Senate Rules Relating to the Presiding Officer




RULE 42.

In the absence of the President when the Senate convenes, the President Pro Tempore shall preside except as provided for in Rule 1; however, any other rule to the contrary notwithstanding, when the President of the Senate chooses not to preside, the President Pro Tempore shall preside. Should the President Pro Tempore not be in the chamber or choose not to preside, the Majority Leader or any other member as designated by the Presiding Officer shall preside until such time as the President or the President Pro Tempore, as the case may be, assumes or reassumes the duties of Presiding Officer; provided, however, that such delegation may not continue to the next legislative day.

RULE 43.

All questions shall be put by the Presiding Officer, and members shall signify assent or dissent by answering yea or nay. Members may also abstain. If those who vote or abstain are sufficient in number to show that a majority constituting a quorum so acted, those who thus voted or abstained only shall be counted as constituting the house for the purpose of that vote; but when any question is put and a quorum does not vote or abstain, the Presiding Officer shall, before announcing the vote, on his/her own motion, instruct the Secretary to record as present a sufficient number of those Senators physically present to constitute a quorum, though all present are not participating in the vote. For purposes of ascertaining a quorum, an abstention shall be counted as present.

RULE 44.

A Senator may rise for a Point of Order, regarding the proceedings of the Senate, at any stage of business. A Point of Order is a parliamentary privilege, not subject to debate or approval of the Senate, and when a Senator rises for a Point of Order, the Presiding Officer must immediately recognize that Senator, so that the Senator may state his/her Point of Order. The Presiding Officer shall rule on all points of order, including those raising questions of germaneness of measures under consideration, taking into consideration the Constitution of the State of Alabama, Statutes of Alabama, the Alabama Legislative Joint Rules, the Senate Rules, and historic precedents of the Senate. Such ruling shall be made, within a reasonable time not to exceed ten (10) minutes. Every question of order shall be decided by the Presiding Officer without debate, subject to an appeal to the Senate, which appeal must be made the same legislative day. An appeal from the ruling of the Presiding Officer is likewise a parliamentary privilege of each Senator, and if a Senator who stated a Point of Order upon which a Ruling of the Presiding Officer was made so desires, that Senator, or any other, shall have the privilege of appealing from the Ruling of the Presiding Officer, and the declaration of such appeal by a Senator must be recognized by the Presiding Officer. Every appeal from the Ruling of the Presiding Officer shall be decided by a roll call vote without debate. A majority of the elected Senate membership shall decide an appeal. Whenever a Senator appeals from the Ruling of the Presiding Officer, the question before the Senate shall be: "Shall the ruling of the Presiding Officer be sustained?" The Presiding Officer may call for the sense of the Senate on any question of order or on any other matter properly before the Senate.

RULE 45.

When more than one member rises seeking recognition, the Presiding Officer shall decide which member to recognize. The President Pro Tempore shall always have priority and shall be recognized first when rising for a Point of Order, as well as for the purpose of taking up House messages, executive messages, and other important matters for the operation of the Senate. The Majority Leader, in the absence of the President Pro Tempore, shall have priority when seeking recognition.

RULE 46.

The Presiding Officer shall give notice at each reading of a bill whether it be the first, second, or third.

RULE 47.

(a) The Senate President Pro Tempore may designate the Majority Leader to perform the duties of the Senate President Pro Tempore in his/her absence, with the exception of signing of bills and resolutions, which only the President and President Pro Tempore are constitutionally allowed to do. The President Pro Tempore shall be an additional voting member of all Senate Standing Committees, superseding the number of members of each standing committee as set out in Rule 48, including Local Legislation, but excluding all other local legislation committees unless he/she is a member of another local legislation committee by geographical circumstance. The President Pro Tempore may designate in writing to the Secretary of the Senate the name of a member who is not already a member of the committee to represent him or her as a voting member under this rule. Such substitution shall be for a term of not less than one year unless the President Pro Tempore revokes such substitution in writing or such member so appointed dies or resigns from the Senate, or resigns from the committee so appointed under this rule.

(b) There shall be a Senate Committee on Assignments which shall be composed of the President Pro Tempore, the Lieutenant Governor, the Senate Majority Leader, and three additional members appointed by the President Pro Tempore who shall serve for the quadrennium unless removed by a four-fifths vote of the committee. The Committee on Assignments shall appoint the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, and membership of all Senate Standing Committees and Select Committees. To the extent feasible, membership of each committee shall reflect the diversity of the Senate. The Committee on Assignments may change committee membership, or the Chairperson or Vice Chairperson thereof, only by a majority vote of the membership of the Committee on Assignments any time the Committee deems such changes necessary or expedient. Actions of this committee shall be reported to the Senate by the President Pro Tempore or in his/her absence by the Senate Majority Leader or any other member designated by the Committee.

(c) The Senate Majority Leader shall be elected by the active members of the majority party represented in the Senate. The Majority Leader shall have a separate budget allocation.

(d) The Senate Majority Leader shall assist the Senate President Pro Tempore with the relationship between the Senate and House leadership, and any other matters which the President Pro Tempore may deem necessary.

(e) A Senate conference committee on a Senate bill or a House bill shall consist of two members appointed by the Committee on Assignments, and one member appointed by the Lieutenant Governor.

(f) A Senate conference committee on a local bill shall consist of two members of the Senate appointed by the Senate President Pro Tempore, and one member of the Senate appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, each from the political subdivision affected, if possible.

(g) A Senate conference committee on all resolutions shall consist of two Senate members appointed by the Committee on Assignments, and one Senate member appointed by the Lieutenant Governor.

(h) There shall be the position of the Senate Minority Leader, also known as the Minority Leader, elected by the members of the Minority Party. Notification of the name of the Minority Leader shall be delivered to the Secretary of the Senate. The Minority Leader shall have a separate budget allocation.