12. If a member, through courtesy, yields the floor to another, he loses his opportunity to speak again, unless the assembly gives him permission to do so.

13. If the chairman wishes to speak on either side in a debate, he calls another member to preside during the time he occupies the floor.

14. A motion to close the discussion is not debatable, but may be amended or reconsidered, and the same is true of a motion to limit the debate.

Division Of A Question. ( See Amendments. ) Motion To Lie On The Table

1. A motion to lay a measure on the table, and so take it from before the assembly until it comes up again in order, or is called up, may be received when it is apparently or really useless or inexpedient; or when more time to gather information concerning its value is desired, or when more pressing business demands attention, or when it is not presented in an acceptable form.

2. The motion to lay upon the table cannot be debated, or amended; nor can the vote be reconsidered if the assembly decides to table.

3. If laid on the table, the measure, with all previous action upon it, is temporarily dead.

4. The motion to take it from the table for consideration is not debatable, nor can it be amended; but if the assembly decides not to take it from the table, a motion to reconsider that vote is in order.

5. A motion to lay on the table has the preference over other motions to call the main question, to postpone, to commit, or to amend.


1. Most motions are required to be seconded before being put to vote. In one or more State legislatures, this is not required - as in Massachusetts.

2. Only a majority vote is required, in most cases, to carry a motion; the exception is a special rule.

3. A motion to take up a question out of its proper order, or to suspend the rules, or to amend them (after previous notice), requires, under general rules, only a majority vote.

4. A motion must be stated by the chairman before discussion, when an amendment is proposed, and before a vote is taken.

5. A principal motion is the main one under consideration.

6. Other motions relating to the principal question, such as to amend, to refer to a committee, to postpone further action, to lay on the table, etc., are called subsidiary motions.

7. Principal motions and subsidiary motions cannot be made together.

8. Principal motions should always be offered in writing; subsidiary motions may be verbally made.

9. Members may call for the re-reading of a motion under discussion.

10. No motion can be withdrawn from consideration by the mover without the consent of the assembly.

11. In making a motion the mover must stand in his place and address the presiding officer, or the motion cannot be received; and it is required that the chair recognize the mover.

12. When a motion is before the assembly, only privileged motions can be introduced. (See Questions of Privilege.)

13. As almost all legislative business is transacted by motions, the list of those ordinarily in use is quite extensive, and most of them are noted throughout this summary of Parliamentary Rules.

14. Motions, ordinarily, as to precedence, rank as follows: To fix the time to which to adjourn; to adjourn - no time named; for the order of the day; to lie on the table; for the previous question; to postpone to a certain time; to commit; to amend; to postpone indefinitely. A motion to reconsider a vote may be made at any time, but cannot be acted upon until the business before the assembly is disposed of.

Order Of The Day

1. A motion may be made and carried to-day to bring up for consideration an important topic one week from this day, and when the time arrives, that topic will be the order of the day.

2. When the time named arrives, a call for the order of the day has preference over all other motions, even though a member has the floor.

3. If the call is voted down, the order of the day stands postponed indefinitely, and the regular business of the assembly proceeds as usual.

4. If the call for the order of the day prevails, all other business is laid aside.

5. A motion to call up the order of the day is not debatable, nor can it be amended; but whether adopted or defeated, its reconsideration can be moved.

6. By a vote, the assembly can postpone a portion of the order of the day to a future time.

Questions Of Order

1. If a member, in his speech, breaks a rule of the assembly, another says, "I rise to a point of order," although the offending member is still speaking, and states the nature of the infraction. The chair decides at once upon the complaint, without discussion. His decision may be objected to by some member, who says, "I appeal from the decision of the chair." The chairman then states the point of order and his decision, and says " Shall the decision of the chair stand?" This question may be debated (in some cases, but not in all,) by a majority vote of the assembly. During these proceedings the offending member suspends his speech.

2. Or, if the speaking member breaks a rule of decorum, any other may rise in his place and say, "I call the gentleman to order," and the chairman proceeds as before.

3. If the appeal from the chair's decision is laid upon the table by a vote of the assembly, it is considered as sustaining that decision.

4. All deliberative bodies are not equally strict in observing parliamentary rules, and slight infractions of them are not noted. It is not profitable for a member to be always calling others to order; he becomes disliked, and gains nothing.

The Previous Question

1. The "call of the previous question," in a deliberative assembly, is a term applied to a measure introduced when it is desired to stop discussion of the main question, and has that effect unless the call is voted down.

2. The call for the previous question may be made by any member.