In parliamentary procedure, unanimous consent, also known as general consent, or in the case of the parliaments under the Westminster system, leave of the house (or leave of the senate), is a situation in which no member present objects to a proposal.
Generally, in a meeting of a deliberative assembly, business is conducted using a formal procedure of motion, debate, and vote. However, if there are no objections, action could be taken by unanimous consent.The procedure of asking for unanimous consent is used to expedite business by eliminating the need for formal votes on routine questions in which the existence of a consensus is likely. The principle behind it is that procedural safeguards designed to protect a minority can be waived when there is no minority to protect.
In non-legislative deliberative bodies operating under Robert's Rules of Order , unanimous consent is often used to expedite the consideration of uncontroversial motions.It is sometimes used simply as a time-saving device, especially at the end of the session. Sometimes members do not want a formal recorded vote on the issue, or they know that they would lose such a vote and do not feel a need to take time on it.
Action taken by unanimous consent does not necessarily mean that it was taken by a unanimous vote. It does not necessarily mean that every member of the body would have voted in favor of the proposal.It may mean that members feeling that it would be useless to oppose a matter would simply acquiesce.
For example, passing legislation via unanimous consent does not require that every member of a legislature, a majority of members or even a quorum of representatives to be present to vote.Unanimous consent merely requires that no representative of those present has asked to take a recorded vote or has requested quorum verification. For that reason, a claim that a piece of legislation was passed "unanimously", when it was really passed via "unanimous consent", can be misleading as to its level of support.
Certain rights can only be waived by unanimous consent. For example, in disciplinary procedures, a single member can require the vote on the imposition of a penalty to be taken by ballot.
When an item is before the assembly for action, such as a resolution, it is the right of every member to have it read once.Another case of this requirement is the reading of the minutes. Unanimous consent is required to not do the reading. Any member can request that the minutes be read and it would have to be done.
A series of independent resolutions may be offered in a single motion. Unanimous consent is required to consider such a motion in one vote. Any member can demand a separate vote on one or more of the independent resolutions.
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Unanimous consent can be obtained by the chair asking if there are any objections to doing something. For instance, the chair may state, "If there is no objection, the motion will be adopted. [pause] Since there is no objection, the motion is adopted." : nemine contradicente). Another example of this practice in the House of Representatives is when a series of votes has been interrupted by a speaker or other business. The chair will state, "Without objection, five minute voting will continue."In Westminster parliaments, the wording could be "There being no objection, leave is granted." On the most routine matters, such as inserting an article into the Congressional Record in Congress, the chairperson may shorten this statement to four words: "Without objection, so ordered" or even to two words: "Without objection" (Latin
If no member objects, the motion is adopted. But if any member objects, the motion is not adopted and cannot be agreed to without a formal vote. Raising an objection does not necessarily imply that the objector disagrees with the proposal itself. They may simply believe that it would be better to take a formal vote.
Sometimes unanimous consent can be assumed if the chair perceives that no one would raise an objection if he formally asked.For instance, if it is obvious that the members of an assembly are absorbed in listening to a speaker who has exceeded the time limits on debate, but is about to conclude, the chair may allow the speaker to continue without interruption.
Objections are sometimes used as a delaying tactic. The objector may have no disagreement with the proposal at issue, but chooses to object in order to force a time-consuming formal vote, which may include a period of debate as well.
Many deliberative assemblies (e.g. city councils) use a procedure known as the "consent agenda". Matters believed to be noncontroversial are placed on the consent agenda, and they are all adopted by a single motion. If any member objects to one or more items on the consent agenda, the items objected to are removed from the consent agenda and handled in the ordinary course.
Unanimous consent is frequently used to approve the minutes.If no one has corrections to the minutes, they are approved without a formal vote by unanimous consent. In this special case of unanimous consent, the only way to object to the approval of the minutes is to offer a correction to it.
In an election, if there is only one candidate and the rules do not require a ballot vote in that situation, the single candidate is declared elected by acclamation, or unanimous consent.In this special case of unanimous consent, the only way to object to the election of a candidate is to nominate and vote for someone else.
A meeting could be adjourned by unanimous consent. If no one has any further business at the end of a meeting, the chair simply declares the meeting adjourned without a formal motion or a formal vote.
In parliaments under the Westminster system, leave of the house or leave of the senate is a similar concept to requiring unanimous consent. If a member asks for leave to be granted to do something that is different from the rules, a single objection can defeat the request.
Unanimous consent may be used as part of a consensus decision-making process. In that process, unanimous consent does not necessarily mean unanimous agreement (see Consensus decision-making § Agreement vs. consent).
Cloture, closure or, informally, a guillotine, is a motion or process in parliamentary procedure aimed at bringing debate to a quick end. The cloture procedure originated in the French National Assembly, from which the name is taken. Clôture is French for "the act of terminating something". It was introduced into the Parliament of the United Kingdom by William Ewart Gladstone to overcome the obstructionism of the Irish Parliamentary Party and was made permanent in 1887. It was subsequently adopted by the United States Senate and other legislatures. The name cloture remains in the United States; in Commonwealth countries it is usually closure or, informally, guillotine; in the United Kingdom closure and guillotine are distinct motions.
In parliamentary procedure, a point of order occurs when someone draws attention to a rules violation in a meeting of a deliberative assembly.
A committee or commission is a body of one or more persons that is subordinate to a deliberative assembly. Usually, the assembly sends matters into a committee as a way to explore them more fully than would be possible if the assembly itself were considering them. Committees may have different functions and their types of work differ depending on the type of the organization and its needs.
In parliamentary procedure, a voice vote or acclamation is a voting method in deliberative assemblies in which a group vote is taken on a topic or motion by responding orally.
Ratification is a principal's approval of an act of its agent that lacked the authority to bind the principal legally. Ratification defines the international act in which a state indicates its consent to be bound to a treaty if the parties intended to show their consent by such an act. In the case of bilateral treaties, ratification is usually accomplished by exchanging the requisite instruments, and in the case of multilateral treaties, the usual procedure is for the depositary to collect the ratifications of all states, keeping all parties informed of the situation.
In parliamentary procedure, an adjournment ends a meeting. It could be done using a motion to adjourn.
In deliberative bodies a second to a proposed motion is an indication that there is at least one person besides the mover that is interested in seeing the motion come before the meeting. It does not necessarily indicate that the seconder favors the motion.
Markup is the process by which a U.S. congressional committee or state legislative session debates, amends, and rewrites proposed legislation.
In parliamentary procedure, the previous question is generally used as a motion to end debate on a pending proposal and bring it to an immediate vote. The meaning of this specialized motion has nothing to do with any question previously considered by the assembly.
The Standing Rules of the Senate are the parliamentary procedures adopted by the United States Senate that govern its procedure. The Senate's power to establish rules derives from Article One, Section 5 of the United States Constitution: "Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings..."
A committee of the whole is a meeting of a legislative or deliberative assembly using procedural rules that are based on those of a committee, except that in this case the committee includes all members of the assembly. As with other (standing) committees, the activities of a committee of the whole are limited to considering and making recommendations on matters that the assembly has referred to it; it cannot take up other matters or vote directly on the assembly's business. The purpose of a committee of the whole is to relax the usual limits on debate, allowing a more open exchange of views without the urgency of a final vote. Debates in a committee of the whole may be recorded but are often excluded from the assembly's minutes. After debating, the committee submits its conclusions to the assembly and business continues according to the normal rules.
Deliberative assemblies – bodies that use parliamentary procedure to arrive at decisions – use several methods of voting on motions. The regular methods of voting in such bodies are a voice vote, a rising vote, and a show of hands. Additional forms of voting include a recorded vote and balloting.
In parliamentary procedure, reconsideration of a motion may be done on a matter previously decided. The motion to "reconsider" is used for this purpose. This motion originated in the United States and is generally not used in parliaments. A special form of this motion is reconsider and enter on the minutes.
In parliamentary procedure, an objection to the consideration of a question is a motion that is adopted to prevent an original main motion from coming before the assembly. This motion is different from an objection to a unanimous consent request.
In parliamentary procedure, a motion is a formal proposal by a member of a deliberative assembly that the assembly take certain action. Such motions, and the form they take, are specified by the deliberate assembly and/or a pre-agreed volume detailing parliamentary procedure, such as Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised; The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure; or Lord Critine's The ABC of Chairmanship. Motions are used in conducting business in almost all legislative bodies worldwide, and are used in meetings of many church vestries, corporate boards, and fraternal organizations.
In parliamentary procedure, a suspension of the rules allows a deliberative assembly to set aside its normal rules to do something that it could not do otherwise. However, there are rules that cannot be suspended.
Debate in parliamentary procedure refers to discussion on the merits of a pending question; that is, whether it should or should not be agreed to. It is also commonly referred to as "discussion".
In parliamentary procedure, requests and inquiries are motions used by members of a deliberative assembly to obtain information or to do or have something done that requires permission of the assembly. Except for a request to be excused from a duty, these requests and inquiries are not debatable nor amendable.
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which, along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—constitutes the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
Filibuster is a tactic used in the United States Senate to prevent a measure from being brought to a vote by means of obstruction. The most common form occurs when one or more senators attempt to delay or block a vote on a bill by extending debate on the measure. The Senate rules permit a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish, and on any topic they choose, unless "three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn" vote to bring the debate to a close by invoking cloture under Senate Rule XXII.