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Suspending Rules


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So, please can you define rules of order and special rules of order?

Rules of Order are generally considered to be those rules of order contained in the society's parliamentary authority... such as Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised.

 

Special rules of order are those rules adopted by the society to supplement, or in some instances, to modify certain rules or to substitute their own rules for certain rules contained in the parliamentary authority.   A society's special rules of order take precedence over and supersede conflicting rules of order contained in the parliamentary authority.

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 Are rules of order also known as Policies and Procedures?

Technically, no.  Rules of Order are those rules contained in the society's parliamentary authority, such as Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised.  If a society (an organization) wants to adopt special rules or order to supplement or modify those rules in the parliamentary authority, those special rules should be called "Special Rules of Order" and should be labeled as such.  They supersede the rules of order in the parliamentary authority.

 

However, some organizations don't do it that way and adopt a "Policies and Procedures" manual which contains all sorts of rules, some of which are in the nature of special rules of order, some in the nature of standing rules, and some in the nature of policies, etc.  When done that way, it is much harder to figure out which rules fall into which category.  That is important because there are different rules for suspending the different types of rules.  Your organization may indeed have what amount to special rules of order contained in a Policies and Procedures manual.

 

See pages 15-18 of RONR for clarification of the different types of rules a society might have.

 

Edited to add:  If a society has not adopted a parliamentary authority such as RONR, but has adopted rules of order which it promulgated itself, those rules, rather than being called "Special Rules of Order", might properly be called simply "Rules of Order".    The term "Special Rules of Order" is used when there are also rules of order in the adopted parliamentary authority.

Edited by Richard Brown
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Can a member of a committee or assembly, when making a motion to suspend rules suspend the use of Robert Rules?

 

"When an assembly wishes to do something during a meeting that it cannot do without violating one or more of its regular rules, it can adopt a motion to Suspend the Rules interfering with the proposed action -- provided that the proposal is not in conflict with the organization's bylaws (or constitution), with local, state, or national law prescribing procedural rules applicable to the organization or assembly, or with a fundamental principle of parliamentary law." (RONR 11th ed., p. 260, ll. 19-26)

 

What do you have in mind regarding the motion to suspend the rules?

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"When an assembly wishes to do something during a meeting that it cannot do without violating one or more of its regular rules, it can adopt a motion to Suspend the Rules interfering with the proposed action -- provided that the proposal is not in conflict with the organization's bylaws (or constitution), with local, state, or national law prescribing procedural rules applicable to the organization or assembly, or with a fundamental principle of parliamentary law." (RONR 11th ed., p. 260, ll. 19-26)

 

What do you have in mind regarding the motion to suspend the rules?

In a committee I made a motion to propose to the assembly the adoption of a script to be used on our voice mail.  Less experienced members became confused, thinking that I was trying to end the discussion.  I wasn't.  So, the chair "took control" and said that she was suspending the rules.  I asked her what rule was she trying to suspend.  She told me Robert Rules.  I didn't think you could do that so that was my original question.  I also told her that she couldn't suspend rules, that it needed to be voted on by the members.  So, she called the question.  So, now members are voting to suspend Robert Rules.  I tried to tell them that you cannot suspend Robert Rules.  In addition, I explained that making a motion to adopt a script doesn't end the discussion.  I am not an expert with Robert Rules, obviously, but I am becoming frustrated with the others.

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  I tried to tell them that you cannot suspend Robert Rules. 

As Hieu pointed out, in most cases particular rules in RONR and in the society's special rules of order that interfere with doing something the assembly wants to do can be suspended, but only by a two-thirds vote of the assembly.  The chair alone does not have the authority to suspend any rules. 

 

Not all rules or order can be suspended, though.  There are exceptions.  So, trying to suspend ALL of the rules in RONR at once would not be proper, but most  (not all) rules can be be suspended in particular situations.

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I'd rather say that most rules can't be suspended.

First, there has to be a rule of order in the way, preventing the committee from approving a motion.  There is nothing from preventing members from discussing ideas and making suggestions to the script.  I made a motion.  That is all.  So, there is no rules of order that needs to be suspended.  Second, she, now they, are trying to suspend Robert Rules.

 

Robert's Rules of Order

 

 

Suspend the Rules

 

When an assembly wishes to do something it cannot do without violating its regular rules, it can adopt to 'Suspend the Rules' that interfere with the proposed action. The proposal must not be in conflict with bylaws/constitution, local/state/national laws, or a fundamental principle of parliamentary law. This motion cannot be debated or amended.

 

Examples of how to move this motion is to say:

 

 

"I move that we suspend the rule that prohibits us from right now taking up the previously postponed motion on book sales."

 

"I move that we suspend the rule that prohibits us from listening to the budget report now."

 

"Call for the Orders of the Day" forces the assembly to adhere to the adopted agenda. "Suspend the Rules" releases us from adhereing to the adopted agenda. There is no such thing as "Suspend the Orders of the Day".

 

Rules that CAN be suspended with a 2/3 vote:

Rules of Order (These relate to Parliamentary Procedure)

Special Rules of Order (These relate to Parliamentary Procedure)

 

Rules that CAN be suspended with a majority vote:

Standing Rules (not related to Parliamentary Procedure)

 

Rules that CANNOT be suspended even with unanimous consent (unless they provide for their own suspension):

Bylaws/Constitution (unless it is clearly a rule of order, see page 17, line 22-24.) **

Federal/State/local law **

Fundamental Principles of Parliamentary Law: **

Rule that allows one question at a time

Rule that allows only members to vote when present in a legal meeting.

Rule that prohibits absentee or cumulative voting.

Rule protecting absentees or basic rights of the individual member.

Rule requiring the presence of a quorum.

Rule requiring a previous notice.

Rule requiring the election of officers by a (secret) ballot.

Rule allowing members to attend meetings, make motions, speak in debate (move Previous Question is not the same as Suspend the Rules), or vote, except through §61 - Disciplinary Procedures.

Portion or entire order of business (agenda). 'Proceed to' and later 'Return' is not the same as Suspend the Rules.

 

Could you give me examples of Parliamentary Procedure?

 

Thanks!

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I'd rather say that most rules can't be suspended.

 

I agree with Mr. Brown that most rules in Robert's Rules can be suspended.

 

Second, she, now they, are trying to suspend Robert Rules.

 

Yes, and as noted, this is improper. A motion to "Suspend Robert's Rules" is out of order because some rules in Robert's Rules cannot be suspended, and because the motion to Suspend the Rules is used to accomplish a specific purpose, not to simply suspend masses of rules for no reason. If the members could explain what exactly they are trying to do, perhaps we can advise them on the proper way to do that (if there is one).

 

"In making the incidental motion to Suspend the Rules, the particular rule or rules to be suspended are not mentioned; but the motion must state its specific purpose, and its adoption permits nothing else to be done under the suspension." (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 262)

 

Robert's Rules of Order

 

 

Suspend the Rules

 

...

 

What are you quoting from? It certainly isn't Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th edition.

 

Could you give me examples of Parliamentary Procedure?

 

The entire book is about parliamentary procedure. Are you asking, perhaps, for examples of rules which can be suspended by a 2/3 vote?

  • The rules could be suspended to permit a motion which does not take precedence over the immediately pending motion. For instance, permitting a motion to Postpone Indefinitely while an amendment is pending, or a motion to Commit while a motion to Postpone to a Certain Time is pending.
  • The rules could be suspended to take up a motion before the usual time, such as to introduce an item of New Business while the assembly is still considering Unfinished Business.
  • The rules could be suspended to permit a non-member to speak in debate.
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  • 6 years later...

Can Robert’s Rules of Order in its entirety be legally suspended?  Our organization’s Code of Regulations states that Robert’s Rules shall be recognized as the final authority in all matters of a parliamentary nature.  Yet the board has suspended Robert’s Rules at two consecutive meetings.  When challenged, they claimed they had legal advice saying they could suspend all of Robert’s Rules.  Further, they intentionally did not notify or invite the secretary.  

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