What is a Law New?

A law new is legislation proposed, debated and passed by Congress or another legislative body. Once passed, it becomes an official new rule that governs people’s behavior in a given country or society. Think of it as a class project where students propose different ideas and ultimately agree on one to make an official new rule that everyone will have to follow. A law can also be called a statute, and it can have many different types of content.

This month, laws that went into effect in January across the country impacted citizens on topics ranging from voting access to homeless camping. Click through the slideshow to learn about the new laws that went into effect and how they affect you.

Most new legislation is first introduced as a bill, which is the formal name for legislative proposals. Bills are typically introduced by a sitting member of Congress or can be suggested during an election campaign. They are numbered in the House or Senate according to their order of introduction, and they become public laws, or acts, when approved by Congress and signed by the President. After a bill has been formally introduced, it’s assigned to a committee to research, discuss and amend the proposal. The committee staff then writes a committee report that describes the bill’s scope and explains why it is being recommended for approval.