Golden Desert Debate Tournament at UNLV

2019 — Las Vegas, NV/US

Congressional Debate Information

Golden Desert Congressional Debate

Important Dates:

1. Submit legislation to by Thursday, January 24, 2019 at 5:00 pm PST.

2. Congressional Debate entries are frozen on Friday, January 25, 2019 at 5:00pm.
3. Chamber assignments and legislation will be posted on January 25th.
* If you wish to add entries after this date, please e-mail Jordy Barry at AND Jake Thompson at We cannot guarantee that we will be able to add entries after the deadline.


NSDA Pilot Internet Rules 2018-2019:

The Golden Desert tournament WILL be using the NSDA piloted internet usage rules in Congressional Debate. This means that contestants may use electronic devices to access the internet during their sessions with the following conditions:
1. Students are NOT permitted to receive information from non-competitors (coaches, assistant coaches, other students) inside or outside of the room. They are not permitted to send emails, texts, or use social media during the session.
2. Internet access CAN be used to retrieve files and research arguments. Citations of source and date are very important, and be mindful that what you cite can be looked up by your fellow competitors in real time!
3. If a student believes that a competitor is using their device to speak with people outside of the chamber, that concern should be brought to the Parliamentarian in a discreet manner. The Parliamentarian will then bring these concerns to the tab staff.

PLEASE NOTE: This should NOT be used as a substitute of preparing prior to the tournament. This should only be used to enhance the quality of refutation/ debate. If you elect to use internet, you are responsible for providing your own computers/ tablets, batteries, extension cords, etc. The Golden Desert tournament is not responsible for providing any additional equipment. We recommend that you bring a power strip to share with your competitors. Golden Desert has a guest wifi for use, but cannot guarantee consistent access to wifi.

The NSDA pilot internet rules can be found here:

Please e-mail if you have any questions about the NSDA pilot internet rules.

Legislation Scope:

We welcome a wide range of legislation, spanning national and international issues. We encourage students/ coaches to consider submitting legislation that is timely. Since legislators will be debating as a national congress, please submit legislation that the U.S. Congress has purview over.

Legislation Formatting:

All legislation should fit on one 8 ½ x 11 page. Please use the templates provided at and type directly within the template (please do not change the formatting). Please send legislation in the form of a Microsoft Word Document.

Chamber Decorum:

Each chamber is designated a HOUSE. A member of the House of Representatives is referred to as a “Representative”. The Presiding Officer is addressed as “Mister/ Madam Speaker”.

Legislative Day:

A legislative day is one session. Precedence and recency reset after each session.

Docket Order:

Each chamber will determine its own docket order during committee before Session 1. Sessions 1, 2, and 3 will all be set during this time.

Presiding Officer Nominations and Elections:

There is one elected Presiding Officer (P.O.) in each session. No legislator may serve as a P.O. in more than one session if there are other willing legislators in the chamber. The Parliamentarian will use a secret ballot to conduct elections. A majority vote is required in order to elect a candidate. Judges and parliamentarians will be reminded that if a P.O. did a great job in their capacity, they should be ranked within their top list of competitors.

Presiding Officer Instructions:

Presiding officers must use precedence (or choosing speakers who have spoken least or not at all) when recognizing speakers. The only exception to precedence is when the speaker has authorship privileges.


We will use indirect questioning (where students are called one at a time based on precedence and recency) during the preliminary sessions, and direct questions (where students will have back and forth blocks for 30 seconds) during outrounds. The first affirmative and negative speeches on a piece of legislation will have two minutes of mandatory questioning, and all subsequent speeches will have one minute.

Out-Round Information:
We will advance an appropriate number of students dependent on the number of total entries. If entries warrant, we will first break to a semi-supersession. If entries do not warrant, we will break straight to a supersession and the tournament will be moved up on Sunday. We will have a better idea about this once entries are frozen.


Saturday, February 2 (UNLV)

8:30am-9:00am Mandatory Judges Meeting (competitors are also welcome so they can hear what instructions judges are being given)

9:00-9:15am Mandatory Competitor Meeting

9:15-9:45am Committee

9:45-11:45am Session 1

11:45-1:15pm Lunch (provided)

1:00pm Judges Report back to Congress tab

1:15-3:15pm Session 2

3:45pm Judges Report back to Congress tab

4:00-6:00pm Session 3

Finalists and the final scenario are announced on ASAP


Sunday, February 3 (UNLV)

9:00am Mandatory Judges Meeting

9:00-9:30am Committee

9:30-11:30am Finals Supersession

11:30am-12:30pm Lunch (provided)

12:30pm Congressional Debate Awards