PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE: What to say and What to do
Parliamentary procedure is the governing rule for General Assembly meetings. Each SGA representative is encouraged to know and follow parliamentary procedure for efficient and participatory meetings.

<<<View Parliamentary Procedure Table>>>

Order of Business

Chair: "The meeting will come to order."

The quorum (the number of members necessary, according to the constitution and bylaws, to do business) must be present to hold a business meeting.

Chair: "The secretary will read the minutes of the last meeting."

Minutes are read.

Chair: "Are there any corrections to the minutes?"

Corrections are suggested without a motion or a vote.

Chair: "If there are no (further) corrections, the minutes stand approved as read (corrected)."

Chair: "We will have the report of the . . . "

Officers (ex: financial report by the treasurer)
Standing Committees
Special Committees

Chair: "Is there any unfinished (old) business?"

Action is completed on any business not settled when last meeting was adjourned.

Chair: "Is there any new business?"

Each new motion is discussed and settled before another main motion can be proposed.

Chair: "Are there any announcements?"

Chair: "If there is no further business, I will entertain a motion to adjourn the meeting"

A motion is made and seconded to adjourn the meeting. A vote is taken immediately without any discussion.

Chair: "The meeting is adjourned."

The Chair

The Chair is responsible for guiding business and calling the meetings to order. Often the Chair is the President of an Organization or the Lead Member or Chairman in a Committee.

The Chair handles many duties:

· calls the meeting to order
· keeps meeting to the order of business (usually, the agenda)
· handles discussion in an orderly way
· gives every member a chance to speak
· keeps members to parliamentary rules of order
· should give pro and con speakers alternating opportunities to speak
· does not enter into the discussion
· puts motions to vote and announces the outcome
· appoints committees as authorized by the Bylaws

How to Make a Motion/How to Second a Motion

When the Chair of the meeting opens the floor to New Business, it is the responsibility of the assembly members to make a motion to conduct any business. Any business that the Chair is aware of is already set on the agenda, and the member whose business is listed on the agenda is responsible for bringing the business to the floor. Any new business not listed on the agenda needs to be made after the business listed on the agenda has been completed. Once a motion has been made, another member must second the motion for discussion to take place, and ultimately to vote on it.

Member: "Mr./Madame Chair . . ."

Chair: "The chair recognizes (name of member)."

Member: "I move . . ."

State the motion, proposal, or recommendation.

Another Member: "I second the motion."

Chair: "The motion has been made by (name of mover) and seconded
that (state the motion). . . Is there any discussion?

Discussion must be addressed to the Chair, and must follow the Rules of Debate (p. 49). A motion may be changed by amendment (p. 50). If the group does not wish to take final action on the motion, they may postpone or table it (p. 51 - 52).

When Discussion stops. . .

Chair: "If there is no further discussion (silence is taken as consent), the motion is . . ."

Chair: "All is favor please say 'AYE'(yes)."

Chair: "All opposed, please say "No."

If the chair is able to tell from the "voice vote" whether there are more Ayes or more Noes, the chair announces the result.

Chair: "The Ayes (or Noes) have it. The motion is carried (defeated).
If anyone calls "Division" (questions the voice vote), the chair calls for a show of hands or a standing vote. If a majority demand it, the vote may be taken by ballot.

Rules of Debate

Discussion by the assembly follows certain rules called Rules of Debate:

· A member must obtain the floor and be recognized by the chair before beginning to speak. They must always rise and address the chair.

· A member can speak twice to the motion but only the second time after everyone who wishes to speak the first time has spoken.

· Each member can speak for ten minutes each time he/she speaks unless the assembly has rules that state differently.

· Debate must be germane to the motion.

· Speakers must address all remarks to the Chair.

· Speakers must be courteous and never attack other members or make illusion to the motives of members.

· Speakers refer to officers by title, and should avoid using the names of the other members.

· When speaking to a motion, the member begins the debate by saying, "I speak for the motion" and the reasons why, or "I speak against the motion" and the reasons why.

· The presiding officer either sits when a member has the floor or stand away from the podium.

· The member who makes the motion cannot speak against his own motion but can vote against his motion. However, the person who seconds the motion can speak against it.

During Discussion of a Motion:

During discussion, a member can amend the motion which is being debated. For example, if the motion was for the Student Government Association to donate $500 to the SAMM's Shelter, and a member did not want to donate $500 but did want to donate $250, then any member could amend that motion.


After a main motion has been made and seconded:
Member: "I move to amend the motion by . . ."

Inserting or adding a word, phrase, or sentence. Striking out a word, phrase, or sentence. Striking out and inserting a word or phrase or substituting a sentence or paragraph.

Member: "I second the motion to amend."

Chair: "It has been proposed to amend the motion to read as follows . . ."

Chair states the main motion and the amendment, so the group will understand how the amendment changes the motion. Amendment is handled in the same way as main motion with discussion, question, and voting.

Chair: "Is there any discussion?"

"If there is no further discussion, the amendment is . . . "

"All is favor of the amendment . . ."

"The amend is carried (defeated). The motion now before the assembly is . . ."

Chair restates the motion plus the amendment if carried.

Also, during the discussion of a main motion, that motion could be set aside to be considered later in the meeting or at another meeting time. In order to consider a motion at a later time during that meeting time, the motion must be "Laid on the Table". In order for a motion to be considered at a later meeting time, the motion is "Postponed to a Definite Time".

To Lay on the Table

Member: "I move that we table the motion to…(state the motion in question) because...(state the reason)."

· The purpose of this motion is to set aside the pending business to take up a more urgent matter not to kill a motion, or to put it off to a later time.

· To "Lay on the table" is to be temporary. When laying a motion on the table for a more urgent situation, members need to take the motion from the table after dealing with the urgent situation.

· Someone needs to second it.

· There is no discussion on this motion.

· The chair takes a vote immediately.

· The person making the motion needs to state the reasons for making the motion. If the member does not state the reason for making the motion, the chair asks the member the reason. If the purpose is to kill the main motion or to put it off to another time, the chair can
· either rule the motion out of order and tell the correct motion to make, or,
· restate it as the correct motion if it is in order at the time. (For example, if a member moves to table it to the next meeting, the chair can restate it as the motion "to postpone to the next meeting".)

If the chair does not rule an improper motion "to lay on the table" out of order, a member can raise a point of order.

· Once the motion to table is adopted, a member must take it from the table by making the motion to "take it from the table".

· A member cannot lay a motion on the table and then make another motion that conflicts with the motion that was tabled.
To Postpone to a Definite Time

Member: "I move to postpone the motion to …(state the motion in question) to a (state a definite time, ex: the next meeting at 11 am)."

· The purpose of postponing a motion to a definite time is to consider the motion at a later meeting time rather than during that meeting time.

· This motion is like "laying a motion on the table" because it must be seconded, BUT it is debatable. The members can discuss whether or not they want to put it off.

To Take From the Table

In order for the motion that was tabled to be brought back to the table to be discussed, a member must say:

Member: "I move that we take from the table the motion…."

This motion requires a second.

In order for a motion that has been postponed to be brought back to the table, the Chair must bring the motion to the table at the time in which the motion was set.

For example: A motion was made to postpone the motion until the next meeting at 11:15 am. During the next meeting, the Chair raises the motion at 11:15 am, and discussion continues accordingly.

Parliamentary Procedure is a guiding tool for your organization as well as the Student Government Association. In order for business to run smoothly, it is necessary that all members of Student Government be familiar with this process.