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  1. Looking for clarification managing a deliberative assembly that requires a parliamentarian but currently cannot fill the position. In particular, we are in need of defining what constitutes 'debate'. When a main motion is on the floor, what kind of remarks are considered 'debate'? Is any member seeking the floor in regards to anything that is not a higher order motion 'debate'? Robert's Rules online (Art. VII. Debate. 42 Debate) states that in regards to an amendment, asking a question or making a suggestion does not constitute speaking, however, it offers no clarification on main motions. Further, in a deliberative assembly that has a formalized position for a parliamentarian but currently does not have the position filled, who is to be the interim parliamentarian? Is the Chair to assume the position or are they to assign a member of the assembly to temporarily assume that position? If a member of the assembly acts as interim parliamentarian, do they maintain voting and motioning privileges? Lastly, is the Chair within their right to expel or silence non-members of the assembly when the meeting is open to the public? Does that right extend if the Chair is seeking to expel non-members if those individuals are members of the organization as a whole but not of the assembly? E.g. President of the organization who is not a member of the assembly nor has voting, motioning, or speaking rights within the assembly. Robert's Rules of Order (12th) 9:29, 61:6-8, 61:19-20 have offered some help in regards to this. Please take into consideration that members of the assembly are not well versed in parliamentary procedure as this is a student run organization. The most well versed individuals are the current Chair and Vice-Chair.
  2. Can discussion/debate transpire on an item being introduced for a public hearing? Our elected body considered an item captioned, “Consider the introduction of an ordinance to change the organizational structure of various departments and calling a public hearing on ‘date’.” The body was informed that it could not discuss or debate the particulars of the agenda item because the caption did not include the words “and discuss”. Does the item require that the public hearing is called before discussing the matter? If so, does this preclude the body from making changes to the proposed ordinance before the public hearing? Lastly, can either minor or substantial changes be made to an ordinance at the public hearing to adopt the ordinance?
  3. It is the long-standing tradition in the conventions of an organization of which I am a member to not allow someone who speaking to a main motion a make a motion at the end of a speech during debate (such as a motion to amend or previous question). Our president asked me if I could find the rule on that, and I couldn't. My guess was that when you are recognized you can debate or make a motion but not both. I couldn't find anything that gave a clear answer. So, is our rule something that's in Robert's Rules or is it just a long standing custom of our organization?
  4. A motion to fix the time to which to adjourn is made when in the course of business it appears that there will not be an opportunity to introduce it as an incidental main motion. Later in the same meeting, business is completed earlier than anticipated and the motion to fix the time to which to adjourn is moved to be reconsidered. The question is can it be debated? Page 324 states: EFFECT OF ADOPTION OF THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER; RULES GOVERNING DEBATE ON THE RECONSIDERATION. The effect of the adoption of the motion to Reconsider is immediately to place before the assembly again the question on which the vote is to be reconsidered—in the exact position it occupied the moment before it was voted on originally. The "exact position" was the considering the motion to Fix the Time to which to Adjourn, made as a privileged motion, and therefore undebatable. p. 68 fn states that adjourn is a unique case in that it retains privileged status even when no question is pending. p. 308 l.16 states that Amend Something Previously Adopted is not in order if the if the question can be reached using Reconsider. My question is then is does the FTWA come back as privileged and therefore not debatable, or does it loose privilege when it is reconsidered as there is no pending question, or, is there no way for the group to discuss when they will meet again once a privileged motion FTWA has been used to set the next date?
  5. Can non voting members participate in a debate for a proposed By-Law change?
  6. Suppose that an assembly conducts a ballot vote for an election and no one is elected after the first round of balloting because no candidate receives a majority vote. Is debate automatically reopened?If not, is a motion to reopen debate in order? What vote is required?
  7. This is a question on whether a debate is called for. Organization of 1000 (hereafter Assembly) is looking to fill position of president. The elected officers (10 members of organization, selected by Assembly). Officers solicit nominations for Assembly Members to be on a committee to recommend the next President. A list of 10 members are selected by the Officers, who refer to this as the Nominating Slate. The Nominating Slate is put before the Assembly to be voted on for approval and an Assembly meeting. A Motion (in my opinion) is presented to the Moderator, who calls for a vote of Aye to approve the Slate, No to reject the Slate. However, no Debate is allowed among the members of the Assembly. Specifically, a member requested a period of debate, and was told, "there will be no debate" by the moderator. (There was no motion to suppress debate, nor are there by-laws that prevent debate that are known to the membership. In past meetings, debate has been allowed, but not acted upon.) Is this appropriate? Is there a clause somewhere to prevent debate, via something that looks like a motion, but is not a motion?
  8. After reading this thread, I have a question: Why is the motion, relating to entering or leaving Executive Session, debatable? I can sort of understand in a general sense why the motion to enter into Executive Session is debatable, within reason. For example, one member may think an issue is of a sensitive or controversial nature, while another member may not. But the motion to come out of Executive Session seems far more simple - either you want to end Executive Session or not. I know I am missing something here, but I don't know what it is so I am asking.
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