Parliamentary Procedure Intended to keep meetings running smoothly and efficiently. Based on protecting the rights of several groups: Majority Minority Individual Members Absentee Members Most of the rules can be understood by remembering these basic principles.
General Practices and Procedures Procedures A member makes a motion which must be seconded by another member (with some exceptions). The motion is stated by the chair and the floor is open to debate (when the motion is debatable). The chair puts the motion to a vote, and the motion is either adopted or lost. Other motions may be made which take precedence over the original motion – these must be dealt with first. Formalities Avoid referring to members by name and be respectful. All questions are guided through the chair. Chair speaks in the third person.
Other Rules of Debate and Voting Debate Two speeches of ten minutes each on each motion. Must be germane to the immediately pending motion. Must not attack the motives of another member. May not speak on a prior action not pending. May not speak against own motion. May not read from papers without permission. Voting Always round up to the next whole number. Majority vote – more than half. Abstentions generally do not affect the result.
Types of Motions Main Motion – Brings business before the assembly. Subsidiary Motions – Affects the pending motion. Amend, Postpone, etc. Privileged Motions – Motions of special importance. Adjourn, Recess, etc. Incidental Motions – Relates to specific instances. Point of Order, Suspend the Rules, etc. Motions that Bring a Question Again Before the Assembly Reconsider, Rescind, etc.
The Main Motion The most basic type of motion. Brings business before the assembly. Can be anything from spending money to taking a stance on an issue. Debatable, majority vote required. Example: Move to allocate $50 from the Refreshments line item to buy pizza and pop for the Student Senate Retreat. Try to make main motions specific to avoid confusion. Move to buy pizza and pop leaves too many unanswered questions – how much money? Where is the money coming from? What is the pizza for?
Subsidiary Motions Amend Modifies the language of a motion in some way. Must be germane to the motion. Is debatable and amendable (amendments to amendments are not amendable for everyones sanity). Not debatable if it is amending something undebatable. Majority vote. Three main forms of amendment. Insert or Add Strike Strike and Insert (Substitute) Filling blanks Used when there are many different proposals for a variable, such as amounts of money Proposals are taken and voted on in order until one receives a majority vote (or you can vote by ballot)
Commit or Refer Sends the motion to a committee to report back at a later meeting. Can be a standing committee (called for in the Constitution or Bylaws) or a special/ad-hoc committee (created for a specific purpose) Useful when you need a small group to study a complex issue. Debatable, amendable, majority vote.
Postpone Definitely Postpones the motion to the next meeting or to a specific time later in the same meeting Cannot be postponed to the next meeting if its more than a quarterly interval away, or beyond the next meeting Cannot postpone a motion if it would effectively kill it Useful if you need more time to think about an issue Amendable and debatable, majority vote
MSUSA Roberts Rules All motions require a 2/3 vote of the members present. A speaker announces the votes for an entire delegation. A motion must be seconded by a delegate from a different campus. Most motions require a majority vote of the members present and voting. Each member votes individually. A motion may be seconded by any member.