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Parliamentary Procedure

Parliamentary Procedure refers to rules that help us maintain order and ensure fairness in business meetings. The rules ensure that everyone has a chance to participate, be heard, and help the group reach decisions.

Only one person may speak at a time. The president of the organization announces the order of business and calls on people to speak. Here is the general order of business for a club meeting

Order of Business for a 4-H Meeting

  1. Call to order – (President stands, strikes gavel) “This meeting of the _________ 4-H Club will come to order. Please stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance led by __________ and the 4-H Pledge led by ___________.”

    Generally the president stands when talking and sits when someone else is delivering a report.
  2. Roll Call – “The secretary will call the roll.” (The president or secretary will announce the preferred way to answer roll call. Probably the year’s program booklet will list the roll call subject for each meeting.)
  3. Reading of the minutes – “The secretary will read the minutes of the last meeting.” (Secretary stands, reads minutes, and then sits.) The president stands and asks, “Are there any additions or corrections? Pause for a moment. If not, they stand approved as read.”

    If there are corrections, the president asks them to be made and then says, “The minutes stand approved as corrected.” (If someone questions the accuracy of the minutes or the correction that has been proposed it may be necessary to take a formal vote to approve the minutes. This is usually not needed.)
  4. Treasurer’s Report – “We will now have the treasurer’s report.” The president sits, and the treasurer stands to report on the following: money received, money spent and the present balance. The president stands and says, “Are there any questions about the treasurer’s report? Pause for a moment. If not, the report will be filed for audit.” The treasurer hands a copy of the report to the secretary and sits down. (At the end of the year the auditors report is approved)
  5. Other Reports – The president asks for the following reports:
    Additional Officers’ reports
    Committee reports

    Put someone in charge of reporting on the newsletter published by the county Extension office. Encourage members to bring their copy.

    If an officer or committee report requires action of the club, usually the person making the report makes a motion at the end of the report. Committee recommendations do not require a second since more than one person decided to make the recommendation from the committee. The president then repeats the motion and asks for discussion.
  6. Unfinished Business – Something discussed but not decided at a previous meeting.“ Secretary, were there any motions postponed until this meeting?”

    ”Is there any other unfinished business? If not, we will proceed to new business.”
  7. New Business – Business not previously discussed.
    “Is there new business to be brought before the club?”

    Member 1: Mr. President, I move that _________________.
    Member 2: I second the motion.
    President: It has been moved and seconded that _________.
    Is there any discussion?

    After discussion is over . . .

    President: All those in favor of (repeat motion), signify by raising your hand. All those opposed, raise your hand. Motion carries or fails.

    “Is there additional new business to be brought before the club?”
  8. Adjournment – The business portion of the meeting should be adjourned before the program and group building. “Is there a motion to adjourn?” Receive motion and second. “It has been moved and seconded the meeting be adjourned. All in favor say ‘Aye.’ All opposed, say ‘No.’ Meeting adjourned.” (Tap the gavel.)
  9. Program – “We will now ask our Vice President to announce the program.” The president allows the Vice President/Program chairperson to take charge.
  10. Group Building – During this part of the meeting, there can be team building activities, recreation, refreshments, and/or celebrating.

Conducting Business Using Motions

Main motion - Brings new business to the group and the motion is made while no other business is pending.

A member rises and asks for the floor:

Member 1: Mr./Madame President
President: Member 1
When the president recognizes a member, we say he/she has the floor.

Member 1: I move that we donate $25.00 from our treasury to the 4-H Foundation.
Member 2: I second the motion. (Sometimes shortened to simply “Second.”)
(A member doesn’t have to be recognized to second a motion.)

President: It has been moved and seconded that we donate $25 to the 4-H Foundation. Is there any discussion?
Member 3: Since we learned today that we have only $35 dollars in our treasury, I don’t think we can afford to give $25 this year.

Motion to amend (a Subsidiary Motion) – Changing the main motion

Member 4: I move that we amend the motion by substituting the words “$25” with “$15.”
Member 3: Second
President: It has been moved and seconded to amend the motion by substituting “$25” with “$15.” Is there any discussion? Hearing none, we will vote on the amendment. All in favor raise your hand. All opposed, raise your hand. The motion is amended. The amended main motion is now "I move that we donate $15 from our treasury to the 4-H Foundation."

Is there other discussion on the main motion? (Pause to give members time to respond.) Hearing none, we will vote on the motion to donate $15 from our treasury to the 4-H Foundation. All in favor raise your hand. All opposed, raise your hand. The motion passes. Treasurer, please write and mail a check for $15 to the 4-H Foundation.

Is there other business?

Voting on motions – The President decides on the method of voting:

  1. Voice vote: All those in favor, say “Aye.” Those opposed, say “Nay/No.”
  2. By standing
  3. By raising of hand
  4. By ballot. This is done by distributing paper to each member, who writes "yes" or "no".
  5. By calling roll and asking each person to say “aye” or “no.”

Amending a Motion – An amendment can be amended in the following ways:

  1. Adding a word or phrase.
    I move to amend the motion by adding the words ‘Crawford County’ before 4-H Foundation.
  2. By striking out a word or phrase.
    I move to strike the phrase ‘from our treasury’ from the motion.
  3. By substituting a word or phrase.
    I move that we amend the motion by substituting the words ‘$25’ with ‘$15.’”

After an amendment has been offered, seconded, and discussed, only the amendment is voted on. After it passes, the main motion must be voted on as amended. If the amendment fails, the main motion must be voted on as originally stated.

Other Pertinent Rules about Motions

  1. Only one main motion may be on the floor at one time. It must be postponed (to a certain time or indefinitely), referred to committee, or voted on before another main motion can be made. Motions to postpone or to refer to committee are subsidiary motions and can be offered to clear a main motion from the floor. Motions to postpone or to send to a committee require a majority vote to pass.
  2. With the approval of the members who made and seconded a motion, it can be withdrawn from the floor without a vote.
  3. If a motion doesn’t receive a second, it dies (is no longer considered).
  4. If debate on a main motion drags on and on, any member may call for the vote:

    Member 1: Mr./Madame President, I move (or call) the previous question.

    President: Previous question has been called for on the pending motion. If adopted, this will stop debate and we will vote on the pending motion. All in favor raise your hand. All opposed raise your hand.

The motion to call the previous question requires a second, may not be debated, and requires a two-thirds majority to pass. If it passes, a vote on the pending motion is taken immediately. If it fails, discussion continues on the pending motion.

Electing Officers

Some clubs will have special rules for eligibility to be an officer; for example, some clubs may require that the President has served on the Executive Board. These rules would be listed in the club by-laws. It is important that everyone knows the duties of officers. For the club to have a successful year, the people elected must be willing to carry out those duties! Perhaps current officers can give a short report about the work they’ve done. In some clubs, each eligible member is asked what office he/she would like to be nominated for.

The most common nominating procedures are to either have a nominating committee make recommendations or to have members make nominations from the floor.

Nominations from the floor

As nominations for officers open, the members need to know who is eligible to be nominated, and also they need to consider who will work conscientiously in each office.

President: Nominations are now open for President.
Member 1: I nominate Pedro.
President: Pedro has been nominated. Are there any other nominations?
Member 2: I nominate Yvonne.
President: Yvonne has been nominated. Are there any other nominations? (pause)
President: Are there any other nominations? If not, nominations are closed.

* Note: After the nominations are closed, it is appropriate for those nominated to give speeches telling why they want to be elected.

President: Will the chair of the Nomination Committee please pass out the ballots? All members should write either Pedro’s or Yvonne’s name on the ballot.

The nomination committee can collect and count the ballots. The president should announce the results of the election for president and then announce that nominations are now open for Vice President.

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