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Legislation is the process or product of enrolling, enacting, or
promulgating Promulgation is the formal proclamation or the declaration that a new statute, statutory or administrative law is enacted after its final Enactment of a bill, approval. In some jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions, this additional step is necessary b ...
law by a
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
,
parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of ...

parliament
, or analogous
governing body A governing body is a group of people that has the authority to exercise governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social o ...

governing body
. Before an item of legislation becomes law it may be known as a
bill Bill(s) may refer to: Common meanings * Banknote A banknote (often known as a bill (in the US and Canada), paper money, or simply a note) is a type of negotiable instrument, negotiable promissory note, made by a bank or other licensed author ...
, and may be broadly referred to as "legislation" while it remains under consideration to distinguish it from other business. Legislation can have many purposes: to regulate, to authorize, to outlaw, to provide (funds), to sanction, to grant, to declare, or to restrict. It may be contrasted with a non-legislative act by an
executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government) The executive (short for executive branch or executive power) is the part of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organiz ...
or administrative body under the authority of a legislative act.


Overview

Legislation to design or amend a bill requires identifying a concrete issue in a comprehensive way. When engaging in legislation, drafters and policy-makers must take into consideration the best possible avenues to address problem areas. Possible solutions within bill provisions might involve implementing sanctions, targeting indirect behaviors, authorizing agency action, etc. Legislation is usually proposed by a member of the legislature (e.g. a member of Congress or Parliament), or by the executive, whereupon it is debated by members of the legislature and is often amended before
passage Passage may refer to: Places * Passage West, a town in County Cork, Ireland * Passage: 19th century English name for Pasaia (''Pasaje'', or ''Pasage'') People *Joseph Maldonado-Passage (born 1963), American former zoo operator and convicted fel ...
. Most large legislatures enact only a small fraction of the bills proposed in a given session. Whether a given bill will be proposed is generally a matter of the legislative priorities of the government. Legislation is regarded as one of the three main functions of government, which are often distinguished under the doctrine of the
separation of powers Separation of powers refers to the division of a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' ...
. Those who have the formal power to ''create'' legislation are known as
legislator A legislator (also known as a deputy or lawmaker) is a person who writes and passes law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unifie ...
s; a
judicial branch The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government i ...
of government will have the formal power to ''interpret'' legislation (see
statutory interpretation Statutory interpretation is the process by which courts interpret and apply legislation. Some amount of interpretation is often necessary when a case involves a statute. Sometimes the words of a statute have a plain and a straightforward meanin ...
); the
executive branch The executive (short for executive branch or executive power) is the part of government that enforces law, and has Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. In political systems based on the principle ...
of government can act only within the powers and limits set by the law, which is the instrument by which the fundamental powers of government are established. The function and procedures are primarily the responsibility of the legislature. However, there are situations where legislation is made by other bodies or means, such as when
constitutional law Constitutional law is a body of law which defines the role, powers, and structure of different entities within a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. ...
or
secondary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary legislation, the latter also called delegated legislation or subordinate legislation, are two forms of law, created respectively by the legislatur ...
is enacted. Such other forms of law-making include
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...

referendum
s,
orders in council An Order in Council is a type of legislation in many countries, especially the Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that ...
or
regulations Regulation is the management of complex systems A complex system is a system composed of many components which may interaction, interact with each other. Examples of complex systems are Earth's global climate, organisms, the human brain, infra ...
. The term ''legislation'' is sometimes used to include these situations, or the term ''
primary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary legislation, the latter also called delegated legislation or subordinate legislation, are two forms of law, created respectively by the legislatur ...
'' may be used to exclude these other forms.


Public participation in legislation

All modern constitutions and fundamental laws contain and declare the concept and principle of popular sovereignty, which essentially means that the people are the ultimate source of public power or government authority. The concept of popular sovereignty holds simply that in a society organized for political action, the will of the people as a whole is the only right standard of political action. It can be regarded as an important element in the system of checks and balances and representative democracy. Therefore, the people are implicitly entitled even to directly participate in the process of law-making. This role of linking citizens and their government and legislators is closely related to the concept of legitimacy. The exercise of democratic control over the legislative system and the policy-making process can occur even when the public has only an elementary understanding of the national legislative institution and its membership. Civic education is a vital strategy for strengthening public participation and confidence in the legislative process.


Dead letter

The term "
dead letter The term dead letter has several usages, each deriving from the notion of mail The mail or post is a system for physically transporting postcard A postcard or post card is a piece of thick paper or thin Card stock, cardboard, typically rect ...
" refers to legislation that has not been revoked, but that has become inapplicable or obsolete, or is no longer enforced.Dead Letter
/ref>


See also

*
Rule according to higher law The rule according to a higher law is a statement which expresses that no law may be enforced by the government unless it conforms with certain universal principles (written or unwritten) of fairness, morality, and justice. Thus, ''the rule accor ...


References


External links

*
Most-Viewed Bills on Congress.gov
{{Authority control * Politics Legislatures Law by type