Motion (parliamentary procedure)

Motion (parliamentary procedure)

In parliamentary procedure, a motion is a formal proposal by a member of a deliberative assembly that the assembly take certain action.[1] In a parliament, this is also called a parliamentary motion and includes legislative motions, budgetary motions, supplementary budgetary motions, and petitionary motions. These can bring new business before the assembly or consist of numerous other proposals to take procedural steps or carry out other actions relating either to a pending motion or the body itself.


  • Classification of motions 1
  • Proposing motions 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4

Classification of motions

Robert's Rules of Order divide motions into five classes:[2]

  1. Main motions, those that bring business before the assembly when no other motion is pending.
  2. Subsidiary motions, which affect the main motion being considered.
  3. Incidental motions, which affect rules and procedures that are not specifically tied to a particular main motion.
  4. Privileged motions, which are urgent matters that must be dealt with immediately, even if they interrupt pending business.
  5. Motions that bring a matter again before the assembly.

Classes 2, 3 and 4 are collectively referred to as "secondary motions".[1]

The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure treats the fifth class as a type of main motion, under the title "Restorative Main Motions".[3]

Proposing motions

A motion is proposed by 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 is known as obtaining the floor.[4]

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 delay 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.

See also


  1. ^ a b Robert, Henry M. (2000). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 10th ed., p. 26
  2. ^ RONR, p. 56
  3. ^ Sturgis, Alice (2001). The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, 4th ed., p. 36
  4. ^ RONR, p. 32