Model City Hall’s rules of procedure will be very similar to what you would find at a Model United Nations conference with slight variations. The rules below are not exhaustive and may be subject to change at the Chair’s discretion. For rules regarding resolutions, please refer to our guide on resolutions.
Each committee session will begin with roll call. The Chair will bang the gavel and call out the names of each ward. When a ward is called, the corresponding delegate has the option of identifying as “Present” or “Present and Voting”. Quorum will be set at two-thirds of the number of delegates present. If a delegate responds with “Present and Voting”, the delegate waives his or her right to abstain during voting on draft resolutions. However, abstentions on procedural matters are never permitted. If a delegate is late to committee session, they are expected to send a note up to the dias indicating his or her attendance and voting status.
Primary Speakers’ List
After roll call is finished, a delegate will motion to open up the primary speakers’ list with a set speaking time. The committee will vote on this motion, its success will open the primary speakers’ list.. Like all procedural motions, only a simple majority 50% + 1 is needed to pass. The primary speakers’ list is the list of all delegates who wish to speak. During this time, delegates are encouraged to advocate which topics deserve immediate attention in order to set the agenda. Delegates may request to be added to the list by raising their placards
Setting the Agenda
After some debate in the primary speakers’ list, a delegate may motion to set the agenda to a certain topic. For each motion to set the agenda, the Chair will ask for two speakers to speak in favour of the motion and two speakers to speak against the motion. After these speeches have concluded, a vote on each motion to set the agenda will occur. If all of these motions fail, the committee will revert to the primary speakers’ list until further motions are presented.
Secondary Speakers’ List
Once the agenda has been set, a delegate will motion to open up the secondary speakers’ list. If a speaking time is not specified in the motion, the speaking time from the primary speakers’ list will carry over. The secondary speakers’ list will function much like the primary speakers’ list. In this list, general discussion on the chosen topic will occur.
While in the secondary speakers’ list, a delegate may motion to enter a moderated caucus in order to debate a specific sub-topic with a set time limit and speaking time. Delegates are chosen to speak by raising their placards, the delegate that proposed the motion is able to choose whether to speak first or last on the topic.A delegate may also motion for an unmoderated caucus, also with a set time limit. During an unmoderated caucus, delegates are free to move around and formal rules are suspended. Many delegates choose to collaborate on working papers during this time. Consecutive caucuses (both moderated and unmoderated) are limited to 30 minutes, and afterwards, the committee returns to the secondary speakers’ list.
Outside of unmoderated caucuses, delegates may communicate with each other by sending on-topic notes. There will be a page in every committee room responsible for passing notes. Each note must clearly write the intended recipient and the sender.
After several resolutions have been passed, a delegate may motion to close a topic, with only a simple majority needed to pass. If resolutions have not been passed and there is a desire among delegates to switch to a different topic, a delegate may motion to table a topic. However, this motion requires two speakers in favour and two speakers against as well as two-thirds majority to pass. The completition of either motion will revert the committee to the primary speakers’ list.
A delegate may yield the remainder of their speaking time at the end of their speech.
– Yield to the Chair: A delegate simply finishes speaking. This is the default yield.
– Yield to a delegate: A delegate may yield the remainder of their time to another delegate to speak. The delegate must elect to receive the yield.
– Yield to questions: A delegate may yield to questions from other delegates, with the approval of the Chair.
At anytime, a delegate may raise one of these points.
– Point of personal privilege: This may be raised if a delegate has concerns relating to comfort, accessibility, or the environment.
– Point of order: This may be raised if a delegate has concerns over the rules of procedure.
– Point of parliamentary inquiry: This may be raised if a delegate is unsure of or would like to inquire about the rules of procedure. This is also the only point that cannot interrupt a speaker.
– Right of reply: This may be raised if a delegate feels personally slandered or misconstrued by another delegate. If the right of reply is in order, the Chair will ask the offending delegate to apologize. If the offending delegate refuses to apologize, the Chair will issue an apology on behalf of the delegate.
At the top, each draft resolution should have a title as well as list of sponsors and signatories. The body of the resolution can be divided into two parts: perambulatory clauses and operative clauses. Perambulatory clauses give the reader background information on why the resolution should be adopted. Operative clauses specify a course of action that should be taken. Model City Hall recommends starting each perambulatory clause with “WHEREAS” and starting each operative clause with “BE IT RESOLVED” or “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED”. An example resolution can be found here.
Sponsors and Signatories
Each draft resolution should have at least two sponsors. Sponsors are delegates who contribute in the writing of the resolution.Additionally, resolutions require signatories; a delegate may wish to be a signatory if they would like to see a vote on the resolution, the delegate does not have to vote in favour of this resolution. The number of signatories combined with the number of sponsors must be at least one-fourth of quorum.
Introducing Draft Resolutions
Draft resolutions must be sent to the dais for approval before they can be introduced. Once it is approved, a sponsor may motion to introduce the draft resolution. After that motion passes, the sponsors will read only the operative clauses of the resolution. The sponsors may also elect to take a limited number of questions from other delegates
Delegates can propose two types of amendments to draft resolutions: friendly and unfriendly. A friendly amendment has the approval of all sponsors and can be added to the draft resolution without a vote. If an amendment is opposed by at least one sponsor, it becomes an unfriendly amendment and must be put to a vote. A delegate may motion to introduce an unfriendly amendment, and if that motion passes, there will be two speakers in favour and two speakers opposed before the amendment goes to a vote.
A delegate may motion to enter into voting procedure on a draft resolution, if the committee meets quorum. Once the motion passes, the doors will be sealed to protect quorum and there will be two speakers for and two speakers against the resolution (similar to unfriendly amendments and setting the agenda). After that, a roll call vote will be conducted. After a delegate hears the name of his or her ward, delegates will call out “In favour”, “Opposed”, “Pass”, or “Abstain”. Delegates may only abstain if they did not identify as “Present and Voting”. If a delegate chooses to pass, they will defer their vote until the other delegates have done voting. This can only be done once per vote.
Clause-by-Clause Voting/Dividing the Question
A delegate may also motion for a clause-by-clause vote. Under clause-by-clause voting, each the voting procedure outlined previously will be applied to every single operative clause. Additionally, a delegate may also motion to divide the question, where a clause or multiple clauses are parted out and voted on separately from the rest of the draft resolution.