SC YMCA YOUTH IN GOVERNMENT
The South Carolina YMCA Youth in Government program is a civic education and
leadership development program for high school and middle school students. The mission
of the YMCA Youth in Government program is to help create the next generation of
thoughtful, committed, active citizens. All programs are supported by the YMCA’s four
core values of Honesty, Respect, Responsibility and Caring.
The South Carolina YMCA Youth in Government program offers a year-round series of
conferences, trips and opportunities. These include:
High School Model Legislature and Court Conference – Columbia, December
High School Horizons Values Conference – YMCA Camp Greenville, March
Middle School Model United Nations – YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly Conference
Center; late spring
YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs (CONA) , the National YIG
conference – Black Mountain, NC; July
Pawley’s Island Leadership Training Conference – Pawley’s Island, October
Middle School Model Legislature – Columbia, November 30-December 2.
High School Resource Staff for Middle School Model UN conference
YMCA Day at the Statehouse – Advocacy and “Meet your Legislator” event,
College and Young Adult Resource Staff for all high school conferences.
Grants, projects and other service-learning opportunities
For information about these and other opportunities, contact the state office at:
100 Adams Mill Rd.
Simpsonville, SC 29681
EXPLANATION OF ROLES AT THE MODEL LEGISLATURE AND COURT
LEGISLATORS: Students in legislative roles work in pairs. Each pair is assigned to one
of four chambers: The Upper House or Senate, for returning YIG delegates, or first-time
seniors; or the Premier House and Premier Senate, for all first-time YIG students. Each
pair writes a bill, and presents that bill in committee. If the bill passes committee, the
legislative pair presents the bill in chambers. If the bill passes committee and both the
House and Senate, it will be presented to the Youth Governor for passage or veto.
Legislators make up about 80 percent of the conference.
ATTORNEYS: Attorneys work in pairs, and are teamed up with another pair to form a
trial team of four attorneys. The team tries a criminal or civil case before a real attorney
serving as a judge. Students perform the roles of attorneys and witnesses within their
team. On the day they do not try their case, attorneys work together to argue a case before
Youth Justices in the Court of Appeals. Attorney roles are limited to juniors and seniors
only, and require attendance at a pre-conference training session.
LOBBYISTS: Lobbyist are assigned to a Political Action Committee (PAC) and work to
pass of defeat legislation that pertains to their PAC. Lobbyists may speak in committees,
but are not allowed to speak in chambers. Instead, they are encouraged to work “behind
the scenes” to influence passage or defeat of their targeted legislation. This position
requires an advisor recommendation.
NEWSPAPER: Newspaper reporters work to put together a conference newspaper,
which comes out at least three times during the conference.
PAGE: Pages are normally freshmen. Pages work to take bills and communication from
one part of the conference to the other. It is a demanding role, although it is a non-
LEADERSHIP POSITIONS: These positions require special applications and
appointments, and also require attendance at pre-conference training sessions:
CLERKS: Chief administrators in chambers, responsible for bill flow, dockets,
amendments, and general administration of chambers. Clerks also supervise pages.
FLOOR LEADERS/PARTY LEADERS: In the upper chambers, the Party
Leaders coordinate the efforts of the Palmetto (conservative) and Crescent (liberal)
parties, and work to assure passage of legislation supported by their parties. In lower
chambers, floor leaders work to support interesting, lively debate, and work with
presiding officers to ensure the stability of the chambers.
COMMITTEE CHAIRS AND CO-CHAIRS: Preside over committees, determine
JUSTICES: Preside over Appeals Court. Study cases presented for constitutional
issues, and question appeals attorneys as they present their arguments. Justices hear
arguments, then write opinions based on constitutionality of the cases presented.
Each school may run no more than two candidates for elected office. Elections are held at
the conference for the students who will serve in those positions the following year.
PRIMARY AND GENERAL ELECTION SYSTEM: The Youth in Government
election system involves a primary and general election. The Primary Election takes
place on Thursday, with the results announced in Chambers Thursday afternoon. The
winners of the primary go on to campaign in the General Election, which takes place
Friday night. The winners of the general election are announced Saturday morning at the
All elections are conducted by the Secretary of State, with assistance from his or her
deputies, and the Attorney General. The Secretary of State along with the YIG Director
have final say in all matters of controversy regarding the election.
ELECTED OFFICIALS AND THEIR DUTIES:
GOVERNOR Neil Karamchandani, Riverside High School
Serves as advocate of high school youth. Studies each bill before attending Model
Legislature, makes well-thought-out decisions concerning whether to veto or sign
Delivers opening address to joint session.
Delivers State of the State address Thursday morning
Appoints Governor’s Staff
Represents South Carolina at National Youth Governor’s Conference in
Leads South Carolina Delegation at the YMCA Youth Conference on National
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR Rishi Desai, Riverside High School; Ben Rush
Spartanburg High School
Will become Governor should elected governor be unable to serve or complete his
or her term.
Presides over legislative session of the Senate (votes only in case of a tie.)
Presides, with Speaker of the House, over joint sessions of the Legislature.
Studies and becomes well-informed of parliamentary procedure and the
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE Ben Jones, Hillcrest High School
Presides over legislative sessions of House.
Studies and becomes well-informed of parliamentary procedure and the
Presides, with Lt. Governor, over joint sessions of Legislature.
SECRETARY OF STATE Jake Laird, Southside High School
Supervises, with deputies and Attorney General, all elections.
Certifies all passed legislation and submits bills in formal form to Governor for
approval or veto.
Monitors and regulates lobbyist activities.
ATTORNEY GENERAL Neel Mehta, Mauldin High School
Delivers four-minute address to the legislature advocating justice and good bills.
Works with Secretary of State to monitor elections and campaigns.
Represents state on challenged legislation before Appeals Court.
SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION Erik Grayson, Liberty High School
Acts as “super-lobbyist” for all issues on education. Can work for passage of bills
he or she believes to be good legislation pertaining to education.
Delivers a four-minute address to the legislature advocating educational issues on
a particular bill.
Supervises and assigns all pages, and monitors pages throughout conference.
HOW THE COMMITTEE HEARINGS WORK
THE PURPOSE: The purpose of committee hearings is to select the best bills for debate
by the legislative chambers. Careful consideration should be given to a bill even though
you may not totally agree with it. Legislators should carefully weigh the debatability and
feasibility of the bill. Legislation that would be improved by amendments should be
amended during committee hearings to save chamber time.
Committees will consist of both representatives and senators (premier committees will be
combined, too.) Although this is not realistic, it will expedite the movements of bills
through committee hearings and into chambers. If a bill is passed by committee, it will go
directly to the chamber of origin fir first debate, and if passed there, will go directly to the
opposite chamber for debate. For instance. A House bill dealing with education will go to
the Education Committee for debate, then to the House for debate. If passed, it will go to
the Senate for debate. If passed in the Senate, it will then go to the Governor for approval
GENERAL EXPLANATION OF HOUSE AND SENATE SESSIONS
1. Each pair of legislators will be assigned one seat in the chamber. That means only
one legislator in each pair will be in chambers at any given time; the other
member of the pair will be in committee hearings.
2. The Senate President and House Speaker (and their Premier Chamber
counterparts) will preside over their chambers. They will be assisted by their Pro
3. The Senate and House officials – clerks – are seated just below or beside the
4. Bills will come up for debate as they appear on the Calendar, which will be posted
in a conspicuous place in each chamber.
5. Once the session is called to order, the presiding officer (PO) calls on the Reading
Clerk to read the first bill to be debated, noting any changes made in committee.
This is the second reading of the bill (the first is technically Wednesday night,
although we dispense with that reading.)
6. The bill authors come to the front have have two minutes to present their bill.
The authors remain in the “well” and the PO accepts questions from the floor.
All questions must go through the PO, who then asks the authors if they will
“yield to questions.”
After questions, the PO will ask the authors to vacate the well so that debate can
Debate begins when the PO recognizes a con speaker (against the bill) who will
have two minutes to present his/her arguments.
After the con speaker finishes, the PO will recognize a pro speaker.
The pro and con speakers may take up their entire allotted speaking time, or they
may “yield” some of their time to a “like speaker” which means someone who is
also for or against the bill.
This continues until the PO determines that time for debate has elapsed.
7. After debate has ended, the bill authors have two minutes for their closing
remarks. The authors then move for final passage of the bill.
8. The PO asks the Reading Clerk to read the bill for the third time by title.
9. Amendments to the bill are presented.
10. After all debate is concluded, a vote is taken.
11. If passed, the bill is delivered to the next chamber for debate.
DECORUM AND COURTESIES
When a delegate desires to speak, he shall rise, gain recognition, and address himself to
“Mr. or Madam Speaker” or “Mr. or Madam President.”
PO will recognize delegate by name, by looking at delegate’s placard. Placards are raised
above the head for recognition.
When a delegate is recognized to speak, he must confine his remarks to the subject under
debate, avoiding personalities. Failure to do so will result in the PO calling him out of
order and asking him to sit down.
MEANING OF THE GAVEL RAPS
One rap – The chamber will come to order.
Two raps – Members will rise.
Three raps – Members will applaud – usually when a guest enters the chamber. Continues
until the one rap brings order.
The PO may take any vote by voice vote.
The PO will rule on the outcome of the vote by announcing the results (pass/fail)
and then rapping the gavel.
If the PO is in doubt as to the outcome, he/she may ask for a standing vote.
If members themselves question the vote, they may call “Division” and stand.
Division must be called before the PO raps the gavel upon announcing the
decision. The PO must see at least five delegates standing. If five members are not
standing, the call for division is not honored. If five are standing, the PO will
follow with a standing vote.
A simple majority of those voting is required for passage of a bill or amendment.
A joint resolution requires a 2/3 majority.
In order to override a veto, a 2/3 majority is required.
Several Outstanding Statesmen will be recognized in each chamber. Winners will be
selected through balloting and a judges committee. The winners will be judged on the
Cooperation and willingness to aid in the passage of good bills
Knowledge of parliamentary procedure
An honest approach to debate, which emphasizes fact over bluff
Respect for other delegates, even in speeches in opposition of legislation
Integrity and fairness
An ability to passionately convey ideas and beliefs
ROBERT COLEMAN OUTSTANDING STATESMAN AWARD
One award will be given to the single most outstanding statesman at the conference. This
award will be determined by a committee.
Several bills will be recognized, based on the following criteria:
Bills are evaluated exactly as they appear in the billbook
Must be of current interest in the state of South Carolina
Must be well-written and concise
Must be feasible
Must be innovative, or address a common problem with a unique solution
Given to lobbyist who best demonstrates the skill and cooperation needed to carry out
his/her duties. Must comply with all requirements of the lobbyist role.
OUTSTANDING NEWSPAPER STAFF
Given to reporter or staff member who shows the most cooperation and skill in carrying
out his/her duties.
Given to the pages who demonstrate the most cooperation and skill in carrying out the
various duties of a page.
OUTSTANDING COMMITTEE CHAIR
Given to the committee chair who has best demonstrated the ability to facilitate good
committee debate, while maintaining order, decorum and respect.
OUTSTANDING TRIAL ATTORNEY
Given to the attorneys who best perform the role of trial attorney, as determined by
volunteer judges in the trials.
OUTSTANDING APPEALS ATTORNEY
Given to the attorneys who are selected by the Youth Justices and Resource Staff to argue
in the finals of the appeals court.
SUSAN HITT OUTSTANDING ATTORNEY AWARD
Given to the one trial attorney determined to have been the single most outstanding for
Schools will be recognized as Premier Delegations for meeting the following criteria:
Meet all deadlines prior to the conference
Demonstrate a spirit of cooperation and enthusiasm while at the conference
Have 100% caucus attendance at noon caucuses.
Representation on Conference Life Committee (CLC)
Have an average of 90% voter participation between primary and general
Overall conduct and behavior
Given to one delegation recognized for overall excellence. All criteria for Premier
Delegation must be met, as well as overall contribution to the success of the conference.
BOBBY O’REAR OUTSTANDING ADVISOR AWARD
Given to the advisor who best demonstrates the YMCA values of honesty, respect,
responsibility and caring in his or her work at the conference. This award is chosen by
and given by the Resource Staff.
TERRY HASKINS CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP SCHOLARSHIP
Given to an underclassman for outstanding Christian commitment and leadership. Award
winners must be nominated by a fellow student or advisor. This award carries either a
100% scholarship for the following year’s Model Legislature, or, if the student qualifies,
a scholarship to the YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs.
BRIAN CAPPS LEADERSHIP SCHOLARSHIP
Given to a student recognized for outstanding academic and civic engagement
involvement. Awarded by an outside committee, in memory of a former YIG student.
Award winner receives a monetary award in the amount of the full cost of the Model
Legislature and Court conference.
PHILIP T. BRADLEY LEADERSHIP SCHOLARSHIP
Two $750 scholarships are given to seniors nominated by advisors based on the students’
leadership and integrity. The scholarships are given in the spring, and may be used for
any related college expenses.
EXCELLENCE IN LEADERSHIP SCHOLARSHIP
Given by the Resource Staff to the student who best meets the criteria established by the
Resource Staff. Overall leadership skills, commitment to Youth in Government,
cooperation, helpfulness, initiative and attitude will be primary considerations. The
money for this scholarship – typically a $1,000 scholarship – is raised entirely through
contributions by the Resource Staff.
DELEGATES TO THE YMCA YOUTH CONFERENCE ON NATIONAL
A number of students will be invited to apply for positions on the South Carolina
Delegation to the Youth Conference on National Affairs (CONA). This conference is
held each summer at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly Conference Center in Black
Mountain, NC, and brings together top Youth in Government delegates from YIG
programs across the state. Each state delegation is limited to just 25 students.
YOUTH IN GOVERNMENT PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE
The following are the “scripts” used in committees and legislative chambers for bill
debate. Delegates should study these scripts, but should also be comfortable knowing that
Presiding Officers and Committee Chairs will instruct delegates in parliamentary
procedure at the conference.
ORDER OF BILL DEBATE
1. First reading of bill. (First reading of bill is dispensed with, and bill is
assigned to committee.)
2. Bill is debated in committee; if bill passes, it is referred to chamber of
3. In legislative chambers, bill is read on Second Reading in its entirety,
unless Presiding Officer determines that full reading is not necessary.
4. Sponsor – bill authors – are recognized and go to the well (podium at
front of legislative chambers.)
5. Bill sponsors present bill for two minutes, or amount of time specified
by Presiding Officer.
6. Questions from floor to sponsors – speakers stand at desks to ask
7. Con/Pro Debate – speakers come to well to speak. Speakers rotate
until allotted time has elapsed. When recognized, speaker must ask
Presiding Officer, “May I approach the well?” The Presiding Officer
will say, “You may approach the well.” When beginning speech,
delegate must address the Presiding Officer, beginning speech with
“Mr./Madam Speaker (in the House or Premier House) or Mr./Madam
President (in the Senate or Premier Senate.)
8. Sponsor’s summation – 2 minutes, or amount of time designated by
9. Third reading of bill by title.
a. Amendment read
b. Amendment sponsor speaks
c. Opposition (to amendment) speaker speaks
d. Amendment sponsor summary
e. Vote on Amendment
11.Vote on bill
PROCEDURE FOR THE SECOND AND THIRD LEGISLATIVE
DAYS (THURSDAY AND FRIDAY)
PRESIDENT (SPEAKER): Raps gavel one time. “The
Senate/House/Premier Senate/Premier House will come to order. The
devotional will be given by ______________.”
CHAPLAIN: Prayer or devotional.
PRESIDENT (SPEAKER): “The Chair expresses its appreciation to the
Chaplain for the devotion.” Rap gavel.
FLOOR LEADER: “Mr./Madam President (Speaker).”
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “The Chair recognizes the Floor Leader.”
FLOOR LEADER: “I move the same order of business used in the
previous session be adopted for this session.”
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “All those in favor of the motion say “aye.”
All opposed, ‘Nay.’ The ayes have it; motion carries.” Rap gavel. “We
will process with the same order of business as in the previous session.
The Clerk will call the roll.”
CLERK: Calls roll.
PASSAGE OF BILLS
PRESIDENT: (After roll is called) “We will now revert to the order of
passage of bills. Are the authors of (next bill on docket) present? Please
approach the well. The Reading Clerk will read the first bill for the
READING CLERK: Reads the bill in its entirety.
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “Senators/Representatives, you may now
present your bill. You have two minutes (or whatever amount of time
BILL SPONSORS: Present
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “We will now accept up to five (5) minutes
of nondebatable questions for the bill sponsors.” Delegates stand at their
desks to ask questions.
DELEGATE: Stand and hold up placard and say, “Mr./Madam
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “The chair recognizes Senator/Representative
DELEGATE: “Will the Senator/Representative yield to a question?”
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “Will the Senator/Representative yield?”
BILL SPONSOR: “I will (will not) yield.”
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “The Senator/Representative will (will not)
DELEGATE: (If person in well yields): Asks his/her question.
Above process is repeated until time has expired.
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “We are now in order for con/pro debate. Is
there anyone who wishes to speak in opposition to this bill?” Delegates
raise placard for recognition.
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “The chair recognizes Senator/Representative
DELEGATE: “May I approach the well?”
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “Yes you may.” When delegate arrives at the
well, President/Speaker says, “You have two minutes.”
DELEGATE: Goes to well (podium) and speaks.
Legislators continue the con/pro debate from the well, on alternating
basis, for as long as Presiding Officer allows, or until Previous Question
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: When debate time has expired or previous
question moved, says to Bill Authors: “Senator/Representatives, you
have two minutes to summarize.”
BILL SPONSORS: Present summation, and finishes by saying:
“Mr/Madam President/Speaker, I move that this bill be placed on final
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “Are there amendments to this bill?” If yes,
revert to Amendments section. If not, “The Clerk will read the bill by
FINAL PASSAGE OF BILL
CLERK: Reads bill title.
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “The bill authors have moved that
Senate/House bill ____ does now pass. Is there objection to agreeing to
the report of the Committee which is favorable to passage of this bill?
The Chair hears non; the report of the Committee is agreed to. Shall the
main question now be put? Is there objection? The Chair hears none; the
main question is so ordered. Shall this bill pass? All those
Senators/Representatives in favor of this Bill will say ‘Aye.’ All opposed,
‘Nay.’ It is the opinion of the Chair that the Ayes/Nays have it. This bill,
having received a majority is therefore passed.” OR “This bill, having
failed to receive a majority is therefore lost.” Rap gavel.
CALL FOR DIVISION
Division may be called if delegates believe the decision of the chair on
the passage of a bill was in error. To call for division, delegates must
jump to their feet and shout “Division” immediately after the Presiding
Officer says a bill has passed or failed, BUT BEFORE the Presiding
Officer raps the gavel. Five delegates must call for division for it to be
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “There has been a call for Division; the Chair
does (does not) see five senators/representatives standing.”
IF FIVE DELEGATES ARE STANDING
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “All Senators/Representatives will vote. All
Senators in favor of passage of this bill will rise and stand until counted.”
Clerks will count and confer. After Clerks have finished counting,
President/Speaker says: “Reverse your positions.”
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “On the vote of Bill Number _____, the Ayes
were ____ and the Nays were _____.”
(If Ayes were greater) “This bill, having received a simple majority, is
passed. “ Rap gavel.
(If Nays are greater) “This bill, having failed to receive a simple
majority, is lost.” Rap gavel.
IF FIVE DELEGATES ARE NOT STANDING
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “Division is not ordered. The Chair’s
decision stands.” Rap gavel.
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “The Clerk will read the amendment.”
CLERK: Reads each amendment as called for by the presiding officer.
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “The Amendment sponsor has two minutes
to present the amendment.”
AMENDMENT SPONSOR: Approaches well, and presents
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “Is there a speaker in opposition to the
Recognizes delegate to speak in opposition to amendment.
DELEGATE: Speaks in opposition to amendment.
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “The Amendment sponsor has one minute to
summarize the amendment.”
AMENDMENT SPONSOR: Summarizes amendment.
PRESIDENT/SPEAKER: “We will now vote on the amendment only.
All in favor of the amendment say ‘Aye’. All opposed, ‘Nay.’ It is the
opinion of the chair that the Ayes/Nays have it. This amendment
does/does not pass.”
Continue until all amendments have been debated.
AFTER ALL AMENDMENTS HAVE BEEN PASSED, REVERT
TO FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS.