Town of Lexington, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Every representative Town meeting shall meet at the time and place fixed in the warrant and shall be called to order by the Moderator. In the absence of the Moderator, the meeting shall be called to order by the Town Clerk, who shall preside until a temporary moderator is chosen.
Immediately after the calling of the meeting to order by the Moderator, the warrant for the Town meeting and the return of the person who served the same shall first be read by the Town Clerk, unless the meeting votes that the reading of the articles in the warrant be dispensed with.
At all representative Town meetings held in Cary Memorial Hall a space on the floor of the Main Hall shall be reserved for Town meeting members and no person who is not a member shall be admitted within the reserved area unless otherwise ordered by the Moderator or by vote of the meeting. Checklists of members shall be kept at convenient places adjacent to the entrances to said reserved space during all meetings and for a reasonable time prior to the opening of the meetings, and members shall be admitted to said reserved area upon giving their names to checkers in charge of said lists.
A. 
The Moderator shall preserve order and decorum. He may speak to points of order in preference to other members. Each question of order, with the decision thereon, shall be entered by the Clerk in the records of the meeting.
B. 
To the extent that this bylaw is not inconsistent with Chapter 215 of the Acts of 1929, as amended, the Moderator may, at the first session of the Annual Town Meeting or the first town meeting following the election of the Moderator, nominate a voter as Deputy Moderator, subject to the election by the town meeting members, to serve throughout the Moderator’s term of office as temporary Moderator with all the powers and duties of the Moderator, in the event of the Moderator’s absence, recusal, or disability, or a midterm vacancy in the office of the Moderator, until such vacancy is filled according to law.
[Amended 3-31-2008 ATM by Art. 35]
A. 
Unless otherwise provided by law or by bylaw, all motions shall require only a majority vote.
B. 
All articles in the warrant shall be taken up in their order upon the warrant unless otherwise ordered by a vote of the meeting, and no motion or resolution, the subject matter of which is not set forth in some article in the warrant, shall be entertained.
C. 
Every motion shall be reduced to writing and signed by the member presenting it when so requested by the Moderator, and before receiving any motion the Moderator may require that it be seconded; a motion may be withdrawn by the mover if no objection is made.
D. 
No motion carrying an expenditure or appropriation of money, except where such expenditure is required by law, shall be acted upon at any Town meeting until some report thereon has been made by the Appropriation Committee and, for capital-related motions including any for funding under the Community Preservation Act, by the Capital Expenditures Committee.
[Amended 4-9-2018 ATM by Art. 32]
E. 
After a vote has been taken finally disposing of any warrant article, or of any part thereof that had been divided out for separate consideration, such warrant article or part shall be deemed to be closed and no further action shall be taken thereon except by means of a motion to reconsider as provided in § 118-14 herein. For purposes of this subsection, a vote to lay upon the table or to commit shall not be considered a final disposition.
[Amended 3-23-2011 ATM by Art. 30]
F. 
No motion, the effect of which would be to dissolve the meeting, shall be in order until every article in the warrant for such meeting has been finally disposed of, except by a vote of at least 2/3 of those present and voting, but this shall not preclude an adjournment of the meeting to some other date.
A. 
No member shall address the meeting without first being recognized by the Moderator, and all members shall at the request of the Moderator be silent. When two or more members rise to speak at the same time, the Moderator shall name the one entitled to speak.
B. 
No member while speaking shall be interrupted by another, except to call to order, or for a privileged motion, or to give notice of a motion to reconsider.
C. 
No member shall speak more than once on any question to the prevention of those who have not spoken and desire to speak thereon.
D. 
Without first obtaining leave of the meeting, no member shall speak more than twice on any question except to correct a mistake or misstatement or to make an explanation, and no member shall speak more than 10 minutes at any one time without being again recognized by the Moderator.
E. 
Any voter who is not a Town meeting member may speak at any meeting, but in so speaking shall be subject to the same limitations as members.
F. 
A motion to waive the limitations set forth in Subsection D of this section, or to dissolve the meeting or that the vote upon the question under consideration be taken by ballot with the use of the checklist shall be in order at any time, except on an immediate repetition of the same motion or pending a verification of a vote, and none of these motions shall be open to debate.
[Amended 4-11-1990 ATM by Art. 40]
G. 
When a motion is under debate no motion other than those mentioned in the preceding subsection shall be entertained, except the following subsidiary motions, which several motions shall have precedence in the order in which they are arranged in this bylaw, and all shall be open to debate, except the first two, namely:
[Amended 3-25-2019 ATM by Art. 35]
(1) 
To lay upon the table, or take from the table.
(2) 
For the previous question.
(3) 
To close the debate at a specified time.
(4) 
To postpone to a time certain.
(5) 
To commit, or re-commit, or refer.
(6) 
To amend.
(7) 
To postpone indefinitely.
During the first 10 minutes of debate on any motion, subsidiary motions shall be entertained only at the discretion of the Moderator.
H. 
During debate on subsidiary motions listed in Subsection G, no person shall speak more than three minutes or more than once, and debate shall be limited to 10 minutes, except that the debate on the subsidiary motion to amend shall be 30 minutes unless changed by vote of the meeting.
[Amended 4-11-1990 ATM by Art. 40]
I. 
When debate is closed by ordering the previous question or by vote to close debate at a specified time, the maker of the main motion or the amendment under consideration shall be allowed to speak for three minutes and may grant to any other member a part or all of his time, or give his time to the meeting.
[Amended 4-11-1990 ATM by Art. 40]
J. 
Debate may be closed at any time not less than 10 minutes from the adoption of a motion to that effect.
A. 
No vote shall be reconsidered except in accordance with one or more of the following provisions:
[Amended 3-23-2011 ATM by Art. 30]
(1) 
Where notice by any member has been given at the same session of the meeting and within 30 minutes after the result of a vote under an article has been declared, a motion to reconsider that vote may be made at any subsequent session of the meeting and shall prevail if approved by a majority of the members voting.
(2) 
A motion to reconsider may be made at any time by a member during Town Meeting if (a) authorized to do so by a majority of either the Board of Selectmen, or the Appropriation Committee, or the Capital Expenditures Committee, and (b) for the sole purpose of balancing the budget and/or making technical corrections. Such a motion shall prevail if approved by a majority of the members voting.
(3) 
Any member may make a motion to reconsider under circumstances other than Subsection A(1) or (2) of this section, and such motion shall prevail only if approved by at least 2/3 of the members voting.
B. 
The debate on a motion to reconsider shall be limited to 30 minutes and no person shall speak more than five minutes at one time nor more than once without the leave of the meeting.
C. 
When a motion to reconsider is decided, such decision shall not be reconsidered. No question shall be twice reconsidered, except for questions reconsidered under Subsection A(2) and (3) herein, for which there shall be no limit to the number of times such questions may be reconsidered. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary herein, no vote shall be reconsidered upon the following motions, namely:
[Amended 3-23-2011 ATM by Art. 30]
(1) 
To adjourn.
(2) 
For the previous question.
(3) 
To lay on the table.
(4) 
To take from the table.
(5) 
To close debate at a specified time.
A. 
The previous question shall be put in the form: "Shall the question on the amendment now be put?" for an amendment or, alternatively, "Shall the main question now be put?" for a main motion and all debate shall be suspended until the previous question is decided.
B. 
The adoption of the previous question shall put an end to all debate on the motion under consideration except as provided in § 118-13I of this article.
A. 
An amended amendment cannot be amended and no motion or proposition of a subject different from that under consideration shall be entertained under color of an amendment.
B. 
In filling blanks, or in cases of several amendments of different amounts, or periods of time, the largest sum and the longest time shall be put first and an affirmative vote thereon shall be a negative vote of any smaller sum or shorter time.
[Amended 4-8-1974 ATM by Art. 72; 4-8-1998 ATM by Art. 49; 3-20-2013 ATM by Art. 32]
A. 
Voting in Town Meeting shall be by:
(1) 
Voices of the members; or
(2) 
A counted vote by:
(a) 
An electronic tally and display system used:
[1] 
By itself to reflect the vote; or
[2] 
In conjunction with a voice vote, as authorized herein ("the electronic system"); or
(b) 
Members standing; or
(c) 
Writing; or
(d) 
Roll-call poll.
B. 
Vote taken by voices of the members:
(1) 
Whenever only a majority vote is required, the Moderator shall first announce the vote as it appears to him/her by the sound. If the Moderator is unable to decide by the sound of the voices, or if the announcement is thereupon doubted by 20 or more members rising in their places for that purpose, the Moderator shall, without debate, order a counted vote.
(2) 
Whenever a two-thirds vote is required by statute, anything in the Bylaws, or other authority, such vote may be declared as such by the Moderator as it appears to him/her by the sound and be recorded as such by the Town Clerk upon such declaration, provided, however, that if the announcement is thereupon doubted by seven or more members rising in their places for that purpose, a counted vote shall be taken.
C. 
Electronic system:
(1) 
After a public hearing, the Moderator, in consultation with the Board of Selectmen, and the Town Clerk, is authorized to define operating rules governing the use of the electronic system. Beyond addressing the general procedures for operating the electronic system, these rules shall include, but not be limited to, procedures for:
(a) 
Challenging a vote;
(b) 
Enhancing the security and integrity of the voting process;
(c) 
Testing of the electronic system every time it is started, and
(d) 
A physical record of the results of each electronic vote being provided to the Town Clerk immediately following each electronic vote.
(2) 
Use of the electronic system and its corresponding operating rules must be authorized by a two-thirds majority vote of Town Meeting.
(a) 
Such authorization may occur at a session of any Town Meeting, but must occur before the electronic system is used.
(b) 
Such authorization shall remain in effect unless challenged by 40 or more members rising in their places for that purpose or substantive change(s) of the rules are defined by the Moderator following the process of C(1). In either event, authorization for use of the electronic system must again be put to a two-thirds majority vote of Town Meeting.
(3) 
At the Moderator's discretion or at the request of 20 or more members rising in their places for that purpose, the vote on any motion shall be taken by use of the electronic system.
(4) 
Votes taken using the electronic system shall be displayed to Town Meeting members in their places and the public before the Moderator announces the vote. The display shall minimally show:
(a) 
A short form with the final tally of "yes," "no," "abstain," and missing votes when the electronic vote is accompanied by a voice vote; or
(b) 
A long-form listing each Town Meeting member's name, or an abbreviation that is unique among members of that Town Meeting, his/her precinct, his/her "yes," "no," "abstain," or lack of vote and the final tally of the votes by those same categories.
At the Moderator's discretion or at the request of 20 or more members rising in their places for that purpose, the long-form listing of Subsection C(4)(b) shall be used even if the electronic vote is accompanied by a voice vote.
(5) 
Votes taken using the electronic system in conjunction with a voice vote shall be determined by the results reported by the electronic system.
D. 
Standing vote:
(1) 
At the Moderator's discretion or at the request of 40 or more members rising in their places for that purpose, the vote on any motion shall be taken by use of a standing vote.
(2) 
The Moderator may at any time during Town Meeting before the first standing vote appoint tellers to make and return the count of any standing vote during that Town Meeting.
E. 
Vote taken in writing or by poll. At the Moderator's discretion or at the request of 50 or more members rising in their places for that purpose, the vote on any motion shall be taken:
(1) 
In writing on a list by precinct, and for members-at-large on a list of such members, upon which each member shall record his/her vote and affix his/her signature; or
(2) 
By a roll-call poll of the meeting by the Town Clerk.
F. 
Record of votes:
(1) 
If Subsection E(1) above is used, the signed lists shall constitute the official vote of the meeting, a permanent public record of which shall be maintained by the Town Clerk.
(2) 
A record of the vote taken by the electronic system or in the manner specified in Subsection E(1) or E(2) above shall be made available electronically to the public within 24 hours of the vote. The record shall disclose how each Town Meeting member voted.
G. 
When a motion is readily divisible, it shall be divided and the vote upon each part taken separately, provided the Moderator deems the division beneficial or at the request of 25 or more members rising in their places for that purpose.
The presence of 100 members at a Town meeting for the transaction of business shall be required to constitute a quorum, except for a motion to adjourn for which no quorum shall be required; provided, however, that no vote carrying the expenditure or appropriation of any sum of money shall be held to be invalid by reason of lack of the required quorum, unless it appears from the records of the Town Clerk of the meeting that before the result of such vote was declared the question of the presence of a quorum was duly raised and that such record shows that the required quorum was lacking.
The procedure and conduct of the business meetings of the Town not herein provided for shall be governed by "Roberts' Rules of Parliamentary Practice" so far as they are applicable and are not inconsistent with the bylaws of the Town.