Take the easy way out. I always do! It's easy!
Tom Haverford

"How a Bill Becomes a Law" is the third episode of season 5 of the NBC television series Parks and Recreation. It originally aired on October 4, 2012 to 3.53 million viewers.

Storyline Edit

Leslie Knope is video chatting with Ben Wyatt, showing off her new council chambers that comes with her own private bathroom. However, fellow Councilman Jeremy Jamm interrupts the call when she discovers he's using her bathroom. He is frustrated he doesn't have a private bathroom of his own and does not think she deserves an office with a bathroom, seeing as she's the newest member.

On Pawnee Today, Joan Callamezzo criticizes Leslie and the City Council for being unable to pass any significant legislature that would benefit Pawnee. Leslie responds with her new bill to extend the local community pool hours during the summer so the swim team can practice for longer. However, Tom Haverford discovers that Jamm intends to switch his vote from yes to no, making the count 3–2 against passing the bill. Leslie subsequently goes to Councilman Milton to try to get him to switch his vote, however, he is later unable to sit in on the council meeting. Leslie is therefore forced to make a deal with Jamm – she agrees to give up her office and parking spot, in exchange for Jamm's vote. The bill passes and becomes law, as Leslie fulfills her promise to the Pawnee Porpoises Swim Team. Thankful for Tom's quick thinking, Leslie offers up her new office as the home of Tom's Smoke House. However, after trying his first cigar, he discovers that he doesn't like them.

Meanwhile, Chris Traeger, inspired by his therapist and no longer relying on his mother and running coach for counsel, has started a 311 phone service. The Parks and Recreation Department employees are taking calls from concerned citizens who want to voice complaints and requests to their local government and are then directing their calls to the proper city department. Ron Swanson receives a call from a local citizen named Diane Lewis, who is trying to get someone from the Public Works Department to come to her house and fix a pot hole. Ron takes it upon himself to fix the hole, taking Andy Dwyer with him. At Diane's house, Andy becomes friendly with Diane's children, while Ron and Diane begin to connect, a connection Andy notices. After fixing the hole, Ron is humiliated by Diane's children, who apply a ridiculous amount of face paint on Ron's face. Andy later lets Diane know that Ron is somewhat into her, so she visits him as City Hall to thank him for his efforts and to ask him out, which he gladly accepts.

In a B plot, Ben and April Ludgate, still in Washington D.C., decide to spontaneously drive to Pawnee for the weekend to see their respective partners. However, due to a Presidential motorcade, the car park exit is closed and the pair are forced to bond with each other whilst stuck sitting in Ben's car. Upon being able to go however, Ben's car runs out of gas and they are forced to push the vehicle to the nearest parking bay. Ben suggests they take a flight to Pawnee the following weekend, his shout.


Special Guest StarsEdit

Guest StarsEdit


  • Yvans Jourdain as Councilman Howser
  • Autumn Butler as Autumn
  • Tyler Anderson as Parking Attendant
  • Rylan Lee as Ivy
  • Sadie Salazar as Zoe
  • Cameron Krugman as Mason
  • Hailey C. Sole as Tina


A gallery of episode photos can be viewed here.


Leslie: I am big enough to admit I am often inspired by myself.

Leslie: Councilman Milton was first elected as a city counselor in 1948 as a member of the Dixiecrat party. Their platform? De-integrate baseball.

Councilman Jamm: I'm gonna drop my liquids in here and drop my solids down the hall.
Leslie: Ew, no.
Councilman Jamm: Okay. Your loss.
Leslie: How?

Councilman Jamm: I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve got irritable bowel syndrome.

Ben: I’m excited to bond with April. She’s like the little sister I never had. Because the little sister I do have is normal and not terrifying.

Ron: Diane, for potholes you want to speak with public works. I understand you’ve tried them four times. Government is inefficient and should be dissolved. Please hold while I transfer you.

Ron: Andrew, get your lunch, some water, and a 40-pound bag of asphalt.

Chris: I love this idea and I love me for thinking of it.

Leslie: Not only am I a city counselor, but I'm a city councilor with porpoise.

Leslie: I’m doing a porpoise call, which we used to do when I was part of your group, but it seems like you don’t do it anymore and that’s fine, I’m not weird.

April: Are you busy? And writing Star Trek fan fiction doesn't count.
Ben: Haha. And I finished that last week.

Councilman Jamm: Tom, wanna know why I moved to Pawnee? The two leading industries here are corn syrup and rubber nipples, it is a dentistry jackpot.

Tom: Well, D.D.S. doesn't stand for "Dumb Dumb Stupid".
Councilman Jamm: I like that. I’m gonna steal it. That’s mine now.

Leslie: Ann has told me repeatedly not to get a perm. But Ann's not here. While Ann's away, the mice get perms.

Little girl 1: I'm a princess.
Little girl 2: I'm a mermaid.
Ron: I'm the director of Parks and Recreation.

Tom: Mmm. You can really taste the ignorance.
Councilman Milton: It's pronounced 'anchovies'.

Leslie: The perm must wait. THE...PERM...MUST...WAIT.

Tom: I'm not eating racist salad.

Andy: Can we please make you into a princess?
Ron: No.
Andy: I think it would make Diane happy.
Ron: Why does that matter? Shut up.

Chris: What did you do for her?
Ron: Fixed her pothole.
Chris: Is that a euphemism?

Andy: Ron and Diane, sittin’ in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I. Do you hear that bird?

Councilman Jamm: You got a deal. Can’t wait to drop my kids at the pool. And by kids I mean turds.

Chris: My therapist said I need to be more vocal about appreciating myself. Thank you, Chris. You’re welcome, Chris. I sound insane. I need to call my therapist.