how to change the current laws/bill?

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how to change the current laws/bill?

how do you change an existing law, for example, lets say if i wanted to change the laws regarding the sentencing of prisoners and wanted the punishment to be more severe, what would i have to do to get that started, or how would i make a petition to change it?

Asked on May 16, 2009 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In California, you can put a "proposition" for a change in the law, on the election ballot by a process called initiative.  Since criminal sentencing is a matter of statute law, not the state constitution, you would need a number of signatures equal to 5% of the total number of votes cast for all candidates in the last election for governor.

You can also ask your representatives in the state legislature to introduce a proposed law that does what you want, and if one of your legislators agrees, you don't need a petition.

In any political question like this, there is strength in numbers.  It would take you the better part of a lifetime, obviously, to get enough petition signatures on your own.  And elected officials, like those in the legislature, listen much more closely when a large number of people who can vote for their re-election -- or not! -- are speaking with one voice.  Find an existing group of people that would likely share your point of view and get involved.  Or start your own group, like the woman whose child was killed by a drunk driver, and then founded MADD.  One person can change the world!


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