Section 6 | Business Meeting Procedures


After a policy directive or resolution passes through the Steering Committee, it moves to the Legislative Forum or annual business meeting. At the Legislative Forum, the business meeting normally occurs in mid-morning on the final day of the meeting. At the Legislative Summit, there is no separate business meeting for considering policy directives and resolutions. Rather, all policy directives and resoltuions are considered during the Annual Business Meeting. Voting procedures are identical for the spring and fall business meetings and the Conference's Annual Business Meeting.

A.  Order of Business

(1)  Legislative Forum (formerly Fall Forum)

The consent calendar is considered first. The presiding co-chair asks for a motion to approve the consent calendar. He or she asks whether anyone wishes to remove a policy directive or resolution from the consent calendar. Any policy directive or resolution may be removed from the consent calendar at the request of three member jurisdictions. Any policy directive or resolution removed in this way is placed at the end of the debate calendar.

The presiding co-chair calls for a vote on the consent calendar.

After adoption of the consent calendar, the chair moves to consideration of the debate calendar. Each policy directive or resolution on the debate calendar is taken up separately.

The NCSL Rules of Procedure also provide for a memorial calendar. Resolutions on this calendar are those that do not deal with state-federal issues (e.g., proclaiming support for German-American Day or National Physical Fitness Week). If there are resolutions on the memorial calendar, they are considered after the debate calendar.

(2)  Annual Business Meeting

During the policy consideration portion of the Annual Business Meeting, there are four calendars:

  1. The policy directives and resolutions adopted at the Legisaltive Summit, treated as a consent calendar;
  2. The consent calendar composed of policy directives and resolutions adopted unanimously by the standing committees during the Annual Meeting;
  3. The debate calendar; and
  4. The memorial calendar.

B.  Quorum

A quorum for transaction of business at a business meeting is representation of at least 20 member jurisdictions. The presiding co-chair begins the business meeting with a roll call for the purpose of establishing a quorum.

C.  Who Votes?

(1)  Fall and Spring Meetings

All legislators registered for the Fall and Spring Forums are allowed to vote.  

(2)  Annual Business Meeting
All legislators registered for the Legislative Summit may vote on matters of public policy.

D.  Voting Procedures

Voting is by voice, unless a roll call is requested by the chair or by five member jurisdictions.

An affirmative vote of at least three-fourths of the member jurisdictions responding to the most recent quorum call is required to approve a resolution on a matter of public policy.

Voting is by member jurisdiction. Each member jurisdiction casts one undivided vote. Each member jurisdiction selects a spokesperson who announces the vote.

On roll call votes, the NCSL Executive Director calls the roll. The spokesperson for each member jurisdiction replies "yea" or "nay," or passes. After the first call of the roll, the Executive Director calls once more for the states that have passed or not responded. He or she then consults with the Chair, who announces the results. Any member jurisdiction may change its vote until the time the vote is announced.

E.  Amendments

Amendments to policy resolutions may be offered from the floor. They must be submitted to the presiding co-chair in writing prior to a vote by the members. Amendments require a simple majority for adoption. NCSL staff display amendments on a screen in front of the room in which the business meeting is held.

F.  Discharging Policy Directives and Resolutions from Committee

Policy Directives and resolutions that have been tabled or postponed by a committee may be brought up for consideration following disposition of the debate calendar by a two-thirds vote of the member jurisdictions responding to the most recent quorum call. If discharged, the policy directive or resolution is voted on under the rules governing consideration of resolutions.

G.  Access to the Floor

Only legislators and legislative staff are allowed on the floor of the business meeting.