This is a long article, so here's an abstract for those in a hurry: The Establishment has successfully used RONR to shut down the Grassroots in past years. The Grassroots have subsequently learned how to prevent this abuse. The Establishment, therefore, has proposed two bylaw amendments to drop RONR.

To maintain your rights as members of the AZGOP, it is absolutely essential that these two bylaw amendments (Proposal D: "Applicability of Bylaws" and Proposal O) be DEFEATED.

I knew it would eventually come to this.

It all started at the 2016 AZGOP meeting, with the introduction of two controversial floor resolutions. Those of you who were there probably remember it well. As for me, I'll never forget it. If you weren't there, here is where this fight began:

Those who are versed in Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised ("RONR" to the cognoscenti) will immediately recognize several violations in that 9-minute segment. None of the State Committeemen in the room that day quite knew how to deal with those rulings from that Professional Registered Parliamentarian (PRP). At least, none of the supporters of those resolutions recognized those violations or knew how to respond.

We got beaten on the floor.

I had not yet studied RONR, but I had a strong feeling that something wasn't quite right. All that verbiage regarding the Robert Graham Censure that the Chairman couldn't be censured without creating a committee, conducting, disciplinary proceedings, hearings, etc., was not consistent with my previous experiences.

Immediately upon returning home that afternoon, I opened up RONR to Chapter XX: Disciplinary Procedures" (p. 643) and nearly fell off my chair. There it was, right there, on the very first page of that chapter:

"It is also possible to adopt a motion of censure without formal disciplinary procedures."

Eh? How could it possibly be that a PRP, a Professional Registered Parliamentarian -- the highest possible certification that the National Association of Parliamentarians offers -- did not know about that rule?

Could it be ... that we weren't told the truth?  Could it be ... that the omission was intentional?

I delved in deeper; what about that other resolution: the "Anyone But McCain" resolution. Could it be that that one was also shot down illegitimately?

For the answer to that question, see the 11-page Ethics Complaint I filed with the National Association of Parliamentarians:

In writing that complaint, I erred in not realizing that this Professional Registered Parliamentarian was not hired as a "Parliamentarian". Rather, he was hired as a "Presider". And a "Presider" -- just like a Chair -- can rule any way he wants. Apparently, an assembly that is well-versed in RONR is the only way to rein in an errant chair. And if the assembly does not appeal the rulings of the chair, the chair's rulings all stand, regardless of how illegitimate they may be. Quoting from the decision from the NAP Ethics Committee:

"As the presiding officer, Mr. [name omitted] had the rights and the responsibilities of the chair during the time he was designated as chair, including to rule on questions of order and appeals. He was not serving as parliamentarian as that role was handled by the legal counsel who was present for the entire meeting ..."

(You can see the entire decision letter on the last two pages of the above linked document.)

Not only did we get beaten on the floor, we also got beaten on the rules.  That is the bad news.

But there is good news: because of that initial defeat, the grassroots have been learning. Currently, there have been several instances, in the legislative districts and in the counties, where parliamentary efforts to shut down the grassroots have been successfully overcome.

The Principles of RONR

RONR, originally written by U.S. Army Engineer General Henry M. Robert, contains over 140 years of distilled wisdom in the running of meetings.

The January 13th MCRC meeting demonstrated just how powerful RONR can be when it is respected: Chairman Herring was respectful of multiple motions and points of order from the floor. The motions were heard and dealt with according to RONR. Debates occured, votes were taken, and after each we all moved on. The meeting ran like clockwork, and nobody left angry. It felt good to leave one of these big meetings still PROUD TO BE A REPUBLICAN.

If you haven't seen it yet, here are some highlights from that meeting. (But please read the rest of this article first.)

One final word: RONR protects the rights of members. Here are a few relevant quotes:

"A member of an assembly ... is a person entitled to full participation in its proceedings, that is, ... the right to attend meetings, to make motions, to speak in debate, and to vote." RONR (11th Ed.), p. 3, ll. 1-5.

"Rules protecting a basic right of the individual member cannot be suspended. ... the rules may not be suspended so as to deny an particular member the right to attend meetings, make motions or nominations, speak in debate, give previous notice, or vote. These basic rights may be curtailed only through disciplinary proceedings." RONR (11th Ed.), p. 264, ll. 6-14.

"New Business. After unfinished business and general orders have been disposed of, the chair asks, "Is there any new business?" Members can then introduce new items of business ... So long as members are reasonably prompt in claiming the floor, the chair cannot prevent the making of legitimate motions or deprive members of the right to introduce legitimate business, by hurrying through the proceedings." RONR (11th Ed.), p. 360, ll. 13-23.

It's bad enough when your rights are TAKEN away from you; it's worse when you VOTE them away.  Do not vote away your rights as a member.

Please vote NO on Bylaw Proposal D and Bylaw Proposal O.

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Rose - In other postings, I have expressed my long term support of Archie's proposal.  It does not matter how we get restrictions on proxy abuse.  Best of good luck getting signatures.

Unfortunately passing a Resolution accomplishes nothing BUT passing Bylaw Amendments with 2/3rds vote CHANGES EVERYTHING.

Fight loud and hard for passing the BYLLAW Amendment limiting proxies to two per carrier.

This has been one of my single biggest beefs/frustrations with the whole meeting garbage that has hampered any sort of 'meaningful' dialogue/progress for years. After all, this is America 2018 not England... The arcane Robert's Rules/Parliamentary procedure protocol/garbage should have been scrapped many years ago but like Joe said; it worked for those in power to shut us down...

Does this spreadsheet work as a cheat sheet to give out to attendees?


Room for notes

Hey, Jaspersgoat--that is a handy dandy cheat sheet and I think you are right, it would be very useful to have at the meeting.



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