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Robert's Rules: Call for Orders of the Day

Recognizing the value of your time, Robert’s Rules gives you a special motion to use to keep the meeting running on schedule. If you’re in a meeting and see that the group isn’t following the adopted agenda (or program, or order of business established by rule), or if the time has arrived for an item of business and the chair continues other pending business, you can insist that the schedule be followed.

In such a situation, the privileged motion to Call for Orders of the Day is just what you need. With this motion, the demand of a single member requires the group to resume the scheduled business immediately, unless the members decide otherwise by a two-thirds vote.

This motion isn’t permitted in a committee of the whole.

Using the motion to Call for Orders of the Day

Using a call for orders of the day is appropriate in two situations:

  • When the time arrives for a particular item of business to be discussed, but other business continues

  • When, for some reason, the group isn’t addressing business in the proper order

To make this privileged motion, simply rise and say, “Mr. Chairman, I call for the orders of the day.” You may also say, “Madam President, I demand that the regular order be immediately resumed.”

Even if someone else is speaking, you can interrupt to make this motion because the privilege of the group is to be able to follow its schedule.

Your presiding officer is responsible for keeping the meeting on track, and when this motion is made, his duty is to proceed immediately to the proper item of business.

The chair responds to the member calling for orders of the day by saying, “Orders of the day are called for,” and proceeding to announce the proper current item of business.

Setting aside the orders of the day

If the presiding officer or one of the members thinks that the members would likely rather continue the business currently before them, he can proceed as follows:

  • Instead of proceeding immediately to the scheduled item of business, the chair can inform the assembly of the item of business that’s in order and ask whether the members want to move on to that item. The members can choose to continue with the currently pending business by a two-thirds vote in the negative.

  • A member can simply move that the time for consideration of the currently pending business be extended, or that the rules be suspended and that the group take up a particular matter. Either way, the motion requires a two-thirds vote in the affirmative.

Six key characteristics of the motion to Call for Orders of the Day

The motion to Call for Orders of the Day

  • Can interrupt a speaker who has the floor

  • Doesn’t need to be seconded

  • Isn’t debatable

  • Can’t be amended

  • Requires enforcement on the call of any member unless the members, by a two-thirds vote, decide to continue with the currently pending business

  • Can’t be reconsidered

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