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Bruce

Senate Rules

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RULES OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
I. Senate Leadership
II. Introducing Legislation
III. Docketing, Debating, and Voting on Legislation & Appointments
IV. Motions
V. Committees
VI. General Senate Rules

 

I. SENATE LEADERSHIP

(a) Before a new session of Congress convenes, each party shall elect within their own caucus/membership their leadership members for the upcoming session in accordance with each party's respective caucus rules and decorum. On the first day of such new session of Congress, each party leader shall announce their party's selections for such leadership positions within the appropriate thread.

(b) LEADERSHIP POSITIONS -- The Majority Party of the Senate is allowed to elect one (1) member to serve as President Pro Tempore, one (1) member to serve as Senate Majority Leader, and one (1) member to serve as Senate Majority Whip. The Minority Party of the Senate is allowed to elect one (1) member to serve as Senate Minority Leader, and one (1) member to serve as Senate Minority Whip. No one player may serve multiple leadership roles at the same time.

(c) PRESIDING OFFICER -- The leadership position designated "President Pro Tempore" is the presiding officer of the United States Senate.

 

II. INTRODUCING LEGISLATION

(a) At the start of the new Session of Congress, members may begin to propose and introduce legislation to the forum designated the "Senate Hopper." If a member wishes to propose any sort of legislation (bill, resolution, ) they must post it into the hopper for it to be considered formally introduced to the Senate for consideration.

(b) WHILE IN THE HOPPER -- While a bill is in the hopper, other members may chose to co-sponsor the legislation, in which case the original author hold the responsibility to add them to the bill. If this is not done, it is the Presiding Officer's responsibility to do so if brought to attention via a point of order during debate of the bill by any member who requested to be added as a co-sponsor and was not added.

(c) All bills must remain in the hopper for no less than twenty-four (24) hours before being eligible to be sent to committee. After twenty-four hours, the presiding officer shall send the bill to its appropriate committee hopper.

(d) If a bill is written primarily or originally by an OOC member of Congress, the member is required to cite such member as a sponsor along with self and give required credit for the work. Failure to comply will result in the bill's inability to be considered permanently.

(e) A plain English summary (PES) is required at the bottom of all proposed legislation for all complex legislation. Any bill without a plain English summary at the end of the bill will be ineligible to be docketed. Any bill found not to be complying shall be removed from the docket if being considered. The admin in charge of Congress shall be the one to determine if a piece of legislation is complex enough to require a PES.

 

III. DOCKETING, DEBATING, AND VOTING ON LEGISLATION & APPOINTMENTS

(a) DOCKET -- It is the responsibility of the Senate Majority Leader to set the docket of bills to be considered. The docket is the list of bills that are to be brought to the floor before the entire Senate for consideration. There may not be more than one (1) docket being debated at the same time.

(b) DOCKET LIMITS -- All bills that have passed committee are eligible to be placed on the docket. On each docket, it must consist of no less than three (3) bills, and no more than five (5). A docket may only consist of bills that have passed committees. Bills that have not passed committee are ineligible to be docketed (unless a motion to bypass committee is passed, see section 4, clause (a), subclause (1))

(c) DOCKETING APPOINTMENTS -- Appointments may be considered on the Senate floor without the accompany of any other docketed items (to allow for a hearing and appointment full attention of the floor). Appointments which must be considered need to be in a docket. A docket consisting of only appointments made by the President of the United States is exempt from Section 3, clause (b) limits and may contain any amount of appointments that have been requested by the President of the United States.

(d) DOCKET ANNOUNCEMENT -- The Senate Majority Leader must announce each and all dockets no less than twenty-four (24) hours prior to being brought to the floor for consideration, this includes both regular dockets and dockets with appointments.

(e) DOCKET POWER -- The Senate Majority Leader has the final say on what is and what is not placed onto the docket. However, both the PPT and Minority Leader have the capability to place a "hold" onto a bill prior to it being docketed, meaning a bill cannot be docketed. The PPT is allowed three (3) holds per session, the minority leader is also allowed three (3) holds per session. Holds are valid until the end of the session, can not be carried over, and can not be transferred from one bill to another during a single session. Once a leader uses a hold on a bill, you've used that hold. Holds must be posted in the proper thread to be official.

(f) DOCKET REGULATION -- If the Senate Majority Leader places legislation onto the docket that is not eligible to be placed on the docket, a point of order may be risen and the bill stripped from the docket. If the resulting point of order results in the docket being less than three (3) bills, the rest of the docket will still be able to proceed as normal. Bills ineligible for docketing include those which have not been in the hopper at least twenty four (24) hours, are complex and do not include a PES, have been laid on the table and not passed a motion to reconsider, or has previously been defeated in the chamber during the congressional session. Bills considered ineligible to be placed on the docket include, but not limited to: A bill that has not passed committee or a vote to bypass committee, has not been in the hopper for at least twenty-four hours.

(g) DEBATE OF A BILL -- Once a bill has been placed on the docket and the twenty four hour period has ended, all bills on the docket shall be brought forth before the entire Senate chamber for consideration by the PPT. Debate length shall not be established and debate will not end unless cloture or any other motion to end debate in any way is recognized and passed. If no such cloture or motion passes, the bill can not proceed to a vote.

(h) DEBATE/HEARING OF AN APPOINTMENT -- Once an appointment(s) has been placed on an appointment docket and the twenty four hour period has ended, all appointments shall be brought forth before the entire senate chamber for consideration by the presiding officer. Debate length of a hearing shall last no less than forty-eight (48) hours and no more than seventy-two (72) hours, unless a motion passes to extend or limit the debate/hearing on such an appointment.

(i) DEBATE DECORUM -- During debate, members must address the presiding officer, and yield the floor when finished addressing the presiding officer to avoid a filibuster. Debate may not be directed directly towards another member within the chamber other than the presiding officer. Debate should remain respectful as befitting of the historic chamber you are in.

(j) FILIBUSTER -- At any point during debate on a regular bill or appointment, a member of the Senate may chose not to yield the floor. This creates and is known as a filibuster. A Senator may use the right to filibuster only once per session. If a Senator wishes to continue with a filibuster, the Senator is required to post within the debate thread of the filibuster at least one (1) post per hour to keep the filibuster going. If the filibuster is maintained for at least six (6) hours, the entirety of all other Senate business shall be postponed and ceases immediately until such filibuster ends. The filibuster will end when (1) the Senator fails to post within an hour, (2) the presiding officer pulls the bill from the floor (killing the bill permanently), or (3) the Senate passes a twenty-four hour motion for cloture, which requires 2/3 vote (66 senators) to pass. A filibustering Senator may yield to another for a question if the Senator explicitly says so before the question is asked. Yielding for a question can earn the filibustering Senator a reprieve for up to eight (8) hours, providing the Senator asking the question maintains the one (1) post per hour rule. The Senator asking the question exhausts his or her one filibuster opportunity, even if he or she only made one post.

(k) CLOTURE -- Cloture is required to end debate on a bill. Cloture is a motion created by a member to end debate, and requires a second. The motion shall be set to a vote for forty-eight (48) hours, and requires 3/5 of all Senators (60 senators) to pass. Once cloture has passed on a bill, the bill can proceed to a full vote. Cloture can only be attempted twice on any given bill. If a cloture vote fails both times on a bill while being debated, it will be considered killed and can no longer be considered by the floor.

(l) VOTING -- Once cloture has passed and all amendments and motions voted on, a bill will then proceed to a vote. The presiding officer shall set forth the length of time the bill shall be voted on by all voting eligible members. Such time shall be exactly forty-eight (48) hours. Any vote cast after the allotted time has expired will be invalid and not count under any circumstances. Votes may be casted as either "aye" (in favor), "nay" (oppose), abstain/present (neither in favor or oppose).

(m) VOTING RESULTS -- A bill must receive a simple majority of all votes cast to pass. If a bill fails to receive a simple majority of all valid votes it is considered defeated and may not be considered further. The presiding officer shall use the Voting Calculator for calculation of all votes (including motions, amendments, all final votes).

(n) VOTING REGULATION -- Any vote considered invalid shall not be calculated into the final vote total. If under any circumstances the presiding officer counts an invalid vote, the vote in total shall be considered invalid and the bill automatically considered laid on the table.

 

IV. MOTIONS

(a) MOTIONS DURING DEBATE -- During debate on a bill, only the following motions may be entertained (which shall have precedence in the following order): (1) To Lay on the Table, (2) Cloture, (3) To pass via Unanimous Consent, (4) To refer [to committee], (5) To bypass committee, (6) Extend or Limit Debate (exclusive to appointments), (7) To Postpone to a Certain Time, (8) To Amend.

(1) TO LAY ON THE TABLE -- A motion to table the bill and end consideration until a motion to reconsider on the bill is passed. Requires a second within twenty-four hours. Upon recognition of the motion following a valid second, the motion shall be put to a vote for twenty-four (24) hours. The motion shall be decided without debate. Only one motion to lay on the table can be recognized for a bill being debated. 2/3 majority needed to pass.

(2) CLOTURE -- Refer to section 3, clause (j) for cloture rule.

(3) TO PASS VIA UNANIMOUS CONSENT -- A motion to pass a bill via unanimous consent of the chamber without further debate. Does not require a second. Once the motion is made, all other members have twenty-four (24) hours to object to the motion or it passes.

(4) TO REFER -- A motion to refer a bill that is being considered before the full floor of the chamber back to committee. Requires a second to be recognized. Upon recognition of the motion following a valid second, the motion shall be put to a vote for twenty-four (24) hours. The motion shall be decided without debate. Simple majority needed to pass.

(5) TO BYPASS COMMITTEE -- A motion to bypass committee and bring a bill directly onto the floor for consideration before the full chamber. Requires a second to be recognized. Upon recognition of the motion following a valid second, the motion shall be put to a vote for twenty-four (24) hours. The motion shall be decided without debate. 3/5 majority (60 Senators) needed to pass.

(6) EXTEND OR LIMIT DEBATE -- A motion to extend the debate of an appointment, or limit the debate of an appointment. Requires as second to be recognized. A motion to extend debate can only extend debate for a maximum of seventy-two (72) additional hours, and no less than twenty-four (24) hours. Only two motions of the kind can be applied if passed to the debate of an appointment. Simple majority needed to pass. A motion to limit debate can only be considered if the initial debate length of an appointment is greater than forty-eight (48) hours, and can only limit debate to a (24) hour length. Requires a second to be recognized. Votes on both motions will last twenty-four (24) hours.

(7) TO POSTPONE TO A CERTAIN TIME -- A motion to postpone an action on a bill until an explicitly specified time. Requires a second to be recognized. Vote on such motion shall last twenty-four hours (24). Requires 2/3 majority to pass. The motion shall be decided without debate.

(8) TO AMEND -- A member may make a motion to amend a bill being considered by the chamber. A member must explicitly state the desired amendment to the bill and changes it will have. Requires a second, and vote on such motion shall last twenty-four (24) hours. Requires simple majority to pass. The motion shall be decided without debate. All amendments are subject to the germane clause, stating, that no amendment proposed may be on a different subject than the subject of the bill itself. An ungermane amendment may not be recognized and is considered invalid. An amendment may be accepted as friendly by the author of the bill, bypassing the required second and vote on an amendment for it to be added to the bill.

(9) GENERAL RULE FOR MOTIONS -- All motions made prior to a motion for cloture receives its proper second shall be recognized. If a motion for cloture is properly seconded prior to the finishing of voting of any existing motions or amendments, those motions or amendments votes must first finish before a cloture vote can begin. If such motions or amendments pass, they must be included with the version of the bill being considered for cloture.

(b) GENERAL MOTIONS AND POINTS OF ORDER -- The following is a list of general motions allowed at any time: To suspend and pass, To suspend and debate, Point of order.

(1) TO SUSPEND AND PASS -- A motion made to suspend the rules and pass a bill. Please provide name and link for bill with such motion. Requires a second to be recognized. 2/3 majority required for passage. Twenty-four (24) hours for a vote. If motion fails, the bill shall still be considered as before without prejudice.

(2) TO SUSPEND AND DEBATE -- A motion made to suspend the rules and pass a bill. Please provide name and link for bill with such motion. Requires a second to be recognized. 2/3 majority required for passage. Twenty-four (24) hours for a vote. If motion fails, the bill shall still be considered as before without prejudice.

(3) POINT OF ORDERS -- A member may at any time (during debate or otherwise) rise with a point of order. During such a point of order, the presiding officer shall recognize and address it within twenty-four (24) hours to provide for explanation, or further to seek clarification from the congressional admin on such matter. A point of order to silence or mute a member during debate for behavior not appropriate for the floor shall be at the discretion of the presiding officer.

 

V. COMMITTEES

(a) The United States Senate shall have three standing committees, and one special committee. The three standing committees are Foreign Affairs, Domestic Affairs, Government Oversight (Judiciary and Ethics is another term). The special committee is the conference committee.

(1) FOREIGN AFFAIRS -- The foreign affairs committee is responsible for all legislation, hearings, and appointments directly related to foreign policy, national defense, and immigration. The committee has the power to convene closed door hearings in the matter of national security or special defense related investigations within the scope of the committee if necessary.

(2) DOMESTIC AFFAIRS -- The domestic affairs committee is responsible for all legislation, hearings, and appointments directly related to all domestic issues - excluding: immigration, governmental reform, law and order, government operations and activities, environmental protection, emergency management, crime and law enforcement. The domestic affairs committee shall not be responsible for any presidential appointments.

(3) GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT -- The government oversight committee (otherwise known as judiciary and ethics) is responsible for all legislation, hearings, and appointments directly related to the following issues: governmental reform, law and order, government operations and activities, environmental protection, emergency management, crime and law enforcement, as well as all pertaining to government oversight, judicial, and ethics. In addition, the government oversight committee handles all presidential appointments to the Supreme Court, and all the cabinet positions except the following, which shall be handled by foreign affairs: Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The committee also handles any and all investigations, and ethics violations and investigations into fellow Senators if they shall arise.

(4) CONFERENCE COMMITTEE -- The conference committee is responsible for resolving the differences in legislation between the house and the senate. In addition, the committee is responsible for considering legislation that has been referred to a committee for a second time (if such a situation arises) to figure out why and what differences need to be resolved. Furthermore, the committee is responsible for considering legislation that has been asked referred to them via a motion to refer. Conference committee will be made up of the senate majority leader, senate majority whip, senate minority leader, senate minority whip, house majority leader, and house minority leader.

(b) MEMBERSHIP -- Each standing committee shall consist of five (5) members. 3 from the majority party, 2 from the minority party. The majority party is responsible for selecting a Chairman and Vice-Chairman on each committee. The minority party is responsible for selecting a Ranking Member for each committee. The Chairman is the presiding officer in their respective committee, and is responsible for bringing items up for consideration.

(c) GENERAL COMMITTEE RULES -- Once a bill has been placed in the committee hopper, it is eligible to be brought forth for consideration by the committee chairman. The chairman must announce his docket in the appropriate thread when making the docket. The committee may not consider more than four (3) bills at a time. If the committee wishes to convene in a hearing, all bills must be finished before a hearing can take place. If a hearing is to take place, it can be the only thing considered by the committee at such time until the hearing is finished (to give full attention to the hearing). Debate on a bill shall be exactly 48 hours. Votes on a bill shall be exactly 24 hours. Simple majority required to pass a bill. Committees may entertain general common motions during debate. For hearings, hearing/debate shall last 72 hours, unless extended or shortened. Any vote on an appointment after a hearing (if that was the purpose of the hearing) shall last 48 hours.

 

VI. GENERAL SENATE RULES

(a) The decision of the acting admin in charge of Congress is final.

(b) VOTING RECORDS -- All players must maintain a voting record. Members must post within the appropriate forum a post for their voting record, clearly stating which bills and how they voted on them, along with any bill they may have sponsored or co-sponsored (amendment and motion votes do not need to be included). Members are required to keep up-to-date their voting records at all times.

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This voting calculator should be used for all Senate votes. For final votes the House Voting Results table should also be posted. The PPT is responsible for keeping this calculator updated with voting characters and his/her most up to date experience attribute and leadership position.

Voting Calculator

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