Key To Procedural Citations & References

Latest version.

    As used throughout the Council Rules, citations have been made as follows:

    ■  Minn. Stat. = Minnesota Statutes

    ■  MCC = Minneapolis City Charter

    ■  MCO = Minneapolis Code of Ordinances

    ■  RONR = Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised - 11th Ed., 2011

    I. Rules

    SECTION 1. Purpose; Procedural Authority.

    See Minn. Stat. § 412.191, subd. 2

    See MCC Ch. 4, § 3

    See RONR § 2 [Rules of Order, pp. 15—17]

    When an assembly adopts a particular parliamentary authority, its rules and procedures are binding upon the assembly in all cases where they are not inconsistent with legal authorities of higher precedence.

    NOTE 1: Parliamentary law is founded on certain organizing principles; these include:

    (1) All members of an assembly have and share equal rights, privileges, and obligations;

    (2) The assembly may act only in a proper meeting in the presence of a quorum.

    (3) Only one question may claim the assembly's attention at a time, and only one member may claim the floor at any given time, subject to recognition by the presiding officer.

    (4) Each member has the right to know the immediately pending question as well as its effect if adopted before a vote it taken.

    (5) A majority of the assembly decides a question; except that a two-thirds vote is generally required for any motion whose effect would alter, modify, or deprive any member of rights in any way.

    NOTE 2: It is an accepted legal principle that the ultimate authority of the municipal government is vested in its duly constituted governing body as it meets. Thus, it is only in the context of a properly convened meeting that the governing body may take action.

    NOTE 3: Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th Edition, is the most current version and supersedes all earlier editions as the parliamentary authority for organizations which have adopted it [See RONR - In Brief, page 100].

    SECTION 2. Suspension of Rules.

    See RONR § 25 [Suspend the Rules, pp. 260—267]

    SECTION 3. Amendment of Rules.

    See RONR § 35 [Rescind/Amend Something Previously Adopted]

    See RONR § 44 [Voting - Two-Thirds Vote Required, p. 401, l. 19—28]

    NOTE 4: Because rules are established to protect the rights of all members, and to provide a consistent framework within which the assembly conducts its business, any motion to suspend or amend the adopted rules requires a higher voting threshold for passage.

    II. Organization

    SECTION 1. Organizational Meeting.

    See MCC Ch. 3, § 2(a)

    See RONR § 45 [Voting Procedure: Voting by Ballot, pp. 412—419]

    See MCC Ch. 3, § 2(b)

    SECTION 2. Officers and Duties.


    See MCC Ch. 3, § 2(b)

    See MCC Ch. 4, § 1

    See generally RONR § 47 [Officers - Chairman or President, pp. 448—457]


    See MCC Ch. 3, § 2(b)

    See generally RONR § 47 [Officers - Vice-President, pp. 457—458]


    See MCC Ch. 3, § 5

    See generally RONR § 47 [Officers - Secretary, pp. 458—460]

    III. Meetings of Council

    SECTION 1. Meetings, Generally.

    See Minn. Stat. § 13D [Open Meetings Law]

    See generally Minn. Stat. § 142.191, subd. 2

    See MCC Ch. 4, § 2: City Council - Meetings - Regular and Special

    See RONR § 9 [Regular Meeting, pp. 89—91]

    SECTION 2. Special Meetings

    See MCC Ch. 4, § 2

    See RONR § 9 [Special Meeting, pp. 91—93]

    SECTION 3. Adjourned Meetings

    See MCC Ch. 4, § 2

    See RONR § 9 [Adjourned Meeting, pp. 93—94]

    NOTE 5: Under the Rules, each regular and special meeting constitutes a separate session of City Council. However, when a meeting is adjourned to a future date or time, it is essentially a continuation of that meeting. Under the City Charter, these extensions of meetings are classified as "sessions." Because an adjourned meeting is a continuation of a prior meeting, it is out of order to renew or consider motions previously introduced and disposed of without adoption. See RONR § 38, pp. 336—339 for details.

    SECTION 4. Executive (Closed) Meetings

    See Minn. Stat. § 13D.01, subd. 3 [Subject of and grounds for closed meeting]

    See Minn. Stat. § 13D.03 or § 13D.05

    See RONR § 9 [Executive Session, pp. 95—96]

    SECTION 5. Study Sessions.

    SECTION 6. Calendar & Notices.

    See Minn. Stat. § 13D.04 [Notice of meetings]

    ■  Subd. 1 [Regular meetings]

    ■  Subd. 2 [Special meetings]

    ■  Subd. 2 [Recessed or continued meetings]

    ■  Subd. 2 [Closed meetings]

    See Minn. Stat. § 645.15

    See Minn. Stat. § 331A.08

    SECTION 7. Quorum.

    See Minn. Stat. § 645.08 (5)

    See MCC Ch. 4, § 1

    See RONR § 40 [Quorum]

    SECTION 8. Order of Business.

    See RONR § 41 [Order of Business (Agenda or Program)]

    See generally definition, terms, and uses for agenda, pp. 371—375.

    IV. Standing Committees

    SECTION 1. Standing Committees: Purpose, Appointment & Structure.

    See Rule II., Section 1, B(3), which provides that standing and special committees shall be ratified by the City Council during its organizational meeting.

    See Rule IV., Section 1, which provides that the Council President shall nominate each committee's membership, subject to ratification by the City Council.

    See RONR § 50 [Committees, pp. 489—492]

    NOTE 6: A committee—as understood in parliamentary law—is a subordinate body composed of one or more members elected or appointed to consider, to investigate, to develop recommendations, or to take action on referred matters or upon subjects within its jurisdiction, or both, or to do all of these things. A committee generally has no independent authority, it being merely an instrument of the assembly formed for its benefit and purposes.

    SECTION 2. Special Committees.

    See RONR § 50 [Committees, pp. 489—492]

    SECTION 3. Committee Management.

    V. Committee of the Whole

    SECTION 1. Committee of the Whole as a Standing Committee.

    NOTE 7: As a standing committee, the Committee of the Whole is subject to the same rules and regulations applied to other standing and special committees of the City Council. It has a prescribed jurisdiction. This differs from the general provisions and practices contained in Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised.

    SECTION 2. Intergovernmental Relations Subcommittee.

    SECTION 3. Special Events & Presentations.

    NOTE 8: The term "Council Leadership" is generally understood to refer to the President and Vice-President of the City Council.

    SECTION 4. Use of Committee of the Whole for informal consideration.

    See RONR § 52 [Committee of the Whole, pp. 529—538]

    NOTE 9: When necessary, and on proper motion and vote, the City Council may resolve itself into a committee of the whole during any regular or special meeting for the purposes of considering business in a more informal manner that what is prescribed by these rules for meetings of the full City Council. This use of the committee of the whole structure is separate and apart from the standing committee of the same title, but aligns with the general provisions and practices contained in Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised.

    VI. Committee Procedures

    SECTION 1. Meetings.

    NOTE 10: The committee system is at the heart of the legislative process; committees are established to shape, perfect, and put proposals into proper form for consideration by the assembly. Consequently, it is the presumption that the City Council will refer all proposals to the proper committee, and that any exception or deviation from this standard procedure shall be in a narrowly-defined and extraordinary circumstance.

    SECTION 2. Quorum.

    See RONR § 40 [Quorum]

    SECTION 3. Rules and Procedures in Committee.

    NOTE 11: In order to assure free and full discussion on the merits of all proposals and referred matters, the rules are generally relaxed in committee and procedure is much less formal, the purpose of a committee being to thoroughly evaluate and develop recommendations; see procedures for small boards in RONR, see pp. 487—488. The intent is to provide a minimum structure that enables the committee to reach consensus and to make decisions. To that end, the following are usual and acceptable procedures in committee:

    (1) The chair (presiding officer) may take an active role in the meeting, including the ability to make or second motions and to participate in debate without leaving the chair;

    (2) Discussion of a subject matter is permitted even if no motion is immediately pending; and

    (3) There is generally no limit on the length of debate, nor a limit to the number of times any member may speak in debate on a particular subject or motion.

    Under these Rules, the chair of each committee is empowered to determine the degree of formality or degree to which stricter enforcement of rules is necessary to preserve an orderly progression of business without infringing on the rights of any member. To ensure fairness to all members of the committee, the chair should explain the reasoning for any decision to apply or enforce a greater level of formality.

    SECTION 4. Consideration of Committee Business.

    SECTION 5. Public Comment.

    SECTION 6. Discharge of Committee.

    SECTION 7. Voting in Committees.

    SECTION 8. Committee Reports.

    See RONR § 51 [Reports of Boards and Committees, pp. 511—529]

    SECTION 9. Joint Meetings of Committees.

    VII. Public Hearings

    SECTION 1. Public Hearing, Defined.

    SECTION 2. Role of the Chair.

    SECTION 3. Public Testimony.

    SECTION 4. Public Hearing Required for Certain Appointments.

    VIII. Motions, Debate & Voting

    SECTION 1. Motions.

    See RONR Chapter V [Main Motion, pp. 100—125]

    Also known as a "primary motion," a main motion provides for the introduction of a new business proposal before the assembly. It is the lowest in rank by the classification of motions.

    [Includes description of Previous Notice of Motions, pp. 121—122]

    The following classes of motions are collectively referred to as "secondary motions."

    Secondary Motions
    See RONR Chapter VI [Subsidiary Motions, pp. 126—218]A subsidiary motion is used to perfect the substance of a main motion, or to affect how the main motion is handled. Listed by rank (lowest to highest), the subsidiary motions include:
     (1) Postpone indefinitely;
     (2) Amend;
     (3) Commit or Refer;
     (4) Postpone to a Time Certain;
     (5) Limit or Extend Limits of Debate;
     (6) Previous Question; and
     (7) Lay on the Table.
    See RONR Chapter VII [Privileged Motions, pp. 219—246]
    A privileged motion pertains to the rights of the assembly and its member, in that order, and not necessarily to the pending business or question before the assembly. Listed by rank (lowest to highest), the privileged motions include:
     (1) Call for the Orders of the Day;
     (2) Raise a Question of Privilege;
     (3) Recess;
     (4) Adjourn; and
     (5) Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn.


    See RONR Chapter VIII [Incidental Motions, pp. 247—299]

    An incidental motion pertains to the procedures of the assembly and questions about procedure that arise out of other motions. Incidental motions must be disposed of before other motions may be considered or acted upon. The list of incidental motions—which carry no rank order—are as follows:

    (1) Point of Order;

    (2) Appeal;

    (3) Suspend the Rules;

    (4) Object to the Consideration of a Question;

    (5) Division of a Question;

    Note: In Minneapolis, the City Council uses the procedure for Division of a Question (RONR § 27), even when the intent is to Consider a Question by Paragraph (RONR § 28), and may refer to these two procedures interchangeably.

    (6) Division of the Assembly;

    (7) Motions related to methods and conduct of Voting;

    (8) Motions related to Nominations; and

    (9) Requests and Inquiries, including Request for Information and Parliamentary Inquiry.

    See RONR Chapter IX ["Restorative" Motions, pp. 300—335]

    This class of motions bring a question already disposed of before the assembly again. The list of restorative motions—which carry no rank order—are as follows:

    (1) Take from the Table;

    (2) Rescind, or Amend Something Previously Adopted;

    (3) Discharge a Committee; and

    (4) Reconsider.

    NOTE 12: ABOUT MAIN MOTIONS—There are four instances in which a main motion is never in order; these are:

    (1) No main motion is ever in order which conflicts with the federal or state constitutions, national, state, or local laws, or legally-prescribed procedures. If such a motion is adopted, even upon a unanimous vote of all members, it is null and void. [See RONR § 39, p. 343, ll. 14—17.]

    (2) No main motion is ever in order which proposes action or pertains to a subject matter which is beyond the assembly's scope of authority or power (ultra vires).

    (3) No main motion is ever in order that presents substantially the same question as a motion previously rejected during the same meeting (or session).

    (4) No main motion is ever in order that would conflict with or that presents substantially the same question as one which has been temporarily disposed of (postponed, laid on the table, referred), and which remains within the control of the assembly.

    NOTE 13: ABOUT AMENDMENTS—The following are general rules related to the motion to amend:

    (1) The motion to amend is a primary amendment, or an amendment in the first degree, and is applied to the immediately pending motion. The motion to amend an amendment is a secondary amendment, or an amendment in the second degree, and is used to modify a pending primary amendment. Amendments which exceed the second degree are not allowed.

    (2) There is no limit to the number of amendments that can be applied to a motion as long as there is only one amendment of the same rank on the floor at a time.

    (3) An amendment must be germane to the immediately pending question. An amendment may be hostile to, or even defeat, the spirit of the original motion and still be germane. However, a new and independent question cannot be introduced under color of an amendment.

    (4) An amendment cannot be used to change one form of parliamentary motion into another. For example, it is out of order to attempt, by way of an amendment, to change a pending motion to postpone to a time certain into a motion to postpone indefinitely.

    (5) An amendment is out of order if its effect would be to cause the pending question to become out of order. For example, it is out of order to attempt, by way of an amendment, to alter the form of the pending question such that it would conflict with the federal or state constitution or any laws having higher precedence or which would cause the assembly to act ultra vires.

    SECTION 2. Debate.

    See RONR § 43 [Debate, pp. 385—399]

    NOTE 14: Rights in regard to debate are not transferrable. Thus, a member cannot yield any unexpired portion of time to another member, or reserve any portion of time for a later point. If a member yields the floor before his or her allotted time in debate has concluded, the presumption is that member the member has waived the right to any remaining balance of time. [See RONR § 43, p., 388, ll 12—25.]

    NOTE 15: Each debatable motion introduces a new question with respect to members' rights in debate — see RONR 43, pp. 389—390, ll. Thus, if a series of debatable questions is pending, a member has the right to debate each question (that is, to speak twice to each debatable question) subject to the general time limitations provided within these Rules. Modification to the general limits of debate—that is, to limit/restrict or to extend debate—may be made as set forth in Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised, pp. 390—391.

    See RONR § 43, pp. 396—399, for details as to the principles governing the debatability of motions.

    SECTION 3. Rulings by Presiding Officer; Appeals.

    See RONR § 24 [Appeal, pp. 255—260]

    SECTION 4. Voting.

    See Minn. Stat. 13D.01, subd. 4(a) and (b), regarding the requirement to record votes in the journal

    See RONR Chapter XIII [Voting, pp. 400—429]

    NOTE 16: On final action on ordinances and resolutions, and on many other proposals, the vote is taken by roll call. The majority of legislative bodies utilize this voting method because it is the most accurate and easily-verified form of voting to transact. Moreover, this voting method places on record the vote of each member of the assembly; since Council Members vote in a representative capacity, their constituents are thus able to determine how their representative voted on a specific issue or subject matter.

    NOTE 17: A tie vote results in no action being taken by the assembly, but does not automatically equate to the opposite effect of the original proposal. Thus, if a motion to approve a proposal results in a tie vote, no action has been taken, and the original proposal remains in possession of the assembly, subject to further motions under the rules of debate; however, the proposal was not defeated (voted down) as a result of the tie vote. One notable exception to this general application of the rule is that on an appeal taken to the ruling of the presiding officer, a tie vote does sustain the ruling of the presiding officer. This is based on the principle that the decision of the presiding officer can only be reversed by a majority vote.

    SECTION 5. Reconsideration.

    See RONR § 37 [Reconsider, pp. 315—335]

    SECTION 6. Rescission of Previous Action.

    See RONR § 35 [Rescind (or Amend) Something Previously Adopted, pp. 305—309]

    SECTION 7. Presentation of Official Acts to the Mayor.

    See MCC Ch. 3, § 1

    SECTION 8. Consideration of Mayoral Veto.

    See MCC Ch. 3, § 1

    IX. Ordinances & Resolutions

    SECTION 1. Ordinances - Manner of Introduction.

    See MCC Ch. 4, § 9: Ordinances and Resolutions - How Passed

    NOTE 18: The introduction and referral of ordinances generally follows a two-step process, which is intended to ensure adequate notice is provides to all Council Members as well as the public. First, a notice of intent must be made at a prior meeting. Notices of ordinance introductions are agendized under the order of New Business. Second, after notice is given in the first cycle, the ordinance is brought forward under the order Unfinished Business in the next cycle.

    Under Council's Rules, the President refers the ordinance to the standing committee(s) having proper subject-matter jurisdiction, although the President's decision may be appealed to the full City Council. A majority vote is required to approve the referral. The introduction and referral constitute the first reading of the ordinance as required by the City Charter.

    Occasionally, a Council Member may wish to expedite the notice and introduction in a single cycle. This can be done, but requires unanimous consent by all Council Members at the meeting (assuming a quorum is present). If even one Council Member objects, the Member making the introduction may give notice at that time and make the introduction in the next cycle, as provided in the regular two-step notice and introduction process.

    NOTE 19: Introduction of Ordinance —or— Introduction of Subject Matter or an Ordinance. There is a subtle but important distinction between introducing an ordinance and introducing the subject matter of an ordinance. In the former case, the assumption is that a draft of the proposed ordinance is prepared and available for review at the time of introduction and will be referred to the proper standing committee for its consideration. Having the draft prepared at this stage can further expedite the process. However, when the ordinance has not been drafted at the time of its introduction, the subject matter of the ordinance may be introduced so that the process may proceed. When the subject matter of an ordinance is referred to the proper standing committee, the usual practice is for the standing committee of reference to then act to refer the matter to staff so the ordinance can be prepared in written form and brought back to the committee for its formal consideration.

    NOTE 20: Introduction and referral of Resolutions and other matters. Unlike the two-step process outlined above for the introduction and referral of ordinances, resolutions and other matters are generally introduced and referred simultaneously. As part of the regular order Presentation of Petitions, Communications & Reports, these matters are collectively introduced and referred to the proper standing committee(s) having subject-matter jurisdiction.

    SECTION 2. Ordinances - Title, Author & Enacting Clause.

    See MCC Ch. 4, § 8: Style of Ordinances - Subject and Title

    SECTION 3. Ordinances - Number of Readings.

    See MCC Ch. 4, § 9: Ordinances and Resolutions - How Passed

    SECTION 4. Ordinances - Enactment Procedure.

    See MCC Ch. 4, § 9: Ordinances and Resolutions - How Passed

    SECTION 5. Ordinances - Return to Author.

    SECTION 6. Resolutions.

    See MCC Ch. 4, § 7: Council May Exercise Power by Resolution - When

    NOTE 21: An ordinance refers to a local law of a municipal corporation prescribing general, uniform, and permanent policies, rules, or regulations related to the corporate affairs of the municipality. [McQuillin, Municipal Corporations, § 15 01 (3d Ed )]. The general ordinances of the municipality, as codified, comprise the body of local law governing the management of local affairs, the conduct of persons, the allowable uses of property, and a myriad of other subject matters upon which the municipal government exercises primary oversight and power.

    By contrast, a resolution is a formal statement of policy or the expression of a position with respect to a particular subject matter, which may be either legislative or administrative in character, but which does not generally carry the force and effect of local law.

    From this general distinction between ordinances and resolutions, it follows that on those matters where the City Council determines to enact general, uniform, and permanent policies, rules, or regulations, especially those which include penalty provisions for violations, the form should be an ordinance. An ordinance should also be used in any instance required by state statute, city charter, or any other applicable requirement of law. Notwithstanding this guide, Minneapolis City Charter, Chapter 4, § 7, provides that the City Council may, in specific instances, exercise its powers through the adoption of resolutions when the same cannot be more readily done through the enactment of an ordinance.

    X. Journal & Records

    SECTION 1. Journal of Proceedings.

    See Minn. Stat. 13D.01, subd. 5, regarding statutory requirement that public access be provided to the journal

    See Minn. Stat. § 13.03 [Access to government data]

    See Minn. Stat. § 15.17 [Official records]

    See Minn. Stat. § 331A.01, subd. 6 [Content of proceedings]

    See Minn. Stat. § 331A.01, subd. 10 [Summarization for publication]

    See Minn. Stat. § 412.151, subd. 1 [Clerk to record proceedings]

    See Minn. Stat. § 363A.42 [Accessibility of public records]

    See MCC Ch. 4, § 9: Ordinances and Resolutions - How Passed [votes taken by roll call to be entered in record]

    NOTE 22: The veracity of the official record of acts, orders, and judgments is critical in providing documentary evidence of decision-making processes, particularly if such actions become subject to judicial review. The Minnesota State Auditor's Office has issued a position statement (revised in 2009 and reviewed December 2010) outlining the recommended components for meeting minutes which establishes minimum contents to be included for every type of meeting. In that statement, the State Auditor's Office opined that audio or video recordings of meetings do not constitute "minutes," and are not a substitute for a requirement to produce and keep minutes.

    SECTION 2. Petitions & Communications.

    SECTION 3. Publication.

    See Minn. Stat. § 331A.01, subd. 6 and 10 [Content of proceedings and Summarization of proceedings]

    See Minn. Stat. § 331A.08, subd. 3 [Computation of time for legal publication]

    See Minn. Stat. § 412.191, subd. 3

    See Minn. Stat. § 645.11

    SECTION 4. Codification.

    See Minn. Stat. § 415.02 and § 415.021

(Res. No. 2013R-381, 8-30-2013)