New Drafter Training | What Does that Mean? Crafting and Using Definitions in Statutes

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NCSL Webinars allow attendees to participate in meetings taking place around the world from the comfort of their desk. They are collaborative, interactive and easy to use.

Most webinars will be recorded for those who are unable to attend the live meeting.

Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014 

This hour-long webinar is meant to introduce new legislative drafters to the topic of using definitions in statutes. The webinar addresses various drafting considerations, including:

  1. How to determine whether it is necessary or appropriate to define a term that appears in a statute.
  2. The different functions that a definition may serve in a statute.
  3. The placement of definitions within the statutes.
  4. Options for structuring definitions.
  5. The pros and cons of defining a term by reference to another statutory definition or a source outside the statutes.
  6. Defining technical terms.
  7. Substantive and artificial definitions and why they should be avoided.
  8. Alternatives to creating a defined term that may be a better drafting choice under certain circumstances.


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  • Angela Alexander, senior legislative counsel with the Texas Legislative Council
    Alexander is a graduate of the The University of Texas School of Law and has been with the council for 16 years. She drafts and reviews legislation and provides legal counsel to members of the Texas Legislature in the areas of insurance regulation, property law, civil practice and remedies and alcoholic beverage regulation. She was one of the four chief revisors of the Texas Insurance Code. In addition to her legislative work, Alexander drafts and reviews contracts entered into by the Texas Legislative Council.

The Legal Services Staff Section (LSSS) would like to thank the NCSL Foundation for State Legislatures for providing an e-learning grant to produce this webinar.