This is a quick guide on how to use the motion to Refer to Committee.
- What motion should you use to send a main motion to a small group for investigation and research?
Use the motion called Refer to Committee.
- What should you say?
Say this: “I move to refer the main motion to the [name of a standing committee] to research this topic and report back no later than the next quarterly meeting.” OR “I move to refer the main motion to a special committee, composed of five members from different regions and appointed by the Chair, to research this topic and report back no later than the next quarterly meeting.”
- When can you make this motion?
You can make this motion anytime that the following other motions are not on the floor: Postpone to a Specific Time, Limit or Extend Limits on Debate, Previous Question, Lay on the Table, 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?
- Does someone have to say, “Second” after this motion is proposed?
- Can people debate the pros and cons of this motion?
Yes. You can debate the pros and cons of referring a motion to a committee.
- Can this motion be amended?
Yes. You can amend it as to which standing committee a motion is referred to, or if the motion is to refer to a special committee, it may be amended as to the composition and manner of selection of committee members.
- How many votes does this motion need to pass?
Majority. More than half of the members present and voting must vote to refer a motion to a committee.
- The following motions are on the floor:
- Main Motion
- The group has been discussing the proposed amendment of a main motion for a period of time.
- Member A thinks that the group would benefit from more investigation and research on the topic.
- Member A seeks recognition by the Chair, and once recognized, says, “I move to refer this motion to the Finance Committee to research this topic and report back no later than the next quarterly meeting.”
- Member B says, “Second.”
- The Chair asks if there is any discussion on the motion to refer.
- Following discussion, the Chair takes a vote on the motion to refer.
- If at least a majority of the members present and voting vote in the affirmative, then the motion is referred to the Finance Committee with the pending amendment. If at least a majority of the members present and voting does not vote in the affirmative, then discussion of the pending amendment of the main motion continues.
- When the Finance Committee reports back, it brings the amendment that was pending at the time of referral to the committee for consideration by the organization. The group must consider that amendment before considering any other amendments or changes brought by the committee.
What the Pros Know
- The motion to refer should include the name of the committee, instructions to the committee regarding its reporting timeline, and if necessary, some guidance and authority regarding what to research and who to contact as the committee seeks to learn more helpful information on the specific topic under consideration.
- No member may propose a motion to refer to committee that would defeat the purpose of the main motion.
Where to Learn More