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PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE

By: Antonio Orendain


(Basically a Roberts Rules of Order)

FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE


1. Members have equal rights and obligations. Members rights include right to
speak, right to vote and be voted upon, right to be informed, etc. But such
rights have certain limitations as provided in these rules and the by-laws of the
organization. Members obligations include attendance in a meeting, perform
the assigned task, payment of dues, etc .
2. Majority rule. Majority simply means at least one half of the total number of
members plus one.
3. Minority must be protected.
4. Singularity of the Subject. This principle means that only one subject must be
brought before the assembly at a time.
5. Full and free debate must be allowed. This principle is obviously founded on
the theory that there are at least two sides to every question, and that all sides
must be heard before any decision is made on it.
6. Every motion must be voted upon. With the exception of a few, all motions
brought before the assembly should be voted upon for their proper disposition.
7. Group interest must prevail. Every member is an integral part of the
organization, each one plays a significant role in the collective efforts of the
entire group. But as such, his personality and private desires should be
subordinate to that of the organization.
8. The presiding officer must be impartial. He should not take sides in a debate,
and should volunteer information or advance his personal opinion only when
necessary. As a member of the organization, he is entitled to participate in the
deliberation of any question before the assembly, but this he should do only
from the floor after surrendering the Chair temporarily to some other member.

MEETINGS.
A meeting is a gathering of members or officers of an organization.
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Kinds of Meetings
1. A regular meeting is one which is held at the time provided for in the
constitution or by-laws of the organization. Members are presumed to know
the regular meeting days and are usually not served with notices to the effect.
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2. A special meeting may be called from time to time either by the head of the
organization, or a certain number of the members, depending upon the rules of
the organization. No business can be transacted in a special meeting except
that which is specified in the notice which must be served to every member.
3. An adjourned meeting is merely a continuation of an original meeting
(whether regular or special) in which any business left pending.
QUORUM
A Quorum is that number or proportion of the members of an organization
which must be present at a particular meeting for the organization to legally transact
business.
In the absence of a quorum, no business can be transacted with legal effect
even with unanimous consent of those who are present except to adopt such measures
as are deemed necessary to obtain a quorum or to adjourn.
Quorum is purely discretionary on the part of the organization as it may be
provided in its constitution and by-laws. In the absence, however of any such
provision, common parliamentary law fixes the quorum at a majority of its members.

ORDER OF BUSINESS (AGENDA)


Order of business is a program or outline of the things to be done or questions
to be taken up during a meeting. It serves as a guide of the proceedings to insure the
orderly and efficient transaction of business.
1. Call to Order. A meeting is called to order by the presiding officer who, after
rapping the gavel, announces:
The meeting will please come to order
2. Invocation.
3. Roll Call. The calling of the roll is performed by the secretary which the
members answering here or present as their respective names are called.
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4. Reading and consideration of the minutes of the previous meeting. The


presiding officer directs the secretary by saying:
The secretary is directed to read the minutes of the previous
meeting.
After the reading of the minutes, the presiding officer ask:
Are there corrections to the minutes? If no correction is offered, he
states:
There being no corrections, the minutes stand approved as read
If corrections are proposed, the presiding officer directs the secretary to note
them down, and then puts them to a vote.
5. Reports of Standing Committees.
6. Reports of Special Committees.
7. Unfinished Business. These are matters which have been left pending at the
adjournment of the last meeting.
8. New Business. When all the unfinished business have been disposed off, new
business are taken up upon the announcement of the presiding officer, thus:
The table is now open for new business.
9. Announcement. Any announcement which the presiding officer or a member
may wish to make to the assembly should be done at this stage of the meeting.
10. Adjournment. A meeting may be adjourned at any time upon a motion duly
approved or at a certain fixed time if one has been previously set. In any case, a
meeting is not properly adjourned until the presiding officer declares the
adjournment. (See Section 2, To Adjourn)

DEBATES
A debate is a discussion on any subject for the purpose of elucidating the truth
or influencing action. Inquiries and suggestions are not debates

Debates are necessary part of parliamentary procedure because it is only through the
medium of a free and full discussion that the members of an assembly may be able to
decide a question intelligently.

BASIC RULES OF DEBATE


Relevancy and Decorum are two important requirement of debate. Relevancy
means that all discussions must be related to the question at issue. When a member is
given the right to speak on a question, he is expected to confine his discussion to the
question before the assembly; the moment he strays from the subject he said to be out
of order and should be declared so either by the chair or by any other member.
It is also fundamental rule in debate that the speaker should not speak against
his own motion, although he may ask to withdraw it or, failing to do this, vote against
the measure. ( See Section 21, to withdraw).

Decorum in debate means courtesy in speech and propriety of action. The


speaker should conduct himself with dignity and should always use decent language.
Hel should extend all respects to the chair and assembly and to any colleague whether
the latters views are in agreement or are contrary to his own.
All remarks of the speaker should be addressed to the chair, and personalities
should be avoided. The presiding officer should be referred to as The Chair, and the
other officers of the organization, by their respective titles. If reference is to be made
to another member the speaker should as much as possible, avoid using the members
name, instead he should refer to him as the proposer of the motion, or sponsor of
the resolution or the speaker who proceeded me, or by some appropriate
description.
If the speaker commits any breach of decorum, it is the duty of the chair to call
him to order. If the chair fails to do this any member may rise on a point of order, and
the assembly if appealed to, shall decide on the case without debate. If the decision is
in favor of the member called to order, he shall be at liberty to proceed but not
otherwise. (See Section 24, Point of Order and Section 27, To Appeal)

At Close of Debate.

When a question appears to have been thoroughly discussed and nobody


expresses a desire to speak on it further, the chair proceeds to put the question to a
vote by asking first,
Are you ready for the question?
If after a reasonable pause no one claims the floor, the Chair proceeds to take
the vote on the question, and once voting has commenced no one can claim the right
to speak.

Reopening Debate
Subject to certain rules and conditions, a question that has been decided upon
by the assembly may be reopened by motion for reconsideration. Reconsideration
opens the question to a new discussion and vote, the same as if it were introduced for
the first time. (See Section 15, To Reconsider).

NOMINATIONS
Nomination is a formal act of proposing to the assembly the name of a
candidate for an office to be filled. It is normally a condition precedent to the election
of a person to office or the selection of a member for some other purposes, like
serving on a committee.

COMMITTEES
A committee is a body of one or more persons appointed or elected to perform
certain functions for the assembly. Its duties generally include the consideration or
investigation of certain matters, or the execution of certain acts that may be specially
assigned to it.

MOTION AND RESOLUTION

Motion is a formal proposal that the assembly either adopt a certain view or
take a certain action on a question pending before it.
A motion is identified by the preparatory phrase I move that which is
equivalent to saying, I propose that, followed by the thought or subject of the
proposal.
A motion is generally made in oral form. However, if the proposal is of great
importance or if it is quite lengthy and complex in its language it should be made in
writing in a form of a resolution.
A resolution, therefore, is a main motion in a written form identified by the
phrase Resolved that which precedes the subject of proposal. If the proposer feels it
necessary to give the reason or reasons for the resolution, he may express them in a
preamble, each clause of which constitutes a paragraph beginning with the word
WHEREAS.

Classification of motion
Robert's Rules of Order divide motions into the following:
1. Main motions, those that bring business before the assembly when no other
motion is pending.
2. Subsidiary motions, which affect the main motion being considered.
3. Incidental motions, which affect rules and procedures that are not specifically
tied to a particular main motion.
4. Privileged motions, which are urgent matters that must be dealt with
immediately, even if they interrupt pending business.

Postpone indefinitely, Amend, Commit ,


Postpone to a certain time, Limit or extend limits of debate,
Subsidiary motions
Previous question, Lay upon the table

Privileged motions

Call for the orders of the day, Raise a question of privilege,


Recess, Adjourn, Fix the time to which to adjourn

Point of order, Appeal, Suspend the rules


Objection to the consideration of a question, Division of a
question
Consideration by paragraph or seriatim, Division of the
Incidental motions
assembly
Motions relating to methods of voting and the polls
Motions relating to nominations

Incidental motions
(Requests and inquiries)

Parliamentary procedure portal

Parliamentary inquiry
Request for information
Request for permission to withdraw or modify a motion
Request to read papers
Request to be excused from a duty
Request for any other privilege

PROGRESS OF MOTIONS.
Motions brought before the assembly should be clearly presented, intelligently
discussed, and properly disposed of without unnecessary waste of time and effort. To
accomplish this, parliamentary rules prescribe eight steps in handling motions,
namely:
Step 1. Obtaining the floor. Before a member is allowed to make a motion, he
should be first obtain the floor. This is done by rising and addressing the Chair,
meaning, the presiding officer, by his title as Mr. President or Mr. Chairman, or
Mr. Moderator, as the case may be.
Step 2. Recognition from the Chair. A member obtains the floor when the
presiding officer acknowledges him either by calling out his name or position or by
addressing him as Mr Member or by simply appointing or nodding at him. When he
is so acknowledged, he is said to have the floor and no other person is entitled to
speak from the floor except in such cases as are allowed by the rules of procedure.
When two or more members rise to obtain the floor at the same time, all things
being equal, the Chair should recognize the one who rose and addressed the Chair first
after the floor has been yielded. In other cases, the following principles should guide
the Chair in assigning the floor:
1. Priority should be given to the proposer of the motion.
2. A member who has not spoken on an immediate pending question
has priority over the one who has already spoken on it.
3. If the views of the members regarding a pending question are known
to the presiding officer, he should recognize the supporters and the
opponents of the question alternately, giving preference to the one
who is opposed to the last speaker.
4. All things being equal, preference should be given to a member who
seldom speaks against the one who is frequently on the floor.

Step 3. Presentation of Motion. A motion is introduced by the phrase I move


that followed by a statement of the proposal which should be couched in brief but
concise language. For example,
I move that we will send 5 delegates to the forthcoming
national students convention.

If the proposal is in the form of a resolution, its presentation may be made in


either of the following manner:
I move that the following resolution be adopted: Resolved, that..
or

I move for the adoption of the following resolution: resolved, that

or

I offer the following resolution: Resolved, that

A copy of the resolution is then handed to the chair or to the secretary for
consideration by the assembly.

Step 4. Seconding the Motion. Before a motion can be deliberated upon it


should as a rule, be seconded, any other member may do this by saying I second the
motion without the need of rising or obtaining the floor.
A motion is seconded to indicate that, aside from the proposer, there is at least
one other member who is interested in bringing the question before the assembly,
otherwise there is no sense in the assembly wasting time on the question. Evidently,
the proposer cannot second his own motion.
If a motion requiring a second is not seconded, it is declared lost, meaning the
motion cannot be brought before the assembly for consideration. Before declaring the
motion lost, the chair should however ascertain if anybody has seconded the motion
by asking,
Has the motion been seconded? or Is there a second to the
motion?
If no one has seconded it or cares to second it, the Chair declares,
The motion is lost for want of a second.

Step 5. Statement of the Motion. The presiding officer states the motion by
repeating it verbatim or in substance, and where appropriate, by announcing that it has
been seconded, as in the following example:
It has been moved and seconded that we send five delegates to the
forthcoming national students convention. Is there any discussion?
The Chair should, as much as possible, state the motion in exactly the same
way it was presented. If the motion is awkwardly worded, the presiding officer should
ask the proposer to restate it correctly or he may make the necessary correction
himself when stating it, but taking care not to change the thought of the motion.
If the proposal is in the form of a resolution, the manner of stating it is as
follows:
It has been moved and seconded that the following resolution be adopted:
Resolved, that Is there any discussion?
After a motion has been formally stated by the chair it may be referred to as a
question, a proposition, or a measure.
Step 6. Discussion of the Question. After the question has been stated by the
chair, it is posed before the assembly for consideration, and may be debated upon or
modified through amendments before action is taken on it. As a general rule, all
questions are debatable.
Any member may speak on the question after having obtained the floor in the
manner described in step 1. The debate should be confined to the pending question
and should devoid of personalities. The speaker should address all the remarks to the
chair, use proper language and observe courteous deportment.
Step 7. Voting on the Question. After the question has been thoroughly
discussed and/or amended, the Chair brings it to the assembly for action, that is for
approval, disapproval, or some other form of action, as the assembly may deem
proper, for the temporary or final disposition of the question.
The act of submitting the question to a vote is also referred to as putting the
question. The chair puts the question as follows
Are you ready for the question? As many as in favor of the
motion, say Aye,,, Those opposed say No
or

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Are you ready for the question? As many as in favor of the


motion, raise your hand(after counting),.. Those opposed do the
same(count also).
Step 8. Announcing the vote. After the vote has been taken, the Chair
announces the result by declaring whether the motion has been approved or not, and if
approved, what the effect of the motion would be, as shown in the following
examples:
The ayes have it the motion is approved. We will send 5
delegates to the forthcoming national students convention.
or
There are 12 in favor and and 4 against, motion is carried,
the question will be referred to the committee on membership
If the motion is lost, the chair merely says
The motion is lost. or Failure to obtain a majority vote the
motion is lost.
The announcing of the vote is more than a formality, it is necessary not only to
formally advise the assembly of the action taken on the question, but also to make its
decision official for purposes of record.
Deliberations on a questions are normally terminated by the announcement of
the vote. If new question is introduced, the entire procedure described above is
generally followed all over again.

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