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THE RULES OF THE SENATE OF ALABAMA


GENERAL RULES OF ORDER AND PROCEDURE

RULE 1.

(a) The Presiding Officer shall call for a prayer to be delivered by the Chaplain of the Day.

(b) The Presiding Officer shall then call for recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.

(c) The President shall take his/her chair precisely at the hour to which the Senate has been previously adjourned. However, in the absence of the President, the President Pro Tempore shall assume this duty. When the President returns, he/she shall assume the chair. In the absence of both President and President Pro Tempore, the Senate Majority Leader shall assume the chair. In the absence of the President, President Pro Tempore, and the Senate Majority Leader, the Chairperson of the committee as named in order in Senate Rule 48 shall perform this duty until the President or the President Pro Tempore returns. The Presiding Officer shall call the Senate to order and cause the roll to be called. If there is a quorum present, the Senate shall proceed with the transaction of its business. If there be no quorum present, a lesser number may adjourn from day to day and compel the attendance of absent members, as provided in Rule 37.

RULE 2. Unless it is otherwise specifically provided for, the Senate shall meet at ten o’clock a.m., except on Mondays, when the Senate shall convene at twelve o’clock noon. The Senate shall meet at twelve o’clock noon on the first day of any organizational, special, or regular session unless otherwise provided for.

RULE 3. When the question of a quorum has been requested, after the expiration of ten minutes, the roll shall be called immediately and, if the absence of a quorum shall be determined, then the Senate shall stand in adjournment until the following calendar day unless otherwise provided for by resolution or motion. No more than one quorum call will be recognized per each two-hour period.

RULE 4. No person shall be admitted to the floor of the Senate Chamber while the Senate is in session except members; former members of the Legislature, former Governors or Lieutenant Governors, except registered lobbyists; the officers and employees of the two houses; the employees of the Presiding Officer; employees of the President Pro Tempore; the Governor and his secretary and chief of staff; representatives of the press; and the Director and employees of the Legislative Reference Service and the Legislative Fiscal Officer. The Director of the Office of Examiners of Public Accounts and the employees of the Legislative Fiscal Office shall also be admitted to the floor in aid of the Senate in its work. Anyone admitted to the floor of the Senate Chamber shall be placed by the Secretary of the Senate. On the first legislative day of any regular, special or organizational session, the families of the members of the Senate shall have the privileges of the floor, but only for that specific legislative day. This rule shall be enforced by the Secretary of the Senate without such enforcement being suggested or requested by a member of the Senate.

RULE 5. The Presiding Officer of the Senate shall introduce visitors in the Senate gallery. Such introductions shall be made at the written request of any Senator, but only at such time as will not interrupt or disturb the orderly transaction of the business of the Senate. Persons in the Senate Gallery shall, at all times, conduct themselves so as not to disturb or distract the Senate. No signs or placards of any type shall be allowed into the Senate Gallery. When any person in the gallery makes gestures to attract attention from the floor and by his or her conduct commits any other action deemed by the Secretary of the Senate to be detrimental to the orderly business of the Senate, such person shall be warned or ousted from the gallery, at the direction of the Secretary.

RULE 6. No person shall be allowed to lobby in the Senate Chamber while the Senate is in session. In the event a lobbied senator files a written complaint with the Secretary of the Senate stating that a former member/lobbyist has lobbied him/her while on the floor of the Senate, the Secretary shall notify the former member/lobbyist of the complaint. In the event a second written complaint is filed by a member against a former member/lobbyist, said former member/lobbyist’s floor privileges shall be automatically suspended for twelve months.

RULE 7. No motion shall be deemed in order to admit any person whomsoever, or any group, within the doors of the Senate Chamber while the Senate is in session, to present any petition, memorial, or address, or to have any such petition, memorial, or address read, or for any Senator or Senators to invite any individual or group into the Senate Chamber for the purpose of honoring such group with a resolution or by any other manner, including for the purpose of the demonstration of a performing art. On any legislative day, the Senate Chamber shall be open one hour prior to the convening of the Senate, exclusively and for no other purpose than for Senators to bring individuals or groups into the Chamber for the purpose of honoring such individuals or group with a resolution or by any other manner, or for the purpose of the demonstration of a performing art.

RULE 8

(a). After reading the journal, the regular order of transacting business for the Senate shall be:

1st, Introduction of bills;
2nd, House messages;
3rd, Reports from standing committees;
4th, Reports from select committees;
5th, Motions and resolutions;
6th, Uncontested local bills;
7th, Unfinished Business;
8th, Bills on third reading.

(b) Signing of bills may be executed throughout any legislative day.

(c) The reading of the journal may be dispensed with on motion, which motion shall be decided by a majority vote, without debate. The motion to dispense shall not be subject to reconsideration.

RULE 9. The regular order of business shall not be set aside except by a majority vote of the Senate, upon a resolution reported by the Committee on Rules, following a meeting of the Rules Committee in which a majority of its Members are recorded as voting in the affirmative to submit such resolution before the Senate. All items on such proposed Special Order Calendar shall be posted by the Rules Committee twenty-four hours prior to said resolution being offered, unless a majority of the Rules Committee votes to set this provision aside. This notice shall not apply during Special Sessions. Any amendment or substitute to a Rules Committee report of a special order calendar shall prevail only with a concurrence of not less than twenty-one affirmative votes. The total debate prior to the voting of its adoption shall not exceed twenty minutes. The adoption of any special order calendar shall be by a majority on a recorded vote.

RULE 10. The assignment of Executive messages shall be made by the President Pro Tempore, or his/her designee. The assignment of House messages containing House bills passed by the House of Representatives shall be made by the President Pro Tempore, or his/her designee.

RULE 11. No bills other than local, advertised or otherwise, shall be introduced in the Senate during a regular session after the Senate adjourns on the 24th legislative day. On the 24th legislative day bills may be introduced at any time.

RULE 12. The unfinished business in which the Senate was engaged at the last preceding adjournment shall be placed on the Regular Order Calendar for the next legislative day and shall have preference when the Senate begins consideration of bills in the order in which they are presented on the Regular Order Calendar.

RULE 13. Each motion or resolution for a bill to be placed on a special order shall be first referred to and reported from the Committee on Rules.

RULE 14. Bills on third reading postponed to a day certain shall take no precedence over other bills on third reading on such day, but are merely qualified to be considered on that day, should the Senate so desire. Priority of postponed bills shall be in the order of their postponement.

RULE 15. When reports of standing committees are in order, the committee last occupying the floor shall be entitled to the floor.

RULE 16. Every motion shall be reduced to writing upon request of any Senator. Written motions shall be delivered to the Secretary at the desk and read before the same shall be debated.

RULE 17. Before any memorial or petition addressed to the Senate may be received and read at the desk, a brief statement of its contents may be made by the introducer; but such statement shall not exceed five minutes in duration. Such statements are not subject to debate.

RULE 18. When a question is under debate, no motion shall be received except a motion:

  1. to adjourn
  2. to adjourn to a day certain,
  3. to lay on the table,
  4. to postpone indefinitely,
  5. to postpone to a day certain,
  6. to recommit, or
  7. to amend, which several motions shall have precedence in the order they stand arranged. The motions to adjourn, to adjourn to a day certain, to lay on the table, and to postpone indefinitely shall always be in order and shall be decided without debate.

RULE 19. The motion to lay on the table an amendment or substitute shall not carry with it the original bill, resolution, or proposition.

RULE 20. The Committee on Rules may report a special rule that debate on any measure shall cease at a certain hour and a vote be taken on the measure. The consideration of such special rule shall not exceed twenty minutes, when a vote shall be taken thereon; and if three-fifths of the members elected shall vote to limit debate, then said rule or petition shall have been adopted by the Senate. However, such consideration of a special rule dealing with only the Special Education Trust Fund Budget and/or the General Fund Budget and their related appropriation bills and/or a bill to redistrict the Alabama Legislature and/or Alabama Congressional Districts shall only require 18 affirmative votes to enact such special rule from the Senate Rules committee to limit debate. In addition thereto a petition signed by twenty-one or more Senators to the effect that debate on a pending measure shall cease at a certain hour and a vote be taken on the measure filed with the Secretary while the Senate is in session, shall have the same effect as a report of the Committee on Rules regarding debate. This petition shall be an official time/date stamped petition secured from the Secretary of the Senate for circulation for signatures and this petition shall not be released by the Secretary until the measure has been considered for at least twenty minutes. Said petition shall be considered only for the legislative day it was issued. However, on the 30th legislative day the time requirement of waiting twenty minutes before considering a petition to limit debate shall not be applicable. The consideration of such special rule shall not exceed twenty minutes, when a vote shall be taken thereon; and if three-fifths of the members elected shall vote to limit debate, then said rule or petition shall have been adopted by the Senate.

RULE 21. Messages may be called at any stage of business by the President Pro Tempore or in his/her absence, then the Majority Leader, except while a matter is being considered, while the yeas and nays are being called, or while the ballots are being counted.

RULE 22. The Presiding Officer shall announce when a roll call vote is to be taken. The Secretary shall ring the quorum bell immediately prior to commencement of the roll being called. No discussion or debate shall be allowed while a vote is being taken. Those previously engaged in debate, either for or against a proposition or debatable motion, and any and all other members, shall upon announcement of such impending vote, immediately retire from the well of the Senate. Members must be in the Senate Chamber in order to announce their vote and may make such announcement at any place in the Chamber, other than the well of the Senate.

RULE 23. Every Senate bill on first reading shall be referred to a standing committee by the President, or his/her designee.

RULE 24. When the reading of any paper is called for and the reading of same is objected to by a member, the question shall be determined by a vote of the Senate without debate.

RULE 25. If the question in debate contains several points, any member may call for a division. It shall not be in order, however, to move for a division of the question on a motion to strike out and insert.

RULE 26. The rejection of a motion to strike out and insert one proposition shall not prevent a motion to strike out and insert a different proposition; nor shall a subsequent motion simply to strike out prevent a subsequent motion to strike out and insert, provided however, the Presiding Officer may rule out of order any motion to strike out and insert which he/she judges to be solely dilatory.

RULE 27. In filling blanks, the largest sum and longest times shall be put first.

RULE 28. When a vote has been taken on any question, other than a motion to recess, adjourn, adjourn to a day certain, or to lay on the table, it shall be in order for any Senator of the prevailing side to move for the reconsideration thereof, except those contained in Rule 77(b). But no motion for the reconsideration of any vote shall be in order after the bill, resolution, message, report, amendment, or motion upon which the vote was taken shall have gone out of the possession of the Senate. Nor shall any motion for reconsideration be in order unless it is made on the same day on which the vote was taken, or by twelve o’clock p.m. the next day, or one hour after the Senate convenes, if after twelve o’clock p.m.

RULE 29. Resolutions proposing amendments to the Constitution or requiring the approbation or signature of the President or granting money out of funds appropriated for the Legislature shall be treated in all respects in the introduction and form of proceedings thereon as bills.

RULE 30. All motions to go into executive session shall be decided without debate. Executive sessions shall be held with closed doors, and the doorkeepers shall clear the press rooms and galleries of all persons except Members, the Lieutenant Governor, and necessary employees of the Senate, as determined by the Secretary. The Secretary shall turn off the broadcast feed from the Senate Chamber immediately after the Senate decides to go into Executive Session.

RULE 31. Executive messages shall be considered with open doors unless it is otherwise requested in the message or otherwise ordered by a majority vote of the Senate.

RULE 32. All nominations and appointments shall be referred to, and be reported from the Committee on Confirmations before consideration by the entire Senate. A rejection by the Committee on Confirmations of any nomination or appointment shall be considered a rejection by the entire Senate. If the Senate rejects a nomination or appointment, it will either forward its rejection to the Secretary of the Senate who shall forward the rejection to the appointing authority and request a new nominee to be submitted, or, in the event that the pertinent statute permits, the Senate may select a substitute appointment.

RULE 33. The final question upon every bill or resolution requiring three readings prior to passage shall be put in this form: “Shall the bill (or resolution) be read a third time?” No amendment shall be received for discussion after the third reading of any bill, resolution, amendment or motion, except by a suspension of the rules, before the final passage of any such bill, resolution, constitutional amendment, or motion, to move its recommitment, and if such recommitment takes place and an amendment is reported by the committee, the said bill, resolution, constitutional amendment, or motion shall be again read a second time, and then the aforesaid question shall be put.

RULE 34.

(a) All amended bills shall be correctly engrossed prior to transmittal to the House of Representatives

(b) During a regular session, no bill that has originated in the Senate shall be sent to the House of Representatives for its first reading in the House after the Senate adjourns on the 26th legislative day.

RULE 35.

(a) No motion to alter, modify, or amend any rule or any part thereof shall be in order except on three legislative days’ notice in writing, which notice shall specify precisely the rule or part thereof proposed to be suspended, modified, or amended. Before any vote shall be taken on such motion, it shall be first referred to the Committee on Rules, and said committee must report favorably with a majority of the membership thereof voting in the affirmative, before such rule change can be considered by the Senate. Any change or alteration of the rules shall require the affirmation of three-fifths of the elected members of the Senate by roll call vote and may not be accomplished by suspension of the rules.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in these rules, any rule may be suspended by the consent of the Senate unless one or more Senators object thereto. Any Senator objecting to a suspension of the rules will be identified by name and upon request of any other Senator, the name of any objecting Senator shall be entered into the record.

(c) Requests to suspend the Rules shall be decided without debate.

RULE 36. During the period between the end of the regular session and the convening of the next regular session, or, in the first year of a quadrennium, between the Organizational Session and the regular session, members may deliver bills to the Secretary of the Senate, which shall be known as “pre-filing.” Such bills shall be numbered by the Secretary in the order of receipt and otherwise processed for introduction when the regular session has been convened. Pre-filed bills shall be assigned by the President, or his/her designee, with the concurrence of the President Pro Tempore, or his/her designee, to a standing committee for study and shall be formally referred to the same committee upon commencement of the regular session; provided, however, that no bill shall be pre-filed under this rule after the commencement of the last regular session of the Legislature in any quadrennium and before the organizational session following the general election.

Alabama State Senate  |  Alabama State House
11 South Union Street  |  Montgomery, AL 36130
General Information: (334) 242-7800