Motions and Rules of Order Skip to main content

Roberts’ Rules of Order  

General Senate meetings shall generally be conducted according to the most recent edition of Roberts' Rules of Order, which are summarized nicely on this cheat sheet.

Below is a quick list of types of motions and the steps for a motion adapted from the linked cheat sheet for Robert’s Rules of Order

Types of Motions

  1. Main Motion: Introduce a new item 
  2. Subsidiary Motion: Change or affect how to handle a main motion (vote on this before main motion) 
  3. Privileged Motion: Urgent or important matter unrelated to pending business 
  4. Incidental Motion: Questions procedure of other motions (must consider before the other motion) 
  5. Motion to Table: Ends a motion without a vote or further discussion 
  6. Motion to Postpone: Delays a vote (can reopen debate on the main motion) 

6 Steps for a Motion

  1. Motion: A member signals the chairperson (e.g. raises a hand or stands) to indicate the wish to make a motion. 
  2. Second: Another member seconds the motion. 
  3. Restate motion: The chairperson restates the motion. 
  4. Debate: The members debate the motion. 
  5. Vote: When debate seems to have ended, the chairperson restates the motion, and then first asks for affirmative votes, negative votes, and abstentions.  
    • Senators can also close the debate by motioning to “Call the Question.” The motion requires a second and two thirds vote to close the debate. 
  6. Announce the vote: The chairperson announces the result of the vote and any instructions