Thoughts on the 2010 RPT State Convention

Editor's Note: As is with our Federal government, of the people, by the people, for the people, our state convention should be run in similarly fashion, of the delegates, by the delegates, for the delegates. The officers of the Convention serve the people, not themselves. If the officers silence the delegates, the officers are no better than thugs and bullies. The rules of the Convention are written so that the delegates are properly represented and fairly governed throughout the course of the Convention. The officers are given limited power to govern the affairs of the Convention and remain accountable to the delegates at all times. The rules are in place to guarantee that delegates are fairly represented and that the business of the Convention is handled in an orderly manner subject to the desires of the delegates, not the officers. When in doubt as to parliamentary procedure, favor is first given to the delegates. Otherwise, there is no rule of law, only anarchy.

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. -- Thomas Jefferson

Make no mistake. If any convention is lead by thugs and tyrants, it is the duty of the delegates to rump the convention and set in order proper proceedings as is intended by the party rules. (Reference the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. This paragraph should be made mandatory reading at the opening of each Convention.)

  1. Rule change on Minority Reports. When Bill Crocker, Chairman of the Rules Committee, read the amendment to Rule 24, as a separated matter from the Rules Committee report, he read only the change to the number of committee members required to author a minority report. He did not read that portion of the change requiring the minority report to be turned into the chairman of the committee before committee adjournment. Perhaps, when the amendment was approved, that part of the change was not adopted, because not submitted to the convention.

  2. My parliamentary blunder. When a minority report is read on a single item in the committee report, and the item has been separated out from the committee report for individual consideration by the body, it is unnecessary to move to substitute the minority report for the committee report. The reason is that the vote will be up or down on the single item. A no vote defeats the committee report. Substituting the minority report only swaps the vote, requiring a yes vote on the minority report, which is the same as a no vote on the committee report.

  3. Managing the microphone and microphone station lights. Tell the sergeant at arms of your interest in speaking well before the report to which you want to speak is presented. Otherwise, the sergeant at arms, if distracted by other delegates, will not turn on the light soon enough to be recognized before the report is put to a vote, and you will have lost the opportunity to speak to it.

  4. Permanent Organization Committee report. The intention of the convention leadership is that this report not be debated, amended, or presented to the convention with any changes arising from the body. Hence, the opportunity to nominate a permanent chair from the floor will be squashed and attempts to do so will be ignored. Therefore, be prepared when the committee report is being read to have a light on to make a motion – to amend by substituting another name for permanent chairman. The likelihood of nominations being called for from the floor is nil. In 2010, the report was put to a vote without the opportunity for debate, and without asking if there were any nominations from the floor. None were wanted, and the report was steam rolled to an immediate vote.

  5. Platform Committee Report. This year’s report contained several changes in the language of the platform which amounted to changes in policy expressed. However, the deleted language was not indicated with strikeout characters, and the added and changed language was not indicated in underscored characters. Hence, the body had a difficult time comprehending many of the changes in policy expressed in the 2010 platform. A significant change was the elimination of term limits which had been part of the platform for several years.

  6. Points of Order violation. The permanent chairman of the convention, State Rep. Geanie Morrison of Victoria, declined to recognize points of order in order to get some of the business before the body accomplished. “I’m going to defer these points of order until we are finished with this report.” Or words to that effect. One example was in the debate on the change to Rule 24, which she put to a vote before I had the opportunity to debate the change, and she ignored the point of order light while taking up the change to Rule 40 and the minority report on it. She finished the debate on Rule 40, put it to a vote, and then came back to my point of order. She did the same during the report on the Platform. I don’t remember seeing such a gross breach of parliamentary law by a presiding officer before.

  7. Suspension of the Rules. During the report of the Nominations Committee on the nominations for Vice-Chair, Robert X. Johnson moved a suspension of the rules so that a nomination of Cathie Adams as vice-chair, made from the floor and ruled out of order, could be made, notwithstanding it being out of order. The suspension of the rules would have permitted the nomination to be made. The chair ruled that suspension of the rules was out of order. It is never out of order to suspend the rules, and the ruling out of order was a gross breach of parliamentary law.

  8. From Jeremy Blosser: My #8 is the habitual abuse of Rule 16b which has been abused at several consecutive state conventions. What is the abuse? [Click here for full discussion.]

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