Parliamentary Procedure in Wisconsin
Groups may adopt a particular manual of procedural rules as their parliamentary authority. The most popular manual is:
- Robert, Henry M. III, Daniel H. Honemann, and Thomas J. Balch, et. al. Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised. 11th Edition. Philadelphia, DeCapo Press, 2011
References that are specific to local governments in Wisconsin are:
- Larmer, Larry E. A Guide to Parliamentary Procedure for Local Governments in Wisconsin. Dubuque: Kendall-Hunt Publishing Company, 1998.
- League of Wisconsin Municipalities. The Conduct of Village Board Meetings: Suggested Rules of Procedure with Model Ordinance and Annotations. Madison, Wisconsin: League of Wisconsin Municipalities, 1987
- League of Wisconsin Municipalities. The Conduct of Common Council Meetings: Suggested Rules of Procedure with Model Ordinance and Annotations. Madison, Wisconsin: League of Wisconsin Municipalities, 1987.
These explanation/demonstration videos feature Dan Hill and Larry Larmer, who both have extensive experience teaching Parliamentary Procedure in Wisconsin. Each is 4-6 minutes long. Topics are:
This program covers basic rules officials use to conduct local government meetings, and addresses procedural issues such as what can be done in the absence of a quorum, how a decision can be reconsidered, and common misconceptions. Parliamentary Procedure Basics (7-25-2017) Format is streaming audio with companion PDF, 91 minutes. Available through the UW-Extension Learning Store.
PowerPoint Slide Presentations
- Agendas and Minutes for Local Government – (PowerPoint file, 128 kb, 34 slides) These slides provide guidance to those department heads, committee chairs, clerks, and secretaries charged with developing the agendas or minutes for the meetings of local government bodies, including boards, committees, and commissions.
- Fundamentals of Effective Meetings: Basic Principles and Protocol – (PowerPoint file, 514 kb, 19 slides). These slides provide an overview of parliamentary procedure, emphasizing some of the most common areas of concern for presiding officers. Many slides contain comprehensive notes for instructors.
Some frequently asked questions (FAQs) and fact sheets about local government meetings:
- A Few FAQs on Parliamentary Procedure – (PDF file, 64 kb, 8 pages) This document, a reproduction of a chapter from the Wisconsin Counties Association’s 2004 Wisconsin County Supervisor’s Handbook, provides an overview of parliamentary procedure for local government.
- Reconsidering Main Motions FAQs – (PDF file, 47 kb, 2 pages) Description of the special and rarely used “motion to reconsider.”
- Closing Debate (aka “Calling the Question”) FAQs – (PDF file, 41 kb, 1 page) Describes the proper procedure for ending debate. Also, debunks the common misperception that any member may end debate simply by “calling the question.”
- Voting Procedures for Local Government Bodies FAQs – (PDF file 44 kb, 2 pages) Describes voting procedures, including unanimous consent.
- Participation Rights of the Chairperson FAQs – (PDF file 46 kb, 2 pages) Often poorly understood, the participation rights of the presiding officer are explained in this document. A must-read for anyone teaching about the roles and responsibilities of the chairperson.
- Quorum and Attendance of Members at Local Government Meetings FAQs – (PDF file, 45 kb, 2 pages) Describes a quorum and what actions the members of a governmental body may take in the absence of a quorum.
- Contents of Minutes-Include Motions not Seconded FAQ – (PDF file, 68 kb, 1 page)
Describes a quorum and what actions the members of a governmental body may take in the absence of a quorum.
- LGC Fact Sheet #20: Public Participation in Local Government Body Meetings – (PDF file, 105 kb, 4 pages). This fact sheet describes the ways that governmental bodies can provide for citizen input at their regular meetings.
Local Meeting Procedure Policies