Business Meeting Motions FAQS

If you’re new to association business meetings, the idea of submitting motions may be intimidating. The following frequently asked questions, based on Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, will help demystify the process.

What is a motion?

A motion is a formal proposal by a member, made in a meeting, that the College take a certain action. The proposed action may be substantive (i.e., ACNM should support a single-payer health system or conduct a specific research project), or it may simply express a certain view (i.e., all women should have access to nitrous oxide in labor). Motions can also be made in response to written or oral reports by the College leadership.

How do you bring a motion to the ACNM business meeting?

Members wishing to bring a motion to the business meeting should fill out a motion form. The new form is available at submitaform.. Motion forms will also be available at the Annual Meeting. Students may submit motions if an active, voting member is a co-sponsor.

Who decides when motions will be discussed at the business meeting?

If you submit a motion prior to the Annual Meeting, it will be numbered in the order it is received. If you submit a motion during the Annual Meeting, it will be considered in the order that it has been submitted. Motions submitted in person and via email are considered equally; time stamping is considered for both. Depending on the number of motions submitted and the time available for discussion, some motions may not be discussed during the business meetings. All remaining motions will be reviewed by the ACNM Board of Directors during their post-conference meeting, and the motion-maker will be notified of the outcome of the review.

What does the parliamentarian do?

The parliamentarian is a consultant brought in by ACNM to advise the president and other officers, committees, and members on matters of parliamentary procedure. ACNM’s parliamentarian will be Barbara J. Rosi, professional registered parliamentarian. Members are welcome to meet with Barbara before the business meeting for assistance in writing motions. She will be available in the Program Committee Office located in Private Dining Room (PDR) 6 at 7:30 AM before the opening meeting on Tuesday, May 23andat 12:20PM before the closing meeting on Thursday, May 24.

How is my motion brought to the floor?

The president of the board invites the member who has submitted a motion to come to a microphone to make their motion. When approaching the microphone, first announce your name and state. The motion itself should be brief, such as “ACNM should support a single payer system.” Then you have two minutes to give your position on this topic. After you have completed your position, take your seat. In order for your motion to move forward, another member must second it. After the motion is seconded, the chair “states the question” of the motion, and it is opened for debate by the membership.

Are there rules for debate?

Yes! See additional rules in the following section. Once debate has ended or a motion to end debate (“Calling the Question” or “Moving the Previous Question”) is adopted, members have the opportunity to vote on the motion.

Can discussion take place without a motion?

The general rule is that a motion must be made for discussion to take place on an issue, unless it is permitted by the chair. This rule helps to keep the meeting on track.

Help! I’m still confused!

ACNM staff, board members, and our parliamentarian are available to assist you.