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As stated in Article IV of the Kosrae State Constitution, the legislative power of the Kosrae State Government is vested in the Legislative Branch of the Kosrae State Government and extends to all rightful subjects of legislation not inconsistent with this Constitution.

This Legislature is composed of fourteen Senators who are elected by the qualified voters of the electoral districts of Lelu, Malem, Tafunsak, and Utwe.

Until reapportionment, Senators are apportioned as follows: Lelu elects five Senators; Malem elects three Senators; Tafunsak elects four Senators; and Utwe elects two Senators.

Senators are elected at a general election.  The term of office is four years, beginning at noon on the second Tuesday of January following the general election, and ending at noon on the second Tuesday of January following the next general election, except that a Senator may not hold the same office for more than three consecutive terms and is ineligible to hold the same office until at least four years have passed since his last day in office.

Any vacancy in the Legislature is filled for the unexpired term by special election, except that an unexpired term of less than one year is filled by appointment by the Governor of a resident of the electoral district in which the vacancy exists.

Qualifications of the Members of the Legislature

No person is eligible to serve as a Senator unless he has been, at the time of election or appointment, a citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia for not less than ten years, a resident of the State for not less than five consecutive years immediately preceding the election, and a resident of his electoral district for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the election or appointment, and is able to read and write, and is not less than twenty-five years of age on the day of election.  A person convicted of a felony is not eligible to serve as a Senator unless the person so convicted has received a pardon restoring his civil rights at least five years prior to election or appointment.

No Senator may hold another public office or public employment, nor may he for one year succeeding the term for which he was elected or appointed, be elected or appointed to any public office or employment which was created, or which had its emoluments increased, by legislative act during such term.

No Senator may be held to answer before any other tribunal for any statement made or action taken in the exercise of his legislative functions, and Senators are, in all cases except felony or breach of the peace, privileged from arrest during their attendance at sessions or committee meetings of the Legislature, and in going to and returning from the same.

Senators receive compensation as prescribed by law.  No law increasing compensation may take effect until the end of the term of office for which the Senators voting thereon were elected.

The Legislature shall organize and determine the qualifications of its members on the second Monday of January following the general election, shall convene its meetings on the following day, and may meet regularly for four years.  A regular session shall not exceed thirty calendar days, excluding Sundays, provided that the number of regular sessions may be prescribed by law.  A special session may be convened at the call of the Governor, or by the Speaker at the written request of two-thirds of the Senators.

The Legislature is the judge of the qualifications of Senators and may, for misconduct, disorderly behavior, or neglect of duty by a Senator, punish the Senator by censure or upon a vote of three-fourths of the Senators, by suspension or expulsion of the Senator.

The Legislature shall choose its own officers, including a Speaker, Vice-Speaker and Floor Leader, determine its rules of procedure, and keep a journal.  The Legislature has and may exercise all the authority and attributes inherent in legislative bodies, including the power to institute and conduct investigations, issue subpoenas to witnesses and other concerned parties, and administer oaths.

 

The Legislative Process

Three-fourths of the Senators constitute a quorum for the conduct of ordinary business, for which a majority vote of the quorum suffices.  The final passage of a bill or resolution requires the vote of two-thirds of the Senators taken by a roll call vote and entered in the journal.  A smaller number than a quorum may adjourn from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent Senators in a manner and subject to such penalties as the Legislature may prescribe.

No law may be passed except by bill.  A law may embrace but one subject, which is expressed in its title.  The enacting clause of each law is, . Be it enacted by the Kosrae State Legislature.

No bill may become law unless it passes two readings in the Legislature on separate days.  No bill may pass final reading unless printed copies of the bill in the form to be passed have been made available to the Senators. Resolutions may be adopted upon a single reading in the Legislature.

 A bill passed by the Legislature shall be certified by the Speaker and the Clerk of the Legislature and thereupon be presented to the Governor.  If the Governor approves the bill, he shall sign it and the bill becomes law.   The final passage of a bill may not occur less than thirty days prior to the end of the term of the Legislature.

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