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  • RONR Message Board – Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised
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  1. I am Chair of an organization that follows Robert's. Our membership is restricted to a certain group of people, though these requirements are under scrutiny. Our by-laws lay out the process for amending the by-laws, but they do not specifically bar non-members from proposing an amendment. I can't find anything in Robert's that says a non-member can not make a motion or amendment. It appears to be left up to each organization. Does anyone has a clear answer on this? Thank you!
  2. RONR (11th Ed.), page 501, lines 11-13 states, "During actual deliberations of the committee, only committee members have the right to be present." Also, starting on page 500, line 22, RONR states, "Committees of organized societies operate under the bylaws, the parliamentary authority, and any special rules of order or standing rules of the society which may be applicable to them. A committee may not adopt its own rules except as authorized in the rules of the society or in instructions given [page 501] to the committee by its parent assembly in a particular case." My question is this. In an organization that has no special rules of order or standing rules established in its bylaws, no provision in the definition of this committee for non-committee members to be in attendance during committee deliberations or allowing a committee to set its own rules, it is allowable to suspend the rules to allow persons who are not members of a committee to be in attendance during committee deliberations and voting? Thank you for your opinions.
  3. Are people who are not members of the deliberative body entitled to speak during deliberations (other than at the invitation of the presiding officer or of the full assembly)? Please note that the question is about being entitled to speak, not about being allowed to speak. I can't find this in Robert’s Rules of Order, perhaps because it's assumed that participants in deliberation will be members of the assembly. However, I did find the below question and answer on "Parliamentary Procedure: Toward the Good Order of the University: Advice from Dr. John A. Cagle, 
Parliamentarian of the Academic Senate
and Professor Emeritus of Communication
at California State University, Fresno” http://zimmer.csufresno.edu/~johnca/cagle-p3.htm What do others think? Question: Do visitors have the privilege to speak at a council meeting whether they address or do not address the chair? Or is the privilege given to members only? My research and experience is that only members may speak. Is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised my best reference? As it is silent on visitors, my interpretation is that visitors would not have the privilege of speaking. Response: You are correct that the topic is not covered generally in parliamentary manuals, but should be. Only members have (a) the right to be at the meeting, ( the right to speak, © the right to vote, etc. This principle is firm and clear. Therefore, whatever “non-member” access is permitted is at the pleasure of the organization, committee, board, or whatever. Remember that organizations and committees must work within the context of federal, state, local, and bylaws or articles of incorporation, and all of them would have a higher authority than any parliamentary procedure manual. Sometimes out of this legal framework will come requirements for open meetings (e.g., a city council), even a requirement to provide some opportunity for the public (i.e., non-members) to speak on any issue on the agenda. Similarly, the practice and tradition of an organization may allow non-members to attend meetings and to speak and so forth. There is a strong “democratic” tradition in our country that gives people the idea they can speak anywhere, and out of this value people in groups often get indignant if told they aren’t members and can’t therefore speak. http://zimmer.csufresno.edu/~johnca/ppqa10.htm