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The Path to Maine Lawmaking - Maine Department of the Secretary of State

Sample Case Studies  


Students may choose one of several possible scenarios. They must decide whether action to correct the problem would prompt a change in current law or require new legislation. In groups they must decide how to proceed with their proposal and prepare documentation to explain what they would do to have their voices heard .

Students may contact legislators or appropriate state agencies, conduct interviews with affected parties, search online for supporting evidence, and/or seek information from other states' statutes to collect relevant and convincing evidence.

Example 1: Your best friend has been seriously injured as a pedestrian in an automobile accident. The driver of the vehicle was a repeat offender who was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident. However, current law does not permit the driver's past record to be considered. You think the driver's record should be allowed to be entered into the court case.

Example 2: You have just learned that the Legislature has a bill before it to require licensing for all operators of ATVs regardless of age. You and your friends love to ride your ATVs on your property after school and on weekends and are upset that the licensing would apply to you; it will take time and money to comply with the proposed law and you don't think it's fair to ruin your leisure activity that way.

Example 3: The Legislature is considering a series of new designs for the state's license plates. You and your classmates have never liked that red lobster and are eager to contribute a drawing for the new plates. You think a lighthouse would be a fitting design but you have heard that the committee of jurisdiction is leaning toward another state symbol, the chickadee.

Example 4: You understand that the Legislature is considering a bill that would not allow teen drivers to have passengers in their vehicle for the first 6 months of their licensing period. You and your friends think this is a good idea and want to voice your support.

Example 5: It has been proposed in the local newspaper that square dancing should become the state dance. You and your friends and family have discussed this and think the legislature has more important things to do than to debate the choice of a state dance.

Example 6: You and your friends have become increasingly concerned about the welfare of marine life along the coast of Maine. In fact, you understand that sea birds are dying of strangulation because they mistake helium balloons for “food” and then get the pieces of rubber lodged in their throats. You think that Maine should not allow people to send helium balloons into the air over coastal areas.

Example 7: Recently you and your family attended a circus and you were appalled at the poor treatment of the circus animals, particularly the elephants. You talked with your family about the treatment that you observed and they told you there wasn't anything you could do. But, you were not content with that answer.