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Richard Brown

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  1. If the committee was supposed to have reported at this meeting but did not do so because no committee member was present to give the report, I don't think there was a need to postpone anything. This committee simply didn't report as it should have. It can and should report at the next meeting. No postponement was necessary. If the motions had not been previously referred to the committee and the intent at this meeting was to make the referral, the assembly could still have made the referral. It is not necessary that any of the committee members be present in order for a motion to be referred to the committee. Again, there was no need for the postponement. So, I'm not sure what to make of the postponement "until the committee is present". Such a postponement is clearly a postponement beyond the present session unless it is anticipated that a committee member will show up before the meeting adjourns. At any rate, it is improper to postpone a motion beyond the next session. In most societies, as Mr.Kapur pointed out, each meeting is a separate session. Any motions that were postponed beyond the end of the current meeting should come up as general orders in the order of business for "Unfinished Business and General Orders" at the next meeting. Motions which are postponed to the next session are "general orders". That would come up before new business. Edited to add: If the society is simply waiting for the committee to report, the committee can and probably should give its report at the appropriate point for that type committee (standing or special) report rather than waiting for Unfinished Business and General Orders.
  2. I'm not sure what you mean when you say "seven were postponed until a certain committee was present". What does that statement mean? Can you elaborate?
  3. Interrupt Voting Process

    Hmmm. So, we interrupt voting to vote on a point of order that the chair had no right to interrupt voting. Interesting.
  4. Adoption requires two-thirds vote...

    I'm going to backtrack somewhat on my previous answer. In that answer, I said that my interpretation of the new bylaw provision is the same as Keefe's, namely that the new requirement is "a vote of two thirds of the entire membership". Now, I'm not so sure. Gary Novosielski's argument and rationale is pretty persuasive. Ultimately, it is a matter of this organization interpreting its own bylaws, but we seem to be weighing in with our own personal interpretations. Keefe knows it's the opinions of his members that count, not our opinions. But, perhaps we can help to resolve the issue. If we were not discussing a recent bylaw amendment and the new wording was the only wording that had ever been there, I would agree with Gary Novosielski's well stated interpretation, namely, that the requirement is an ordinary two thirds vote. I would say that the use of the term "eligible confessing members" refers to the body which must vote on a bylaw amendment. I would say that it is simply stating that it is the members, rather than an executive board or some other body, which must approve a bylaw change. So, I would take the position that the new wording means the same thing as the old wording, namely, an ordinary two thirds vote. RONR is clear on the language that should be used when the vote is to based on the votes of a majority or two thirds of the entire membership and this provision does not use that language. However, that position is complicated... and weakened.... by the fact that this is a change from the previous wording. I think the previous wording was clear that an ordinary two thirds vote is what was required, notwithstanding the use of the term "two thirds majority". I think we all know it means a two thirds vote. Since RONR tells us that we are to presume that nothing was put in the bylaws without a reason, we are left to wonder what the reason is for the change. Since the previous version was clear that an ordinary two thirds vote was required to amend the bylaws, it seems the new wording was likely intended to change the vote requirement for amending the bylaws. With that in mind, it seems to me that the most logical interpretation of the change, based on what I presume was the intent of the drafters, is that the new language requires the affirmative vote of two thirds of the entire membership, as opposed to the previous wording which required an ordinary two thirds vote. Perhaps the members who drafted the bylaw change are still around and can tell the other members what they intended the change to accomplish. Since the language is clearly ambiguous and subject to more than one interpretation, the intent of the drafters can be considered. Ultimately, this a question for the membership itself to decide. I don't know whether we have helped Keefe or if we have confused him further.
  5. Postpone to a Certain Time

    As an alternative, the matter or motion could be referred to a small committee, even a committee of one person, to pursue funding or to monitor the funding source and to report the status to the assembly at each regular meeting or in whatever manner or frequency the assembly instructs.
  6. Question regarding Special Rules of Order

    And one of those rules in the book (both books) is that a society can adopt special rules of order which supersede the rules in the book. I also believe it is the inherent right of a society to adopt special rules of order regardless of whether it is specifically permitted by the adopted parliamentary authority... as long as it isn't specifically prohibited. Perhaps this is ultimately a question of bylaws interpretation, but if I had a vote in the matter, I would vote that the adoption of special rules of order under the current bylaw provision is in order. All of this may actually be moot since the society is considering the adoption of different language which will clearly permit the adoption of special rules of order.
  7. Question regarding Special Rules of Order

    I agree with Bruce Lages. I think the answer to question 1 is "yes", the society may adopt special rules of order that supersede the rules in the adopted parliamentary authority, "Robert's Rules of Order Revised" (ROR). I say this for two reasons: First, ROR (Robert's Rules of Order Revised) makes plain on page 268 in Section 67 that a society may adopt "special rules of order as are needed to supplement their parliamentary authority". So, relying on the plain text of ROR, a society may adopt special rules of order. Second, the 11th edition of RONR provides, on an unnumbered page where it tells us how to cite the book, as follows: "This Eleventh Edition supersedes all previous editions and is intended automatically to become the parliamentary authority in organizations whose bylaws prescribe "Robert's Rules of Order," "Robert's Rules of Order Revised," "Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised," or "the current edition of" any of these titles, or the like, without specifying a particular edition." Therefore, regardless of whether this society is governed by ROR or the 11th edition of RONR, they both make plain that a society may adopt such special rules of order as it deems necessary and that those special rules or order supersede contrary provisions in the parliamentary authority.
  8. For whatever my own opinion is worth, i would interpret the term to mean a majority vote of those present, which is actually the same thing as a majority of those present and voting. Note that that is not the same thing as a "majority of those present" or "a vote of the majority of those present".. Assume 100 members are present. 50 vote yes, 40 vote no and 10 abstain. If a "majority vote" is required, the motion is adopted. If a vote of "the majority of those present" is required, the motion would fail, as 50 is not a majority of 100. RONR suggests the use of the term "majority vote" when the approval of the majority of those present and voting is required. But, when the approval of the majority of those present is required, RONR suggests slightly different wording that removes all ambiguity. In such cases, RONR suggests "the vote of a majority of the members present". Instead of "majority vote", it is "the vote of a majority". It is a subtle but very important distinction. Note: The quoted language is also subject to being interpreted to mean a vote of the majority of the members present. That is the problem caused by using wording other than that suggested by RONR which has been refined over more than a hundred years. Ultimately, it is up to this society to interpret its own bylaw provision. Also, the term "en banc" means "the full court", but it doesn't mean that each and every member of the court must be present. Some might well be absent due to illness or being unavailable or may recuse themselves from hearing a particular case. I interpret the term, as used here, as meaning "a meeting of the group that will be deciding the issue before them". If we are discussing the student senate, then it means a meeting of the student senate.
  9. Board Meeting Minutes

    Guest Bill, the short answer is that nothing in RONR prohibits it but nothing in RONR requires it either. As the others have stated, normally, unless you have your own rule that provides differently, the way that each member votes is not recorded in the minutes unless it is a roll call vote.
  10. Removal of Motion

    Andrew, I'm curious. Is it possible in this organization for a motion to ever be adopted the same day the motion is made? If so, how?
  11. Membership

    I agree with Josh Martin that losing the expiration dates is not the same thing as or as bad as losing the entire membership roster. For that matter, I agree with the rest of his post, too.
  12. Vacancies and Quorums

    Done. Thanks. That's what I get for typing and using voice to text on a cell phone!
  13. Removal of Motion

    I'm assuming ( admittedly a dangerous thing to do, but, what the heck, I enjoy living dangerously) that the motion was removed from the agenda. C'mon, Andrew, give us a little more information about what happened! The details you are leaving out are important!
  14. Rule adopted without a motion or vote

    Agreeing with Mr Martin, don't go back and change anything already done. Just start doing it correctly moving forward unless the assembly does formally adopt a special rule to do it differently.