Remove Time Spent at Parliamentary Microphone from Allotted Debate Time

Spring
2013
Resolution Number: 
01.08
Contact: 
Assigned to : 
Category: 
Academic Senate
Status: 
Found Not Feasible

Whereas, One of the primary goals of Robert’s Rules of Order is to develop and enforce rules that prevent the majority view from dominating and/or squelching entirely the minority view without first allowing for adequate presentation of the minority view;

Whereas, Since it is possible to effectively filibuster discussion on controversial topics by going to the parliamentary microphone and making motions that require significant time expenditure to discuss points of information, rulings by the chair, referral to the Executive Committee motions (and votes), and motions to end debate (and votes), which has the impact of cutting off the ability of the body to weigh the merits of the original resolution; and

Whereas, Not only does Robert’s Rules of Order require a two-thirds vote precisely because cutting short the debate on a topic is a serious deviation from normal operating procedure, but also a motion to call the question when the allowable time for discussion has not expired can have the impact of shutting down the minority viewpoint and prevent a member from presenting a critical salient position that no one had thought of before, resulting in a fully considered decision that is more in alignment with the needs of the body politic;

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges adhere to the rule in Robert’s Rules of Order that states that before the motion to call the question can be made at least one person from each side of the issue is allowed to speak;

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges will subtract all the time expended in discussion, motions and votes from the parliamentary microphone from the time allotted for debate on resolutions so that the clock is only running on the allotted time for debate while people are at the pro or con microphone; and

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges allow appropriate space for the expression of the minority view and respect the contributions of all session attendees.

MSR Reason: Referred to the Executive Committee to clarify intent and to determine how this could be done, and what impact it would have on the voting process.

Status Report: 

The Executive Committee deemed this resolution unfeasible for the following reasons: (1) there is no requirement in Robert’s Rules of Order that both pro and con positions be stated before a motion to move the previous question (“call for the question”) is made as that is a subsidiary motion that is always in order; (2) in accordance with the Senate Parliamentarian’s advice, that not counting time spent at the parliamentary microphone has the potential to result in inordinately long Saturday resolutions voting sessions; and (3) that the Senate does indeed allow for the expression of and gives appropriate space to minority views at plenary sessions for all session attendees, as all attendees have the opportunity to ask questions and express concerns during breakout sessions and through the resolutions debate process. The Resolutions Committee will also write an article for the Rostrum about parliamentary procedure and the appropriate use of the parliamentary microphone during resolutions debate.