What is the Mock Legislature?
The Mock Legislature is a fantastic opportunity designed especially for middle and high school students who want to get firsthand experience of the legislative process.
It has been designed to be a highly interactive workshop with students adopting the role of a state senator and debating actual legislation, complete with the decorum and customs of the Missouri Senate. (Adult leaders will be on hand to facilitate the process and coach students.)
A unique aspect of the MCC Mock Legislature is that students are asked to consider and apply Catholic social teachings to these public policy issues, just as the Church calls upon Catholic legislators to do.
The MCC hopes that students gain an appreciation for how principles of Catholic social teaching apply to a vast array of real-life situations and that this experience will encourage students to take an active role in their government.
We hope students from your school will participate. Gather your friends and join us — remember participation in the Annual Assembly and lunch are free.
Instructions for Mock Legislature
The Mock Legislature will be from 1:15 p.m. – 3 p.m. in the Senate Chamber, Third Floor, State Capitol. Click the titles below to download a PDF of the information sheet. The five issues to be discussed include:
- Thanksgiving Protection Act, House Bill 37
- Requiring Photo ID to Vote, Senate Bill 27
- Federal Comprehensive Immigration Reform, S. 744
- Teachers/Firearms on School Premises, House Bill 70
- Sales Tax for Transportation, SJR 16
Senate Rules for Mock Legislature
- Youth participants will play the role of the “senators”. All senators should be seated at their desks during the debate. Copies of bills and a senator district number will be on each desk.
- All senators are expected to be courteous and respectful during the debate.
- When not debating, students will sit on the benches/chairs in the Senate Chamber. All present in the chamber must be quiet during debate.
- Microphones will not be used during debate and should not be handled at all. Senators should speak loud enough for the entire chamber to hear.
- The presiding officer will open the session with a prayer and the pledge of allegiance.
- If a senator wishes to speak, he/she must first be recognized. A senator is recognized by standing and holding number clearly for the president to see. Do not say anything until you are recognized to speak by the president.
- To recognize a senator, the president states: For what purpose does Senator from the __ District rise?
- Senator may respond with the following options:
- In favor of the bill: I rise to speak in favor of the bill. [You are recognized.] The President will ask you to then state your reasons.
- In favor of the bill generally, but not certain parts: I rise to speak in favor of the bill with exceptions. [You are recognized.] President will then ask you to state your reasons.
- Against the bill: I rise in opposition to the bill. [You are recognized.] President will ask you to state your reasons.
- Asking a question or seeking clarification: I rise to question the sponsor of the bill. [You are recognized.] President will ask you to state your question.
- To enter into debate with another senator: I wish to inquire of the senator from the #___ District. [President will ask if the first senator will yield to questions. If so, president will allow the senator to proceed.] If two senators have permission to be engaged in dialogue/debate, they may speak with each other spontaneously without further guidance from the president.
- Whenever a senator is finished speaking, the senator should sit down at the desk.
- To allow as much debate time as possible, senators should keep remarks brief and to the point (2-3 minutes). To avoid one senator monopolizing the debate, the president will recognize other senators who want to speak on the bill before again recognizing other senators who have already spoken.
- To start debate on a bill, the president will recognize the bill sponsor who will move that the bill be taken up for consideration and adoption. The bill sponsor will then give a brief description of the bill. Senators may then rise to be recognized by the president to speak on or debate the bill.
- The sponsor of the bill will answer any technical questions that the senators may have. Facilitators will also be available in the chamber to answer any questions the students may have about the legislative process. If any student (a senator or someone watching the debate) has a question about process, please raise your hand and a facilitator will come as quickly as possible.
- If debate is clearly one-sided, the president may seek to recognize senators who are on the opposite side: Does any senator rise to speak in (favor or opposition) to this bill?
- The debate will end when the president determines discussion is sufficient that understanding of the bill is clear and a vote can be taken. We will now vote on Bill #___. All those in favor of Bill #__ entitled _________ please stand. (Count is taken.) All opposed, please stand. (Count is taken.) Bill (passes or fails).
- After the vote is taken on a bill, the bill sponsor will offer concluding remarks relevant to Church teaching/position on the issue.
NOTE: Because of the lack of time to train participants to carry out these functions, facilitators will be assigned to perform the tasks of president pro-tem, bill sponsor and floor leader.
Click here to download the Mock Legislature packet.