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Parliamentary Procedure

Basic parliamentary procedure provides a road map for meetings. It is meant to help expedite business, ensure legality and protect the rights of the minority.

The most popular “road map” is Robert’s Rules of Order. These parliamentary rules were developed by Henry Martyn Robert, an officer in the Army that was asked to preside over a public meeting in his church only to realize he didn’t know how. He left the meeting embarrassed and determined to never attend another meeting. Fortunately, he studied materials available on parliamentary law and developed Robert’s Rules of Order to bring order out of chaos for organizations to follow.

Parliamentary Procedure Basics

  • The group discusses only one issue at a time
  • All members have equal basic rights to vote and be heard
  • The rights of the minority must be protected
  • No one can speak until recognized by the chair
  • Every member can speak to the issue
  • Majority vote decides an issue
  • Chairperson maintains impartiality unless they must break a tie vote

What additional resources are there on parliamentary procedure?
The updated editions of Robert’s Rules of Order can be purchased online or most bookstores and it is suggested to have a copy available to your organization during meetings. Multiple online websites provide a quick reference to Robert’s Rules of Order as well.

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