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Guest John

Chair Refuses to Let Issue Come Before Members

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Guest John

All,

Question 1:Can a Chair refuse to let a motion come before the assembly if a member makes a motion and another member seconds the motion (at an appropriate time)?  Essentially our Chair has in the past refused to bring motions before the assembly even if the motions are properly called by the members.

I do not think the Chair has the right to do so, but could someone please point to me where I can find the applicable guidance in RONR (11th ed) so that I can share with the Chair if they refuse to do so again in the future?  

Question 2:  If the Chair does have the right to deny a regular motion come before the assembly - how would the members go about bringing it to a vote before the assembly?  

Would a member stating "I appeal the decision of the Chair" with a second and majority vote of the assembly get the motion properly before the assembly to a vote?  Any suggestions?  Again if anyone could provide guidance on where to locate in RONR (11th ed) that would be helpful so that I can have this information handy.

Thanks for the assistance. 

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Take a look at p. 650f, specifically the part labeled "Enforcing Points of Order and Appeals".

Quote

If the chair at a meeting acts improperly (for example, fails to recognize a member entitled to the floor, see 42, or ignores a motion properly made and seconded that is not dilatory, see 39, and neither states the question on the motion nor rules it out of order), a Point of Order (23) may be raised, and from the chair's decision an Appeal (24) may be taken. [...]

If the chair ignores a point of order that is not dilatory, the member can repeat the point of order a second and third time and if the chair still ignores it, the member, standing in his place, can immediately put the point of order to a vote without debate. The question may be put as, "Is the point of order that . . . well taken?" If the point of order was that the chair improperly ignored another motion, the member may, instead of repeating the point of order, repeat the original motion, and if it is seconded and the chair still ignores it, may, standing in his place, put the ignored motion to a vote without debate.

 

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So, as I understand it, if a motion is properly made and seconded, the chair is required to at least acknowledge it. She can either place it in front of the assembly or rule it dilatory or otherwise out of order.

If she rules it out of order, then any two members can Appeal the decision, in which case the assembly decides whether the motion is in order.

If she doesn't acknowledge the motion at all, then the procedure on p. 650f applies.

EDIT: It should also be noted that your bylaws may have provisions that supersede this. For instance, the organization I'm working with right now has a requirement that any new business that isn't vetted by the steering committee (board) can only be heard if two thirds of those present and voting agree to hear it. (I'm working on a full revision of the bylaws—they need it—and this provision won't be part of the revision if I can help it.)

Edited by Benjamin Geiger

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1 hour ago, Guest John said:

Question 1:Can a Chair refuse to let a motion come before the assembly if a member makes a motion and another member seconds the motion (at an appropriate time)?  Essentially our Chair has in the past refused to bring motions before the assembly even if the motions are properly called by the members.

 I do not think the Chair has the right to do so, but could someone please point to me where I can find the applicable guidance in RONR (11th ed) so that I can share with the Chair if they refuse to do so again in the future?  

No, of course not (unless, of course, the motion is out of order for some reason, in which case the chair should rule it out of order and provide his reasoning). See RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 449-450, item 4.

1 hour ago, Guest John said:

Question 2:  If the Chair does have the right to deny a regular motion come before the assembly - how would the members go about bringing it to a vote before the assembly?  

Would a member stating "I appeal the decision of the Chair" with a second and majority vote of the assembly get the motion properly before the assembly to a vote?  Any suggestions?  Again if anyone could provide guidance on where to locate in RONR (11th ed) that would be helpful so that I can have this information handy.

As noted above, the chair does not have the right to deny motions, except to rule them out of order when that is in fact the case. When you say that the chair has “refused to bring motions before the assembly,” please clarify exactly what the chair does in these cases. If the chair rules the motion out of order, then it is proper to raise an appeal. See RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 255-260.

If the chair does something else, see the pages Mr. Geiger has cited.

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