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Parliamentary Procedure & Robert’s Rules of Order. Tenth District Workshop District Counselor: Bro. Steven Watkins Facilitators: Bro. John Ball Bro. Kendall Franklin. Today’s Topics. Section 1 – Introduction & Basic Principles Section 2 – Overview of Motions

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parliamentary procedure robert s rules of order

Parliamentary Procedure & Robert’s Rules of Order

Tenth District Workshop

District Counselor:

Bro. Steven Watkins


Bro. John Ball

Bro. Kendall Franklin

today s topics
Today’s Topics

Section 1 – Introduction & Basic Principles

Section 2 – Overview of Motions

Section 3 – Details of Submitting Motions




  • What are parliamentary procedures?
    • The rules that help us maintain order and ensure fairness in all decision-making processes.
  • What are Robert’s Rules of Order?
    • Codification of general present-day parliamentary procedures.
basic principles
Basic Principles
  • Someone must facilitate meetings and maintain order (the presiding officer)
  • All members have a right to bring up ideas
  • Members should come to an agreement about what course of action to take
  • The majority rules, but the basic rights of the minority are always protected by assuring them the right to speak and to vote.
basic principles6
Basic Principles
  • Parliamentary procedure enables members to take care of business in an efficient manner while maintaining order.
  • It ensures everyone gets the right to speak and to vote.
  • Takes up business one item at a time and promotes courtesy, justice, and impartiality.
the presiding officer
The Presiding Officer
  • The presiding officer (often referred to as “the chair”) is the person who conducts the meeting.
  • The presiding officer is a role – not a position. This means that the presiding officer is the person who occupies the chair at a given instant of time.
the presiding officer8
The Presiding Officer
  • The general duties of the presiding officer are:
    • To call the meeting to order at the scheduled time
    • To announce the business that is to come before the body
    • To recognize members who wish to speak
    • To state and put to vote all questions that come before the body
the presiding officer9
The Presiding Officer
  • General Duties (con’t)
    • To protect the assembly from obviously frivolous and dilatory motions by refusing to recognize them
    • To enforce the rules relating to debate
    • To expedite business in an orderly manner
    • To decide all questions of order
    • To declare the meeting adjourned
promoting courtesy
Promoting Courtesy
  • Members should rise to be recognized by the presiding officer.
  • Members should ALWAYS refer to other members and officers in the third person. Officers are referred to by title. For example:
    • Mr. President or Madam President; or Mr. Chairman or Madam Chairman
  • Members should refer to each other in a cordial and courteous manner, for example:
    • “the previous speaker”
    • “Brother Smith”
promoting courtesy11
Promoting Courtesy
  • All remarks are made through and to the chair!
  • When correcting a member, the presiding officer does not use the member’s name, but instead should state something to the effect: “will the speaker keep his/her remarks to the issue at hand?”
promoting courtesy12
Promoting Courtesy
  • If a motion is out of order the chair states: “The motion is out of order”, not “The member is out of order” or “brother you are out of order.”
  • Only major infractions of rules are corrected.
  • If a member’s rights are not being taken away and the infraction is minor, then it isn’t necessary to raise a point of order.
order of business
Order of Business
  • Commonly referred to as an agenda, the order of business is the sequence of general business items that will be addressed in the meeting.
  • The order of business must be adopted by the body prior to addressing business.
order of business14
Order of Business
  • The standard order of business includes:
    • Call to Order
    • Roll Call
    • Approval of Agenda
    • Reading and Approval of Minutes
    • Officer Reports
    • Committee Reports
    • Special Orders
    • Unfinished Business
    • New Business
    • Adjournment
  • Different organizations/societies may establish their own standard order of business pursuant to their by-laws.
officers reports
Officers Reports
  • In deliberative assemblies, officer reports are generally customary – not required – at each meeting.
  • The only officers who are required to issue reports at each meeting are the secretary and treasurer.
  • If officer reports are made, then they are issued immediately after the reading and approval of the minutes.
officer reports
Officer Reports

The President’s and Vice-President’s Reports

  • The reports of the President and Vice-President are usually for information purposes only, but may contain recommendations for action.
  • If the report contains recommendations, then any motions to adopt the recommendations should be made from the floor by a member other than the officer issuing the report.
officer reports17
Officer Reports

The Treasurer’s Report

  • The required components of the treasurer’s report are:
    • Beginning Cash Balance
    • Total Disbursements
    • Total Receipts
    • Ending Cash Balance
  • The treasurer’s report is always filed with the secretary. It is never approved or adopted by the assembly.
  • When the treasurer’s books are audited, the assembly adopts the auditor’s report.
committee reports
Committee Reports
  • All committee reports shall be submitted in writing.
  • A committee report should be submitted orally only if it is brief enough for the secretary to record its complete substance.
  • If a committee report contains recommendations, then acceptance of the report is NOT tantamount to adoption of the recommendations in the report. Each recommendation must be considered as a separate motion.
  • A motion made by a committee of more than one member does not require a second.


  • A motion is a formal proposal that recommends a course of action that the body should take.
  • A motion must be placed to the body prior to its merits being discussed.
  • A motion contains three basic pieces of information:
    • Who: References the maker of the motion
    • What: References the action to be taken
    • When: References the timeframe in which the action is to be taken.
classes of motions
Classes Of Motions

There are five (5) classes of motions:

  • Main Motion
  • Subsidiary Motion
  • Privileged Motion
  • Incidental Motion
  • Motions That Bring A Question Back Before The Assembly

Secondary Motions

main motions
Main Motions
  • A main motion brings a specific recommendation for action before the body.
  • Only one main motion can be considered at a time.
  • Once a main motion has been made and seconded, it must be acted upon before another main motion is considered.
  • In terms of order of precedence of consideration, a main motion is the lowest ranking of all motions.
secondary motions
Secondary Motions
  • A secondary motion:
    • Is related to and takes precedence over a main motion;
    • Can be considered while the main motion is pending;
    • Must be acted upon and disposed of prior to addressing the main motion.
  • There are three types of secondary motions:
    • Subsidiary Motion
    • Incidental Motion
    • Privileged Motion
subsidiary motions
Subsidiary Motions
  • Subsidiary motions assist the body in treating or disposing of main motions or other motions.
  • Examples of subsidiary motions are:
    • Amend
    • Postpone Definitely
    • Postpone Indefinitely
    • Lay on the Table
    • Limit or Extend Debate
    • Refer to Committee
incidental motions
Incidental Motions
  • Incidental motions raise questions about either the pending business or how to address the pending business.
  • Examples of incidental motions are:
    • Point of Order
    • Point of Information
    • Appeal (of the Ruling of the Chair)
    • Suspend the Rules
    • Consideration by Paragraph
privileged motions
Privileged Motions
  • Privileged motions are motions that are related to matters of immediate and overarching importance which, without debate, should be allowed to interrupt the consideration of anything else.
  • Examples of privileged motions are:
    • Orders of the Day
    • Raise a Question of Privilege
    • Recess
    • Adjourn
motions that bring a question back before the assembly
Motions That Bring A Question Back Before The Assembly
  • Motions that bring a question back before the assembly do just what the name implies – bring a matter of business back before the body for consideration.
  • Examples are:
    • Take From The Table
    • Reconsider
    • Rescind
    • Discharge a Committee
motions that require a majority vote
Motions That Require a Majority Vote
  • Main Motion
  • Adjournment
  • Recess
  • Lay on the Table
  • Take From The Table
  • Refer to Committee
  • Amend
  • Reconsider
  • Rescind (with previous notice)
  • Postpone Indefinitely
  • Postpone Definitely
motions that require 2 3 vote
Motions That Require 2/3 Vote
  • Previous Question
  • Limit Or Extend Debate
  • Close Nominations
  • Object To Consideration of a Question
  • Suspend The Rules
  • Rescind (without prior notice)
  • Discharge Committee (without prior notice)
making a motion
Making A Motion
  • To make a motion, the maker should say:
    • “I move that …” or
    • “I move to …”
  • Never say “I make a motion to …”
  • A motion must be seconded by another member. A second merely implies that the seconder agrees the motion should be considered / discussed by the body – not necessarily that he supports the motion itself.
making a motion32
Making A Motion
  • Once a motion is made and properly seconded, the chair restates the motion and places it before the body for consideration. The chair says:
    • “It is moved and seconded that …. Are there any questions?”
  • Once a motion is restated by the chair, the motion belongs to the assembly – the motion no longer belongs to the maker of the motion.
making a motion33
Making A Motion
  • The chair places the motion to the body for discussion and debate. Members must be recognized by the chair before they can speak and present their arguments for/against the motion.
  • The person who makes the motion has the first right to speak to the motion.
making a motion34
Making A Motion
  • After debate is complete, the chair puts the motion to a vote by saying: “All those in favor say Aye. … All opposed say Nay”.
  • After the vote is tallied, the chair rules on which side won the vote. The chair announces which side won the vote and announces who will carry out the action if the motion passes.
amending a motion
Amending A Motion
  • Amending a motion means modifying a pending motion in some manner prior to voting on the pending motion.
  • An amendment must be germane to the pending motion. In other words, it must be related to the pending motion and have a relevant bearing on the meaning of the pending motion.
amending a motion36
Amending A Motion
  • The basic descriptive characteristics of an amendment are:
    • Requires a second
    • Can be applied to any main motion
    • Is debatable
    • Requires a majority vote to adopt
    • Can be reconsidered
amending a motion37
Amending A Motion
  • There are three basic processes for amending a motion:
    • To insert or to add words
    • To strikeout words
    • To strikeout and insert words
amending a motion38
Amending A Motion
  • The Myth of The “Friendly Amendment”
    • There is no such thing as a “friendly amendment.”
    • What is typically referred to as a “friendly amendment” is really an attempt by someone sympathetic to the original main motion to make the motion more palatable to the rest of the body.
    • Many people believe that the maker of the original motion has the option to accept or reject the “friendly amendment.” This is NOT true! All amendments (including so-called friendly amendments) must be seconded and must be voted upon by the entire assembly.
details on specific types of motions
Details On Specific Types Of Motions
  • Nominations
  • Teller’s Report
  • Appeal The Decision of the Chair
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • Postpone Indefinitely
  • Postpone Definitely
  • Lay On The Table
  • The chair calls for nominations from the floor.
  • When it appears that no one else wants to make further nominations, the chair declares nominations closed without waiting for a motion to close nominations.
  • After nominations have been closed, a majority vote is required to re-open nominations.
  • Seconds are not required for nominations. Once a member is nominated, it is NOT required to obtain a second.
  • Please note that the chair does not need to call for more nominations three times before closing nominations.
teller s report
Teller’s Report
  • The teller’s report is the official documentation of the results of a vote or election.
  • The teller’s report should consist of the following:
    • Number of Votes Cast
    • Number of Votes Necessary for Election
    • List Each Candidate and the Number of Votes Received
    • Number of Ineligible and Rejected Votes
  • The teller’s report should not include the # of members eligible to vote.
  • The reporting teller never declares the result of a ballot vote. The result of the vote is announced by the chair when he reads the teller’s report.
  • The teller’s report is entered, in full, into the minutes, and thereby becoming part of the official records of the organization.
appeal decision of the chair
Appeal Decision of the Chair
  • The purpose is to disagree with the chair’s ruling and to let the members decide the disagreement by a vote.
    • Requires a second
    • Must be made at the time the ruling was rendered.
    • Is debatable
    • Is NOT amendable
    • Can be reconsidered.
  • The chair gets the first opportunity to speak in the debate so that he may explain the reason behind his ruling.
  • The question before the body is “shall the decision of the chair be sustained. All in favor say Yea, all opposed Nay.”
  • Majority or tie vote sustains the decision of the chair.
postpone indefinitely
Postpone Indefinitely
  • A motion that the assembly decline to take a position on a main motion.
  • Used in situations where an embarrassing main motion was presented before the assembly.
    • Must be seconded
    • Is debatable
    • Is NOT amendable
    • Requires a majority vote to pass
  • If adopted, the motion to postpone indefinitely effectively kills the motion.
postpone definitely
Postpone Definitely
  • A motion to postpone definitely defers a vote on the main motion until a specified future time.
    • Must be seconded
    • Is debatable
    • Is amendable
    • Requires a majority vote to pass
lay on the table
Lay On The Table
  • Used to temporarily defer consideration of a pending main motion in favor of a more pressing matter of business.
    • Must be seconded
    • Is NOT debatable
    • Is NOT amendable
    • Requires a majority vote to pass
  • When a motion is laid on the table, the motion is reconsidered during the same meeting.