If you like meetings that are purposeful and well organized, then you will appreciate the changes that the MDA has adopted through the actions of the House of Delegates (HOD). The
2012 Minnesota Dental Association House of Delegates made an important change to the bylaws of the MDA. This change was the adoption of the American Institute of Parliamentarians Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (AIPSC) in place of The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure by Alice Sturgis as our guide for parliamentary procedure. This resolution was passed in order for the HOD to be more consistent with ADA existing procedures and to better prepare our members for full participation at the national level. The two codes are different from each other.
Beyond the House of Delegates
Why is this change important? Society continues to look up to dentists as leaders in their communities. That means any one of us may be (and frequently is) put into the position of being a leader. Parliamentary procedure provides tools so being an effective leader is easier. Parliamentary procedure is intended to ensure fairness, justice, and to provide a consistency in making decisions. That said, it is also true that over time societies change, and procedures often need to change too. These changes are a refi nement meant to improve or facilitate group meetings. Experience using the Sturgis guide has led to suggestions that resulted in modifi cations that are present in the new code, AIPSC. The principles remain the same, but the methods supporting the principles have been updated.
The following information highlights the updated changes we have adopted.
First Change: To Table
AIPSC has removed the subsidiary motion “lay on the table” and replaced it with the “motion to table”. The differences are very strategic. The motion to “lay on the table” has the intent to postpone discussion on the motion until a later time so more pressing business can be addressed. “Motion to table” has the intent to dispose of the motion being considered with no intention of bringing it back to the floor.
Any member may use this new “motion to table” if he or she believes the subject is inappropriate for discussion or too controversial or divisive to address at the current time. A motion to table requires a two-thirds vote, is not debatable, and it is given precedence after a main motion has been debated and amended prior to a final vote. An interesting aside: The
ADA House Rules currently do not allow the House of Delegates to utilize this subsidiary motion. Likewise, if the MDA wanted to stay in step with the ADA, the MDA would need to pass a Resolution at our HOD to similarly exclude its use.
Be aware, all you parliamentarians, that due to the removal of the motion to “lay on the table” that had the intent to postpone temporarily, the companion motion to resume considerations, or “take from the table”, was, of course, eliminated.
Second Change: Parliamentary and Factual Inquiry
Our new parliamentary guide has created a distinction regarding parliamentary inquiries to the presiding officer. There now is the Parliamentary Inquiry that relates to a question about procedure. A second form of inquiry is called a Factual Inquiry, which relates to substantive information or facts about the motion. Either inquiry is directed only to the presiding officer, and either may interrupt a speaker if it requires immediate attention. No further business is conducted until the inquiry is answered. At the ADA HOD, there are separate microphones for parliamentary inquiries and factual inquiries.
Third Change: Recall from Committee
There is a new specifi c Main Motion to “Recall from Committee”. Its purpose is to remove a motion or subject from a committee or board for the assembly to consider. This did not exist in Sturgis.
Fourth Change: Consent Calendar
There is also additional information on the use of the Consent Calendar, which in the past was adopted by General Consent. AIPSC now clarifies that if there is an objection to adopting the consent calendar, a vote is called for, and a majority vote adopts the consent calendar. Items can still be removed from the consent calendar for a separate vote. A procedural point: If there are items on the consent calendar that require a two-thirds vote, there would then become two consent calendars. One calendar would be for items needing the two-thirds vote, and one would be for those requiring the majority vote. In either case, it will only take a single member to remove an item from the consent calendar for a separate vote.
Fifth Change: Motion to Adopt In-Lieu-Of
The AIPSC contains a new motion, the “Motion to Adopt In-Lieu-Of”. This is an option we are likely to incorporate into our House of Delegates but unlikely to use in district or committee meetings. This motion is listed as a Specific Main Motion that does have a specific circumstance for its use. The intent is to both simplify and speed up the process of looking at motions and resolutions in order to attend to them efficiently. At the HOD there are times when two or three resolutions may be submitted with a similar intent and purpose. This motion affords the Reference Committee the opportunity to write one resolution to address the multiple versions of a resolution that have been submitted.
The resolution from the Reference Committee would be presented in the following manner:
Reference Committee A submits the following resolution in-lieu-of Resolutions A, B, and C.
The normal process of consideration — amendments, referrals, and so on — would follow.
To use a less-than-formal description of what comes next, that is when the fun begins. If the proposed resolution is adopted, A, B, and C are essentially defeated or they become moot. However, if the “in-lieu-of” motion is defeated, then any member of the House can request A, B, or C be brought forward. If there are supporters for all three versions, the resolution heard first would be selected based on who spoke first asking that that resolution be reconsidered.
Example: If B is brought back for consideration, then the normal process of considering a resolution is again followed. If Resolution B is adopted, then A and C are considered defeated. However, if B is defeated, then the process continues as long as someone wants to reintroduce a remaining resolution.
Well, now you have the abbreviated summary of the changes from AIPSC. I encourage each of you to look for opportunities to observe or utilize these changes at the MDA House of Delegates and to use committees and district meetings to practice these additions to our procedural code
*Dr. Kurkowski is Chair of the Constitution, Bylaws and Ethics Committee of the Minnesota Dental Association. He is a general dentist in private practice in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Email is email@example.com
**Dr. Taylor is Speaker of the House of the Minnesota Dental Association. He is a general dentist in private practice in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org