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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 June 2008:

All references are to RONR 10th ed.


Can you refresh me on tabling a motion indefinitely? And if the tabling motion is voted on?

We have an issue coming up at our board meeting. It's an issue that has come up every time we have a new board and we don't want to vote on it again as it has been voted down three times in the last three years.


There is no such thing as tabling a motion indefinitely, but you may mean a motion to Postpone Indefinitely. The motion to Postpone Indefinitely is debatable and if adopted (majority vote) then it kills the main motion for the duration of the meeting. The main motion can be renewed at the next meeting, however, by any member regardless of how or if they voted on it previously.

In other words, there is really no way to prevent a member from making the same defeated motion at another meeting. That is the price of freedom, I guess. All you can do is vote it down each time after giving the maker of the motion his time to debate it. Robert's Rules provides for the member to speak ten minutes in debate, so you will have to invest ten minutes, at most. The next person recognized to speak can move the Previous Question to end debate. Maybe you can take a crossword puzzle to kill the time!

Refer to Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR), 10th edition



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