Annex to Senate Rules of Order – Motions in Order at a Senate Meeting

The business of Senate is conducted through motions. The motions in use by the Carleton University Senate are presented here. Over the years these have proven to be sufficient to conduct the work of Senate in an orderly fashion. There are a few additional types of motion in use by other assemblies. The standard reference for Carleton is Sturgis Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure. A type of motion that is novel to Carleton but mentioned in the reference can be used if the Chair rules it in order.

I Main Motions

Most of these motions, will be concerned with the substantive work of Senate and hence are called main motions. Once a main motion has been introduced, it becomes the focus of attention; it must be dealt with in some way before another main motion is introduced.

There are also a number of procedural motions that can be introduced during the debate on a main motion.

Amendment This is a motion that proposes a change in the wording of a main motion already on the floor.

Request to divide the Motion: If a motion has been presented is a sequence of distinct parts, a member may request that these parts be considered separately. This is a request, does not require a seconder and is decided by the Chair.

II Procedural Motions: Motions that end a debate

Postpone consideration until another unspecified time: this motion ends the debate without a conclusion or a specific time to return. It thus closes debate for today.

Postpone until a specific time: this motion closes debate at this point but requires that Senate return to consideration at a specified time.

Refer the matter to a committee: this motion directs that the debate be terminated in Senate and the issue be referred to a specified committee, which may be required to report back to Senate at a specific time.

Limit the debate in some way: Rather than seeking to close debate immediately, it may be desirable to limit the discussion in some way such as total remaining time, time per speaker, only those on the current speakers list may speak etc.

Call for a vote immediately: the Chair will call a vote once discussion has concluded, but a member of Senate may ask for an immediate vote at an earlier stage if he or she feels that this is in the best interests of Senate.

Withdraw the motion: if discussion of the motion convinces the mover that the motion was ill advised, the mover may request that the motion be withdrawn. The Chair makes the ruling on the request.

III Procedural Motions: Previously Consider Motions

Motion to reconsider: This motion asks that a motion previously approved be reopened for renewed debate. The effect is to remove the previous vote as if it had never happened and debate is resumed.

Motion to rescind: This motion asks that a previously approved motion or part of a motion now be considered defeated. Such a motion is not retroactive and actions already taken as a result of the rescinded motion remain un changed.

Motion to resume consideration: this motion responds to an earlier motion to postpone further discussion. It asks for the discussion to resume.

III Procedural Motions: General

Adjourn: Senate is adjourned automatically when there is no further business to discuss. At an earlier stage, a member may move for adjournment if this is in the best interests of Senate. The effect is to terminate consideration of any pending business.

Recess: This motion proposes a break in proceedings without terminating pending business. It must state the time to resume the meeting.

Appeal a decision of the Chair: There are frequent occasions during a meeting when the Chair decides on an issue of procedure, privilege, order, method of voting etc. Such decisions by the Chair may be appealed.

Request for a counted vote: This is a request to the Chair to count the votes when the Chair has declared an outcome without  an actual count.

IV Precedence and Properties of Motion

A motion appearing higher in the table takes precedent over a motion further down. For example, no matter what else is happening you can always move to close the meeting.

Order of Precedence

Debatable

Amendable

Vote Required

Close the meeting

No

Yes

Majority

Recess the meeting

No

Yes

Majority

Question of Privilege

No

No

No vote

Close debate and vote

No

No

2/3

Limit or extend debate

Yes

Yes

2/3

Postpone to a certain time

Yes

Yes

Majority

Refer to a committee

Yes

Yes

Majority

Amend the motion

Yes

Yes

Majority

Make the main motion

Yes

Yes

Majority

Seconders: All motions require a mover and a seconder except Questions of Privilege, Order or Information and requests of the Chair (e.g. request a count of the votes)

Interruption: Interruption of the speaker who has the floor is allowed only in rare circumstances. These include: Points of Order, Points of Privilege, Appeals from a decision of the Chair, Request to withdraw the motion, Request for a counted vote.