and an incidental motion. You should know the purpose of each type of motion. And whether a second is required; whether it is debatable or amendable; and what vote count is required — majority present, majority of full court, 2/3, none, or chair rules. Another source of material for quorum court meetings

and proceedings is found in state law. Te county judge and justices in particular should practically memorize or keep very handy Title 14, Chapter 14, and Subchapter 9 of the Arkansas Code, which covers the legislative authority vested in the quorum court, along with the administration and general procedures required of Arkansas quorum courts. If anything in state law conflicts with Robert’s Rules of Order, then state law prevails. Robert’s Rules contains some basic rules that are meant to make it fairly easy to run a meeting and move the agenda along. Let’s look at a few of those basic rules as outlined by a publication of the National Association of Counties (NACo) and consign them to an Arkansas County Quorum Court meeting.

Te Chair — All quorum court meetings are facilitated

by a chairperson who is responsible for making sure the meeting is conducted smoothly and fairly. Te county judge is the chairperson, or as state law calls it, the presiding of- ficer of the quorum court with no vote but with veto power [Amendment 55, § 3; § 14-14-904(d)(1)(A); § 14-14- 1101(a)(1)]. In the absence of the county judge, a quorum of the justices by majority vote elects one of their number to preside but without the power to veto [§ 14-14-904(d) (1)(B)]. Te presiding officer is impartial during all debate. Te presiding officer does not have final decision-making authority. Te meeting participants — the justices of the peace — have this authority.

Main Motion — Te basis of discussion at a meeting is a motion. A motion is put forward by a quorum court member for the purpose of focusing the discussion. Each main motion must have a “mover” — the person who makes the motion — and a “seconder” who shows that there is some sup- port for the motion. When a motion is put on the floor for discussion, the discussion must focus on the substance of the current motion. All other discussion is out of order and not to be allowed. Another motion cannot be introduced while there is a motion on the floor.

Order — It is important that meeting participants — jus- tices of the peace — are acknowledged in order. Once a mo- tion has been introduced, it is the presiding officer’s respon- sibility to maintain a list of speakers to manage discussion in an orderly manner. Te participant who seconds the motion



is always given an opportunity to speak after the mover. A member does not get a second chance to speak until all mem- bers of the court who want to speak on the motion have had an opportunity to do so.

Amendments — A person who legally has the floor can amend the main motion currently being debated. An amend- ment is another motion that is used to change by adding, subtracting or completely changing the main motion under discussion. When the amendment has been moved and seconded, all subsequent discussion must be on the substance of the current amendment. An amendment to a motion can be amended once. An amendment can be passed by a simple majority. If an amendment is passed, defeated or withdrawn, the discussion goes back to the main motion on the floor with comments based on whether the amendment passed.

Point of Order — If a quorum court member believes that the meeting is progressing outside of the rules of order, he or she can raise a “point of order.” When raising a point of or- der, the person states what rule or order has been violated or not enforced by the chairperson. A point of order can be used to interrupt a speaker. Te chairperson has the responsibility of determining if the point is valid. A point of order cannot be used to comment on a motion out of turn.

Point of Privilege — A point of privilege can be used to

interrupt a speaker. Any member of the court who feels that his or her rights have been infringed upon or violated may bring this point by simply stating their problem. Privilege in- volves the comfort or accessibility of the meeting participant and can include such things as can’t hear, too noisy, unclear copies, etc. Or it could be more personal actions such as mis- quotes, misinterpretations or insults. Te presiding officer has the responsibility of determining if the point is valid.

Challenge the Chair — If a meeting participant feels that his/her point of order or point of privilege was ruled on unfairly by the chairperson, a challenge can be made to the chairperson. Te chairperson then can ask for a motion to uphold the chair’s decision and a vote is taken. Te vote by the full court will decide whether the presiding officer’s ac- tion on the point was valid.

Point of Information — A point of information is a ques- tion raised by a member of the quorum court while another has the floor. Te question can be raised, but the person who has the floor may refuse the question. Te chairperson asks the speaker if he or she wants to entertain the question when

See “MEETINGS” on Page 16 >>> 15

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