Law put into effect by the state or federal government (in contrast to common law, case law, and administrative law). A statute begins as a bill proposed or sponsored by a member of the legislature, and if approved by both houses of the legis lature, it is signed into law at the executive level. Statutes apply to specific situations, such as prohibiting a certain act, or can create a new governmental power. Statutes are often created in response to a new criminal pheno menon or to explain existing law. For example, statutes have been recently passed regarding identity theft and a number of computer crimes.