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ACNM Business Meeting FAQs

If you're new to association business meetings, the idea of submitting motions at the business meeting may be intimidating. The following FAQs, based on Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th Edition, are designed to 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. ACNM is piloting a new, user-friendly online process for submitting motions for discussion at the Annual Business Meeting. The new form is available here. Motion forms will also be available at the Annual Meeting. 

Who decides when motions will be discussed at the Business Meeting? 

If you submit a motion prior to the Annual Meeting, it will be assigned an order by the Program Committee Chair and ACNM Secretary. If you submit a motion during the Annual Meeting, it will be considered in the order that it has been submitted.

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. This year, ACNM's parliamentarian will be Jeff M. Neurater. Members are welcome to meet with Jeff before the business meeting for assistance in writing a motion or answering procedural questions. He will be available in the Program Committee Office located in the Convention Center for two hours prior to each business meeting. Many members find this assistance to be very helpful.

How is my motion brought to the floor of the business meeting?

The chair invites the member who has submitted a motion to come to a microphone to make their motion. When approaching the mike, first announce your name and state. After you have made a motion, 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. As the maker of the motion, you will be called on first to explain your rationale for the motion.

Are there rules for debate? 

Yes! First of all, the individual who made the motion is offered the first opportunity to discuss it. Then, other members may speak and the chair will attempt to alternate between "pro" and "con" speakers. Members may only speak for up to 2 minutes. See additional rules in the following section. Once debate has ended or a motion to close debate ("Calling the Question" or "Moving the Previous Question") is adopted, members have the opportunity to vote on the motion.

Can discussion take place on an issue without a motion?

The general rule is that a motion must be made in order for discussion to take place on an issue, unless it is allowed by the chair. The general rule against discussion without a motion is designed to help keep the meeting on track.

Help! I'm still confused! 

ACNM staff, board members, and our parliamentarian are available to assist you. Or, go right to the source by buying your own copy of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th Edition.