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Parliamentary Procedure The Short Course NSTU 2012-13.

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1 Parliamentary Procedure The Short Course NSTU 2012-13

2 The purpose of parliamentary procedure is to facilitate the business of the meeting. It is not a goal in itself.

3 Topics Purpose of rules of order Rules Governing Action Procedural actions Voting Rules Governing Participation

4 Purpose and Context The NSTU uses Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised (RRONR) The adherence to the rules of parliamentary procedure is determined by the nature of the meeting. Committee meetings may often be conducted informally with only casual reference to rules, particularly if the committee has no independent authority to act (e.g. NSTU standing committees). Actions taken by a group or on behalf of a group usually require a more formal process to express the collective will of the group.

5 Rules Governing Action Quorum - The meeting cannot authorize any action unless at least the minimum number of people constituting a quorum is present. Call to Order – by the Chair if there’s a quorum Agenda Template Approval of the Minutes Unfinished business (matters previously introduced). This is often referred to as “Business arising from the Minutes” Reports of officers and standing committees Reports of special or Ad Hoc committees New Business

6 Main Motions Rules Governing Action Main Motions Motions must be moved by a member. Before debate may begin, a member must second the motion. The chair then states the motion for the assembly. This is what formally puts the motion on the floor before the assembly. –Until the chair states the motion, the mover has the right to modify the motion. Once it has been stated, the motion belongs to the assembly, not the mover.

7 Main Motions Rules Governing Action Main Motions Motions NOT in order: –A motion that conflicts with the organization’s constitution or with provincial or federal law –A motion that presents substantially the same question as a motion previously rejected during the same session –A motion that conflicts with a motion previously adopted at any time and is still in force.

8 Amendments Rules Governing Action Amendments Used to modify the wording and, within certain limits the meaning, of a pending motion before the vote on the motion is taken. Requires a second and is debatable. Requires only a majority vote, even if the motion being amended requires a 2/3 majority for adoption.

9 Amendments Rules Governing Action Amendments An amendment must be germane to the main motion. “To be germane, an amendment must in some way involve the same question that is raised by the motion to which it is applied. An amendment cannot introduce an independent question; but an amendment can be hostile, or even defeat, the spirit of the original motion and still be germane.” There is no such thing as a “friendly amendment” – once the motion is made, it becomes the property of the meeting.

10 Procedural Motions Three guiding principles –During the meeting in which the assembly has decided a question, the same question cannot be brought up again, except through special procedures that imply an unusual circumstance. –While a question is temporarily disposed of but is not finally settled, no similar or conflicting motion whose adoption would restrict the assembly in acting on the first question can be introduced. –To change what the assembly has adopted requires something more (in the way of a vote or previous notice to the members) than was necessary to adopt it in the first place.

11 Postpone/Table Indefinitely Procedural Motions Postpone/Table Indefinitely Postpone Indefinitely is a motion enabling the assembly to decline to take a position on the main question. Its adoption kills the main motion for the duration of the session and avoids a direct vote on the question. –Applies only to a main motion –Requires a second –Requires a majority vote

12 Postpone/Table to a Time Procedural Motions Postpone/Table to a Time Postpone to a Certain Time enables the assembly to delay consideration to a later time. –This motion takes precedence over the main motion and any amendments –Requires a second –Debate is limited in that it must not go into the merits of the main question (“any more than is necessary to enable the assembly to decide whether the main question should be postponed and to what time”). –Amendable with respect to time. –The motion cannot be applied to a group of motions, procedures or reports. In the case of the latter, each report can be postponed separately.

13 Refer Procedural Motions Refer Used to send a pending question to a relatively small group of selected persons such as a committee so that the question may be carefully investigated and put into better condition for the assembly to consider. Requires a second Requires majority vote.

14 Reconsider Procedural Motions Reconsider Reconsider – enables the assembly, within a limited time and without notice, to bring back for further consideration a motion which has already been voted on. –A motion to reconsider can only be made by a member who voted with the prevailing side. –Requires a second –A motion to reconsider must be made during the meeting at which the disposition of the motion was decided. –It is debatable. –Requires a majority vote regardless of the vote necessary to adopt the motion to be reconsidered. –The motion to reconsider cannot itself be reconsidered.

15 Rescind Procedural Motions Rescind the motion by which a previous action or order can be canceled or countermanded. –Can be applied to anything that has a continuing force and effect. –Requires a second –Debatable – can debate the merits of the question which it is proposing to be rescinded. –Amendable –Requires 2/3 majority, unless notice of motion provided.

16 Voting Voting on a motion is usually done by voice (“All those in favour please signify by saying ‘aye’... those opposed ‘nay’”) –The chair must always call for the negative vote, even if it appears the motion is carried overwhelmingly. –The chair should not call for abstentions as it is meaningless. –If the chair is a member of the assembly, he/she has the same voting right as any other member. However, the chair should protect his/her impartial position by voting only when his/her vote would affect the outcome. Voting may be done by a show of hands where counting is practical

17 Division Voting Division A call for counting the votes for and against the motion –May be called by the chair if he/she is uncertain of the outcome. –Frequently conducted when a motion requires a 2/3 majority. –A member of the assembly may challenge the ruling of the chair concerning the results of the vote immediately after such an announcement by saying “division”. –Members are not required to vote the same way during the counting of a vote as during the voice or show of hands. “In voting by any of these methods (including a counted rising vote), a member has the right to change his vote up to the time the result is finally announced.”

18 Rules Governing Participation Debate concerning a topic should not take place unless a motion has been made and seconded. Speaking to a motion –In order to speak to a motion, a member must be recognized by the chair. –The mover of the motion is entitled to speak to the motion first. –The speakers to a motion should alternate between opinions concerning the motion where possible and should declare at the beginning of their comments whether they are speaking in favour or in opposition to the motion. –No member may speak a second time on a motion unless all other members who wish to speak to the motion have done so.

19 Point of Order Although the chair has the responsibility of enforcing the rules, any member who believes a situation exists in which the chair is failing to do so can, at the time the breach occurs, call attention to it by making a Point of Order; the effect is to require the chair to make a ruling on the question involved.

20 Appeal Any two members have the right to appeal the decision of the chair on questions of parliamentary law. (“I appeal the decision of the chair.”) Takes precedence over any question pending at the time the chair makes the ruling being appealed. Requires a second

21 Appeal Is debatable Must be made at the time the chair makes the ruling in question. It may interrupt when another member has the floor.

22 Appeal Not amendable Question is put to the assembly: “Shall the decision of the chair stand?” Majority or tie vote sustain the chair. Can be reconsidered.

23 Question of Privilege If a pressing situation is affecting a right or privilege of the assembly or of an individual member, a member can Raise a Question of Privilege, which permits the interruption of business to state an urgent request or motion. If the matter is not simple enough to be taken care of informally, the chair then makes a ruling as to whether it requires consideration before the pending business is resumed.

24 Adjournment The motion to adjourn is a privileged motion and may interrupt a pending question. –It is not a privileged motion if a time for adjournment has already been established. –It is out of order if another member has the floor. If adopted, the meeting closes immediately. It is not debatable The motion to adjourn requires a second. Requires a majority vote. Cannot be reconsidered

25 Copyright Nova Scotia Teachers Union 2012

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