Town By-Laws: Article 3

Procedure at Town Meetings
Section 1 ‑ All sessions of any town meeting shall be public to the extent required by law. At any session of a town meeting held for the transaction of town business (other than for the election of such officers as are required by law to be elected by ballot) no person whose name is not on the list of voters shall be admitted to that part of the hall reserved for voters, and this provision shall be enforced by use of such list. The moderator shall determine the bounds of the reserved space.

Section 2 ‑ Printed copies of the warrant shall be furnished the voters at all town meetings.

Section 3 ‑ Articles in the warrant shall be acted upon in their order, unless the meeting by vote otherwise determines.

Section 4 ‑ All reports, motions, and resolutions submitted for the consideration of the meeting involving the expenditure of money shall be in writing and any other report, motion, or resolution shall be reduced to writing if the moderator so directs.

Section 5 ‑ No person shall speak more than twice upon any question, except for the brief correction of an error in or misunderstanding of his previous statement, unless all other who have not spoken on the question shall have spoken if they desire to do so, and unless leave of the meeting is first obtained.

Section 6 - Without the permission of the moderator, no person shall speak on any subject for more than 6 (6) minutes for the first time or more that 3 (3) minutes for the second time.

Section 7 ‑ Every person desiring to speak shall arise and address the chair and, after recognition is obtained, shall stand while speaking, unless the moderator otherwise directs.

Section 8 ‑ Except as otherwise required by law, all votes shall be taken in the first instance by voice vote. If the moderator is in doubt as to the results or if 7 voters rise and express doubt as to the result declared by the moderator, a standing vote shall be taken, except that the vote shall be by ballot in such manner as the moderator shall determine if either the Advisory Committee or fifty (50) voters promptly call for a ballot vote. On matters requiring a 2‑thirds vote, the moderator may declare 2‑thirds in favor by voice vote, and a count need not be taken unless a standing vote or a ballot vote is required in accordance with this Section.

Section 9 ‑ When a question is before the meeting, the following motions, to wit:
  • To adjourn,
  • To lay on the table,
  • For the previous question.
  • To postpone to a time certain,
  • To commit, recommit or refer
  • To amend,
  • To postpone indefinitely,
shall be received and shall have precedence in the foregoing order, and the first 3 shall be decided without debate.

Section 10 ‑ No vote shall be reconsidered except after the affirmative vote of 2‑thirds (2/3) of the voters present and voting on a motion to reconsider such vote.

Section 11 ‑ A motion to reconsider any vote must be made before the final adjournment of the meeting at which the vote was passed; provided, however, that such motion to reconsider shall not be made at an adjourned session of the meeting unless the mover has given notice of his intention to make such a motion either at the session of the meeting at which the vote was passed or by written notice to the town clerk not less than 12 hours before the hour to which adjournment has been voted and not more than forty‑8 hours after the hour of adjournment of such session. A vote shall not be reconsidered a second time or after a motion to reconsider it has failed to pass.

Section 12 ‑ At a special town meeting, not held within the annual town meeting, no amount of money shall be appropriated for any purpose (1) if the Advisory Committee recommends to the meeting that no amount be appropriated for that purpose or (2) which is in excess of the amount recommended to the meeting by the Advisory Committee for that purpose, except in either case by the affirmative vote of 2‑thirds (2/3) of the voters present and voting on such appropriation.

(Section 12 was submitted by the Town Clerk to the Attorney General on 7/27/87. It was adopted after no action by the Attorney General within 90 days as specified in Chapter 40, Section 32 of the Massachusetts General Laws)