Parliamentary Procedure – Motions
The motions in the top chart are ranking motions. That is, they take precedence over one another in graduating steps up the page. The highest number, Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn, is the highest ranking. The lowest number, Postpone Indefinitely, is the lowest ranking. If one of these motions is introduced, no motion that is lower in rank is in order until the pending parliamentary motion is disposed of, but any motion higher in rank can be introduced while the motion is pending. For example, if a motion to Postpone to a Set Time has been made but not yet voted on, the motions to Refer to Committee, Amend and Postpone Indefinitely would not be in order but any of the motions above number 5 would be in order. These motions are divided into Privileged motions which have to do with the comfort and convenience of the assembly and Subsidiary motions which offer ways to deal with the main motion. The motions in the bottom chart are without rank and are incidental to the proceedings in some way, therefore they can interrupt business.
(click on links for definition)
|Motions with Rank (in order of precedence)|
(see notes below)
|Fix Time to Which to Adjourn||Yes||No||Yes||M||R|
|Raise a Question of Privilege||No||No||No||–||Ch, IS|
|Call for the Orders of the Day||No||No||No||–||Ch, IS|
|Lay on the Table||Yes||No||No||M|
|Call for Previous Question||Yes||No||No||2/3||R|
|Limit or Extend Debate||Yes||No||Yes||2/3||R|
|Refer to Committee||Yes||Yes||Yes||M||R|
|IS = Interrupts speaker
IP = Interrupts pending business
|Ch = Chair decides|
|(a) = In the affirmative
(n) = In the negative
|R = Reconsider|
|Motions Without Rank|
|Point of Order:||Chair decides
Interrupts pending business
|Point of Information:|
|Division of the Assembly:|
|Appeal Decision of Chair:||Requires second, debatable, majority vote, interrupts pending business|
|Object to Consideration:||2/3 vote, interrupts pending business|
|Object to General Consent:||majority vote, interrupts pending business|
|Suspend the Rules:||requires second, 2/3 vote, interrupts pending business|
|Division of the Question:||requires second, amendable, majority vote, interrupts pending business|
|Consider Seriatim:||requires second, amendable, majority vote, interrupts pending business|
|Withdraw a Motion:
(by motion S M R (n))
Interrupts pending business
|Second Chance Motions|
|Take from the Table:||requires second, majority vote|
|Rescind or Amend
Something Previously Adopted
|requires second, debatable, amendable, 2/3 vote|
|Discharge a Committee:||requires second, debatable, amendable, 2/3 vote, interrupts pending business|
|Reconsider:||requires second, debatable, majority vote, interrupts pending business|
Fix time to which to adjourn – sets the time (and /or place) for another meeting to continue business of the session. It has no effect on when the present meeting will adjourn (requires second, not debatable, amendable, and majority vote).
Lay on the table – delays a motion briefly when something more urgent has arisen. Its effect is to halt consideration of a question immediately, without debate (requires second, not debatable, not amendable, and majority vote)
Limit or extend debate – one of two motions an assembly can use to exercise special control over debate on a pending question. It can be used to reduce the number or length of speeches, or to require an end to debate at a particular time. It can also be used to increase the time available to speakers or to the deliberation on the question (requires second, not debatable, amendable, and 2/3 vote)
Postpone definitely – a motion to defer discussion of a pending question to a definite day, meeting, hour, or until after a certain event. This motion can be used regardless of how much debate there has been on the motion it proposes to postpone (requires second, debatable, amendable, and majority vote).
Refer to a committee – assigns the motion to a committee so that the question may be investigated, providing the assembly with more information or a recommendation, or to put the motion into better form (in clearer or better wording) for the assembly to consider (requires second, debatable, amendable, and majority vote).
Amend – a motion to modify the wording–and to some extent the meaning – of a pending question before the assembly. A pending motion may be modified by adding or deleting words and phrases, or by a combination of these–i.e., to strike out some words and insert others. It can also be used to substitute one paragraph or the entire text of a resolution or main motion. Amendments must be both pertinent and fitting (requires second, debatable, amendable, and majority vote).
Refer to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised 10th edition, for further explanations.
Vancil, David, comp. Parliamentary Motions – Quick Reference. Colorado State University. 21 Sept. 2007 <http://facultycouncil.colostate.edu/files/ParliamentaryMotionsQuickReference.pdf>.
Taylor, Greg, Dr., Chris, Dr. Boleman, Toby, Dr. Lepley, and Angela Burkham, comps. Leading Effective Meetings: Making Basic Parliamentary Procedure Work. Texas a&M University, Building Connections: Community Leadership Program. 21 Sept. 2007 <http://buildingconnections.tamu.edu/ParliamentaryProcedure/Parliamentary%20Procedure%20Lesson.pdf>