Is there a term for a bill that is introduced in a legislative body with no intent of it actually being passed, but more as a form of protest or a game of oneupmanship or legal chicken?

For example, there's a bunch of gun control stuff going on in Virginia. One of the bills that was proposed in this session would basically prohibit the governor's security detail from carrying weapons in certain places where they are prohibited to others. I'm assuming the patron of the bill has no actual intent of seeing it pass; he just wants to highlight the hypocrisy of certain other stuff going on.

  • 1
    Very close to a stalking horse, which usually refers to political candidates who don't intend to get elected
    – lauir
    Feb 12, 2016 at 6:20
  • If you refer to forms of obstruction in a legislature or other decision-making body, consider fillibuster.
    – Graffito
    Feb 12, 2016 at 14:15

2 Answers 2


In U.S. parliamentary law (Robert’s Rules of Order 10th ed. §39), the term appears to be dilatory motion, with frivolous motion treated in the index as a less official synonym.

A motion is dilatory if it seeks to obstruct or thwart the will of the assembly as clearly indicated by the existing parliamentary situation.

Ideally the presiding officer rules it out of order, but such are advised to do so only when solidly assured of the frivolity of the intent.

  • Please help me improve this answer if you have at hand the newer (11th) edition of Robert’s (which I just popped into my Amazon cart!) or whatever is current in U.K. Feb 12, 2016 at 14:39
  • RR distinguishes between dilatory motions and improper motions, but the distinction is not bright.
    – choster
    Feb 12, 2016 at 15:30
  • You may have a look to Robert's Rules for dummies.
    – Graffito
    Feb 12, 2016 at 17:00

Although not official terminology, legislation proposed for the purposes you describe could be seen as part of a bluffing strategy and therefore could be called a “bluff proposal,” along the lines of the one described in the above ‘Google Books’ link, and also the one described here, where Toronto's mayor apparently:

Ask[ed] for something [he didn’t] want in order ... [to] get something [he did] want.

(from ‘The Mail and Empire’ via ‘Google News’)

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