Standing Rules of the Senate

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The Senate administers itself through the adoption of a body of rules of operation. This page provides a full list of adopted rules with commentary, in addition to any floor or committee action on them. Rule proposals that have not been adopted, even if the Rules Committee has already approved them, are not listed.

The creation of new Rules and the operation of the Rules Committee are governed by Lex.H.21.

Rule 1 | Terms[1]

Rule 1 provides a clear beginning and end to each term of the Senate: once all races are over and certified, or the First Clark begins, all new Senators are officially seated. This means that a term will typically begin on the 15th day of the month preceding the First Clark, barring any exceptional events. The primary purpose of attempting to convene before the First Clark is typically so that a Mençei can be in place for the start of the ordinary parliamentary business.

  1. Each new term of the Senate shall commence upon the publication by the Chancery and/or the respective provincial conducting officers of final results for all of the seats up for elections, or the beginning of a First Clark, whichever comes first.
  2. Senators of the previous Senate who did not seek or lost reelection shall remain into office until the beginning of the next term.

Rule 2 | Lord President (Mençei)[2]

Rule 2 codifies the process of electing a Mençei, what to do if there's no Mençei, and provides tools to the Senate to continue operation should the Mençei be unavailable for a certain period.

  1. At the beginning of each new term, and whenever the position is vacant, the Senate shall choose a Lord President (Mençei) from among its members to perform the duties of the Chair.
  2. Pending the election of a Mençei, the Dean of the Senate shall perform the duties of the Chair as Acting Mençei. Should the Dean of the Senate be absent or unwilling, seniority will be followed to select a replacement.
  3. The Acting Mençei shall allow for nominations to be lodged for a period of at least a week from the beginning of a term. Should a Senator receive nominations from a majority of Senators, the nomination period shall end and the Senator be considered duly elected; otherwise, a ballot shall be held using Instant Runoff Voting. Seniority shall resolve any ties that may occur during any stage of elimination.
  4. The Mençei shall have the right to name a Senator to perform the duties of the Chair as Deputy Mençei, should he or she be absent for a protracted period of time, and to name a Senator to represent him in any particular function he or she may hold by right of law.
  5. Should the Mençei be absent without having named a replacement, the Senate shall be empowered to select a Senator to perform the duties of the Chair as Deputy Mençei, until such a time as the Mençei returns to the floor.

Rule 3 | Questions of Eligibility[3]

Rule 3 ensures that there's a mechanism in place to allow the Senate to deal with Senators-elect or Senators-designate that are ineligible to take their seat.

  1. Questions over the eligibility of members of the Senate shall always be in order; and the Mençei, either of his or her own accord or acting on a petition from another Senator or the Secretary of State, shall rule on any issues of eligibility of a member of the Senate, a Senator-elect or a Senator-designate, in accordance to the law. Such a ruling can be overturned by a majority of the Senate.
  2. Should a Senator be ruled ineligible to hold his or her seat, he or she shall be barred from voting on any matter laid before the Senate, and his or her attendance not counted for the purpose of ascertaining the presence of a quorum, until such time as a majority of the Senate rules that the issue of eligibility is resolved.
  3. Should a Senator-elect or a Senator-designate be ruled ineligible to assume his or her seat before his or her first floor vote has been recorded, he or she shall not be seated, until such time as a majority of the Senate rules that the issue of eligibility is resolved.

Rule 4 | Seniority[4]

Rule 4 estabilishes a tenure system in the Senate that can be used whenever appropriate, such as in breaking ties for the election of a Mençei and selecting the order of speakers in a debate.

  1. For the purpose of estabilishing an order of precedence, Senators shall be ranked according to tenure. Tenure shall be defined as the length of the unbroken service of a sitting Senator. The most senior Senator shall be termed the Dean of the Senate.
  2. Ties in tenure between Senators shall be broken through the following tiebreakers: 1) total number of Clarks served in the Senate; 2) total number of Clarks served in the Cosa; 3) number of eligible voters of the home province as of the most recent general election; 4) chronological age.
  3. For the purpose of calculating tenure, elected members shall be counted as taking office in the first day of the term following the election, and appointed members shall be counted as taking office in the day of their nomination to the seat. Temporary vacancies prescribed by law, or any other suspension imposed by these Rules, shall not be accounted as a break of service in calculations of tenure.
  4. Seniority status shall not infringe upon a Senator’s right to speak or be heard, or the fundamental equal right of Senators to exercise their duties, and shall be only used to select between Senators whenever mentioned in these Rules.

Rule 5 | Seniority[5]

Rule 5 sets a quorum for the operation of the Senate; with the full Senate seated, five Senators must vote on a non-Clark measure for it to be valid.

  1. A quorum shall consist of a majority of the Senators duly chosen and seated, and not currently ruled ineligible as per Rule 3.
  2. For any vote or ballot to be valid, a quorum has to be present; votes on items on the Clark shall not be affected by the presence of a quorum.

Rule 6 | Seniority[6]

Rule 6 sets a default timetable for the operation of the Senate, allows the Mençei to modify it if necessary, and restricts the operation of the Senate when it is in recess so that motions can't be debated and voted on when there isn't a Clark underway.

  1. The Senate shall commence its business on the first day of each term.
  2. The Mençei shall be empowered to set the times at which the Senate shall be in session and in recess; and without any communication being made, the Senate shall by default be in recess during the following periods, and in session anywhere else:
    1. Between the publication of results for a Clark and the opening of the next Call for Bills for the current term;
    2. Whenever the whole Ziu is in recess or prorogued, until the opening of the next Call for Bills for the current term;
    3. Between the dissolution of the Cosa and the start of the next term.
  3. During periods of recess the Senate shall not commence any new votes, consider any motions that are not urgent, or continue debate on any open motion.

Record of floor and committee actions

  1. Introduced in committee by da Schir (BE) Sep 27th; passed committee consideration Oct 2nd (2-0); adopted by the Senate Nov 22nd (4-0)
  2. Introduced in committee by da Schir (BE) Oct 5th; passed committee consideration Oct 29th (2-0); adopted by the Senate Nov 22nd (4-0)
  3. Introduced in committee by da Schir (BE) Nov 11th; passed committee consideration Nov 30th (3-0); adopted by the Senate Dec 23rd (5-0)
  4. Introduced in committee by da Schir (BE) Nov 11th; passed committee consideration Nov 30th (3-0); adopted by the Senate Dec 23rd (5-0)
  5. Introduced in committee by da Schir (BE) Jan 2nd; passed committee consideration Jan 31st (1-0); adopted by the Senate Feb 22nd (7-0)
  6. Introduced in committee by da Schir (BE) Jan 2nd; passed committee consideration Jan 31st (1-0); adopted by the Senate Feb 22nd (7-0)