Tennessee Education Association

Great Public Schools for All Students


Parliamentary Guidelines

  • The president chairs the meeting as a non-partisan moderator, seeing that all participants are treated equally.

  • The chair never makes, seconds, or speaks for or against a motion, without first turning over the chair to another participant and not resuming the chair until consideration of that motion has concluded.

  • The chair is always in charge of a meeting and must recognize all speakers.

  • All speakers should address their comments to the chair, rather than speaking directly to each other.

  • A motion is one person's idea presented for consideration by the group. Anyone wishing to offer a motion should say, "move that…"

  • After a motion is made, another participant must second it before the body discusses it.

  • The chair should determine if the motion is in order and inform the body if the motion is not in order.

  • Once a motion has been made and seconded, the chair should repeat the motion so all participants know what is being discussed.

  • A maker of a motion may withdraw or modify the motion without permission only before the body has considered it. Once the motion is before the body, only the body may withdraw or modify it.

  • The body must vote on some motions as soon as they are offered. These motions include adjournment, tabling a motion, suspending the rules and taking a motion off the table. The body must discuss all other motions before voting.

  • At the discretion of the chair, votes on motions may be by voice, show of hands, standing, calling the roll or secret ballot.

  • Most motions require a simple majority of those voting on that motion.

  • After a vote is taken, the chair should announce the vote to the body.

  • The chair should not vote on a motion except in the case of a tie.

  • The chair should not leave the meeting before the body has discussed all issues before it. On rare occasions when the chair is called away, the vice president should take over the chair.

  • When participants call out, "Question" that indicates that they are ready to vote on the pending motion.

  • Every participant should receive an equal chance to speak. The chair should not allow a participant to speak twice until all others who wish to speak have spoken.

  • When making a motion to close debate, a participant should say, "move the previous question."

  • A motion to postpone consideration of a motion until a later time should specify the specific time when the motion will be considered.

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