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Legislative Officers: Senate

From Chapter III of the 2013 Legislative Manual:

To perform their proper roles efficiently, the two houses of the Nevada Legislature are authorized by the Nevada Constitution to choose their own officers (except for the President of the Senate). They also may determine the rules of their proceedings, punish their members for disorderly conduct, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all the members elected, expel a member. From tradition and experience, both houses have created internal administrative structures that closely parallel one another. There are, however, certain differences in terminology and the assignment of responsibility that distinguish the two houses.

The Lieutenant Governor is the Senate's presiding officer, sitting as the President of the Senate. The Lieutenant Governor is elected by the public for a four-year term in November of even-numbered years between presidential elections and is the first in line of succession to the governorship. The Lieutenant Governor presides over the Senate but is not a member of it; cannot vote on any question, except to break a tie vote; and is not permitted to vote on any measure (bill or joint resolution).

The President calls the Senate to order, chairs the conduct of business before the body, is responsible for the maintenance of decorum in the chamber, and has the general direction of the Senate chamber. In addition, the President recognizes Senators during debate; decides questions of parliamentary procedure, subject to appeal to the whole Senate; and signs all acts, addresses, joint resolutions, writs, warrants, and subpoenas.

The President Pro Tempore presides over the Senate in the absence of the President. Unlike the President, the President Pro Tempore is a member of the Senate and elected by it. As a Senator, the President Pro Tempore may vote on all issues, may enter into debate by relinquishing the chair, and exercises all of the powers and responsibilities of the President. Under the Nevada Constitution, the President Pro Tempore is the secondin line of succession to the governorship, immediately after the Lieutenant Governor.

If both the President of the Senate and the President Pro Tempore are absent or unable to discharge their duties, the Standing Rules of the Senate stipulate that the Chair of the Standing Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections or, if this officer is absent, the committee's Vice Chair should preside. In the event that none of the designated officers is able to preside, the rules provide for the Senate to elect one of its members as the presiding officer for that occasion.

The Secretary of the Senate is elected by the members of the Senate to serve as administrative officer and parliamentarian. Responsible to the Majority Floor Leader, the Secretary coordinates the daily activities of floor sessions, reads official communications to the body, calls roll, tabulates votes, edits the Journals and Histories of the Senate, records all floor action, oversees the processing of bills and resolutions, and signs all acts passed by the Legislature. The Secretary also interviews and recommends to the Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections persons to be considered for employment by the Senate and supervises a cadre of administrative professionals. At the end of each working day, unless otherwise ordered by the Senate, the Secretary transmits to the Assembly those bills and resolutions upon which the next action is to be taken by that body.

The Sergeant at Arms of the Senate is responsible for keeping order in and around the chamber, ensuring that only authorized persons are permitted on the floor, and handling other duties as directed by the Majority Floor Leader. The Sergeant at Arms is also responsible to maintain the Senate's chamber, private caucus room, kitchen, and meeting rooms for committees. The Assistant Sergeant at Arms acts as the Senate doorkeeper, preserves order in the Senate chamber, and provides other assistance to the Sergeant at Arms.

In addition to these major Senate officers, there are a number of employees hired to perform miscellaneous functions. Legislative assistants, clerks, and other staff are appointed to their positions via a one-house resolution. In the Assembly, these are referred to a attachés; in the Senate, session staff. Both houses have such employees, appointed in exactly the same manner. The number of officers and employees of the Senate and the Assembly is determined each session by each respective house.


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Last updated 1/28/2013

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