2021-02-25: Introduced, referred to Senate Rules, Government Ethics and Oversight
2021-02-25: Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration (03/01/2021)
2021-03-01: Committee recommended measure be held for further study
2021-03-11: Scheduled for consideration (03/15/2021)
2021-03-12: Proposed Substitute
2021-03-15: Committee recommends passage of Sub A
2021-03-16: Placed on Senate Calendar (03/23/2021)
2021-03-23: Senate passed Sub A as amended (floor amendment)
Changes since original draft
2021 – S 0336
S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D
IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2021
S E N A T E R E S O L U T I O N
ADOPTING THE RULES OF THE SENATE FOR YEARS 2021-2022
Introduced By: Senators DiPalma, Ruggerio, McCaffrey, and Goodwin
Date Introduced: February 25, 2021
Referred To: Senate Rules, Government Ethics and Oversight
RESOLVED, That the following rules be and the same are hereby adopted as the rules of the Senate for the years 2021-2022.
As used in these rules, the following terms are defined as follows:
1.1 "Bill" shall include any act, resolve, resolution or petition which comes before the senate for consideration.
1.2"CalendarDay" is thatperiod of twenty-four(24)hoursbetween12:00a.m. and 12:00 midnight.
1.3 "Day" as used in these rules is intended and shall be construed to mean one full legislative day of the same session.
1.4 "Deputy President Pro Tempore" is a member of the senate elected to that position, who may preside over the senate in the absence of the president of the senate and the president pro tempore.
1.5 "Legislative Day" is a period of time which begins when the senate meets after an adjournment and ends when the senate next adjourns. A legislative day is not defined by, or confined to, a calendar day.
1.6 "President" is a member of the senate elected to that position, by roll call vote, on the first day of session in odd numbered years, or upon a vacancy due to the death, resignation or removal of the senator serving in that capacity. The president shall preside over the senate in accordance with these Rules.
1.7 "President Pro Tempore" is a member of the senate elected to that position, who presides over the senate in the absence of the president of the senate.
1.8 "Prime Sponsor" shall be that senator whose signature first appears upon the bill.
1.9 "Public Bill" shall include all bills except: those which pertain to a particular city or town; those which relate to an individual's pension and retirement; those which pertain to restoration of corporation charters, and to amendments to authorized holdings by nonprofit organizations of a charitable, civic, library or like nature; resolutions memorializing congress, or of congratulations, or expressing sympathy of condolences, and all resolutions requesting the several departments of state government to grant some privilege, consideration or relief.
1.10 "Reading Clerk" is the person elected to that position under provisions of section 22-3-2 of the general laws who shall, at the direction of the presiding officer, read to the chamber any communication to the senate, resolution, bill or other document and who shall, at the direction of the presidingofficer, date the bills and other documents before the senate, date recordingthereon the action taken and/or the disposition thereof. The reading clerk also shall, at the direction of the senate, amend any bill and transmit any bill to the house of representatives and perform such other duties as may from time to time be prescribed by the president of the senate.
1.11 "Secretary of the Senate" is the person elected to that position under provisions of section 22-3-2 of the general laws who shall, at the direction of the presiding officer, record the proceedings of the senate in a journal, signing saidjournal as secretary of the senate, and who shall, upon their referral, deliver bills and other documents to their respective committees, hold and maintain in good order any bill assigned to the calendar or the consent calendar, and transmit any bill or document to the governor. The secretary of the senate also shall perform those duties prescribed in other sections hereof and those which may from time to time be prescribed by the president of the senate.
1.12 "The Rise of the Senate" occurs upon the conclusion of senate floor business and the exact time varies by the amount of business to be conducted on a particular legislative day.
1.13 "The Senate Chamber" or "Chamber" shall include the floor, the corridor behind the floor, the cloak room and the senate lounge.
1.14 "Vote" or "MajorityVote" as used herein shall mean a majorityof members present and voting unless specifically stated otherwise.
2.1 Presiding Officer.
The president of the senate shall, unless absent from the chamber, be the presiding officer of the sessions of the senate. In the absence of the president from the chair, the president pro tempore shall preside over the senate. The president may appoint a member of the senate to temporarily preside over the senate, but in no event shall such appointment continue beyond the legislative day on which it is made. In case of a vacancy in the offices of president, president pro tempore and the deputy president pro tempore, or in case all said officers are absent at the hour to which the senate stands adjourned, the reading clerk shall call the senate to order, and shall preside until a president pro tempore is elected, which election shall be the first order of business.
2.2 Duties of the Presiding Officer.
The presiding officer shall preserve order and decorum in and about the senate chamber during the senate session in order to prevent interference with the senate's business and deliberations. The presiding officer may speak in preference to the senators, shall decide all questions of order without debate and shall declare all votes. The assignment of bills to committee shall be at the discretion of the president of the senate subject to section 4.4; provided, however, that the president of the senate may delegate such authority to the majority leader of the senate.
2.3 Appealing the Ruling of Presiding Officer.
Any senator may appeal the ruling of the presiding officer by rising as soon as the ruling is made, even though another has the floor and, without waiting to be recognized by the chair, stating, "I appeal the ruling of the chair," and upon such appeal being seconded, the presiding officer shall immediately and without debate put the question, "Shall the ruling of the chair be sustained?", which question shall be decided by majority vote of the senators present and voting. Once sustained, the ruling shall not be subject to another appeal on the same point.
ORDER OF BUSINESS ON THE SENATE FLOOR
3.1 Commencement of Daily Session.
The presiding officer shall take the chair at the hour to which the senate shall have convened, call the senators to order, and record attendance by electronic roll call. A quorum shall consist of a majorityof themembers elected. Uponlatearrival, at anytime prior to the adjournment of the senate, a senator mayreport his or her presence to the secretary of the senatewho shall record the senator's attendance in the journal.
3.2 Reading the Journal.
The reading clerk of the senate shall, at the commencement of the session of each legislative day, read the proceedings of the previous legislative day, unless such reading is dispensed with by a majority of the senators present and voting.
3.3 Daily Business.
After the reading of the proceedings of the previous legislative day the order of business shall be as follows unless otherwise ordered by the President of the Senate:
(1) Introduction of guests
(3) Reports of committees
(4) Introduction and reference of new business
(5) Unfinished business
(6) Consideration of house transmittals
(7) Consent calendar
(9) Introduction of guests
(10) Personal privilege
(11) Address of important matters
(12) Daily adjournment
3.4 Final Adjournment.
Thelast order of business of the annual session of the senate shall bethe vote in conformity with the resolution of final adjournment or recess which must be carried by a majority vote of the senators present and voting.
3.5 Time for Sessions.
Unless otherwise provided for by agreement of president of the senate, the majority leader and minority leader, sessions of the senate shall convene at 4:00 p.m. All sessions must adjourn at or before 11:00 p.m.
ACTS AND RESOLUTIONS
4.1 Form of Bills.
Every bill offered which is intended to amend any part or parts of an existing statute, any part or parts intended to be stricken shall be contained in the bill and by appropriate mechanical mark, struck through. All new matter contained in the bill shall be underlined, underscored or printed in italics so that the new matter shall be easily discerned. If the bill contains all new matter constituting a totally new law or a totally new section, and the billitself so indicates, no underlining, underscoringor italicsshall be required.Everybill containing a commission to whichappointments shall be made shall be indicated in the title of such bill.
No bill without a body or substantive content shall be introduced at any time, nor shall a substitute bill be accepted which is not consistent with the title and substance of the original bill.
All bills introduced on behalf of anygeneral officer,branch, department or divisionof state government shall state on the face sheet thereof with the title of the general officer or the name of the branch, department or division on whose behalf the bill is introduced.
A prime sponsor may withdraw a bill or resolution previously introduced at any time prior to its consideration by a committee, upon written request to the secretary of the senate.
Other than the prime sponsor of a bill, a senator may elect in writing to the secretary of the senate to have his or her name disassociated from the bill and the secretary of the senate shall immediately notify the committee clerk to which the bill is assigned.
All bills shall be processed through legislative council.
4.2 Explanation of Bills.
There shall be attached to each bill a brief explanation thereof and the explanation of such bill shall indicate the proposed changes, and/or the statute or existing law which such bill purports to amend.
4.3 Copies of Bills.
Each bill introduced shall be accompanied by not less than eight (8) copies thereof, with said copies delivered by the secretary of the senate to the office of the president of the senate for subsequent distribution as determined by the president of the senate. Nothing in this section shall prevent a senator from obtaining a preliminary draft of legislation for his or her review prior to introduction.
4.4 Filing with Secretary of the Senate
All senators desiring to introduce a bill shall file the bill with the secretary of the senate not later than the time at which the presiding officer calls the senate to order. The secretary of the senate shall transmit to the office of the president of the senate all bills on the legislative day of their introduction. On the day of introduction, the president shall, upon adjournment, assign bills to committee. The secretary of the senate shall cause all bills introduced to be published in the senate journal for that legislative day. Any senator may object to the committee assignment of any bill on the first or second legislative day following the bill's introduction. Upon objection being made, the presiding officer shall assign the bill to the committee requested by the senator making the objection; provided, however, that if another senator objects to any assignment or proposed assignment of the bill, then the presiding officer shall call for a vote of the senate on any motion for assignment which has been made and seconded, such motion requiring a majority vote of those Senators present and voting for assignment to a particular committee. First reading of all such bills and resolutions shall be by acceptance of the bill and the committee assignment.
4.5 Deadline for Introductions.
No public bill shall be introduced in the senate after the second Thursday in February of each session, except with the consent of the President of the Senate. Except as otherwise expressly directed by the president of the senate, all requests for the preparation of public bills shall be submitted to the offices of Legislative Council no later than the close of business on the Friday next preceding the bill-introduction deadline set forth herein.
4.6 Omnibus Claims Against the State.
Claims against the state in the amount of one thousand dollars ($1,000) or less shall not be presented in bill or resolution form, but shall be submitted to the clerk of the joint committee on accounts and claims in writing upon a form approved by the chairperson of the joint committee on accounts and claims. Any claims approved by the joint committee shall be submitted in the form of an omnibus bill which will be placed upon the consent calendar.
4.7 Resolutions of Congratulations and Condolences.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of these rules, all resolutions of congratulations or expressing sympathy or condolences except with respect to former and present members of the general assembly, general officers, members of the judiciary and elected state or federal officials, shall be placed on the consent calendar, unless otherwise ordered by the president of the senate. Said resolution of congratulations and condolences shall not require concurrent action; upon passage, shall be forthwith transmitted to the secretary of state, and an appropriate notice of the action of the senate thereon shall be forwarded, as requested in the resolution, by the secretary of state. One formal resolution may include all the expressions of sympathy or congratulations of the several senators.
4.8 Enactment of Laws.
The concurrence ofthe twohousesin the same session shall be necessaryfor theenactment of all bills except for senate resolutions.
4.9 Electronic Availability of Public Bills–Requirements.
4.9-1 Public Bills.
No public bill shall be considered upon its merits unless it has been electronically available to the members at least two (2) calendar days prior to its consideration on the merits, except any public bill passed by the senate and amended by the house, provided that the amended public bill shall be electronically available to the senators before consideration.
4.9-2 Committee Amendments.
Except by majority vote, no public bill amended in a committee of the senate shall be considered upon the senate floor unless it has been electronically available to the senators.
4.9-3 Materially Altered Bills.
Whenever a committee shall have determined to report a bill which has been materially altered by the committee, the committee chair shall forthwith provide for printing and electronic reproduction of the same. In the event that a bill is not deemed to have been materially altered, which determination shall be made by the committee chair, a bill shall be printed only upon the request of the president of the senate, the majority leader or the minority leader. Nothing in these rules shall preclude the committee chair, with a majority of the committee, to change an act to a resolution or a resolution to an act on a substitute bill.
4.10 Copies of Bills and Voting Records.
The secretary of the senate shall retain in the files of the senate as many copies of each bill as the secretary of the senate deems necessary and the voting records on each question.
4.11 Requests for Funding of Community Service Objectives.
Requests for the funding of community service objectives grants shall not be presented in bill or resolution form, but shall be submitted to the senate fiscal advisor in writing upon a form approved by the chairperson of the senate committee on finance.
4.12 Death or Resignation of a Member.
In the event that any member or member-elect shall die or resign after filing and before consideration by committee, the death or resignation of said member or member-elect shall constitute automatic withdrawal of said bill or resolution and automatic withdrawal of the number of said bill or resolution and said number shall not be used again during the legislative session; provided, however, that where a bill or resolution shall have had more than one sponsor, said bill or resolution and number shall not be withdrawn and the member whose name appears second on said bill or resolution shall become the prime sponsor.
4.13 Limitation on Number of Bills Introduced.
No Senator shall introduce more than twenty-five (25) public bills during the annual session except with the permission of the President of the Senate.
5.1 Standing Committees.
The senate shall have the following standing committees:
1. Committee on Judiciary
2. Committee on Finance
3. Committee on Housing and Municipal Government
4. Committee on Labor
5. Committee on Special Legislation and Veterans' Affairs
6. Committee on Health and Human Services
7. Committee on Education
8. Committee on Commerce
9. Committee on Environment and Agriculture
10. Committee on Rules, Government Ethics and Oversight
5.1-1 Committee on Judiciary.
It shall be the duty of the committee on judiciary to consider the appointments of the governor referred to it by the senate which require the advice and consent of the senate and all legislation and matters which affect the penal code, judicial system, ethics, open meetings, access topublicrecords and electionlaws of the state, to maintainoversight over the application,execution and operation of the laws within its jurisdiction, expulsion of a member and to consider such other matters as may be referred to it by the senate. In the matters of judicial appointments, expulsion of a member and those publichearings designated by the committee chair, all testimonyshall be under oath and preserved by stenographic record which shall be transcribed upon the order of the chair.
5.1-2 Committee on Finance.
It shall be the duty of the committee on finance to consider the appointments of the governor referred to it by the senate which require the advice and consent of the senate and all legislation and matters relative to revenue, appropriations and taxes, to inquire into the state of the public debt, to report from time to time its opinion thereon and such propositions relative thereto as it shall deem expedient, to maintain oversight over the application, execution and operation of the laws within its jurisdiction and to consider such other matters as may be referred to it by the senate. The chair of the committee shall be authorized to appoint as many sub- committees as he or she deems necessary, including, but not limited to, a sub-committee on veterans affairs.
5.1-3 Committee on Housing and Municipal Government.
It shall be the duty of the committee on housing and municipal government to consider the appointments of the governor referred to it by the senate which require the advice and consent of the senate and all legislation and matters affecting housing, municipal government, transportation, to maintain oversight over the application, execution and operation of the laws within its jurisdiction and to consider such other matters as may be referred to it by the senate.
5.1-4 Committee on Labor.
It shall be the duty of the committee on labor to consider the appointments of the governor referred to it by the senate which require the advice and consent of the senate and all legislation and matters relating to the workers' compensation and labor laws of the state, to maintain oversight over theapplication,execution and operation of the laws within its jurisdiction and to consider such other matters as may be referred to it by the senate.
5.1-5 Committee on Special Legislation and Veterans' Affairs.
It shall be the duty of the committee on special legislation and veterans' affairs to consider the appointments of the governor referred to it by the senate which require the advice and consent of the senate and all legislation and matters relating to constitutional amendments, liquor laws, gaming issues, license plates, veterans' affairs, domestic animals, commissions and resolutions, to maintain oversight over the application, execution and operation of the laws within its jurisdiction and to consider such other matters as may be referred to it by the senate.
5.1-6 Committee on Health and Human Services.
It shall be the duty of the committee on health and human services to consider the appointments of the governor referred to it by the senate which require the advice and consent of the senate and to consider all reports of the departments of health, of human services, of behavioral healthcare, developmental disabilities and hospitals, of children, youth and families, and of elderly affairs; to consider all legislation and matters expanding or defining further areas of responsibility of the foregoing and to consider all legislation and matters relative to public health and welfare; health care and human service access and quality; health and human service professional standards of practice, and facility standards of care; to maintain oversight over the application, execution and operation of the laws within its jurisdiction; and to consider such other matters as may be referred to it by the senate.
5.1-7 Committee on Education.
It shall be the duty of the committee on education to consider the appointments of the governor referred to it by the senate which require the advice and consent of the senate and all legislation and matters relating to student performance, governance, programming, teacher preparation and planning, as well as the workand operation of all state agencies regardingall levels of education, make findings, and recommend policy initiatives and other actions to the general assembly. The commission committee shall also exercise oversight in relation to the implementation of all legislation and grants of authority relating to all levels of public education in thestate by all agencies,state and local,charged and empowered by the generalassembly in relating to all levelsof public education,to maintain oversight over the application, execution and operation of the laws within its jurisdiction and to consider such other matters as may be referred to it by the senate.
5.1-8 Committee on Commerce.
It shall be the duty of the committee on commerce to consider the appointments of the governor referred to it by the senate which require the advice and consent of the senate and all legislation and matters relating to financial institutions, business regulation, property and casualty insurance, technology and telecommunications, for profit as well as not-for-profit business entities, to maintain oversight over the application, execution and operation of the laws within its jurisdiction and to consider such other matters as may be referred to it by the senate.
5.1-9 Committee on Environment and Agriculture.
It shall be the duty of the committee on environment and agriculture to consider the appointments of the governor referred to it by the senate which require the advice and consent of the senate and all legislation and matters relating to the conservation of the air, land, water, plant, animal,mineral andothernaturalresources of the state, and to adopt allmeansnecessary and proper by law to protect the natural environment of the people of the state by providing adequate resource planning for the control and regulation of the use of the natural resources of the state and for the preservation, regeneration, and restoration of the natural environment of the state, to maintain oversight over the application, execution and operation of the laws within its jurisdiction and to consider such other matters as may be referred to it by the senate.
5.1-10 Committee on Rules, Government Ethics and Oversight
It shall be the duty of the committee on rules, government ethics and oversight consider the appointments of the governor referred to it by the senate which require the advice and consent of the senate, and (1) Consider all matters relating to the rules of the senate; (2) to ensure that the members of the Senate and its staff, through education, monitoring and disseminating the opinions of the Rhode Island Ethics Commission, adhere to the highest standards of ethical conduct, respect the public trust and the rights of all persons, be open, accountable and responsive, avoid the appearance of impropriety, and not use their position for private gain or advantage; (3) to monitor and evaluate past, current and prospective performance of public bodies and statutory entities, including quasi-public agencies that exercise executive governmental functions (except public bodies and statutory entities of the legislative and judiciary branches of the state) and any other public or privateperson,including any agencies,partnerships,corporation or business entityinsofar as such person is acting on behalf of and/or in place of any public agency; (4) to consider the organization, reorganization, creation or termination of such public bodies, statutory entities, includingquasi-publicagencies and public or privatepersons; (5) to review and consider thereports of the auditor general; (6) to report its opinion and/or recommendation of legislation or action regarding the foregoing matters; (7) to consider any bill referred to it by the senate, including, but not limited to any act, resolve, resolution or petition; and (8) to consider such other matters that are referred to it by the senate.
5.2 Committee Membership.
Each of the standing committees of the senate shall consist of the president of the senate, ex officio with voting rights, and the majority and minority leaders of the senate, ex officio, with voting rights, and senators appointed by the president of the senate, each to serve until January 5, 2021 January 3, 2023. Provided, however, that the president of the senate may change the committee assignment of a member without the member's consent, for cause only; and provided further, however, that each senator other than the president and the majority and minority leaders, shall serve as a member of one of the following standing committees: committee on health and human services; committee on commerce; committee on finance; committee on the judiciary. In addition to the committeesappointed by the president of the senate, the majority and minoritywhips of the senate shall serve ex officio, with voting rights on all standing committees of the senate.
5.3 Vacancies on Committees.
All vacancies occurring in any committee of the senate shall be filled by the president of the senate.
5.4 Officers of Committees.
The president of the senate shall appoint from the membership of each committee a chair, vice chair and secretary and such other committee officers as the president of the senate deems appropriate.
5.5 Select Committees.
The senate may, from time to time, by resolution, provide for the establishment of select committees upon such subjects as it may deem proper, and upon the adoption of such resolution, the president of the senate shall appoint the chair and members thereof, and shall provide for minority party representation. Any committee created pursuant to this rule shall be deemed a standing committee for all purposes of law, including the applicability of section 22-6-2.1 of the general laws.
5.6 Referral to Committee.
No bill shall be consideredor actedupon by the senateunlessthe same has been considered by, reported, or recalled from a committee thereof, or from a joint committee, except as otherwise provided in these rules. All acts seeking to vacate the forfeiture of a charter previously granted under the laws of this state shall not be referred to committee but rather directly assigned to the calendar.
5.7 Committees of Conference.
There shall be appointed from time to time committees of conference to which are referred matters of difference with the house with respect to bills or resolutions. Such committees shall be appointed by the speaker and the president of the senate, and shall be comprised of five (5) members from the house and five (5) members from the senate. At least one (1) member in each chamber shall be a member of the minority party. When possible, one (1) member shall be the prime sponsor of the bill or resolution being considered before the committee of conference and one (1) member shall be from the committee that shall have considered the bill or resolution. The committee may propose any changes within the scope of the bill or resolution, but any action, including changes, taken by committee shall be by a majority vote of the members of each chamber on the committee. The committee report shall be made to both chambers at the same time. Each chamber shall vote to accept or reject the report. A vote by either chamber to accept the report of the committee shall be the final action by that chamber on the bill or resolution. If both chambers vote to accept the report of the committee, the bill is passed or the resolution adopted as of the time the last chamber votes to accept thereport. If either chamber rejects the report of the committee, thebill orresolution is defeated and the second chamber shall not be required to consider the committee report. The report of the committee may be accepted or rejected, but it may not be amended. The committee report shall contain the following information: the bill number and title, the members of the committee, the action of the committee, and the signature of the members of the committee accepting or rejecting the report.
The conferees shall confine themselves to the differences which exist within bills or resolutions between the house and senate. The presentation of reports of committees of conference shall be in order after having been signed by a majority of the members of the committee of each chamber. Consideration of a report of a committee of conference by the senate shall be in order when it has been made electronically available to all members and listed on the calendar for the required period of time according to these rules.
PROCEEDINGS IN COMMITTEE
6.1 Time for Committee Meetings.
The president of the senate, in consultation with the chairs, shall establish regular calendar days and times for the meetings of all standing committees. The committee chair may call such other meetings as may be required to conduct the business of the committee.
6.2 Committee Agenda – Posting.
At least forty-eight (48)hours before any standingcommittee meeting, acommittee agenda containing the number, title and a short explanation of each bill to be considered will be placed on the official general assembly website, as well as on a bulletin or electronic board of which shall be for the public's use and shall be situated at the main entrance to the state library and the legislative data bulletin board. The rule shall not apply to bills previously passed by the senate and amended by the house.
6.3 Convening of Meeting.
The chair of the committee or, in the chair's absence, the vice chair, shall call all regular sessions of the committee, set agenda and proceed with the order of business.
6.4 Public Participation.
6.4-1 Open Meetings.
Every standing committee meeting, except executive sessions, shall be open to the public during the consideration of all matters coming before it. At such open meetings, persons other than members of the committee may testifyat the discretionof thecommitteechair on any matter posted for a hearing. Any matter posted for consideration only shall not be open for public testimony.
6.4-2 Executive Sessions.
Any standing committee may be called into executive session by the chair or upon motion of one of the committeemembers if the matterunderconsideration is deemed by the chair to comply with those provisions of the "Open Meetings" law (chapter 42-46) which provides for closed meetings; provided, however, when the chair of any standing committee calls the committee into executive session, the majority of those members present in the executive session may vote not to meet in executive session after having heard the reasons for such executive session but no other votes shall be permitted in executive sessions. The chair of the committee which may be called into executive session shall provide a general description to the public of the reason for calling such committee into executive session.
6.4-3 Public Hearings.
In the discretion of the chair, public hearings may be advertised in newspapers, stenographic records kept and hearings held at locations other than the state house. The purpose of the public hearing shall be to solicit the comments of the public on the matter being considered. At the public hearing all persons shall be permitted to testify; provided, however, the committee chair may limit the amount of time allotted to speakers except that the prime sponsor shall not have a timelimit to speak and shalluponrequest be the firstspeaker at the hearing.After the publichearing has been held for a reasonable period and if there are still persons wishing to speak, the committee chair may continue the hearing until another date.
6.5 Hearing and Consideration of Bills.
Upon a written request by the prime sponsor of any public bill received by the secretary of the senate before the closing of the next legislative day after the deadline for introduction as specified in section 4.5 that a committee hearing be held with respect to such bill, the committee chair shall schedule a committee hearing within eight (8) legislative days of such request unless a later date is agreed to by the prime sponsor. "Received" as used herein shall mean receipt in hand by the secretary of the senate or his or her designee. The secretary shall note the date and time of receipt on the request and such notation shall be dispositive. On the same day, the sponsor shall hand deliver copies of the request to the president of the senate and to the committee chair or their designees. The committee shall consider said bill not more than eight (8) legislative days after the committee hearing, unless a later date is agreed to by the prime sponsor. If the committee does not consider the bill then the committee shall be discharged of its responsibility to consider such bill and such bill shall be placed on the senate calendar pursuant to section 7.6 hereof. Consideration by a committee shall mean any one of the following actions: recommendation of passage, recommendation of passage as amended, transfer to another committee, indefinite postponement, hold for further study or defeat of the bill. Provided further, the minority leader may request in writing within twenty-four (24) hours after the deadline for introductions specified in section 4.5 a hearing on any senate bill in committee. In the event a request is made pursuant to this rule at a time less than sixteen (16) days before the deadline for committee consideration set forth in section 6.9, then such request shall not be proper and shall be automatically denied.
A committee shall not vote upon any bill in the absence of a quorum which shall consist of a majority of the committee's members; provided, however, that at the discretion of the chair, less than a quorum may conduct any hearing including public hearings.
6.7 Minority Representation.
When there is no minority member present and the committee is to consider a bill, the committeechairshall notify the office ofthe minorityleader.Unless waived by the minorityleader, the committee shall not conduct business for a reasonable time not to exceed fifteen (15) minutes or until a minority member of the committee is present. Once a minority member is present, his or her subsequent absence will not require further notice to the minority leader. For purposes of this rule, an independent senator shall be considered to be a minority member.
6.8 Committee Votes.
All votes in committee on public bills shall be a recorded roll call vote. The vote upon all motions or bills not considered a "public bill" shall, upon the request of any member of the committee, be a recorded roll call vote. Otherwise all votes shall be put by yeas and nays. Committee chairs shall submit all bills approved by committee to the floor forthwith, with a record of the committee vote.
6.9 Deadline for Consideration.
After the Thursday preceding the spring recess week of each session, committees shall consider only those public bills which have been acted upon and transmitted to the senate by the house of representatives; provided, however, that the president of the senate may request a senate committee to immediately consider a senate bill then in committee and said bill shall be considered by the committee.
6.10 Discharge from Committee.
No bill shall be taken or called from any such committee, or the committee discharged from the consideration thereof, except:
Any senator may present a petition, in writing, to discharge a committee from further consideration of a bill which has been in the possession of the committee for thirty (30) legislative days without having been considered, but only one petition on a particular bill may be presented during the course of a session. Prior to presenting the petition, the senator must introduce a resolution of intent to discharge such committee. Such resolution of intent shall contain the bill number and the committee to be discharged. The presiding officer shall cause the resolution of intent to be printed in the journal of the senate. The petition shall be placed in the custody of the secretary of the senate who shall arrange some convenient place for the signatures of the senators to be placed thereon in the presence of the reading clerk during the hours in which the senate is in session. A signature may be withdrawn by a senator at any time before the petition shall become effective.
On the first dayof each week, there shall be printed in thejournal of the senate the petitions pending under these rules, together with the signatures thereto; provided, however, that as soon as a majority of all the senators elected to the senate shall have affixed their signatures to any such petition to discharge a committee under this rule, the presiding officer shall cause notice thereof to be given to chair and clerk of the committee to which such bill was referred, and such notice shall, thereupon, automatically discharge the committee from further consideration of the bill and the bill shall be placed upon the calendar in accordance with section 7.6 hereof.
Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to change the deadline for consideration as specified in section 6.9.
6.11 Compelling Committee Action.
If a committee to which a bill has been referred fails to consider such bill within sixteen (16) legislative days of its referral, the prime sponsor of such bill, or a majority of the appointed members, but not less than four (4) committee members, may, in writing, request the chair of the committee, through the presiding officer of the senate, that such bill be considered. The request shall be printed in the journal of the senate. The committee shall consider such bill at its first meeting held at least three (3) legislative days after such request is made. If the committee does not consider the bill within nine (9) legislative days of receipt of the request then the committee shall be discharged of its responsibility to consider such bill and such bill shall be placed on the senate calendar pursuant to section 7.6 hereof. Consideration by a committee shall be interpreted to mean any one of the following actions: recommendation of passage, recommendation of passage as amended, transfer to another committee, indefinite postponement, hold for further study or defeat of the bill. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to change the deadline for consideration as specified in section 6.9.
6.12 Defeat of a Bill.
Once a bill is defeated in committee, the same shall not be acted upon or considered again during the same legislative year.
6.13 Indefinite Postponement.
Whenever any bill is postponed indefinitelyin committee, the same shall not be acted upon or considered again during the same legislative year.
6.14 Transfer of Bills.
In the event the chair of any standing committee determines that any bill then pending before the committee would more properly be pending before another standing committee of the senate, the chair shall transfer such bill to such other standing committee as is deemed appropriate during the reports of committees.
6.15 Committee Records.
All recorded votes of committees, all written testimony submitted to a committee, and the transcripts of any recorded testimony shall be retained by the clerk of each committee, shall constitute public records, and shall be available for inspection to any senator and to any person upon request. All committee votes, transcripts and testimony shall be transmitted to the secretary ofstatepursuant to state law and senatepolicyfollowingfinaladjournment in evennumberedyears.
6.16 Attribution of Bills.
Upon presentation of testimony before a committee, the prime sponsor of the bill shall provide to the committee the name of any individual, group or organization responsible for the substantive basis or text of the bill.
6.17 Companion Bills.
Any house bill, identical to a senate bill previously heard in committee, may be considered without further hearing.
6.18 Substitute Bills.
Any proposed substitute bill, or a substitute of a bill held by a committee, shall be posted at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to consideration. Such postings will be placed on the official general assembly website, as well as on the legislative data bulletin board and on a bulletin or electronic board of which shall be for the public's use and shall be situated at the main entrance to the state library. The electronic posting shall be considered the official date of the posting. In the event that the electronic posting is inoperable, then the official posting shall be the legislative data bulletin board. The chair may waive this twenty-four (24) hour posting requirement, for amendments technical, grammatical, or not substantive or substantial in nature. This section shall not apply to the annual state budget bill.
PROCEEDINGS ON THE SENATE FLOOR
7.1 Right to the Floor.
No senator shall address another except through the presiding officer. A senator shall rise to put a question, maystateit or read a paper sitting. When anysenator wishes to speakor to deliver any matter to the senate, the senator shall press his or her recognition control and the presiding officer shall recognize the senator who so requests recognition and the order of recognition shall be determined by the presiding officer. The senator so recognized shall not be interrupted while speaking except by a call to order or a motion to suspend section 3.5. The senator shall then immediately be seated unless permitted by the senate to proceed, which shall be determined upon motion without debate. No senator, exclusive of the majority and minority leaders, the prime sponsor or floor manager, or the chair of the committee from which the bill or resolution was reported, shall speak more than twice to the same question without leave of the senate, which shall be determined without debate; nor more than once until every member choosingto speakshall have spoken; nor for longer than five (5) minutes without the leave of the senate, which shall be determined without debate. A senator may yield his or her right to the floor to another senator.
7.2 Personal Privilege.
Only at the time provided for in section 3.3, a senator may claim the floor to address the senate on personal privilege. Personal privilege shall include the right to reply to criticism, or to discuss anything clearly derogatory to the member or which reflects upon his or her character that appears in the press or other public medium but shall not include the right to discuss favorable references to the senator, nor to reply to generalized criticism of the senate which does not refer to him or to her specifically, nor to attack another member of the senate personally. Whether a member's remarks constitute personal privilege shall be determined by the presiding officer.
7.3 Addressing the Senate on Important Matters.
Only at the time provided for in section 3.3, a senator may request unanimous consent of the senators present to address the senate on a topic or matter of importance to the welfare of the state. A senator granted the right to so address the senate may be interrupted at any time by another senator who wishes to object to the first senator's right to continue to address the senate and upon such objection the first senator's right to address the senate shall terminate.
7.4 Objectionable Language.
No senator shall use profane, insulting, or abusive language or act in any manner that is disruptive to the course of public debate on the senate floor, or in testimony before any committee of the general assembly.
7.5 Priority of Business.
All questions relating to priority of business to be acted upon shall be decided by the presiding officer without debate.
There shall be a calendar kept by the secretary of the senate upon which shall be placed the bills reported by all committees, and all other matters ordered placed thereon by the senate. Matters on the calendar shall be arranged by the secretary of the senate in numerical order by committee unless otherwise ordered by the president of the senate in agreement with the majority leader and the minority leader. Such calendar shall be electronically available to all members of the senate. Except as provided in section 7.13, and duringconsideration of the calendar, no other business shall intervene except to receive a communication from the house or a motion to suspend section 3.5.
All business on the calendar not disposed of at the time of adjournment shall be first in order on the calendar the next day. No matter of business on the calendar shall be considered upon its merits unless it has been on such calendar for at least two (2) calendar days; except that the president of the senate may order a bill placed on the calendar for less than two (2) calendar days; provided, however, a bill passed by the senate and amended by the house of representatives may be considered by the senate without being on the calendar for two (2) calendar days if the requirements of section 4.9-1 have been met.
7.7 Consent Calendar.
Notwithstanding the provisions of section 7.6, the secretary of the senate shall also maintain a separate calendar, designated as the consent calendar, upon which shall be placed resolutions required by section 4.7, acts seeking to vacate the forfeiture of a corporate charter and such other bills as directed by the president of the senate. Matters on the consent calendar shall be in order for disposal on each dayand shall include all such matters reported orreferredthereto from the previous day. Such consent calendar shall be posted in the chamber of the senate. All matters on the consent calendar shall be disposed by roll call vote on a single motion except such matters as may be objected to by any single senator, which said matter or matters shall be held over on the regular calendar for the next legislative day.
7.8 Reports of Joint Committees.
No bill reported by or forwarded on the recommendation of a joint committee of the two houses shall be in order for concurrence by the senate if it shall appear that the members of such joint committee on the part of the senate, if in attendance on the general assembly, shall not have been notified or present when the subject was acted on by such joint committee. No report shall be acted on in the senate from any joint committee unless as subscribed by a senator who is a member of said committee. Any report from a joint committee shall be made on the floor of the senate by a member of said committee,notwithstanding that said member may not have concurred in the report and said report shall be held on the desk unless ordered placed on the calendar pursuant to section 7.6 by the president of the senate or by a majority vote of the senate.
7.9 Messages from the House.
When a message is received from the house of representatives, transmitting any papers, the secretary of the senateshalltransmit to the office of the president of the senateall housetransmittals received on that day. The president of the senate shall assign house transmittals to committees upon adjournment of the senate. The secretary of the senate shall cause all house transmittals to be published in the senate journal for the day such transmittals are received. Any senator may object to the committee assignment for any transmittal received during the previous legislative day. Upon objection being made, the presiding officer shall assign the transmittal to the committee requested by the senator making the objection, provided, however, that if another senator objects to any assignment or proposed assignment of the transmittal, then the presiding officer shall call for a vote of the senate on any motion for assignment which has been made and seconded, such motion requiring a majority vote of those senators present and voting for assignment to a particular committee.
During the time for consideration of house transmittals, a senator may move for immediate consideration of a house transmittal, received by the secretary of the senate on the previous legislative day. If there is no objection to the motion, it is deemed to be approved, but if there is objection to the motion for immediate consideration, the presiding officer shall submit the motion to a vote of the senate, such motion for immediate consideration shall require the votes of two-thirds (2/3) of those senators present and voting, for approval.
No senator may amend from the floor any bill pending before the senate unless such amendment be submitted, electronically or in writing, with sufficient copies signed by the proponent, and read to the body; provided, however, that no amendment to the annual budget bill making appropriations for the support of the state may be offered, except with the agreement of two-thirds (2/3) of the members present, unless copies thereof shall have been filed with the secretary of the senate no later than 12:00 o'clock noon on the legislative day preceding the legislative day on which the budget bill shall be in order for consideration: provided however that with majority consent a senator may make an oral amendment of a technical or minor nature.
7.11 Votes in Concurrence.
Whenever any bill shall come before the senate for concurrence, and the senate concurs without amendments, or fails to concur, the secretary of the senate may announce the concurrence or nonconcurrence to the other house, but the original bill received by the senate shall not be transmitted to the other house.
No motion shall be debated until it has been seconded. For the purpose of recorded votes only the firstsecondshall berecorded. A motion may be withdrawn by the mover at anytimebefore a decision or a motion to amend, except a motion to reconsider, which shall not be withdrawn after the time has elapsed within which it could be originally made.
7.13 Interruption of Debate.
When a question is under debate, no motion shall be received except to suspend section 3.5, to adjourn, to recommit, for the previous question, to close debate, to fix a time for closing debate, to take a recess, to lay on the table, to take from the table, to transmit, to postpone indefinitely, to changecalendararrangement, or to amend, and any motion or resolutionthe purpose of which is to take any bill or any other matter from committees of the senate or to discharge a committeefrom the considerationthereof,whichseveral motionsshall haveprecedence in the order in which they are here arranged and shall be decided by majority vote without debate; provided further that a motion to recommit as to any bill which isplaced on the senate calendar may be voted by yeas and nays; however, if the prime sponsor timely objects, the motion shall be voted on by electronic roll of the senate.
When time for meeting of the senate shall have been previously fixed, a motion to adjourn and a motion to suspend section 3.5 shall always be in order. The senate shall not be adjourned except by affirmative vote of a majority of the senators present and voting.
7.15 Lay on the Table.
When an amendment proposed to any pending measure be laid on the table, it shall not carry with it, or prejudice such measure.
7.16 Dividing Questions.
A question that is susceptible of division shall, at the request of the majority, be divided and put separately upon the propositions of which it is compounded.
7.17 Non-Germane Amendments.
No motion or proposition of a subject different from that under consideration shall be admitted under color of amendment.
7.18 Motion for Reconsideration.
A senator on the prevailing side of any vote may, on the same legislative day, move to reconsider the vote on the same or following legislative day. When a bill has been reconsidered it shall not be reconsidered again during the session. Bills and other papers in reference to which a motion to reconsider is pending shall, unless otherwise ordered, remain in the possession of the secretary of the senate until the right of reconsideration has expired. The privilege to reconsider granted by this rule may be suspended by a majority vote of the senators present and voting.
7.19 Printed Material.
If the reading of any printed or written paper be objected to, the matter shall be determined by a majority vote of the senate without debate.
No motion to recommit shall be entertained by the presiding officer as to any bill which is placed on the calendar as the result of section 6.10 until every senator desiring to be heard has been recognized, notwithstanding the provisions of section 7.13.
7.21 Immediate Consideration.
During the time for introduction and reference of new business, as provided in section 3.3, a senator may introduce a bill and move for immediate consideration of the bill at that time. If there is no objection to the motion, for immediate consideration it is deemed to be approved, but if there isobjection to the motion for immediateconsideration, the presidingofficershall submit themotion to a vote of the senate; such motion for immediate consideration shall require the votes of two-thirds (2/3) of those senators present and voting, for approval. If the bill is not available electronically to all members of the senate at the time of the request for immediate consideration, then a hard copy of the bill shall be made available to any senator upon request.
7.22 Questions During Debate.
A senator, while speaking after recognition by the chair, may, upon request of a senator, yield to him or her temporarily without thereby relinquishing his or her prior right to the floor and, thereafter, may terminate such interruption and resume speaking at any time; provided, however, that it shall not be in order for a senator to rise and request that a senator, other than the one with the right to the floor, yield to a question. Furthermore, it shall not be in order for a senator, with the right to the floor, to ask another senator to yield to a question, unless such senator has previously spoken during the debate on the matter. All questions and responses shall be directed through the chair and the presiding officer shall not be interrupted when speaking.
VOTING ON THE SENATE FLOOR
8.1 Method of Voting.
The electronic roll call of the senate shall be called on any vote pertaining to an election, public bill, on passage of the consent calendar and on any other vote at the request of any senator present; otherwise, votes shall be put by yeas and nays. In naming sums or numbers, and fixing times, the largest sum or longest time shall be put first.
8.2 Voting Machine Inoperative.
In the event the machine is not to be used to record a vote or is not operating properly, all votes and other determinations may be taken as required by senate rules, either by voice vote, division vote or by calling the roll alphabetically and recording the yeas and nays. If a senator's voting device is out of order, the senator shall rise and announce it to the presiding officer and cast his or her vote orally prior to the declaration of the result of the vote.
8.3 Who May Vote.
Any member who is present on the senate floor must vote. Any senator who is not on the floor at suchtime, but whoreturns before the machine is locked, shall be permitted to vote. Without objection or with a majority vote, a senator may be permitted to cast a vote after the results have been announced, provided however such request shall be made on the same legislative day and, only if the vote if so permitted, will not change the result previously announced.
8.4 Control of Electronic Voting System.
The electronic voting system shall be under the control of the presiding officer and shall be operated by such personnel as the president of the senate so designates.
8.5 Conducting a Vote.
At a reasonable time prior to any vote beingtaken, the presidingofficer shall announce that a vote is about to be taken. When any senator other than the president of the senate is presiding, such senator may direct either the Secretary of the Senate or the reading clerk to cast his or her vote at his or her voting station, but at no other time may a senator designate any other person to cast his or her vote. Until the completion of the voting, no senator shall be recognized, and no other business shall be transacted. When sufficient time has elapsed for each senator to vote prior to locking the machine, the presiding officer shall ask if any member present desires to vote or change his or her vote. The presiding officer shall then order the machine locked and activate the recording process. The voting machine shall remain locked between all votes.
8.6 Announcing the Tally.
When the vote is completelyrecorded, the Secretary of the Senateshalladvise the presiding officer of the result; and the presiding officer shall announce the result to the senate and the result shall be recorded in the journal.
8.7 Changing a Vote.
No vote may be changed after the system has been locked and the vote recorded except that, after a vote has been recorded, any senator may, by a majority vote of the senate, be permitted to change his or her vote, provided that such change be effected on the same calendar day as his or her original vote.
8.8 Recording Votes.
8.8-1 On any recorded vote, no senator shall be recorded as having voted unless he or she has been recorded or recognized as being present prior to the conduct of said vote.
8.8-2 Upon request, on any non-recorded vote, any senator shall have his or her vote recorded so that it shall appear in the journal of the senate.
8.9 Voting for Another.
No senator may vote for another senator; nor may any person cast a vote for a senator, except as otherwise provided in section 8.5. A senator who voted for another senator may be punished in a manner the senate determines. A person voting for a senator, when not authorized by section 8.5, is barred from the floor of the senate and may be further punished as the senate determines.
8.10 Explanation of Vote.
No explanation of anyvote will be permitted during the votingor after a votehas been cast.
8.11 Statement of the Question.
After the question has been put, but before the system is locked, any senator may call for a statement of the question.
8.12 No Interruption.
While the presiding officer is putting the question, or the vote is being recorded, no senator shall speak or leave his or her place.
PROCEEDINGS ON NOMINATIONS
Thesenate'sexercise of its constitutionalobligation to giveadvice and consent to executive appointees shall be governed solely and exclusively by these rules.
Nominations shall be delivered to the Secretary of the Senate, or his or her designee, at the Office of the Secretary for presentation to the Senate.
9.3 Presentation to the Senate.
When a nomination shall be presented to the Senate for advice and consent, it shall, unless otherwise ordered, be referred to the appropriate committee or committees and a copy of the nomination shall be delivered to the senator within whose district the nominee resides. Except as set forth herein, nominations shall follow the same course and be subject to the same procedures as bills introduced pursuant to Rules of the Senate.
9.4 Questions Presented.
The final question on every nomination shall be, "Will the Senate provide its advice and consent to [insert nominee name and position]?" which question shall not be put on the same legislative day on which the nomination is received, nor on the legislative day on which it may be reported by a committee. Provided, however, that this provision may be waived by vote of a majority of the Senate.
9.5 Effect of Non-action.
Nominations neither confirmed nor rejected during the annual session at which they are made shall not be acted upon at anysucceedingsessionunless renewed bythe appointingauthority; and if the Senate shall adjourn or be in recess for a period in excess of thirty (30) days, all nominations pending and not finally acted upon at the time of such adjournment or recess shall be returned by the Secretary of the Senate to the appointingauthority, and shall not again be considered unless the nomination shall again be made and delivered to the Senate by the appointing authority.
9.6 Withdrawal of Nominations.
Nominations may be withdrawn by the appointingauthorityat anytime prior to final action thereon by the Senate.
10.1 Legislative Aides.
The president of the senate may appoint and prescribe the duties and terms of a parliamentarian and one head page and as many assistant pages, doorkeepers and legislative aides as the president of the senate shall deem necessary; and any or all of them may be removed at the pleasure of the president of the senate.
10.2 Absence of a Quorum.
When there shall be seven (7) or more senators, but less than a quorum of the senate present, a majority of the senators present may direct the presiding officer to compel the attendance of absent senators in accordance with law.
10.3 Amendment and Suspension of Rules.
No rule shall be repealed, suspended or amended, or the operation thereof temporarily suspended except by two-thirds (2/3) of the members present and voting.
10.4 Access to the Senate Chamber.
10.4-1 Access During Senate Session.
Ten minutes prior to the time the senate is scheduled to convene, the secretary of the senate shall clear the senate chamber of all persons other than members of the general assembly, general assembly staff, guests of a senator, and authorized representatives of the news media. From this time to the adjournment or recess of said session no persons other than those listed above shall be admitted to the senate chamber except with permission from the senate president.
10.4-2 Senators' Seats.
The seat of each senator shall be assigned by the president of the senate, and in no event shall any other person be permitted to occupy such assigned seat.
10.4-3 Sheriff's Duties.
It shall be the duty of the sheriff, or the sheriff's deputies in attendance in the senate, or in their absence, a member of the capitol police department, to see that sections 10.4-1, 10.4-2, 10.4- 3, 10.4-4 and 10.4-9 are enforced, and that all senate entrances and exits are kept completely clear and open to passage to and from the chamber.
When the normal seating accommodations for visitors in the gallery have been filled, no additional seats shall be installed, and no persons shall be thereafter admitted to the gallery of the senate while in session except to fill vacancies.
10.5 Confidentiality of Drafting.
At the request of any senator or senate attorney to the director of the legislative council, an entryinto the wordprocessingsystem may be madeconfidential sothat the entryshall beaccessible only to the senator or senate attorney making such request or his or her designee. An entry may be a bill, letter, memorandum or any other document.
10.6 Misuse of Rules.
If it appears that therules are beingusedas atactic toimpede senate business, thepresiding officer may make a decision to that effect and put the matter before the senate and a majority vote of the senators present shall sustain with finality the ruling of the presiding officer.
10.7 Extraordinary and Special Session.
In the event of the calling of an extraordinary session of the general assembly by the governor, or a reconvened session by the speaker of the house and the president of the senate, said session shall be conducted pursuant to these rules; provided, however, that sections 4.9-1, 6.2, 7.6 and 7.8 are not applicable to any such session; and, provided further, that any bill, act or resolution for consideration of which the session is called shall have been provided to the members at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the consideration of the senate.
10.7.1 Voting by Proxy During Declared State of Emergency.
Notwithstanding any senate rule to the contrary, during any declared state of emergency and while the senate is in session, a senator may request from the presiding officer permission to vote by proxy on any bill or matter before the senate. The presiding officer shall, when deciding to grant or deny the request, consider whether the senator making the request would face a hardship in attending session, or, during a contagion, falls within a high-risk category as defined by the RhodeIslandDepartment ofHealth or an equivalent agency. If the presidingofficergrants a senator permission to vote by proxy, the presiding officer shall notify the secretary of the senate of the decision to allow such vote by proxy. The secretary of the senate shall prepare a proxy(ies) for each senator voting by proxy, in a form substantially as follows: The bill number or matter to be voted on followed by a box to approve and a box to disapprove. The secretary of the senate shall deliver the proxy(ies), by email or hand delivery, to each senator authorized to vote by proxy. Any senator voting by proxy shall have their signature notarized and shall return the notarized proxy(ies), by email or hand delivery, to the leader of their respective caucus. The majority or minority leader shall forward the executed proxy(ies) to the secretary of the senate to be recorded in the journal. The right to vote by proxy shall cease on the date that the state of emergency is officially declared over.
10.7.2 Remote committee hearings.
Notwithstanding any senate rule to the contrary, during any declared state of emergency and while the senate is in session, a committee chairperson, with the permission of the presiding officer, may schedule a remote meeting of the committee in which they serve as chairperson for the purpose of hearing and/or considering any matter that has been assigned to the committee. Unless otherwise provided for, the chairperson or vice chairperson of the committee shall ensure that all requirements of section 6 of these rules are complied with. This rule shall be construed to allow for both remote and in person/remote participation.
10.8 Mason's Rules.
Mason's Rules of Order shall govern procedure on the senate floor and in the committees of the senate in all cases in which they are not inconsistent with these rules or with any joint rules of the senate and house.
10.9 Use of Facilities.
The senate locker room, lounge and corridor adjacent to them shall be for the exclusive use of the senators and their guests.
No senator shall use profane, insulting or abusive language or act in any manner that interferes with the orderly conduct of the session of the senate.
10.11 Smoking Prohibited.
Smoking shall be prohibited in all senate areas including, but not limited to: the chamber, gallery, lounge, committee rooms, offices, restrooms or hallways. The presiding officer shall enforce this rule.
10.12 Consumption of Food and Alcoholic Beverages.
The consumption of food and alcoholic beverages shall be prohibited on the senate floor. Except at the specific request of a member, all beverages consumed on the floor shall be in paper or plastic cups.
10.13 Appropriate Attire Required.
Allpersons on the floor of the senatewhile the senate is in sessionshall be properlydressed, and the presiding officer shall enforce this rule by appropriate means.
10.14 Electronic Devices.
During sessions cell phones shall not be used on the floor of the senate or in committee hearing rooms when committee meetings are in session.
10.15 Photographic Equipment.
During sessions, photographic equipment that blocks ingress or egress or unduly creates a disturbance as determined by the president of the senate or the senate committee chair, shall not be used on the floor of the senate or in committee hearing rooms when committee meetings are in session. 10.16 Display of Posters, Signs, and Banners on the Floor.
No placard, sign, poster, banner, chart or other visual aid of similar nature shall be displayed on the floor of the Senate or used in debate at any time when the Senate is in session without the consent of the presiding officer. Any decision of the presiding officer under this rule may be appealed to the body.
10.17 Display of Posters, Signs, and Banners Prohibited in the Gallery or Hearing Rooms.
No placard, sign, poster, banner, chart or visual aid of similar nature shall be displayed in the gallery or committee hearing room at any time when the Senate or a committee is in session. The presiding officer shall order any such object so displayed to be removed.
10.18 Official Notice.
Except as otherwiseprovided in theserules,notice to a member transmittedfrom the Office of the President through the Rhode Island General Assembly email system to the rilegislature.gov email address assigned to the member shall constitute official written notice to the member as of the date and time of the transmission. It is the responsibility of the members to monitor their rilegislature.gov email address on a regular basis, or to have email messages forwarded to an address which is monitored on a regular basis. Alternatively, a member may elect to receive such notice directly at an email address other than the member's rilegislature.gov email address by executing a form available in the Office of the President. Once designated, transmissions to the alternate email address shall constitute written notice to the member as of the date and time of the transmission and will continue to be such until the Office of the President is notified of a different address.
10.19 Continuing Ethics Education.
All statesenators and senateemployees shall annuallyparticipatein acontinuingeducation program presented by the Rhode Island Ethics Commission on the Rhode Island Code of Ethics and related laws.
10.20 Continuing Education and Training.
All state senators and senate employees, shall annually participate in a continuing education program presented by the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights.
10.21 Discipline of a Member.
The extraordinary power of expulsion generally should be reserved for very serious breaches of legal or ethical responsibilities of members. A complaint to expel a member shall commence with a resolution sponsored by the senate president; provided however, if the president is the subject of the resolution to expel, the resolution shall be sponsored by the president pro tempore. The secretary of the senate shall refer the resolution to the committee on judiciary. The committee shall investigate the matter and shall have the right to compel witnesses and produce documents by subpoena and other customary means. The committee shall afford the member due process. Due process shall be defined as customary legislative process for hearings, to include: properly served notice of all hearings, the right to testify and refute the allegations and the right to present evidence. In addition, individual notice shall be served upon the member and the member shall have the right to cross examine any witness. The vote of a majority of the committee shall be sent to the floor forthe next legislative dayavailable for consideration. All testimonyshall be under oath and preserved by stenographic record which shall be transcribed upon the order of the chair. Expulsion shall require by two-thirds of the members elected voting for approval of the resolution to expel.
(1) On the first day of session, in an odd-numbered year, the senate shall be called to order by the seniormember in continuousservicepresentfromNewport:"fromNewport"shall be defined as any member who lives in Newport, if none, then the senior member whose district includes any of the City of Newport. If there are two (2) or more members of equal seniority of service, then by that one of them that shall be senior in age. The roll of members as appears by the list of senators shall then be called by the clerk. If a quorum is present, the member calling the senate to order as provided above shall call for nominations for the office of president of the senate, and shall call for a roll call vote of all members voting, and after the votes have been counted by him or her and by the clerks of the senate, he or she shall declare the result, and the voting shall continue until some person receives a majority of all the votes, and the person receiving that majority shall be the president of the senate for the ensuing term of two (2) years; (2) The member so calling the senate to order shall not receive, entertain, or put to vote any motion or question whatever, or point of order, excepting, the adoption of interim Senate Rules which shall precede any election; (3) Immediately upon the election of a president, the senate shall proceed to elect by roll call vote a president pro tempore, deputy president pro tempore, secretary of the senate and reading clerk, and shall immediately notify the house of representatives that it is duly organized and ready to proceed with the business of the session; (4) The secretary and clerk shall be employees of the legislative department under the jurisdiction and control of the senate, and shall hold office for two (2) years, and until their successors are elected and qualified; (5) Should the office of president pro tempore, deputy president pro tempore, secretary of the senate and reading clerk become vacant during the session term, the president shall call for elections. Should the office of president become vacant during the session term, the president pro tempore shall preside over an election using subsection (1) above.
It is declared to be the policyof the senatethat to the maximumextent possible senatevotes on public bills, elections and proceedings on the floor and in committee shall be recorded, or video screened and published on the general assembly website and/or broadcast on capitol television.
11.2 Publication of Committee Votes.
Tothe extent possible, committee votes shall be published on the general assemblywebsite prior to the floor vote on the bill; provided however, that failure of a committee vote to appear on the website prior to the floor vote shall not be grounds for objection to consideration of the bill on the floor.
11.3 Televising or Otherwise Recording Committee Hearing.
To the extent possible, committee hearings shall be video recorded and broadcast to the public on capitol television.
11.4 Publication of Votes.
All votes on public bills recorded electronically or by roll call shall be placed forthwith on the general assembly website.
11.5 Publication of the Senate Rules.
The senate rules together with an index thereof shall be published on the general assembly website.
11.6 Authorization and Direction.
The president of the senate and the senate staff are authorized and directed to take such reasonable and prudent action as may be necessary to carry out the policies and directives set forth in this section.
NOTE: Electronic voting records are unofficial and may not be accurate. For an official vote tally, check the
House or Senate Journal from the day of the vote.