The senator who is the floor sponsor usually begins debate after asking for unanimous consent that the complete reading of the bill by the secretary be dispensed with. It is required that all bills be read three times before being voted on, but such formalities are rarely carried through.
The sponsor opens debate, then other senators may debate but Rule 24 must be followed. Debate may either in favor or opposition, and one must vote as one debates. No senator may debate a second time unless all senators have had an opportunity to debate a first time. Then the sponsor is recognized to close debate, getting the final word.
There is indeed formality to the process, but the purpose is to provide order and allow all voices to be heard in a fair and deliberative forum. The President of the Senate (Lieutenant Governor) presides, or the Pro Tem of the Senate in his absence.
Let my words rain down with the power of Your fire
And the substance of Your stones.
Let me open with candor and conviction,
Let my humor deflect and my tone beguile.
Let the words I use strike Old Testament fear in my enemies;
Theirs bones may quake, their arguments melt.
Let me speak with clarity and knowledge and
Let your light shine in my words.
Let those listening know I have Your Spirit in me, then
They have only mortal souls and arguments.
Let my words touch and persuade in this mortal realm,
Since we are all just men of this earth.
Let me know I am right, but also those who oppose
Have words I should hear and appreciate.
Let my closing convey consideration, but conviction of the position
And thus pull those in doubt to the light.
Let me know that words spoken to persuade last no longer
Than the breath exhaled.
Let me know that my person is more than my words,
My deeds more than my position, for to persuade
My mouth and my mind need be grounded.
Let them know my heart,
Let my heart be true.