A main motion is the topic under discussion
(e.g., “I move that we add a coffee break to
this meeting”). After recognition by the
chair, any member can introduce a main
motion when no other motion is on the table.
A main motion requires a second to be
considered. A main motion must be disposed
of (passed, defeated, tabled, referred to
committee, or postponed indefinitely) before
a new main motion may be considered.
A subsidiary motion affects the main motion
under discussion (e.g., “I move that we
amend the motion to specify that the break
should be 5 minutes long”). After
recognition by the chair, any member can
introduce a subsidiary motion when another
motion is on the table. Once a subsidiary
motion has been seconded, it must be
disposed of before returning to the current
motion. Subsidiary motions can theoretically
have their own subsidiary motions, each of
which must be resolved in turn.
Technically, once a motion has been
introduced and seconded, it “belongs” to the
group, not the person who introduced it.
Instead of the mover “withdrawing” it, the
group should amend it, or move to postpone
the motion indefinitely (a way of killing
the motion without voting it down).
To bring a new idea
before the group:
After recognition by the chair, present your
motion by starting “I move that we ___”. A
second is required for the motion to go to
the floor for discussion, or consideration.
If a motion passes, it goes into effect
immediately or at a specified time. Defeated
motions cannot be reintroduced for 6 months.
To change or add to
the wording of a motion under discussion:
After recognition by the chair, move to
amend the motion by proposing a specific
amendment. Most amendments are friendly,
arising naturally out of the group’s
discussion of the motion, and can be
accepted by the original mover. But if the
original mover objects, a majority vote will
still amend the original motion. An
amendment can completely reword or replace a
motion without voting it down.
If you have heard
Move to close the discussion. This ends
discussion and brings the assembly to a vote
on the pending question only. Requires a 2/3
Move to limit discussion to a set period of
time or to a set number of speakers.
Requires a 2/3 vote.
To recommend more
study and/or investigation be given to a
• Move to refer to a committee. Refers a
question to be investigated by a specified
group, with a specified purpose, and a
specified time to report back to the entire
• Requires a majority vote.
To postpone a
motion until some later time:
Move to table the motion until a specific
time. The motion may be taken from the table
after 1 item of business has been conducted.
If the motion is not taken from the table by
the end of the next meeting, it is dead. A
majority is required to table a motion.
To end the meeting:
Move to close business meeting. All pending
motions will be tabled until next biz
meeting. This motion takes immediate
precedence and is not discussed. It requires
a majority vote to pass.
You are unsure that the Chair has announced
the results of a vote correctly.
Without being recognized, call for a
“division of the house.”
At this point a standing vote will be taken.
If you are confused about a procedure being
used and want clarification:
Without recognition, call for a “point of
information.” The Chair will ask you to
state your question and will attempt to
clarify the situation.
If you think the
rules of order have been violated:
Without recognition, call for a “point of
order.” The Chair will ask you to state your
question and will attempt to clarify the
To kill a
Without recognition from the Chair simply
state “I object to consideration.” This must
be done before any discussion.
This motion requires no second, is not
debatable and requires a 2/3 vote.
If you have changed your mind about
something that was voted on earlier in the
meeting for which you were on the winning
Move to reconsider. If the majority agrees,
the motion comes back on the floor as though
the vote had not occurred.
You want to change an action voted on at an
Move to rescind. A 2/3 vote is required.
A note about main motions: in adversarial
assemblies, nothing is discussed without a
motion. But in AA, cooperation is assumed,
and it is often counterproductive to
introduce a main motion before there has
been some discussion of its subject matter.
After some discussion, the intent of the
group is usually clearer, and the chair can
be of service by attempting to coalesce what
he or she has heard into a coherent motion,
and ask if anyone will introduce the motion.
You may influence
WHAT the members discuss:
• if you would like to discuss something -
• if you would like to change a motion under
discussion – amend
You may influence
HOW and WHEN a motion is discussed:
• if you want to limit discussion on
something - limit discussion
• if you think people are ready to vote –
• if you want a committee to evaluate the
topic and report back – refer to committee
• if you want to discuss the topic at
another time – table until later in meeting
or next meeting
You may INTERRUPT a
speaker for these reasons only:
• to get information about business -
point of information
• to get information about rules -
• if you see a breach of the rules -
point of order
Lower numbered motions have precedence
over higher numbers.
1. Close meeting - not debatable; goes to
immediate majority vote.
2. Call for orders of the day – A demand to
return to the regular order of business.
3. Table until later in meeting – This
motion is only used to set aside the pending
motion to take up something more urgent,
with the full expectation of returning to
4. End discussion and vote - A motion to
close debate immediately and vote now on the
pending motion. Applies only to the motion
on the floor. Not debatable; requires 2/3
5. Limit discussion - can be general, or for
a specific time or number of speakers. Not
debatable; requires 2/3 vote.
6. Table until next meeting – Postpones the
current motion to the next session or to an
7. Refer to committee - applies only to the
8. Amend – if not accepted by mover, must be
voted for by a majority to be considered and
9. Kill Motion on the floor – Kills the
motion without directly voting it down.
10. Main Motion - what it is you're debating
Recap of Motions
• requires second
• Open for discussion
• Can be amended
• Required to pass