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There Ought To Be a Law (or Ordinance) Project


Participating in government is the right of every citizen and is relatively easy to do. Most municipalities—from small towns to large cities—allow citizens to submit proposals for new municipal ordinances or, less frequently, petitions to overturn or repeal outdated ordinances. Go online or pick up a copy of your municipality’s ordinances from city hall. Take some time to review these ordinances, particularly those that are of greatest interest to you. Can you identify an area in which you think an additional ordinance needs to be passed (e.g., an ordinance that allows the use of skateboards on city park paths)? Or perhaps there is an ordinance that needs to be repealed—some municipalities prohibit riding bicycles on sidewalks, while other cities require riders under the age of sixteen to ride only on sidewalks. In this project, you will become a civic advocate.

Determine whether you wish to petition city council for passage of a new ordinance or the repeal of a dated ordinance.

Once you have identified the ordinance you wish to pass or repeal, write a sample ordinance using other ordinances in the municipal code as a guide. You may also wish to ask an adult with experience in the law or government to assist you should he or she have the time to volunteer.

While there is no requirement that you actually submit your proposed ordinance to the council, if that were to be the case, you would be required to explain to the members of the city council and the audience attending the council meeting why the ordinance makes good sense. Create a five-minute presentation that could be delivered at a council (it should be at least 500 written words). If possible, create a companion PowerPoint or computer presentation with images that help you make the case for passing or repealing the ordinance in question.

  • Sample ordinance or petition for the passage of a new or repeal of an existing ordinance
  • Oral presentation describing for council why the ordinance should be passed or repealed
  • Multimedia presentation that reinforces your position

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