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The Desk

“The desk” is another name for the rostrum where the presiding officer and various clerks of the chamber sit.

According to recent practices, most bills, resolutions, and committee reports are delivered to the clerks at the presiding officer’s desk for processing throughout the day.

The desk holds significant symbolic and functional importance in the legislative process.

Symbolically, it represents the authority and control that the presiding officer holds over the chamber’s proceedings.

From the desk, the presiding officer can oversee debates, enforce the rules of the chamber, and ensure orderly conduct among the members.

They also hold the power to recognize members who wish to speak, call for votes, and announce the results.

Functionally, the desk serves as a working space for the presiding officer and often for the clerks or other staff assisting with the legislative process.

It is typically equipped with a variety of tools and references, including a gavel to maintain order, a sound system for communication, copies of the chamber’s rules and procedures, and possibly screens or other technology to assist with vote tallying or other administrative tasks.

Furthermore, in a broader context, “the desk” can also refer to the place where bills, resolutions, and other legislative items are officially received and processed in the legislative chamber.

For instance, the “hopper” is usually placed next to the rostrum.

The phrase “to lay something on the desk” means to officially introduce a legislative item for consideration.

Thus, it serves as both a physical space and a conceptual cornerstone of legislative activity.