Membership Business Meeting Motions

The ACNM business meetings are an excellent opportunity to see how ACNM works, learn about current issues affecting midwifery, and help shape the future initiatives and the priorities of your professional organization. Business meetings are open to all members, although voting privileges are not extended to associate members or students. All members are permitted to voice their opinions in accordance with the business meeting procedures. Your opinions are highly valued.

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 and ACNM bylaws will help demystify the process.

What is a motion?

A motion begins the process of making a decision by offering a proposal. The proposed motion is recommended by a member, made in a meeting, upon which the College takes a certain action. The proposed action may be substantive (e.g., ACNM should support a single-payer health system or conduct a specific research project), or it may simply express a certain view (e.g., 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 motions to the business meeting should complete the motion form. The motion form is due by May 15, 2020 and can be completed online at https://annualmeeting.midwife.org/business-motions/. Due to time limitations of the business meeting, members are highly encouraged to submit motions early.

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

Motions will be numbered in the order received. Depending on the number of motions submitted and the time available for discussion, some motions may not be discussed. All remaining motions will be reviewed by the ACNM Board, and the motion-maker will be notified of the outcome of the review. Due to time limitations of the business meeting, members are highly encouraged to submit motions early.

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. The parliamentarian will be in attendance at the business meeting.

Need Help writing a motion?

Members are welcome to consult with the national office by emailing leadership@acnm.org.

How is my motion brought to the floor?

A motion is brought to the floor when the President of the Board recognizes you. The President invites the member who submitted a motion to make their motion. During the online business meeting, you will be unmuted to present your motion.

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. For your motion to move forward, another member must second it. After the motion is seconded, the President states the question of the motion, and it is opened for debate by the membership.

When the motion becomes open for debate, a member shall give their name, state and position on the motion (Pro or Con). Members shall not speak more than twice on the same subject and shall be limited to two minutes each time. The total time for debate on a pending subject shall be 16 minutes. After debate for 16 minutes, debate shall be closed. During debate there shall be four voting members who speak in favor of a motion and four voting members who speak in opposition to the motion before the previous question is moved. No person shall speak a second time until everyone who wishes to speak for the first time has been recognized. A timekeeper shall signal when allotted time has expired. The microphone will be muted when the time frame has expired. At the end of 16 minutes, the debate will be closed, then a vote is taken on the motion.

Are there rules for debate?

Yes! ACNM Code of Conduct, anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies must be adhered to at all times.

1) Registration: All members and guests must be registered for the Annual Meeting before attending business meeting sessions, and identification badges must be worn at all times.

2) Seating: Voting (all active) members will sit in reserved sections; associate members and student members will occupy separate, reserved seating sections. Guests may attend business meetings except when members vote to hold an executive session. All meetings shall begin on time and doors shall be closed when the meeting begins

3) Discussion: When the motion becomes open for debate, a member shall give their name, state and position on the motion (Pro or Con). Members shall not speak more than twice on the same subject and shall be limited to two minutes each time. The total time for debate on a pending subject shall be 16 minutes. After debate for 16 minutes, debate shall be closed. During debate there shall be four voting members who speak in favor of a motion and four voting members who speak in opposition to the motion before the previous question is moved. No person shall speak a second time until everyone who wishes to speak for the first time has been recognized. A timekeeper shall signal when allotted time has expired. The microphone will be muted when the time frame has expired. At the end of 16 minutes, the debate will be closed, then a vote is taken on the motion.

4) Motions: Motions proposing new business shall be presented in the proper format and in the order in which they have been filed with the parliamentarian. Should a proponent of a motion not be available when the motion is presented, the motion will be placed last. Official forms used to propose motions will be available in the Program Committee office.

5) Authority: Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised govern the proceedings of the business meetings in all cases not covered by ACNM bylaws or these procedures.

6) Recording: Audio or video recording of business meetings is not permitted unless authorized by the President.

7) 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 President. This rule helps to keep the meeting on track.

8) Help!  I’m still confused! ACNM staff, board members, and our parliamentarian are available to assist you.  Email us at leadership@acnm.org.

9) a set percentage of attendees required at the Business Meetings for votes to take place? According to the ACNM Bylaws (Article IV. Membership, Section D, Quorum Requirements): “One-third of the voting membership registered at the Annual Meeting shall constitute a quorum at the Membership Business Meeting for the purpose of voting on all motions, questions, resolutions, and other actions, so long as the meeting has been properly announced and motions have been submitted in a manner consistent with these Bylaws and applicable law.”In other words, one-third of the number of voting members of the College registered at the Annual Meeting on each day of the Membership Business Meetings is a quorum. Attendees who may have registered for days other than the days that the Membership Business Meetings fall on are not counted. Only members who have for the full meeting, or daily conference attendees who are registered on the days of the Membership Business Meetings, are included in the total voting members count.

For example, if 2000 registered conference attendees that will attend the entire annual meeting – 1350 voting members, 500 students (who are not voting members), and 150 other non-voting attendees, what’s needed to form a quorum is 450 voting members (1/3 of 1350) in attendance.

The bottom line: Attendance of every member at Business Meetings is critical. It ensures that voting can take place.