Simplified Rules of Order

Incidental Motions

Requests and Inquiries

a. Parliamentary Inquiry-a request for the chair's opinion (not a ruling) on a matter of parliamentary procedure as it relates to the business at hand.

b. Point of Information-a question about facts affecting the business at hand-directed to the chair or, through the chair, to a member.

c. Request for Permission to Withdraw or Modify a Motion. Although Robert's Rules of Order specify that until a motion has been accepted by the chair it is the property of the mover, who can withdraw it or modify it as he/she chooses, a common practice is that once the agenda has been adopted, the items on it become the property of the meeting. A person may not, therefore, withdraw a motion unilaterally; he or she may do so only with the consent of the meeting, which has adopted an agenda indicating that the motion is to be debated.

Similarly, a person cannot, without the consent of the meeting, change the wording of any motion that has been given ahead of time to those attending the meeting-for example, distributed in printed form in advance, printed on the agenda, a motion of which notice has been given at a previous meeting, etc.

The usual way in which consent of a meeting to withdraw a motion is obtained is for the mover to ask the consent of the meeting to withdraw (or change the wording). If no one objects, the chairperson announces that there being no objections, that the motion is withdrawn or that the modified wording is the motion to be debated.

If anyone objects, the chair can put a motion permitting the member to withdraw (or modify) or any two members may move and second that permission be granted. A majority vote decides the question of modifying a motion-similar to amending the motion. A two-thirds majority is needed for permission to withdraw a motion, as this has the effect of amending the agenda.

d. Request to Read Papers.

e. Request to be Excused from a Duty.

f. Request for Any Other Privilege.

The first two types of inquiry are responded to by the chair, or by a member at the direction of the chair; the other requests can be granted only by the meeting.

Contents | How Motions are Classified | Incidental Motions

Last changed: 10/08/2002
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