Student Senate Rules

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Revised October 14, 2008


All activities of the Associated Students of the University of Washington Student Senate (“Senate”) shall be governed by the latest edition of The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure by Alice Sturgis so long as it does not conflict with the Senate Bylaws or the subsequent rules listed in this document.



A. Standard Agenda Senate Meetings shall be conducted using the following agenda unless otherwise determined by the Steering Committee:

1. Call to Order
2. Roll Call
3. Approval of the Agenda
4. Committee Meetings
5. Public Forum
6. Chair's Report
7. Committee Chair Reports
8. ASUW Presidential Privilege
9. Board of Directors Report
10. GPSS Report
11. Orders of the Day
(a) Unfinished Business
(b) New Business
(c) Old Business
(d) Request for Information
12. Announcements
13. Roll Call
14. Adjournment

B. Approval of the Agenda The agenda must be approved by a majority of the Senate before any business is conducted.

C. Amending the Agenda Once the agenda has been approved, it may only be amended by a 2/3rds majority of those senators present and voting.

D. Time Limits on Agenda Items Any item appearing on the agenda may be limited with either a limit on the total time to be spent or a time at which consideration shall move onto the next item without taking action on the present item. Time limits may only be altered by 2/3rds majority of those senators present and voting or a simple majority upon recommendation of the Chair.


A. Presidential Privilege Presidential Privilege, once granted, shall allow the President to address the Senate. Immediately following the address, the Senate and gallery shall be allowed to ask questions of the President.

B. Board of Directors Report The Board of Directors Report shall allow one or both of the Board Liaisons to address the Senate. Immediately following the address, the Senate and gallery shall be allowed to ask questions of the Board Representative(s).

C. GPSS Report The GPSS Report shall allow the GPSS representative to address the Senate on issues currently affecting the Graduate & Professional Student Senate. Immediately following the address, the Senate and gallery shall be allowed to ask questions of the GPSS Representative.

D. Public Forum Public Forum, once granted, shall allow a speaker to address the Senate for a period to be determined by the Steering Committee. Immediately following the address, the Senate and gallery shall be allowed to ask questions of the speaker. The Chair has the right to end the Public Forum at any time.


A. General Provisions & Limitations

1. Debate shall be open to any individual in the Senate Chambers.
2. Individuals shall have the opportunity to speak no more than twice per motion, for a period of three minutes each.
3. Senators may yield their speaking time to any other individual on the floor, who may only yield back to the original speaker.
4. Members of the Association who are not members of the Senate may only yield to one other individual when called upon for the purpose of answering a question.
5. The Steering Committee may modify these procedures for any particular agenda item as it deems necessary.



A. Procedure

1. All legislation must be submitted online using the Senate website.
2. Upon submission, legislation shall be automatically referred to the Form, Presentation, and Style Committee, which must take action upon the legislation at their next meeting.


All properly submitted legislation must be referred for Committee consideration at the next Steering meeting following submission. Legislation improperly submitted which cannot be readily fixed shall be stricken from the record. Resolutions of a timely nature may bypass Committee Consideration with Steering approval.


A. General Provisions

1. Each Standing Committee shall maintain its own calendar for consideration of legislation. All other committees, having legislation referred to them by Steering, must consider it immediately.
2. A Committee may consider legislation for up to two committee meetings following referral.
3. An extension of an additional two weeks may be requested by the Committee Chair at the first Steering Committee meeting after the two meeting limitation has elapsed.
4. Having failed to secure an extension, or having exhausted the extension, any legislation without a committee recommendation shall be tabled indefinitely and may no longer be considered by the committee nor shall it be considered by the Senate absent a motion to discharge the committee.

B. Committee Reports

1. The Committee may report the legislation to the Senate with either a favorable or unfavorable recommendation. The Committee may also report the legislation without a recommendation with a 2/3rds vote of the Committee.
2. The Committee, having chosen to report the legislation, shall select members of the Committee to give the majority and minority report. Members may only report for the side on which they voted.


A. Adding Legislation to the Senate Calendar Legislation reported out of Committee or bypassing Committee consideration shall be placed on the Senate Agenda under "Old Business" for the next meeting during which legislation is considered.

B. First Readings

1. When the Senate first begins consideration of a new piece of legislation, the Chair shall request the sponsor, or in the absence of the sponsor a cosponsor, to read the legislation.
(a) If no sponsor or cosponsor is present at the time of First Readings, the legislation shall be tabled until the Steering decides to place in back on the agenda.
2. The Sponsor shall then have three minutes to review the legislation.
3. The Chair shall then ask for First Readings questions. Such questions must be limited to explanatory or implication questions and may not be argumentative. The Chair shall disregard all questions not meeting these criteria.
5. Having exhausted all First Readings questions, exhausted the time scheduled for first readings, or with the approval of a motion to end debate, First Readings shall be closed.
6. Upon the completion of First Readings the Chair shall entertain a motion for referral of the legislation to one of the Senate’s legislative committees.

C. Second Readings

1. Upon consideration of an existing piece of legislation that has already completed First Readings and has pass to the floor from the legislative committee that was assigned to review it, the Chair shall call for Second Readings and request the sponsor, or in the absence of the sponsor a cosponsor, to read the legislation.
(a) If no sponsor or cosponsor is present at the time of Second Readings the legislation shall be tabled until the Steering decides to place it back on the agenda.
2. The Chair shall call for the Majority and Minority Committee reports. If Committee Consideration was bypassed or reported with no recommendation the Vice Chair shall provide an objective review of the legislation.
3. The Sponsor shall then have three minutes to present the legislation and give arguments in favor of its passage.
4. The Chair shall then preside over debate for the time specified in the agenda, or absent a time, for no longer than 20 minutes.
5. Once there is no further debate, or with the approval of a motion to end debate, Second Readings shall be closed. If time elapses before Second Readings have closed, the legislation shall be placed on the Senate Agenda under "Unfinished Business" for the next meeting during which legislation is considered.
6. The Chair shall then order the yeas and nays by voice vote.
(a) Should any Senator disagree with the determination of the Chair they shall request division. Unless there is absolutely no doubt as to the outcome of the vote, a request for division shall not be ruled dilatory.
(b) If division has been called, the Chair shall order the yeas and nays by raised placards.

D. Roll Call Vote

1. A privileged motion for a roll call vote may be made by any Senator following debate but not after a call for division has been completed and the Chair has announced the results of the vote.
2. The motion shall be carried with 10% of present voting Senators.
3. A motion for a roll call vote shall not be debatable.
4. Upon passage of the motion, the Membership Coordinator shall read the name of each Senator who is considered present at the time of the motion for a roll call. The Vice-Chair shall record each individual Senator's vote.



A. General Provisions

1. The Chair shall present a draft Agenda for each Senate meeting, based on the standard agenda in Rule I, to the Steering Committee.
2. The Steering Committee shall approve it or adjust it to best accommodate the business before the Senate.
3. The Steering Committee may set time limits on any agenda item.


A. General Provisions

1. To obtain Public Forum time, the speaker or a proxy must appear before a Steering Committee meeting prior to the Senate meeting at which the speaker wishes to speak.
2. The Chair may waive the appearance before Steering if he or she deems it appropriate.
3. The Steering Committee must determine the appropriateness of the Public Forum based on, but not limited to, such factors as time sensitivity of the presentation, amount of business before the Senate, and interest to students.
4. The Steering Committee may set time limits for Public Forum.
5. Groups or individuals denied Public Forum time may be placed on the Agenda under Announcements.


A. Requirements

1. Special Meetings may be called in order to conduct urgent and time sensitive business.
2. Calling a Special Meeting shall require the approval of a majority of voting members present at the Steering Committee.
3. Special Meetings convened for any other purpose must be approved by a majority of the Senate, or by a 2/3rds majority of the Steering Committee.

B. Quorum

1. A quorum must be present to conduct business during a Special Meeting.
2. Absent a quorum, the Senate may only provisionally pass legislation of an urgent matter which must be ratified during the next Senate meeting that meets quorum as outlined in the Senate Bylaws.


A. General Provisions

1. The Chair may recommend to the Steering Committee the appropriate Standing or Special Committee to which legislation should be referred.
2. The Steering Committee shall refer legislation to the Standing or Special Committee whose competency most closely relates to the subject of the legislation.
3. If Steering finds a piece of legislation lacking in information, clarity, or other attribute, it may refer the legislation with instructions to the Standing or Special Committee to provide further research or request more information from the sponsor.
4. All legislation pertaining to Bylaws and Rules of the Senate shall be referred to the Steering Committee for consideration. The Steering Committee shall have the power to table the legislation indefinitely.



A. Procedure

1. A proposed Legislative Directive submitted by the Legislative Steering Committee or by the Board of Directors shall immediately be referred to the Floor of the Senate by the Steering Committee.


A. First Readings

1. Legislative Directives originating from the Legislative Steering Committee shall be jointly presented by the Senate Liaison to the Legislative Steering Committee and a representative from the Office of Government Relations.
2. Legislative Directives submitted by Senators shall be presented by the sponsor, assisted by the Senate Liaison to the Legislative Steering Committee.
3. Before presentation, the Chair shall outline the following process to the Senate and answer any questions regarding the process.
4. Presentation shall include a rationale for the Legislative Directive, any relevant history, and possible legislative situations where the item may be applied. Explanatory questions from the floor shall be answered by the presenters.
5. If the Legislative Directive includes more than one point, each point shall be presented separately. Once all questions have been answered or allowed time elapsed, the presenters shall move on to the next point until each point has been addressed.
6. Once all points have been addressed, the Legislative Directive shall be placed on Second Readings for the next Senate Meeting.
(a) Steering may, at its discretion, schedule a Legislative Directive to receive both First and Second Readings during one meeting if the matter requires urgent attention.

B. Second Readings

1. Presenters during Second Readings shall be the same as under First Readings.
2. Before consideration, the Chair shall outline the following process to the Senate and answer any questions regarding the process.
3. If a Legislative Directive contains multiple points, each point must be considered separately and in order in which they appear.
(a) During consideration of individual points it shall be in order to make motions adding, deleting, or modifying the current point.
(b) Once the point has been approved or deleted, motions to modify the point beyond placement in the agenda shall no longer be in order.
4. If a Legislative Directive contains multiple tiers, each tier must be considered separately and in order in which they appear.
(a) Once each point within a tier has been considered and approved or deleted, it shall be in order to make motions adding additional points to the tier.
(b) Once a tier has been approved motions to add new points to a tier other than those moved from other tiers shall no longer be in order.
5. Once all parts of a Legislative Directive have received approval it shall be in order to make motions altering the order of points within the Legislative Agenda. It shall not be in order to propose additional points, modify existing points or delete existing points.
6. Once all motions regarding placement have been considered, it shall be in order to approve the entire Legislative Directive. Approval shall require a simple majority of Senate.
7. If the Legislative Directive is creating a completely new Legislative Agenda a roll call vote shall be conducted.
8. Following approval of any Legislative Directive the Senate Vice-Chair shall present the final copy to the Board of Directors.
9. The Legislative Directive shall then follow the Approval Process as stipulated in Article III Section 1, D of the Bylaws.



A. Membership

1. The following shall constitute the membership of the Senate Officer Review Committee:
(i) the Senate Judicial Liaison;
(ii) three at-large Senators to be elected at the beginning of the year;
(iii) the ASUW President;
(iv) the ASUW Personnel Director (without vote); and
(v) the Senate SAO Adviser (without vote);
2. No member of this committee shall be permitted to provide a proxy.
3. The Senate Judicial Liaison shall be chair of the committee, ex-officio, and shall only vote in the case of a tie.

B. Competency

1. The committee shall review all formal complaints against paid Senate Officers.
2. The committee shall also be charged with recommending a course of action for the Senate and the Board when sanctioning a paid Senate Officer, and shall monitor the situation when pay has been suspended to determine if pay should be reinstated.

C. Meetings

1. The committee shall be called to order on an as-needed basis whenever a formal complaint has been filed with the ASUW Personnel Director.
2. The committee shall be called to order two weeks after a Senate Officer's pay has been suspended to determine if pay should be reinstated or if further actions are necessary. If, after the two week review, no different action is recommended, the committee shall conduct subsequent reviews upon the request of the sanctioned officer and with the consent of the appropriate chairing officer.
3. Should the committee not be called to order during any session by the fifth week of Spring Quarter, it shall meet to review the committee's purpose and procedures and make recommendations as needed.

D. Authorities

1. The committee shall have the following powers and authorities:
(a) issue requests for information to any Senate Officer or Board Member necessary to ascertain the validity of a properly filed complaint;
(b) recommend to the Board of Directors that a paid Senate Officer have their pay suspended;
(c) recommend to the Board to reinstate the pay of a paid Senate Officer who has had their pay previously suspended;
(d) draft an Organic Act to remove a paid Senate Officer from office; and
(e) issue recommendations on the procedures of the Committee to ensure it can fulfill its intended purpose.



Awards shall be bestowed during the final meeting of Spring Quarter. To be eligible for these awards, Senators must have served as a Senator for at least two quarters. If it is determined that no suitable candidate can be found, no award shall be bestowed. These awards shall be of three types: Senate Awards, Select Awards, and Certificates of Tenure.


A. Senate Awards

1. In selecting a recipient for a Senate Award, nominations shall be made from the floor by any Senator, followed by a brief speech from the nominator explaining why the nominee is a worthy recipient. After the conclusion of the nomination presentations, a vote shall be conducted by closed ballot.
2. The Senate may award one Senator with the Senate Award for Leadership. Candidates should exemplify the qualities of leadership and commitment.
3. The Senate may award one Senator with the Senate Award for Oratory. Candidates should have contributed to the debate in Senate by enhancing Senate discourse, conducting and sharing meaningful research, and showing a dedication to reasoned deliberation.

B. Select Awards

1. Recipients of Select Awards shall be chosen by the body or individual specified.
2. The Senate Chair may award one Senator with the Chair's Award. Candidates should exhibit an unparalleled dedication to Senate.
3. The Senate Steering Committee may award one Senator with the Steering Committee Award. Candidates should exhibit qualities of an excellent participant in Senate, which may include: consistent attendance, participation, research, oratory, commitment, leadership, and achievement.


Any Senator who has served for two consecutive quarters during a session of Senate shall receive a Certificate of Tenure. Such certificate shall note the session, the Senator's name, their constituency, any Senate positions held during their tenure, and a note for perfect attendance.



The outlined process for amending governing documents only applies to the Senate Bylaws and Rules.


A. Format of Amendments

1. Amendments shall be submitted in the form of an Organic Act.
(a) Any Organic Act to strike a section must include the text to be stricken.
(b) Any Organic Act to modify a section must include the text before and after modification.
(c) Any Organic Act to add a section must include the text to be added.
(d) All text currently in force shall be placed in whereas clauses and all proposed text shall be placed in that clauses.
(e) Any Organic Act proposing an amendment to a governing document may not contain any other proposed action.

B. Consideration by the Steering Committee

1. Amendments shall be considered at the next Steering Committee meeting following its submission.
2. Steering shall debate the purpose and merits of a proposed amendment at the first meeting and shall vote to further consider the amendment. Any amendment failing to receive a simple majority for further consider shall be considered tabled indefinitely.
3. Steering shall, at the meeting following the vote for further consideration, debate and approve word choice and construction of the amendment to ensure consistency, voice, clarity, and structure in relation to the Bylaws and Rules. Steering may neither table nor fail an amendment at this meeting.
4. Steering shall draft a written statement outlining the positive and negative consequences of the amendments adoption. Even if the amendment is approved of by Steering unanimously, Steering must provide arguments against adoption in the statement.

C. Consideration by the Senate

1. At the beginning of consideration, the sponsor of the amendment shall present the proposed amendment.
2. The Vice Chair shall present the written statement from the Steering Committee to the Senate.
3. The Senate shall consider the amendments under normal procedure for an Organic Act.
4. Amendments shall be adopted by the Senate in accordance with the thresholds specified in Article X of the Bylaws.
5. The Senate Vice-Chair shall present all amendments to the Bylaws at the next Board of Directors Meeting.
6. The governing documents shall be updated online within two weeks of the adoption of any amendment. The document shall note the date and session on which the amendment was adopted.
7. The officer charged with updating the governing documents shall have the authority to add, remove, or update cross-references as necessary after the adoption of an amendment.
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