Jack Howe Memorial Tournament

2017 — Long Beach, CA/US

Open Congress

Abbreviation O Con
Format Congress
Entry Fee $15.00
Overall Entry Limit 60
Entry Limit Per School 8
Entry 1 competitors per entry

Event Description:






Preliminary Varsity/Open Competition Format


There are four (4) sessions of debate in the Preliminary Competition. Each session consists of two (2) hours of floor debate.


For purposes of this competition, one complete session is a legislative day. Priority for speaking resets at the end of each legislative day. Thus, all legislators will have zero speeches at the start of each session.


A Parliamentarian and two (2) Scorers will evaluate each chamber. The Parliamentarian remains in the chamber throughout the preliminary competition, while the Scorers rotate to different chambers throughout the tournament. The Scorers evaluate every speech that is given in a session, rating them on a scale of 1 to 6 (1 is low; 6 is high). The points awarded by a Scorer for a given speech can thus be used to determine NFL points for that speech. The Parliamentarian keeps notes on the overall performance of each legislator, including an evaluation for each Presiding Officer, awarding him/her up to 18 NFL points on the basis of his/her performance during a given session. The Parliamentarian will also rank all of the students at the end of the session based on the legislator’s holistic performance.


At the end of each session, the Scorers will each independently nominate eight students for Best Legislator during the session. Each Scorer’s nomination form is converted into credits by the Tabulation Staff with the 1st place legislator receiving 8 credits, the 2nd place legislator receiving 7, and so on. Those students who were not ranked by the Scorer will receive zero (0) credits from that Scorer. The an equal number of students from each chamber who have earned the highest number of judge credits during the Preliminary Sessions will advance to the Semifinal Round. If need, the Parliamentarian’s ballot shall serve as a tiebreaker.


Preliminary Questioning: A mandatory two-minute questioning period follows all authorship, and sponsorship on amendment speeches. A two-minute questioning period also follows the first negative speech on any item of legislation. The Presiding Officer shall recognize legislators who wish to ask a question of the speaker; the speaker MAY NOT perform his function him/herself. All other speeches will have a mandatory one-minute questioning period that may not be suspended. Questioners may only ask one question at a time. Thus, the Presiding Officer has an obligation to rule “two-part,” misleading, or irrelevant questions out of order.


Outround Questioning: The same questioning times in preliminary competition remain in place for semifinal and final rounds of competition, except that all periods are broken into 30-second segments, with one questioner per segment, who may ask multiple questions of the speaker. The Presiding Officer must keep a separate precedence chart, but does not need to keep track of recency. The Presiding Officer should promptly adjudicate the end of each 30-second period. If a questioner does not use the full 30-seconds, the Presiding Officer has the discretion to call on another questioner, or absorb the time. No suspension of the rules to extend questioning is permitted. Questioners may not preface. Questioners may interrupt a speaker, but the manner in which they do so is subject to critique by judges. Questioners should strive to expose flaws in the speaker’s arguments by asking a series of questions. These questions should subject the speaker’s arguments to intensive and focused scrutiny. This is neither the time nor the place for “softball questions.” The segment is for asking questions, not for making new arguments or rehashing. Questions should be concise and to the point.


Presiding Officer Nominations and Elections: Coaches must nominate and certify prior to the close of registration, which students would like to be considered for presiding officer nomination. There is one (1) elected Presiding Officer in each session. No legislator may serve in that office for more than one session if there are other willing candidates within the chamber. In the event none of the school recognized presiding officers choose to run for election, nominations may be taken from the floor. The Parliamentarian using a secret ballot conducts elections. A majority vote is required to elect a candidate. The chamber’s best presiding officer as determined by the Parliamentarian and Scorers is guaranteed to advance to the next round of competition.


Legislative Day: A legislative day is one session. Speaker order (recency) resets after each session.


Agenda Order: Each chamber may determine its own agenda based on the order of the legislation assigned compiled in the tournament docket.