Your responsibility as an E-Legislator will now shift from writing legislation to reviewing legislation as a member of a committee. You and your classmates will read bills written by other students around the country. Members of your committee will discuss and evaluate each piece of legislation.
It is not easy for a large group of people to reach agreement. It is even harder when the group is discussing some of the controversial issues that may arise in your committee meetings. Below are a few suggestions from experienced members of Congress about working effectively in a committee.
- Critically review each bill - Before beginning your group discussion, read through each bill. Use the Bill Review Guide provided by your teacher to take notes as you read.
- Communicate your ideas effectively - When discussing each bill with the other members of your committee, keep your comments short and to the point. Use your notes to refer to specifics from the bill you are discussing. Above all, be calm and polite at all times.
- Create alliances - You may want to talk to other members of the committee who share your political ideology. This way you can group together to support bills that interest you.
- Build consensus - Usually the word you might hear when making decisions is compromise. However, compromise implies that each person must give up one thing to gain another. Consensus, on the other hand, is an agreement reached by a whole group. Even if your committee is unable to reach consensus on a bill, you may be able to reach consensus on when it is time to vote or whether to stop discussing a certain issue.