Sosa, Juan Francisco de, Reglamento del Senado de la República federal de Centroamérica (Guatemala, December 28, 1825)
The Federal Congress of the Republic of Central America– considering that the Senate should have a law that provides its organization and interior rules, extends and develops the duties conferred by the Constitution, and assures their good exercise– decrees the following.
The President shall open and adjourn the Senate sessions: he shall maintain order, preserving it and enforcing the observance of composure and decorum– He shall grant the senators the right to speak in the order it was requested; and, as he adjourns the session, he shall announce the matters to be discussed in the following session.
He shall have, under his charge, the Senate building’s interior police; he shall make all the decisions required by this charge; and he shall order the payment of the amount necessary to cover the expenses from the funds set aside for this reason.
The President, in accordance with the decree issued the 13th of October last, shall sign his full name on the agreements pending sanction in Congress’ resolutions, whether they obtain it or not; the Secretary, authorizing them with the same arrangement, shall also sign the Senate’s acts and agreements, as well as the notes with which the resolutions that have not obtained sanction are returned to the Congress.
Upon the recognition of the legitimacy of the document in which a senator’s election is accredited, he will enter into possession of his employment through this very act; and he will assume it by taking the oath prescribed in Article 141 of the Constitution, before the Senate, in the manner it establishes.
If they are absent without such notice and without just cause, they shall be reprimanded by order of the Senate; and if they continue to be absent even after this exhortation, they shall lose the entire salary corresponding to the time of their absence, which shall be made publicly known in the newspapers. If they fail to appear after a time period of eight days following this publication, the respective State Assembly shall be notified; at the same time, this shall be communicated to the Congress and all official documents shall be transferred to it, so that it can proceed with the formation of a case, in accordance with Article 151 of the Constitution.
When someone requests permission for a leave longer than the three days that the President can concede, the senator shall, in accordance with Article 9, present the reasons for his petition and the time needed before the Senate, so that the same body before him may grant it if there are enough reasons and if the circumstances allow it.
In these cases, the substitutes will act until the officeholders present themselves; they shall be paid the corresponding salary and round trip viaticum; if the office-holding Senator is found not guilty, then these expenses shall be covered by the revenue set aside for this; in the case that he is found guilty, they shall be paid from his account; and the Senate will give it to the Congress along with the necessary documents, if they appear to reveal the serious guilt of the same office-holding Senator or any other of its individuals–
If it is the officeholder’s fault that the substitute was called in to take his place, the viaticum funds and the salary or daily pay that correspond to him if he were to work, shall be paid from the account that corresponds to the officeholder; in these cases, the Senate shall give the government opportune notice so that no one
If the substitute is summoned because there has been a declaration that has sustained the formation of the case against the officeholder, and the latter is absolved in the trial, he shall immediately be returned to his employment, and if the substitute has verified his trip, he shall be paid the round trip viaticum by the respective State.
The Senators shall dedicate themselves exclusively to the exact fulfillment of their obligations; and they shall not be in charge of any committee or other occupation other than his job, for the duration of his service.
No Senator can leave his seat through an unapproved resignation nor can he leave after an approved resignation, even after completing his time of service, during the span of six months if, during this time, the person who is supposed to subrogate him has not presented himself; in this case, the Senate will take the appropriate steps.
Ordinary sessions will commence at nine and adjourn at noon, unless they are extended or declared permanent. The extraordinary sessions will be held at the time required by the matters for which they were convoked.
All the sessions will be necessarily public– There shall be an exception for those that the President deems as requiring discretion, confirmed by the Senate, and those that deal with matters that the government’s Congress should consider privately.
The session shall open with the reading of the previous act. Immediately afterward, an account shall be given with notes and communications of the Congress and the Executive power, the commissions’ reports, and written proposals made by the Senators on affairs related to the fulfillment of their office; and lastly, they shall visit the matters scheduled for that day, or any urgent matters that require the Senate’s judgment.
Order, silence, and composure shall be observed in the sessions. If they are not observed after the President has reprimanded the perpetrator twice, the Senate can order him to leave the chambers in which the session is being held.
The Secretaries of State and Dispatch shall present themselves before the Senate when the latter calls them to report and when the Executive Power sends for them to assist in the discussion of matters, for which
The President of the Republic shall also attend the Senate sessions as long as he finds it necessary or as long as it is required by some matter’s importance– In these cases, two chairs shall be placed beneath the baldachin: the President of the Republic shall take the first one and the second one shall be left for the President of the Senate, but the former shall not be present for the debate or voting.
In order to facilitate the course and dispatch of matters, they will be divided into four ordinary committees, namely: one for the treasury and commerce; another for war and navy, which shall also be in charge of examining matters that deal with cases of responsibility; the third for the Republic’s diplomatic and interior matters; and the last one for everything that pertains to the branches of public education, industry, and colonization.
The ordinary committees shall be named by the President; the extraordinary ones shall be named by the same or by the Senate, provided that the latter finds its election appropriate for the entire body.
Each ordinary committee shall be made of at least two individuals, who shall sign and present their ruling in writing; one of them shall confirm it in the record book, which should contain the reason the Office of the Secretary provided them with the respective files and all the documents and background that they freed for their dispatch.
Only committee members can vote on its reports– However, the President and any Senator can attend them; and the committees themselves can ask for help from particular persons by bringing the news to the Senate.
Similarly, they can call the secretaries of dispatch or the heads of the respective sections to their conferences, in such a case, these individuals must attend the committees; and lastly, the committees can request the government, authorities, and corporations for all the background, reports, and information they need by verifying it through the Office of the Secretary.
During the presentation of dictums, there shall be no discussion, nor shall there be any voicing of ideas or anything else than can give rise to discussion; and there shall always be an interval of one day, minimum, to three days, maximum. The Senate, however, may extend this period when information is missing or more material is necessary; and they may abbreviate it with two-third votes, when the matter is classified as very urgent.
Once the floor for discussion is opened, each senator may speak three times regarding the same matter in question; the President shall enforce this in order to prevent the introduction of any other, distinct matter that has not yet been put into deliberation.
Voting shall take place indiscriminately among the senators by the individual expression of yea or nay, one or the other precisely limited to the point in question; and once the act has been authorized, the secretary shall publish the voting results.
In addition to the naming of the President, which the Senate shall do when the lack mentioned in Article 95 of the Constitution is verified, the same body shall indiscriminately elect someone among its individuals, who shall represent everything that pertains to their interior regimen, to temporarily fill in for the President for no longer than a month.
When he is disabled in a way that impedes him from fulfilling his duties for the period of more than one month, or there are other cases of absolute absences of the President, the Senate shall proceed to authorize the nomination mentioned in the cited Article 95 of the Constitution. And in this case, they shall call the nominated senator’s substitute, since he cannot vote except in the case of a tie and he must separate from the Senate when the tribunal, established in Article 147 of the Constitution and mentioned in Article 96, is appointed.
When the Senate makes the interim appointment due to the accidental lack of the President, the appointed Senator shall have a common and non-decisive vote. In the case of a tie, the matter will be postponed until the following session and then it will be resolved by luck if there are still not enough voters to make a decision.
During the first session in which the Senate is given a decree or resolution of Congress, the same body shall send the government a report. If, after the eight days it has to reply, it does not return it on the ninth, the Senate shall demand it; but if the same government refuses to return the resolution and file with or without a report, the Senate shall report to the Congress with the available corresponding documents.
The Senate shall grant or deny the sanction within the ten days that immediately follow; thus, once the response to the government report has been issued, within the eight days prescribed by Article 79 of the Constitution, and the resolutions have been sanctioned or returned, within the following ten days specified in Article 80, it should not exceed the entire period of 18 days; and on the 19th day, the resolution and its respective file shall be transferred to the Congress with or without sanction. If, in this last case, by some accident, the explanatory note cannot simultaneously accompany the resolution, it shall be sent within three days.
By general rule, before entering into deliberation on the sanction of any congressional resolution, the Senate shall not only have become aware of it, but shall have also read the related reports distributed by the government and the committee, which proposed the project or measure that it deals with, to the Congress, without omitting the reading of the file’s other sections that may lead to the intention.
If, upon passing any congressional resolution to the sanction of the Senate, the latter does not have enough individuals to examine it or if someone is impeded to deal with it, it must inform the Congress, immediately returning the resolution and its respective file, so that the law’s time period does not run out, and it shall provide opportune notice as soon as it is able to receive the resolution that requires its sanction.
When the resolutions of the legislative body are accompanied by documents, the Office of the Secretary shall verify them in the time period designated by law, so that the Office of the Secretary of the Senate can remit them to the government with the exemplar that should be addressed to it regarding the same resolutions, in case they are sanctioned. But if the resolutions were not sanctioned, and consequently, a portion of them should not be communicated to the Executive Power, they shall also be returned to the Congress, in addition to the file, so that they can be archived in the Office of the Secretary, or so that the latter can address them again if they are ratified, or so that the appropriate actions be taken, according to the case and circumstances.
When a case related to Article 137 of the Constitution is brought to the Senate for the third time, this body shall arrange for the substantiation and resolution of the instance of resource, at the disposition of common laws or those named hereafter.
Every time that some claim is brought to the Senate in the case mentioned in Article 194 of the fundamental law, it will be transmitted by the same Article that prescribes and signals it; needing to be verified in the term of ten days. It will also fulfill the opportune requirements so that their respective duties are carried out exactly; and from all this there will be precise reason and proof in the file with which the case should be presented before the legislative body.
The Office of the Secretary of the Senate shall be provided, for the time being, with one secretary, with the annual salary of 1,200 pesos; a major official with that of 800; an archivist with that of 400; and two scribes, each with that of 300.
The Senate shall name these employees through a vote of absolute majority and once their positions have been verified, they cannot be removed from office without justified proof of ineptitude or disobedience and with the vote of two-thirds of the body.
All the employees of the Office of the Secretary shall attend precisely on the days the Senate convenes, from eight in the morning to one in the afternoon and from four to six in the afternoon. On the days that there are no sessions, from ten to noon, without the danger of work hours being increased as the secretary deems fit, whenever matters that require them, and with the objective that their dispatch is not delayed.
The Office of the Secretary shall have two books–the acts of the public sessions shall be copied into one and those in secret sessions shall be copied into the other. It shall also have another book in which it records the explanatory notes that will be returned with the resolutions the Congress did not see fit to sanction.
The Office of the Secretary shall concede the files with all the background needed by the committees for their resolutions, resulting in the required knowledge, according to the information already expressed in Article 32, and furthermore, it shall provide them with a clerk, who shall occupy those in the office with copies of the reports and other things necessary for the fulfillment of their obligations.
No fragment or document may be removed from the Office of the Secretary unless it is for the committees in the method previously described; and the secretary shall be responsible for any deficiencies.
The secretary shall secure the distribution of work among the subordinates as best suited for the office’s effective service, paying close attention to the order and arrangement of the archive, and he shall provide a detailed reason of all the matters dispatched by the Senate, according to its dates, so that, once it is revised by the same body, it can be published at the end of every month.
The major official shall assist the secretary in the dispatch of all the sessions by taking notes on the discussion and agreements, especially on the objections made against the resolutions of Congress, the sanction of which is being deliberated; and meanwhile, the major official shall report, without interruption, the other matters of dispatch.
When the Senate occupies a different building than today’s, and while it resides in this building during the legislative body’s recess, there will be a guard appointed to maintain decorum and order during its sessions– This guard will be that of the province’s Captain General;
This is transferred to the Senate for its sanction. Given in Guatemala on December 10, 1825– Manuel Francisco Pavón, president– José Francisco Córdova, deputy secretary– José Iginio Sanchez, deputy secretary.