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No, it really doesn't matter, but normally the parliamentary authority is near the end of the bylaws, right before the provision on amendments. That's where you find it in the sample bylaws in RONR, right before the article on Amendments.

Edited to add:  There is a "standard" order of bylaw provisions used by most parliamentarians.  Among other things, using it keeps us from inadvertently omitting something.  Also, when reviewing an organization's bylaws and looking for a certain provision, we know where that provision would normally be found.  If it isn't there, we may have a lot of reading to do to find it.  The list is just a suggestion, but it makes life a lot easier for us.

Here is the standard order of placement of bylaw provisions:

Name, Object, Members, Officers, Meetings, Executive Board, Committees, Parliamentary Authority, and Amendments.  In larger organizations, there may be other provisions, such  as a section on discipline.

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17 minutes ago, shlinder said:

We have a Constitution with the standard Constitution and Bylaws section.

Currently, the reference to Roberts Rules is in the Constitution section.

Now we have a motion to move the reference to the Meetings section of our Bylaws.

Does this matter? Why or why not?

It won't matter to the parliamentary authority, because the parliamentary authority only needs to be mentioned in a bylaws-level document or higher document.


But, for the sake of standardization, you ought to place the parliamentary authority into your bylaws, and not your constitution.

Why? Because it may cause confusion to your readership if they read that the parliamentary authority (Robert's Rules of Order) is listed in the document of higher authority than your bylaws (i.e,. your constitution), and your readership might erroneously assume that "the parliamentary rules are therefore somehow higher than the bylaws" (which they certainly are not).

Consider it a "safety factor," for the sake of future new members who read the constitution/bylaws for the first time, and who do not know what a "parliamentary authority" is.

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Okay. It should be in the bylaws. 

Is there a difference if it is in a different section of the bylaws? For example, all the rules of amendments and motions are in Section V: Motions and Votes, whereas the reference to RoNR is being moved to the following Section VI: Meetings and Procedures. 

They want to do this because they claim that Roberts Rules is "just for meetings". But something feels off when they say this. Like they are limiting it somehow, or that it can't be used to do certain things. Am I right to be suspicious? 

It looks like this:

Section V: General Meetings

1. "Robert's Rules of Order shall be used at all ### meetings where they are consistent with the Constitution or any other special rules of order ### may adopt. Where necessary, Robert's Rules of Order may be simplified to meet the needs of the ###."

If I'm making too much of this, please let me know.

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The "standard" provision - RONR, p. 580 & 588 - speaks to "govern[ing] the Society..." not just the "meetings" as you put it.  That strikes me as limiting, also, as there are portions of RONR that properly apply outside of meetings of your #### organization as well. For example, Committee & Board meetings, which are clearly not meetings of the ####.

Also, what do you mean by "simplified"?  If an adopted special rule of order is thought, by a member, to actually be more "complicated" than RONR, does that mean he/she could raise a point or order the rule is out of order?  Drop that last sentence before you get into a fight.

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11 hours ago, shlinder said:

Okay. It's fine to put it in the "Meetings" section of the bylaws.

They want to do this because they claim that Roberts Rules is "just for meetings". But something feels off when they say this. Like they are limiting it somehow, or that it can't be used to do certain things. Am I right to be suspicious? 

I agree with the comments immediately above by John Stackpole (jstackpo) and Kim Goldsworthy. 

Although RONR applies primarily to meeting procedure and you can certainly insert it in the section on Meetings, it also has provisions that apply outside of meetings. By putting it in the bylaws in the proper place right above Amendments, you avoid confusion.  If people can misconstrue the intent, they will misconstrue the intent.  Please trust us on this.  We've been there.

The following link will give you a bit more information on how to properly name RONR as your parliamentary authority in your bylaws: http://robertsrules.com/authority.html

Good luck!

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Nominations and Elections: 430-446

Officers (including vacancies): pages 447-468

Bylaws and bylaw amendments:  pages 565-599

Conventions: pages 600-640

Disciplinary procedures and removal from office: pages 643-339

Those are just examples. Provisions unrelated to meeting procedures and motions are scattered throughout the book.

I suggest you get a copy of the book for yourself.  It's about $18.00 in bookstores and around $12 on Amazon. http://robertsrules.com/book.html


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The "proper" way is to have a separate section of the bylaws (often next-to-last):

Article #

Parliamentary Authority

“The rules contained in the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Society in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order the Society may adopt.”


Of course, another term than “Society” may be substituted that more appropriately describes the particular organization. Pay particular attention to the footnote on page 580 of RONR (11th ed.) if your organization is incorporated.

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