Simplified Rules of Order

Subsidiary Motions

Amend

An amendment is a motion to change, to add words to, or to omit words from, an original motion. The change is usually to clarify or improve the wording of the original motion and must, of course, be germane to that motion.

An amendment cannot interrupt another speaker, must be seconded, is debatable if the motion to be amended is debatable, may itself be amended by an amendment to the amendment, can be reconsidered, and requires a majority vote, even if the motion to be amended requires a two-thirds vote to be adopted.

The chair should allow full discussion of the amendment (being careful to restrict debate to the amendment, not the original motion) and should then have a vote taken on the amendment only, making sure the members know they are voting on the amendment, but not on the original motion.

If the amendment is defeated, another amendment may be proposed, or discussion will proceed on the original motion.

If the amendment carries, the meeting does not necessarily vote immediately on the "motion as amended." Because the discussion of the principle of the original motion was not permitted during debate on the amendment, there may be members who want to speak now on the issue raised in the original motion.

Other amendments may also be proposed, provided that they do not alter or nullify the amendments already passed. Finally, the meeting will vote on the "motion as amended" or, if all amendments are defeated, on the original motion.

An amendment to an amendment is a motion to change, to add words to, or omit words from, the first amendment. The rules for an amendment (above) apply here, except that the amendment to an amendment is not itself amendable and that it takes precedence over the first amendment.

Debate proceeds and a vote is taken on the amendment to the amendment, then on the first amendment, and finally on the original motion ("as amended," if the amendment has been carried). Only one amendment to an amendment is permissible.

Sometimes a main motion is worded poorly, and several amendments may be presented to improve the wording. In such cases it is sometimes better to have a substitute motion rather than to try to solve the wording problem with amendments.

An individual (or a group of two or three) can be asked to prepare a substitute wording for the original motion. If there is unanimous agreement, the meeting can agree to the withdrawal of the original motion (together with any amendments passed or pending) and the substitution of the new motion for debate.

Contents | How Motions are Classified | Subsidiary Motions

Last changed: 10/08/2002
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