Student Congress Debate/A Session

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When you arrive at your house, there will probably already be a set docket of bills that you will be debating.

The Parliamentarian (Parli) or Points Recorder (PR) asks for all representatives (or senators) that wish to run for Presiding Officer (PO).

Each PO candidate will then have a trial time of x amount of minutes (set by the Parli/PR). The first PO candidate takes the chair, and then the floor is opened up for motions. When a PO candidate takes the chair, it is customary for them to introduce themselves and establish the time signals that they will be using.

PO candidates will all have tryouts during the regular cycle of debate. When all candidates have had their turn, the house will vote a PO in, and that PO will take over for the remainder of the congress.

At this point a few motions might be made, these include:

  • Suspending the rules (motions allowed under this category vary by region)
    • Direct Questioning (allows speakers to call on people asking questions instead of the PO)
    • Open Chambers (Eliminates usage of the motion "Rise to a point of personal privilege")
  • Main Motion (begin debate)

After Main motion is called and seconded, the vote will most likely be unanimous.

From here, debate proceeds into the docket of bills and/or resolutions.

The PO will say something similar to this:

We will now proceed to "A Bill Concerning the Issue"  If there are no objections, I will not read this bill. (brief pause)
Seeing no objections, is there a speech in authorship?

(TODO) add details of authorship/sponsorship vs. affirmative speech

If there is no Authorship speech, then PO asks if there is a Sponsorship speech, and then a First Affirmative speech.

After the first speech (authorship/sponsorship/first affirmation), then the PO calls for a speech in Negation.

After the negation speech, the PO asks if there are any motions.

Debate then falls into a loop that is similar to this pattern:

  • Aff Speech
  • Neg Speech
  • Motions

This loop is followed until previous question is passed, or the bill is tabled.

Debate on other bills follows the same pattern as above.

At the end of the day, the PR and Parli will have a list of nominated members that the chamber ranks in order.

This ranking is combined with rankings by the PR and Parli to determine placing.