ASUW Senate: Session XXVIV

Governing Docs FAQs

Governing Documents FAQs 

Senate Rules 

Senate Bylaws

ASUW Constitution 

ASUW Bylaws 

 

What are the governing documents? 

Governing documents lay out the rules that Senate must follow to ensure that it is a fair, democratic, and inclusive body. The governing documents are: the ASUW Constitution, the ASUW Bylaws, the Senate Bylaws, and the Senate Rules. 

 

What is the difference between the Senate Rules and the Senate Bylaws?

The Bylaws grant Senate the power to legislate and self-govern and place restrictions on what Senate can do. This definition can be found in the Senate Bylaws, Article X, Section 2. The Rules lay out the procedure for running Senate meetings and considering legislation. This definition can be found in the Senate Bylaws, Article X, Section 3. The procedure for amending the Rules and Bylaws can also be found in the Senate Bylaws, Article X. 

 

What are the ASUW Constitution and Bylaws? 

The ASUW Constitution governs the entire student government, not just the Senate, including the Board of Directors, the JCC diversity commissions, and other ASUW entities such as the Office of Government Relations (which coordinates student lobbying) and the Elections Administration Committee (which organizes the spring elections). This document lays out ASUW’s mission, membership, and management, including the meetings of the Board of Directors and the process for budget approval. Senate is discussed in Article IX of the Constitution. 

 

The ASUW Bylaws lay out all the rules that are not covered in the Constitution, including information about ASUW elections, personnel, management of ASUW commissions, and ASUW political activity. While Senate is not covered in the ASUW Bylaws, we send liaisons to many of the committees mentioned in the document and many commissions mentioned in the document send representatives to Senate. Getting involved with these committees and/or commissions is a great way for senators to become more active in their student government and to gain experience outside of Senate. 

 

What is OPMA?

OPMA is the Open and Public Meetings Act, a Washington state law that establishes rules to ensure transparency in how public meetings are run. Because UW is a public university, the student Senate and Steering committee must follow all the guidelines in OPMA. 

 

The major rules for OPMA are:

  • All persons are allowed to attend Senate and Steering meetings, so long as they are not disrupting the meeting  
  • The minutes of Senate and Steering meetings are published online
  • The time and location of Senate and Steering meetings must be publicly posted and registered with the OPMA office 
  • The Senate and Steering committee can only address action items (i.e. legislation) in public meetings
  • The agenda for each meeting must be posted at least 24 hours in advance 

 

What is parliamentary procedure?

Parliamentary procedure is the rules and customs governing our Senate meetings. This includes the process for introducing, amending, and voting on legislation. It is intended to allow large meetings like ours run smoothly and to allow for everyone to get a chance to speak their mind and make their voices heard. Basically, it’s there to keep order and avoid confusion. 

 

What is Robert’s Rules of Order?

Robert’s Rules of Order is the system of parliamentary procedure that Senate uses. Senate uses this system because It is the most widely used system in the U.S., so it allows senators to build parli pro skills that they may need in their future careers, and because it is designed to keep order in large meetings, such as Senate. FAQs about Robert’s Rules can be found here on the manual’s official website, and the cheat sheet that senators receive during meetings can be found here. 

 

Where can I find information on the legislative process?

The Senate Rules lay out the process that legislation must go through in order get approved in Articles III – VII

 

Where can I find information about Senate standing committees?

The Senate Bylaws, Article VII

 

Where can I find information about Steering?

The Senate Bylaws, Article VII, Section 2

 

Where can I find information on Senate elections?

The Senate Bylaws, Article IX. See Senate Bylaws, Article VIII, Section 2 for information about liaison elections. 

 

Where can I find information on Senate leadership roles?

The job description for all members of Senate leadership (Speaker, Vice Speaker, Membership Coordinator, and Clerk) can be found in the Senate Bylaws, Article III

 

Where can I find information on debate in Senate?

The Senate Rules, Rule II

 

Where can I find information on voting in Senate?

The Senate Rules, Rule VII

 

Where can I find information on Senate liaisons?

The Senate Bylaws, Article VIII

 

Where can I find information about amending the Rules or Bylaws?

The Senate Rules, Rule XII, and the Senate Bylaws, Article X

 

Where can I find information about amending the ASUW Constitution?

The Senate Rules, Rule IX 

 

Where can I find information about creating a new ASUW commission?

The ASUW Bylaws, Article XI, Section 6 

 

Where can I find information on creating an ASUW task force?

The ASUW Bylaws, Article VII, Section 10