The Strawberry Patch

Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross


 Fundamental Principles of Parliamentary Law

Parliamentary Law is a code of rules for working together in a group. They were founded on principles developed in the British Parliament - based on:
1. Equality for all.
 2. Right of the majority to decide.
 3. Freedom for everyone to speak.

Parliamentary rules exist to facilitate the transaction of business and to promote co-operation and harmony.
The rights of the minority to be heard, to express opinions and to dissent, must be protected.
Full and free discussion of every proposition presented should be encouraged by the presiding officer.

The simplest and most direct procedure for accomplishing a purpose should be used. A definite and logical order of procedure governs the introduction and processing of motions:

 1. Only one question can be considered at a time.
 2. Every member has the right to know what the question before the assembly means before voting.
 3. Membership may delegate duties and authority but retains the right of final decision.
 4. Parliamentary rules must be administered impartially

 Definitions of Motions

MAIN MOTION A motion to bring a subject before the group for its consideration and action. Lengthy motions should be in writing.

 Example: "I move that the chapter purchase a notebook for the Recording Secretary."

SUBSIDIARY MOTION A motion that can be on the floor at the same time as the main motion and still be in order. An amendment to the main motion is an example of a subsidiary motion.

 Example: "I move to insert '8 by 11 three ring, loose leaf' before the word notebook."

PRIVILEGED MOTION This motion is not debatable or amenable. While a main motion and one or more subsidiaries are pending, there must be some method of closing the meeting (if it is running past the stated time for the length of a meeting), taking a recess, and appointing the time for an adjourned meeting. Or if there is a question which arises as to the rights and privileges of the group or individual member, that requires immediate attention, though other questions are pending, by use of a privileged motion, these matters can be handled.

 Example:"I move that the speaker move to the front of the room so the membership can hear her better."

INCIDENTAL MOTION Not debatable except on appeal under certain circumstances.

 Example: "I move that we suspend our order of business temporarily so the guest speaker may present her program as she must leave early."

 Proper Steps Of A Motion

 1. Rises, addresses the chair: "Madam President."
 2. President recognizes member.
 3. Member states motion: "Madam President, I move that .. . . "
  Note: Do not say, "I make a motion..."
 4. Another member seconds the motion. She does this while seated and no recognition from the chair is needed.
  Note: If there is no second, this means that only one member (the maker of the motion) is interested in the subject so the motion stops there.

 5. President states the motion: "It has been moved and seconded that..."
 6. President opens the floor for discussion: "Is there any discussion?"
 7. President takes vote when all who wish to speak have done so and she restates the motion. If there has been no discussion then the first part of this step is omitted and the President states: "The motion is that..."
 8. President asks for vote.
  "All in favor say 'aye'."
  "Those opposed say 'no'."
  Note: Do not forget to ask for those opposed, even though the vote was obviously passed.
 9. President announces the result of the vote. If it passes she states: "The ayes have it and the motion is carried."

If it fails to pass she states: "The noes have it and the motion is lost."

  Note: A tie vote is a lost motion.

The President votes only once when the vote is by:
1. Secret ballot OR
2. Roll call and her name is called last OR
3. To make or break a tie.

Elections should be by secret ballot vote. If there is a topic for discussion needing the true expression of the feelings of the members, it is wise to take the vote by secret ballot.

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