TISL Home Page
Download TISL's ParliPro PowerPoint Click

ParliPro is Based on the Rank of Motions
And a Few Simple Principles

Main, Subsidiary & Privileged Motions

Consideration of a bill begins with the Main Motion -- the motion to adopt the bill.

Once the main motion is pending, another motion is in order if it outranks other pending motions.

TISL's GavelsIf, for example, a motion to amend is pending, a motion to refer to committee is in order because it outranks the motion to amend. In the same situation, a motion to postpone indefinitely is out of order because it ranks lower than the motion to amend.

Extending the above example, presume the motion to refer to committee is pending. If the motion to refer is defeated, consideration of the motion to amend resumes automatically.

It logically follows that a motion equal in rank to a pending motion is out of order because a motion must outrank other pending motions to be in order. If a motion to refer to committee is pending, another motion to refer to committee would be out of order. But the pending motion to refer to committee can be amended to change the committee.

A delegate must be recognized by the presiding officer to make one of these motions, and each of them requires a second.

Seeking Recognition
And Addressing The Body

A delegate seeks recognition by standing at his/her desk.

Upon recognition by the speaker, he/she begins by addressing the chair and then the body.

"Mister/Madam Speaker and members of the Senate/House ..."

All remarks are addressed to the presiding officer.

A delegate should not refer to another delegate personally. Instead, he/she should refer to the "Senator from Belmont" or the "Representative from Tusculum".

A motion always begins with the words "I move ..."

A delegate concludes his/her remarks with a motion or by thanking the presiding officer.

"Thank you, Mister/Madam Speaker."

Rank of Main, Subsidiary & Privileged Motions
All of these motions require a second

May Be Debated

May Be Amended

Majority Required

May Be Reconsidered

Privileged
Motions

Adjourn highest rank

"I move to adjourn."

No

No

Simple

No

Recess

"I move to recess for 10 minutes."
"I move to recess until after the Joint Session."

No

Yes

Simple

No

Subsidiary
Motions

Lay on the Table [set the referenced motion aside, which typically defeats it]

"I move to table TISL Bill __."
"I move to table Amendment __ to TISL Bill __ ."
"I move to table the motion to Postpone Indefinitely."

No

No

Simple

No
The opposite motion is to Lift from the Table, which requires a second and a simple majority.

Previous Question [end debate]

"I move the Previous Question on the amendment."
"I move the Previous Question on the bill."

No

No

Two-thirds

No

Postpone to a Certain Time

"I move to postpone TISL Bill __ until the regular order of the next legislative session."
"I move that TISL Bill __ be moved down the calendar __ spaces."

Yes

Yes

Simple

Yes

Refer to Committee

"I move to refer TISL Bill __ to the _____ Committee."

Yes

Yes

Simple

Yes

Amend an Amendment

"I move to adopt Amendment __ to Amendment __."

Yes

No

Simple

Yes

Amend

"I move to adopt Amendment __ to TISL Bill __."

Yes

Yes

Simple

Yes

Postpone Indefinitely

"I move to postpone TISL Bill __ indefinitely."

Yes

No

Simple

Yes

Main Motion

Adopt a Bill lowest rank

"I move that the Senate/House adopt TISL Bill __."

Yes

Yes

Simple

Yes

2007 Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature Foundation. May be reprinted with this citation.

Incidental Motions

Incidental motions concern business that needs to be brought before the house immediately.

Incidental motions must pertain to the pending business. They have no rank among themselves and outrank all other motions. Only one incidental motion may be pending at a time.

Point of Order If a delegate believes the rules of order are being breached, he/she makes a Point of Order, asking the Speaker to rule on the issue. If the Speaker fails to see an infraction, he/she may ask the delegate to explain the complaint.

This motion does not require a second or a vote. Point of Order is the only motion that doesn’t require recognition from the Speaker and may interrupt another speaker.

"Point of Order!"

Appeal the Ruling of the Chair After the Speaker rules on an issue such as a Point of Order, the house may vote to on whether to sustain or overrule the Speaker's decision.

For example, if the Speaker rules that a motion is out of order, a delegate may want the house to override the speaker. If the appeal is seconded, the house decides whether to uphold or overrule the Speaker's decision.

An appeal is subject to the general rules of debate, and the Speaker may explain his/her decision. The speaker does not have to relinquish the chair during the discussion. A simple majority decides the question.

"I appeal the ruling of the chair."

Suspend the Rules When a house desires to consider a matter or do something that isn't specified in the Rules of Order, it may suspend the rules.

A motion to suspend the rules requires a second, is debatable, and requires a two-thirds majority for passage.

A motion to suspend the rules must include the purpose for suspending the rules. Once that purpose has been accomplished, the rules are automatically back in effect. No motion or action is necessary to re-instate the rules.

When the rules are suspended, only actions that are in pursuit of the stated purpose may be taken.

"I move to suspend Rule __ for the purpose of __"

Division of the House Immediately after a voice vote, any three members in the Senate or in a standing committee or any five members in the House of Representatives or in a Joint Session may request a roll call vote.

Those requesting a roll call should raise a hand immediately after the presiding officer announces the results of the voice vote.

Standing Committees
Consider Bills First

Upon introduction, every bill is referred to a standing committee by the Secretary of State.

Every delegate is a member of a standing committee. Delegates will sign up for committees when they arrive at the General Assembly. Standing Committees

The Governor appoints a Chairman, Vice Chairman and Secretary for each committee.

Committees meet regularly during the General Assembly to consider bills assigned to them.

Committees report each bill to the floor with one of three actions:

  • A recommendation for passage.
  • A recommendation for defeat.

A committee may postpone consideration of a bill for additional study, but it may postpone a given bill only once. Exceptions:

  • It may not postpone any bills at the final scheduled committee meeting.
  • It may postpone a bill more than once if it lacks an essential element of a bill such as a sponsor in one house or an enacting clause.
Rulez Rule

TISL is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) educational corporation chartered by the State of Tennessee.
2006 et seq. Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

item9
Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature TISLonline.org