Golden Desert Debate Tournament at UNLV 2020

2020 — Las Vegas, NV/US

2020 Congressional Debate Information

Updated information 1/31 (additional information below): 

We are excited to welcome you all to the Golden Desert Congressional Debate tournament at UNLV tomorrow! We have some important updates that you will want to make sure that you share with your students:

1. We will be in the Hospitality Building (HOS). There are 10 total restrooms in HOS, but we are asked to use two of them only (otherwise custodial has to clean all 10 restrooms). There are signs on the doors of the 8 restrooms not to use, so please do not use them if there is a sign on them telling you not to use it.

2. When you arrive, please report to HOS 384 (Congress tab). Students will be competing in HOS 382.

2. Unfortunately due to our drops and small entry number to begin with, we have 12 students total in Congressional Debate. With such a small number, it does not make sense to have a final super session, so the Congressional Debate tournament will only be on Saturday.

3. We will no longer have a final supersession. Last year, our students really enjoyed our final scenario, but since we don't have the extra day, we wanted to make sure that students have adequate time to prepare. Due to this, we have decided to make our third session the final scenario that will be based on "A Bill to Increase Foreign Aid for Anti-Corruption and Humanitarian Measures" (number 3 in your legislation packet). This legislation is reserved for session 3. As a reminder, internet is permitted for research during the sessions.

4. Since there is no final supersession, we are recommending to the chamber that they use direct questioning; however, this is up to the chamber. As stated in the information packet, this requires moving to suspend the rules to invoke Direct Questioning in the preliminary sessions, and a two-thirds majority to pass. Anyone planning on acting as a Presiding Officer should note that Direct Questioning requires its own precedence and recency tracked separately from speeches.

5. The schedule has been changed to accommodate our third session as a scenario:

9:00am-9:10am Mandatory Competitor Meeting
9:10am Mandatory Session 1 Judges Meeting
9:10-9:25am Committee
9:25-11:25am Session 1
11:25am Competitors come to Congress tab for emergency updates for the session 3 scenario
11:35am-1:05pm Lunch (provided)
12:50pm Mandatory Session 2 Judges Meeting
1:05-3:05pm Session 2
3:10pm Competitors and Session 3 judges come to Congress tab for emergency briefing for session 3 scenario
3:30-5:30pm Session 3 - Emergency Session

Top Six Students will be announced at the Congressional Debate awards beginning ASAP after Session 3. Please be in Congress tab by 5:45pm


2020 Golden Desert Congressional Debate 

Important Dates:

1. No legislation submission is required. Legislation has already been written by tabroom staff and will be posted on tabroom on Friday, January 24, 2020 at 8:00pm.
2. Chamber assignments will be posted on Friday, January 31st at 6:00pm. 

3. The Final Round Scenario will be announced to all students and emailed to everyone on Saturday, February 1st at 6:15pm in Congress tab (after the third session).

4. Congressional Debate competitors can be added to the tournament after the deadline, but you must email by Friday, January 31st at 8:00am LATEST. 

NSDA Pilot Internet Rules 2019-2020:
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, use social media, or play games 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. 

  4. If a student is found to have violated these provisions, they will be disqualified from the tournament and will forfeit all rounds and merit points in that event. 

PLEASE NOTE: This should NOT be used as a substitute for preparing prior to the tournament. This should only be used to enhance the quality of refutation/ debate. If you elect to use the 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. 

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 officers must be elected in the session in which they are presiding. For instance, you should NOT elect presiding officers for second session at the end of the first session. 

Presiding Officer Instructions: 

Presiding officers must use precedence (or choosing speakers who have spoken least or not at all) when recognizing speakers. There are no authorship speeches, and sponsorship speeches are determined by precedence and recency.


We will use standard questioning for sessions 1-3. Direct questioning (where students will have back and forth blocks for 30 seconds) will be used during the final supersession. Students are permitted to move to suspend the rules to invoke Direct Questioning in the preliminary sessions, but this requires a two-thirds majority to pass.

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. For more information on direct questioning in Congressional Debate, please email or visit:

No suspension of the rules to extend questioning is permitted. 

Out-Round Information:
We will advance an appropriate number of students dependent on the number of total entries. The final scenario will be announced on Saturday, February 1st at 6:15pm (after the third session). 



Saturday, February 1 (UNLV)

9:00-9:15am Mandatory Competitor Meeting

9:15-9:45am Committee

9:15am Mandatory Session 1 Judges Meeting

9:45-11:45am Session 1

11:45-1:15pm Lunch (provided)
1:00pm Mandatory Session 2 Judges Meeting

1:15-3:15pm Session 2

3:00pm Mandatory Session 3 Judges Meeting

4:00-6:00pm Session 3

6.15pm Students to report to Congress tab for Final Scenario Announcement

By 7:30pm Finalists announced on


Sunday, February 2 (UNLV)

9:00am Mandatory Final Supersession Judges Meeting 

9:00-9:30am Committee Briefing and Q&A

9:30am-12:30pm Final Supersession

12:30pm-1:30pm Lunch (provided)
1:40pm or ASAP Awards