South Carolina Legislature

Rule 3

Members and Membership

    3.1    Every member shall be within the House Chamber during its sittings unless excused or necessarily prevented, and may vote on each question put, except that no member shall be permitted to vote on any question immediately concerning his private rights as distinct from the public interest.

    3.2    The Speaker may excuse any member from attendance on the House and its committees for any stated period upon reason shown, and such excused absence shall be noted in the Journal.

    3.3    Any member absenting himself from attendance on the House or its committees and having in his possession any original papers relating to the business before the House, shall leave such original papers with the Clerk before departing from the Capitol.

    3.4    Any member who enters after the roll call at the opening of the daily session and notifies the Clerk in writing shall thereafter be shown as present for such day. Provided, that no person except those recorded present shall be eligible for subsistence for that day.

    3.5    In cases of contest for a seat in the House, notice setting forth the grounds of such contest shall be given by the contestant to the House within three calendar days after the House first convenes, and in such case, the contest shall be determined by majority vote as speedily as reasonably possible.

    3.6    When the House is called to order, every member shall take his seat and shall act with decorum at all times when the House is in session. Every member, when about to speak, shall rise from his seat and respectfully address himself to "Mr. Speaker" and shall avoid disrespect to the House or the Senate and all personalities, observe decency of speech, and shall confine himself to the question under consideration.

The Speaker, when duly addressed by a member, shall hear from the member who, in the Speaker's opinion, shall arise first, by identifying the member. The Reading Clerk shall not turn on any member's microphone until the Speaker has recognized that person.

    3.7    No employee of the House shall personally interest or concern himself with the passage or consideration of any measure whatsoever. If any employee does so, it shall be grounds for summary dismissal. While within the House Chamber during session, no one may personally, or in an official or representative capacity, concern himself with the passage or consideration of any measure whatsoever, except sitting members of the General Assembly and House staff in the usual and ordinary performance of their duties as an employee of the House. The Speaker may require immediate removal from the House Chamber of any person, who violates the provisions of this rule.

    3.8    No member shall speak more than twice on the same question without leave of the House, except merely to explain his meaning, even if the debate on the question should be continued for many days. In the case of a matter requiring more than one reading, this limitation applies separately to each reading, provided, however, notwithstanding that a matter may move from the uncontested to contested Calendar or vice versa within the same reading, the limitation applies to the entire reading. If a member has the floor and is addressing the body, he shall not lose the floor by asking a question of any member of the body.

    3.9    If any member shall be absent without leave and a quorum is not present, the Speaker shall instruct the Sergeant at Arms or appoint other authorized persons to send for such member or members and take them into custody. The outer doors to the Chamber shall be closed. The Speaker shall order that security personnel shall be posted at the outer doors of the Chamber and no member shall be permitted to leave the second floor of the State House without written leave of the Speaker. The Speaker may also order that security personnel be posted at all entrances to the State House to prevent members from leaving without authorization. An absent member who is taken into custody after the invocation of this rule shall pay for all reasonable expenses incurred which shall include mileage at the prevailing rate for state employees. In addition, such absent member who is taken into custody shall forfeit his entitlement to subsistence and mileage for that legislative day and shall be subject to any additional penalties the Speaker deems necessary. Should a quorum be present and ten members request, such absent member or members shall be sent for as herein provided and subjected to the same penalties. The Speaker shall strictly enforce the provisions of this rule. Provided, however, in the case of a member not being present when Rule 3.9 is invoked and such member voluntarily returns without being taken into custody, he shall not be subject to the penalties of this section. The invocation of this rule may be rescinded by a majority vote of those present and voting.

    3.10    As soon as practicable, after the House has been organized, the seats of the members shall be allotted as follows:

The Clerk shall prepare a ballot for each county with only its name printed on it. These shall be put in a closed box. The Speaker shall then direct a person or persons to draw them out, one by one. As each ballot is drawn, the delegation from that county shall select their seats, in accordance with the county in which the member resides. In the event a member's district consists of more than one county, the member may elect to be seated with the delegation the member desires, provided the member indicates the preference to the Clerk of the House prior to balloting. No delegation may select more than one seat on the main aisle.

    3.11    As soon as practicable, after the House has been organized, office space of members must be allotted as follows:

Each member shall choose an office in the Blatt Building on the basis of their seniority in the House in accordance with a floor plan prepared by the House Operations and Management Committee with the consent of the Speaker. A member who has served in the immediately preceding session shall have first preference on retention of his previously assigned office. The House Operations and Management Committee is authorized to make necessary adjustments in the assignment of office space with the consent of the Speaker when available space cannot be reasonably adjusted to conform with the county selections made pursuant to this subsection.

The provisions of this rule do not apply to office space for the Speaker, Speaker Pro Tempore, Chairman of the Rules Committee, Chairman of the Invitations and Memorial Resolutions Committee, Chairman of the Interstate Cooperation Committee and Chairmen of any other standing study committees or any other caucus having assigned space in the Blatt Building.

    3.12    Members and employees of the House, other than pages, shall observe appropriate and dignified attire which means coat, trousers, shirt and tie for males and dress, skirt, slacks and blouse, or pants suits for females, unless otherwise excused by the Speaker in his sole discretion.

    3.13    Each legislative caucus occupying office space in the Blatt Office Building may pay to the Clerk of the House of Representatives an amount, determined by the Clerk, for the use of office space by each caucus. Each caucus may also pay an amount for use of state-owned office related equipment including, but not limited to, copying services, computer equipment, and software and related connection charges for internet access and telephone equipment and service. Each legislative caucus may make payment for equipment and services in the manner to be determined by the Clerk.

Last Updated: 12/13/2018 3:30 PM

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