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Zumbach on Senate Rules

Alex Zumbach

Alex Zumbach

Alex Zumbach, Staff

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Certain rules make the Senate Chamber the Senate Chamber. Being the upper house of the legislature, rules are needed to preserve the chamber. A proud history has kept many of the rules intact in the Senate, while some traditions have changed just this year.

Many rules are in place to keep the senate professional. During chamber conventions, these rules include not wearing denim or hats and for males wearing a coat and tie. Also, rules such as “no smoking” and “no litter on the floor” keep the chamber clean.

Some rules are for the respect of the senators. Only senators can sit in their assigned chairs. Only Senators can go in the Senate lounge. Only Senators can walk down the center aisle. Senators work day and night, and these simple rules show them well-deserved respect.

Safety is also a concern. Past pages, during the last week, would stack cardboard file boxes as high as they could. Eventually, they would lose to the power of gravity. In fear of someone getting hurt, a new rule states that this can no longer happen in the chamber. Another safety rule is for the Senators. Only Capitol employees can distribute items to Senators. In the past, Senators found sharp objects in food or poison in their mail. In addition, only employees or visitors who were invited are allowed to approach Senators without permission in the chamber.

The final set of rules keeps the Senate in order and makes sure all business is conducted properly. The Senate President has a special script that he must follow for opening ceremonies, each bill, and every adjournment. In some cases if the President doesn’t say the exact words from the script, the appointee, amendment, or bill can be called into question and ruled nongermane by the supreme court. That is why the president’s job is so vital.

Rules and decorum are necessary for the Senate. Simply put, the Senate Chamber would not be the same without them.

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Zumbach on Senate Rules