From The Parliamentarian

FROM THE PARLIAMENTARIAN . . . AMENDMENTS
by Julie Kays, Parliamentarian for Springfield Council of PTAs

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

1. Amendments, like main motions, require a second, are amendable, are debatable, and require a majority vote.
2. An amendment should be stated so that it indicates exactly what is being done to the main motion.
3. An amendment must always be handled before voting on the motion to which it was applied.

EXAMPLES OF VARIOUS TYPES OF AMENDMENTS

MAIN MOTION: “Mr. Chairman, I move that we sponsor a delegate to our National PTA Convention in June.”

Amend by STRIKING OUT: “Mr. Chairman, I move to amend the main motion by striking out the words ‘in March.’” (Such an amendment would be useful if the exact dates of the convention are not known).

Amend by ADDITION (or INSERTION): “Mr. Chairman, I move to amend the main motion by adding at the end of the motion ‘providing, however, that this PTA shall be responsible for expenses up to $550.00.”

Amend by STRIKING OUT AND INSERTING: “Mr. Chairman, I move to amend the main motion by striking out the words ‘a delegate’ and inserting the words ‘two delegates.’”

All of the above are examples of PRIMARY (first degree) amendments, because they apply directly to the main motion stated above. A SECONDARY (second degree) amendment is one that applies to another amendment. A SECONDARY amendment could be applied to the above amendment by addition, as follows:

SECONDARY AMENDMENT: “Mr. Chairman, I move to amend the amendment by striking out ‘$550.00” and inserting ‘$500.00.’”

Amendments of the THIRD DEGREE are not permitted, but an unlimited number of primary and secondary amendments can be made. However, no more than one primary and one secondary amendment can be proposed at a time.

SUBSTITUTE MOTION

Whenever it is desired to change the wording of a motion so substantially that several amendments would be required, a substitute motion may be used. A substitute motion has the same status as a primary amendment, but the procedures for handling it are somewhat different. Both the main motion and the proposed substitute are opened to amendment. Then when both have been PERFECTED, a vote is taken on whether the substitute will replace the main motion. Finally, the vote is taken on the adoption of the final motion (which may be either the proposed substitute or the original main motion).

SUBSTITUTE MOTION: “Mr. Chairman, I move that we encourage all of our members to attend National PTA Convention in June.” (This is a logical substitute for the main motion stated above. It deals with the same topic – attendance at the National convention, but proposes a completely different course of action.)

When voting on main motions with amendments, the secondary amendment is first voted upon, then the primary amendment (as amended by the secondary amendment, if it passes), then finally the main motion (as amended by the secondary amendment, if that is the case) is voted on. The chair announces the defeat of the motion or that the motion is adopted (as amended, if that is the case).

Mary Christiano, Parliamentarian

mary_christiano@sbcglobal.net

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