Robert’s Rules of Order Revised > 5. Subsidiary Motions. > 30. Limit or Extend Limits of Debate.

Henry M. Robert (1837–1923).  Robert’s Rules of Order Revised.  1915.

30. Limit or Extend Limits of Debate.

Motions, or orders, to limit or extend the limits of debate, like the previous question, take precedence of all debatable motions, may be applied to any debatable motion or series of motions, and, if not specified to the contrary, apply only to the immediately pending question. If it is voted to limit the debate, the order applies to all incidental and subsidiary motions and the motion to reconsider, subsequently made, as long as the order is in force. But an order extending the limits of debate does not apply to any motions except the immediately pending one and such others as are specified. They are undebatable, and require a two-thirds vote for their adoption. These motions may be amended, but can have no other subsidiary motion applied to them. They yield to privileged [14] and incidental [13] motions, and to the motions to lay on the table and for the previous question. They may be made only when the immediately pending question is debatable. When one of them is pending, another one that does not conflict with it may be moved as an amendment. After one of these motions has been adopted it is in order to move another one of them, provided it does not conflict with the one in force. This motion to limit or extend the limits of debate may be reconsidered even though the order has been partially executed, and if lost it may be renewed after there has been sufficient progress in debate to make it a new question.   1
  After an order is adopted closing debate at a certain hour, or limiting it to a certain time, the motions to postpone and to commit cannot be moved until the vote adopting the order has been reconsidered; but the pending question may be laid on the table, and if it is not taken from the table until after the hour appointed for closing the debate and taking the vote, no debate or motion to amend is allowed, as the chair should immediately put the question. After the adoption of an order limiting the number or length of the speeches, or extending these limits, it is in order to move any of the other subsidiary [12] motions on the pending question.   2
  An order modifying the limits of debate on a question is in force only during the session in which it was adopted. If the question in any way goes over to the next session it is divested of this order and is open to debate according to the regular rules.   3
  The various Forms of this motion are as follows:   4
  (1) To fix the hour for closing debate and putting the question, the form is similar to this: “I move that debate close and the question be put on the resolution at 9 P. M.”   5
  (2) To limit the length of the debate, the motion may be made thus: “I move that debate on the pending amendment be limited to twenty minutes.”   6
  (3) To reduce or increase the number and length of speeches, the motion should be made in a form similar to one of these: “I move that debate on the pending resolution and its amendments be limited to one speech of five minutes from each member;” “I move that Mr. A’s time be extended ten minutes;” “I move that Messrs. A and B (the leaders on the two sides) be allowed twenty minutes each, to be divided between their two speeches at their pleasure, and that other members be limited to one speech of two minutes each, and that the question be put at 9 P. M.”   7


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