House Rules

Rules Relating to Members of the House

General Rules of Order and Procedure
Rules Relating to Members of the House
Rules Relating to the Presiding Officer
Rules Relating to Committees
Rules Relating to the Clerk and the Journal
Joint Rules of the Two Houses


Rule 41. No member shall absent himself or herself from the sessions of the House unless he or she is unable to attend.

Rule 42. (a) During House sessions and committee meetings during legislative weeks, any person having privileges of the floor shall dress in a suitable manner. Men shall wear a coat and tie and women shall wear a dress, or skirt or pants with a blouse and jacket.

(b) The Speaker may authorize exceptions to this rule based on health or religious reasons, and the clerk may authorize exceptions for television camera operators and sound technicians.

(c) Minimum standards of dress for members shall be enforced by the Speaker and minimum standards for all other individuals shall be enforced by the Clerk.

Rule 43. Only members shall sit in a seat assigned to a member except on the first day of any Regular or Special Session.

Rule 44. (a) Pages authorized through the official Page Program of the House have privileges of the floor and shall be admitted upon the floor of the House while the House is in session.

(b) House pages shall be at least 10 years of age and not older than 18 years of age and shall comply with the minimum standards of dress requirements in Rule 42.

Rule 45. No lobbyist or lobbying group shall have food delivered to the House membership while the House is actually in Session.

Rule 46. There shall not be any smoking or other use of tobacco or alternative nicotine products on the floor of the House or anywhere in the State House.

Rule 47. Complimentary items, souvenirs, or gifts of food shall not be placed or distributed on the floor of the House.

Rule 48. Personal computer printers shall not be used on the floor of the House. Cellular telephones and paging devices may be used only if the ring modes and ring styles are set to silent or vibrate.

Rule 48.1. Prior to display of any information, picture, video, or other media on the video boards on the House floor, a member shall obtain the approval of the Chair of the Committee on Rules during a legislative session or the House Clerk during any interim period. The Chair of the Committee on Rules shall notify the House Clerk of such approvals at least one hour before the media is to be displayed.

Rule 49. A majority of the House shall be a quorum to transact business and no business shall be transacted except on the appearance of a quorum. If those who vote are sufficient in number to show that a majority constituting a quorum so acted, those who thus voted only shall be counted as constituting the House for the purpose of that vote; but when any question is put to the House, and a quorum is not recorded as voting, the Speaker shall, before announcing the vote, instruct the Clerk to record as present a sufficient number of those members physically present in the House to constitute a quorum, though all present are not participating.

Rule 50. (a) Members shall act with decorum at all times on the House floor and in committee meetings. Every member shall observe decency of speech; never use language or engage in activity that is profane, obscene, tasteless, vulgar, morally crude, or meant to harass; and confine remarks to the question under consideration. Members may not make statements that reflect upon the character or conduct of any person.

(b) Members shall refrain from making personal, insensitive, derogatory, contemptuous, or disrespectful comments regarding the ethnicity, economic status, race, or social characteristics or demographics of the constituents of a member's district.

Rule 51. (a) When a member desires to speak he or she shall so indicate by pressing the speak button at his or her desk and respectfully requesting recognition from the Speaker.

(b) When a member has been recognized by the Speaker, the member, unless physically impaired, shall speak from the podium.

Rule 52. No member shall speak more than ten minutes at any one time and no more than twice on the same question without leave of the House, unless the member is the mover proposing the matter pending, in which case the member shall be permitted to speak in reply.

Rule 53. (a) Any member who requests that a bill be read at length on third reading must stay in the well during the entire reading. Departure from the well is considered the same as a withdrawal of the request to read the bill. In such a circumstance, the member cannot make another request to read or to continue to read the bill.

(b) When a bill is to be read at length, the Speaker may set the manner and the speed at which the bill is to be read.

Rule 54. When a vote is taken by recorded vote and a member who has been absent returns before the question is decided, he or she may make inquiry of the subject before the House and have his or her vote recorded without discussion.

Rule 55. If any member violates the rules, in speaking or otherwise, the Speaker shall, or any member may request the Speaker to, call him or her to order citing this rule by number, in which case the member called to order shall immediately sit down, unless allowed by the Speaker to explain; and the House shall, if appealed to, decide on the case without debate. If the decision is in favor of the member called to order, the member may proceed; if otherwise, and the case requires it, he or she shall be liable to censure or other disciplinary action.

Rule 56. All correspondence or communications placed in members' mailboxes, offices, or on desks shall have the author or sponsor identified. Anonymous correspondence or communications placed in the members' mailboxes or offices, or placed on the members' desks, shall be investigated by the House Clerk upon the receipt of a written complaint from any member. Any member found responsible for distributing anonymous correspondence or communications that are the subject of a complaint may be censured, and any other individual found responsible for placement of anonymous correspondence or communications may be banned from the floors of the State House where members' offices are located, pursuant to a recommendation from the Internal Affairs Committee.