Handling Motions at Meetings

Handling Motions at Meetings
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Steps in Handling a Motion:

    A member seeks recognition for the floor
    Chairman recognizes the member (member obtains the floor)
    Member makes a motion
    Another member seconds the motion
    Chairman states the question
    Debate (amendment and secondary motions)
    Chairman puts the question to a vote
    Chairman announces the result of the vote

What Precedes Debate:

Before a subject is open to debate, it is necessary for a motion to be made by a member who has obtained the floor; next it is seconded (with certain exceptions); and then it is stated by the chair (presiding officer). The fact that a motion has been made and seconded does not place it before the assembly for consideration, as the chair alone can do that. He must either rule it out of order, or state the question on it so that the assembly may know what is before it for consideration and action. If several questions are pending, as a resolution and an amendment and a motion to postpone, the last one stated by the chair is the "immediately pending" question.

Until the motion is stated or ruled out of order by the chair, no debate or other motion is in order. However, members may suggest modifications to the motion, and the mover, without the consent of the seconder, has the right to make such modifications as he pleases, or even to withdraw his motion entirely before the chair states the question. This is the case only for a brief interval, because after the question is stated by the chair, the mover can do neither without the consent of the assembly. A little informal consultation before the question is stated often saves much time, but the chair must see that this privilege is not abused and allowed to run into debate. When the mover modifies his motion, the one who seconded it has a right to withdraw his second. After debate has begun, a second is immaterial.

The procedure in small boards of not more than about a dozen members present is relaxed a bit. The formalities necessary in order to transact business in a large assembly would hinder business in so small a body.

For additional information, refer to Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR), 10th edition pp. 31-54.