Parliamentary Procedure

Parliamentary Procedure is the code of rules for working together in groups.  It has evolved through centuries of experience of individuals working together for a common purpose.  It is logic and common sense crystallized into rules of law.

Why Should Parliamentary Procedure Be Used? (Advantages)

  • It facilitates the transaction of business.
  • The vote of the majority decides.
  • All members have equal rights, privileges, and ob­liga­tions.
  • The minority has rights that must be protected.
  • Full and free discussion is an established right.
  • Only one question can be considered at one time.
  • Every member has the right to know what the ques­tion before the group means before she/he votes.
  • The membership may delegate duties and author­ity, but retains the right of final decision.
  • Parliamentary rules are administered impar­tially.

When Should Parliamentary Procedure Be Used?

  • Policymaking groups.
  • Groups with large membership.
  • Groups composed of elected representatives.
  • On matters of relative importance.
  • On controversial issues.
  • Whether either the chair or a member suggests its use in a particular situation.

How Should Parliamentary Procedure Be Used?

  • The conduct of meetings can be conceived to be a continuum of formality. At one end, we have the highly for­mal type of meeting using parliamentary pro­cedure in its strictest sense. At the opposite end, we have the in­formal dis­cussion in which the “elected” leader is indis­tinguishable from the other mem­bers. An effec­tive democratic leader should develop sensitivity to the situation and she/he should be flexible in adapting the group’s procedure appro­pri­ate to the situation.

The Purpose Of Parliamentary Procedure Is:

  • To enable a group to conduct business with effi­ciency and harmony.
  • To protect the rights of each individual.
  • Accordingly, there are some basic principals to con­sider in achieving A & B:
    • Only one person may claim the attention of the meeting at one time.
    • Each motion is entitled to full and free de­bate.
    • Every member has rights equal to every other mem­ber.
    • The will of the majority must be carried out, and the rights of the minority will be pre­served.

How to Make A Motion

  • Member Rises to Address the Presiding Offi­cer and waits to be recognized.
  • The Presiding Officer Recognizes Member. Chair states the member’s name or nods to the member in the red shirt, etc. That member is the only mem­ber enti­tled to present or discuss a mo­tion at that time.
  • Member Proposes A Motion. Introduce a mo­tion by saying “I move that…” followed by a statement of the proposal. The motion is not to be discussed until it has been seconded by someone and stated in full by the chair.
  • Another Member Seconds the Motion. The member does not have to rise or address the chair, but simply says, “I sec­ond the motion.” If no one seconds the mo­tion, the chair may ask, “Did the chair hear a second to the mo­tion?” If there is none, the chair will declare, “The motion is lost for want of a second.”
  • The Chair Restates the Motion in Full. When the motion has been properly made and sec­onded, the chair restates the motion in full to the group.
  • The Members Discuss or Debate the Mo­tion. After the chair has restated the motion, any mem­ber may dis­cuss it. The members must be recog­nized first, and is al­lowed to speak only twice on any one is­sue in any one day. Time limit is 10 min­utes each for a total of 20 min­utes. If the origi­nator of a mo­tion wishes to speak, he/she is recog­nized first.
  • The Presiding Officer Takes the Vote on the Mo­tion. When all members have finished dis­cus­sion, the chair “puts the motion to a vote.” He/she will ask for any further discus­sion. If none, the dis­cus­sion is closed. The chair will then take the vote by an­nouncing; “All in fa­vor of the motion to (re­state the mo­tion) say ‘Aye’.” Follow­ing that re­sponse, the chair says, “Those opposed say ‘Nay’.” If the chair cannot tell from the volume of voices which way the major­ity vote went, he/she might ask those in favor to rise. After counting, he/she then says, “Be seated. Those opposed, rise. Be seated.”
  • The Presiding Officer Announces the Re­sult of the Vote. The chair states, “The ayes have it and the motion is car­ried” or “The nays have it and the mo­tion is lost.” As soon as the vote has been an­nounced, if determined by voice vote rather than standing and any mem­ber ques­tions the results of the vote, the mem­ber may call for a Division of the House. The chair must then ask members to stand for an actual count.

How to Change A Motion

  • When you want to change a motion that is on the floor, you must first stand to be recognized. Then you say, “I move to amend the motion by (and state your change precisely).”
    • There are three ways to change a motion:
      • By adding — add something to the original mo­tion.
      • By striking out — strike out something from the original motion.
      • By striking out and inserting — striking out something from the original motion and in­sert­ing something else in its place
    • An amendment must be germane to the motion — that is, it must have direct bear­ing on the main mo­tion.
  • When an original motion has been amended, there is a specific order of voting.
    • Amendments are voted upon in order be­fore the group can consider the main mo­tion.
    • After discussion, if necessary, the vote is taken on the amendment to the motion. If this amend­ment    passes, then the motion is amended.
    • After discussion of the amended motion, the motion is voted on. The vote is taken on the main motion as amended.