The Legislature of Bermuda includes:
- The House of Assembly, comprising 36 elected members from around Bermuda
- The Senate, comprised of 11 members appointed by the Governor
It has three main functions:
- To pass laws
- To provide, through taxation, the means of carrying on the work of the Government of Bermuda
- To scrutinize government policy and administration, and in particular proposals for expenditure
The House of Assembly
Until the General Election of 2003, there were forty Members elected to the House of Assembly, representing the twenty dual-seat constituencies into which Bermuda's nine Parishes were divided.
As a result of a 2001 Order-in-Council and a subsequent 2002 Constitutional amendment, Bermuda now has thirty-six single seat constituencies, which closely approximate an equable voter distribution.
All 36 members of the House of Assembly are elected by universal adult suffrage. Once the House of Assembly has been elected, the group elects a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker and sits for a term of five years, unless dissolved earlier.
In Bermuda's last election, held on 24 July 2003, the Progressive Labour Party won a second term as Government, with a total of twenty-two seats in the House of Assembly compared with fourteen seats won by the United Bermuda Party.
The Premier, along with eleven other elected Progressive Labour Party members of Parliament, comprise the Cabinet, the Executive arm of government; which under the Westminster principle of collective responsibility, makes most of the major decisions on how the country is run.
The Senate is comprised of 11 members appointed by His Excellency the Governor. Five members of Senate are appointed on the recommendation of the Premier and represent the governing party. Three members are appointed on the recommendation of the Leader of the Opposition and represent the official opposition party. And the three remaining Senators are appointed as Independents. A President and a Vice-President are elected by the full Senate from among the Independent Senators.
When Parliament is in session, the Senate meets at 10.00 a.m. each Wednesday to discuss matters sent forward by the House of Assembly.