Jump to content

Photo
* * * - - 1 votes

Congress: FAQ / Help Me / Novice Center


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 Dr. Fox On Socks

Dr. Fox On Socks

    In Clocks On Lox

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,023 posts
3,928
Excellent
  • Name:Coach Ian
  • School:Real World

Posted 27 January 2009 - 01:29 AM

This is the Student Congress (a.k.a. Congressional Debate) Help Me and Novice Center rolled into one thread. If you have a simple question that you think can be answered with one or two posts, then ask it here, otherwise make a new thread for it (such as "Congress: How to Win Best PO?") and if the question can help other people, it will be linked to in this thread.

Don't worry about asking questions that you think may be simple or silly; this is the internet, we don't know who you are unless you tell us and the whole reason this forum exists is to help debaters learn from people who are willing to help. We were all novices once...

Glossary of Congress Terms
Table of Frequently Used Motions
Commonly Misunderstood Parliamentary Procedure

Edited by Fox On Socks, 02 March 2009 - 11:29 AM.

  • 1
The information in this post is confidential. If its contents are disclosed, our lawyers will swoop down from helicopters and smash through the skylight nearest you and drag you away with a black bag over your head to our super secret headquarters where you fight to the death with other people who shared this post.

Also known as: © CC-BY-NC 3.0 + beerware (you may use my work under CC-BY-NC terms provided that you buy me a reasonably-priced beer of my choosing if we ever meet in person).

#2 Dr. Fox On Socks

Dr. Fox On Socks

    In Clocks On Lox

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,023 posts
3,928
Excellent
  • Name:Coach Ian
  • School:Real World

Posted 27 January 2009 - 12:57 PM

First up, since I know this is an area where Congress novices get easily confused, is a glossary of common terms. Feel free to post additions or suggested improvements and I'll edit them in.

Bill - One of two types of legislation considered in Congress (Resolution is the other). A bill is a proposed law and it is the primary way to make something a crime (or no longer a crime), raise or spend money, create or abolish government agencies, and do other actions authorized by Art. I Sec. 8 of the Constitution. Bills do not have "Whereas" clauses and must always begin with the phrase "Be it enacted".

Resolution - There are three types of resolution, Simple, Concurrent, and Joint.
Simple Resolution - A simple resolution is passed in only one chamber of Congress and has no force of law. Simple resolutions are commonly used to state support or disapproval of an issue (the opinion or "sense" of the House or Senate), and (in the Senate alone) to approve treaties and cabinet appointments. Simple resolutions commonly begin with "Whereas" clauses which state the reasons behind the resolution (e.g. "Whereas, Mickey Mouse's large ears and cartoonishly thin arms spook millions of children, and...") and then are introduced with the phrase "be it resolved" (e.g. "Be it Resolved by the <chamber> that: Disney should cease using Mickey Mouse as an icon.").
Concurrent Resolution - Functionally the same as a simple resolution, but passed by both houses (showing the sense or opinion of the whole Congress). In Student Congress (since you only model one chamber), there is no difference at all between a simple resolution and a concurrent resolution. Thus, there's really no reason to make a resolution concurrent, keep it simple...
Joint Resolutions - Joint Resolutions are passed by both houses of Congress and are subject to signature or veto by the President. JR's can be used interchangeably with bills and do have the force of law, but also usually begin with "Whereas" clauses and are always introduced with "Be it resolved". There is also one special type of JR used to propose constitutional amendments (bills cannot be used to propose amendments). JR's which propose amendments must pass each house with a 2/3 majority and are not sent to the president for signature or veto.

Presiding Officer (PO)
- The PO (a.k.a. "the chair") is the leader of the chamber and directs the business of that chamber. In the House that person is the Speaker of the House (addressed as "Mister/Madam Speaker"), and in the Senate that person is the Vice President of the United States (addressed as "Mister/Madam President" since that person is 'President of the Senate'). The PO gavels the chamber to order and is the conduit through which all business and speeches flow (hence, all speeches and questions should be directed to "Mister/Madam Speaker/President"). Even when asking questions of another member of the chamber, you should refer to that member in the third person through the PO (e.g. "Mister President, would Senater Roberts agree that ..." when asking a question of Senator Roberts). The PO calls on members for speeches, motions, and questions and is the official timekeeper (although that task may be delegated to the parliamentarian or a judge). The PO is the official counter of votes in the chamber and has no vote themselves unless there is a tie. The PO also rules on motions and points, although their rulings can be appealed to the whole body, which will vote to sustain or overrule the PO's ruling.

Parliamentarian - This person is a staffer supplied by the tournament (not a competitor) who assists the PO in their duties. The parliamentarian begins the Congress session by conducting a vote for the first PO and also ends the session and conducts the vote for best PO after the last PO has adjourned the chamber. During the session, the Parliamentarian will often help the PO count votes and is officially designated as an assistant to the PO who is knowledgeable on the rules of parliamentary procedure. If the PO does not know a rule (or is confused) the Parliamentarian is there to remind them.

Motion - The primary means of advancing business in the chamber is the motion (begun with the phrase "I move..."). A "motion to convene" starts business in the chamber, a "motion to set the docket" enters the phase of determining the order of bills and resolutions in that day's session. Moving "the previous question" closes debate on an item and advances to voting it up or down. A "motion to reconsider" asks the chamber to reconduct the last vote. A "motion to recess" will take the chamber into a break, while a "motion to adjourn" closes the session entirely. Motions must be stated by a member (E.g. "I move the previous question." or "I move to recess for five minutes.") and must be seconded by any other member. Most of the motions you will use in student congress require a simple majority of the chamber to adopt, except presvious question, which requires a two-thirds majority to adopt. The PO, at their discretion, can rule motions "out of order" or "dilatory" without conducting a vote, however, that ruling can be appealed by a "motion to appeal the ruling of the chair".

Edited by Just Socks, 05 February 2009 - 03:41 PM.

  • 0
The information in this post is confidential. If its contents are disclosed, our lawyers will swoop down from helicopters and smash through the skylight nearest you and drag you away with a black bag over your head to our super secret headquarters where you fight to the death with other people who shared this post.

Also known as: © CC-BY-NC 3.0 + beerware (you may use my work under CC-BY-NC terms provided that you buy me a reasonably-priced beer of my choosing if we ever meet in person).

#3 dhanson

dhanson

    Longtime Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 958 posts
194
Excellent
  • Name:donnie

Posted 15 February 2009 - 04:15 AM

i used this a lot in HS, especially when PO'ing

http://www.wacfl.org...ARY_MOTIONS.pdf
  • 0

#4 tpeters

tpeters

    Crusader (the good kind)

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,693 posts
922
Excellent
  • Name:Tammie Peters
  • School:Golden High School

Posted 22 February 2009 - 09:51 PM

I submitted this article to the Rostrum back in 1997. I've been told it has proven useful to other coaches and competitors. It explains some of the most commonly misunderstood points of parliamentary procedure.

http://www.nflonline...r0297peters.pdf
  • 0

#5 TanCymraeg

TanCymraeg

    Longtime Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 270 posts
112
Excellent

Posted 23 February 2009 - 04:40 PM

just a quick note with regards to the types of resolutions

although the distinctions are certainly true in the real world, they're not particularly useful in student congress.

a resolution is a resolution, generally just a statement of intent, and typically is a lazy author's way of suggesting an idea to debate without actually researching and writing a specific bill

they don't really do much, theoretically going to a committee and becoming written into a bill, but they're treated in congress like a broad suggestive topic to debate
  • 0


#6 tpeters

tpeters

    Crusader (the good kind)

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,693 posts
922
Excellent
  • Name:Tammie Peters
  • School:Golden High School

Posted 26 February 2009 - 07:19 AM

Interesting. I had always thought of bills like CX debates, with a very specific plan being debated. Resolutions are more like LD debates, which look more at the underlying rationale behind an issue.


In terms of "laziness," I think a well-crafted resolution must absolutely have research backing it up. The reasons, or whereas clauses, should be based in strong research or the whole resolution sounds very silly.
  • 0

#7 Dr. Fox On Socks

Dr. Fox On Socks

    In Clocks On Lox

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,023 posts
3,928
Excellent
  • Name:Coach Ian
  • School:Real World

Posted 26 February 2009 - 09:21 AM

I've found that the bill/res/joint res distinctions are highly dependent on the region you're in. For example, I competed in Ohio, where Congress is an after-thought (literally, there are 4-5 Congress-only tournaments, including the NFL qualifiers, in the weeks after the state tournament for every other event). So, nobody does Congress as their only event in Ohio. As a result, most schools have some sort of Congress training after states so that the various speechies and debaters knew what they were doing. Most legislation authors took some pride in getting their bill/res/j.res correct in form and function, and those who could demonstrate knowledge of the proper procedures often won.

When I qualified under this system to the NFL Senate, I was very surprised to meet many people (and bills) who cared more about the underlying issues, and incorrect procedure was largely ignored unless it affected fair competition between the senators. There were definitely others who came from procedure-heavy districts, and the really good senators (who qualified for the next round) knew the correct procedure no matter where they were from.

So, even though some districts may not care whether legislation is in the correct type, it's better to teach it the right way first, even if that's not as useful in some areas.

In practice, in Ohio, resolutions were mostly used to express opinions about issues that would be unconstitutional to write as a bill.

Edited by Fox On Socks, 26 February 2009 - 09:23 AM.

  • 0
The information in this post is confidential. If its contents are disclosed, our lawyers will swoop down from helicopters and smash through the skylight nearest you and drag you away with a black bag over your head to our super secret headquarters where you fight to the death with other people who shared this post.

Also known as: © CC-BY-NC 3.0 + beerware (you may use my work under CC-BY-NC terms provided that you buy me a reasonably-priced beer of my choosing if we ever meet in person).

#8 Firewater

Firewater

    Registered User

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 470 posts
27
Good

Posted 02 March 2009 - 08:56 PM

I'm just asking- I've done Congress for 2 years (this is the second), but this is the first time I've ever seen something like this.

What happens when a normal legislation topic is also selected as a supersession topic at the same time, but they are against each other? For instance, in my district (NCFL) individual debaters have to send in legislation, and the schools participating must send in a supersession topic. However, I found that my topic that i sent for regular legislation ended up being submitted as a Supersession topic from a different school. So what exactly happens in that situation?

Edited by Firewater, 02 March 2009 - 08:58 PM.

  • 0

#9 tpeters

tpeters

    Crusader (the good kind)

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,693 posts
922
Excellent
  • Name:Tammie Peters
  • School:Golden High School

Posted 07 March 2009 - 01:20 PM

Congress varies more from area to area than just about any other event. In our NFL District, everyone submits bills and resolutions, a final docket is determined, and the supersession bills/resolutions are drawn from that set -- so there's no doubling up.

I would suggest that you ask your coach to contact your NFL District Director about that question. It seems somewhat unique to your area.
  • 0

#10 us5halls

us5halls

    Registered User

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 54 posts
24
Good
  • Name:Dr. Brett M. Hall, esquire
  • School:Olathe East High School

Posted 17 December 2009 - 12:35 PM

Congressional Debate is a whole lot of fun if you know what you're doing. As a NFL Qualifier (and hopefully returning) my advice is to simply fimilarize yourself with the motions and the ins and outs of the trade. Don't be the person who is in the back of the chamber who doesnt speak up at all. Get in on the action early and often.

I like to think of Congressional Debate as being charismatic. You need to know what you're talking about or at least project yourself as such. My Nat Qual was the first time I PO'd. No one besides my school mate (in senate) had known that I'd never done it. While I had somewhat a grasp of what was going on, I still had to at least show that what I was doing was correct, even if it was not.

Make sure you make friends when you're in and out of chamber with those other competing. While you may think that it's you vs everyone else, it isn't such. Form a pack of buddies and submit legislation and make motions that you know will be seconded by those people.

At times you will have to reach across the isle to gain support for final ballot. Make sure that even though you may oppose someone who is in you're chamber, it is essential to not make enemies with them. They may have friends that they corroberate with who will vote you down due to your rudeness or unfairness. Be known as the person who is on everyone's side.

And finally, and I realize that I'll probably take some heat on this one, although everyone who has succeeded at this form of debate will tell you to be true. You have to sometimes lie to people in chamber. While at recess you may want to tell someone who that you don't know care for that you are offering a truce and that if they vote you high on the ballot that you will do the same. Of course there's only a certain number of slots on the list and the probability of everyone getting the one is actually zero. I wouldn't neccessarily call it lying, but rather stratagy.

P.S. Most importantly, have fun, debate your hearts out, and realize there's alway more chances in the future to prove yourself a competent congressional debater. Don't allow yourself to get bullied and try not to bully. Make friends and good luck.
  • 0

#11 Toadman15241

Toadman15241

    Registered User

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 44 posts
11
Good

Posted 14 April 2011 - 04:34 PM

Has anyone done Congress at CFLs in the last couple years? If so please PM.
  • 0

#12 L-Dawg

L-Dawg

    Junior-Varsity

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts
-3
Slipping...
  • Name:Liana

Posted 14 January 2012 - 05:21 PM

I have done congress in the past couple years. What is CFLs?
  • 0

#13 Dr. Fox On Socks

Dr. Fox On Socks

    In Clocks On Lox

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,023 posts
3,928
Excellent
  • Name:Coach Ian
  • School:Real World

Posted 15 January 2012 - 01:00 AM

I have done congress in the past couple years. What is CFLs?

CFL or NCFL is the National Catholic Forensics League (google it). It is similar to the NFL, in that it is an umbrella organization for high school speech and debate, but smaller and more catholic. NCFL hosts a tournament every year (much as NFL does); that tournament is often called CFL's, NCFL's, or CatNats (Catholic Nationals). Much as NFL Nats attracts congress competitors from all over the nation, with differing styles of competition, CatNats does the same.
  • 0
The information in this post is confidential. If its contents are disclosed, our lawyers will swoop down from helicopters and smash through the skylight nearest you and drag you away with a black bag over your head to our super secret headquarters where you fight to the death with other people who shared this post.

Also known as: © CC-BY-NC 3.0 + beerware (you may use my work under CC-BY-NC terms provided that you buy me a reasonably-priced beer of my choosing if we ever meet in person).

#14 CongressisbetterthanCX

CongressisbetterthanCX

    Novice

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
0
Neutral
  • Name:Nate
  • School:Clements

Posted 01 November 2016 - 08:05 PM

Wait, does Congress follow Congressional Procedure or Parliamentary Procedure? I was under the impression that it was Congressional, but the posts above seem to suggest that it follows Parliamentary Procedure. I ask because I also do Model UN, in which its Parliamentary Procedure and I know there are some differences between the two.


  • 0
"And here comes in the question whether it is better to be loved rather than feared, or feared rather than loved. It might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both; but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved." -Niccolo Machiavelli
"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything." -Alexander Hamilton

#15 AnthonyPre

AnthonyPre

    Junior-Varsity

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 14 posts
4
Okay
  • Name:Anthony
  • School:MPHS

Posted 02 November 2016 - 04:11 PM

How would I propose a docket and what would be the po's procedure


  • 0

#16 Theinternallink

Theinternallink

    Varsity

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 72 posts
29
Good
  • Name:Gabe Smith
  • School:Park Hill High School

Posted 07 December 2016 - 09:36 AM

I can give people my trash congress speeches if they want them, they have miserable puns throughout which judges hate with a passion 


  • 0

PM me for practice debates Im on this website far too often...

oh well 


#17 volchitsa

volchitsa

    Junior-Varsity

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 16 posts
1
Okay
  • Name:Spencer
  • School:Swings

Posted 02 April 2017 - 02:25 PM

Hey, I have a friend who qualed to nationals in Congress. I was wondering what Congress was like at the national level and how one could prepare for it before the docket comes out.


  • 0

#18 PailAmbrose

PailAmbrose

    Champion

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 310 posts
159
Excellent
  • Name:Paul
  • School:KSU

Posted 02 April 2017 - 08:10 PM

Yo. I don't know what Congress is like where you debate, but I was a Congress finalist at nationals the last two years so I can give some tips.

 

1. Be active. This is the biggest tip I can give. Congress is an event where rich white boys call on their rich white boy friends that they met in finals at some national circuit tournament. The key to Congress nationals is to cement yourself as a major player in your sessions. Always stand for speeches, talk to people between sessions, collaborate when making the docket. The better the people in that room recognize you, the more likely you are to get good speeches that the judges remember.

 

2. Be memorable. In the same vein as the last tip, you need a way to make the judges remember you. They're going to be in there for 3 hours listening to 20 or so kids giving speeches, the last thing you want is for them to get bored and tune out while you talk. Catchy intros are good, in speeches and just when you introduce yourself. A simple "Hi, I'm _____  from the beautiful _________ district, and I'm speaking for the ___ time today," goes a long way. Unique points are also key.

 

3. Stay confident. It can be disheartening when everyone in your chamber already knows each other and seem ultra prepared. Just remember, they're not any better than you. I had never competed outside Missouri when I went to nats, but I worked on Congress 5, sometimes 10, hours a day and it paid off. If you're committed, willing to work hard, and have even a modicum of speaking skill (which you clearly do, since you qualified) you can break.

 

4. As for preparing for legislation, there's not a whole lot you can do before they release the docket. That being said, you can look at the previous dockets. There are certain topics they love to use (e.g. term limits for various officials, restrictions on lobbying/Citizens United, etc.) that you can reasonably prepare for. You can also watch videos of previous finals on the NSDA website. Tbh I think watching Congress is a lot more helpful than talking about Congress, plus you can get some good ideas for points when they actually release legislation

 

PM me if you want anything more specific/have any more questions. Congress is my passion, so I'm glad to help


  • 3

"They have done the most destructive, entirely insane thing that has ever been done. They've degraded debate. it's offensive. I'm sorry that you judges have had to listen to this, it's people like them that have destroyed the debate community"

 

-Missouri's reaction to a cap K






Similar Topics Collapse

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users