Rules of the Assembly
Rule V -- Members
Section 1. Attendance.
- Attendance of members in the bar of the House during sessions of the House shall be continuously recorded electronically unless otherwise ordered by the Speaker.
- The bar of the House shall be deemed to include the entire Assembly Chamber and lobbies contiguous thereto as designated by the Speaker.
- In all cases of the absence of members during the session of the House, the members present may take such measures as they shall deem necessary to secure their presence, and in addition to suspending them from the service of the House for a given period, may inflict such censure or pecuniary penalty as they may deem just on those who, on being called on for that purpose, shall not render a sufficient excuse for their absence. For the purpose of securing the attendance of members, a call of the House may be made, but such call shall not be in order after voting on the question has commenced, unless the roll call has been withdrawn by the introducer. While a call of the House is in progress no other business shall be transacted except by order of the House.
- Every member who shall be within the bar of the House when a question is stated from the Chair shall vote thereon, provided, however, no vote shall be recorded for any member who is not present within the bar of the House at the time of such vote. The roll of absentees shall not be called more than once. Unless otherwise directed by the Speaker, all votes shall be recorded electronically. A member may abstain from a vote only on the grounds that such vote will constitute a conflict of interest.
- The yeas and nays shall be taken individually of each member on the final passage of a bill and on any other question whenever required by any fifteen members (unless a division by yeas and nays be pending), and when so taken each member's affirmative or negative vote shall be entered through the electronic voting system or in such other manner as may be prescribed by the Speaker and entered on the Journal. Such roll call shall remain open for a period of not less than one minute, and shall be designated a slow roll call. During such roll call, no vote shall be recorded unless the member voting is at his or her regularly assigned seat or is serving or acting as Speaker, Majority or Minority Leader.
- In the event a slow roll call is not required pursuant to subdivision b, the yeas and nays shall be taken by a fast roll call and a member desiring to vote in the negative on such a roll call shall do so by entering a negative vote through the electronic voting system or in such other manner as may be prescribed by the Speaker. All other members shall be recorded in the affirmative. On such a roll call the Clerk of the Assembly shall call the names of the members who are recorded in the negative.
- The Speaker may allow a member to record his or her vote within fifteen minutes after the results of the roll call have been announced when such vote does not change the final result of the vote of the House and such member has been previously recorded on a roll call on a bill during the legislative session day.
- Copies of all roll calls, including all recorded procedural votes, shall be made available to the Majority and Minority Leaders and representatives of the news media within thirty minutes after completion thereof and, as soon as practicable thereafter, shall be made available for public inspection at a place designated by the Speaker, and made available on the Assembly Internet site and the Legislative Retrieval System.
- When less than a quorum vote on any subject under the consideration of the House, it shall be in order, for any member to move for a call of the House. Whereupon the roll of members shall be called by the Clerk of the Assembly. After completion of the call only the Majority Leader, or acting Majority Leader, may move that the call be made a closed call of the House. Immediately following a closed call of the House, the Clerk of the Assembly, upon request, shall read the names of the members who are not present in the House. Copies of each closed call shall be available in the Office of Journal Operations at the end of each daily session. If it is ascertained that a quorum is present, either by answering to their names, or by their presence in the House, the yeas and nays shall again be ordered by the Speaker, and if any member present refuses to vote, such refusal shall be deemed a contempt, and unless purged, the House may order the Sergeant-at-Arms to remove said member or members without the bar of the House, and all privileges of membership shall be refused the person or persons so offending until the contempt be duly purged.
- A member who was absent at the time a prior vote was taken upon any matter may, within thirty days following the date of his or her first recorded vote subsequent to such prior vote, file a statement of how such member would have voted had he or she been present at the time of such prior vote. Such statement shall be in writing and filed with the Clerk of the Assembly and the contents thereof shall be duly noted on the roll call by such Clerk.
§ 4. Communications respecting bills. All written communications from public officers and agencies of the State or local governments furnished to a committee, respecting a bill which has been referred to such committee, for consideration, shall be available to the introducer of the bill for examination. In lieu of such examination, the chairperson of the committee may elect to furnish the introducer with copies of such communications.
§ 5. Making a Statement. Immediately after the completion of the orders of the day, and with the unanimous consent of the House, a member may make a statement, not exceeding fifteen minutes in length, concerning a subject or matter not pending before the House for consideration.
§ 6. Debate.
- No member rising to debate, to give notice, make a motion or report, or to present a petition or other paper, shall proceed until such member shall have addressed the Speaker from his or her place and has been recognized by the Speaker. While a member is speaking, no member shall entertain any private discourse or pass between the member speaking and the Chair.
- Unless otherwise provided by these Rules, no member shall speak, except in his or her place, nor more than once on any bill or amendment, without leave of the House and no member shall speak for more than fifteen minutes except by consent of two-thirds of the members present. The floor leader of each conference or his or her designee may be granted a second, additional fifteen minutes to speak during the debate on any bill or amendment. Consideration of any bill and amendment shall not exceed five hours; with four hours allocated for debate and up to one hour allocated for explanations of vote; provided, however that a member desiring to explain his or her vote upon the final passage of a bill or upon the passage of a resolution requiring the expenditure of money may make a brief statement, not to exceed two minutes, in explanation of such vote; and further provided that in addition to the foregoing, the sponsor of a bill may make a statement not to exceed five minutes for the purpose of opening debate on such bill. Except as otherwise provided by these Rules for concurrent resolutions, no member shall speak more than once and for no more than five minutes on any resolution without leave of the House. Debate on any resolution, except as otherwise provided, shall be limited to thirty minutes. Members may be granted permission to submit a written statement to extend upon their remarks on the floor for the record; such remarks must comply in all respects with the rules and customs and practices of the House relating to debate to be included in the record.
- If any member, in speaking, transgresses the Rules of the House, the Speaker may call such member to order, in which case the member so called to order shall immediately sit down, and shall not rise unless to explain or proceed in order.
- While the Speaker is putting a question, or a roll call is in progress or a count is being had, no member shall speak or leave his or her place. When the House shall be equally divided on any question, including the Speaker's vote, the question shall be deemed to be lost. All questions relating to the priority of one question or subject matter over another, under the same order of business, shall be decided without debate. If any question contains several distinct propositions, it shall be divided by the Chair at the request of any member, but a motion to strike out and insert shall be indivisible. All questions of order, as they shall occur, with the decisions thereon, shall be entered in the Journal, and, at the close of the session, a statement of all such questions and decisions shall be printed at the close of and as an appendix to the Journal.
- When a motion to adjourn is carried, the members and officers shall keep their seats and places until the Speaker declares the House adjourned.
- No motion to adjourn sine die shall be in order until all bills transmitted to the Governor shall have been acted upon by him or her, and in the case of vetoed bills, until such bills have been returned to each House for at least three legislative calendar days.
§ 9. Staff, materials and other perquisites. Each member of the House shall be entitled to an equal allocation of printed newsletters and other printed materials and postage therefor, and stationery and other similar perquisites, and each member shall receive an equal allowance for staff personnel, except that the allocation of stationery and other similar perquisites and the allowance for staff personnel may be greater for members in majority and minority leadership positions, committee, subcommittee and task force chairpersons and ranking minority members of committees, subcommittees and task forces. Such greater allotment or staff shall be commensurate with the additional duties assigned to such member.
§ 10. Use of legislative printing, mail and mass communication facilities.
- The use of legislative printing and mail facilities for newsletters and other forms of mass mailings which bear the name or likeness of a candidate in a local, special, primary or general election shall be prohibited within thirty days of such local, special, or primary election and be prohibited within sixty days of such general election. Members may not utilize other forms of Assembly-funded mass communication media during such thirty day and sixty day periods, respectively.
- The Assembly shall maintain a file containing a copy of each newsletter provided by Assembly facilities which file shall be available to the public.
- The provisions of this section shall be applicable to all communications addressed to the geographic area in which the member is running for election.