A citizen rang me up in some concern about the way his city council had processed a big motion the night before. The land-use proposal was introduced and seconded, a member was recognized to debate, and that member immediately said, “I call the question.” Five of the seven members on the council voted in favor…

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The motion “To Lay on the Table” is commonly shortened to “Table.” This is a motion that is often misused. The correct use of this motion is to put a Main Motion aside for a short while because some other more urgent business has arisen. It can only be made once a Main Motion is…

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As readers know, in a small board (up to about 12 people), it is fine to discuss an issue without having a formal motion on the table. Many of our nonprofit boards do this. A topic is listed on the agenda, and people kick it around before coming to a consensus about what to do.…

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Some years ago, I had a dramatic exposure to the motion “to Reconsider.” At a 2-day meeting of our professional society board, one member (I’ll call him “Alex”) proposed that our society spend $4000 on radio spots in Washington, DC. He felt that we needed to develop a public relations strategy, and that this would…

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A reader writes to say that in his city council, the members frequently say, “Point of Personal Privilege,” and then go on to give their opinion about something. This is wrong. Robert’s Rules of Order explains that in a meeting, members may raise a Point of General Privilege, or a Point of Personal Privilege. Neither…

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Robert’s Rules of Order is quite strict about dealing with something once in a meeting and moving on. If a motion has been defeated, the only way to bring the same motion up again during that meeting is to move to reconsider the motion. You have to have voted with the prevailing side—the side that…

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Guest post by Colette Collier Trohan on how NOT to do things by avoiding action in Robert’s Rules. Many thanks Colette for this useful summary! Have you ever been in a meeting and had the sinking feeling there was no good path forward? If the motion was adopted, perhaps it would inadvertently send the wrong…

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Rosenberg’s Rules of Order is a simplified set of parliamentary rules widely used in California. In many respects it parallels Robert’s Rules of Order. Rosenberg offers an excellent discussion on the role of the chair and the basic format for an agenda item discussion. However, Jurassic Parliament believes that there are several problems with Rosenberg’s…

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Weldon L. Merritt, PRP, CPP, has graciously authorized Jurassic Parliament to publish this listing of the rights and responsibilities of ordinary members of an organization. All citations are taken from Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th edition (RONR). Please note that neither the list of member rights nor the list of member responsibilities is…

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A reader contacted us recently to ask whether the executive committee of his organization had the right to overturn a decision made by the full board. The answer is no, unless the bylaws give that right. Similarly, a board of directors may not overturn a decision made by the full membership. Robert’s Rules is very…

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