(covers information from Imperial Commonwealth of Planets)
The Senatorial Assembly of the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets, more commonly known as the Imperial Senateor simply The Senate, was the legislature of the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets. A unicameral body, the Senate was comprised of one Imperial Senator from every member state, and met in the Imperial Senate Chambers on Floor One of the Palace of Unity in Rome, Terra.
In accordance with the Articles of the Empire, sessions of the full Imperial Senate were presided over by the Emperor of the ICP (barring special circumstances, such as the Emperor being off-planet), who stood at a podium near the north wall while the senators sat in seats arranged in rising rows of twenty. The podium determined who could speak to the Senate for the record, and recognized speakers could only address the Senate from the speaker's floor, located in the center of the room between two sets of seats for those attending. Imperial Senators had computer terminals at their work stations that they could use to silently contact one-another or those outside the chambers, as well lights on each terminal to indicate a desire to address the Senate, or options to vote on legislation. No one could speak who had not been recognized by the podium.
The Imperial Senate conducted its business during sessions that convened once every six months, with three-week intervals. According to the Articles of the Empire, all Imperial Senators had to be present at the beginning of a session in order to participate in future meetings of the Senate; those who were not present had to wait until the next session convened in six months. Elevation to the Senate was determined by each member state. The Republic of Bajor, for instance, determined its senator by having him or her nominated by the First Minister and then confirmed by the Chamber of Ministers. The Andorian Empire's senator was determined by which political party held the majority of seats in the Parliament Andoria, while Betazed's senator was directly elected by popular democratic referendum.
The Imperial Senate conducted much of its business by dividing itself into numerous committees with jurisdiction over specific areas of import to the Empire; the Security Council, for instance, had jurisdiction over areas of Imperial security. Membership in a committee was determined by the Emperor, who nominated a senator for a committee who was then confirmed by the Senate. Some of the committees, such as the Security and Judiciary Councils, were permanent, while others were created on an as-needed basis; the senators from the five founding member states were automatically appointed to the permanent committees. During committee sessions, members of the committee could speak without having to be recognized by the committee chair; committee sessions were usually presided over by the chair of the committee rather than the Emperor, though the Emperor retained the option as he saw it necessary and proper to do so. The Emperor was generally expected to solicit the active participation of the appropriate committee in determining executive policies; as such, there was far less separation of powers between the Senate and the Emperor than in many traditional Terran governments.