incidental motions
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InCIDENTAL Motions. By Cliff Creel For National Association of Parliamentarians, White Mountain Unit October , 2013. Characteristics. Generally, incidental motions are related to the main question in such a way that they must be decided immediately, before business can proceed.

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incidental motions


By Cliff Creel

For National Association of Parliamentarians,

White Mountain Unit

October, 2013

  • Generally, incidental motions are related to the main question in such a way that they must be decided immediately, before business can proceed.
  • Each is only applicable in its own special circumstances.
  • Is in order only when it is legitimately incidental to another pending motion, or when it is legitimately incidental in some other way to business at hand; it then takes precedence over any other motions that are pending.
  • Most are not debatable.
  • Incidental motions have no rank among themselves.
  • Take precedence over any pending questions out of which it may arise.
  • Yield to all privileged motions (except Division of the Assembly, which yields to nothing).
  • Yields to lay on table unless arose out of motion of higher rank.
  • *Pronounced pree-SEED-n’s
point of order
Point of Order
  • When a member thinks the rules of the assembly are being violated.
  • Chair decides; if in doubt then refers to the assembly.
    • Becomes debatable with same rules as Appeal.
  • In order when another has the floor, if urgent.
  • Undesirable to raise points of order on minor irregularities if no one’s rights are being infringed and no harm is being done.
  • Must be timely – raise at time of breach unless of a continuing nature or in violation of a fundamental principle of parliamentary law.
fundamental principles
Fundamental Principles
  • Only one question may be considered at a time.
  • Right to vote is limited to members of an organization present at the time the vote is taken in a regular or properly called meeting.
  • Each member is entitled to one – and only one – vote on a question.
  • Question the decision of the presiding officer.
  • Appeal must be made at time of ruling by chair. If any debate or business has intervened, it is too late to appeal.
  • *Debatable unless (a) relates to indecorum or transgression of rules of speaking; (b) relates to priority of business; or (c) is made when an undebatable question is immediately pending or involved in the appeal.
  • No one may speak more than one, except the chair who can speak twice.
  • Majority or tie vote sustains the decision of the chair.
  • Only applies to chair’s rulings, not opinions.
suspend the rules
Suspend the Rules
  • Can be applied to parliamentary authority, special rules of order or standing rules, but not bylaws, constitution or corporate charter.
  • Suspension of parliamentary procedure require 2/3 vote.
  • *Ordinary standing rules, adopted by majority vote, can be suspended by majority vote.
  • Some rules cannot be suspended (see next page).
  • **Cannot be renewed for same purpose at same meeting unless unanimous consent is given.
rules that cannot be suspended
Rules that Cannot be Suspended
  • Rules contained in the bylaws cannot be suspended unless the particular rule specifically provides for its own suspension.
  • No applicable procedural rule prescribed by federal, state or local law can be suspended unless the rule specifically provides for its own suspension.
  • Rules which embody fundamental principles of parliamentary law cannot be suspended.
  • Rules protecting absentees cannot be suspended (e.g. quorum)
  • Rules protecting a basic right of the individual member cannot be suspended (e.g. right to make motions).
objection to consideration of a question
Objection to Consideration of a Question
  • Allows the assembly to avoid a main motion when it believes it would be strongly undesirable to even be considered.
  • Can be raised only before there has been any debate or any subsidiary motion other than Lay on the Table has been stated by the chair.
  • Cannot be applied to an incidental main motion.
  • *Only a vote sustaining the objection can be reconsidered. A majority vote is required to reconsider. If reconsider is adopted it is presumed to have overturned the objection.
  • Form: “Shall the question be considered?”
division of a question
Division of a Question
  • A motion relating to a single subject contains several parts, each of which is capable of standing on its own.
  • Can be applied to the main motion or an amendment.
  • Division should involve no more than simple editing to separate the parts.
  • Must state how to divide the motion.
  • If the motion deals with a series of independent motions on different subjects, then any member can demand a separate vote on any of the motions (consent agenda or omnibus motion).
consideration by paragraph seriatim
Consideration by Paragraph (Seriatim)
  • A report or long motion that are not totally separate questions can be considered by opening the different parts to debate and amendment separately, without a division of the question.
  • Frequently used with adopting or amending bylaws.
  • Vote is delayed until all parts have been considered.
  • Rights of debate are renewed on each part.
  • Chair may initiate and if a member objects, then may move “that it be considered as a whole.”
  • After all parts have been considered, the whole document is opened for amendment. Then there is a single vote.
division of the assembly
Division of the Assembly
  • When a member doubts the result of a vote, this motion requires the vote to be taken again by rising.
  • Is in order when another has the floor and is called without obtaining the floor.
  • If the chair believes the vote will be close, s/he can count the vote (or order it to be counted).
  • *If the member making the motion desires the vote to be counted, that must be part of the motion, which requires a majority vote.
retake a vote
Retake a Vote
  • When a vote is in doubt, the assembly may order it to be retaken.
  • In order from moment chair has reported the vote or immediately thereafter.
  • Out of order if vote has already been taken by a method other than one of the “regular” ones or has been counted.
exhaustion of order prescribing method of voting
Exhaustion of Order Prescribing Method of Voting
  • If the method of voting on a motion is ordered by the assembly, such an order is exhausted
    • (1) when the question on which it was imposed has been finally disposed of;
    • (2) at the conclusion of the session in which the order was adopted,
  • Whichever occurs first.
  • For example, if a motion was ordered to be voted by ballot, then a reconsideration of the motion must also be by ballot.
closing reopening polls
Closing / Reopening Polls
  • Only applicable to ballot votes.
  • Usually best to leave it to chair to close polls. Any motion to close polls should not be recognized until all appear to have voted. Motion to close polls requires 2/3 vote.
  • *If members enter later and it is desired to reopen polls, it can be done with a majority vote. The time to reopen and close can be specified in the motion.
  • **A motion to close or reopen the polls at a certain time can be reconsidered prior to that time. Otherwise, the motion cannot be reconsidered.
prescribe methods of nominating
Prescribe Methods of Nominating
  • If method of nominating not designated in bylaws or other rules, then any member can propose a motion prescribing the method.
  • If more than one method proposed, they are voted in this order: by the chair, from the floor, by a committee, by ballot and by mail.
close or reopen nominations
Close or Reopen Nominations
  • Motion to close nomination generally not needed. When no further nominations from the floor, the chair declares nominations closed.
  • *Motion to close out of order unless adequate time given for nominations, then a 2/3 vote required.
  • *Motion to reopen requires majority vote
  • **Motion to close cannot be reconsidered. An affirmative vote to reopen cannot be reconsidered.
request to be excused from a duty
Request to be Excused From a Duty
  • The bylaws may impose some duties upon members beyond the payment of dues (e.g. attendance at a certain number of meetings).
  • Requires a second if made by the maker of the request.
  • *Only a negative vote can be reconsidered.
  • Resignation from office or other assignment should be submitted in writing. Duties should not be abandoned until the resignation has been accepted or a reasonable opportunity for it to be accepted.
    • When the chair announces the resignation, s/he may assume a motion “that the resignation be accepted.”
parliamentary inquiry
Parliamentary Inquiry
  • A member raises a question about parliamentary procedure. The chair is not obliged to answer hypothetical questions.
  • The chair’s answer is not subject to an appeal.
  • This is sometimes good opportunity for parliamentary education and the chair may want to defer to the parliamentarian to respond.
request for information
Request for Information
  • A member has a question relevant to the business at hand directed to the chair or another officer or member.
  • For example, if the motion under discussion requires a financial expenditure, there may be a question relating to the availability of funds directed to the Treasurer.
  • If the chair determines the question is not relevant or can wait, then s/he can so rule.
  • If a speaker consents to be interrupted, the time consumed by the request will be taken from his/her allowed time.
request to withdraw or modify a motion
Request to Withdraw or Modify a Motion
  • Before the motion has been stated by the chair:
    • The mover can withdraw or modify it without the consent of anyone.
  • After the motion has been stated by the chair:
    • The motion now belongs to the assembly.
    • *Does not require a second if moved by someone other than original mover.
    • Request to withdraw can be made even after amendments and with subsidiary or incidental motions pending.
    • **Only a negative vote can be reconsidered.
  • After a motion has been withdrawn, it can be introduced again in the same meeting.
request to read papers
Request to Read Papers
  • If ANY member objects, a member has no right to read from, or have read from, any paper or book as part of his speech without permission of the assembly.
  • *Requires a second if made by the person reading.
  • Pertains only to papers that are not before the assembly for action.
  • If a member requests that a paper before the assembly for action be read (for information – not for delay), the chair should normally direct it to be read. If it was already read and the member was absent, it should not be read again.
request for other privilege
Request for Other Privilege
  • Used for any other request, e.g. permission to address the assembly, make a presentation, etc.