Most of the convention’s business will flow from reports of the Resolutions Committee, Constitution Committee and reports of special committees. Throughout this document, we will use the Report of the Resolutions Committee to illustrate how the convention rules are applied.
The scenario will look like this:
- A member of the Resolutions Committee will read a resolution to the convention and give the committee’s recommendation of either concurrence or non-concurrence in the resolution.
- This is made in the form of a motion:
Committee Member: “I move concurrence in Resolution No. 99.”
- This is seconded by another member of the Resolutions Committee. We now have a motion before the convention.
- The person chairing the convention (chairperson) will restate the motion:
Chairperson: “The recommendation of the Resolutions Committee is one of concurrence in Resolution No. 99. Is there any discussion on the resolution?”
- The chairperson recognizes a delegate at one of the microphones and debate on the resolution begins.
At this point, such rules as the length of speeches, amendments, and closing debate, come into play. Rule A.4 states:
“Speeches shall be limited to three minutes except in moving a motion, when a delegate shall be allowed five minutes.”
Keep in mind that the mover of the motion was someone on the Resolutions Committee; therefore the five-minute maximum applies to this person. In most cases, a member of the Resolutions Committee will read the resolution, make the committee’s recommendation and let it go at that.
The chairperson recognizes a delegate standing at one of the microphones and debate on the resolution begins. Rule A.5 now applies, which states:
“A delegate shall not speak more than once upon a subject until all who wish to speak have had an opportunity to do so.”
Usually, the discussion of a resolution is not lengthy. A few comments are made, some clarification is asked for, and a vote on the committee’s recommendation is taken. The chairperson announces the result of the vote and the committee moves on to the next resolution. The above sequence begins all over again when the next resolution is presented.
There are times when the debate is very long and repetitious. This situation causes a problem for the chairperson because she/he must recognize delegates at the microphones until such time as there is no one waiting to speak, or until the delegates indicate that the debate has gone on long enough.