(r) Every letter in an Indiana Code title or article heading.
Example: ARTICLE 4. AIR AND WATER POLLUTION CONTROL
Do not capitalize the following:
(a) Words such as "city", "county", "state", etc., when alone or with the word "of" preceding a specific name.
Examples: city of Indianapolis; second class city; the county (but, Lake County)
(b) Directional parts of states and counties (except in surveyors' reports and other such documents).
Examples: northern Indiana; central Tippecanoe County; midwestern states
(c) General designations of buildings.
Examples: library in Fort Wayne (but, the Fort Wayne Library); the county courthouse; the Indianapolis post offices
(d) The words "government" or "federal" (except when "federal" is a part of the name of the agency or statute). However, use "United States" instead of "federal" when referring to a specific entity that does not have "federal" in the name. Always use the correct name of an agency.
Examples: United States government; federal agencies (but, Federal Bureau of Investigation); United States Department of Health and Human Services; United States Social Security Administration
(e) Names of legislative, judiciary, and administrative bodies and government departments, unless the name refers to a federal body, department, etc.
Examples: Indiana general assembly; Indiana senate; department of state revenue; Congress of the United States; Supreme Court of the United States
(f) Official titles of state, county, or municipal officers, agencies, commissions, committees, or funds.
Examples: clerk of the circuit court; board of county commissioners; public employees' retirement fund; commission on the aging and aged; legislative services agency; state general fund
(g) Substitutes for official titles when used without a proper name.
Examples: the governor; the commissioner; the speaker of the house
(h) References to laws on a particular subject.
Examples: motor vehicle laws; federal election laws; federal tax laws (but, Internal Revenue Code)
(i) Names of seasons of the year.
Examples: spring; summer session
If a sentence consists of two independent clauses, each with subject and predicate, use a comma before the conjunction.
Example: The commission shall submit a report, and the governor shall review the report.
If a sentence has a compound predicate, a comma is unnecessary unless required for clarity.
Example: The treasurer shall file the report before June 30 and shall submit copies of the report to each member of the commission.
A comma is used to set off a nonrestrictive adjective clause.
Example: The director, who may not have other employment, is entitled to receive a salary.
A comma is not used to set off a restrictive clause.
Example: The registrar shall assign a student identification number to each student who enters Purdue University.
Enclose a parenthetical phrase or clause with two commas.
Example: The treasurer shall, before June 30 of each fiscal year, submit copies of the report to each member of the commission.
Words, phrases, or clauses in a series are separated by commas, including a comma before the conjunction connecting the last two members of a series.
Example: The report shall be filed with the auditor of state, the treasurer of state, and the state board of tax commissioners. The report must contain all debits, credits, and profits of the corporation.
Adverbial phrases, introductory participial phrases, and introductory, long subordinate clauses should be set off by commas.
Examples: Because of the need for a more effective welfare program, the chairman ordered an extensive study of the present program. Until further notice is given, the present rules remain in effect.
Avoid parentheses except when they are more reliable than commas in setting off a phrase where there is possible uncertainty as to how the ideas that follow the phrase are linked to the ideas that precede it.
Example: When it is necessary to order individuals to active duty (other than for training) without their consent, . . . [See Dickerson, F. Reed, Legislative Drafting, West Publishing Company (1981), p.71]
Parentheses may also be used if necessary to make clear a reference to another statutory provision by indicating the nature of the referenced provision.
Example: IC 35-42-3-2 (kidnapping)
Parentheses should be used to set off an internal reference to the citation where a term is defined.
Example: "System" means:
(1) a computer (as defined in IC 36-8-15-4);
(2) a communications system (as defined in IC 36-8-15-3(1)); or
(3) mobile or remote equipment that is coordinated by or linked with a computer or communications system.
Do not use brackets as punctuation.
The possessive case of a singular or plural noun not ending in "s" is formed by adding an apostrophe and "s".
Examples: attorney's fees; children's hospital; man's; women's; worker's compensation
Although the possessive case of a singular noun ending in "s" or with an "s" sound is formed by adding an apostrophe and "s", this situation should be avoided by redrafting the language.
Example: tires of the bus (NOT bus's tires)
The possessive case of a plural noun ending in "s" or with an "s" sound is formed by adding an apostrophe.
Example: public employees' retirement fund
An apostrophe should not be used after the names of countries and other organized bodies ending in "s" or after words more descriptive than possessive.
Example: department of veterans affairs; prosecuting attorneys council
In compound nouns, the "'s" or "s'" is added to the element nearest the object possessed.
Examples: attorney general's appointments; secretary of state's agenda; soldiers and sailors' home
Generally, only use semicolons in the sentence style of tabulation.
Example: A school corporation may grant a teacher, on written request, a sabbatical for improvement of professional skills through:
(1) advanced study;
(2) work experience;
(3) teacher exchange programs; or
(4) approved educational travel.
Use a colon to introduce a series.
Example: THE FOLLOWING ARE REPEALED: IC 17; IC 18; IC 19.
Use a colon to introduce a long quotation.
(25) Quotation Marks
Quotation marks should be used only to enclose defined words or phrases. Commas, periods, and question marks should be placed outside the quotation marks unless the punctuation is included as part of the quoted material. Commas are also placed outside quotation marks when in the middle of a sentence.
Examples: As used in this section, "ad valorem tax" means . . .
"Revenue bonds", as used in this subsection, refers to bonds issued under IC 36-9-31-10.
Avoid hyphens, because many words that once were hyphenated are now written as one word or as two words without a hyphen. It is easier to perform computer searches if hyphens are not used.
Examples: statewide attorney general reelect lieutenant governor bipartisan vice president cooperate
(27) Expression of Numbers
Integers, dollar amounts, percentages, and fractions (except dates, times, and numbers within the text of a bill digest or a resolution) should be expressed in words followed by figures in parentheses. Style policy is less restrictive for the digest and resolutions, and journalistic style normally should be followed.
Style for Numbers Expressed in Words
Examples: twenty-four (24)
one hundred ten (110)
eight hundred ninety-eight (898)
one thousand six hundred fifty (1,650)
eighty-four thousand (84,000)
Numbers may be expressed in figures if length would prohibit expressing them in both words and figures,
especially in tables.
Examples: County government share ..................... $15
State government share .......................... 34
Percentages are preferred to fractions whenever practicable.
Don't say: Say:
one-half (1/2) fifty percent (50%)
three-fourths (3/4) seventy-five percent (75%)
Compound fractions should be expressed as follows:
three and one-half (3 1/2)
four and three-eighths (4 3/8)
Decimals are preferred whenever practicable.
Examples: one-tenth of one percent (0.1%)
sixty-two and one-half percent (62.5%)
Express ordinals in words only.
Examples: first (NOT 1st); twenty-second (NOT 22nd)
Use of "One"
When "one" is used as a pronoun, it should not be followed by a numeral in parentheses.
Example: He was the only one to attend the meeting.
However, when "one" is used as a number, it should be followed by a numeral in parentheses.
Example: The precinct shall nominate one (1) delegate.
When a date includes month, day, and year, the year is set off by commas, but when the date includes only the month and year, no comma is used.
Examples: June 30 October 30, 1978
June 1984 April, May, and June 1985
Generally, time should be expressed in figures. Avoid using terms such as "local time" and "prevailing local time", and avoid referring to time zones, since IC 1-1-8.1 and federal law define official time. It is not necessary to use "midnight" as the expiration time for a term or license since these will automatically expire at midnight unless some other time is indicated.
Examples: 6 a.m.; 4:30 p.m.; midnight (NOT 12:00 midnight); noon (NOT 12:00 noon)
Examples: one hundred sixty (160) degrees Fahrenheit
ninety (90) degrees Celsius
Monetary amounts should be expressed as written words followed by a dollar sign and figures in parentheses. Dollar amounts that are whole do not need decimal points and zeroes.
Examples: one dollar ($1)
ninety-seven dollars ($97)
two hundred dollars ($200)
three thousand five hundred dollars ($3,500)
When using dollars and cents, use the word "and" and decimal points to separate dollars and cents.
Examples: eighty-five cents ($0.85)
five hundred twenty-five dollars and fifty cents ($525.50)
six hundred seventy-five thousand nine hundred eighty-two dollars and eleven cents ($675,982.11)
Use the STEP method rather than numerators and denominators [see Formulas, Page 14].
Use "at least", "less than", and "years of age" when referring to age.
Example: An applicant must be at least fifteen (15) years of age but less than eighteen (18) years of age.
Example: A person who is at least sixty-five (65) years of age is entitled to a pension.
When referring to the state fiscal year, use "beginning July 1" and "ending June 30" (See IC 4-1-1-1).
Example: The appropriation covers the state fiscal year beginning July 1, 2000, and ending June 30, 2001.
(28) Indiana; State
Do not use "the state of Indiana".
Use "Indiana" when referring to the geographic entity.
Example: resident of Indiana
Use "state" when referring to the political entity.
Example: departments of state government; real property owned by the state
THE DAILY SCHEDULE
The Indiana Code is organized by Title, Article, Chapter, and Section. Enter the numbers of the code cite you would like to view in the corresponding boxes.
(Only the Title Box must be filled).