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Thursday, January 10, 2013

 11:25 AM 

Assembly leaders announce deal to avoid all nighters

Assembly leaders announced a deal today designed to avoid all-nighters that includes meeting prior to session days to agree on time limits for debate and limiting the number of contentious bills brought to the floor each day.

Speaker Robin Vos and Minority Leader Peter Barca said two rules resolutions will be brought to the floor today. One includes provisions both sides agreed upon in their negotiations. A second includes proposed rules for the galleries that includes a three strikes policy that could lead to some members of the public being banned for the remainder of the session.

A third resolution will not be debated. Barca called it the "nuclear option" because it includes stricter time limits for speeches than what the two sides agreed upon. Vos said Republicans reserve the right to bring that resolution up later if the deal does not accomplish the goal of avoiding all-night sessions.

The deal leaders reached calls for things such as the Rules Committee setting a limit on debate per bill. For example, today's debate on the rules will be limited to five hours. It also calls for enforcing rules that limit tabling motions to 10 minutes of debate total with up to 2 minutes per speaker as well as agreeing to a hard start time for debate each session day. There is also a new dress code for members. If they violate it, they would not be allowed to speak on the floor that day.

Other provisions outlined in a memorandum of understanding include:

-Amendments submitted to the chief clerk by 9 a.m. on a session day will receive priority consideration by each caucus.

- There will be objections to breaking for caucus "except under extenuating circumstances" and extending debate limits.

- A minimum of 30 minutes will be set aside for debate on final passage.

- If a Rules Committee meeting has to be convened, the time it takes will not be counted toward the limit agreed for a bill under consideration.    

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