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Chip

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  1. If a Bylaw or Rule specifies that a deadline for a certain action or notification is "one month" or "two months" (or more) in advance, should that be interpreted on the same date of the month two months prior (or, if that date does not exist, the last date of the month two months prior)? For example, "two months prior to June 15" would mean April 15, and "three months prior to May 31" would mean February 28 or 29. Would that be considered the correct interpretation? I ask because I have heard that sometimes a "month" can refer to "30 days" or even "four weeks" (in the case of a lunar month), and I don't remember seeing anything in RONR regarding that specific information.
  2. If an organization has this scenario: (1) The existing Constitution/Bylaws provision regarding notice for Constitution/Bylaw amendments are a bit inconsistent and perhaps open to differing interpretations; (2) The Constitution & Bylaws Committee proposes a complete revision of the Bylaws (replacing both the existing Constitution & Bylaws with one new document, a set of Bylaws), which is then adopted by the assembly; (3) The new Bylaws specify that a one-month notice will be given to members regarding proposed Bylaw amendments, and all proposed Bylaw amendments must be submitted to the Bylaws Committee (for discussion/modification/etc.) one month prior to that deadline for the notice; After the revision is complete, are amendments to the Bylaws at the convention in order if they meet the old Constitution & Bylaws requirements for notice, but not the new requirement? FYI, the relevant provision in the current Constitution re: the amendments and notice states: "... such amendment be made available in writing to convention delegates with enough time to consider the amendment. Publication in the newsletter at least a week before the convention shall always constitute sufficient notice." No newsletter exists right now, so that doesn't help the situation. I don't know what people would consider "enough time to consider the amendment" (one of several reasons the Bylaws are being revised).
  3. After you posted this, I went back and re-read the RONR section on consideration by paragraph. I think that somehow I misunderstood how it works (maybe I read something outside of RONR that was wrong). I'd thought that each section was voted on individually, and hadn't realized that it was only amendments that are voted on during the paragraph-by-paragraph consideration. Is the main purpose of consideration by paragraph so that people don't get overwhelmed with an enormous amount of language to deal with? Or is it more about limits on debate? Or both, or something else?
  4. If an assembly is considering a revision to the bylaws, and we are considering it by paragraph, is it acceptable/appropriate to ask for unanimous consent on some sections that are simple and likely uncontroversial? (e.g. the name of the group, the clause re: parliamentary authority, etc.) I don't think it should be used for anything complex, and I also don't think it should be used if there is ANY debate at all on the issue (other than the initial person from the committee speaking in favor of the section). But for the simple and basic things, it could help us save some time. I ask the question because obviously bylaws are of critical importance, and I don't want to appear to be rushing through anything.
  5. If there is a non-member who is attending a meeting of an organization as a guest, and they notice an error regarding parliamentary procedure, are they allowed to make a point of order, or get someone to make one on their behalf, and then they speak about the matter to the chair? If a guest at a meeting is not actually a parliamentarian and not officially serving in that role, but the guest is the most well-versed on parliamentary procedure, can the chair utilize that person for assistance with parliamentary procedure issues?
  6. That's what I had thought originally but I wasn't sure - thank you.
  7. In my organization, I want to create a rule that states that for any Division of the Assembly motions, and for any votes that must be counted, the members will hold up voting cards instead of standing. Would this be a Special Rule of Order or a Standing Rule? I know that it's a slight deviation from the way that RONR specifies how the process works, but it doesn't actually affect any member's rights as far as I can see.
  8. A constitution & bylaws merger

    That will definitely make things a bit easier, thank you. I'll have some homework to do in order to figure out what gets proposed when. Thanks for the tip. I would think that these two parts cannot be divided and a motion for Division of the Question would be out of order, since completing the first part by itself would effectively dissolve the organization. No governing documents would exist if the first part was done separately. At least that's my interpretation.
  9. A constitution & bylaws merger

    I think the plan then will be to introduce several Special Rules of Order proposals early on, so that the meeting can be held under those rules once they are in effect. I'll split them into groups of related rules at a bare minimum so that hopefully, division will be less of a concern for folks (and if it gets divided anyway, then we'll go with that). One more question re: the bylaws ... my understanding is that a Bylaw revision is not subject to Division, but it can (and probably should) be subject to consideration by paragraph. When this is done for a bylaw revision, does it absolutely have to be separate consideration at every single level of the document, or can some items be grouped together? For example, if I have a section that says "The duties for this committee are:" and then has multiple sub-parts that list those duties, can the header and the entire list be considered as one "paragraph" for consideration, or does each sub-part have to be considered on its own?
  10. I suppose that makes sense. I wish RONR was more explicitly clear on this topic, or set up some specific procedure that assemblies could default to (or ignore by writing their own rules on the topic).
  11. A constitution & bylaws merger

    Yes, the idea is to have a set of bylaws be the primary document, and have no constitution. Currently the bylaws are our "secondary" document and the constitution is our "primary" document. The bylaws would then become our "primary" document. I think that "bylaws" is what we'd all prefer to be the term, since that seems to be the trend nowadays. We initially started this process presuming that since the constitution is currently the primary document, it would be a complex "amendment to the constitution" and be done by simply "redistributing" the existing bylaws into their proper locations (Constitution, Special Rules of Order, and Standing Rules). After we did that, we'd rename the Constitution to be the Bylaws. After I started reading more details in RONR about the bylaw amendment process, I realized it was not a standard amendment process and instead concluded it was a revision process. Would the text below be a more suitable motion? Resolved, the [organization]: (1) Repeals the current Constitution of [organization] and Bylaws of [organization]; (2) Enacts the proposed Bylaws of [organization], which shall become the primary governing document of [organization]; (3) Enacts the proposed Special Rules of Order of [organization], which shall, along with the parliamentary authority specified in the Bylaws, govern meetings and conventions; (4) Enacts the proposed Standing Rules of [organization], which shall specify administrative procedures for [organization].
  12. A constitution & bylaws merger

    The primary document is currently called the Constitution but we are indeed planning to change that to be the Bylaws. The very tentative proposal I had written (the idea was to introduce this as one large motion) included these four points: 1. The [organization] shall create and maintain a register of Special Rules of Order. Any procedure used by [organization] regarding parliamentary procedure that differs from the parliamentary authority used by [organization] shall be recorded in this register. 2. The [organization] shall create and maintain a register of Standing Rules. Any administrative rule that does not pertain to parliamentary procedure shall be recorded in this register. 3. The current Bylaws of the [organization] shall be eliminated. Their provisions shall be dispersed and placed into the Constitution of the [organization], the register of Special Rules of Order, and the register of Standing Rules, as specified in this proposal. Any provisions that are redundant shall be eliminated. 4. The Constitution of the [organization] shall be renamed to be the Bylaws of the [organization]. My thought was that if these four items were presented as a single motion, people could (hopefully) understand what exactly was going on and not be too confused by it. They'll also have 30 days notice on this proposal before the meeting, so that may help. We also decided that we would introduce a motion to adopt various special rules of order early on so that we can codify some of the customs we already follow (that aren't quite the way RONR does it, but are also not written down). So if we do that, I'll rewrite the first part to simply be "maintain" since it will already have been created.
  13. Hi all, I am part of a committee that is working on some major changes to my organization's primary and secondary documents. We are planning to (mostly) merge the two documents together, and also create some other secondary documents. The way we are planning to do this is to take the existing Bylaws (the current secondary document) and redistribute its language into other documents. Much of the language will be placed in the Constitution, some of it will become Special Rules of Order, and perhaps a small portion will become Standing Rules. The Constitution of the organization will then be renamed to become the Bylaws of the organization. Part of my concern is with an existing constitutional provision regarding amendments. Currently, the process to amend our Constitution requires a 3/4 vote. However, based on my understanding of RONR, this is not actually an amendment but is instead considered a revision, in which case the entire document (the Constitution) is open for primary & secondary amendments. Right now, our tentative plan is for the committee to present a somewhat complex motion to the assembly to move the contents of the Bylaws into the other documents, eliminate the existing Bylaws, and rename the Constitution to be the Bylaws all in one motion. The questions I have are: * Does the motion require a 3/4 vote, given the procedure specified in the constitution, or is a 2/3 vote sufficient? * Would we be able to suggest that Division of the Question is out of order, given the fact that we are entirely eliminating one document and redistributing its contents elsewhere? * Is our complex motion the proper way to proceed, or is there a better way to do this? Any advice you can offer is appreciated. Thanks much for your help.
  14. To be clear, I am not in favor of having subjective criteria for a position. But I don't rule out the possibility that it exists, e.g. in a case similar to the example I gave above. I think that the rules for an organization should spell out procedures for nominations and elections, including procedures regarding nominations, qualifications, nomination speeches, members speaking for or against candidates, time limits, a debate format, election method, etc.
  15. If there was a criteria that was not sufficiently objective, there could be debate. For a potential example ... let's say that an organization has a judicial committee to resolve disputes in the organization. One of the criteria to be on the judicial committee could be that a member must have previously been a committee chair, and must have "demonstrated impartiality in his conduct while chairing the committee." Whether or not the person has demonstrated impartiality during their committee chairmanship could be debated.
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