Reference Committee


The committee will hold a hearing prior to the Council session. Having heard discussion on the subject before it, the committee draws up a report with recommendations to the Council for disposition of its items of business.



  • Reference Committee hearings are open to all members of the Association, invited guests, interested outsiders, and members of the press. Any member of the Association is privileged to speak on the resolution or report under consideration. Nonmember physicians, guests or interested outsiders may, upon recognition by the Chair, be permitted to speak. The Chair is privileged to call upon anyone attending the hearing if, in the chair’s opinion, the individual called upon may have information which would be helpful to the committee.
  • Equitable hearings are the responsibility of the Chair, and the committee may establish its own rules on the presentation of testimony with respect to limitations of time, repetitive statements, and the like. The Chair also has the jurisdiction over such matters as photography, television filming, and the introduction of recording devices. If, in the chair’s estimation, such factors would be, or become, undesirable for the conduct of an orderly hearing, the chair may act to prohibit them. Reference committee chairs have the authority to go into executive session at any point during the hearing.
  • Reference committee chairs should not ask for an expression of the sentiments of those attending the hearing by an informal vote on particular items. The committee members may ask questions to be sure that they understand the opinions being expressed, or may answer questions if a member seeks clarification; however, the committee members should not enter into discussions with speakers or express opinions during the hearings.
  • It is the responsibility of the Reference Committee to listen carefully and evaluate all the opinions presented so that it may provide the voting body with a carefully considered recommendation.
  • Following its open hearings, the Reference Committee will go into executive session for deliberation and construction of its report. It may call into such executive session anyone whom it may wish to hear or question.

Late Resolutions

  • Late resolutions have been brought to the Speaker’s attention prior to the reference committee hearing, but after the 45-day deadline.
  • Late Resolutions require the acceptance of the Speaker to be referred to the reference committee.
  • Such items considered by the reference committee and included in the regular reference committee report, but shall be automatically extracted from the consent calendar for acceptance as an item of business.
  • Late resolutions further require a two-thirds majority acceptance by the Council to be considered as an item of business.
  • In conducting hearings on late resolutions, the reference committee will consider separately the reasons for lateness and timeliness of the proposal and the merits of the actual resolution. Comments on both shall be included in the reference committee report.

Emergency Resolutions

  • Any resolutions introduced after 5 p.m. Central time on the tenth calendar day prior to the opening of the Council shall be labelled an “emergency resolution.”
  • Emergency resolutions brought to the attention of the Speaker prior to the Reference Committee hearing can be brought in front of the Council from the floor.
  • Emergency resolutions require both approval of the Speaker and a two-thirds vote of the Council in order to be accepted as Council business.
  • Emergency resolutions introduced on the Council floor require a 3/4 vote of acceptance by the Council before consideration.
  • In conducting hearings on late resolutions, the reference committee will consider separately the reasons for lateness and timeliness of the proposal and the merits of the actual resolution. Comments on both shall be included in the reference committee report.


  • Reference committee reports comprise the bulk of the official business of the Council. They need to be constructed swiftly and succinctly after completion of the hearings in order that they may be processed and made available to the representatives in advance of formal presentation.
  • Reference committees have wide latitude in their efforts to facilitate expression of the will of the majority on the matters before them and to give credence to the testimony they hear. They may amend resolutions, consolidate kindred resolutions by constructing substitutes, and they may recommend the usual parliamentary procedure for disposition of the business before them, such as adoption, rejection, amendment, referral and the like.
  • See the Spring 2024 Reference Committee Report.

Main Motions

  • Each report or resolution which has been accepted by the Council as its business is the matter which is before the Council for disposition together with the reference committee recommendations. In the event that a number of closely related items of business have been considered by the Reference Committee and the consolidation or substitution has been proposed by the committee, the reference committee’s substitute will be the matter before the Council for discussion.
  • The reference committee report should not contain a direct motion. The Speaker will open for discussion the matter which is the immediate subject of the reference committee report.
  • Minority reports from reference committee members are in order.


Each item referred to the Reference Committee should be reported to the Council as follows:

  • Identify the resolution by number and title and reports by letter and name of the Committee or Board of Directors;
  • State concisely the reference committee’s recommendation;
  • Comment, as appropriate, on the testimony presented at the hearings;
  • Incorporate supporting evidence of the recommendations of the Reference Committee

Consent Calendar

The consent calendar, or waiver of debate list, includes those items referred to the Reference Committee which meet one of the following criteria, as determined by the Reference Committee:

  • Little or no debate generated during the reference committee hearing
  • Clear consensus of opinion (either pro or con) was expressed during the hearing
  • Note: Items dealing with amendments to the Bylaws of the Association are never placed on the consent calendar. These items are listed at the end of the reference committee report with the committee’s recommendation for adoption, referral, or rejection.

Notes on Specific Committee Recommendations
(other than “Adopt”)


The Reference Committee is reporting on informational material provided to the Council which encompasses no specific proposal for action. The Reference Committee expresses appreciation of the report and recommends that the matter be filed for information. The Speaker declares the original matter to be before the Council for discussion. In the absence of any other motion from the floor, the Speaker places the question on the adoption or approval of the reference committee recommendation to file for information. When it appears that there is no debate, the Speaker may declare “it is filed” without the necessity of a formal vote. Such a statement records the action and concludes such an item of business.

Not adopt

The Reference Committee is reporting on a resolution which, in its opinion, should be rejected, and it so recommends. The Speaker places the resolution before the Council for discussion. In the absence of other motions from the floor, the Speaker, at the appropriate time, places the question on adoption of the resolution, making it clear that the Reference Committee has recommended a vote in the negative.


The Reference Committee is reporting on a resolution or report which it feels should be transmitted for further consideration to the Board of Directors, or through the Board to an appropriate committee or section, and it so recommends. The reference committee may not recommend an amendment to a resolve or recommendation for which it recommends referral. The Speaker places the original matter before the Council for discussion. It may be that the Council prefers to adopt this matter, amend it, postpone it, or table it, any one of which it is free to do; or the Council may wish to follow the reference committee’s recommendation. If there is no motion from the floor, the Speaker will put the motion on the recommendation of the Reference Committee “to refer.” If this fails to pass, the motion is again on the adoption of the resolution or report.


The Reference Committee is reporting on a resolution or report which it wishes to amend by addition, deletion, alteration or substitution. In order to permit the normal procedures for parliamentary handling, the matter which is placed before the Council for discussion is the amended version as presented by the Reference Committee together with the recommendation for its adoption. It is then in order for the Council to apply amendments of the first and second order in the usual fashion to this reference committee version. Such procedure and does not preclude the possibility that someone may wish to restore the matter to its original un-amended form. This may be accomplished by a motion to amend the reference committee version to restore the original language.


The Reference Committee is reporting on two or more kindred resolutions or reports. It wishes to recommend a consolidation into a single resolution, or it wishes to recommend adoption of one of these items in its own right and as a substitute for the rest. For orderly handling, the matter before the Council for consideration is the recommendation of the reference committee of the substitute or consolidated version. A motion to adopt this substitute is a main motion and is so treated. If the reference committee’s version is not adopted, the entire group of proposals has been rejected, but it is in order for any representative to move consideration and adoption of any one of the original resolutions.

No Action

The Council should take a definite action on resolutions and only if necessary reaffirm current policy. In the event that “no action” is the only appropriate posture for the Association with respect to a particular resolution, the Chair of the Reference Committee, after consultation with the Speaker, may place such resolution on the consent calendar in a category designated “no action.” Such a motion if adopted is the equivalent of a motion to table (postpone temporarily) and results in suppression of the resolution for the current meeting.


From time to time, the reference committee will report on a resolution which calls for a policy position contrary to or at variance with existing policy. If the committee wishes to recommend reaffirmation of existing policy, it should recommend not adoption of the resolution. Reaffirmation is relatively indecisive since the previous policy has not been specifically reintroduced and debated.

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