Chapter 1
Introduction


  1. Authority
  2. Functions of Manual
  3. Organization of Manual
  4. Statements of Standards
  5. Acknowledgment


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1. Authority

This manual is prepared by the staff of the Office of the Revisor of Statutes to carry out Minnesota Statutes, section 3C.03, subdivision 4, which provides that the revisor of statutes shall "prepare and issue a bill drafting manual containing styles and forms for drafting bills, resolutions, and amendments."


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2. Functions of Manual

The manual serves several functions. First, it is used by the revisor's office as a text to teach new drafters general methods of drafting legislative bills and the specialties of drafting for the Minnesota legislature. Second, the manual is a ready reference for those who are familiar with Minnesota bill drafting. A wide variety of cases, laws, rules, and principles available in other publications have been collected here. Third, the manual serves as a guide to drafting as a part of the legislative process.

The reader may wish to read other materials on the subject of bill drafting. The bill drafting manuals produced by the legislatures of other states provide perspective and information for comparison.


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3. Organization of Manual

The manual is organized to provide both ready reference and a manual of instruction. A drafter can rapidly locate examples, cases, laws, rules, and principles that may govern a problem. Bills, resolutions, and amendments are treated separately. Practical helps, style suggestions, mechanics, and certain complex subject areas are also treated separately but apply to all legislative documents. This manual includes many examples but any reader can also find a wealth of good examples and a small supply of bad examples in each volume of session laws.

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4. Statements of Standards

A feature of this edition of the manual is a number of brief statements of drafting standards which appear throughout the text. They fall into three classes:

  1. Mandates: provisions that drafts must comply with.
  2. Directives: provisions that drafts should comply with unless the context requires otherwise.
  3. Recommendations: provisions that express the revisor's view of the best form and style of drafting, which drafts should adopt unless the drafter's best judgment requires otherwise.

All the standards are in boldface capital type. They do not attempt to summarize the text of the manual, but rather to emphasize matters discussed in the text. Mandates are preceded by three stars, directives by two, and recommendations by one.

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5. Acknowledgment

This manual has benefited from many suggestions by its users and, in particular, by the members of the Senate Counsel and Research Office and the House Research Office. The revisor's staff thanks all who have given us their help and asks users to continue to give us their comments, criticisms, and suggestions.


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