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Guest J.W.
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3 hours ago, Guest J.W. said:

Is it legal for bylaws to contain a provision (declaration) exempting one bylaw from change while the rest require 2/3 vote and 30 day notice?

I think it could be done, but it is not advisable. The society might wish for a higher threshold to amend particular provisions, but to make it so that a provision cannot be amended at all seems unwise.

3 hours ago, Godelfan said:

Perhaps, but it seems unenforceable.  Just amend out the exemption from amendment.

I disagree. The provision can quite easily be written in such a way that prevents this. The rule could be placed in its own section, and it could include a statement which provides that no part of that section could be amended. I don't advise this, but it seems to me that it could be done.

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13 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

I think it could be done, but it is not advisable. The society might wish for a higher threshold to amend particular provisions, but to make it so that a provision cannot be amended at all seems unwise.

I disagree. The provision can quite easily be written in such a way that prevents this. The rule could be placed in its own section, and it could include a statement which provides that no part of that section could be amended. I don't advise this, but it seems to me that it could be done.

Wouldn't that, in essence be a rule of order and subject to a suspension of the rules?  (not rhetorical because I've never heard of anything like this in practice)

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1 hour ago, George Mervosh said:

Wouldn't that, in essence be a rule of order and subject to a suspension of the rules?  (not rhetorical because I've never heard of anything like this in practice)

Well, if the bylaws say that a rule cannot be suspended, I think it's a rule that cannot be suspended.  :)

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If there was clause under the amendment provision of the bylaws (Article XXVII hypothetically) stating that:

Article XXVII

These Bylaws, except for Article III, may be amend by a two thirds vote at any meeting provide there has been at least thirty days notice have been given.  Article III may not be amended.

Article XXVII could be amended to strike out the words "except for Article III" and "Article III may not be amended."  If adopted, Article III could be amended at a future point.  (I have seen this.)

If Article III said, as its last line, "None of the provisions of this Article may be amended." and the assembly were to amend those provisions, I think that a point of order that this violated the bylaws would have to be timely.  An amendment does seem to be a rule in the nature of order.

I will with the adage that a bylaw that says that it cannot be suspended cannot be suspended, but that is not the case here. 

 

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I think to get the result of making this not subject to amendment, even under suspension, my hypothetical Article III would have include these clauses:

Section x.  "The provisions of this Article shall be incapable of being amended."

Section x+1. "Any rule in this Article in the nature of a rule of order cannot be suspended, unless the particular rule specifically provides for its own suspension."   (That is based on an existing set of bylaws.)

 

 

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48 minutes ago, J. J. said:

If Article III said, as its last line, "None of the provisions of this Article may be amended." and the assembly were to amend those provisions, I think that a point of order that this violated the bylaws would have to be timely.  An amendment does seem to be a rule in the nature of order.

I will with the adage that a bylaw that says that it cannot be suspended cannot be suspended, but that is not the case here. 

I don't get it, are these two statements somehow consistent??

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5 minutes ago, Gary c Tesser said:

I don't get it, are these two statements somehow consistent??

Yes.  A rule that says something can or can't be amended is a rule in the nature of a rule of order.

 

A rule that, for example, that says, "a secondary amendment may not be amended," is a rule of order, no matter if it appears in the bylaws, a special rule or a parliamentary authority.  There would be no problem suspending that rule.

What if instead of  "a secondary amendment" the rule, now solely in bylaws said "Article II may not be amended? "  Wouldn't sill be a rule in the nature of a rule of order?

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1 hour ago, J. J. said:

I will with the adage that a bylaw that says that it cannot be suspended cannot be suspended,

 

8 minutes ago, J. J. said:

Yes.  A rule that says something can or can't be amended is a rule in the nature of a rule of order.

So what in sam hill, JJ??!!?

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2 minutes ago, Gary c Tesser said:

 

So what in sam hill, JJ??!!?

You can create a rule that rules in the nature of a rule of order in the bylaws cannot be suspended.

 

You can create a rule that prevents the bylaws from being amended.

 

You better adopt both if you don't your bylaws  to ever be amended. 

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2 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Well, if the bylaws say that a rule cannot be suspended, I think it's a rule that cannot be suspended.  :)

What if that bylaws provision were deleted first?

Do you say that the US Constitution's Article V (since they didn't have a "5" when the Constitution was written, Arabic numerals were introduced in the 1920's for labelling bottles of one-fifth of a gallon -- I know this because I read it on the Internet just after I wrote it), where it says "The Congress ... shall propose amendments ... provided ... that no State, without its consent shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate", could be amended out, as easily as anything else, like the right to drink or women vote (but not drink women, good heavens I was kidding the other day about cannibalism and zombies*)?

_________

*And probably kidding about it now too.

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13 hours ago, J. J. said:

You can create a rule that rules in the nature of a rule of order in the bylaws cannot be suspended.

 

You can create a rule that prevents the bylaws from being amended.

 

You better adopt both if you don't your bylaws  to ever be amended. 

Yes, I think you and Josh Martin have both got this right.

As I suggested in this thread in response to a question asked by Ann Rempel, if a rule is put in a section of the bylaws (the organization's highest governing document), and the last sentence of that section reads as follows: "The rules contained in this Section of the bylaws cannot be suspended, and this Section of the bylaws can never be rescinded or amended", then such a provision will effectively prevent such a rule from ever being rescinded, amended, or suspended.

As you previously indicated, the section in the bylaws which spells out the procedure for their amendment should also reflect the fact that its provisions do not apply to the section containing the unamendable rule.

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3 hours ago, Godelfan said:

If this has been done, what would the organization do if it wanted to engage in a bylaws revision?

I'm curious, too, Joshua. Although a revision is considered a form of amendment by RONR, a revision is actually the adoption of a complete new set of bylaws and it seems to me that any such provision could be omitted in a bylaws revision.

Edited to add: I base my opinion primarily on the language on page 593 of RONR rewarding General revisions.

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph
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4 hours ago, Godelfan said:

If this has been done, what would the organization do if it wanted to engage in a bylaws revision?

Cry? Have its members kick each other for having adopted a bylaw provision that cannot be amended?

As best I can recall, virtually everyone has agreed that making a bylaw provision unamendable and incapable of being suspended is most likely going to turn out to be a bad idea.

Maybe they can agree to a revision procedure involving everything other than the unamendable section.

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1 hour ago, Richard Brown said:

I'm curious, too, Joshua. Although a revision is considered a form of amendment by RONR, a revision is actually the adoption of a complete new set of bylaws and it seems to me that any such provision could be omitted in a bylaws revision.

Edited to add: I base my opinion primarily on the language on page 593 of RONR rewarding General revisions.

The organization's bylaws are the highest authority in the society. They take precedence over any conflicting rules in the parliamentary authority, and there are no restrictions on what rules the society may adopt, except as may be imposed upon the society by a parent society or applicable law. As a result, if the society wishes to provide that a certain section of its bylaws may not be suspended or amended, it seems to me that the society is free to do so. If the society later wishes to amend the bylaws to remove the provision, it will be unable to do so, and for this reason, I do not advise that a society adopt a provision of this nature, which I stated at the outset. A more reasonable compromise would be to require a higher threshold to amend the rule in question.

I don't think the society can get around the rule by adopting a revision which omits the provision. The only solution I can see would be to dissolve the society and start over from scratch.

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1 hour ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Cry? Have its members kick each other for having adopted a bylaw provision that cannot be amended?

As best I can recall, virtually everyone has agreed that making a bylaw provision unamendable and incapable of being suspended is most likely going to turn out to be a bad idea.

Maybe they can agree to a revision procedure involving everything other than the unamendable section.

Okay, but, practically, what is the rule?  Is the rule that the provision must be included in the revision, or that revisions are out of order?

I first joined the forum with questions about an organization I was a part of, and where displeasing people presents unusual risks.  I chose my name in maybe an overly paranoid manner for fear that a search for my name would otherwise turn up my posts here.  I suppose at this point, having moved across the country, I could change it to my real name.

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32 minutes ago, Godelfan said:

Okay, but, practically, what is the rule?  Is the rule that the provision must be included in the revision, or that revisions are out of order?

I first joined the forum with questions about an organization I was a part of, and where displeasing people presents unusual risks.  I chose my name in maybe an overly paranoid manner for fear that a search for my name would otherwise turn up my posts here.  I suppose at this point, having moved across the country, I could change it to my real name.

Well, I don't think there is any rule, nor do I think there needs to be one.

And, yes, I think changing to your real name would be a good idea. You've never posted anything on this forum that you need be the least bit embarrassed about. Just the opposite is true, and I, for one, like to be able to give credit where credit is due. 

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2 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

. . . . 

I first joined the forum with questions about an organization I was a part of, and where displeasing people presents unusual risks.  I chose my name in maybe an overly paranoid manner for fear that a search for my name would otherwise turn up my posts here.  I suppose at this point, having moved across the country, I could change it to my real name.

Congratulations on coming "out of the closet", Joshua!!  I agree with Mr. Honemann:  You are very knowledgeable and your responses to questions are very helpful. it's time you started getting personal credit for your posts.

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