Thursday, 7 October 2010

Rule I - House of Representatives

The first of the rules of the House of Representatives concerns the Speaker. It does NOT define how the Speaker is chosen. [This is done, as per the Clerk's statement in the Congressional Record "pursuant to law and precedent - the most important being Art 1 Section of the Constitution. The procedure is described in Chapter 34 Section 3 of "House Practice"]. Instead it deals with key tasks and roles of the Speaker. The Structure of Rule One is

1 Approval of the Journal

2 Preservation of Order - this is described in greater detail in House Practice, Chapter 16 D - Disorder in Debate & E - Critical References to the House, Committees, or Members.

3 Control of Capitol Facilities

4 Signature of Documents

5 Questions of Order - power of the Speaker to rule on, subject to appeal to the House. (A Speaker's ruling can be overruled by the House)

6 The required form of putting a question - "Those in favour say "Aye". Those Opposed, say "No"

7 The Speaker's discretion as to whether to vote

8 Appointment of a "Speaker pro tempore"

9 The responsibility for developing a system for drug testing

10 Designation of members to travel on Congressional business

11 Committee Appointments - "The Speaker shall appoint all select, joint, and conference committees ordered by the House" - and may remove them.

12 Powers to suspend business and to postpone/reconvene the House.

As noted above, a valuable resource to the working of the rules is "House Practice"