Robert's Rules
SURVIVAL
TIPS
on Parliamentary
Procedure

According to
Robert's
RULES OF
ORDER

California State
Association of
Parliamentarians

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Survival Tips on
Robert's Rules of Order

Suspend the Rules

When an assembly wishes to do something it cannot do without violating its regular rules, it can adopt to 'Suspend the Rules' that interfere with the proposed action. The proposal must not be in conflict with bylaws/constitution, local/state/national laws, or a fundamental principle of parliamentary law. This motion cannot be debated or amended.

Examples of how to move this motion is to say:

  • "I move that we suspend the rule that prohibits us from right now taking up the previously postponed motion on book sales."
  • "I move that we suspend the rule that prohibits us from listening to the budget report now."

"Call for the Orders of the Day" forces the assembly to adhere to the adopted agenda. "Suspend the Rules" releases us from adhereing to the adopted agenda. There is no such thing as "Suspend the Orders of the Day".

  1. Rules that CAN be suspended with a 2/3 vote:
    1. Rules of Order (These relate to Parliamentary Procedure)
    2. Special Rules of Order (These relate to Parliamentary Procedure)
     
  2. Rules that CAN be suspended with a majority vote:
    1. Standing Rules (not related to Parliamentary Procedure)
     
  3. Rules that CANNOT be suspended even with unanimous consent (unless they provide for their own suspension):
    1. Bylaws/Constitution (unless it is clearly a rule of order, see page 17, line 22-24.) **
    2. Federal/State/local law **
    3. Fundamental Principles of Parliamentary Law: **
      1. Rule that allows one question at a time
      2. Rule that allows only members to vote when present in a legal meeting.
      3. Rule that prohibits absentee or cumulative voting.
      4. Rule protecting absentees or basic rights of the individual member.
        1. Rule requiring the presence of a quorum.
        2. Rule requiring a previous notice.
        3. Rule requiring the election of officers by a (secret) ballot.
        4. Rule allowing members to attend meetings, make motions, speak in debate (move Previous Question is not the same as Suspend the Rules), or vote, except through 61 - Disciplinary Procedures.
        5. Portion or entire order of business (agenda). 'Proceed to' and later 'Return' is not the same as Suspend the Rules.
** Continuous Breach?
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