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Nominations from the floor


coleche
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Our organization is revising its Policy and Procedures by our  Policy and Procedures committee.  Our bylaws call for nominations from the floor at our annual conference.  This committee wants to delete nominations from the floor and have a final call for nominations 7 days prior to the convention.

Is this valid?  The committee is saying they can put this in the Policy and Procedures as part of the nominating process.  The Policy and Procedures is approved by the board only and not the membership.

This does not seem right!  Please advise where I can find this in Roberts.  Thank you!

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I agree that if the bylaws require that nominations from the floor be permitted, the only way to prevent them would be by amending the bylaws. However, it is my understanding that if the bylaws are silent on that point, then preventing nominations from the floor could indeed be accomplished by the adoption of a Special Rule of Order. I don't think that including it in a policies and procedures manual would suffice unless it is adopted by the vote required to adopt it as a Special Rule of Order

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3 hours ago, jstackpo said:

Yeah, the book is a little cloudy on whether a bylaw amendment is necessary, or a Special Rule is sufficient to bar floor nominations.

What is it that you think is “cloudy” in this regard? The general rule on this subject is that “Special rules of order supersede any rules in the parliamentary authority with which they may conflict... However, when the parliamentary authority is prescribed in the bylaws, and that authority states that a certain rule can be altered only by a provision in the bylaws, no special rule of order can supersede that rule.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 16) I am not aware of any statements in RONR which suggest that the rule in question can only be altered by a provision in the bylaws.

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38 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

 I am not aware of any statements in RONR which suggest that the rule in question can only be altered by a provision in the bylaws.

Nor am I aware of any explicit statement.  However, page 435 is extremely firm in the line 11-12 requirement that "the chair must [emphasis added] call for further nominations...".  The use of "must" emphasizes that any member has the basic (see p. 287, line 25) right to make a floor nomination; abrogating such a basic right by a rule that applies generally to all members (rather than in a specific situation of an ongoing nomination) would require a rule placed in the bylaws.

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3 hours ago, jstackpo said:

Nor am I aware of any explicit statement.  However, page 435 is extremely firm in the line 11-12 requirement that "the chair must [emphasis added] call for further nominations...".  The use of "must" emphasizes that any member has the basic (see p. 287, line 25) right to make a floor nomination; abrogating such a basic right by a rule that applies generally to all members (rather than in a specific situation of an ongoing nomination) would require a rule placed in the bylaws.

The latter citation also says that this "basic right" may be suspended by a two-thirds vote, making it less than inviolable.

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5 hours ago, jstackpo said:

Basic rights cannot be suspended - p. 264, lines 6-13 (which explicitly includes making nominations).

So the only way to "get around" the basic right to nominate, is to take away the right via a bylaw (or, as p. 264 notes, in disciplinary procedures).

The exact quote on pg. 264 reads as follows:

”Rules protecting a basic right of the individual member cannot be suspended. Thus, while generally applicable limits on debate and the making of motions may be imposed by motions such as the Previous Question, the rules may not be suspended so as to deny any particular member the right to attend meetings, make motions or nominations, speak in debate, give previous notice, or vote. These basic rights may be curtailed only through disciplinary proceedings.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 264)

As the citation states “while generally applicable limits may be imposed by motions such as the Previous Question, the rules may not be suspended so as to deny any particular member the right to attend meetings, make motions or nominations, speak in debate, give previous notice, or vote.” As I understand the facts, the proposed rule is one which applies “generally applicable limits” and not one which denies “any particular member” his rights. I would also argue that the proposed rule does not, in fact, deny anyone of the right to make nominations - it merely specifies the manner in which nominations may be made. Therefore, if the bylaws were silent on this subject, it would seem to me that a special rule of order would be sufficient to require members to make nominations one week prior to the annual meeting, rather than from the floor.

In this particular case, however, the organization’s bylaws specifically provide that nominations from the floor are in order, and no special rule of order in conflict with the bylaws may be adopted.

Edited by Josh Martin
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