Section 12 of Article IV of the Constitution of North Dakota authorizes each house of the Legislative Assembly to determine its rules of procedure. Each house adopts rules of procedure during the organizational session in December, before the regular session convenes in January. Traditionally, the rules of the preceding Legislative Assembly are adopted, with amendments as appropriate. Three categories of rules are adopted--the Senate adopts Senate rules, the House adopts House rules, and each house adopts Joint rules, which are identical to the joint rules adopted by the other house. The rules of the 63rd Legislative Assembly were adopted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012.
The rules of the Senate and House generally parallel one another in numbering and substance, with different references reflecting the differences between the organization of the Senate and House, e.g., Senate Rule 202 requires the President Pro Tempore to preside in the President's absence and House Rule 202 provides for the Speaker of the House to appoint a member to preside in the Speaker's absence. Rules that do not parallel one another in numbering are House Rule 362, relating to seniority seating (there is no Senate Rule 362), Senate Rule 511, relating to the committee of the whole (there is no House Rule 511--the House rules on the committee of the whole are found in House Rules 701-704), and Senate Rule 701, relating to Senate confirmation of executive nominations (there is no equivalent House rule).