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Suspend the Rules


Guest Reginald Davis
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Guest Reginald Davis

I am a officer in a local baptist church organization and the question came in p if one could suspend the rules to allow an officer to serve an additional term if the body so desires. I said no because you would be violating your constitution and the “suspend the rule” action is not a listener to violate your own constitution. Help Please! 

Thanks!! 

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Rules in the constitution/bylaws may only be suspended if they are clearly in the nature of rules of order, or if they provide for their own suspension. I don't know the answer to the second, but qualifications to serve as an officer, including term limits, are not rules of order, so they cannot be suspended unless the language of the rule allows for suspension.

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If you need a reference, the simplest one is RONR 11th ed, page 261, lines 7-8:

Suspend the Rules: "2. Can be applied to any rule of the assembly except bylaws* (or rules contained in a constitution or corporate charter)."

The asterisked footnote talks about "rules in the nature of rules of order when placed within the bylaws". As Mr. Katz has noted, this would not apply here.

This is mentioned more than once. Not an exhaustive list, but also see p. 260, ll. 22-24, p. 263, ll. 1-7, p.13, ll. 5-9.

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