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"Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty" - Henry M Robert



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Mind Benders and Brain Teasers:

This is where we will post questions and situations that will test your knowledge of parliamentary procedure. If you have a parliamentary Mind Bender or Brain Teaser that you would like to share, send it to and we will print the best ones here. Unless otherwise noted, the parliamentary authority is Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR), 10th edition. The informal parliamentary opinions expressed here follow general principles of parliamentary law and Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR), 10th edition, and are based solely on the brief summary of facts presented, without the benefit of having reviewed the bylaws and other governing documents. An association's own bylaws, covenants, Articles of Incorporation, Special Rules of Order, and local or state laws will supersede what RONR says. A significant difference in facts could result in different conclusions being reached. If there is much at stake, readers are encouraged to seek a formal written parliamentary opinion from a Professional Registered Parliamentarian, which includes a thorough review of the organization's bylaws and governing documents. Nothing here should be construed as an interpretation of statutory law.

Answer to Mind Bender for May 2006:

All references are to RONR 10th ed

Question: Can the Chair step down from the lectern and speak to a motion from the floor? Can the Chair make a motion and step down from the lectern and speak to it in any way?

Answer: If the Chair is a member of the assembly then he has the same rights as any other member to make motions and enter into debate; however, in other than small board and committee meetings (of not more than about a dozen members present) the chair also has a duty as presiding officer to at least give the appearance of impartiality while in the chair, and so this precludes making motions and debating while presiding. If, on very infrequent occasions, the chair feels that he has something very important to add to the discussion and that his duty to preside at that time is overshadowed by his responsibility as a member to call attention to it, then he must first relinquish the chair to the vice-president or a chairman pro tem. In such a case, the chairman who has relinquished the chair does not return to the chair until the question on which he has spoken is disposed of, as the chairman has shown that he is not impartial on the matter. In debating a Point of Order or Appeal from the Decision of the Chair, the chair does not step down because this is part of the duty of presiding.




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