by Dionna Farmer, GFWC Florida Recording Secretary
How well motions are handled can be important to a club if the board’s actions are ever in question. There are several ways to use motions strategically but for the purpose of this article only an overview of what motions are, how to propose one, and how to handle them during a meeting will be the focus. A record of the motion and the decision should always be reported in the minutes.
What is a Motion?
Motions focus the voting body on what is being decided. In a smaller meeting, like a committee or board meeting, often only four motions are used: to introduce (motion.), to change a motion (amend.), to adopt (accept a report without discussion.), to adjourn (end the meeting.) These processes are designed to ensure that everyone has a chance to participate and to share ideas in an orderly manner. Parliamentary procedure should not be used to prevent discussion of important issues.
To Introduce a Motion
To introduce a new piece of business or propose a decision or action, a motion must be made by a group member. A second motion must then also be made. After limited discussion the group then votes on the motion. A majority vote is required for the motion to pass (or quorum as specified in your bylaws.). Only one motion can be considered at a time.
In the role of Junior Recording Secretary, it has been easiest for me to keep track of motions and their approval through the use of a motion form. At meetings, those who are interested in making a motion complete a motion form prior to speaking to the voting body. The form is given to me in order to add it as an attachment to the minutes. This process allows for a clear record within the minutes as to who made the motion, the verbage of the motion, as well as its approval status.
Below is an example of a motion form. It is helpful for the recording secretary to keep several of these on hand during a meeting should a member need one during the meeting.