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.
- There are three ways to change a 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.