Dallastown Wildcat Invitational
Congress Info & Legislation
Schools wishing to submit legislation for the bill packet must do so no later than October 28, 2016 at 5 pm. Schools are permitted (but not required to) submit one piece of legislation per each student entered. Please email all legislation in PDF or Word (.doc or .docx) format to firstname.lastname@example.org
The bill packet is posted to the main page of this tournament.
We will follow National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) rules for Congress. These rules can be found on pages 30 - 35 of the NSDA Unified High School manual, which can be accessed at , or found in abridged format below:
Election of a presiding officer. The presiding officer must be elected with a majority of the vote. If one candidate does not receive a majority of votes, eliminate the candidate with the fewest votes and vote again. If candidates are tied for the fewest number of votes, vote to determine which of the tied candidates should remain in contention. Repeat this process until one candidate receives a majority of votes.
When more than one speaker seeks the floor, the presiding officer must follow the precedence/recency method:
1) First recognize students who have not spoken during the session.
2) Next recognize students who have spoken fewer times.
3) Then recognize students who spoke earlier (least recently).
Before precedence is established, the presiding officer should recognize speakers fairly and consistently. They may not link recognition of speakers to previous recognition of students asking questions, moving motions, or longest standing (standing time).
When a new session begins, precedence/recency will be reset along with a new seating chart, and election of a presiding officer.
Before precedence is established, the presiding officer should explain their recognition process and it must be fair, consistent and justifiable.
Speech Length: Speeches introducing legislation are allotted up to three minutes, followed by two minutes of questioning by other delegates. A student from the school who wrote the legislation gets the privilege of recognition (called authorship), regardless of precedence; otherwise the presiding officer may recognize a “sponsor” from the chamber, provided this recognition follows the precedence guidelines above. Regardless, this speech of introduction must be followed by two minutes of questions. Should no student seek recognition for the authorship/sponsorship, the chamber will move to lay the legislation on the table until such time that a student is prepared to introduce it.
The first negative speech must be followed by two minutes of questions.
Following the first two speeches on legislation, the presiding officer will alternately recognize affirmative and negative speakers, who will address the chamber for up to three minutes, followed by one minute of questioning by other delegates. If no one wishes to oppose the preceding speaker, the presiding officer may recognize a speaker upholding the same side. When no one seeks the floor for debate, the presiding officer may ask the chamber if they are “ready for the question,” at which point, if there is no objection, voting may commence on the legislation itself. There is no “minimum cycle” rule; however, if debate gets “one-sided,” the chamber may decide to move the previous question.
The presiding officer fairly and equitably recognizes members to ask questions following each speech. The presiding officer starts timing questioning periods when they have recognized the first questioner, and keeps the clock running continuously until the time has lapsed. Speakers are encouraged to ask brief questions, and may only ask one question at a time. Two-part/multiple-part questions are not allowed. There is no formal “permission to preface,” however; presiding officers should discourage students from making statements as part of questioning, since that is an abusive use of the limited time available.
The presiding officer will pause briefly between speeches to recognize any motions from the floor; however, they should not call for motions (at the beginning of a session, the presiding officer should remind members to seek their attention between speeches).
Amendments must be presented to the presiding officer in writing with specific references to lines and clauses that change. This must be done in advance of moving to amend.
The parliamentarian will recommend whether the amendment is “germane”—that is, it upholds the original intent of the legislation—otherwise, it is considered “dilatory.” The title of the legislation may be changed.
A legislator may move to amend between floor speeches. Once that motion is made, the presiding officer will read the proposed amendment aloud and call for a second by one-third of those members present, unless he/she rules it dilatory.
Should students wish to speak on the proposed amendment, the presiding officer will recognize them as per the standing precedence and recency, and the speech will be counted toward their totals, accordingly.
Simply proposing an amendment does not guarantee an “author/sponsor” speech, and any speeches on amendments are followed by the normal one minute of questioning.
Amendments are considered neutral and do not constitute an affirmative or negative speech on the original legislation.
If there are no speakers or the previous question is moved, the chamber may vote on a proposed amendment without debating it.
Voting All major voting (such as the main motion/legislation) which a congressperson’s constituents should have a record of, shall be done with a counted vote. Secret balloting is used when voting for presiding officer.