I appeal

An often forgotten motion can help the meeting chair.

Many questions about Parliamentary Procedure are directed to Michigan State University Extension on a regular basis. Those individuals who help answer those questions often subscribe to resources to help keep their skills intact. One such resource is Jurassic Parliament. Recently in the newsletter, Ann Macfarlane wrote a piece about the motion “appeal.” This was a great reminder of an often forgotten tool.

RONR (11th ed.), p. 70 II 15-20 explains that although the duty of ruling on all questions of parliamentary procedure affecting the assembly’s proceeding rests with the chair, any two members, by moving and seconding an appeal immediately after the chair has made such a ruling, can require him to submit the matter to a vote of the assembly.

A member may appeal the decision of the chair based on a number of items such as ill decorum, violation of rules, or incorrect order of business. The member should state: “I appeal from the decision of the chair.” Another member needs to second the motion.

The Chair says: “The decision of the chair is appealed from.”

The motion may or may not be debatable. The chair is allowed to speak twice when faced with an appeal. First before any other member speaks and second to provide answers or rebuttal before putting the question to a vote.

To put the question to vote the Chair says: The question is shall the decision of the chair be sustained.” or “(The question is shall the decision of the chair stand as the judgment of the assembly.)”

Chair: “Those in favor of sustaining the chair’s decision say aye… those opposed to sustaining this decision, say no…”

A majority or tie vote sustains the decision of the chair.

If a member disagrees with a ruling of the chair affecting any substantial question, he should not hesitate to appeal. The situation is no more delicate than disagreeing with another member in debate. RONR (11th ed.), p. 258 II 23-7. It also highlights that the chair may be relieved to avoid ruling and place that task on the group.

“Every member of a local governmental body or nonprofit board of directors should know and use this motion. It keeps the power in the hands of the group, and ensures that the chair of the meeting always serves the group’s wishes. It is basic to our democratic process (Jurassic Parliament Newsletter May 2015 Vol. VIII, No. 5).”

The Michigan State University Extension Government and Public Policy team offers training for elected and appointed officials for improved effectiveness in several areas, including various public policy issues and effects of government programs, regulation, incentives, strategies and more. By working together with local elected and appointed officials, and interested citizens, MSU Extension is able to provide education on critical local and state issues. The Michigan State University Extension Government and Public Policy team also offers professional training in Parliamentary Procedure. To contact an expert in your area, visit MSU Extension’s expert search system or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464). 

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