Summary of Rules of Procedures
The National Conference of State Legislatures operates under the Permanent Rules of Procedure and uses Mason’s Manual of Parliamentary Procedure as its standard parliamentary authority. The following is a synopsis of the rules governing the development of NCSL policy positions.
(1) Unless otherwise directed by the NCSL Executive Committee, only the Standing Committees may develop policy resolutions that place NCSL on record on a matter of public policy.
(3) Resolutions are assigned to committees by the Chair of the Standing Committees.
(4) Policy resolutions are limited to those directed at the federal government, dealing with issues that affect the states.
(5) Although all committee meetings are open, only members are entitled to vote. Appointments to committees must be made in writing by the legislature's presiding officer (or other appointing authority). Appointments must be delivered to the committee chair prior to the start of the committee business meeting.
(6) A quorum in committee consists of representation of at least ten states, commonwealths or territories.
(7) Voting in committee is by voice vote or show of hands, unless five member jurisdictions request a roll call vote. The chair also has the option of calling for a roll call vote.
(8) Voting is by member jurisdiction, with each state having one undivided vote. A jurisdiction whose delegation is equally divided on the question must pass.
(9) Committees may (a) approve a policy resolution; (b) approve it with amendments; (c) postpone consideration; or (d) table it.
(10) Motions to amend, postpone or table require a simple majority vote.
(11) Adoption of a policy resolution requires a 3/4 vote of member jurisdictions present and voting.
(1) The Steering Committee establishes the calendar for the business meeting. By a majority vote, it may remove a resolution from the consent calendar and place it on the debate calendar.
(2) The Steering Committee makes decisions regarding joint and re-referral of resolutions. In the case of jointly-referred resolutions, it designates a lead (or primary) committee, whose version of the policy is considered first at the business meeting.
Fall, Spring and Annual Business Meetings
(1) The first item of business is consideration of the consent calendars. It consists of resolutions adopted unanimously by the committee of jurisdiction. Resolutions may be removed from the consent calendars at the request of three member jurisdictions.
(2) The second item of business is consideration of the debate calendar, where each resolution is taken up separately.
(3) The third item is consideration of items on the action calendar. Action calendar resolutions address issues of immediacy. They expire at the next NCSL annual meeting.
(4) The fourth item is consideration of the memorial calendar, which is made up of resolutions that do not instruct the federal government. Resolutions on the memorial calendars are considered together in one motion.
(5) A quorum at the business meetings is representation of at least 20 member jurisdictions.
(6) Voting is by voice, unless a roll call is requested by the chair or by five member jurisdictions.
(7) Voting is by member jurisdiction, with each member jurisdiction casting one undivided vote.
(8) During roll call voting, each jurisdiction selects a spokesperson, who announces that jurisdiction’s vote. When a jurisdiction is called during a roll call, the spokesperson for the delegation states his or her name and then announces the vote. A majority vote within a jurisdiction prevails.
(8) Approval requires a 3/4 majority of member jurisdictions present and voting.
(9) Only legislators and staff are allowed on the floor of the business meeting.
For additional information, please contact Carl Tubbesing, NCSL’s Deputy Executive Director.