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What Is a Motion to Table?


There exist many protocols in a legislative setting. Such protocols exist in order to provide a smooth process of handling matters of the state and legislation. One such protocol involves bringing up a matter or issue that is discussed only once. Once it has been discussed, it can no longer be debated upon or be brought up again. This protocol refers to a motion to table.


A motion to table generally refers to procedure of “tabling” or retiring an issue or matter once it has been taken under discussion. Thus, the motion to table is essentially a move to retire a topic. This motion is often considered controversial as it can prevent discussion of issues or matters that are significant and must be debated upon more thoroughly.


Generally regarded as a parliamentary procedure, the protocol of motion to table can be found in Robert’s Rules of Order, which is a set of rules and guidelines meant to make parliamentary processes more efficient. The purpose of Robert’s Rules is to provide minorities a perspective when passing legislature or discussing issues that affect them as well as ensuring that the discussions are smooth and efficient. Robert’s Rules permits the use of motion to table, but cite the conditions under which it can be invoked. It is necessary that a motion to table must be approached with utmost care and finesse as it may be considered a form of deflection of an important issue. However, some matters may actually legitimately be motioned to table.

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