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Does Robert's Rules expressly bar non-members from making motions or proposing by-law amendments


Guest Kevin Chavous

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Guest Kevin Chavous

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!

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RONR doesn't deal (much) in "Thou shalt not"  --  that's the business of the law and churches.  RONR is a "How to" book, not a collection of strictures.  Having said that...

Since the rights of members are spelled out (page 3, and scattered through the book) there is the strong implication that non-members do not have those same rights. Otherwise what is the point of joining? 

A non-member is free to try to convince a member to make a motion (&c.) to the non-member's liking, but only the member can carry through with the motion, vote, &c.

 

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4 minutes ago, Chris Harrison said:

Nonmembers have no rights at meetings (including the right to make motions).  However, by suspending the rules (2/3 vote) the nonmember can be permitted to make motions or speak in debate.

Are you sure about non-members making motions? Footnote on p. 263 allows non-members to speak - with suspend-the-rules permission - but I can't (offhand) come up with any mechanism for non-members making motions.  Happy to be corrected, of course.

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RONR expressly prohibits non members from voting and says the rule may not be suspended. RONR goes on to say that the rule against non members speaking in debate can be suspended, but it is silent as to whether the rules may be suspended to permit non members to make motions. Taking the language on page 263 as a whole, it is my opinion that since suspending the rule is not prohibited, it may be suspended to allow a non member to make a motion.

However, as has already been pointed out, it may be better, easier and less controversial for the non member to ask a member to make the motion on his behalf. 

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On 4/29/2017 at 10:38 AM, Richard Brown said:

RONR expressly prohibits non members from voting and says the rule may not be suspended. RONR goes on to say that the rule against non members speaking in debate can be suspended, but it is silent as to whether the rules may be suspended to permit non members to make motions. Taking the language on page 263 as a whole, it is my opinion that since suspending the rule is not prohibited, it may be suspended to allow a non member to make a motion.

However, as has already been pointed out, it may be better, easier and less controversial for the non member to ask a member to make the motion on his behalf. 

I agree.  I would also not that, if a motion were to be made by a nonmember, but properly entertained by the chair, and debated, it would be too late to raise a point of order.  Such a point of order must be timely.

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