Promoting the study and teaching of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised
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Rod G Davidson, Professional Registered Parliamentarian
The object of moving
the Previous Question is to
bring the assembly at once to a vote on the immediately pending
question and on such other pending questions as may be specified
in the demand. It is the proper motion to use for this purpose,
whether the object is to adopt or to kill the proposition on
which it is ordered, without further debate or motions to amend.
The effect of
adopting and thereby ordering the
Previous Question is to close debate immediately, to prevent the moving
of amendments or any other subsidiary motions except to lay on
the table, and to bring the assembly at once to a vote on the
immediately pending question, and such other pending questions
as were specified in the demand, or motion. If the Previous
Question is ordered on more than one question, then its effect
extends to those questions and is not exhausted until they are
voted on, or otherwise disposed of.
If the Previous Question is voted down,
the discussion continues as if this motion had not been made.
The effect of the Previous Question does not extend beyond the
session in which it was adopted. Should any of the questions
upon which it was ordered come before the assembly at a future
session, they are divested of the Previous Question and are open
to debate and amendment.
The Previous Question takes precedence of
all subsidiary motions except to lay on the table, and yields to
privileged and incidental motions, and to the motion to lay on
the table. It is undebatable, and cannot be amended or have any
other subsidiary motion applied to it.
It may be applied to any debatable or
amendable motion or motions, and if unqualified it applies only
to the immediately pending motion. It may be qualified so as to
apply to a series of pending questions, or to a consecutive part
of a series beginning with the immediately pending question. It
requires a two-thirds vote for its adoption. If lost, the
Previous Question may be renewed after sufficient progress in
debate to make it a new question.
The Form of this motion is,
"I move [or demand, or call for] the
Previous Question on [here specify the motions on which it is
desired to be ordered]."
As it cannot be debated or amended, it
must be voted on immediately. The form of putting the question
"The Previous Question is moved [or
demanded, or called for] on [specify the motions on which the
Previous Question is demanded]. As many as are in favor of
ordering the Previous Question on [repeat the motions] will rise
. . . Be seated."
When the members
are seated the chairman continues,
"Those opposed will rise.
Be seated. There being two-thirds in
favor of the motion, the affirmative has it and the Previous
Question is ordered on [repeat the motions upon which it is
ordered]. The question is on [state the immediately pending
question]. Those in favor
of" . . .
If the Previous Question is ordered, the
chair immediately proceeds to put to vote the questions on which
it was ordered until all the votes are taken, or there is an
affirmative vote on postponing definitely or indefinitely, or
committing, either of which exhausts the Previous Question. If
there can be the slightest doubt as to the vote the chair should
take it again immediately, counting each side. If less than
two-thirds vote in the affirmative, the chair announces the vote
"There not being two-thirds in favor of
the motion, the negative has it and the motion is lost. The
question is on," . . .
states the immediately pending question, which is again open to debate and
amendment, the same as if the Previous Question had not been
The Previous Question is Exhausted during
the session as follows:
When the Previous Question is
unqualified, its effect terminates as soon as the vote is taken
on the immediately pending question.
If the Previous Question is ordered on
more than one of the pending questions its effect is not
exhausted until all of the questions upon which it has been
ordered have been voted on, or else the effect of those that
have been voted on has been to commit the main question, or to
postpone it definitely or indefinitely.
If, before the exhaustion of the Previous
Question, the questions on which it has been ordered that have
not been voted on are laid on the table, the Previous Question
is not exhausted thereby, so that when they are taken from the
table during the same session, they are still under the Previous
Question and cannot be debated or amended or have any other
subsidiary motion applied to them.
Now, test your
understanding of Previous Question.
Answer the questions below and then click the button underneath
to see your results. Good luck!