Intro to Parliamentary Procedure
Intro to Parliamentary Procedure
A Brief Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure
Distilled from Robert´s Rules of Order, Revised and adapted to the Constitution and By-Laws of the School of Engineering and Computer Science, Oakland University.
ORDER OF BUSINESS
- Call to Order
- Informal report from, and questions addressed to, the Presiding Officer.
- Roll Call
- Review of Minutes (corrections and approval). Beside usual facts, minutes contain all Main Motions and their disposal, Points of Order and Appeals and whether sustained or lost, all other motions not lost or withdrawn. Corrections are made when called for. Upon dispute, corrections are put to majority vote. The Committee may correct unnoticed errors at any time, without regard to time lapse, with 2/3 vote.
- Ordinary substantive motions placed on the agenda by the Executive Committee. Such motions shall be considered on each of two meeting days of the Assembly at least three days apart. Amendments are in order during both readings; final votes may be taken only during the second reading, at which time a simple majority of those present and voting shall suffice for a decision. By affirmative vote of three-fourths of those present and voting, and provided that the number of affirmative votes exceeds 50 percent of the Assembly membership, the Assembly may proceed directly from the first to the second reading and take formal action on the motion in which case a simple majority suffices for adoption.
Ordinary substantive motions shall be circulated in writing to all members of the Assembly at least two days before these motions receive their first reading. Committee recommendations and other materials deemed appropriate by the Executive Committee shall accompany the text of the motions.
- Extraordinary substantive motions may be introduced from the floor at any meeting of the Assembly. After the regular agenda has been completed, the presiding officer shall call for and recognize such motions. By simple majority of those present and voting, the Assembly may authorize immediate debate of an extraordinary motion, but votes on the motion may not be taken at that meeting. The Executive Committee may place the motion on the agenda of the next meeting. Should the Committee fail to do so, the Assembly, by a simple majority of those present and voting, may at that time place the motion on the agenda of the same meeting. When placed on the agenda by either of the above procedures, the motion shall be treated as an ordinary substantive motion in its first reading.
- Good and Welfare
- Adjournment - Three methods: 1) by the Chair "Is there any further business? If not, the meeting is adjourned." 2) by Motion (as privileged or as Main) by member "I move we adjourn." or 3) by Time "The by-laws state adjournment by 8:30 P.M. If there are no objections, we shall adjourn."
RULES GOVERNING THE FLOOR
- Address the Chair, "Mr. (or Madam) Chair" or by name or by raising hands.
- Be recognized by name by the Chair, thereby gaining the Floor. Members who address the Chair while another Member has the Floor will not be recognized. Members who have gained the Floor may state Motions or Resolutions, may second Motions or may engage in Debate.
- During Debate, (1) each member may speak once on a Question, for a length of time set (if not set by the Assembly, the time limit is 10 minutes), (2) a Member may speak a second time only if all have spoken who care to, (3) a Member may speak a third time only with the Assembly's consent. The moving Member is entitled to close debate with a speech, but not until everyone wishing to speak has spoken and providing that (s)he has not exceeded his/her time limit and that debate is still open. Debate must be limited to the merits of the immediately pending question. Members must address their remarks to the Chair, be courteous in their language and deportment and avoid all personalities, never alluding to the Officers or other Members by name, where possible to avoid it, nor to the motives of Members.
RULES ON MOTIONS
- The Chair rules obstructive, absurd or delaying motions "Out of Order."
- Only one Main Motion can be immediately before the Assembly, stated clearly, and if lengthy, in writing. In order not to confuse the vote, state motions in the affirmative, such as "I move we reject the offer" NOT "I move we do not accept the offer."
- If a Main Motion contains two separate ideas, a Member may "Call for a Division of the Question" so each proposal may be considered and voted on separately.
- Only the Motion of highest rank is given immediate consideration. Votes are taken in reverse order to the sequence in which they were proposed, or are pending.
- Seconding a motion means "I think this issue should be discussed now" but does not obligate one to vote for the proposal.
- Amendments must be germane and directly related to the subject contained in the motion to which they adhere.
- If a Member wishes to close debate, (s)he must use the motion named "Previous Question," as the Chair cannot cut off debate.
- When Debate is closed, the Motion on the Floor must be voted upon and the result announced by the Chair.
- Methods: Voice ("Aye" and "No"), Show of Hands, Rising (used for Division of Assembly), Ballot, Roll Call, General Consent. General Consent is used as an expedient to business without a formal vote when the Chair believes the majority would agree. Those remaining silent are assumed to agree. Those opposed should simply say "I object." The Chair then must immediately put the matter to vote. Examples: Chair says "If there is no objection, this resolution will be acted upon under New Business" or "If there is no objection, we interrupt business for an important announcement."
- Quorum: Forty percent of those members of the Assembly not on leave shall constitute a quorum. This quorum rule shall be suspended for those meetings stipulated under Article III, 3 of the SECS Constitution.
- Counting: (assuming that a quorum is present) Majority vote - more than 1/2 the votes cast by Members present and voting; Two-Thirds Vote - 2/3 or more of the votes cast (need to be counted); Tie Vote - same as if lost.
DUTIES OF THE CHAIR
The duties of the Chair include
- opening the meeting and calling the Members to order,
- to announce the business before the Assembly in the order in which it is to be acted upon,
- to recognize Members entitled to the Floor,
- to state and put to a vote all questions regularly moved,
- to announce the results of votes,
- to protect the Assembly from frivolous motions by refusing to recognize them,
- to assist in expediting the business of the Assembly while protecting the rights of the Members,
- to restrain the Members when engaged in Debate while protecting the rights of the Members,
- to enforce order and decorum among the Members,
- to decide all questions of order unless submitted to the Assembly and
- to inform the Assembly on Points of Order.
While the Chair cannot take an active role in Debate without a vote of the Assembly for a temporary replacement, the chair is allowed to question those making motions as to their motives and may comment upon motions before stating them to the Assembly. The Chair has the right to require that all motions, resolutions, amendments and/or instructions to committees be in writing.
TYPES OF MOTIONS. Privileged and subsidiary motions are listed in order of rank. Only higher ranking motions can be considered before the current pending motion:
PRIVILEGED MOTIONS. Of such importance that they outrank all others.
- ADJOURN. "I move we Adjourn [until (time) and (place)]." Terminates meeting or session, may state time and place of next meeting if not provided for. Cannot interrupt person in debate unless sufficiently urgent, second required, not debatable, can amend only next time and place, majority vote required, can reconsider vote only on time and place.
- RECESS. "I move we Recess for (time) to (purpose)." Intermission for meals, counting ballots, etc. Recess begins immediately. Business resumes at same point. Cannot interrupt person in debate unless sufficiently urgent, second required, not debatable, can amend only time and purpose, majority vote required, cannot reconsider vote.
- QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE. "I rise to a Question of Privilege (state question)." Relates to member´s or assembly´s comfort, disturbance, conduct, etc. Business resumes as soon as the matter is cared for. Cannot interrupt person in debate unless sufficiently urgent, second not required, not debatable, cannot amend, presiding officer decides as requested, cannot reconsider vote.
- ORDERS OF THE DAY. "I call for the Orders of the Day." Demands conforming to the announced order of business, in order whenever deviations are noticed. A 2/3 negative vote prevents proceeding to the Orders of the Day. Can interrupt person in debate if urgent, second not required, not debatable, cannot amend, presiding officer decides as requested, cannot reconsider vote.
SUBSIDIARY MOTIONS. Change in some way or affect the disposition of the Main Motion.
- LAY ON THE TABLE. "I move the Question be Laid On the Table." If carried, the Main Motion and those pending to it are laid aside for more pressing business until later in the meeting, or at the next one. Cannot interrupt person in debate, second required, not debatable, cannot amend, majority vote required, cannot reconsider vote.
- PREVIOUS QUESTION/LIMIT DEBATE. "I call for the Previous Question" or "I move to Limit Debate to (length of time)" or "I move that Debate be stopped at (time)." Applies only to immediate Motion, unless "all Motions" is specified. If Previous Question carries, Debate stops at once for voting. Cannot interrupt person in debate, second required, not debatable, can amend only length or time, 2/3 vote required, can reconsider vote only on length and time.
- POSTPONEMENT. "I move that the Question be Postponed until ---." Delays action until next meeting, a special time (can be made Special Order, requiring 2/3 vote) or after a certain event. Cannot interrupt person in debate, second required, debatable, can amend, majority vote required, can reconsider vote.
- REFER TO COMMITTEE. "I move that the matter be Referred to a Committee." May further state committee number to be appointed or elected with "instruction to" investigate, recommend or take action. Cannot interrupt person in debate, second required, debatable, can amend, majority vote required, can reconsider vote unless committee has begun consideration.
- AMENDMENT. "I move to Amend the Motion by ---." or "I move to Amend the Amendment by --." Ways to amend: insert or add at end, strike out words, strike out and insert, substitute paragraphs. Cannot interrupt person in debate, second required, debatable only if motion/amendment is debatable, can amend only if motion can be amended, majority vote required, can reconsider vote.
- INDEFINITE POSTPONEMENT. "I move that the matter be Postponed Indefinitely." If carried, Main Motion is killed for that meeting. Used to test strength of opposition. If lost, Main Motion is again Open to Debate. Cannot interrupt person in debate, second required, debatable, cannot amend, majority vote required, can reconsider vote only if carried.
MAIN MOTION. "I Move that ---" and "I Second the Motion." Introduces business or states a proposal for action. Has floor when no motion is pending. Cannot interrupt person in debate, second required or motion is lost, debatable, can amend, majority vote required, can reconsider vote.
INCIDENTAL MOTIONS concern matters of procedure arising out of business and must be settled at once. All incidental motions have equal rank.
- POINT OF ORDER. "I rise to a Point of Order. (state point)" Must be used at the time when a breach of rules or decorum occurs. Is in order any time bylaws, etc. are believed to have been violated. Can interrupt person in debate, no second required, not debatable, cannot amend, presiding officer or designated parliamentarian decides as requested, cannot reconsider decision.
- APPEAL DECISION OF THE CHAIR. "I appeal the Decision of the Chair. (state appeal)" Used when it is thought that the Chair has made a wrong decision. Must be made immediately after the decision and is settled by vote. Can interrupt person in debate, second required, debatable, cannot amend, majority vote required, can reconsider vote.
- SUSPENSION OF RULES. "I move to Suspend the Rules in order to/that ---." Temporarily waives parliamentary rules of order for the specific purpose stated. Cannot interrupt person in debate, second required, not debatable, cannot amend, 2/3 vote required, cannot reconsider vote.
- OBJECT TO CONSIDERATION. "I Object to the Consideration of this motion." Used to avoid consideration of embarrassing, irrelevant or contentious motions. Must be made before any debate. Can interrupt person in debate, no second required, not debatable, cannot amend, 2/3 negative vote required to kill motion, cannot reconsider affirmative vote.
- DIVISION OF ASSEMBLY. "I call for a Division of the Assembly." Verifies by rising vote a vote taken by hand or voice, or by ballot or roll call. If abused to Assembly´s annoyance, can be ruled out of order by Chair. Can interrupt person in debate, no second required, not debatable, cannot amend, presiding officer decides as requested, cannot reconsider decision.
- INQUIRY/INFORMATION/WITHDRAW. "I rise to a Parliamentary Inquiry. (state inquiry)" or "I rise for Information. (state question)" or "I request to Withdraw my Motion." Inquiries and requests are addressed to the Chair. The member can make a withdrawal before the Motion is stated or with general consent before the Main Motion is taken up. Inquiries and requests can interrupt person in debate, but withdrawals cannot; no second required; not debatable; cannot amend; presiding officer decides as requested for inquiries and requests, general consent decides withdrawals; cannot reconsider inquiries or requests, cannot reconsider affirmative withdrawal.
UNCLASSIFIED MOTIONS. These have the same rank as motion to which they are attached.
- TAKE FROM TABLE. "I move to Take From the Table the Motion that ---." Picks up for consideration a Motion which was tabled. May be used after some other business has intervened, but no later than the next meeting. Cannot interrupt person in debate, second required, not debatable, cannot amend, majority vote required, cannot reconsider vote.
- RECONSIDER THE VOTE. "I voted with the prevailing side of the Motion which (repeat motion), and move to reconsider the vote (or reconsider and have it entered on the minutes)." May reconsider when no business is pending (has Floor at once), business is pending (gains Floor next) or entered on minutes (taken up at next meeting). Cannot interrupt person in debate, second required, debatable only when reconsidered motion is debatable, cannot amend, majority vote required, cannot reconsider vote.