Legislative Update

By Faith Herndon and Laura Wetsch

This is your weekly update of bills introduced or moving through the legislature. Last week’s blog post listed a variety of bills and their current status.  This update will only describe new legislation or updates on significant bills already introduced. If a bill is moving between committees and/or going nowhere we will not necessarily have updated it for you. Again, many of the listed bills are not necessarily going to be enacted, and all are still subject to being rewritten. Here is this week’s update:

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Help For The Legislative Drafter: Part 2


This column originally appeared in the November 2016 edition of North Carolina Lawyer.

By Laura Graham

In the most recent installment of Writing that Works, I introduced a fairly new resource for legal writers whose work includes drafting statutes and rules. The book, Plain English for Drafting Statutes and Rules,[1] is a slim volume, but it covers a lot of ground. In that column, I drew from the book to highlight three central principles of effective legislative drafting: (1) use simple declarative sentences; (2) punctuate with care; and (3) tabulate with clarity. In this follow-up column, I’ve chosen to highlight two additional principles.

Use “common and known words.” This principle is apparently one of the very first—and most enduring—legislative drafting principles. According to the authors of Plain English for Drafting Statutes and Rules, one of the most influential statements of this principle came in the late eighteenth century, when English jurist and philosopher and Jeremy Bentham wrote:

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By Popular Demand: A Little Help For The Legislative Drafter


I recently received an email from a reader who asked if I knew of any good resources on drafting legislation. At the time, nothing specific came to mind, and I made a note to myself to do some investigating when time permitted. This week, time finally permitted.

I always start these investigations by looking through the hundreds of books on my office shelves.1 I receive exam copies of legal writing books on a weekly basis, and often, if I look patiently, I can find one that meets a particular need. So yesterday, I began skimming titles, looking for something pertaining to legislative drafting. And lo and behold, right there it was: Plain English for Drafting Statutes and Rules.2

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