Virtual Business Meeting Motions Process

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 share  their opinions in accordance with the ACNM Code of Conduct, ACNM anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and 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, 2021 and can be completed here. Motions may be presented to ACNM membership for wider feedback, before the official debate process (outlined below) takes places at the business meeting.

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

Motions are recommendations brought forth to the ACNM Board for discussion and decision-making. Motions submitted for ACNM business meetings will be numbered in the order received and will a receive a motion number. 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 virtual meeting 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 virtual business meeting, motion makers will receive a panelist link and will have the ability to present motions.

Upon invite from the President, first, announce your motion #, 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. A member may second a motion by posting in the virtual Q&A room.  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 access the virtual Q&A room to post the motion #, their name, state and position on the motion (Pro or Con). During debate there shall be four voting members who post in favor of a motion and four voting members who post in opposition to the motion before the previous question is moved. A timekeeper shall signal when allotted number of pros and cons for the assigned motion number have been posted. After the pros and cons are posted and read aloud by the President, debate will be closed, then a vote is taken on the motion by use of the online voting poll.

Who may vote?

Per ACNM Bylaws, all active members may vote. Associate members and students members do not hold voting privileges.

Are there rules for debate?

Yes! The ACNM Code of Conduct, anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies must be adhered to at all times. The following rules also apply:

1) Registration: All members and guests must be registered for the Annual Meeting before attending business meeting sessions.

2) Online Debates and Polling: When the motion becomes open for debate, a member shall access the virtual meeting Q&A room to post the motion #, their name, state and position on the motion (Pro or Con). During debate there shall be four voting members who post in favor of a motion, four voting members who post in opposition to the motion, and one posted student position before the previous question is moved. A timekeeper shall signal when the allotted number of pro and cons for the assigned motion number has been posted. After the pros and cons are posted and read aloud by the President or designee, the debate will be closed, then a vote is taken on the motion by use of the online voting poll.

3) Motions: Motions proposing new business shall be assigned a motion #, presented in the proper format and in the order in which they have been filed with the national office and the parliamentarian. Should a proponent of a motion not be available when the motion is presented, the motion will be placed last.

4) 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.

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

6) Can discussion take place without a motion? The general rule is that a motion must be made for online business meeting discussion to take place on an issue unless it is permitted by the President. This rule helps to keep the meeting on track.

7) Is 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 registered 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.

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

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