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 ..... 1

    SECTION 1. Purpose; Procedural Authority.

    See Minn. Stat. §412.191, subd. 2

    See MCC §4.4.(a)(1)

    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:


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


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


    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.


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


    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 ..... 1

    SECTION 1. Organizational Meeting.

    See MCC §4.3 (c)

    Note 5 : The object of organizing an assembly is to provide members with the necessary means of expressing their deliberative sense on all matters and questions presented in a reasonable and orderly fashion, to facilitate and control its collective work, so that the assembly may achieve the purpose and objectives of the organization.

    Note 6 : At the start of each elective term, the City Clerk—as returning officer—presides over the initial organization of the City Council. In the absence of the City Clerk, the Assistant City Clerk assumes this duty.

    SECTION 2. Officers and Duties.


    See MCC §4.3.(c)(2)

    See MCC §7.1.(e)(1)

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


    See MCC §4.3.(c)

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

    City Clerk:

    See MCC §4.2.(e)(1)

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

    III. Meetings of Council ..... 2

    SECTION 1. Meetings, generally.

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

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

    See generally MCC §4.3.

    See MCC §4.3.(d) - Regular meetings

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

    SECTION 2. Special Meetings

    See MCC §4.3.(e) - Special meetings

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

    SECTION 3. Adjourned Meetings

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

    Note 7 : An adjourned meeting is a continuation of a prior regular or special meeting; therefore, 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. 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 §4.3.(a)

    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.

    SECTION 9. Informal Consideration via Committee of the Whole.

    SECTION 10. Seating and office arrangements.

    SECTION 11. Attendance upon the dais.

    SECTION 12. Public Attendance and Participation.

    SECTION 13. Acknowledgment of Public Recording of Meetings.

    IV. Committees ..... 4

    SECTION 1. 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 appoint each committee's membership, subject to ratification by the City Council.

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

    Note 8 : A committee—as understood in parliamentary law—is a subordinate body composed of one or more members tasked with investigating, developing recommendations, or acting on referred matters or upon subjects within its jurisdiction, or both, or to do all these things. A committee generally has no independent authority, it being merely an instrument formed for the benefit and purposes of the assembly.

    SECTION 2. Standing Committees.

    SECTION 3. Special Committees.

    SECTION 4. Subcommittees.

    SECTION 5. Committee Management.

    V. Committee of the Whole ..... 5

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

    Note 9 : 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. Special Events & Presentations.

    Note 10 : The term "Council Leadership" refers to the President and Vice-President of City Council.

    Note 11 : 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 than what is prescribed by the 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 ..... 6

    SECTION 1. Meetings.

    Note 12 : The committee system is at the heart of the legislative process; committees shape, perfect, and put proposals into proper form for consideration by the assembly. Consequently, it is presumed the City Council will refer all proposals to the proper committee for review and recommendation, and that any exception or deviation from this practice shall be in a narrowly-defined and extraordinary circumstance.

    SECTION 2. Quorum.

    See RONR §40 [Quorum]

    SECTION 3. Rules and Procedures in Committee.

    Note 13 : To assure free and full discussion on the merits of 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, 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:


    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;


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


    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 committee chair 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 committee members, 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. Discharge of Committee.

    SECTION 6. Voting in Committees.

    SECTION 7. Committee Reports.

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

    VII. Public Hearings ..... 7

    SECTION 1. Public Hearing, Defined.

    SECTION 2. Role of the Chair.

    SECTION 3. Public Speakers.

    SECTION 4. Public Hearing Required for Certain Appointments.

    VIII. Motions, Debate & Voting ..... 8

    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."

    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:


    Postpone indefinitely;




    Commit or Refer;


    Postpone to a Time Certain;


    Limit or Extend Limits of Debate;


    Previous Question; and


    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:


    Call for the Orders of the Day;


    Raise a Question of Privilege;




    Adjourn; and


    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:


    Point of Order;




    Suspend the Rules;


    Object to the Consideration of a Question;


    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.


    Division of the Assembly;


    Motions related to methods and conduct of Voting;


    Motions related to Nominations; and


    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:


    Take from the Table;


    Rescind, or Amend Something Previously Adopted;


    Discharge a Committee; and



    Note 14 : ABOUT MAIN MOTIONS—There are four instances in which a main motion is never in order; these are:


    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.]


    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).


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


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


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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 16 : The purpose of debate is to enable a majority of a deliberative assembly, through the exchange of ideas and opinions, to produce a collective judgment on a particular subject matter or proposal for action, which stands as the decision or action of the assembly. As the interchange of ideas and opinions necessarily involves criticism of expressed viewpoints, which can be interpreted as criticism of individuals, parliamentary law provides a number of procedures to focus debate on the merits of propositions and to avoid discussion of personalities. First and foremost, all debate is directed to and through the presiding officer. Second, members must not impute the motives of others, but must always confine remarks in debate to the pending question. Third, members must display respect for others, which includes refraining from sidebar conversations or other actions that would distract from the individual claiming the floor and recognized by the presiding officer. Finally, members must not abuse the rules to obstruct the business of the assembly.

    Note 17 : 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 18 : 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.

    Note 19 : Some motions, by design, are undebatable. Thus, those motions which are designed to perform a time-sensitive task where debate would be counterproductive are classified as undebatable; these include:

    Call for Orders of the Day

    Lay on the Table & Take from the Table

    Division of a Question

    Suspend the Rules


    Some motions are designed to prevent debate (or stop further debate); thus, debate is not allowed in connection with these motions:


    Object to Consideration of the Question

    Previous Question

    Limit or Extend Debate


    Finally, some motions intend to perform a simple task which requires the immediate attention of the body or its presiding officer before business may proceed. These motions include:

    Parliamentary Inquiry

    Point of Information

    Point of Order

    Raise a Question of Privilege

    Appeal the Decision of the Chair

    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 20 : All proceedings of a deliberative assembly which ripen into a result do so by a vote of its members; hence, all official acts are rightfully referred to as votes of the City Council, regardless of actual form. There are, however, different forms in which an act by such vote may be taken. For example, legislation is enacted by ordinance; administrative acts and the expression of the will or sense of the assembly is by adoption of a resolution; orders to agencies and staff are accomplished by directives; and the bulk of routine business is processed by the passage of motions, etc.

    Note 21 : 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 22 : 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 §4.4.(c)

    SECTION 8. Consideration of Mayoral Veto.

    See MCC §4.4.(c)(3)

    IX. Ordinances & Resolutions ..... 10

    SECTION 1. Ordinances: Manner of Introduction.

    See MCC §4.4.(a)(2)

    See MCC §4.4.(b)

    Note 23 : The introduction and referral of ordinances generally follows a two-step process intended to ensure adequate notice to all parties. Generally, this process is as follows—

    First, a notice of intent must be made at a prior meeting. Such notices are agendized under the order of Notice of Ordinance Introductions .

    Second, after notice is given in the first cycle, the ordinance is brought forward under the order Introduction & Referral Calendar 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 required under 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.

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

    See Rule IX., Section 2, which addresses required content for ordinances.

    SECTION 3. Ordinances: Number of Readings.

    See MCC §4.4.(b)

    See Rule IX., Section 3, which establishes a standard of two readings for passage of an ordinance on two separate days, subject to certain exceptions and alternate provisions.

    SECTION 4. Ordinances: Introduction by Unanimous Consent.

    See Ordinance Flowchart, page 20, for an outline of the standard legislative process.

    SECTION 5. Ordinances: Emergency Action.

    See Ordinance Flowchart.

    Note 24 : This emergency enactment procedure eliminates the notice, introduction, first reading and referral processes and enables the City Council to introduce and pass an ordinance in a single meeting. As ordinances are the equivalent of municipal statutes, this provision is extraordinary and is designed to expedite passage under declared emergency conditions.

    SECTION 6. Ordinances: Enactment Procedure.

    See MCC §4.4(b), (c), (d), and (e)

    See Ordinance Flowchart, page 20, for an outline of the standard legislative process.

    SECTION 7. Ordinances: Return to Author.

    Note 25: A motion to Return to Author effectively kills the proposal.

    SECTION 8. Resolutions.

    See MCC §4.4.(a)(2)

    Note 26 : 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, it follows that those matters of a general, uniform, and permanent nature which establish 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, 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. Note, however, that the City Charter (Plain Language Revision) removed the more rigid differences between ordinances and resolutions and refers more generally to "acts" of the City Council, which includes ordinances, resolutions, and any other form of lawful action.

    SECTION 9. Ordinances & Resolutions: Expiration.

    X. Journal & Records ..... 10

    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 §4.4.(e)

    Note 27 : 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

    See MCC §4.4.(d)

    SECTION 4. Codification.

    See Minn. Stat. §415.02 and §415.021

    See MCC §4.2.(e)(2)(C)

(Res. No. 2013R-381, 8-30-2013; Res. No. 2014R-009, 1-23-2014; Res. No. 2014R-499, 12-5-2014; Res. No. 2016R-534 , 12-9-2016; Res. No. 2018R-018 , 2-17-2018)