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U.S. Senate Chamber and Galleries Regulations

Floor Speech

Date: Oct. 19, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


2.0 Definitions--For purposes of these regulations, the following terms have the meaning specified.

2.1 Cloakroom means the two spaces, one assigned to the majority party and one assigned to the minority party, adjacent to the Senate Chamber.

2.2 Galleries means the ten seating galleries located in the Senate Chamber.

2.3 Marble Room means the Senators meeting room adjacent to the Senate Lobby.

2.4 Senate Chamber means the space that encompasses the Senate Floor and Galleries.

2.5 Senate Floor means the floor of the Senate Chamber.

2.6 Senate Lobby means the hallway space adjoining the Senate Chamber to the Marble Room.

2.7 Sergeant at Arms means the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate.

3.0 Sergeant at Arms Chamber and Galleries Duties--The Sergeant at Arms of the Senate, under the direction of the Presiding Officer, shall be the Executive Officer of the body for the enforcement of all rules made by the Committee on Rules and Administration for the regulation of the Senate Chamber and Galleries.

3.1 The Senate Floor shall be at all times under the Sergeant at Arms' immediate supervision, and the Sergeant at Arms shall see that the various subordinate officers of the Office of the Sergeant at Arms perform the duties to which they are especially assigned.

3.2 The Sergeant at Arms shall see that the messengers assigned to the doors upon the Senate Floor are at their posts and that the Senate Floor, Cloakrooms, and Senate Lobby are cleared at least five minutes before the opening of daily sessions of all persons not entitled to remain there.

3.3 In the absence of the Sergeant at Arms the duties of the office, so far as they pertain to the enforcement of the rules, shall devolve upon the Deputy Sergeant at Arms.

4.0 Messengers Acting as Assistant Doorkeepers--The messengers acting as Assistant Doorkeepers shall be assigned to their duties by the Sergeant at Arms.

5.0 Assignment of Majority and Minority Secretaries--The secretary for the majority and the secretary for the minority shall be assigned, during the daily sessions of the Senate, to duty upon the Senate Floor.

6.0 Use of the Senate Chamber--When the Senate is not sitting in session or otherwise using the Chamber for some function of the Senate, no Senator shall seat any person or persons in chairs of Senators other than the chair assigned, no other persons shall seat anyone in a chair of a Senator; and lectures, talks, or speeches shall not be given at such times to groups on the Senate Floor by Senators or others except for the purpose of explaining the Chamber.

7.0 Use of the Marble Room--No persons shall be admitted to the Marble Room except Senators.

8.0 Use of the Cloakrooms--No persons shall be admitted to the Cloakrooms except those entitled to the privileges of the Senate Floor under the Rule XXIII of the Standing Rules of the Senate.

9.0 Use of the Senate Lobby--No persons shall be admitted to the Senate Lobby except those entitled to the privileges of the Senate Floor under the Rule XXIII of the Standing Rules of the Senate.

10.0 Use of Display Materials in the Senate Chamber-- Graphic displays in the Senate Chamber are limited to charts, photographs, or renderings:

l0.1 Size--No larger than 36 inches by 48 inches.

10.2 Where--On an easel stand next to the Senator's desk or at the rear of the Chamber.

10.3 When--Only at the time the Senator is engaged in debate.

10.4 Number--No more than two may be displayed at a time.

11.0 Solicitation and Commercial Activities Prohibited--No persons shall carry out any of the following activities in the Senate Chamber and Galleries: offer or expose any article for sale; display a sign, placard, or other form of advertisement; or solicit fares, alms, subscriptions, or contributions.

12.0 Legislative Buzzers and Signal Lights--The system of legislative buzzers and signal lights, which correspond with rings if available, shall be as follows:

12.1 Pre-session signals:

12.1.1 One long ring at hour of convening.

12.1.2 One red light to remain lighted at all times while Senate is in actual session.

12.2 Session signals:

12.2.1 One ring--Yeas and nays.

12.2.2 Two rings--quorum call.

12.2.3 Three rings--Call of absentees.

12.2.4 Four rings--Adjournment or recess. (End of daily session.)

12.2.5 Five rings--Seven and a half minutes remaining on yea and nay vote.

12.2.6 Morning business concluded--Six rings. Lights cut off immediately.

12.2.7 Recess during daily session--Six rings. Lights stay on during period of recess.

13.0 Taking of Pictures Prohibited; Use of Mechanical Equipment in Chamber--

13.1 The taking of pictures of any kind is prohibited in the Senate Chamber, the Marble Room, the Senate Lobby, and the Senate Cloakrooms; however,

13.2 The Sergeant at Arms shall be authorized to admit into the spaces defined in 13.1 such mechanical equipment and/or devices which, in the judgment of the Sergeant at Arms, are necessary and proper in the conduct of official Senate business and which by their presence shall not in any way distract, interrupt, or inconvenience the business or Members of the Senate.

14.0 Galleries--The Sergeant at Arms shall keep the aisles of the galleries clear, and shall not allow admittance into the galleries of more than their seating capacity. The Sergeant at Arms shall not permit any person to enter a gallery with or carrying any firearms or dangerous weapons except for law enforcement and other personnel performing duties under the direction of the Senate, or any package, bundle, suitcase, briefcase, or camera; the Sergeant at Arms shall not permit any person in any gallery to smoke, applaud, or commit any other type of demonstration either by sound or sign; except in the press, radio, television, and correspondents' galleries the Sergeant at Arms shall not permit any person to read (except the Senate seating diagram) or to write or take notes (except credentialed employees of the Senate when taking notes in the course of their employment); the Sergeant at Arms shall not permit any person to take any picture or photograph or to sketch or draw; the Sergeant at Arms shall not permit any person to place any object whatsoever--including hats, coats, or other personal apparel--or portion of a person on any railing, or any person to wear a hat, except that where a person's religious beliefs require that person wear a head-cover in such public places as the Senate Gallery, then such head-cover shall be permitted; and the Sergeant at Arms shall not allow any person to lean forward over the railings or to place hands thereon.

14.1 The galleries of the Senate shall be set apart and occupied as follows:

14.1.1 Gallery 1--the gallery above the northeastern corner of the Senate Chamber, commonly referred to as the Staff Gallery, is reserved for the use of credentialed employees of the Senate.

14.1.2 Gallery 2--the gallery above the eastern entrance to the Senate Chamber, commonly referred to as the Family Gallery, is reserved for the exclusive use of the families of Senators, former Presidents of the United States, and incumbent Secretary and Sergeant at Arms of the Senate.

14.1.2.1 The first two rows of the gallery are reserved for the spouses and other members of the immediate families of Senators.

14.1.2.2 The remainder of the gallery is reserved for the families of Senators and guests visiting their families who shall be designated by some member of the Senator's family, and for the families of former Presidents of the United States, as well as families of incumbent Secretary and Sergeant at Arms of the Senate.

14.1.3 Gallery 3--the gallery over the southeastern corner of the Senate Chamber, commonly referred to as a Public Gallery, is reserved for the use of persons holding a card issued by a Senator.

14.1.3.1 The period to which such card of admission shall be limited rests entirely in the discretion of the Senator issuing it, except that such cards shall expire at the end of each session and cards of a different color shall be furnished by the Sergeant at Arms for the following session.

14.1.3.2 The Sergeant at Arms shall in the Sergeant at Arms' discretion limit occupancy of the public galleries to such periods as may be required to accommodate with reasonable expediency all card bearers who are seeking admission.

14.1.4 Gallery 4--the gallery between Gallery 3 and Gallery 5 on the south side of the Senate Chamber, commonly referred to as the Representatives' Gallery, is reserved for the use of Members of Congress of the House of Representatives and their guests.

14.1.5 Gallery 5--the gallery over the southern main entrance to the Senate Chamber, commonly referred to as the Presidential and Diplomatic Gallery, is reserved for the use of the Diplomatic Corps, and no person shall be admitted to it excepting the Secretary of State, foreign ministers, their families and Senators.

14.1.5.1 The first row on the eastern side of this gallery shall be set apart for the use of the President of the United States.

14.1.5.2 The second row on the eastern side of this gallery shall be set apart for the use of the Vice President of the United States.

14.1.5.3 The third row on the eastern side of this gallery shall be set apart for the use of the President pro tempore of the Senate.

14.1.6 Gallery 6--the gallery between Gallery 5 and Gallery 7 on the south side of the Senate Chamber, commonly referred to as a Public Gallery, is reserved for the use of large guided tours and other special parties.

14.l.7 Gallery 7--the gallery over the southwest corner of the Senate Chamber, commonly referred to as the Accessible Gallery, is reserved for the use of any guest, especially those who wish to avoid stairs, and those who would like to view closed captioning television, or use an assisted listening device.

14.1.8 Gallery 8--the gallery over the west entrance to the Senate Chamber, commonly referred to as a Public Gallery, is reserved for the use of persons holding a card issued by a Senator.

14.1.8.1 The period to which such card of admission shall be limited rests entirely in the discretion of the Senator issuing it, except that such cards shall expire at the end of each session and cards of a different color shall be furnished by the Sergeant at Arms for the following session.

14.1.8.2 The Sergeant at Arms shall in the Sergeant at Arms' discretion limit occupancy of the public galleries to such periods as may be required to accommodate with reasonable expediency all card bearers who are seeking admission.

14.1.9 Gallery 9--the gallery over the northwest corner of the Senate Chamber, commonly referred to as a Public Gallery, is reserved for the use of persons holding a card issued by a Senator.

14.1.9.1 The period to which such card of admission shall be limited rests entirely in the discretion of the Senator issuing it, except that such cards shall expire at the end of each session and cards of a different color shall be furnished by the Sergeant at Arms for the following session.

14.l.9.2 The Sergeant at Arms shall in the Sergeant at Arms' discretion limit occupancy of the public galleries to such periods as may be required to accommodate with reasonable expediency all card bearers who are seeking admission.

14.1.10 Gallery 10--the gallery above the Senate Floor dais on the north side of the Senate Chamber including the front row of Gallery 1 and the front row of Gallery 9, commonly referred to as the Media Gallery, is reserved for the exclusive use of the Press Gallery, Radio and Television Correspondents Gallery, Periodical Press Gallery, and Press Photographers' Gallery.

15.0 Use of the Media Gallery--Gallery 10, the Media Gallery shall be further set apart and occupied as follows:

15.1 Press Gallery--The gallery in the rear of the Vice President's chair shall be set apart for reporters of daily newspapers.

15.1.l The administration of the Press Gallery shall be vested in a Standing Committee of Correspondents elected by accredited members of the gallery. The committee shall consist of five persons elected to serve for terms of two years: Provided, however, that at the election in January 1951, the three candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall serve for two years and the remaining two for one year. Thereafter, three members shall be elected in odd- numbered years and two in even-numbered years. Elections shall be held in January. The committee shall elect its own chair and secretary. Vacancies on the committee shall be filled by special election to be called by the Standing Committee.

15.1.2 Persons desiring admission to the Press Gallery in the Senate wing shall make application in accordance with Rule XXXIII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, which rule shall be interpreted and administered by the Standing Committee of Correspondents, subject to the review and approval by the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration.

15.1.3 The Standing Committee of Correspondents shall limit membership in the Press Gallery to bona fide correspondents of repute in their profession, under such rules as the Standing Committee of Correspondents shall prescribe: Provided, however, that the Standing Committee of Correspondents shall admit to the Press Gallery no person who does not establish to the satisfaction of the Standing Committee all of the following:

15.1.3.1 That the person's principal income is obtained from news correspondence intended for publication in newspapers entitled to second-class mailing privileges.

15.1.3.2 That the person is not engaged in paid publicity or promotion work or in prosecuting any claim before Congress or before any department of the Government, and will not become so engaged while a member of the Press Gallery.

15.1.3.3 That the person is not engaged in any lobbying activity and will not become so engaged while a member of the Press Gallery.

15.1.4 Members of the families of correspondents are not entitled to the privileges of the Press Gallery.

15.1.5 The Standing Committee of Correspondents shall propose no change or changes in these rules except upon petition in writing signed by not less than 100 accredited members of the Press Gallery.

15.2 Radio and Television Correspondents Gallery--The front row of Gallery 1 shall be set apart for the use of the radio-television correspondents.

15.2.1 Persons desiring admission to the Radio and Television Correspondents Gallery of the Senate shall make application to the Committee on Rules and Administration of the Senate, as required by Rule XXIII of the Standing Rules of the Senate; and shall also state, in writing, the names of all radio stations, television stations, systems, or newsgathering organizations by which they are employed; and what other occupation or employment they may have, if any; and shall further declare that they are not engaged in the prosecution of claims or promotion of legislation pending before Congress, the departments, or the independent agencies, and that they will not become so employed without resigning from the gallery. They shall further declare that they are not employed in any legislative or executive department or independent agency of the Government, or by any foreign government or representative thereof; that they are not engaged in any lobbying activities; that they do not and will not, directly or indirectly, furnish special information to any organization, individual, or group of individuals, for the influencing of prices on any commodity or stock exchange; that they will not do so during the time they retain membership in the gallery. Holders of visitors' cards who may be allowed temporary admission to the gallery must conform to all the restrictions of this paragraph.

15.2.2 It shall be prerequisite to membership that the radio station, television station, system, or newsgathering agencies which the applicants represent shall certify, in writing, to the Radio and Television Correspondents Gallery that the applicants conform to the foregoing regulations.

15.2.3 The applications required by the above rule shall be authenticated in a manner that shall be satisfactory to the Executive Committee of the Radio and Television Correspondents Gallery, which shall see that the occupation of the gallery is confined to bona fide news gatherers and/ or reporters of reputable standing in their business who represent radio stations, television stations, systems, or newsgathering agencies engaged primarily in serving radio stations, television stations, or systems. It shall be the duty of the Executive Committee of the Radio and Television Correspondents Gallery to report, at its discretion, violation of privileges of the gallery to the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, and, pending action thereon, the offending individual may be suspended.

15.2.4 Persons engaged in other occupations, whose chief attention is not given to--or more than one-half of their earned income is not derived from--the gathering or reporting of news for radio stations, television stations, systems, or newsgathering agencies primarily serving radio stations, television stations, or systems, shall not be entitled to admission to the Radio and Television Correspondents Gallery. The Radio and Television Correspondents list in the Congressional Directory shall be a list only of persons whose chief attention is given to the gathering and reporting of news for radio stations, television stations, and systems engaged in the daily dissemination of news, and of representatives of newsgathering agencies engaged in the daily service of news to such radio stations, television stations, or systems.

15.2.5 Members of the families of correspondents are not entitled to the privileges of the gallery.

15.2.6 The Radio and Television Correspondents Gallery shall be under the control of the Executive Committee of the Radio and Television Correspondents Gallery, subject to the approval and supervision of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration.

15.3 Periodical Press Gallery--The front row of Gallery 9 shall be set aside for the use of the periodical press.

15.3.1 Persons eligible for admission to the Periodical Press Gallery of the Senate must be bona fide resident correspondents of reputable standing, giving their chief attention to the gathering and reporting of news. They shall state in writing the names of their employers and their additional sources of earned income; and they shall declare that, while a member of the Gallery, they will not act as an agent in the prosecution of claims, and will not become engaged or assist, directly or indirectly, in any lobbying, promotion, advertising, or publicity activity intended to influence legislation or any other action of the Congress, nor any matter before any independent agency, or any department or other instrumentality of the Executive Branch; and that they will not act as an agent for, or be employed by the federal, or any state, local or foreign government or representatives thereof; and that they will not, directly or indirectly, furnish special or ``insider'' information intended to influence prices or for the purpose of trading on any commodity or stock exchange; and that they will not become employed, directly or indirectly, by any stock exchange, board of trade or other organization or member thereof, or brokerage house or broker engaged in the buying and selling of any security or commodity. Applications shall be submitted to the Executive Committee of the Periodical Correspondents' Association and shall be authenticated in a manner satisfactory to the Executive Committee.

15.3.2 Applicants must be employed by periodicals that regularly publish a substantial volume of news material of either general, economic, industrial, technical, cultural or trade character. The periodical must require such Washington coverage on a continuing basis and must be owned and operated independently of any government, industry, institution, association, or lobbying organization. Applicants must also be employed by a periodical that is published for profit and is supported chiefly by advertising or by subscription, or by a periodical meeting the conditions in this paragraph but published by a non-profit organization that, first, operates independently of any government, industry, or institution and, second, does not engage, directly or indirectly, in any lobbying or other activity intended to influence any matter before Congress or before any independent agency or any department or other instrumentality of the Executive Branch. House organs are not eligible.

15.3.3 Members of the families of correspondents are not entitled to the privileges of the gallery.

15.3.4 The Executive Committee may issue temporary credentials permitting the privileges of the Gallery to individuals who meet the rules of eligibility but who may be on short-term assignment or temporarily resident in Washington.

15.3.5 Under the authority of Rule XXIII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Periodical Press Gallery of the Senate shall be under the control of the Executive Committee, subject to the approval and supervision of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. It shall be the duty of the Executive Committee, at its discretion, to report violations of the privileges of the Gallery to the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, and pending action thereon, the offending correspondent may be suspended. The Committee shall be elected at the start of each Congress by members of the Periodical Correspondents' Association, and shall consist of seven members with no more than one member from any one publishing organization. The Committee shall elect its own officers, and a majority of the Committee may fill vacancies on the Committee. The list in the Congressional Directory shall be a list only of members of the Periodical Correspondents' Association.

15.4 Press Photographer's Gallery--

15.4.l Administration of the Press Photographers' Gallery is vested in a Standing Committee of Press Photographers consisting of six persons elected by accredited members of the gallery. The Committee shall be composed of one member each from Associated Press Photos, Reuters News Pictures or AFP Photos, magazine media, local newspapers, agency or freelance member, and one at-large member. The at-large member may be, but need not be, selected from a media otherwise represented on the Committee, however no organization may have more than one representative on the Committee.

15.4.2 The term of office of a member of the Committee elected as the Associated Press Photos member, the local newspaper member, and the Reuters News Pictures or AFP Photos member shall expire on the day of the election held in the first odd-numbered year following the year in which the person was elected, and the term of office of a member of the Committee elected as the magazine media member, the agency or freelance member and the at-large member shall expire on the day of the election held in the first even-numbered year following the year in which the person was elected. A member elected to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of a term shall serve only for the unexpired portion of such term.

15.4.2.1 Election for the Reuters News Picture or AFP photos seat was held in 1999.

15.4.2.2 Election for the agency or freelance seat was held in 2000.

15.4.3 Elections shall be held as early as practicable in each year and in no case later than March 31. A vacancy in the membership of the Committee occurring prior to the expiration of a term shall be filled by special election called for that purpose by the Committee.

15.4.4 The Standing Committee of the Press Photographers' Gallery shall propose no change or changes in these rules except upon petition in writing signed by not less than 25 accredited members of the gallery.

15.4.5 Persons desiring admission to the Press Photographers' Gallery of the Senate shall make application in accordance Rule XXIII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, which rule shall be interpreted and administered by the Standing Committee of Press Photographers subject to the review and approval of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration.

15.4.6 The Standing Committee of Press Photographers shall limit membership in the photographers' gallery to bona fide news photographers of repute in their profession and to heads of Photographic Bureaus under such rules as the Standing Committee of Press Photographers shall prescribe.

15.4.7 Provided, however, That the Standing Committee of Press Photographers shall admit to the gallery no person who does not establish to the satisfaction of the Committee all of the following:

15.4.7.l That any member is not engaged in paid publicity or promotion work or in prosecuting any claim before Congress or before any department of the Government, and will not become so engaged while a member of the gallery.

15.4.7.2 That the person is not engaged in any lobbying activity and will not become so engaged while a member of the gallery.

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