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.
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.
II. The Senate may be convened by a consul, praetor, or tribune of the plebs. This is done by informing all of the members of the Senate, plus the tribunes of the plebs (if they are not already members of the Senate) no less than twenty-four hours prior to the Senate being formally convened. During that interval, the right of intercessio or nuntiatio may be exercised by those Constitutionally empowered to do so.
III. The presiding magistrate (defined as the highest-ranked magistrate present who holds imperium) may then convene the Senate and present one or more matters for their consideration, and/or yield the floor to a member of the Senate or another magistrate, who shall do so.
IV. Once the matters for consideration have been presented, each of the members of the Senate may, in turn, offer their opinions thereon. The debate shall be limited to the members of the Senate, the presiding magistrate, and the tribunes of the plebs (who 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, but the procedure shall differ slightly, depending on the mode of communication:
A. When debate is being conducted via electronic mail, each Senator shall have up to ninety-six hours to issue his opinion. Should that time elapse, the Senator shall be assumed to have abbrogated his right to speak on the issues at hand (but such shall not be considered a waiver of the right to vote thereon). A 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.
B. When debate is being conducted via means that allow real-time communication (such as Internet chat, teleconferencing, or live meeting), each Senator shall be given the opportunity to speak in order of seniority. Records of Senatorial seniority shall be maintained by the censors, according to the following formula:
1. Former censors, consuls, and praetors, in that order;
2. Ties in seniority shall be decided in favor of patricians over plebians;
3. Further ties in seniority shall be decided by age, with seniority being given to the older individual.
V. 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 before those privy to the debate, and shall be decided by majority vote unless otherwise mandated. The method of voting depends on the mode of communication:
A. When voting is being conducted via electronic mail, each Senator shall have forty-eight hours to cast his vote. Should that time elapse, the Senator shall be assumed to have abbrogated his right to vote on the issues at hand.
B. When voting is being conducted via means that allow real-time communication, voting shall be done by a show of hands.
VI. Once voting on the matters at hand is complete, the tribunes of the plebs shall inform the people of the outcome of the vote and the presiding magistrate shall officially end the meeting of the Senate.
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