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Florida’s Youth Enact Mock Legislature In House Chambers July 10-13

Ami Neiberger

John Rutledge, (352) 392-1987

TALLAHASSEE—Is Generation Y apathetic? Not this bunch. More than 200 youth from across Florida will hold a mock legislature in the House of Representatives chambers at the Florida Capitol July 10-13, 2000, and they have opinions about everything.

Gun control, abortion, the death penalty, tobacco use and welfare reform are just a few of the hot topics youth delegates will grapple with at 4-H Legislature 2000. Many of the bills relate to youth issues.

It’s a hands-on civics lesson that shows teens how government really works, according to organizers. State legislators and lobbyists volunteer their time to work with the youth early in the week to explain procedures.

“They learn how to interact with people who have strong opinions about things and learn how to talk to real-life people on different sides of the issues,” said John Rutledge, a professor in the University of Florida’s Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences.

A youth planning committee organizes the event. Partnering with young people is important to the 4-H program, which carries “learning by doing” as a key motto.

The youth delegates prepare for the event by researching and drafting bills. Delegates serve as legislators, lobbyists and reporters for a press corps.

The event, now in its 28th year, is sponsored by the 4-H Youth Development Program of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Media Coverage Invited

The Visual:
200+ teens arguing for bills, lobbying and voting in mock legislative sessions.

Wednesday, July 12, 1:15-3:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 13, 9:00-11:30 a.m., 1:00-2:45 p.m., 3:00-4:20 p.m.

Florida State Capitol, House of Representatives Chambers

John Rutledge, (850) 488-9890, phone number at FSU dorm housing 4-H youth.
Ami Neiberger, (352) 846-0996 x237, cellular (352) 213-5654