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VIDEO: How to Handle Friendly Amendments

"Friendly amendments” are a Robert’s Rules of Order motion that come up all the time in meetings, and for the most part they are usually mishandled. Many people think that if someone makes a "friendly amendment” all they have to do is to turn to the maker of the motion and ask him or her to accept the amendment. This is absolutely an incorrect way of handling a “friendly amendment”. It gives the maker of the motion too much power and is not allowed in Robert’s Rules of Order.

Once any motion has been moved then it becomes the common property of the members of the assembly and therefore the maker of that motion has no additional control over what can be added to or subtracted from it.

Despite usually being well intentioned, "friendly amendments" are a frequent and unnecessary source of confusion in meetings. Members may use the idea of a friendly amendment because they are intimidated by, or just don’t understand how to make a simple amendment. An amendment is just a proposed change to the motion, so if you would like to add something to or subtract something from a motion you make an amendment.

Member A: “I move to amend the main motion by striking _________ an inserting _________."
Chair: “Is there a second to the amendment?"
Member B: “I second the amendment.
Chair: "It has been properly moved and seconded to amend the main motion by striking _________ and inserting _________. Is there any discussion on the amendment?"

If you are the chair the best way to handle a “friendly amendment” is to simply treat it as a regular amendment: Ask for a second, entertain discussion and then vote on the amendment.

Also discussed in this video is unanimous consent.

Enjoy this informative video with Professional Registered Parliamentarian (PRP) Ann Macfarlane of Jurassic Parliament as she and I get to bottom of how to handle friendly amendments.

Enjoy and happy meetings!
Susan Leahy MA (a loving, powerful,committed woman)


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