Students in Professor Heather Evans’ Legislative Behaviors Processes course spent Thursday role playing as several U.S. senators as they debated, approved, and failed legislation targeting various issues facing America.
The purpose of the classroom exercise was to teach the students how legislation is introduced, debated, blocked, or approved in the US Senate. The students did research on the lawmakers and proposed the legislation that would take to the Senate floor. Professor Evans reminded the class of the basic Senate rules and then let the students begin their mock session.
The nine senators even endured a brief filibuster by Sen. “Ted Cruz,” who was stopped from reading “Green Eggs and Ham” by a strong cloture vote by his colleagues. The vote could have been close, but the student portraying Sen. “Lindsey Graham” missed class, which gave Democrats a slight edge on the vote count for all the legislation that Majority Leader “Mitch McConnell” actually placed on the Senate floor for vote.
In a rare act of bipartisanship, “McConnell” and “Chuck Schumer” sponsored a bill to curb smoking by raising the age to purchase cigarettes from 18 to 21. The legislation passed although Sen. “Bernie Sanders” decried the bill because it would step on people’s rights. Sanders said health concerns would be addressed if the Senate would simple stop ignoring his heath care legislation. Sen. “Joni Ernst” joined in the debate in support of the tobacco age bill. The bill passed by a slim margin.
The faux senators unanimously approved a bill that would provide a certificate to veterans to boost their education goals by allowing them better access to college. Sen. “Elizabeth Warren” spoke at length about how the bill would shore up the middle class and working people. Warren never fully answered Sen. “Kamala Harris’s” question about what is truly keeping veterans from higher education.
Sen. “Ted Cruz” spoke in favor of funding a student protection bill that would cost $5.7 million to keep schools safe from gun violence by requiring students to wear IDs and the use of metal detectors as well. The bill was approved, and so was another bill that “Schumer” sponsored to ban assault rifles and allow the government to take those weapons. The bill was approved after the filibuster was ended.
After debate on other legislation ended. Professor Evans, who was Vice President “Mike Pence” at the start of the class, asked the students to recall which senators voted for and against bills and if those lawmakers would have acted as the real legislators on similar issues.
Evans also asked media services to film the mock senate so the students can watch themselves and see how the exercise was carried out. The students enjoyed the event and they look forward to discussing the results soon.