By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—While the Senate plans to add to the rules, proposed changes to the time limits on debate in the Senate will not change for the new quadrennium.
Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) explained, “A lot of it is current practice that we are now putting in the rules because they haven’t been in the rules. We are trying to put them into the rules because they have always been done out of precedent and tradition. This way we put it in writing so members will know where to go and where to turn when they are wanting to know how certain bills are debatable or undebatable.”
Senators debated whether to reduce the debate time limits on BIRs, the rules calendar, resolutions and motions. During the caucus debate, the decision was made to not change the rules.
Orr said, “The caucus was very concerned about making sure there was plenty of time for debate. (The reduction in debate time) was discussed in the caucus and that is not going to occur. We are going to proceed with the same allotment of time for each of those various actions that we had in the last quadrennium.”
Current debate times are as follows:
Special Order Calendar shall be posted by the Rules Committee twenty-four hours prior to said resolution being offered
Bill introduction, 5 minutes
Amendments, substitutes, the bill, motions to concur or non concur, motion to confirm an appointment, one hour
No member is allowed to speak more than twice on any question under debate
Resolutions and debatable motions, 15 minutes
Cloture to end debate/filibuster, 20 minutes
Point of personal privilege, 5 minutes, when other matters not under debate