Simplified Rules of Order

Procedures Used in Meetings

The Agenda

The agenda consists of the items of business to be discussed by a meeting. It is made up of "special" and "general" orders.

Usually the chair or another designated person is charged with the responsibility for preparing the agenda. The person preparing the agenda can, of course, seek assistance with the task.

The agenda can be amended either before or after it is adopted. Until the meeting adopts the proposed agenda, the latter is merely a proposal. When a motion to adopt the agenda is made, therefore, the meeting can, by motions requiring simple majorities, add items to, delete items from, or re-arrange the order of items on the proposed agenda.

Once the agenda has been adopted, the business items on it are the property of the meeting, not of the groups or individuals who submitted the items. Any change to the agenda, once it has been adopted, can be made by motion, but any such motions require two-thirds or larger majorities to pass.

If an individual has submitted a motion for debate by a meeting, but decides, after the agenda has been adopted, not to present the motion, the individual cannot simply withdraw the motion from the agenda; that action requires a two-thirds majority vote, because the effect is to amend the agenda. The individual may choose not to move the motion, but it is the right of any other person attending the meeting to move the motion if he or she wants to do so.

To expedite progress of the meeting, the chair may announce that the individual would like to withdraw the motion, and ask if there is any objection. If no one objects, the chair can go on to the next item of business, because a unanimous lack of objection is, in effect, a unanimous vote to delete the item from the agenda.

Once the agenda has been adopted, each item of business on the agenda will come before the meeting unless: (1) no one moves a motion, (2) no one objects to withdrawal suggested by the sponsoring individual or group, (3) a motion to delete an item from the agenda is made and passed with a two-thirds or larger majority, or (4) the meeting runs out of time before the item can be discussed.

In summary, the agenda can be changed before or after it has been adopted. Before adoption of the agenda, motions to amend the agenda require simple majority votes. After adoption, motions to amend the agenda require two-thirds or larger majorities to pass.

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Last changed: 10/08/2002
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