This is a quick guide on the motion historically called Point of Information—now called Request for Information.
- What motion should you use if you want to obtain information that is relevant to a motion on the floor or to business that the group is considering, but that is not specifically an aspect of parliamentary procedure?
Use the motion called Request for Information, also known as Point of Information.
- What should you say?
Say this: “I have a request for information.”
- When can you make this motion?
You can make this motion when no motion is on the floor or when the request is connected to a motion that is on the floor and none of the following motions are pending: Call for the Orders of the Day, Raise a Question of Privilege, Recess, Adjourn, or Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn.
- Can you interrupt another speaker to make this motion?
Yes, if the request requires immediate attention.
- Does someone have to say, “Second” after this motion is proposed?
- Can people debate the pros and cons of this motion?
- Can this motion be amended?
- How many votes does this motion need to pass?
No vote is taken when handling this motion. The Chair either answers the request by providing the information or facilities its answer.
- The group is considering a main motion that deals with a large financial expenditure.
- Member A has a question regarding the amount of money that the group has budgeted for this expenditure in relation to other budget line items.
- Member A rises, interrupts the member on the floor, and says, “Madame Chair, I have a request for information.”
- The Chair says, “What is your question?”
- Member A replies, “How does the amount of money budgeted for this expenditure compare to the amount budgeted for other line items?”
- The Chair asks the Treasurer if she will answer the question.
- Once the question is answered, business continues at the same place where it left off when Member A asked his question.
What the Pros Know
- Requests for information must always be phrased as questions, even if they are meant to induce an answer that will ultimately rebut what is proposed in the motion.
- The Chair should not allow members to converse with one another or speak directly to one another in order to answer this type of question or request for information. The question and the answer should be passed “through the Chair.” In other words, the Chair facilitates both the asking of the question and the answering of it.
- A request for information may not be used as an opportunity for a member to tell the group what he thinks about a motion that is on the floor. Those types of comments are part of debate (i.e., discussion) and should be handled as part of the normal lifecycle of a motion if a motion is debatable.
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