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By-laws: two proposals on the table


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I am part of a small Association started 150 years ago.  We are a non-denominational Christian campground.  3 years ago we presented by-law changes at our Annual Meeting with the plan to have a year to review and then vote on them.  The president took no action on them.  The President has recently appointed another group to begin putting together new by-law changes.  Is this allowed under Roberts Rules?  My interpretation of Roberts Rules is that before new by-laws can be proposed the original changes that were proposed 3 years ago must be voted on at the next Annual Meeting.  Hoping for some answers quickly since we have a meeting tomorrow.

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Whether new proposals can be considered before previous ones are disposed of depends...

...On their content  --  are the new and the old ones in conflict? Could the new be treated as amendments to the old ones?

...On the rules for offering amendments, most likely found in your existing bylaws. What are they?

Answer these questions and we can see what we might do for you.

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As long as your group follows whatever procedures are in your bylaws for amending them - including giving proper notice, no rule would prevent any or all of them from being considered.  I doubt proposals that are 3 years old can come before your meeting without giving additional notice.

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The first set of proposed by-laws do make several changes.   The draft that is in progress now addressees some of the ones proposed, leaves some of them like they were in the original and adds entirely new amendments.  In our by-laws it states that members must be given 30 days notice and must be done at an annual meeting.  The by-laws committee is ad-hoc and appointed by the President only when it is time for revision.  Only one person from that original committee has been asked to stay on.   The by-laws do state that if it is not covered in the by-laws we are to follow Roberts Rules of order on procedure.  De we need to make a motion at our next Annual meeting to address the last set and then begin work on a new set.  It is very confusing for the members to have 2 at the same time.  Thank you for your assistance on this.

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If no action was ever taken on the bylaws amendments that were "proposed" three years ago, it seems to me that they are essentially dead.  It defeats the purpose of notice to let them just sit around for three years with no action being taken on them.  Members have a right to know when to expect them to be taken up.   They can, of course, be proposed again.  We really need more information in order to give you better answers.

As to the president appointing a committee to recommend bylaw changes, what EXACTLY do your bylaws say about the power of the president (or the membership) to appoint special committees?  Do the bylaws give the president that power?  If they don't, then he does not have that power, but the assembly (the membership) does have the inherent power to create special committees.

I think the answers to your questions might well be found in your bylaws.  I suggest you read them carefully, not just as to the method of amending bylaws, but as to the powers of the president, committees, etc.  Pay particular attention to the notice provisions.

Edited to add:  If there is to be a bylaws committee, I suggest that the committee review all proposed bylaw changes, including those first suggested three years ago.  They should take a comprehensive approach and not leave those proposed three years ago just hanging (although I think they are actually dead unless re-submitted).

Edited again to add:  Be careful about the use of the words "amendments" and "revision" when discussing changes to bylaws.  There is a significant difference between the two terms.  Amendments propose only specified changes.  A revision opens up the entire set of bylaws to unlimited changes... and to the adoption of a completely new set of bylaws.

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last two paragraphs
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