Yesterday I talked about an amendment to the immigration bill. Lest anyone be unclear on how legislation is made, I point you to a bill that passed through the house in the 108th congress (that's the last session; this is the 109th), H.R.4077, the Piracy Deterrence in Education Act of 2004. The act addresses computer piracy — that is, copyright infringement — and looks particularly at peer-to-peer file-sharing networks:
TITLE I--PIRACY DETERRENCE IN EDUCATION
SEC. 109. SENSE OF THE CONGRESS ON NEED TO TAKE STEPS TO PREVENT ILLEGAL ACTIVITY ON PEER-TO-PEER SERVICES.
But now look down at the bottom, after all the sections of "Title I". There we find "Title II", quoted here in its entirety (it's short):
SEC. 201. DESIGNATION OF NATIONAL TREE.
'Sec. 305. National tree
(a) DESIGNATION- Chapter 3 of title 36, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
'The tree genus Quercus, commonly known as the oak tree, is the national tree.'.
(b) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS- Such title is amended--
(1) in the table of contents for part A of subtitle I, by striking ', and March' and inserting 'March, and Tree'; (2) in the chapter heading for chapter 3, by striking ', AND MARCH' and inserting 'MARCH, AND TREE'; and (3) in the table of sections for chapter 3, by adding at the end the following: '305. National tree.'.
Passed the House of Representatives September 28, 2004.
If you look at the version that was originally introduced, you'll see that "Title II" is not there. Someone wanted the oak designated as the "national tree", and got it stuck on as an amendment to an anti-computer-piracy bill.
And that, Virginia, is how laws are made.