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Rules, rules, rules


David A Foulkes

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From my reading of RONR and on this forum, I am under the belief there are (at least, anyway) three "categories" of rules: Rules of Order, Special Rules of Order, and Standing Rules. As I understand these, and thus seek confirmation or clarification:

Rules of Order (as defined on page 15) pertain to parliamentary procedure, as found in the adopted parliamentary authority (let's stick with RONR for simplicity's sake today), within the context of a meeting. Some examples would be the length of time allowed members during debate, the order of business, the required voting threshold, and quorum number.

Special Rules of Order (as defined on pages 15-17) would be variations on such Rules of Order so as to be different than those in RONR. Thus, allowing members only 5 minutes in debate, or setting the quorum to less or more than "a majority of members", or requiring a 3/4ths vote to amend bylaws would be such examples.

Standing Rules (as defined on page 18) apply outside the meeting context. Some examples would be how much a visiting speaker would be paid, allowing the Treasurer a discretionary fund for payment of small debts without requiring Board/membership approval, membership discounts allowed for workshop attendance.

Close? Spot on? Way out on that limb?

Additionally, I'm unsure what page 257 is telling me. Lines 1-5 suggests Standing Rules may be suspended. Lines 8-10 suggest they cannot. Taken with page 256, lines 26-31, the suggestion is that some Standing Rules may apply within the context of meetings, although not to parliamentary procedure, and thus are suspendable, while others apply outside the meeting context, and thus are not. Is that a correct understanding of this section?

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Close? Spot on? Way out on that limb?

Well, you're getting close, and it seems you clear it up in the next paragraph.

Taken with page 256, lines 26-31, the suggestion is that some Standing Rules may apply within the context of meetings, although not to parliamentary procedure, and thus are suspendable, while others apply outside the meeting context, and thus are not. Is that a correct understanding of this section?

Now you've got it.

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I think your understanding of the difference between rules of order that originate in the adopted parliamentary authority, and those adopted specially, needs clarification. I think you got it, except that special rules and the rules in the rulebook are not different categories. It may help you to understand this if you consider the analogy with crocodiles that eat wildebeests and crocodiles that eat zebras and HOA presidents. It's a false distinction. Look at Robert's Rules' statement that speeches can last for ten minutes. The society wants the limit to be three minutes. The society can adopt a special rule of order saying three minutes, and publish it (!) in the membership's booklet of special rules of order. Or, instead, upon adoption of the motion, the assembly can say, everybody go through your copies of RONR, and wherever it says "ten minutes," cross it out and insert "three minutes." See, special rules of order are essentially amendments to the rulebook (probably with some exceptions).

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I think your understanding of the difference between rules of order that originate in the adopted parliamentary authority, and those adopted specially, needs clarification. I think you got it, except that special rules and the rules in the rulebook are not different categories. It may help you to understand this if you consider the analogy with crocodiles that eat wildebeests and crocodiles that eat zebras and HOA presidents. It's a false distinction. Look at Robert's Rules' statement that speeches can last for ten minutes. The society wants the limit to be three minutes. The society can adopt a special rule of order saying three minutes, and publish it (!) in the membership's booklet of special rules of order. Or, instead, upon adoption of the motion, the assembly can say, everybody go through your copies of RONR, and wherever it says "ten minutes," cross it out and insert "three minutes." See, special rules of order are essentially amendments to the rulebook (probably with some exceptions).

Nancy N, thanks for chiming in. I did have the sense of the different-yet-sameness but you really boiled it down with your last bit in a way that does clarify. Remind me not to "run" on the "slate" of my HOA Board.

Now, why haven't you signed up yet (and quit being a Guest)? It's fast, it's fun, and it's free!! Do it today and you could be member #472!! (It's not one of those "any club that would have me" things, is it?) :)

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Nancy N, thanks for chiming in. I did have the sense of the different-yet-sameness but you really boiled it down with your last bit in a way that does clarify. Remind me not to "run" on the "slate" of my HOA Board.

... and stick that three minute rule in the bylaws and you got yourself a bylaw instead. Just like magic!

Now, why haven't you signed up yet (and quit being a Guest)? It's fast, it's fun, and it's free!! Do it today and you could be member #472!! (It's not one of those "any club that would have me" things, is it?) :)

Perhaps she doesn't know how to set their status.

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Nancy N, thanks for chiming in.

...

Now, why haven't you signed up yet (and quit being a Guest)?

...

I'd be pretty sure this (the not signing up) is a considered decision by a long-time poster. I look forward to reading Nancy N's comments, whether or not the label 'guest' is attached to the poster's name.

And I have no idea what information Mr. Mountcastle's brief but puzzling comment is trying to convey.

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There are an unlimited number of standing rules which have application within the context of a meeting (no recording devices allowed, for example).

(This post has been edited just for fun.)

Adding to this answer, you could have a standing rule that has application both inside and outside of a meeting.

A rule stating, "The clubhouse thermostat shall be set at 55 degrees," is such a rule. It could be suspended during the course of the meeting, by majority vote. Once the meeting ending, the thermostat would have to be reset to 55 degrees, under the rule.

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Rules of Order (as defined on page 15) pertain to parliamentary procedure, as found in the adopted parliamentary authority (let's stick with RONR for simplicity's sake today), within the context of a meeting. Some examples would be the length of time allowed members during debate, the order of business, the required voting threshold, and quorum number.

Special Rules of Order (as defined on pages 15-17) would be variations on such Rules of Order so as to be different than those in RONR. Thus, allowing members only 5 minutes in debate, or setting the quorum to less or more than "a majority of members", or requiring a 3/4ths vote to amend bylaws would be such examples.

I wouldn't make this distinction.

A rule of order is a rule that deals with "the orderly transaction of business win meetings and to the duties of officers in that connection (p. 15, l. 5-7)." That rule may exist in RONR, or it may exist as something adopted separately from RONR, but in either case, it is still a "rule of order." I think that lack of distinction is driven home on p. 17, l. 19-21.

You may say that a rule of order could have two origins:

A. Rules of order that exist in RONR.

B. Rules of order that are adopted separately from RONR.

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I'd be pretty sure this (the not signing up) is a considered decision by a long-time poster. I look forward to reading Nancy N's comments, whether or not the label 'guest' is attached to the poster's name.

Yes, indeed, but we can locate posts by members, and as such it would be at times educational to locate hers. As guests, no such benefit.

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