Parliamentary Procedure

Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure:

“Among the established rules and customs, which constitute parliamentary law, are the following elementary ones that every one should know:

  1. Only one question can be considered at a time.  It must be put in the form of a proposition or motion, to be proposed or moved by one member and seconded by another, and must then be stated by the presiding officer, after which it is open to debate and amendment.
  2. No one can make a motion or speak in debate until he or she has risen and addressed the presiding officer with the proper title and has been “recognized” by the chair, and thus has “obtained the floor.”
  3. No one can speak unreasonably long (over ten minutes in ordinary societies), or more than twice on the same question on the same day, without permission of the assembly.
  4. No member can speak a second time on the same question provided any one desires to speak who has not spoken on that question.
  5. No one in speaking can address his or her remarks to another member or use another member’s name when it can be avoided.  All remarks must be addressed to the presiding officer.
  6. When a question is once before the assembly it must be adopted or rejected by a vote, or disposed of in some other way, before any other subject can be introduced, except certain ones entitled to this privilege and which are therefore called privileged questions.

Every member of a society should be familiar with these simple rules and customs of deliberative assemblies.  Any one wishing to exert a real influence in an assembly, however, must possess knowledge far beyond this.  He or she must know the various motions, their purpose, when they can be made, which are debatable, and which can be amended.  He or she must have sufficient knowledge of committees to enable him or her, without embarrassment, to serve as chairman of one.  He or she must thoroughly understand the subject of amendments, which is the most important, and, perhaps, the most difficult part of parliamentary law.”

Source unknown

Download a complete Table of Parliamentary Motions – Order of Precedence.