Students debate bill, push for votes in mock hearing

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) – High school students tried their hand at passing a law at the Illinois Capitol.

Dozens of students came from the district of State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) to Springfield, where they debated a school funding topic in a mock committee hearing. Each student took on a role that would be seen in an actual legislative session.

“My favorite part of today was being a lawmaker and just going around and trying to swing votes my way,” said Watseka Community High School student Noah Burger. “I want to go into politics someday and I think this was very beneficial and it helped me get a new perspective on it. Seeing it from the inside is a lot different than seeing it from the outside.”

“I think it’ll definitely help when it comes to communicating. Later in life, if I want to go into politics, it will definitely give me a jumpstart there,” said Eureka High School student Joel Baer. “It’s just interesting to see everything going on, and I think later on I will be able to know how to make a bigger difference in my community.”

The students came prepared after spending time in the fall debating and working on ideas for a potential bill. They dealt with setbacks that real bills face and worked to make compromises with other students in order to gain votes. Barickman says the experience is valuable.

“We saw the students work together on both sides of the bill and negotiate to try to find a middle ground, the hallmarks of the legislative process,” said Barickman. “I hope they learned a lot about compromise and cooperation, and I think they also learned how difficult it can be to actually pass an idea into law.”

The visit was part of Barickman’s Youth Advisory Council.

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