Motion (democracy)

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A motion is a formal step to introduce a matter for consideration by a group. It is a common concept in the procedure of trade unions, students' unions, corporations, and other deliberative assemblies. Motions can be oral or in writing, the written form being known as a resolution.

Proposing motions[edit]

A motion is generally proposed by an individual, usually a member of the body, for the consideration of the body as a whole. With the exception of certain incidental and privileged motions, the person making the motion, known as the mover, must first be recognized by the chairman as being entitled to speak; this process is known as obtaining the floor.

Once the mover has obtained the floor, the mover states the motion, normally prefixed with the phrase "I move." For instance, at a meeting of the board of directors of a corporation, a director may state "I move that the corporation delays the launch of the new product from April to July." If the motion was in writing, the mover would say "I move the resolution at the desk" or "I move the following resolution" and would then read it. Generally, once the motion has been proposed, consideration by the assembly occurs only if another member of the body immediately seconds the motion.

Main motions[edit]

A main motion is a motion whose introduction brings business before the assembly. If the motion has been proposed in advance of a conference or similar assembly, it may then be composited with other motion with related proposals.

A common next step is to allow the submission of amendments to the motion, which are motions in their own right. Again, these must often be seconded.

The motion is then considered by the assembly. A common procedure is to first read the motion, then take votes on each amendment to it in turn. In many cases, sections of motions and amendments can be debated and voted on separately by taking [the motion] in parts.

Once the amendments have been voted upon, the motion, with the adopted amendments, is debated and voted upon. Depending on the nature of the motion and the assembly, it may require a simple majority, a two-thirds majority or some other formulation in order to be adopted.

If the motion is adopted, it becomes part of the assembly's policy.

Motions are also used in debating events and competitions that mimic legislative assemblies or other deliberative bodies. Motions in this case are often prefaced with the phrase This House..., e.g. This House would ban smoking in public places.

See also[edit]