Parliamentary Basics


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Parliamentary Basics

  1. 1. Parliamentary Basics<br />Kim Vitray, SPHR<br />
  2. 2. What is parliamentary procedure?<br />Set of rules for conducting business at meetings, as found in Robert’s Rules of Order (10th edition)<br />“The application of parliamentary law is the best method yet devised to enable assemblies of any size, with due regard for every member’s opinion, to arrive at the general will on the maximum number of questions of varying complexity in a minimum amount of time and under all kinds of internal climate ranging from total harmony to hardened or impassioned division of opinion.”<br />
  3. 3. Why parliamentary procedure?<br />Allows business to be conducted in an organized and orderly fashion<br />Protects democratic rule and the rights of all<br />Allows full and free yet fair and balanced deliberation<br />
  4. 4. Making motions<br />The way to bring business before the board is to make a motion<br />“I move that…”<br />The motion must then be seconded<br />“I second the motion”<br />The president states the motion<br />The board debates (discusses) the motion<br />The president asks if there is further debate or if the group is ready to vote, restates the motion, and calls for the vote, usually by voice<br />“It is moved and seconded that…”<br />The president announces the result<br />
  5. 5. Being prepared<br />You should be prepared to make any motions that arise out of your board report or your committee’s work<br />Decide and draft what you want the motion to say<br />Seek assistance from the parliamentarian if necessary<br />Bring the motion to the board meeting in writing<br />
  6. 6. A good motion…<br />Is well thought out<br />Is worded in the positive, not the negative<br />Is specific, including what will be done, by whom, and by when<br />
  7. 7. Common motions<br />“I move to amend the motion by…”<br />“I move to refer the matter to committee…”<br />“I move the previous question” (to end debate and take the vote)<br />“I move to postpone discussion until…”<br />
  8. 8. More common motions<br />“I move to amend something previously adopted, that is, to…”<br />“I move to reconsider the motion that…”<br />“I move to rescind the motion that…”<br />“I request permission to withdraw my motion”<br />“I request permission to modify my motion”<br />
  9. 9. Amendments<br />Three types of amendments<br />Insert or add words<br />Strike out words<br />Strike out and insert words<br />Motion must say exactly where the change is to be made and precisely what words are to be used<br />“I move to amend by adding the words ‘by April 15’ to the end of the motion.”<br />Must be germane to the main motion<br />Vote on amendment first, then resulting main motion<br />Can be secondary amendment<br />
  10. 10. Friendly amendment<br />There is no such thing!<br />If it appears to the chair that an amendment is uncontroversial, she may ask if there is “any objection” to adopting it<br />
  11. 11. About debate<br />You can speak twice on the same question on the same day, but cannot speak the second time until everyone who wants to speak their first time has done so<br />You cannot speak for more than 10 minutes at a time<br />You should address your remarks to the president, maintain a courteous tone, and avoid injecting anything personal<br />Your remarks should be germane to the pending motion<br />
  12. 12. Good behavior<br />Raise your hand to be recognized by the president in order to speak in debate or make a motion<br />Use your “classroom” voice so all can hear, particularly the secretary<br />Keep all board discussion and decisions confidential<br />Refrain from distracting conversations with your neighbor<br />
  13. 13. Your parliamentary responsibility<br />Read and become familiar with the organization’s bylaws<br />Learn and know the basics of parliamentary procedure<br />Be prepared for board meetings<br />Speak and act according to your honest and considered opinion<br />
  14. 14. Conflict of interest<br />You should not vote on a question in which you have a direct personal or pecuniary (monetary) interest not common to other members<br />However, you cannot be compelled to abstain because of such a conflict of interest<br />
  15. 15. The president’s role<br />Presides over meetings as “the chair”<br />Ensures that everyone has the opportunity to speak in debate, and that everyone always understands exactly what they are debating and voting on<br />Makes every effort to maintain appearance of impartiality<br />Does not participate in debate unless gives up the chair<br />Votes only if by ballot or if the chair’s vote will change the result<br />Calls for a show of hands if a two-thirds vote is required or if she is not sure of the result<br />
  16. 16. Quorum and majority<br />Quorum is stated in bylaws<br />“simple majority of the existing membership of the Board”<br />Majority is defined in Robert’s Rules as<br />“more than half the votes cast by persons legally entitled to vote, excluding blanks or abstentions, at a regular or properly called meeting at which a quorum is present”<br />
  17. 17. Unanimous consent<br />Enables a motion to be adopted or some action to be taken without voting, or even permits taking action without the formality of a motion being made at all<br />Chair simply asks assembly if there is any objection to taking the action, and if no member objects, declares that the action has been agreed to<br />
  18. 18. Other rules<br />Point of order<br />To point out a violation of the rules<br />Parliamentary inquiry<br />To ask a question about procedure<br />Point of information<br />To ask a question relevant to the business being discussed<br />Question of privilege<br />To interrupt business with an urgent matter<br />
  19. 19. Common mistakes<br />Moving the previous question - this motion must pass by a two-thirds vote before the main motion is then voted on<br />Abstentions are not counted<br />Minutes record only what was done, not what was said<br />Minutes record motions as they stood when finally voted on (“The motion was lost or adopted after amendment”)<br />Minutes record names of those who made motions, not those who seconded them<br />
  20. 20. Resources<br /><ul><li>Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 10th edition
  21. 21. Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised in Brief
  22. 22. Robert’s Rules Association
  23. 23.
  24. 24. National Association of Parliamentarians
  25. 25.
  26. 26. American Institute of Parliamentarians
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  28. 28. Jurassic Parliament
  29. 29.</li></li></ul><li>QUESTIONS?<br />Kim Vitray, SPHR<br />8609 Karling Dr.<br />Austin, TX 78724 USA<br />512-928-0859 (home)<br />512-658-8587 (cell)<br /><br /><br />