2017 Montana Legislature
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SENATE RESOLUTION NO. 1
INTRODUCED BY F. THOMAS
BY REQUEST OF THE SENATE RULES STANDING COMMITTEE
A RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA ADOPTING THE SENATE RULES.
A RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA ADOPTING THE SENATE RULES.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
That the following Senate Rules be adopted:
RULES OF THE MONTANA
S10-10. Officers of the Senate. The officers of the Senate include a president, a president pro tempore, a majority leader, a minority leader, and majority and minority whips.
S10-20. Term of office. The term of office for the officers and employees of the Senate established by law is until the succeeding Legislature is organized. This rule may not be construed to mean the staff will be full-time employees during an interim.
S10-30. President, President pro tempore, and other officers. (1) The Senate shall, at the beginning of each regular session, and at other times as may be necessary, elect a Senator as President and a Senator as President pro tempore.
(2) The Senate shall choose its other officers and is the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of the Senators.
S10-40. Voting by presiding officer. Any Senator, when acting as presiding officer of the Senate, shall vote as any other Senator.
S10-50. Presiding officer and duties. (1) The presiding officer of the Senate is the President of the Senate, who must be chosen in accordance with law.
(2) The President shall take the chair on every legislative day at the hour to which the Senate adjourned at the last sitting.
(3) The President may name a Senator to perform the duties of the President when the President pro tempore is not present in the Senate chamber. The Senator who is named is vested during that time with all the powers of the President.
(4) The President has general control over the assignment of rooms for the Senate and shall preserve order and decorum. The President may order the galleries and lobbies cleared in case of disturbance or disorderly conduct.
(5) The President shall sign all necessary certifications of the Senate, including enrolled bills and resolutions, journals, subpoenas, and payrolls. The President's signature must be attested by the Secretary of the Senate.
(6) The President shall approve the calendar for each legislative day.
(7) The President is the chief administrative officer of the Senate, with authority for the general supervision of all Senate employees. The President may seek the advice and counsel of the Legislative Administration Committee.
(8) The President of the Senate is the authorized approving authority of the Senate during the term of election to that office.
(9) The President shall refer bills to committee upon introduction or reception in the office of the Secretary of the Senate.
S10-60. Succession. (1) In case of the absence or disqualification of the President, the President pro tempore of the Senate shall perform the duties of the President until the vacancy is filled or the disability removed.
(2) Whenever the President pro tempore of the Senate is of the opposite political party from that of the President, the following procedure applies:
(a) If the President dies while in office, the members of the Senate have the right to immediately nominate and elect an acting President of the same party.
(b) If the President is absent for 2 or more legislative days or at any time after the 85th legislative day or at any time during special session of the Legislature and wants to appoint an acting President during the President's absence, the President may do so, or the members of the Senate have the right to immediately nominate and elect an acting President of the President's caucus.
(c) An acting President of the Senate has the powers of the President and supersedes the powers of the President pro tempore.
S10-70. President-elect. The President-elect nominated by the appropriate party caucus has the responsibility and authority to assume the duties of President of the Senate.
S10-80. Legislative Administration Committee duties. (1) The Legislative Administration Committee shall consider matters relating to legislative administration, staffing patterns, budgets, equipment, operations, and expenditures.
(2) The committee has authority to act in the interim to prepare for future legislative sessions.
(3) The committee shall approve contracts for purchase or lease of equipment and supplies for the Senate, subject to the approval of the President.
(4) The committee shall consider disputes or complaints involving the competency or decorum of legislative employees referred to it by the President and recommend dismissal, suspension, or retention of employees.
(5) The chair of the Legislative Administration Committee may, upon approval of the President, have purchase orders and requisitions prepared and forwarded to the accounting office in the Legislative Services Division.
S10-90. Majority Leader. The primary functions of the majority leader usually relate to floor duties. The duties of the majority leader may include but are not limited to:
(1) being the lead speaker for the majority party during floor debates;
(2) helping the President develop the calendar;
(3) assisting the President with program development, policy formation, and policy decisions;
(4) presiding over the majority caucus meetings; and
(5) other duties as assigned by the caucus.
S10-100. Majority Whip. The duties of the majority whip may include but are not limited to:
(1) assisting the majority leader;
(2) ensuring member attendance;
(3) counting votes;
(4) generally communicating the majority position; and
(5) other duties as assigned by the caucus.
S10-110. Minority Leader. The minority leader is the principal leader of the minority caucus. The duties of the minority leader may include but are not limited to:
(1) developing the minority position;
(2) negotiating with the majority party;
(3) directing minority caucus activities on the chamber floor;
(4) leading debate for the minority; and
(5) other duties as assigned by the caucus.
S10-120. Minority Whip. The major responsibilities for the minority whip may include but are not limited to:
(1) assisting the minority leader on the floor;
(2) counting votes;
(3) ensuring attendance of minority party members; and
(4) other duties as assigned by the caucus.
S10-130. Senate employees. (1) In addition to the employees appointed by the President, the Senate shall employ staff recommended by the leadership and the Legislative Administration Committee as necessary to perform the functions of the Senate.
(2) The Secretary of the Senate shall designate a secretary to take and prepare written minutes of committee meetings for each standing committee. A committee secretary is immediately responsible to the chair, but shall work under the overall direction of the Secretary of the Senate, subject to authority of the committee chair.
(3) The President, majority leader, and minority leader may each appoint a private secretary.
S10-140. Secretary of the Senate and duties. The Secretary of the Senate works under the direction of the President. The responsibilities of the Secretary of the Senate include:
(1) performing the duties prescribed by law or other provisions of these rules;
(2) serving as parliamentary advisor to the Senate;
(3) compiling and maintaining the calendar for approval by the President;
(4) keeping the leadership informed on the progress and workload of the Senate;
(5) transmitting bills with appropriate messages to the House of Representatives as instructed by action of the Senate;
(6) keeping and maintaining records of the Senate; and
(7) supervision of the Senate employees, except as otherwise provided.
S10-150. Sergeant-at-Arms duties. Under the direction of the President, the Sergeant-at-Arms shall:
(1) maintain order as directed by the President or chair of the Committee of the Whole;
(2) enforce the lobbying rules of the Senate;
(3) supervise the employees assigned to the Sergeant's office;
(4) receive, distribute, and maintain supplies, equipment, and other inventory of the Senate, along with records of purchase and disposal in accordance with law;
(5) perform duties as required by other rules and the Senate.
S10-160. Legislative aides. Each Senator may designate one person of legal age to serve as an aide during the session. Exceptions to this policy may be approved by the Rules Committee. The Senator shall register an aide with the Secretary of the Senate and arrange for the purchase of a name tag with the Sergeant-at-Arms.
S10-170. Senate journal. (1) The Senate shall keep and authenticate a journal of its proceedings as required by law and the rules.
(2) The Secretary of the Senate will supervise the preparation of the journal by the journal clerks trained by the Legislative Services Division under the direction of the President.
(3) In addition to the proceedings required by law to be recorded, the journal must include:
(a) committee reports;
(b) every motion, the name of the Senator presenting it, and its disposition;
(c) the introduction of legislation in the Senate;
(d) consideration of legislation subsequent to introduction;
(e) roll call votes;
(f) messages from the Governor and the House of Representatives;
(g) every amendment, the name of the Senator presenting it, and its disposition;
(h) the names of Senators and their votes on any question upon a request by two Senators before a vote is taken; and
(i) any other records the Senate directs by rule or action.
(4) The Secretary of the Senate shall provide information that may be necessary for the preparation of the daily journal for printing by the Legislative Services Division. Upon approval by the President, the daily journal must be reproduced and made available.
(5) Any Senator may examine the daily journal and propose corrections. Without objection by the Senate, the President may direct the correction to be made.
(6) The President shall authenticate the original daily journal, from time to time, and the Secretary of the Senate shall, as appropriate, deliver it to the Legislative Services Division to be prepared for publication and distribution in accordance with law.
S20-10. Questions of order -- appeal. The President of the Senate shall decide all questions of order, subject to an appeal by any Senator seconded by two other Senators. A Senator may not speak more than once on an appeal without the consent of a majority of the Senate.
S20-20. Violation of rules -- call to order -- appeal. (1) If a Senator, in speaking or otherwise, violates the rules of the Senate, the President shall, or the majority leader or minority floor leader may, call the Senator to order, in which case the Senator called to order must be seated immediately.
(2) The Senator called to order may move for an appeal to the Senate, and if the motion is seconded by two Senators, the matter must be submitted to the Senate for determination by majority vote. The motion is nondebatable.
(3) If the decision of the Senate is in favor of the Senator called to order, the Senator may proceed. If the decision is against the Senator, the Senator may not proceed.
(4) If a Senator is called to order, the matter may be referred to the Rules Committee by the minority or majority leader. The Committee may recommend to the Senate that the Senator be censured or be subject to other action. Censure consists of an official public reprimand of a Senator for inappropriate behavior. The Senate shall act upon the recommendation of the Committee.
S20-30. Questions of privilege -- restrictions. (1) Questions of privilege in order of precedence are those:
(a) affecting the collective rights, safety, dignity, or integrity of the proceedings of the Senate; and
(b) affecting the rights, reputation, or conduct of individual Senators in their capacity as Senators.
(2) A Senator may not address the Senate on a question of privilege between the time:
(a) an undebatable motion is offered and the vote is taken on the motion;
(b) the previous question is ordered and the vote is taken on the proposition included under the previous question; or
(c) a motion to lay on the table is offered and the vote is taken on the motion.
S20-40. Recognition by chair. A Senator desiring to speak shall rise and address the presiding officer and, once being recognized, shall speak standing in place. The presiding officer may grant permission for a speaker to speak from elsewhere in the chamber. When two or more Senators rise at the same time, the presiding officer shall name the order of the speakers.
S20-50. Floor privileges. (1) When the Senate is in session no person is permitted in the chambers except:
(b) legislative officers and employees whose presence is necessary for the conduct of business of the session;
(c) registered representatives of the media; and
(d) former legislators (not currently registered as lobbyists).
(2) The President may make exceptions for visiting dignitaries.
(3) Beginning 1 hour before and ending one-half hour after adjournment, no person is permitted in the chambers except those authorized as exceptions under subsection (1) or (2).
S20-60. Communications to Senate. A communication to the Senate must be addressed to the President and must bear the name of the person submitting it. The President shall decide if the communication bears including in the calendar.
S20-70. Distribution of materials on floor -- exception. (1) Subject to subsection (2), material may not be distributed on the Senators' desks in the chamber unless the material bears the signature of the bearer and a Senator and has been approved by the President.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to material written by staff at the request of a Senator and placed on the Senator's desk.
S30-10. Committee appointments. (1) There is a Committee on Committees consisting of six members. If the Senate is evenly divided between parties, the committee shall consist of six Senators, three from the majority party and three from the minority party.
(2) The Committee on Committees shall, with the approval of the Senate, appoint the members of Senate standing committees, select committees, and joint committees. Prior to making committee assignments, the Committee on Committees shall take into consideration the recommendations of the minority leader for minority committee assignments.
(3) The minority leader shall designate the ranking minority member for each standing committee.
(4) The President of the Senate shall appoint all conference committees and special committees, with the advice of the majority leader and minority leader.
(5) The Senate may change the membership of any committee on 1 day's notice.
S30-20. Standing committees -- classification. (1) The standing committees of the Senate are as follows:
(a) class one committees:
(i) Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs;
(ii) Finance and Claims;
(iii) Judiciary; and
(b) class two committees:
(i) Education and Cultural Resources;
(ii) Local Government;
(iii) Natural Resources;
(iv) Public Health, Welfare, and Safety; and
(v) State Administration;
(c) class three committees:
(i) Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation;
(ii) Energy and Telecommunications;
(iii) Fish and Game; and
(iv) Highways and Transportation; and
(d) on-call committees:
(ii) Legislative Administration; and
(2) A class 1 committee is scheduled to meet Monday through Friday. A class 2 committee is scheduled to meet Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. A class 3 committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday and Thursday. Unless a class is prescribed for a committee, it meets upon the call of the chair.
(3) The Legislative Council shall review the workload of the standing committees to determine if any change is indicated in the class of a standing committee for the next legislative session. The Legislative Council's recommendations must be submitted to the leadership nominated or elected at the presession caucus.
S30-40. Ex officio members -- quorum. (1) A quorum of a committee is a majority of the members of the committee. A quorum of a committee must be present at a meeting to act officially. A quorum of a committee may transact business, and a majority of the quorum, even though it is a minority of the committee, is sufficient for committee action.
(2) The majority leader and the minority leader are ex officio nonvoting members of all committees in order to establish a quorum. As ex officio nonvoting members of a committee, the majority leader and minority leader have the privileges of a committee member pursuant to S30-70(13)(a), (13)(c), and (13)(d).
S30-50. Chair's duties. (1) The chair of a committee is the presiding officer of that committee and is responsible for:
(a) maintaining order within the committee room and its environs;
(b) scheduling hearings and executive action;
(c) supervising committee work, including the appointment of subcommittees to act on a formal or informal basis; and
(d) authenticating committee reports by signing them and submitting them promptly to the Secretary of the Senate. The chair shall sign business reports reflecting action taken in each committee meeting that enable the preparation of committee minutes. The minutes must be printed on archival paper.
(2) The Secretary of the Senate shall arrange to have the minutes copied in an electronic format. An electronic copy will be provided to the Legislative Services Division and the State Law Library of Montana. The archival paper copy must be delivered to the Montana Historical Society.
S30-60. Meetings -- notice -- purpose -- minutes. (1) All meetings of committees must be open to the public at all times, subject always to the power and authority of the chair to maintain safety, order, and decorum. The date, time, and place of committee meetings must be announced.
(2) Notice of a committee hearing must be made by posting the date, time, and subject of the hearing in a conspicuous public place not less than 3 legislative days in advance of the hearing. This 3-day notice requirement does not apply to hearings scheduled:
(a) prior to the third legislative day;
(b) less than 10 legislative days before the transmittal deadline applicable to the subject of the hearing;
(c) to consider confirmation of a gubernatorial appointment received less than 10 legislative days before the last scheduled day of a legislative session; or
(d) due to appropriate circumstances.
(3) When a committee hearing is scheduled with less than 3 days' notice, the committee chair shall use all practical means to disseminate notice of the hearing to the public.
(4) Notice of conference committee hearings must be given as provided in Joint Rule 30-30.
(5) A committee or subcommittee may be assembled for:
(a) a public hearing at which testimony is to be heard and at which official action may be taken on bills, resolutions, or other matters;
(b) a formal meeting at which the committees may discuss and take official action on bills, resolutions, or other matters without testimony; or
(c) a work session at which the committee may discuss bills, resolutions, or other matters but take no formal action.
(6) All committees meet at the call of the chair or upon the request of a majority of the members of the committee.
(7) A committee may not meet during the time the Senate is in session without leave of the President. Any Senator attending a meeting while the Senate is in session must be considered excused to attend business of the Senate subject to a call of the Senate.
(8) All meetings of committees must be recorded and the minutes must be available to the public within a reasonable time after the meeting. The official record must contain at least the following information:
(a) the time and place of each meeting of the committee;
(b) committee members present, excused, or absent;
(c) the names and addresses of persons appearing before the committee, whom each represents, and whether the person is a proponent, opponent, or other witness;
(d) all motions and their disposition;
(e) the results of all votes; and
(f) all testimony and exhibits.
(9) If a bill is heard in a joint committee, it must be referred to a standing committee. The standing committee is not required to hold an additional hearing but shall take executive action and may report the bill to the Committee of the Whole.
(10) A bill or resolution may not be considered or become a law unless referred to a committee and returned from a committee.
(11) A bill may be rereferred at any time before its passage.
S30-70. Procedures -- member privileges. (1) The chair shall notify the sponsor of any bill pending before the committee of the time and place it will be considered.
(2) A standing or select committee may not hear legislation unless the sponsor or one of the cosponsors is present or unless the sponsor has given written consent.
(3) (a) Subject to subsection (3)(b), the committee shall act on each bill in its possession:
(i) by reporting the bill out of the committee:
(A) with the recommendation that it be referred to another committee;
(B) favorably as to passage; or
(C) unfavorably; or
(ii) by tabling the measure in committee.
(b) At the written request of the sponsor made at least 48 hours prior to a scheduled hearing, a committee shall finally dispose of a bill without a hearing. Except as provided in S30-60(9), a bill may not be reported from a committee without a hearing.
(4) The committee may not report a bill to the Senate without recommendation.
(5) In reporting a measure out of committee, a committee shall include in its report:
(a) the measure in the form reported out;
(b) the recommendation of the committee;
(c) an identification of all proposed changes; and
(d) a fiscal note, if required.
(6) If a measure is taken from a committee and brought to the Senate floor for debate on second reading on that day without a committee recommendation, the bill does not include amendments formally adopted by the committee because committee amendments are merely recommendations to the Senate that are formally adopted when the committee report is accepted by the Senate.
(7) A second to any motion offered in a committee is not required in order for the motion to be considered by the committee.
(8) The vote of each member on all committee actions must be recorded and reported in the committee minutes. All motions may be adopted only on the affirmative vote of a majority of the members voting.
(9) A motion to take a bill from the table may be adopted by the affirmative vote of a majority of the members present at any meeting of the committee.
(10) An action formally taken by a committee may not be altered in the committee except by reconsideration and further formal action of the committee.
(11) A committee may reconsider any action as long as the matter remains in the possession of the committee. A bill is in the possession of the committee until a report on the bill is made to the Committee of the Whole. A committee member need not have voted with the prevailing side in order to move reconsideration.
(12) The chair shall decide points of order.
(13) The privileges of committee members include the following:
(a) to participate freely in committee discussions and debate;
(b) to offer motions;
(c) to assert points of order and privilege;
(d) to question witnesses upon recognition by the chair;
(e) to offer any amendment to any bill; and
(f) to vote, either by being present or by proxy, using a standard form.
(14) Any meeting of a committee held through the use of telephone or other electronic communication must be conducted in accordance with Chapter 3 of the Senate Rules.
(15) A committee may consolidate into one bill any two or more related bills referred to it whenever legislation may be simplified by the consolidation.
(16) Committee procedure must be informal, but when any questions arise on committee procedure, the rules or practices of the Senate are applicable except as stated in the Senate Rules.
S30-80. Public testimony -- decorum -- time restrictions. (1) Testimony from proponents, opponents, and informational witnesses must be allowed on every bill or resolution before a standing or select committee. All persons, other than the sponsor, offering testimony shall register on the committee witness list.
(2) (a) Any person wishing to offer testimony to a committee hearing a bill or resolution must be given a reasonable opportunity to do so, orally or in writing, subject to time constraints. Written testimony may not be required of any witness, but all witnesses must be encouraged to submit a statement in writing for the committee's official record.
(b) A person who is an employee of the state or a political subdivision of the state that is offering testimony on behalf of the state or political subdivision shall state in person's oral or written testimony the specific entity or state officeholder that they are representing.
(3) The chair may order the committee room cleared of visitors if there is disorderly conduct. During committee meetings, visitors may not speak unless called upon by the chair. Restrictions on time available for testimony may be announced.
(4) The number of people in a committee room may not exceed the maximum posted by the State Fire Marshall. The chair shall maintain that limit.
(5) In any committee meeting, the use of cameras, television, radio, or any form of telecommunication equipment is allowed, but the chair may designate the areas of the hearing room from which the equipment must be operated. Cell phone use is at the discretion of the chair.
S30-100. Pairs prohibited -- absentee or proxy voting. Pairs in standing committee are prohibited. Standing and select committees may by a majority vote of the committee authorize Senators to vote in absentia. Authorization for absentee or proxy voting must be reflected in the committee minutes.
S30-140. Reconsideration in committee. A committee may at any time prior to submitting a report to the Secretary of the Senate reconsider its previous action on legislation.
S30-150. Committee requested legislation. (1) (a) Except as provided in subsection (1)(b), at least three-fourths of all the members of a standing committee must have voted in favor of the question to allow the committee to request the drafting and introduction of legislation.
(b) The Finance and Claims Committee may request the drafting and introduction of legislation by a majority vote of all of the members of the committee.
(2) The chair of a committee shall introduce, or shall designate a member of the committee to introduce, legislation requested by the committee. The introduced bill must be referred to the requesting committee.
S30-160. Ethics Committee. (1) The Ethics Committee shall meet only upon the call of the chair after the referral of an issue from the Rules Committee or to consider a request for a determination pursuant to subsection (4). The Rules Committee may be convened to consider the referral of a matter to the Ethics Committee upon the request of a Senator. The Rules Committee shall prepare a written statement of the specific question or issue to be addressed by the Ethics Committee. The issues referred to the Ethics Committee must be related to the actions of a Senator during a legislative session.
(2) The matters that may be referred to the Ethics Committee are:
(a) a violation of:
(b) the use or threatened use of a Senator's position for personal or personal business benefit or advantage; or
(c) any other violation of law by a Senator while acting in the capacity of Senator.
(3) If there is a recommendation from the Ethics Committee, the recommendation is made to the Senate.
(4) A Senator may seek a determination from the Ethics Committee concerning the possibility of a personal conflict of interest.
S40-10. Types of legislation. The only types of legislation that may be introduced in the Senate are those that have been drafted and approved by the Legislative Services Division and signed by a Senator as chief sponsor. The types of legislation allowed include:
(1) bills of any subject, except appropriations;
(2) joint resolutions, which may be used for any purpose specified in Joint Rule 40-60; and
(3) simple resolutions, which may:
(a) adopt or amend Senate rules;
(b) provide for the internal affairs of the Senate;
(c) express confirmation of the Governor's appointments; or
(d) make recommendations concerning the districting and apportionment plan as provided by Article V, section 14(4), of the Montana Constitution.
S40-20. Introduction -- first reading. (1) Upon receiving a bill or resolution from a Senator, the Secretary of the Senate shall assign an appropriate sequential number, which constitutes introduction of the legislation. Legislation properly introduced or received in the Senate must be announced across the rostrum and public notice provided. This announcement constitutes first reading, and no debate or motion is in order except that a Senator may question adherence to rules. Acknowledgment by the Secretary of the Senate of receipt of legislation transmitted from the House commences the time limit for consideration of the legislation. All legislation received by the Senate may be referred to a committee prior to being read across the rostrum.
(2) Bills and resolutions preintroduced as provided in Joint Rule 40-40 may be assigned to committee and printed prior to the legislative session. The Legislative Services Division is responsible for ensuring the preintroduction intent from each Senator and presenting the preintroduced legislation to the Secretary of the Senate.
(3) Upon referral to committee, the Secretary of the Senate shall publicly post a listing of the bill or resolution by a summary of its title, together with a notation of the committee to which it has been assigned.
(4) The sponsor may ask the Legislative Services Division to change or correct a short title used on the bill status system.
S40-30. Additional sponsors. (1) Additional sponsors may be added on motion of the chief sponsor at any time prior to a standing committee report on the bill or resolution. Forms for adding sponsors will be supplied on request by the Secretary of the Senate.
(2) Upon passage of the motion, the names of the additional sponsors will be printed in the journal and the form containing the signatures of the additional sponsors will be forwarded to the Legislative Services Division with the original bill for the inclusion of the names in subsequent printings of the bill or resolution.
S40-40. Reading limitations. (1) Every bill must be read three times prior to passage, either by title or by summary of title as provided in these rules.
(2) A bill or resolution may not have more than one reading on the same day except the last legislative day.
(3) An amendment may not be offered on third reading.
S40-60. Scheduling for second reading. (1) All bills and resolutions that have been reported by a committee or withdrawn from a committee by motion, accepted by the Senate, and reproduced must be scheduled for consideration by Committee of the Whole.
(2) Until the 50th legislative day, 1 day must elapse between receiving the legislation from printing and scheduling for second reading for consideration by Committee of the Whole unless a printed version of an unamended bill is available.
(3) The majority leader shall arrange legislation on the agenda in the order in which the bills will be considered, unless otherwise ordered by the Senate or Committee of the Whole.
S50-10. Attendance -- mandatory voting -- quorum. (1) Unless excused, Senators must be present at every sitting of the Senate and shall vote on questions put before the Senate.
(2) A majority of the Senate shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and compel the attendance of absent Senators, in the manner and under penalties as the Senate may prescribe (Montana Constitution, Art. V, sec. 10(2)).
S50-20. Orders of business. After prayer, roll call, and report on the journal, the order of business of the Senate is as follows:
(1) communications and petitions;
(2) reports of standing committees;
(3) reports of select committees;
(4) messages from the Governor;
(5) messages from the House of Representatives;
(6) first reading and commitment of bills;
(7) second reading of bills (Committee of the Whole);
(8) third reading of bills;
(10) unfinished business;
(11) special orders of the day; and
(12) announcement of committee meetings.
To revert to or pass to a new order of business requires only a majority vote. Unless otherwise specified in the motion to recess, the Senate shall revert to Order of Business No. 1 when reconvening after a recess.
S50-30. Limitations on debate. A Senator may not speak more than twice on any one motion or question without unanimous consent of the Senate, unless the Senator has introduced or proposed the motion or question under debate, in which case the Senator may speak twice and also close the debate. However, a Senator who has spoken may not speak again on the same motion or question to the exclusion of a Senator who has not spoken.
S50-40. Procedure upon offering a motion. (1) When a motion is offered it must be restated by the presiding officer. If requested by the presiding officer or a Senator, it must be reduced to writing, presented at the rostrum, and read aloud by the Secretary.
(2) A motion may be withdrawn by the Senator offering it at any time before it is amended or voted upon.
S50-50. Precedence of motions. (1) When a question is under debate only the following privileged and subsidiary motions may be made:
(a) to adjourn (nondebatable S50-60);
(b) for a call of the Senate (nondebatable S50-60);
(c) to recess (nondebatable S50-60);
(d) question of privilege;
(e) to lay on the table (nondebatable S50-60);
(f) for the previous question (nondebatable S50-60);
(g) to postpone to a certain day;
(h) to refer or commit;
(i) to amend; and
(j) to postpone indefinitely.
(2) The motions listed in subsection (1) have precedence in the order listed.
(3) A question may be indefinitely postponed by a majority roll call of all Senators present and voting. When a bill or resolution is postponed indefinitely, it is finally rejected and may not be acted upon again except upon a motion of reconsideration as provided in S50-90.
(4) A motion or proposition on a subject different from that under consideration may not be accepted unless a substitute motion is in order.
S50-60. Nondebatable motions. The following motions are not debatable:
(1) to adjourn;
(2) for a call of the Senate;
(3) to recess or rise;
(4) for parliamentary inquiry;
(5) for suspension of the rules;
(6) to lay on the table;
(7) for the previous question;
(8) to limit, extend the limits of, or to close debate;
(9) to amend an undebatable motion;
(10) to change a vote (S50-200);
(11) to pass business in Committee of the Whole;
(12) to take from the table;
(13) a decision of the presiding officer, unless appealed or unless the presiding officer submits the question to the Senate for advice or decision; and
(14) all incidental motions, such as motions relating to voting or other questions of a general procedural nature.
S50-70. Amending motions -- restrictions. (1) Subject to subsection (2), no more than one amendment and no more than one substitute motion may be made to a motion. This rule permits the main motion and two modifying motions.
(2) A motion for a call of the Senate, for the previous question, to table, or to take from the table may not be amended.
S50-80. Previous question. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), the effect of calling for the previous question, if adopted, is to close debate immediately, to prevent the offering of amendments or other subsidiary motions, and to bring to vote promptly the immediately pending main question and the adhering subsidiary motions, whether on appeal or otherwise. The motion for the previous question is nondebatable as provided in S50-60(7).
(2) When the previous question is ordered on any debatable question on which there has been no debate, the question may be debated for one-half hour, one-half of that time to be given to the proponents and one-half to the opponents. The sponsor of the main motion on which the previous question is adopted may close on the motion regardless of whether debate on the main motion has occurred.
(3) A call of the Senate is not in order after the previous question is ordered unless it appears upon an actual count by the presiding officer that a quorum is not present.
S50-90. Reconsideration -- time restrictions. (1) Subject to subsection (6), any Senator may, on the day the vote was taken or on the next day the Senate is in session, move to reconsider the question. A motion to reconsider is a debatable motion, but the debate is limited to the motion. The debate on a motion to reconsider may not address the substance of the matter for which reconsideration is sought. However, an inquiry may be made concerning the purpose of the motion to reconsider.
(2) A motion to reconsider must be disposed of when made unless a proper substitute motion is made and adopted.
(3) A motion to recall a bill from the House of Representatives constitutes notice to reconsider and must be acted on as a motion to reconsider. A motion to reconsider or to recall a bill from the House of Representatives may be made only under Order of Business No. 9 and, under that order of business, takes precedence over all motions except motions to recess or adjourn.
(4) When a motion to reconsider is laid on the table, a two-thirds majority is required to take it from the table. When a motion to reconsider fails, the question is finally and conclusively settled.
(5) If a motion to reconsider third reading action is carried, there may not be further action until the succeeding legislative day.
(6) If the Senate has adjourned for more than 2 days, then a motion to reconsider action taken on the last day the Senate was in session is in order on the day the Senate reconvenes or on the following legislative day.
S50-95. Rerefferal. (1) Legislation that is in the possession of the Senate and that has been reported from a committee with a do pass or be concurred in recommendation may be rereferred to a Senate committee by a majority vote.
(2) (a) With the consent of the majority leader, the minority leader, and the bill sponsor, legislation that has passed second reading, has been rereferred to the Finance and Claims Committee pursuant to subsection (1), and is reported from committee without amendments may be placed on third reading.
(b) Prior to being placed on third reading, legislation rereferred and reported from committee under this rule must be sent to be processed and reproduced as a third reading version and specifically marked as having been passed on second reading, rereferred to the Senate Finance and Claims Committee, and reported from the committee without amendments.
S50-100. Dividing a question -- segregation excluded. A Senator may request to divide a question if it includes two or more propositions so distinct in substance that if one thing is taken away a substantive question will remain. A vote is not required on a request to divide a question, but the chair may rule that a question is not divisible. The ruling of the chair may be appealed as provided in S20-10 and S20-20. For an appeal of a ruling of the presiding officer, the question for the Senate must be stated as, "Shall the ruling of the chair be upheld?". A motion to segregate pursuant to S50-140(4) is not a request to divide a question.
S50-110. Rules for questions or bills requiring other than a majority vote. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), if a question or bill requires more than a majority vote for final passage, a majority vote is sufficient to decide any question relating to the question or bill prior to third reading.
(2) Any vote in the Senate on a bill proposing an amendment to the Montana Constitution under circumstances in which there exists the mathematical possibility of obtaining the necessary two-thirds vote of the Legislature will cause the bill to progress as though it had received the majority vote. This rule does not prevent a committee from indefinitely postponing or tabling a bill proposing an amendment to the Montana Constitution.
(3) If a bill has been amended in the House of Representatives and the amendments are accepted by the Senate, the bill must again be placed on third reading in the Senate to determine if the required number of votes has been cast.
S50-120. Committee reports to Senate -- reconsideration. (1) Reports of standing committees must be read on Order of Business No. 2, and, if there is no objection to form, are considered adopted. Subject to subsection (4), debate may not be had on any report.
(2) On an adverse committee report, the sponsor may respond to the chair of the committee making the report.
(3) Any Senator seeking a reconsideration of the Senate's action on the adoption of a committee report shall do so on Order of Business No. 9 by motion to reconsider as provided in S50-90. Any Senator may make the reconsideration motion and need not have voted on the prevailing side. This rule applies notwithstanding any joint rule to the contrary. Subject to S50-90(6), the reconsideration motion must be made within 1 legislative day of the adoption of the committee report and is not in order if the bill has been considered in Committee of the Whole.
(4) (a) Subject to subsection (4)(b), the Rules Committee and conference committees may report at any time, except during a call of the Senate, when a vote is being taken, or during Committee of the Whole.
(b) The Rules Committee may report during Committee of the Whole on matters referred to the Committee by the Committee of the Whole.
S50-130. Conference committee -- reports. (1) When a conference committee report is filed with the Secretary of the Senate, the report must be read under Order of Business No. 3, select committees, and placed on the calendar the succeeding legislative day for consideration on second reading. If recommended favorably by the Committee of the Whole, it may be considered on third reading the same legislative day.
(2) If both the Senate and the House of Representatives adopt the same conference committee report on legislation requiring more than a majority vote for final passage, the Senate, following approval of the conference committee report on third reading, shall place the final form of the legislation on third reading to determine if the required vote is obtained.
(3) If the Senate rejects a conference committee report, the committee continues to exist unless dissolved by the President or by motion. The committee may file a subsequent report.
(4) A Senate conference committee may confer regarding matters assigned to it with any House conference committee with like jurisdiction and submit recommendations for consideration of the Senate.
S50-140. Second reading -- Committee of the Whole report -- segregation -- rejection. (1) The Senate may resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole for consideration of business on second reading, by approval of a motion for that purpose.
(2) After a Committee of the Whole has been formed, the President shall appoint a chair to preside.
(3) All legislation considered in the Committee of the Whole must be read by a summary of its title. The sponsor shall make an opening statement, proposed amendments must be considered, and then the bill must be considered in its entirety.
(4) Prior to adoption of the Committee of the Whole report, a Senator may move to segregate legislation. If the motion prevails, the legislation remains on second reading.
(5) When a Committee of the Whole report on legislation is rejected, the legislation remains on second reading.
S50-150. Committee of the Whole amendments. (1) All Committee of the Whole amendments must be prepared by the staff of the Legislative Services Division, stipulating the date and time of preparation and staff approval, and delivered to the Secretary of the Senate for reading before the amendment is voted on.
(2) Each amendment, rejected or adopted, must be printed in the journal, along with the name of the sponsor and the vote on each.
S50-160. Motions in Committee of the Whole. (1) All proper motions on second reading are debatable unless specified in S50-60.
(2) The only motions in order during Committee of the Whole are to:
(a) recommend passage or nonpassage;
(b) recommend concurrence or nonconcurrence (House amendments to Senate legislation);
(d) indefinitely postpone;
(e) pass consideration;
(f) change the order in which legislation is placed on the agenda (nondebatable S50-60(14));
(g) rise (nondebatable S50-60(3));
(h) rise and report progress and ask leave to sit again (nondebatable S50-60(3)); or
(i) rise and report (nondebatable S50-60(3)).
(3) The motions listed in subsection (2) may be made in descending order as listed.
S50-170. Committee of the Whole -- generally. (1) The Committee of the Whole may not appoint subcommittees.
(2) The Committee of the Whole may not punish its members for misconduct, but may report disorder to the Senate.
S50-180. Voting on second reading -- positive disposition of motions. (1) On Order of Business No. 7, in addition to other methods, a recorded vote may be made in the following manner: the chair may call for a voice vote to accept or reject a question. If the vote is other than unanimous, the chair may ask that the lesser number on the question indicate their vote by standing. The Secretary will then record the vote of those standing. The chair may then rule that unless excused those not standing and present have voted on the prevailing side of the question and that their vote be recorded as voting on the prevailing side. If there was a unanimous voice vote, all those present will be recorded as having voted for the question.
(2) A motion on second reading must be disposed of by a positive vote.
S50-190. Third reading procedure. (1) Unless rereferred to a committee by a majority vote after the adoption of the Committee of the Whole report but before moving to another order of business, all legislation passing second reading must be placed on third reading the day following the receipt of the engrossing or other appropriate printing report.
(2) On Order of Business No. 8 the Secretary shall read the title and the President shall state the question as follows: "Senate bill number (or other appropriate identification)..... having been read three several times, the question is, shall the bill (or other appropriate identification) pass the Senate?"
(3) If an electronic voting system is used, the President shall state "Those in favor vote yes and those opposed vote no" and the Secretary will sound the signal and open the board for voting. After a reasonable pause the presiding officer asks "Has every member voted?" (reasonable pause), "Does any member wish to change his or her vote?" (reasonable pause), "The Secretary will record the vote."
S50-200. Senate voting -- changing a vote -- objection. (1) A roll call vote must be taken on the request of two Senators, if the request occurs before the vote is taken.
(2) On a roll call vote the names of the Senators must be called alphabetically, unless an electronic voting system is used. A Senator may not vote after the decision is announced from the chair. A Senator may not explain a vote until after the decision is announced from the chair.
(3) A Senator may move to change the Senator's vote, on any recorded vote, within 1 legislative day of the vote. The Senator making the motion shall first specify the bill number, the date of the vote, and the original vote tally. A vote may not be changed if it would affect the outcome of legislation. The motion is nondebatable. If none of the Senators present object, the change must be entered into the journal.
(4) If any Senator objects to the request in subsection (3), the Senator making the request may move to suspend the rules to allow the Senator to change the Senator's vote.
(5) An error caused by a malfunction of the voting system may be corrected without a vote within 10 minutes of the malfunction.
S50-210. Pairs. (1) Two Senators may pair on a question that will be determined by a majority vote. On a question requiring a two-thirds vote for adoption, three Senators may pair, with two Senators for the question and one Senator against. Pairing is permitted only when one of the paired Senators is excused when the vote is taken.
(2) An agreement to pair must be in writing and dated and signed by the Senators agreeing to be bound and must specify the duration of the pair. When an agreement to pair is filed with the Secretary of the Senate, it binds the Senators signing until the expiration of time for which it was signed, unless the paired Senators sooner appear and ask that the agreement be canceled.
S50-220. Call of the Senate. (1) In the absence of a quorum, a majority of Senators present may compel the attendance of absent Senators by ordering a call of the Senate.
(2) If a quorum is present, five Senators may order a call of the Senate.
(3) On a call of the Senate, a Senator who refuses to attend may be arrested by the Sergeant-at-Arms or any other person, as the majority of the Senators present direct. When the attendance of an absent Senator is secured and the Senate refuses to excuse the Senator's absence, the Senator may not be paid any expense payments while absent and is liable for the expenses incurred in procuring the Senator's attendance.
(4) During a call of the Senate, all business must be suspended. After a call has been ordered, no motion is in order except a motion to adjourn or remove the call. The call may be removed by a two-thirds vote of the members present.
S50-230. House amendments to Senate legislation. (1) When the House has properly returned Senate legislation with House amendments, the Senate shall announce the amendments on Order of Business No. 5 and the President shall place them on second reading for debate. The President may rerefer Senate legislation with House amendments to a committee for a hearing if the House amendments constitute a significant change in the Senate legislation. The second reading vote is limited to consideration of the House amendments.
(2) If the Senate accepts House amendments, the Senate shall place the final form of the legislation on third reading to determine if the legislation, as amended, is passed or if the required vote is obtained.
(3) If the Senate rejects the House amendments, the Senate may request the House to recede from its amendments or may direct appointment of a conference committee and request the House to appoint a like committee.
S50-240. Governor's amendments. (1) When the Governor returns a bill with recommended amendments, the Senate shall announce the amendments under Order of Business No. 4.
(2) The Senate may debate and adopt or reject the Governor's recommended amendments on second reading on any legislative day.
(3) If both the Senate and the House of Representatives accept the Governor's recommended amendments on a bill that requires more than a majority vote for final passage, the Senate shall place the final form of the legislation on third reading to determine if the required vote is obtained.
S50-250. Governor's veto. (1) When the Governor returns a bill with a veto, the Senate shall announce the veto under Order of Business No. 4.
(2) On any legislative day, a Senator may move to override the Governor's veto by a two-thirds vote under Order of Business No. 9.
S60-10. Senate rules -- amendment -- adoption -- suspension. (1) A motion to amend or adopt a rule of the Senate must be referred to the Rules Committee without debate. A rule of the Senate may be amended or adopted only with the concurrence of a majority of the Senate and after 1 day's notice.
(2) A rule may be suspended temporarily by a two-thirds vote.
S60-20. Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure. Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure (2010) governs the proceedings of the Senate in all cases not covered by these rules.
S60-30. Joint rules superseded. A Senate rule, insofar as it relates to the internal proceedings of the Senate, supersedes a joint rule.
Nominations from the Governor
S70-10. Nominations. (1) The Governor shall nominate and, by and with the consent of the Senate, appoint all officers whose offices are established by the Montana Constitution or which may be created by law and for whom appointment or election is not otherwise provided.
(2) If during a recess of the Senate a vacancy occurs in any office subject to Senate confirmation, the Governor shall appoint some fit person to discharge the duties of the office until the next meeting of the Senate, when the Governor shall nominate a person to fill the office.
S70-20. Receiving nominations -- requesting bill drafts. (1) Nominations received from the Governor must be:
(a) received by the President;
(b) delivered to the Secretary of the Senate; and
(c) read under Order of Business No. 4, messages from the Governor.
(2) The Secretary shall distribute a copy of the list of nominations to each Senator.
(3) (a) The President of the Senate shall submit a bill draft request for a resolution for each nominee or each group of nominees read under Order of Business No. 4. These bill draft requests will not count against any bill draft request limit imposed on the President of the Senate.
(b) Prior to introduction of the resolution, the President of the Senate shall designate the appropriate committee chair to introduce the simple resolution.
S70-30. Committee process -- separate consideration. (1) (a) The committee shall research each nominee and may request biographical information from the Governor for each nominee if none has been provided.
(b) When the resolution has been prepared and introduced, the committee shall hold a hearing on the resolution after appropriate public notice has been given.
(2) (a) Except as provided in subsection (2)(b), following the hearings for a group of nominees, the committee shall issue standing committee reports to be considered on second reading, stating the committee's recommendations concerning the nominees.
(b) Following the hearings for the group of nominees, if a committee member wishes to have an individual nominee or group of nominees considered by the Senate separately from the group of nominees being considered by the committee, the committee member may prepare an amendment for executive action to strike or add a nominee or group of nominees. If a nominee or a group of nominees is stricken, the committee member that offered the amendment shall make a motion to request a committee resolution for the nominee or nominees to be considered by a separate resolution. A simple majority of the committee is sufficient in order to request a separate committee resolution.
(3) Within the Committee of the Whole, if a Senator wishes to have an individual nominee or group of nominees considered by the Senate separately from the group of nominees recommended by the committee, the Senator may prepare a floor amendment to strike or add a nominee or group of nominees. If a nominee or a group of nominees is stricken, a Senator may make a motion to request that the President of the Senate submit a bill draft request for that the nominee or nominees to be considered by a separate resolution.
(4) When the resolution for an individual or group nomination has been prepared and introduced, the committee shall take executive action on the resolution. When a hearing on the separated nomination was held prior to the committee's standing committee report, an additional hearing is not required to be held before the committee takes action on the separate resolution. After the committee's executive action, the committee chair shall issue a standing committee report.
(5) The Secretary will read the reports under Order of Business No. 2, reports of standing committees.
(6) After the report has been read, the resolution must be placed on Order of Business No. 7 the next legislative day for consideration by the Senate. Motions to approve or disapprove of the resolution are in order and may be debated. Approval upon second reading constitutes confirmation of the Governor's nominee. A motion to reconsider the approval or disapproval of a nomination made on second reading must occur within one legislative day. A motion to reconsider may not be made if the resolution approving a confirmation is no longer in the possession of the Senate.
List of Questions Requiring Other Than a Majority Vote
The following questions require the vote specified:
(1) a call of the Senate with a quorum pursuant to S50-220(2) (five Senators);
(2) a motion to lift a call of the Senate pursuant to S50-220(4) (two-thirds of the members present);
(3) a motion to amend or suspend rules pursuant to S60-10 (two-thirds);
(4) a motion to override the Governor's veto pursuant to S50-250 and Article VI, section 10(3), of the Montana Constitution (two-thirds);
(5) a motion to approve a bill to appropriate the principal of the coal trust fund pursuant to Article IX, section 5, of the Montana Constitution (three-fourths of each house);
(6) a motion to approve a bill to appropriate highway revenue as described in Article VIII, section 6, of the Montana Constitution for purposes other than those described in that section (three-fifths of each house);
(7) a motion to approve a bill proposing to amend the Montana Constitution pursuant to Article XIV, section 8, of the Montana Constitution (two-thirds of the entire Legislature);
(8) an appeal of the ruling of the presiding officer pursuant to S20-10 (one Senator, seconded by two other Senators);
(9) a motion to approve a bill conferring immunity from suit as described in Article II, section 18, of the Montana Constitution (two-thirds);
(10) a motion to approve a bill to appropriate the principal of the tobacco settlement trust fund pursuant to Article XII, section 4, of the Montana Constitution (two-thirds); and
(11) a motion to appropriate the principal of the noxious weed management trust fund pursuant to Article IX, section 6, of the Montana Constitution (three-fourths).
- END -
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