Robert's Rules of Order/North American Federation of Temple Youth

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Disclaimer: This page was not written by anybody affiliated with NFTY. This summary was originally intended for a page currently called How to break the rules without breaking the rules, which borrows ideas from a NFTY sponsored word document found by googling the words: Roberts Rules - A Cheat Sheet - NFTY, as well this so-called CHEAT SHEET from the same organization.

This draft contains only those sections of the NFTY documents that contain information not commonly found in other summaries. This information includes:

  • The fact that assemblies should seek "shortcuts" (though well-known, this needs to be repeated).
  • The fact that NIFTY-SAR uses a parliamentarian (“parly”) and sergeants-at-arms
  • A placard method for making motions and an amendment sheet for making amendments.
  • A convenient way to count whether the 2/3 vote has succeeded.
  • A recommended procedure by which the chair can "introduce" a motion.

There are several quality pages on implementing Robert's Rules, and virtually all good pages emphasize the need for flexibility in finding ways to streamline to proceedings. The NFTY documents contain valuable information and advice not easily found elsewhere.

Motions[edit | edit source]

Main motions are usually written resolutions. Amendments must be written by the person making the amendment on an amendment sheet. This amendment sheet is maintained by the parliamentarian. If the author of the amendment accepts it as friendly, the motion is automatically changed to include the amendment. Amendments not accepted as friendly are debated as per Robert’s rules. Placard system for making motions: Voting member raises the placard and says only, “MOTION.” Another delegate raises placard and says “SECOND.” There is no need to wait, and seconds are not recorded. If the motion is debatable, members put thumbs up to speak pro, and thumbs down to speak con. Speakers alternate pro/con, with the maker of the motion speaking first. Those who have not yet spoken are given highest priority to speak. Speakers will start with two minutes each, and are encouraged to yield early for either questions or the next speaker. To end debate, delegates can call for the previous question. “I MOVE TO THE PREVIOUS QUESTION.” The chair will states the motion, and the assembly then votes whether or not to end debate. The motion to end debate requires a 2/3 vote (as per RRO)

Voting[edit | edit source]

  • Majority: A majority vote requires more than half of the votes cast. The president is allowed to vote, but usually does so only after all others have voted. If the motion passes by only one vote before the president votes, the president has the option to block the motion by creating a tie.
  • Two-thirds supermajority: An easy way to count votes if a 2/3 “supermajority” is required is to multiply the negative vote by two. This number must be less than or equal to the affirmative votes to carry the motion.
  • Any member has the right to ask for (secret) ballot vote. According to the 1915 (public domain) version of RRO, the motion to hold a secret ballot is undebatable and requires a simple majority to pass. But NFTY states that the secret ballot occurs if any member calls for it. This might be in the bylaws for this organization.

Can the chair make a motion?[edit | edit source]

Unofficially, yes! Some authors use the term “presumed motion”, but NFTY recommends “suggesting” motions be made as follows:

Chair: “The chair will now entertain a motion to (motion stated).
Member1: “Motion to (motion stated)
Chair: “We have a motion by Member1 to (motion stated). Is there a second?”
Member1: “Second.”

General consent[edit | edit source]

The NFTY document reminds us that this should be used with great care, and only when the chair is confident of nearly unanimous consent. It also states that this should be used "whenever possible". The script goes as follows:

"If there are no objections, we will (state motion)".  
(Pause and listen for dissent.)
There be no objection, we will (restate motion)"

Sample motions[edit | edit source]

Of all the motions mentioned in this document, two are worth repeating:

  • I move that we limit debate to __ minutes per person (by RRO requires a 2/3 majority)
  • I move that we caucus[1]

Footnotes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. Caucus seems to be a term known to members of NFTY. But other organizations might refer to committee or a breakout sessions.