The Legislative section involves participants identifying issues for legislation, bill writing, debating, bill presentation, and participation in a legislative body. Participants prepare legislation (bills, or sometimes joint resolutions) in their clubs for consideration, debate, and action at the District and State Conferences. At the District Conference, Hearing Committees consider each bill and take appropriate action. At the State Conference, all bills are heard first in a committee, and some bills then advance to be heard again by a larger audience in the House and/or Senate chambers. Bills that pass both chambers are sent to the Youth Governor for their consideration.

Our goal for our Legislative participants is to acquire valuable experience in writing, researching, and debating mock legislation in a process that closely mirrors the process of our Texas Legislature. This experience increases awareness both of how our state government works and pertinent current events.

Legislative Resources

Writing Your Bill

Select a topics, bills that are successful are topics that the author is passionate about. Bill topics that deal with one specific issue are the best to address and debate. When considering a bill topics they must cover state issues and not federal issues. Once you select a topic it should be check and approved by a club’s student leaders and the adult advisor. A template for your bill is available below. This bill template will already include the parts of the bill that are required. Remember your bill should not be longer than one page. A breakdown of what is need in each page is also below and in the legislative manual.

  1. All bill topics must abide by our values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.
  2. We are honored to use the Capitol facilities in Austin, TX. Bill topics should honor this privilege by being well researched, relevant and respectful.
  3.  Students need to generate a new bill each year.
  4.  All bills need to have ONE author per bill. Exceptions must be cleared by District Director, State Director and/or State Legislative Section Leaders.
  5.  Club advisors must clear bill topic prior to student writing the bill.
  6. Bill topic MUST not be on the Bill Banned List.
  7.  Students must use the bill template provided. You can download it here of the website
  8.  Students must abide by all deadlines provided by District Director and State Director.
  9. Review Legislative Basics at website
  10. Research! Practice!

In our efforts to make the program model the real Legislature as closely as possible, we consider a bill that is either signed by the Governor or vetoed with a subsequent override of the veto to have been “enacted into law” for the following Youth & Government year. Therefore, just as if the real Legislature would not consider a bill that would enact an already existing law, we do not want to consider any bills that would enact laws that we “enacted” in the previous year. This is an extension of the rule that a Youth & Government bill cannot enact a law that already exists.

Banned topics are those topics as it relates to the bills that were passed at the 2023 State Conference. Those bills are now “banned.” The goal is for students to avoid submitting bills that are similar in topic or just modified in some way.

Download and read the bills signed into law at the 2023 YMCA Texas Youth and Government State Conference.

2023 Legislative Bills Signed into Law
Youth Governor Daniel Gonzalez

Bill Number Bill Caption



FS09 An act stopping the use of solitary confinement in Texas state prisons and jails and declaring an emergency.

Bell, Kara-Elisabeth

W.E. Boswell High School


An act prohibiting covered employers from inquiring about an individual’s criminal history information, including running background checks, until after a conditional employment offer has been made and declaring an emergency.

Manz, Eleanor

Imagine International Academy of North Texas

HB049 An act lessening the severity of drug charges on first time offenders under the age of 21 exempting those charged with trafficking and declaring an emergency.

Hooper, Bronson

Duncanville High School

FS02 An act to amend the Texas Family health code for compliance with the Mature Minor Doctrine and declaring an emergency.

Amer, Azal

Greenhill School


  • The heading identifies the type of measure (house bill, senate bill, etc.), the committee assignment, the bill number, the bill author, and the YMCA
    delegation. The student should fill in anything that is an item in gray.
  • Examples: Houston Westside YMCA or Fort Worth Northwest YMCA. To write the heading on the bill template, the student should double-click. The other information will be filled in by the legislative section leaders when the bill is submitted for the state conference.


  • The Caption is that portion of a bill placed at the very beginning which expresses the subject of the bill.
  • It should be a general statement of the content of the act so that proper notice as to the bill’s subject, nature, and contents are given to Legislators and interested parties.
  • A caption cannot be amended in any way that would change the intent of the bill.
  • Examples: An act to mandate all public schools to abolish summer vacation and declaring an emergency


  • Some bills will need definitions depending on the words used in the Caption, Provisions, and/or Penalties.
  • Even though the Definition Section is first on your bill, you will need to come back to this section after you have completed your provisions and penalties.
  • Only words that are technical, unfamiliar, or ambiguous should be defined. If you do not need to include definitions in your bill, when you enter your bill on the template, you will delete that section from your bill template and renumber the sections.


  • The Provision Section of the bill is the most important section of the bill.
  • This is where the law itself will be stated or any change to existing law will be stated. If passed, the bill’s provisions become part of the Texas State Statutes. For that reason, formal language should be used.
  • You should not express your personal opinions in the provisions.
  •  Note that provisions cannot conflict with the caption (intent) of the bill.
  •  Words and phrases to avoid include “would”, “should”, “will”, or any statement not requiring or prohibiting specific actions.
  • Example: “The maximum speed for any motor vehicle traveling on a public roadway in the state of Texas shall be set at fifty miles per hour.”


  • The Penalty Section is optional depending on the specific nature of the bill. Most bills will need penalties to enforce the law that is being established. Any bill that makes an act a crime must provide penalty or penalties.
  •  Determine if your bill needs penalties to enforce the law that it is creating.
  •  Example:
    • 1st Offense: $500 Fine
    • 2nd Offense: $1,000 Fine
    • 3rd Offense and Beyond: $2000 fine for every month past the issue is resolved

Effective Date:

  • The Effective Date listed on the bill template (form) is the effective date that nearly all bills should use, but some bill subjects would be exceptions.
  • Since the Youth and Government Youth Legislature meets and adjourns in February or March, the laws would go into effect in April or May.
  • If your bill changes a course requirement for the public schools in Texas, it would be impossible to add a required course in April or May. Therefore, the effective date for a law like that should be at the beginning of the following school year.

Open the template below that best works for you

Word Bill Template

Google Doc Template

First, check the heading to be sure it is filled out correctly! Next, be sure you used the correct bill template for the current year and not ans old template, or you could be asked to resubmit.

  1. Check the caption for clarity and emergency phrase.
  2. Check to be sure the enacting clause is in place and unchanged.
  3. Check to see if the definitions are necessary and clear. If none are needed, has this section been removed?
  4. Check provisions. They should clearly state what the law will be and should be worded accordingly. Remember that arguments for the bill must not be included in provisions.
  5. Check to be sure that the provisions do not conflict with the caption.
  6. Check to see if penalties are necessary to enforce this law. If penalties are necessary, be sure that the ones listed are appropriate for the violation. If this bill does not require penalties, has this section been removed?
  7. Check the effective date. It should normally read ” Ninety days after the adjournment of the Youth Legislature.” Is that data appropriate for this particular bill or does it need/justify a different date?
  8. Check to be sure that the repealer clause, severability, and emergency clause have not been changed or deleted, etc.
  9. Check to see if the sections are numbered consecutively and correctly. These will need to be corrected if the definitions section and/or the penalties were deleted.
  10. If bill is longer than one page, see if print size can be reduced to fit text on one page.
  11. Confirm that bill has been saved as a word document and that it is saved under the bill author’s (Student’s) name. Following the format prescribed in the header.

A printable pdf is available for download here

Need examples of bills click here. These bills were awarded Outstanding Written Bill at the 2023 YMCA Texas Youth and Government State Conference. When writing your bill please reminder that your bill is require to be no longer than a page long.

Chairperson & Clerk

Another opportunity for Legislative leadership is the Hearing Committee team composed of a Chairperson and Clerk. These teams will be evaluated at the District Conferences. The highest ranked teams will be assigned to serve at the State Conference. Each delegation is require to send 1 chair clerk team for every 15 delegates coming to the state conference. If delegations are smaller than 15, the club are required to provide a chairperson or clerk .

Each member of the Hearing Committee team must still prepare a bill to be presented at the District Conference and at State Conference.

Legislative Appointed Positions

Leadership opportunities for students include Sergeant-at-Arms, Clerks, Chaplain in the House and Senate Chambers. Delegates well suited for these positions may be: delegates who feel a calling to servant leadership and/or who may be more shy during debates but have leadership potential.

2-3 needed per chamber

A Sergeant-at-Arms is the chief enforcement and protocol officer. He or she is responsible for maintaining order in the chamber. The word sergeant is derived from the Latin serviens, which means “servant.” In Texas Government, sergeants are appointed by members of the chamber.

If Sergeants-at-Arms are Legislative delegates, they may be able to present their bills in committee if they wish. However, they are not able to present in chambers so that they can fulfill their Sergeants-at-Arms duties. During sessions and committees, the Sergeants-at-Arms usually assist by:

  • Under the direction of the Speaker, maintaining order in the hall of the chamber and vicinity, including all other rooms in the Capitol assigned to that chamber.
  • Clearing the floor of all persons not entitled to the privileges of the floor at least 30 minutes prior to each session of the chamber.
  • After call is announced, bringing in absent members to the chamber.
  • Screening all notes passed to ensure that they relate to official business and delivering messages to committee chairs when needed.
  • Reporting on committee progress to Section Leaders.
  • Reporting committee needs to Section Leaders.

Minimum of 3 needed per chamber; various roles

Clerks are essential to procedure and serve various roles that keep things in order. The Chair will ask some clerks to read bill captions and amendments as well as to announce proponent and opponent speakers. Other clerks will keep order by tracking time and the movement of bills. All clerks must still write, submit, and present a bill at the District Conference if they are Legislative students. Normally, they will not be able to present their bills at State Conference. During committees at State, clerks serve by doing the following:

  • Assisting at the Legislative office
  • Receiving and recording bills as they come out of committee
  • Performing clerk duties as needed in committee

Duties during sessions may include:

  • Reading bill captions
  • Keeping and calling time
  • Keeping bills in order and organized with cover sheets
  • Collecting Amendment forms, reading them at the Speaker’s request, recording if they pass and attaching them to bills if passed
  • Collecting Proponent and Opponent speaker slips and announcing them at the Speaker’s request
  • Reading motions
  • Conducting and recording the roll
  • Recording all votes
  • Recording/completing the Bill Report and having it delivered to the other chamber

The Chief Clerk will focus on calling roll and maintaining order throughout sessions by organizing proponent/opponent and amendment slips and bills. The Reading Clerk will focus on reading out bill captions and delegate names for speeches. The Calendar Clerk will focus on assisting the Speaker with selecting and organizing bills for the Docket.

1 needed per chamber

The Chaplain gives the invocation during the Opening Session of the chamber and may perform other ceremonial duties as needed. Please remember that unlike other appointed positions with full-time responsibilities, chaplains will debate during session like other delegates. The chaplain is generally responsible for three prayers throughout the weekend at State Conference and should engage actively in the Legislature otherwise.

If you are interested in serving in an appointed position, please email the State Director for State Conference that you are interested in an appointed position.

Legislative Forms to familiarize yourself with

Hearing Committee Forms

Legislative Pro/Con Slips
Legislative Amendment Forms

Evaluations Forms (COMING SOON)

Chair/Clerk Evaluation Form
Committee Delegate Evaluation Form