Rules and procedures for debate and for the taking of votes in the Senate (Nova Roma)
The Senatus Consultum de Ratione Senatus
In accordance with paragraph V.D. of the Constitution of Nova Roma, the Senatus Consultum de Ratione Senatus is hereby enacted to set forth the rules and procedures for debate and the taking of votes in the Senate.
(Informal Senate Discussion)
I . Any member of the Senate may, at his discretion, introduce a topic for discussion by sharing it with the rest of the Senate. Such discussion is to be encouraged, but should not be mistaken for the formal process of calling for a vote on a given issue, which may only be done after the Senate has been convened for such a purpose, and by procedures as described below.
(Convening the Senate)
II. The Senate may be convened by a consul, praetor, or tribunus plebis. The magistrate convening the Senate shall hereafter be referred to as the presiding magistrate. A. A consul may convene the Senate for any purpose. B. A praetor may convene the Senate for any purpose when both consuls are unavailable. C. A tribunus plebis may convene the Senate in order to ask the Senate's advice on any subject which is clearly within the scope of his or her constitutionally mandated powers and obligations.
(Notifying the Senate)
III. Prior to convening the Senate, all of the members of the Senate, and all those by law permitted to witness the discussions of the senate, must be informed no less than twenty-four hours prior to the Senate being formally convened. This is to be accomplished by sending a simple e-mail of intent to the Senate e-mail list by the presiding magistrate.
(Presenting Items to the Senate)
IV. After the interval described in section III above, the presiding magistrate may convene the Senate and present one or more matters for their consideration. Should the presiding magistrate wish to do so, he may yield the floor to a member of the Senate or another magistrate, allowing that person to present one or more items for the Senate's consideration.
(Procedure for Senate Debate)
V. Once the matters for consideration have been presented, each of the members of the Senate may offer their opinions thereon. The debate shall be limited to the presiding magistrate, members of the Senate, and any magistrate which the presiding magistrate has allowed to present items in accord with section IV above. The tribunes of the plebs, shall keep the citizens informed as to the progress and content of the debate. There shall be no limit on the length of the opinions rendered. A. Debate is to be conducted via electronic mail through the Senate e-mail list (the exception being a face-to-face meeting described below), and each Senator shall have up to ninety-six hours to issue his or her opinion. Should that time elapse, the Senator shall be assumed to have abrogated his right to speak on the issues at hand (but such silence shall not be considered a waiver of the right to vote thereon). B. Senator who is unable to vote may, during the debate phase, give his proxy to another member of the Senate, as long as such is done openly and within the prescribed period of debate.
VI. Once each Senator has been given the opportunity to state his position on the issues under discussion, the presiding magistrate shall call the issue to a vote. Voting shall be done openly on the Senate e-mail list, and matters being voted on shall be decided by majority vote unless otherwise mandated. A. Voting is to be conducted on the Senate e-mail list, unless it is conducted in a face-to-face venue, and each Senator shall have at least forty-eight hours to cast his or her vote. Should the voting period elapse, any Senator that has yet to vote shall be assumed to have abrogated his or her right to vote on the matters at hand. B. On items that are presented for approval by affirmative or negative vote, a Senator may either vote or abstain from voting as follows: 1. An AFFIRMATIVE vote is registered by the Senator's statement of "YES", "UTI ROGAS", or another clearly synonymous phrase of support; 2. A NEGATIVE vote is registered by the Senator's statement of "NO", "ANTIQUO", or another clearly synonymous phrase of opposition; 3. An ABSTENTION is expressed with the Senator's statement of "ABSTINEO", "I ABSTAIN", by leaving the item blank, or with another clearly synonymous phrase of neutrality. Such abstentions are not considered to be votes, and are not counted when calculating the number required for a majority as defined below. Abstentions do not diminish the number of Senators considered present when determining whether a quorum is achieved. C. Except where otherwise stated, a Senatus Consultum is enacted when the number of affirmative votes (as described above) equals or exceeds the number required for a "simple majority". 1. Simple Majority: A simple majority is defined as the number of affirmative votes plus the number of negative votes, divided by two, with one added to that result. Abstentions are not counted when determining this number. An equivalent result may be obtained by directly comparing the numbers of affirmative and negative votes, again ignoring abstentions; if the number of affirmative votes EXCEEDS (not merely equals) the number of negative votes, the item has succeeded, and the Senate has voted in favour of the item. 2. Super Majority: When particular items are required by law to have a super majority of votes in order to succeed, then the votes shall be counted by adding together the count of affirmative and negative votes (ignoring abstentions), multiplying by the fraction required by law, and comparing this to the number of affirmative votes. Such an item succeeds when the number of affirmative votes equals or exceeds the number obtained by this calculation. D. The presiding magistrate must stipulate the voting period of no less than forty-eight, and no more than ninety-six hours. The voting period shall be stipulated at the time that the Senate is called to a vote and cannot be shortened by the presiding magistrate, but can be extended up to the ninety-six hour maximum. E. It is recommended that the voting period begin at sunrise in Rome on the first day of the voting period and end at sunset in Rome on the last day of the voting period.
(Publishing of Results)
VII. Once voting on the matters at hand is complete, one of the tribunus plebis shall inform the people of the outcome of the vote and the presiding magistrate shall officially end the meeting of the Senate.
VIII. When a meeting of the Senate is conducted in a face-to-face session the following special conditions apply: A. The debate phase shall last as long as necessary, giving each Senator present the opportunity to discuss each item on the agenda. The debate phase shall end after every Senator has been given the opportunity to speak, waiving a right to speak does not waive a Senators right to vote. B. Voting shall start after the debate phase has ended and shall continue until every Senator present has voted. Voting shall be done by a show of hands or some other equally unambiguous method. C. Senate meetings shall occur only between sunrise and sunset. A meeting may adjourn for the night and reconvene the next morning at the discretion of the presiding magistrate. D. Senate meetings should occur, if possible, in a public building which has been consecrated according to specifications established by the Collegium Augurium. E. Voting shall be done by a show of hands or some other equally unambiguous method.
(Superseding previous procedures)
IX. The procedures indicated here shall supersede all other approved Senate voting procedures including, but not limited to, the procedure approved on a.d. III Id. Nov. MMDCCLVI 11 Nov 2756.