Parliamentary Procedure

Den-en Toshi Toastmasters Club 8125-76

Download: Parliamentary Procedure Overview and Drills
Slide images (PDF)
Hands-out (PDF)

YouTube Video clips on a workshop on Parliamentary Procedure based on the above hands-out are available at D76 Website.Click here


Described below is basic flow of Club's business session based on Parliamentary Procedure ("Robert's Rules of Order").

Any member of the assembly is entitled to speak when he has something to say which is pertinent to the occasion, and when someone else is not speaking. To obtain permission to speak, rise and say "Mr. Chairman," or "Mr. President." The chairman will respond to you by calling your name (nodding or waving the hand in a small meeting). Then you "have the floor" and at liberty to speak.

In speaking you should either be:

When you have spoken your thought, as briefly and as clearly as possible, sit down. You have had your turn, and you are not entitled to speak until all others who wish to talk on the matter have had their opportunity. Then you may ask for the floor again to present further remarks.

When you offer a motion, you say "I move that so and so be done." Make the wording of the motion very clear and concise, to avoid misunderstanding. If some explanation is required, you may speak briefly before presenting the formal motion. Before a motion is properly "before the house" for discussion, it must receive a "second" from some person other than its introducer. The person wishing to give his support may remain seated, simply calling out "Mr. Chairman, I second the motion."

It is the duty of the secretary to write the motion so that he has a record of it when called upon to state just what it says, after lengthy discussion has obscured the wording.

After a motion has been offered and seconded, the chairman must state it; that is, he says, "It has been moved and seconded that ..." Then he asks if there is any discussion of the matter proposed in the motion. This is the signal for those who favor or oppose the motion to take the floor in orderly fashion and present their arguments.

If the motion is found to be unsatisfactory in any respect, the member finding it so may offer an amendment. To do this, he asks permission and presents his proposal for a change, offering the reason for the action if it seems desirable. The proper motion is; "I move to amend the motion by ..." whatever changes he wishes to suggest.

An amendment may be made by striking out, or adding, or inserting words or phrases, or by changing the wording of the motion. Once seconded, the motion on the amendment is adopted, it becomes a part of the main motion, which may again be discussed and voted upon.

There can be an amendment to the amendment but no motions beyond this are in order. Namely, there must never be more than one primary amendment and one secondary amendment outstanding at any time. In voting, the second amendment is taken up first. If adopted , it become a part of the first amendment, and if the amended amendment is then adopted, it all incorporated in to the main motion.

When the discussion of a motion appears to have been completed, the chairman puts, it to a vote. He inquires, "Is there any further discussion?" Lacking any immediate response to his question, he says something like, "If there is no further discussion, all those in favor will say 'Aye', Those opposed will say 'No'." The chairman judges the result by the sound of the voices, and announces that the motion is carried or defeated. If any one is not satisfied that the chairman heard correctly, he may call for a "division of the assembly," which means a vote by rising of hands.

There may be some member of the assembly who thinks that the rules are not being properly followed. He has the right to arise when the breach of order occurs and say, "Mr. Chairman, I rise to a point of order." The chairman will say, "State your point of order." The member will state his point, and then the chairman rule on the question. After considering the matter, he may say, "The point of order is well taken, and we shall do whatever is needed to correct it," or he may say, "The point of order is not well taken." This decides the procedure to be followed. If matters are out of order, they will be corrected. If the order is not well taken, matte will proceed as before.

But if the objecting member is not satisfied with the ruling, he will rise and say, "I appeal from the decision of the Chair." This appeal must be made promptly after the ruling is announced. The chairman may say, "An appeal has been taken from the decision of the Chair. Those who will sustain the decision will say 'Aye'. Those who will not sustain it will say 'No'." He will then be guided by the vote.

Summary

  1. To obtain permission to speak, address the chairman

  2. To speak, you must either be making a motion, or presenting a resolution, or speaking upon a motion already made.

  3. Do not attempt to speak a second time on the same subject until all the others have had their say.

  4. When you offer a motion, make it clear and brief.

  5. A motion must be seconded to be discussed in the assembly.

  6. The seconder of a motion does not have to ask permission to speak.

  7. Any main motion can be amended.

  8. Not more than two amendments can be pending at any time.

  9. A motion to adjourn takes precedence over all others if unqualified.

  10. A member who disagrees with the chairman's ruling may appeal

  11. The chairman may call for a vote on sustaining the decision or the appeal