Bylaws of the Student Legislature
Title I. Order of Business
Convening Hour—The legislature shall convene at the hour fixed by the preceding meeting. In the event the legislature adjourns the preceding meeting without having fixed an hour for convening, the legislature shall convene on the following Monday at 5:00 p.m.
Opening the Session—The speaker shall, upon order being obtained, have the sessions of the legislature opened with a moment of silence.
Convening in Absence of Speaker—In the absence of the speaker, the chair of the Rules and Judiciary Committee shall be speaker pro tempore and shall perform all duties of the speaker until such time as the speaker may assume the chair.
A quorum consists of a majority of all the qualified members of the student legislature.
When a lesser number than a quorum convenes, the members may sit as a body politic, but no business can be concluded in the name of the student legislature.
Approval of Minutes—After the moment of silence, and upon the presence of a quorum, the speaker shall ask for additions or corrections to the printed minutes. Upon hearing objections and after concluding additions and deletions, the speaker shall approve the minutes without the necessity of a vote of the legislature.
Order of Business—After approval of the minutes, the order of business shall be as follows:
Reports of the standing committees
Reports of select committees
Questions and privileges
Introduction of bills, petitions, and resolutions
Unfinished business of previous meetings
Bills, resolutions, memorials, messages, and other papers on the calendar in their numerical order
Notices and announcements
Duties and Powers of the Speaker—The speaker shall have general direction of the floor of the legislature and shall be authorized to take such action as is necessary to maintain order. In case of any disturbance or disorderly conduct in the gallery or hall, the speaker shall have the power to order the same cleared.
Substitution for the Speaker—The speaker shall have the right to call on the speaker pro tempore to perform the duties of the chair, but substitution shall not extend beyond one meeting.
Limitation of Debate—No member shall speak more than once in the affirmative on the main motion until all other members who wish to speak have done so. Speeches shall be limited to no longer than five minutes for the first speech (first affirmative and first negative debate), and two minutes for each speech thereafter, unless allowed to lengthen time allotted by the affirmative vote of the majority of the members who wish to speak have done so upon amendment, or motion to commit or postpone, and then not longer than ten minutes.
The speaker shall preserve order and decorum.
Decency of speech shall be observed and personal reflection carefully avoided.
Title II. Motions
Every bill and/or resolution submitted to the legislature shall be reduced to writing in proper form and on a proper motion sheet.
After a motion has been stated by the speaker or read by the speaker or secretary, it shall become the possession of the legislature, but it may be withdrawn before a decision or amendment, except in the case of a motion to reconsider, which motion, when made by a member, shall not be withdrawn without the leave of the legislature.
No undebatable motion may be made by any person at the conclusion of his or her debate but must be made immediately after being recognized by the speaker.
Title III. Voting
Determining Questions—Unless otherwise provided by the constitution of the Student Government Association, all questions shall be determined by members present and voting.
Voting by Absentees—No member shall vote on any questions when he or she was not present when the question was put by the speaker.
Voting by the Speaker—In all elections the speaker may vote. In all other instances, the speaker may exercise the right to vote, or the speaker may reserve this right until there is a tie, but in no instance may the speaker vote twice on the same question.
Title IV. Committees
All committees shall be appointed by the speaker unless otherwise specifically ordered by the legislature.
Any member may excuse himself or herself from serving on any committee if one is a member of two standing committees.
The committee chair shall determine a quorum for the transaction of business.
A majority of committee members shall be present for the quorum.
Appointment of Standing Committees—
At the commencement of the session, the speaker shall appoint the following standing committees:
Rules and Judiciary
Screening and Appointments
Standing Committee Meetings—
Standing committees and subcommittees of standing committees shall be furnished with suitable meeting places, if desired, pursuant to the schedule with the Student Center Reservations Office (328-4731).
The chair or other presiding officer shall have general direction of the meeting places of the committee or subcommittee, and in case of any disturbance or disorderly conduct therein, or if the peace, good order, and proper conduct of legislative business is hindered by any individual or individuals, the chair or presiding officer shall have the power to exclude from the session any individual or individuals so hindering legislative business; or if necessary to order the meeting places cleared of all persons not members of the committees or subcommittee.
Upon affirmative vote of a majority of the members of any standing committee or subcommittee, executive sessions may be held, provided they are not in violation of the appropriate North Carolina statute.
Procedure in the committee shall be governed by the rules which the committee determines applicable for the committee.
Title V. Handling of Business
Reference to Committee—Each bill, resolution, or other matter shall immediately upon its introduction be referred by the speaker to such committee as he or she deems appropriate.
Introduction of Bills and Resolutions—
Every bill shall be introduced in regular order of business, except upon permission of the speaker or on report of a committee.
Any member introducing a bill or resolution shall briefly state in the title the substance of same, and the title shall not be amended.
Papers Addressed to the Legislature—Petitions, memorials, and other papers addressed to the legislature shall be presented by the speaker, and a brief statement of the contents thereof may be verbally made by the introducer before reference to a committee, but such papers shall not be debated or decided on the day of their first being read, unless the legislature shall direct otherwise.
Introduction of Bills, Copies Required—
Prior to any resolution or bill introduction, a duplicate copy thereof shall be sent to the secretary where the bill is duplicated and shall cause the same to be available at all times to any member of the student legislature.
Numbering of legislature bills shall be designated as L. B. (number following). A resolution shall be designated as L. R. (number following).
Whenever a bill is introduced, it shall be in such form and have such copies accompanying same as designated by the speaker, and any bill submitted without the required number of copies shall be immediately returned to the introducer. The secretary shall stamp the copies with the number stamped upon the original bill.
Duplication of Bills—The speaker shall so designate to the secretary the number of duplications to be made of an introduced bill. Prior to the convening hour, the secretary shall have one copy put upon the desk of each member and shall retain the other copies in their offices. A sufficient number of copies for the use of the committee to which the bill is referred shall be made available.
Report by Committee—All bills and resolutions shall be reported from the committee to which referred, with such recommendations as the committee may desire to make.
Favorable Report: When a committee reports a bill with the recommendation that it be passed, the bill shall be placed on the favorable calendar.
Report Without Prejudice: When a committee reports a bill without prejudice, the bill shall be placed on the favorable calendar.
Unfavorable Reports: When a committee reports a bill with the recommendation that it not be passed and no minority report accompanies it, the bill shall be placed on the unfavorable calendar.
Minority Reports: When a bill is reported by a committee with a recommendation that it not be passed, but it is accompanied by a minority report signed by at least one-fourth of the members of the committee who were present and voting when the bill was considered in committee, the question before legislature shall be: “The adoption of the minority report.” If the minority report is adopted by a majority vote, the bill shall be placed on the favorable calendar for consideration. If the minority report fails adoption by the majority vote, the bill shall be placed on the unfavorable calendar.
Removing Bill from Unfavorable Calendar—A bill may be removed from the unfavorable calendar upon motion carried by two-thirds vote. A motion to remove a bill from the unfavorable calendar is not debatable, but the member may, before making the motion, make a brief and concise statement not to be more than three minutes in length of the reasons for the motion.
Reports on Appropriation Bills—All committees, other than the Committee on Appropriations, when favorably reporting any bill that carries an appropriation, shall indicate same in the report, and the said bill shall also be referred to the Committee on Appropriations for a report before being acted upon by the legislature. The report from the Committee on Appropriations shall indicate that there are sufficient funds in the treasury for the appropriation.
Recall of Bill from Committee—When a bill has been introduced and referred to a committee, and, if after thirteen days, the committee has failed to report thereon, then the introducer of the bill or some member designated by him or her, on motion supported by a vote of two-thirds of the members present and voting, recall the same from the committee to the floor of the legislature for consideration and such action thereon as a majority of the members present may direct.
Calendar—The secretary shall keep a separate calendar of the bills and shall number them in the order in which they are introduced, and all bills shall be disposed of in the order they stand upon the calendar.
Effects of Defeated Bill—After a bill has been tabled or has failed to pass the second reading, the contents of such bill or the principal provisions of its subject matter shall not be embodied in any other measure. Upon the point of order being raised and sustained by the chair, such measure shall be laid upon the table and shall not be taken therefrom except by a two-thirds vote.
Amendments and Riders—No amendment or rider to a bill before the legislature shall be in good order unless such rider or amendment is germane to the bill under consideration.
Appropriation Guidelines—The following appropriation guidelines shall be strictly adhered to by the legislature, with the understanding that all student groups are educational:
No group(s) which advocate violation of federal, state, or local laws shall be funded.
No partisan, political, or social action groups or activities shall be funded.
No religious groups or activities shall be funded.
Title VI. Legislative Officers and Employees
General Admittance to Room—No person except members, officers, and employees of the student legislature and advisers shall be permitted on the floor of the legislature during its meetings unless permitted by the speaker or provided by the constitution of the Student Government Association, but shall remain in the area designated for visitors by the speaker.
Courtesies of the floor shall only be extended by the speaker.
If there is any objection from any member of the legislature to a nonmember speaking, then the nonlegislator cannot speak unless by a majority vote of the legislature.
Title VII. General Rules
Selection of the Secretary Pro Tempore—
The secretary shall have the power to appoint a secretary pro tempore, with the approval of the majority of the legislature. The secretary pro tempore shall be a member of the legislature and shall be appointed no later than the second session of the newly elected legislature. The secretary pro tempore shall enjoy the following powers and duties:
To perform the duties and exercise the powers of the office of secretary, excluding those powers of the executive council, in the event of the secretary’s absence or incapacity
To perform those duties delegated by the secretary
Attendance of Members—
No member or officer of the legislature shall be absent from the service of the legislature without leave, unless from sickness or disability.
Written excuses must be turned in to the speaker or the secretary prior to or within twenty-four hours after a meeting of the student legislature.
Upon three unexcused absences from regularly scheduled meetings per semester, the speaker may remove any member from membership in the legislature. In addition, any member removed by the speaker shall also be suspended for one year from the date of suspension from holding any appointed or elected office in the Student Government Association.
The speaker may also remove any member of the legislature for four unexcused committee meetings per semester; six unexcused early leaves (explanation); absenteeism from six legislature meetings per semester; or four consecutive legislature meetings.
The departure from any two legislative meetings without “just reason” before these meetings have been legally adjourned will be considered an infraction of the same magnitude as an unexcused absence from any one of the legislative meetings. Four unexcused early leaves equal two unexcused absences. The speaker of the legislature decides on “just reason.”
Documents to Be Signed by the Speaker—
All acts, resolutions, correspondence, and official copies of the legislature minutes shall be signed by the speaker or presiding officer in the speaker’s absence.
Placement of Material on Members’ Desks—
Persons other than members of the legislature, officers, or staff adviser thereof shall not place or cause to be placed any materials on members’ desks without obtaining approval of the speaker. Any printed material so placed shall bear the name of the originator.
There shall be no printing or reproducing of papers that are not legislative in essence without approval of the speaker.
Procedure of the Rules—The rules used by the student legislature of East Carolina University shall take the following order:
Constitution of the Student Government Association of East Carolina University.
Bylaws of the Student Government Legislature of East Carolina University.
Robert’s Rules of Order—Latest edition.