Jump to content
The Official RONR Q & A Forums

Motion against an ordinance... limiting rights


Recommended Posts

In a normal situation, if a Chair ignorantly stated a motion that is potentially against a state ordinance, for example a Data Protection Ordinance, is there anything that the Chair can do to correct stating such a motion or is it too late? Is the only solution to have the membership on the floor call for a secondary motion such as object to the consideration or other? Or trust that they will vote it down?


Here is the key section of the motion:


In line with the XXX Data Privacy Ordinance, no member shall use member’s personal private information including but not restricted to email addresses, telephone numbers, etc. to solicit votes for their personal candidacy or for the candidacy of another member in any XXXX election.



It is being proposed as an amendment to the bylaws. Several members have declared this is nonsense and removes rights and is in violation of said ordinance. They're working on getting proof. It's a bit backwards.


If you're familiar with my specific system, please disregard it (it's a mess) and help me understand in RONR what would happen in a normal situation if a Chair stated such a motion in a meeting. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do not believe that a motion to do something illegal is out of order.  As far as I know, a motion is only out of order if it is itself illegal - that is, if it violates applicable procedural laws.  It wouldn't be out of order to, for instance, hire a hitman to carry out a murder, although I would suggest voting such a motion down.  It would, of course, be illegal to do so, so even if adopted, one would hope it wouldn't be executed (no pun intended).  


Of course, if such a motion were made, I'd object to consideration of the question prior to debate beginning.  


I'm a little confused how the situation you state can arise - if the chair has already stated the question, unless you're posting in the middle of a meeting, something happened after that.  It is possible, I guess, that you adjourned immediately after it was stated, and no debate happened, but that seems unlikely, so more likely there's already been some debate and then a motion to postpone/refer/whatever.  In that case, it is too late to object to consideration.  You can always vote no to adopting motions whose object is illegal, though, and members who believe this would be illegal should vote no - and also take comfort in the knowledge that, if it is illegal, the organization can't actually execute it without, you know, breaking the law.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So it states explicitly that it is to be applied in line with the ordinance, but somehow is a violation of it?  How's that work?


I have no idea what the ordinance says, and wouldn't hazard an interpretation even if I did, but I will note that it's entirely possible that it has no application within a private society.  Would it really prohibit a person from using a person's phone number in order to phone them, or using a members mailing address in order to mail them something, even if they came by the information properly?  


Putting the ordinance aside, could a society adopt essentially the same rule without referring to the ordinance at all?  Sure.  


Even if the motion violated the ordinance somehow, it would not necessarily be out of order.  Societies are free to adopt resolutions that violate the law.  Of course they'll have to suffer the consequences of doing so.   The rule that state law supersedes Robert's Rules applies to state laws that actually mandate certain rules of order, not to all state laws of any kind.  Does this data protection ordinance have some reference to parliamentary rules in it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't really understand what is going on as far as whether the motion proposes to do something that is illegal, but, if it is a bad motion, those opposed to it should point out  their reasons and hope it gets voted down.  That's normally what happens to motions that propose something dumb.  usually.  Hopefully.  :) 


That is, after all, what debate is all about.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...