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Parliamentary Procedure Blog Posts

Learn more on Robert's Rules of Order and parliamentary procedure. Click a link below to read the full blog post at the law firm Web site of Rossabi Black Slaughter, PA.


  • Using the Motion to End Debate to Keep Meetings on Time

    I am regularly asked how to keep a meeting from going on too long. While there are avariety of different procedural tools that can keep a meeting from running on forever, the motion to end debate (also known as the motion for the previous question) is probably one of the best procedural options available if your group utilizes Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised. Put simply, the motion to end debate is the motion that seeks to end discussion now and to take a vote on a pending question (or questions). The motion requires a second and then a two … Continue reading

  • HOA’s: Follow Your Bylaws & Proper Parliamentary Procedure

    We are regularly asked by association clients if it really matters how precisely meeting rules are followed. “Can’t we just vote on this proposal by e-mail?” “What’s the consequence if the meeting notice is not exactly right?” Without exception, our advice is always: FOLLOW THE RULES. As an example of “what can happen?” comes the North Carolina appellate case of Willomere Community Association, Inc. and Nottingham Owners Association, Inc. v. City of Charlotte and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, Inc. (November 1, 2016). The moral of the story is that procedural rules for meetings and voting when making decisions should be followed very … Continue reading

  • Parliamentary Procedure Manuscript Wins National Community Association Award

    Running a Darn Good Meeting: What You Need to Know About Parliamentary Procedure Receives 2015 CAI Law Seminar Best Manuscript Award   I recently learned that my session at the 2015 Community Association Law Seminar in San Francisco on “Running a Darn Good Meeting: What You Need to Know About Parliamentary Procedure” has received the Best Manuscript Award from the College of Community Association Lawyers. Because of the Award, the manuscript has been made available online at Best Manuscript Award in case it is of interest. The national Community Association Law Seminar, sponsored by the Community Associations Institute (CAI) and … Continue reading

  • The U.S. Flag Code and Proper Use of the Flag

    Most of us learned growing up that during the Pledge of Allegiance we’re supposed to stand at attention facing the American flag with our right hands over our hearts. Persons in official uniform render military salutes. Hats should be removed unless part of a uniform or religious attire. Less known is the fact that these practices are prescribed by federal law.  The Flag Code in United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1 details proper behavior towards the American flag. While the Code was originally just a guide for flag etiquette created by the National Flag Conference in 1923, Congress made … Continue reading

  • How Is the Motion to Lay on the Table Misused?

    For today’s blog on one of the most misused parliamentary motions (“to Table”), here’s a Q&A from Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules of Order, Fourth Edition:   How is the motion to Lay on the Table misused? Because the motion to Lay on the Table is not debatable, requires only a majority vote, and has high precedence, members are too often tempted to use it to kill the main motion. This is an improper use of the motion to Lay on the Table and an example of railroading (see Robert’s 210, 215–16). If a member opposes a main motion, … Continue reading

  • Does the Chair Vote in the Event of a Tie?

    In board and membership meetings you’ll sometimes hear the phrase that the chair gets to vote “in case of a tie vote.”  But is that accurate?  In short, no.  The chair only being permitted to vote in the event of a tie is not the general rule, would be unfair, and is not language found in any of the major parliamentary authorities, including Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  While a few state statutes and some bylaws have such language, that’s mostly due to a misunderstanding of common parliamentary practices.  So, what’s the general rule in Robert’s and … Continue reading

  • 2015 Community Association Law Seminar Not Just for Lawyers!

    A highlight for me each year is the national Community Association Law Seminar, sponsored by the Community Associations Institute (CAI) and the College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL), which I serve as 2014 President.  Hands down the Law Seminar has the best speakers and programs of all the events I attend.  While there is an emphasis on law at the “Law” Seminar, the program is not just for attorneys.  Attendees include community association managers, bankers, other industry professionals and even homeowners.  An entire concurrent CE program is for insurance professionals who work with homeowner and condominium associations. Law Seminar Details … Continue reading

  • How to Chair a Convention or Large Membership Meeting

    Most of the time, I seem to be advising boards on how to run less formal meetings.  That’s because the major parliamentary authorities, such as Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) and The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, recognize that boards with not more than about 12 members present can follow more relaxed procedures (and only be more formal if the circumstances require it).  For examples of smaller board procedure, see Board Procedures Versus a Membership Meeting or Convention. Even so, you will occasionally encounter larger meetings—homeowner or condominium membership meetings, conventions, church meetings, shareholder meetings, membership meetings … Continue reading

  • Unanimous Consent: Good Presiding Officers Use It!

    Sure, you can use formal procedure to handle routine, noncontroversial matters in board and membership meetings.  But why would you? Let’s look at a typical meeting example: Chair: Is there a motion to approve the minutes? [uncomfortable silence, finally followed by] Member: I move to approve the minutes. Chair: Is there a second? [uncomfortable silence, finally followed by] Member: Second! Chair: It is moved and seconded to approve the minutes.  Is there any discussion? [no, there isn’t] Chair: The question is on the motion to approve the minutes.  Those in favor of approving the minutes, say ‘aye.’ . . . … Continue reading

  • Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules Receives 2013 Phifer Award

    Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules of Order, Fourth Edition has received the 2013 Phifer Award from the Commission on American Parliamentary Practice (CAPP), an affiliate of the National Communication Association (NCA).  The Award recognizes distinguished scholarship in parliamentary procedure and was presented to authors Jon Ericson, Gaut Ragsdale and Jim Slaughter at NCA’s recent 99th annual convention in Washington, DC.  The Phifer Award is named for the late Gregg Phifer, a longtime professor of communication and instructor of parliamentary procedure at Florida State University. “While a surprise, the Phifer Award from CAPP is a great honor,” says co-author Jim … Continue reading