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Special rule: Chair speaks last?

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Guest Abbie

Can a board make a special rule of order that says that the chair person must speak last during debate?  

Would making this rule infringe upon the rights of the chairperson as a member?

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2 hours ago, Guest Abbie said:

Can a board make a special rule of order that says that the chair person must speak last during debate?  

Would making this rule infringe upon the rights of the chairperson as a member?

There is already a rule that the chair speaks first and last in debate,  in the specific case of a motion to Appeal from the Decision of the Chair.  I can't think of a benefit in the general case, however.  

Since members are permitted to speak twice on a given question, forcing the chair to speak last would seem to impose a limit of a single speech.  And if the chair is permitted to speak before that, and also last, is it mandatory to speak last even if the chair has nothing further to add?   I'm puzzled about what problem this rule is intended to solve.

I'm assuming that you are dealing here with a small board operating under Small Board Rules, otherwise the chair should not be speaking in debate at all, on motions other than Appeals.

Be aware that boards may adopt their own special rules of order only to the extent that they do not conflict with applicable rules of the society itself.

Edited by Gary Novosielski

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3 hours ago, Guest Abbie said:

Can a board make a special rule of order that says that the chair person must speak last during debate?  

Yes, I think so.

3 hours ago, Guest Abbie said:

Would making this rule infringe upon the rights of the chairperson as a member?

Yes, I think so, although it also gives him the advantage of always having the last word.

3 hours ago, Hieu H. Huynh said:

What right is being infringed on?

The right to debate. In the ordinary case, the chairman of a small board may speak at any time in debate, the same as any other member.

56 minutes ago, Gary Novosielski said:

Since members are permitted to speak twice on a given question, forcing the chair to speak last would seem to impose a limit of a single speech. 

I would first note that under the small board rules, there is no limit to the number of speeches a member may make, unless the board has adopted its own rule on this matter.

In any event, I do not think this rule, in and of itself, would impose a limit of a single speech. The chair could make multiple consecutive speeches.

Edited by Josh Martin

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1 hour ago, Josh Martin said:

Yes, I think so.

Yes, I think so, although it also gives him the advantage of always having the last word.

The right to debate. In the ordinary case, the chairman of a small board may speak at any time in debate, the same as any other member.

I would first note that under the small board rules, there is no limit to the number of speeches a member may make, unless the board has adopted its own rule on this matter.

In any event, I do not think this rule, in and of itself, would impose a limit of a single speech. The chair could make multiple consecutive speeches.

Well, they are considering adopting their own rule on this matter, at least affecting one member.

What is the difference between two consecutive speeches and one long speech?

 

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The short answer is Yes.

The answer differs depending on the size of the board. If it is a small board (less than about a dozen members), then the chair has the same rights to speak as any other member, so this would be an infringement. It is, however, still in order for the board to make a special rule of order.

If it is not a small board, then the chair has the right to speak but almost always does not exercise that right in order to preserve their impartiality. In this case, a special rule of order is in order but would functionally serve to increase the ability of the chair to speak in debate of a motion.

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Guest Zev
5 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

I'm puzzled about what problem this rule is intended to solve.

And I can tell you what problem it is about to create.

Suppose a member offers a motion. The chair recognizes the mover, waits for the mover to yield the floor and then immediately recognizes himself, makes a speech and then ends that speech by saying, "...and that is also my final speech." Now, according to the rule the chair has the last speech. You were itching to gain the floor and say something. But alas, now you cannot. It could also be used as a devious way of the chairman cutting off the debate without a motion for the Previous Question. This is a terrible idea.

Also, I still do not know whose rule this is: Is this the board making a rule for itself, or is this one of those cases where the board is trying to foist a rule on the assembly or a permanent committee? Regardless, its still a bad idea.

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