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SR-001 Senate Rules and Procedures

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Senate Rules and Procedures
Proposed by The Noble Thatcherites

Section 1: Definitions

  1. Motions that would enact something into law, or create an amendment to the constitution or are otherwise mandated to follow the legislative procedure, are to be referred to as bills. Motions which do not create law, or are not mandated to be treated as such are not subject to Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution.

Section 2: The Speaker

  1. The selection of the Speaker of the Senate shall occur at the beginning of each term.

  2. The most senior Senator, as determined by number of terms served, and as a fallback, time since first approval for citizenship, and as a fallback, a fair random selection, shall conduct the vote for Speaker. This person, known hereafter as the Interim Presiding Officer, shall allow 2 days of discussion, and then ask each Senator if they intend to run. The Interim Presiding Officer shall then post a vote to the forum, and run it until a majority is found.

    1. Should a tie occur, all candidates for Speaker who are not tied for first place are to be eliminated, and a second election conducted. If this election fails, the Interim Presiding Officer shall cast a second, tie-breaking vote as they please.

    2. If no candidate announces their intention to run, then the Speaker shall be selected by a fair random selection among the Senators.

    3. Should a Senate Substitute run for Speaker, if they succeed the Senator who they represent will become Speaker at the end of the appointment.

  3. The Speaker, when exercising their authority as such shall remain impartial to motions being proposed.

  4. Should there be a tie in a vote of the Senate, the Speaker shall cast a vote against the motion.

  5. The speaker shall moderate and guide the discussion of the Senate in accordance with the General Procedures of The Senate.

Section 3: General Procedures of the Senate

  1. The forum is the place of record for all business of the Senate, and all votes are to be conducted there.

    1. By the Speakers discretion, Senators may discuss the business of the senate, or draft legislation or other texts in other areas, but votes shall remain on the forum.

    2. Should the forum be offline or otherwise inaccessible, the Speaker may conduct the vote in another venue, but copies should be transferred to the forum as soon as possible.

    3. There shall be accurate records of Senate business posted to NationStates in the form of a dispatch of appropriate formality and official stature, posted monthly.

  2. Only one motion may be considered at any one time in any one thread. Motions should be considered in the following hierarchy, and a motion introduced that is lower on the hierarchy than the motion currently being discussed is out of order:

    1. Hierarchy of Motions
      I move to protest violation of procedure
      I move to extend the current period
      I move to close the current period

  3. All periods of time allocated for a specific purpose specified in this document are to be, by default forty-eight (48) hours long, excepting the procedures to modify the periods, and where it is stated otherwise. A period of time allocated for voting shall also be concluded if all Senators eligible to vote on it do so.

  4. All such periods may be extended or postponed by a majority of Senators voting in favor within the next 24 hours or the conclusion of the period being extended, whichever is shorter. All such periods may be concluded or shortened by a four fifths majority vote of Senators within 12 hours.

    1. Should the appropriate majority of all senators vote in favor, of the alteration, it shall be enacted immediately

  5. A senator may, at any time, protest to the Speaker against an action the senator believes has violated these procedures, and the Speaker shall evaluate the claim, and take whatever restorative action is necessary.

Section 4: Discipline

  1. Disruptive behavior may be punished by a ⅔ vote of the Senate.

  2. A motion to enact a punishment may be introduced only by the Speaker, unless the speaker is the subject of the motion.

  3. Punishable disruptive behaviour shall include:

    1. Submitting of inappropriate content for debate to the Speaker.

    2. Debate directed at another senator.

    3. Failure to submit proper notification of absence and provision of a substitute as defined in Procedure for Senate Substitute.

  4. The available punishments consist of:

    1. Official censure of a Senator, to be entered into the permanent record of the proceedings of the Senate, and into a seperate public listing on the forum and dispatch.

    2. Removal of the related behavior from the record of the Senate.

    3. Removal of the voting rights of a Senator.

Section 5: Committees

  1. Committees, a group of one or more Senators, may be instituted by a formal request to the Speaker, a directive of the Speaker, or the direction of legislation.

    1. The institution of committees shall be subject to a majority vote of the Senate, which may be waived by the Speaker with the presence of unanimous consent in a period of 24 hours.

    2. If the formal request is approved, the Senator who submitted the request shall become the Committee Chairperson.

  2. Committees are empowered to conduct hearings and investigations, draft recommendations, reports or other such findings and conduct investigations for the Senate or the Union as a whole

  3. Committees may conduct conversations among themselves outside of the forums, and the chair or others may open up informal polls as needed.

    1. Upon the request of any member of the committee, a formal majority vote on an issue of the committee shall be held by the chair in the appropriate section of the forum.

    2. All things to be forwarded to the Senate, or otherwise published and endorsed by the committee must be approved by a formal majority vote on the appropriate section of the forum.
      Committees are further empowered to call for the testimony of relevant persons, without legal force except as provided by further law.

Section 6: Procedure for Senate Substitute

  1. A Senator who will be absent shall publish a notification of a Leave of Absence. A Senator who does not do so, and causes significant disruption by that, shall be subject to disciplinary action.

  2. A Senator shall additionally submit to the Speaker a formal notice of their appointment of a Senate Substitute, or Senator pro tempore.

  3. A Substitute must be constitutionally eligible to be Senator, and furthermore may not be a fellow Senator, the Chairperson of the General Assembly nor the President.

  4. Should the Senator requiring a Substitute be the Speaker, the Speaker must leave explicit, written directions to the Substitute including but not limited to an estimated timeline for expected voting periods for the duration of the absence and general instructions for the administration of the Speakers duties.

Section 7: Procedure for Bills

  1. Any Senator, not otherwise inhibited, may send a proposed bill to the Speaker for consideration by the Senate.

  2. Upon receipt of a bill from a Senator, the Speaker shall create a thread in the forum, and open the bill for debate.

  3. After the opening of the bill, Senators may speak in the following order:

    1. Sponsors

    2. Co-Sponsors

  4. The speaker shall then declare the bill open for discussion by other Senators, who may then formally and respectfully declare their views on the bill at hand.

    1. The debate period will last 48 hours from the opening by the Speaker

  5. Upon conclusion of the debate period the Speaker will move the bill forward to the amendment period which will last a further 48 hours.

    1. Any Senator, including the billís sponsor(s) may propose amendments to the bill.

  6. Upon conclusion of the amendment period a second debate period will be opened by the Speaker which will last 48 hours.

    1. This second debate period will only pertain to proposed amendments, if there are no proposed amendments the speaker shall move the bill directly to vote.

  7. Upon conclusion of the second debate period the Speaker shall move the bill to the voting period which will last 48 hours.

    1. If the bill has proposed amendments there will be two distinct voting periods.

    2. The amendments will be voted on individually in a single voting period.

    3. Upon the conclusion of voting upon the proposed amendments the bill shall progress to the second voting period to be voted on its entirety.

  8. The voting period (or second voting period if there were proposed amendments) will occur, a simple majority required for passage.

    1. Voting periods shall end either at the conclusion of the 48 hours (unless extended in accordance with General Procedures of The Senate) or after all Senators have submitted votes.

  9. The process outlined in steps 2 through 8 shall be repeated for bills originating in the General Assembly with the following changes

    1. The General Assembly sponsors of the bill are permitted to introduce the bill but will not participate in further debate after The Speaker has declared the bill open for discussion.

    2. If the amendment period results in no passed amendments and the bill is then approved by the Senate, the bill shall be delivered to the President.

    3. If the amendment period results in one or more passed amendments, the bill shall be returned to the General Assembly.

  10. For bills amended by the General Assembly returning to the Senate.

    1. The bills sponsors retain the right to introduction, as well as one person as designated by the Chairperson of the General Assembly when the bill was returned to the Speaker.

    2. A debate period concerning the amendments introduced by the General Assembly will be commenced by the Speaker.

    3. There will be no amendment period for a bill returning to the Senate with amendments from the General Assembly.

    4. The bill and its amendments shall be subject to a majority vote of approval. Should the bill succeed it will be forwarded to the President. Should the bill fail the vote, it is defeated.

  11. Should the President veto a bill, any Senator may choose to contest this veto, and submit such a notice to the Speaker. The Speaker shall then create a thread in the appropriate place in the forum, with the bill that was vetoed and the objections from the president. There shall then be a period of debate on both the bill and the objections, and then a voting period.

    1. Should the rejection of the veto be approved with a four fifths majority of the Senate, it shall be forwarded by the Speaker to the Chairperson of the General Assembly.

Section 8: Procedure Regarding Nominees for Public Office

  1. The person to whom nominations for applicable public offices are to be submitted is the Speaker of the Senate.

  2. Upon receiving the nomination from the President, the Speaker shall create a thread on the forum in the appropriate place in the forum.

    1. Multiple nominees may be considered at once, in separate threads.

  3. The Speaker shall then set a timeline for the nomination process which will consist of:

    1. A period in which Senators may submit questions to the nominee, and the nominee may answer them.

    2. An introduction by the Speaker of a resolution to confirm the nominee.

    3. A period of debate for the Senators on the resolution.

    4. A voting period of 48 hours, with a simple majority required to confirm the nominee.

    5. The Speaker shall then publish the results.