Privileged Motions



Privileged motions address matters of immediate importance which, without debate, should be allowed to interrupt the consideration of other motions. There are 5 privileged motions. The lowest privileged motion is the order of precedence ranks immediately above the motion to table.



*Call for the Orders of the Day. A demand that the group return to the agenda. Can be taken when another person is speaking. If the adopted program or printed agenda is not followed, a member may interrupt and remind the chair to follow the agenda.


No second required, not debatable, no vote required.



 * Raise a Question of Privilege. A matter that concerns the welfare of the group. Can be raised even when another person is speaking. For example, if you are sitting in the back and some noise distracts you, you may stand and say, “Mr Chairman, I rise to a question of priviledge”


No second, not debatable, no vote required.


*Recess. A temporary break in the meeting; should state a time at which the meeting will resume.


Second required, not debatable, majority vote required, not amendable.


*Adjourn. To bring the meeting to a halt. Alternatively, instead of a motion, the chair can ask if there is any further business. If no response, the chair can say, "Since there is no further business, the meeting is adjourned."


Second required, not debatable, majority vote required, not amendable.



* Fix the Time for Next Meeting. This is in order at any time, including when a motion to adjourn is pending.


Example: If the meeting is late and agenda items are not completed, one may bring the motion to fix the time to which to adjourn. One may say, “Mr chairman, I move that when we adjourn, we adjourn to 8:30 pm, next Sunday, July 10th.”


Second required, not debatable, requires majority vote, amendable.




Incidental Motions



Incidental motions are housekeeping motions which are in order at any time, taking precedence over main motions and subsidiary motions. These motions include:



* Point of Order. To bring to the group's attention that the rules are being violated. You don't need not to be recognized prior to making a point of order. This is not really a motion, but requires the moderator to make a ruling as to whether or not immediate consideration is proper.


Does not require a second, is not debatable, and is normally ruled upon by the chair.

The chair may say, “The point of order is well taken” and requests the correction. The presiding officer may disagree and explain why the rules are not violated.


* Appeal. The group can overrule the chair on any decision. While the motion must be seconded, it cannot be amended. When this motion is moved and seconded, the moderator immediately states the question, "Shall the decision of the chair stand as the judgment of the council?" If there is a tie vote, the chair's decision is upheld. The motion is not debatable when it applies to a matter of improper use of authority or when it is made while there is a pending motion to close debate. However, the motion can be debated at other times. Each person may speak once, and the moderator may also state the basis for the decision.


Requires a second, is not usually debatable.


* Point of Information. A person may rise and request the presiding officer to offer information that is considered necessary for the group. This provision is not used to offer debate.


Does not need a second, is not debatable, and requires no vote.


* Suspension of the Rules. When matters are to be taken out of order, or a particular task can be better handled without formal rules in place, this motion can be approved by a two-thirds vote of the group. However, until the rules are restored, only discussion can occur; no decisions can be made.


Example: This can be made to change the order of the agenda if some important person has to leave.


Second required, not debatable, not amendable.



* Object to Consideration of a Question. When a motion is so outrageous, intended to distract the group from resolving legitimate business. The motion can be objected to and ruled out of order without debate. However, if the chair does not rule the motion out of order, a two-thirds vote of the group can block further consideration.


Does not need a second, is not debatable, and requires 2/3rd vote.



*Division of a Question. If the pending motion contains two or more parts capabale of standing as separate questions, the members can vote to treat each separately by moving to “divide the question.” For example a convention place and time can be separated.


A second required, not debatable, adopted by majority vote.


*Consideration by paragraph Seriation. A lengthy motion consisting of several paragraphs, might be divided into many paragraphs. In that case each paragraph can be treated separately with debate and amendments allowed. When all paragraphs are covered, a vote of approval of the entire motion is in order.


Requires a second, not debatable, adopted by majority vote.



 * Division of the Assembly. To require a more precise method of counting votes than by a voice vote, such as having persons raise hands, or stand.


No second, not debatable, no vote required.


* Parliamentary Inquiry. Not a motion, but a question as to whether an action would be in order.


* Request to Withdraw a Motion. Contrary to popular misconception, a motion cannot be withdrawn by its mover. This request requires majority approval.




Renewal Motions



Once the group has taken action, renewal motions require the group to further discuss or dispose of a motion. The motions include:


* Reconsider. A motion that enables a majority to bring back for further consideration a motion which has already been voted upon.  There are certain limitations that apply to this motion.  It can only be made by a member who voted with the prevailing side.  In a session of one day, which is the typical city council or county commission meeting, it can only be made on the same day the vote to be reconsidered was taken.


Needs a second, can be debated, requires majority vote


* Rescind. When the group wishes to cancel some action, a motion to rescind is in order at any time. If prior notice has been given to the group that this action will be considered, the motion to rescind can pass with a simple majority vote; however, if no prior notice has been given, the vote requires a two-thirds majority.


Needs a second, can be debated, requires 2/3rd vote.



* Take from the Table. Unless the original motion to table directed that the motion be brought back at a specific date and time, a majority of the group must pass a motion to take from the table. Such a motion is non-debatable.



Other Questions


Can a motion be adopted if only a few members vote in favor and many members abstain?




Can a member be required to vote on any motion?




Can a motion be adopted by plurality vote rather than majority vote?


In general such things are not encouraged.



Can the presiding officer participate in debate on a motion?


The presiding officer can turn the gavel over to another official if he/she wants to participate in the debate.