Richmond VA > City Clerk > General Terms and Definitions

Last Updated: 2010-01-04

Adopt -- The term adopt refers to the council's acceptance of or agreement to a proposed ordinance, resolution, amendment or motion.

Agenda -- The term "agenda" refers either to the list of ordinances, resolutions or similar items that the council will consider in a meeting or more generally to the order of business at a meeting.

Amendment -- An amendment is a change to the language of an ordinance or resolution that has been introduced but not acted on by the council. An amendment to an ordinance or resolution that either has been introduced but not acted on is made by a member through a "motion to amend." An ordinance, if so amended, must be continued to a future council meeting. A resolution, if so amended, may be acted upon in the same meeting in which it is amended.

Consent Agenda -- The consent agenda is a method for the expeditious handling of several items at one time that do not require in-depth discussion by the council. Items on the consent agenda are generally routine and non-controversial and are normally adopted as a group by a single unanimous roll call vote of the council. Any member may cause an item to be removed from the consent agenda to the regular agenda for more individualized consideration. The public may address any item on the consent agenda during the single public hearing held on the consent agenda.

Continue -- By a motion adopted by a majority of the members, the council may "continue," or postpone, any ordinance or resolution on the agenda to a future meeting.

Docket -- The docket is that part of the agenda comprised of the list of ordinances, resolutions or similar items that the council will consider in a meeting.

Expedited Consideration -- Expedited consideration refers to the introduction and action on a resolution during the same meeting. Normally, resolutions are introduced at one meeting and acted on at the next meeting. In order for a resolution introduced at a meeting to be acted on at that same meeting under expedited consideration, the council must adopt a motion to expedite the resolution by no less than six votes. Expedited consideration applies only to resolutions; ordinances may not be acted on in the same meeting at which they are introduced.

Motion -- A motion is a formal proposal by a member, in a meeting, that the council take certain action.

Ordinance -- An ordinance has the effect of local law in the city of Richmond. The Charter of the city of Richmond requires that certain actions be only by ordinance. Ordinances of general and permanent application are codified in the Code of the city of Richmond.

Paper -- The word "paper" is a generic term used to refer to both ordinances and resolutions.

Public Hearing -- A public hearing is the general public's opportunity to comment in favor of or against or even to voice questions concerning an item on the agenda. Any person may speak on an ordinance or resolution within the time constraints imposed by the council's Rules of Procedure. Public hearings are required for ordinances and resolutions. The public hearing for an ordinance must be held at least seven days after the ordinance's introduction.

Regular Agenda -- The regular agenda consists of those items on the agenda that the council will hold a public hearing on and then discuss, consider and vote on individually.

Reject -- The words "reject" or "rejection" indicate the council's disapproval of an ordinance, resolution, amendment or motion after its public hearing and consideration by the council. A proposed ordinance is rejected if there are not five votes in favor of its adoption.

Resolution -- A resolution is an action by the council that generally does not have the effect of law. A resolution generally expresses the council's will, intent or policy on a particular matter.

Strike -- The words "strike" or "stricken" refer to the council's action on an ordinance or resolution that removes that ordinance or resolution from the meeting's agenda and from further consideration by the council at that meeting. However, an ordinance or resolution that is stricken may be reintroduced and considered by the council at a future meeting.

Awards and Presentations Period -- The Awards and Presentation Period usually immediately precedes the Citizen Comment Period during the public recognition portion of a regular council meeting. The council's Rules of Procedure limit the total time allotted for the presentation of awards, proclamations and other recognitions to fifteen minutes. Only council members and members of the city administration may present awards, proclamations and other recognitions during this period.

Citizen Comment Period -- The Citizen Comment Period is usually the last part of the public recognition portion of a regular council meeting. It serves as a forum for citizens to address the council on any topic that is not on the council's agenda for that meeting. The council's Rules of Procedure limit the total length of the Citizen Comment Period to 30 minutes and the amount of time that each speaker may speak to a maximum of three minutes.

Citizens that wish to speak must first call the Office of the City Clerk at (804)646-7955 to schedule their appearance no later than noon on the day of the meeting at which they wish to speak.

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