Many groups operate by something called Robert’s Rules of order (Source: http://www.robertsrules.com/) This helps to give each meeting a specific order and a set of rules by which things can proceed so its fair to everyone involved. The US House and NC House operate under their own version of RRoO.
Consideration of a measure by the full House can be a simple or very complex process. In general a measure is ready for consideration by the full House after a committee has reported it. Under certain circumstances, it may be brought to the Floor directly.
The consideration of a measure may be governed by a “rule”. A rule is itself a simple resolution or motion, which must be passed by the House, that starts the particulars of debate for a specific bill—how much time will be allotted for debate, whether amendments can be offered, and other matters.
Debate time for a measure is normally divided between proponents (Those for the resolution) and opponents (Those against the resolution). Each side yields time to those members who wish to speak on the bill. When amendments (edits to the resolution or bill) are offered, these are also debated and voted upon.
After all debate is concluded and amendments decided upon, the House is ready to vote on final passage. In some cases, a vote to “recommit” the bill to committee is requested. This is usually an effort by opponents to change some portion or table (stop) the measure. If the attempt to recommit fails, a vote on final passage is ordered.
Members of the legislative group can form a committee or elect people to be on a committee to undertake a certain task such as organizing a bill or rewriting a bill so that its definitions and statements are not too general or broad. This was the case for the recent North Carolina House Bill 937. A committee was formed to add some definitions and keep the bill from being too broad or left to someone’s own interpretation.
Some legislative groups (Such as the US House and Senate) now use an electronic system to cast final votes on to ensure accurate numbers and need attendance is in place. According to the Roberts Rules of order certain motions require a 2/3rds majority to pass while others simply require a majority.
Votes may also be by voice vote, and no record of individual responses is available.
Here is a good source of information for Roberts Rules as well (http://www.robertsrulessimplified.com/videos.html)
If you are interested in finding out more about the Legislative process you can visit the US House of Representatives website (http://www.house.gov/content/learn/legislative_process/)
If you are interested in becoming a part of the Legislative process Join your local party groups and become a voting delegate for your Precinct, District or County, or join your county executive board. On average it’s a total of about four meetings a year and is easy to get envolved.
About the Author:
I am a Volunteer with the Meck-GOP and currently volunteer as the Precinct 206 Chair, and on the Meck GOP Executive Board.