how to change the current laws/bill?

UPDATED: May 16, 2009

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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


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

Answered 13 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!

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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