Kosrae State Legislature Rules of Procedures

Part I. GENERAL

Rule 1.1 Scope of Rules.

The rules treat all matters pertaining to the organization and proceedings of the Legislature and its committees which are not of an administrative nature.

 

Rule 1.2. Purpose of Rules.

The primary constitutional function of the Legislature is to make wise laws efficiently for the State’s benefit. The purpose of these rules is to provide the internal structure, procedure and discipline to enable the Legislature to fulfill its primary constitutional function in the fairest, most efficient, and most constitutionally responsible manner possible.

 

Rule 1.3. Adoption, Amendment and Repeal of Rules.

The Legislature adopts, amends and repeals the rules by resolution.

 

Rule 1.4. Terms.

Unless the rules otherwise expressly provide, the following terms, or words clearly to that effect, have the indicated meaning:

 

a. “Administrative Directive”: policy directives promulgated by the Speaker.

 

b. “Appeal”: appeal to the Legislature for its determination by a majority of the Senators then present.

 

c. “Chamber”: the regular meeting room of the Legislature.

 

d. “Committee”: a committee of the Legislature.

 

e. “Committee Quorum”: a majority of the committee’s members.

 

f. “Day”: calendar day.

 

g. “Family”: a Senator’s spouse, children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, spouse’s parents, and spouse’s siblings, including person in relationship by adoption.

 

h. “The Legislature”: the Kosrae State Legislature.

 

i. “Legislative Counsel”: the Office of the Legislative Counsel for the Kosrae State Legislature.

 

j. “Majority”: a number greater than one half of the total in question.

 

k. “Majority Vote”: an affirmative vote of eight or more Senators. 

 

l. “Majority vote of the quorum”: is an affirmative vote of six or more Senators, depending on the number of Senators then present.

 

m. “Matters”: a measure, communication or subject addressed to, or being acted upon by the Legislature or a committee.

 

n. “Measure”: a bill or resolution introduced in the Legislature.

 

o. “Meeting”: a formal gathering called to order and adjourned pursuant to rule.

 

p. “The Officers”: the Speaker, Vice Speaker and Floor Leader.

 

q. “Present”: then physically present in the room where the proceedings are occurring.

 

r. “Rules”: the Procedural Rules of the Legislature.

 

s. “Senators”: the 14 Senators of the Legislature.

 

t. “Speaker”: the Speaker of the Legislature or the Senator then lawfully presiding over or directing Legislature proceedings.

 

u. “Session”: a regular, special, emergency or convening session of the Legislature, consisting of one or more meetings.

 

v. “Three-fourths Vote”: an affirmative vote of eleven or more Senators.

 

w. “Two-thirds Vote”: an affirmative vote of ten or more Senators.

 

x. “Four-fifths Vote”: an affirmative vote of twelve or more Senators.

 

Rule 1.5. Suspension of Rules.

Any rule may be suspended by majority vote with the following exceptions:

 

a. Rule 1.5. (Suspension of Rules)

 

b. Rule 4.8. (Committee Report of Measures)

 

c. Rule 7.2. (Time)

 

Rule 1.6. Interpretation.

Upon request of a Senator or of his own initiative, the Speaker interprets the rules for the guidance of Legislative proceedings. In making an interpretation the Speaker may initially defer to the Floor Leader, consult with a Senator or seek an interpretation by the Legislative Counsel.

 

Rule 1.7. Absence of Rules.

In the absence of a rule applicable to the situation, the Speaker determines a procedure for the situation.

 

Rule 1.8. Appeal.

Any procedural or other act of the Speaker taken pursuant to the rules is subject to appeal.

 

Rule 1.9. Meaning.

A statement in the rules presented in the present tense declarative creates a power and duty, unless a contrary intent is clear. 

 

Rule 1.10. Repeal.

With the exception stated in Rule 5.1., the Interim Rules of Procedure are repealed upon the adoption of the Rules.

 

Part 2. SESSIONS AND MEETINGS

 

Rule 2.1. Convening Quadrennially.

Upon convening pursuant to Article IV, Section 10 of the Constitution, on the second Monday of January, or as soon thereafter, following a general election in the Chamber of the Kosrae State Legislature and at a time set by the Speaker Pro Tempore, the Legislature:

 

a. judges the qualification of Senator-elect, taking any required action;

 

b. elects officers; and

 

c. conducts other business of an organizational nature in its discretion.

 

Rule 2.1.2. Speaker Pro Tempore.

The Senators-elect who is senior in holding Legislature office and whose surname ranks first in alphabetical order is Speaker Pro Tempore who conducts the meeting until election of a Speaker.

 

Rule 2.1.3. Judging Qualifications.

Senator-elect holding membership in the Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations at the end of the preceding Legislature constitute a Select Committee of Senators to review qualifications of Senator select and report to the Legislature. The Select Committee shall retain five Senators-elect. If there are vacancies in the Select Committee, the Speaker Pro Tempore fills the vacancies by appointment.

 

If, after examination, the Committee finds that the credentials of a quorum of the members-elect appear to be in order, then the Committee shall so report to the Legislature and the roll shall be called.

 

If the credentials of any member-elect, on the first examination, do not appear to be in order, the Committee may make any inquiry it deems necessary and report its findings and recommendations to the Legislature at the time of its initial report. The adoption of the reports of the Committee shall be final. If the Legislature determines by resolution that a Senator-elect does not meet a qualification of office at its convening meeting, or at any other time, a vacancy in the office in question results.

 

Rule 2.1.4. Oath of Office.

The oath of office for members of the Kosrae State Legislature shall be administered on the second Tuesday of January. Any member being elected during a special election shall take the oath of office as soon as practical after their qualifications are determined by the Legislature.

 

Rule 2.2. Regular Session.

The Kosrae State Legislature shall convene in regular session two times a year on such days or as soon thereafter as possible for such periods as specified in the Kosrae State Constitution. The Kosrae State Legislature shall not meet for more than thirty-calendar day, excluding Sundays, pursuant to Article IV, Section 10 of the Constitution.

 

Rule 2.2.1. Special Session.

Upon a Senator’s request for call of a special session or on his own initiative the Speaker polls the membership concerning the request and other details of convening. A special session may be called when two-thirds of the Senators support said request in writing. A notice of special session call by the Speaker states the time, place and intended duration of the session and may state a proposed session agenda. When a special session is convened upon the call of the Governor, pursuant to Article IV, Section 10, he shall specify the item or items to be considered during such session.

 

Rule 2.3. Informing Governor.

At the first meeting of a session immediately following call of the roll and at the last day of a session immediately following miscellaneous business the Speaker appoints a Select Committee to inform the Governor respectively of the session’s commencement and forthcoming adjournment. The Select Committee may make an oral or written report to the Legislature upon their return.

 

Rule 2.4. Daily Order of Business.

The daily order of business in the Legislature is:

 

1. Call to order

2. Prayer

3. Roll call

4. Consideration of Journal

5. Governor’s Message

6. Chief Justice’s Message

7. National Government Message

8. Municipal Government Message

9. Miscellaneous Communications

10. Members’ Communications

11. Introduction of Bills

12. Introduction of Resolutions

13. Report of Standing Committees

14. Report of Select Committee

15. Report of Committee of the Whole

16. Assignment of Measures

17. Unfinished Business

18. Consideration of Bills

A. First Reading

B. Second Reading

19. Consideration of Resolutions

20. Miscellaneous Business

21. Announcements

 

On the final day of a session the order of business shall include an Item entitled Closing Prayer.

 

Before each meeting of the Legislature, the Chief Clerk distributes to each Senator a typed order of business for the meeting stating all items appropriate to the meeting.

 

Rule 2.4.1. Miscellaneous Business.

Each Senator shall be allowed a total of 10 minutes of floor time during miscellaneous business. The Speaker shall control the floor discussion and allow each no more than two opportunities to speak. A Senator during miscellaneous business, except for a motion to adjourn and a motion to recess, shall make no motions.

 

Rule 2.4.2. Change in the Order of Business.

Any Senator may move to suspend the Order of Business.

 

Rule 2.5. Journals; Preservation of Recordings.

The Chief Clerk or his designee records and enters in the journal a verbatim account of each meeting of the Legislature, as well as other proceedings directed by the Speaker. By Administrative Directive, the Speaker provides for systematic preservation of recordings of Legislature or committee proceedings for an appropriate length of time.

Rule 2.6. Quorum.

If at the scheduled time for commencement of a meeting of the Legislature the Senators then present do not constitute a quorum, the Speaker declares the fact and postpones the meeting to a designated time. Pursuant to Article IV, Section 13, three-fourths of the Senators constitute a quorum for the conducting of ordinary business, for which a majority vote of the quorum is required. Unless otherwise provided in these rules or by law, disposition of business or matters pending before the Legislature shall be by a majority of a quorum.

 

Part 3. OFFICERS

 

Rule 3.1. Election of Officers.

At its quadrennial convening meeting, and in special session commencing on the second Tuesday of January in each odd-numbered year, the Legislature elects its officers by secret ballot in the following order by majority vote following secret nomination:

a. Speaker

b. Vice Speaker

c. Floor Leader

 

In the nomination process for an office, which occurs immediately before the first ballot, each Senator is given the opportunity to designate no more than one nominee for an office. The number of nominations of a Senator is not announced. In the case of more than two nominees to an office, if no nominee receives a majority vote on the first ballot, a subsequent ballot or ballots are held eliminating the nominee with the lowest vote total until a nominee receives a majority vote. If there is a tie vote for lowest total, a vote is held to eliminate one of the nominees involved in the tie vote.

 

Rule 3.1.2. Applies to the biennial election.

Before balloting, a nominee may address the Legislature concerning his intentions, if elected to office. In the case of more than two nominees to an office, if no nominee receives a majority vote on the first ballot, a subsequent ballot or ballots are held eliminating the nominee with the lowest vote total until a nominee receives a majority vote. If there is a tie vote for lowest total, a vote is held to eliminate one of the nominees involved in the tie vote.

 

Rule 3.2. Holding Office.

An officer holds office until he ceases to be a Senator, he is removed from the office by the Legislature, a successor takes office, or the terms of Senators ends following a general election. Election to fill a vacant office is carried out promptly, and no longer than 30 days after the vacancy occurs, in a manner consistent with Rule 3.1. 

Rule 3.3. Removal of Officers.

An officer is removed by resolution, acted upon no earlier than five days after being introduced.

 

Rule 3.4. Presiding Officers.

The Speaker presides over proceedings of the Legislature. In the absence of the Speaker, or the person then entitled to preside by this rule, the order of succession is as follows:

 

a. Vice Speaker

b. Floor Leader

c. Chairman, Committee on Judiciary & Governmental Operations

d. Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means

e. Chairman, Committee on Health and Social Affairs

f. Chairman, Committee on Resources and Development

g. Chairman, Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs

h. Chairman, Committee on Environment, Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure

i. Chairman, Committee on Land and Municipal Affairs Rule

 

3.5. Duties of Legislative Officers.

The Officers of the Legislature shall have the duties assigned in these Rules and may assume other actions that best serve the interest of the Legislature. Additional duties may be implied to the Officers under the Constitution and the Kosrae State Code.

 

Rule 3.5.1. Speaker.

It shall be the duty of the Speaker:

1. To open the sittings of the Legislature at the appointed hour by assuming the chair and calling the Legislature to order;

2. To maintain order and proper decorum in debate;

3. To announce the business before the Legislature in the order prescribed by the Rules;

4. To receive and submit all matters properly brought before the Legislature by the members, to call for votes upon the same, and announce the result;

5. To receive all communications and present them to the Legislature and to direct the appropriate committees of the Legislature to consider the subjects of such messages;

6. To assign to each member a seat on the floor of the Legislature; 

7. To clarify by his signature all official acts and papers of the Legislature and to transmit such papers as required;

8. To decide all questions of order subject to the right of any member to appeal to the Legislature from such decision;

9. To direct the activities of the Chief Clerk, Legislative Counsel, Legislative Fiscal Officer, Legislative Administrative Officer, officers and employees of the Legislature, and to oversee the administration of the Legislature, provided, however, that his actions are supported by and consistent with the Constitution, Kosrae State Code, these Rules of Procedure and the best interest of the Legislature;

10. To appoint a member to perform the duties of the Chair in his absence when the Vice Speaker or Floor Leader are unavailable to perform such duties. The member shall be known as the Speaker Pro Tempore while so serving.

11. To appoint members to the Committees of the Legislature;

12. To assign measures introduced by members to the appropriate Committee or Committees of the Legislature;

13. To serve as a member of the Committee of the Whole;

14. To serve as the contracting officer for the Legislature with the power to bind the Legislature by contracts; and

15. To perform such other duties as may be required by law and these Rules.

 

Rule 3.5.2. Vice Speaker.

It shall be the duty of the Vice Speaker:

 

1. To exercise all the duties and powers of the Speaker in his absence;

2. To act as Chairman of the Committee of the Whole;

3. To serve as a member on each Standing Committee; and

4. To perform such other duties as the Speaker shall direct or as otherwise are provided in these Rules.

 

Rule 3.5.2. Floor Leader.

In the absence of the speaker It shall be the duty of the Floor Leader:

 

1. To propose motions which contribute to orderly and speedy conduct of proceedings;

2. To coordinate committee activities to meet the Legislature’s priorities; and

3. To oversee committee action on measures to avoid duplicity and conflict in pending measures. Floor Leader, the Speaker designates a Senator as acting Floor Leader.

 

Rule 3.6. Legislative Counsel.

There shall be an Office of the Legislative Counsel. The duties of the Legislative Counsel shall be:

1. To provide a comprehensive research and reference service to the Legislature;

2. To advice the Legislature on needed revisions of the laws of the State of Kosrae and the Rules of the Legislature;

3. To provide drafts of bills and resolutions at the request of Senators;

4. To render legal services to the Legislature and its Committees;

5. To advise any officer or member on questions of parliamentary procedure when required;

6. To review each bill or resolution as proposed for passage on final reading with respect to its form, legal sufficiency and grammar;

7. To render legal assistance to the officers and staff of the Legislature to aid them in performing their duties;

8. To perform all other legal duties as the Legislature shall from time to time direct;

9. To assist the Office of the Speaker in continuing to provide training to the Legislature’s staff;

10. To supervise and direct the duties, functions and services of the legal aides; and 11. To perform such other duties as directed by the Speaker.