Thursday, 22 October 2009

One Minute Speeches

One way that members of the House of Representatives can get a message across is by coordinated use of "One Minute Speeches". A CRS Report states -

"One-minute speeches are normally given at the start of the legislative day, but may occasionally occur at other times in the legislative program. Customarily, after the daily prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and approval of the previous day’s Journal, Members ask for unanimous consent to address the House for one minute on a topic of their choice.

Recognition for one-minute speeches is at the prerogative of the Speaker, who may limit daily speeches to a certain number, or to a different place in the program, on any given day. Members seeking recognition for this purpose sit in the first row on their party’s side of the chamber. Recognition for one-minute speeches alternates between the majority and the minority, with possible exceptions for Members of the leadership, and Members having business requests

An example of their use came this week. Democrats used their time to press home the message about the Republican stalling tactics on healthcare. These clips were then posted to "Youtube" by the Speaker. Note the use of a visual aid - something not permitted at Westminster.

From: Office of the Clerk

10:03 A.M. -

ONE MINUTE SPEECHES - The House proceeded with one minute speeches, which by direction of the Chair would be limited to 15 per side of the aisle.