ULC Drafting Process

Each uniform act is years in the making. The process starts with the Scope and Program Committee, which initiates the agenda of the ULC. It investigates each proposed act, and then reports to the Executive Committee whether a subject is one in which it is desirable and feasible to draft a uniform law. If the Executive Committee approves a recommendation, a drafting committee of commissioners is appointed. Drafting committees meet throughout the year. Tentative drafts are not submitted to the entire ULC until they have received extensive committee consideration.

Draft acts are then submitted for initial debate of the entire ULC at an annual meeting. Each act must be considered section by section, at no less than two annual meetings by all commissioners sitting as a Committee of the Whole. With hundreds of trained eyes probing every concept and word, it is a rare draft that leaves an annual meeting in the same form it was initially presented.

Once the Committee of the Whole approves an act, its final test is a vote by states—one vote per state. A majority of the states present, and no less than 20 states, must approve an act before it can be officially adopted as a Uniform or Model Act.

At that point, a Uniform or Model Act is officially promulgated for consideration by the states. Legislatures are urged to adopt Uniform Acts exactly as written, to “promote uniformity in the law among the states.” Model Acts are designed to serve as guideline legislation, which states can borrow from or adapt to suit their individual needs and conditions.

When drafting is completed on an act, a commissioner’s work has only begun. They advocate the adoption of uniform and model acts in their home jurisdictions. Normal resistance to anything “new” makes this the hardest part of a commissioner’s job. But the result can be workable modern state law that helps keep the federal system alive.

The work of the ULC simplifies the legal life of businesses and individuals by providing rules and procedures that are consistent from state to state. Representing both state government and the legal profession, it has sought to bring uniformity to the divergent legal traditions of more than 50 sovereign jurisdictions, and has done so with significant success.