I. PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE-ITS PURPOSE AND USE
The following is a very brief summary of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR 11th ed., 2011).
II. GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE
Every member of an organization should be familiar with the following simple rules and customs:
A. All members have equal rights, privileges, and obligations; rules must be administered impartially.
B. All members, majority or minority, have the right to full and free discussion of all motions, reports, and other items of business.
C. In doing business the simplest and most direct procedure should be used.
D. Logical precedence governs introduction and disposition of motions.
E. Only one question can be considered at a time.
F. Members must be recognized by the chair before they may make a motion or speak in debate.
G. No one may speak more than twice on the same question on the same day without permission of the assembly. No member may speak a second time on the same question if anyone who has not spoken on that question wishes to do so.
H. Members must not attack or question the motives of other members. Customarily, all remarks are addressed to the presiding officer.
I. In voting, members have the right to know at all times what motion is before the assembly and what affirmative and negative votes mean.
Addressing the Chair: Getting the chair's attention by saying, e.g., "Madam Chairwoman," "Mr. Chairman," "Madam President," or "Mr. Moderator."
Agenda: Order of business; program of a business meeting.
Ad Hoc Committee: Committee established for a specific purpose, for a particular case.
Adjourn: To end a meeting.
Announcing the Vote: In announcing the vote on a motion, the chair should:
(1)report on the voting itself, stating which side has prevailed;
(2)declare that the motion is adopted or lost; and
(3)state the effect of the vote or order its execution.
For a voice or rising vote in which no exact count is taken, the chair might say, for example, "The ayes have it, the motion carries, and the brochure will be published." For a vote in which an exact count is taken, the chair might say, "There are 14 in the affirmative and 15 in the negative. The negative has it and the motion is lost. No additional funds will be spent on publicity this semester."
Ballots: Slips of paper for voting.
Carried: Passed or adopted; used in referring to affirmative action on a motion.
Caucus: Private session in advance of a scheduled meeting.
Chair: the Chair, Chairman, Chairwoman: To preside over; the presiding officer.
Chairman/Chairwoman Pro Tem: Presiding officer for the time being.
Commit: To refer to a committee.
Committee of the Whole: Designation of all of the members of an assembly present at a meeting as members of an ad hoc committee; working as a committee of the whole allows an assembly to function informally (e.g., to have unlimited debate).
Convene: To open a session.
Division of the Assembly; a Division: A vote retaken for the purpose of verifying a voice vote or show of hands; a division may be ordered by the chair or by a single member.
Division of the Question: A motion to divide a pending motion into two or more separate questions in order that they may be considered separately.
Election by Acclamation: Election by unanimous consent; used when only one person has been nominated for an office.
Ex-officio: By right of office.
Expunge: To eliminate part of a motion by crossing out or drawing a line around words; one never erases, since the original text may be needed for the minutes.
Germane: Closely related, relevant; amendments and debate must be germane to the question at hand.
Having the Floor: Having been recognized by the chair to speak.
Immediately Pending Question: The last motion stated by the chair.
In Order: Correct according to rules of parliamentary procedure.
Main Motion: A motion which brings before the assembly some new subject upon which action of the assembly is desired. Majority: More than half of the votes cast by persons legally entitled to vote.
Minutes: Written records of business transacted.
Motion: A proposal by a member, in a meeting, that the assembly take a particular action.
Nominate: To propose an individual for office.
Obtaining the Floor: Securing permission to speak.
Orders of the Day: Agenda for a meeting.
Parliamentarian: Parliamentary adviser to the presiding officer.
Pending Question: A motion awaiting decision.
Plurality: In an election, the largest number of votes given a candidate when three or more candidates are running; a plurality that is not a majority never elects anyone to office except by virtue of a special rule previously adopted.
Point of Information: Request for information concerning a motion.
Precedence: Take Precedence: Priority in rank; to outrank.
Previous Question: Motion which, if adopted, orders an immediate vote.
Proxy: A person authorized to vote for another.
Question of Privilege: A device that permits a request or main motion relating to the rights and privileges of the assembly or any of its members to be brought up for immediate consideration because of its urgency, e.g., a motion to turn the air conditioner up or a motion to close the windows so that people can hear.
Quorum: The minimum number of members who must be present at a meeting for business to be legally transacted.
Recess: A short intermission.
Recognize: To allow someone to obtain the floor in order to speak.
Rescind: To repeal, annul, cancel, or revoke formally.
Resolution: Motion used to express the sentiment of a group, usually beginning with the words "resolved that...."
Rising Vote: A vote taken by having members stand.
Roll Call Vote: A procedure by which the vote of each member is formally recorded in the minutes.
Second: To indicate support for consideration of a motion by saying: "I second the motion."
Slate: List of candidates.
Unanimous (or General) Consent: A means of taking action on a motion without a formal vote. When a presiding officer perceives that there is little or no opposition to a motion before the assembly, business can often be expedited by the chair's simply calling for objections, if any. If no objection is heard, the motion is adopted; if even one member objects, the motion is brought to a formal vote by the usual procedure.
Voice Vote: A vote taken by having members call out "aye" or "no" at the chair's direction.
Yield: To give the floor to the chair, to another speaker, or to a motion taking precedence over that being considered.
If an organization's established rules do not specify an order of business, parliamentary law provides the following standard agenda for a meeting:
Call to order
Reading and approval of minutes
Reports of officers and standing committees
Reports of ad hoc committees
A quorum is the minimum number of members who must be present at a meeting for business to be legally transacted.
An organization, in its established rules, may define its own quorum.
In the absence of such a provision, the quorum is a majority of the entire membership.
B. Obtaining the Floor:
Before a member in an assembly can make a motion or speak in debate, he or she must obtain the floor; that is, the member must be recognized by the chair as having the exclusive right to be heard at that time. If two or more members rise to seek recognition at the same time, the member who rose and addressed the chair first after the floor was yielded is usually entitled to be recognized. A member cannot establish "prior claim" to the floor by rising before it has been yielded.
C. Introducing Business (Making Motions):
Business may be introduced by an individual member or by a committee. Business is always introduced in the form of a motion.
D. Seconding a Motion:
E. Placing a Motion Before the Assembly:
I. Announcing a Vote:
A. A member rises and addresses the presiding officer.
B. The presiding officer recognizes the member.
C. The member states the motion.
D. Another member seconds the motion.
E. The presiding officer restates the motion, thus placing it before
the assembly for consideration.
F. The assembly may discuss the motion if it is debatable and amend
the motion if it is amendable.
G. The presiding officer takes the vote.
H. The presiding officer announces the result.
A. Privileged Motions: Motions which do not relate to the pending question but have to do with matters of such urgency or importance that, without debate, they are allowed to interrupt the consideration of anything else.
B. Subsidiary Motions: Motions which assist the assembly in treating or disposing of a main motion. They have the effect of hastening action upon, delaying action upon, or modifying the main motion.
C. Main Motion: A motion which brings business before the assembly and which can be made only while no other motion is pending. "I move we have a banquet."
D. Motions that Bring a Question Again Before the Assembly: Motions which bring up a previously considered question.
E. Incidental Motions: Motions which deal with questions of procedure and arise out of another pending motion or item of business. With the exception of the motion to appeal from the ruling of the chair, they are not debatable.
Since only one question may be considered at a time, the sequence in which motions may be taken up is fixed by parliamentary law.
The main motion is the basic motion and all other legitimate motions are taken up and acted upon before the main motion is finally disposed of. Any privileged motions introduced are of such urgency or importance that they must be promptly acted upon. Subsidiary and incidental motions which are introduced must be given priority so that the action finally taken on the main motion will accurately reflect the will of the assembly.
Motions that bring a question again before the assembly are similar in status to main motions in that they can be considered only when no other business is pending.
Privileged and subsidiary motions have the highest status and are arranged in an explicit order of precedence. Privileged motions come first in the order of precedence and among themselves have the following ranking: (1) adjourn, (2) recess, (3) raise a question of privilege, and (4) call for the orders of the day. Subsidiary motions follow in the order of precedence and have the following ranking among themselves: (5) lay on the table, (6) previous question, (7) limit or extend debate, (8) postpone to a certain time, (9) refer to a committee, (l0) amend, and (11) postpone indefinitely.
Incidental motions are not ranked in the formal order of precedence. Since they arise out of--are "incidental" to--some other pending question, the incidental motions are decided as they arise. An incidental motion would be out of order, however, if it were not legitimately related to the business at hand.
Not all motions require recognition or a second. Not all motions are debatable or amendable. Some motions do not require a vote or permit reconsideration. The following table summarizes the rules related to each of the types of motions defined in Part VII.
Name of Motion Requires Recognition? Requires a Second? Debatable? Amendable? Vote Required? May Be Reconsidered?
1. Adjourn yes yes no no majority no
2. Recess yes yes no yes majority no
3. Raise a question of privilege no no no no -- no
4. Call for the orders of the day no no no no 2/3(2) no
Subsidiary Motions: (1)
5. Lay on the table yes yes no no majority no
6. Previous question yes yes no no 2/3 yes
7. Limit or extend debate yes yes no yes 2/3 yes
8. Postpone to a certain time yes yes yes yes majority yes
9. Refer to a committee yes yes yes yes majority yes
10. Amend yes yes yes yes majority yes
11. Postpone indefinitely yes yes yes no majority aff.(3)
Main Motions yes yes yes yes majority yes
Motions that Bring a Question Again Before the Assembly:
Reconsider no yes yes(4) no majority no
Discharge a committee yes yes yes yes maj. or 2/3(5) negative(6)
Rescind yes yes yes yes maj. or 2/3(5) negative(6)
Take from the table yes yes no no majority no
Point of information no no no no -- no
Parliamentary inquiry no no no no -- --
Division of the assembly no no no no -- no
Division of a question yes yes no yes majority no
Withdraw a motion yes yes no no majority negative(6)
Objection to consideration no no no no 2/3 negative(6)
Suspend the rules no no no no 2/3 no
Appeal from the chair's ruling no yes yes no maj. or tie yes
Point of order no no no no -- no
Note 1: In order of precedence.
Note 2: Must be enforced on the demand of one member unless it is set aside by a two-thirds vote.
Note 3: Only an affirmative vote may be reconsidered.
Note 4: The motion to reconsider is debatable only if the motion to be reconsidered is itself debatable.
Note 5: Requires either a simple majority (with prior notice), or a two-thirds vote, or a majority of the entire membership.
Note 6: Only a negative vote may be reconsidered.
A. Since the secretary is responsible for keeping accurate records of business transacted, the chair may require that main motions, amendments, or instructions to a committee be in writing.
B. A question cannot be postponed beyond the next regular meeting.
C. Calls of "Question! Question!" by members from their seats are not motions for the previous question and are simply informal expressions of individual members' desires to proceed to a vote; these calls are disorderly if made while another member is speaking or seeking recognition.
D. Abstentions do not count in tallying the vote; when members abstain, they are in effect only attending the meeting to aid in constituting a quorum.
E. Motions are out of order that present essentially the same question as a motion already considered at the same meeting.
F. All persons present at a meeting have an obligation to obey the legitimate orders of the presiding officer. Members, however, can appeal from the decision of the chair, move to suspend the rules, or move a reconsideration- depending on the circumstances of the chair's ruling. A member can make such an appeal or motion whether or not the order involved applies to him or her personally.
A. Small committees can often operate informally:
B. Types of Committees
C. Duties of the Committee Chair
1. The person who presides at a committee meeting is responsible for helping the committee organize itself and for seeing that its work is accomplished. To meet that responsibility, he or she should:
a. Bring the tools the committee needs to do its work--a copy for each member of a list of committee members with addresses and phone numbers; a concise statement of the committee's task, its duties and powers, or a statement of its instructions from the organization or its president; a copy of rules or policies of the organization which apply to the committee's work; and reports of previous committees or any other materials which will be useful;
2. The person who presides over a committee is also responsible for reporting on the committee's work to the rest of the organization. Such a report can be given orally or in writing and usually contains both a description of the committee's work and a statement of its findings. The report is usually accompanied by a statement of the committee's recommendations, if any, which can then be taken up by the whole assembly.
An organization's established rules normally set forth the date for elections, the method of nominating candidates, the procedure for voting, the votes required to elect, and the terms of office. In general, however, the following procedures are accepted:
A. Nominations may be offered from the chair, from the floor, by a committee, or by write-in ballot.
B. Nominations may be closed by the chair when it appears that no more nominations will be offered, or they may be closed by a two-thirds majority vote. A motion to close nominations is in order only after a reasonable opportunity to make nominations has been given.
C. Voting is usually done by voice, by roll call, by ballot, or by "acclamation" (when only one candidate has been nominated).