Parliamentary Procedure Resources: Glossary of Parliamentarian Terms
There are many, many terms and definitions associated with Parmliamentary Procedure. Hopefully this glossary of terms will help you better understand Robert's Rules of Order, agendas, meeting minutes, motions, meeting rules and formats, and the parliamentary process.
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Just as the name implies, this type of voting is done by a person who is not in attendance at the meeting. The bylaws must expressly authorize it before it is allowed.
To verbally refrain from voting. Frequently the reason for abstaining is a conflict of interest.
The result of abstaining from voting. Because the abstention is not voting, it does not count as a vote cast.
To adopt or approve a motion or report. The effect of accepting, adopting, or approving a report is the assembly endorses the report in its entirety, every word of it.
An election by unanimous consent.
A special committee. The term comes from a Latin term meaning “to this” and refers to a committee formed for a particular purpose.
A motion is considered adhering to the motion or question if it is made while the motion it is adhering to is pending. For example, a main motion is made. While it is being discussed, an Amendment is made to that Main Motion. The Amendment is adhering to the main motion. Adhering motions remain connected to the main motion even if the motion is interrupted, Referred, Postponed, or temporarily disposed of.
A motion to close the meeting.
A meeting that is a continuation of a previous meeting. It occurs when the work was not completed at a regular or special meeting and there was a motion to continue the meeting at a different time. The original meeting and the adjourned meeting make up a single session. Because it is a continuation of a previous meeting, special notice of the meeting doesn’t need to be sent to the membership. The adjourned meeting begins on the agenda where the meeting it is continuing left off.
A Latin term which means “without day.” It is the final adjournment of an assembly. The last meeting of the convention is said to adjourn sine die.
While not a parliamentary term, this term refers to the time period in which the officers remains in office without need for re-election.
To accept or approve a motion or report. The effect of accepting, adopting, or approving a report is the assembly endorses the report in its entirety, every word of it.
A vote in favor of the adoption of the motion.
A predetermined sequence of items of business to be covered at a specific meeting; an order of business. The prescribed agenda for organizations that have regular meetings at least quarterly and have Robert’s Rules as their parliamentary authority is: approval of minutes; reports of officers, boards, and standing committees; reports of special committees; special orders; unfinished business and general orders; and new business.
A member authorized to substitute for another member.
A motion to modify the pending motion before it is voted on.
One of the forms of a motion to Amend. This form places a word or consecutive words or a paragraph at the end of a motion.
One of the forms of a motion to Amend. This form places a word or consecutive words or a paragraph in the beginning or the middle of a motion.
One of the forms of a motion to Amend. This form takes out a word or consecutive words or a paragraph in a motion.
One of the forms of a motion to Amend. This form strikes out a word or consecutive words and inserts a word or consecutive words in its place.
One of the forms of a motion to Amend. This form strikes out a paragraph or more and inserts another paragraph or more.
A motion that allows the assembly to change an action previously taken. This motion can be applied to a motion adopted at a previous meeting provided that none of the action involved has been carried out in a way that it is too late to undo.
When a motion is amendable, it can be modified during the time it is pending (Step 4)
A motion that proposes a change to the wording of a pending motion.
A professional organization of parliamentarians that emphasizes knowledge of Robert’s, Sturgis, and other parliamentary authorities.
The sixth step in the processing of a motion. In a complete announcement, the chair states the following: the results of the vote, declaration of whether the motion passed or failed, the effect of the vote, and the next item of business.
A meeting held yearly usually for the purpose of electing officers and receiving the annual reports of current officers and committees. The annual meeting is usually specified in the bylaws. You may also find in the bylaws what business can be brought up at the annual meeting as well as whether the annual meeting is considered a regular meeting, thus having the flexibility of a regular meeting. Sometimes certain subjects, for example, bylaw amendments, can only be acted on at the annual meeting.
These are rules that are adopted for a single meeting and may include parliamentary rules.
A motion to take a decision regarding parliamentary procedure out of the hands of the presiding officer and place the final decision in the hands of the assembly.
To name or assign a person to an office, a position, or a committee.
This term is synonymous with ratify, confirm, adopt, or accept. The effect of accepting, adopting, or approving a report is the assembly endorses the report in its entirety, every word of it.
May also be referred to as the corporate charter. It's the legal instrument required by the state to incorporate an organization.
A group of people meeting together to openly discuss issues and make decisions that then become the decision of the group. Also referred to as a deliberative assembly.
A fee that is imposed on the members. It must be specifically authorized in the bylaws.
Electronic meetings that occur with the participants in different places at different times. Venues of asynchronous meetings include, but are not limited to, e-mail, e-mail list groups, and facsimile/fax. Also referred to as nonsynchronistic meetings.
There are various methods by which a person can attend a meeting electronically, but only as specifically authorized in the bylaws. For example, if a member must miss a meeting because they physically cannot be in the meeting room, then some bylaws authorize that person to attend by video or audioconferencing methods. Unless the bylaws indicate otherwise, that person is considered in attendance at that meeting.
An examination and verification of the financial records of the association. Depending upon the size of the organization, an audit may be required by federal or state law. The size of the organization also determines whether the audit can be done by an internal group, usually referred to as the audit committee, or an external, independent auditor.
Word frequently used in a voice vote to vote in the affirmative. For example, “All those in favor of the motion, say ‘aye’.”