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Changes in the Eleventh Edition

Notable Changes in 11th Edition of Robert's Rules of
Order Newly Revised
(From 10th Edition)

The Preface to the Eleventh Edition lists 17 significant changes [RONR (11th ed.), pp. xxv-xxvii]. These are reprinted below. Below those, an additional 103 changes (numbered 18 to 120) are briefly described. Both lists include the Eleventh Edition page numbers on which their principal content may be found. Pages for conforming changes, or for essentially stylistic changes, are generally not included.

These brief summary references, like those in the Preface, may not themselves be cited as rules; they serve only to direct readers to the pages in the book where principal treatment of the changed rules may be found.

The 17 items listed in the Preface are as follows:

  1. A thorough revision of Chapter XX, Disciplinary Procedures, including more detailed treatment of removal of officers and trials as well as expanded provisions on remedies for abuse of authority by the chair in a meeting and on handling disruptions by members.
  2. Revision of the content of modified parliamentary rules in small boards and in committees, together with recognition that a small assembly may wish to employ these less formal procedures [9-10, 16, 487-88, 500-501].
  3. Provision that a board may adopt its own special rules of order and standing rules so long as they do not conflict with the society's rules [486].
  4. A new subsection on “electronic meetings,” with substantially expanded treatment of the topic [97-99].
  5. Recognition of “one person, one vote” as a fundamental principle of parliamentary law [407].
  6. Addition of a definition of a member “in good standing” [6].
  7. Clarification of the rules governing the ways in which business can go over from one session to a later one, including making clear, with the inclusion of unfinished business and unfinished special orders, that there are five such ways (instead of the four explicitly identified as such in earlier editions) [90-91].
  8. Clarification of the nature of the notice required for special meetings, and the relation between it and the motions in order at the special meeting [91-93].
  9. A new subsection on challenging the announced result of elections [444-46]; a substantial revision of the section on Motions Relating to Methods of Voting and the Polls [283-86]; and more precise rules on the retention of tally sheets and ballots [411, 418-19, 422], on the remedy for violation of the right to vote [252-53], and on time limits for recounting, challenging, and changing a vote, as well as for seeking to retake it by another method [408-9].
  10. New provisions on precedent [251-52].
  11. Recognition of “Is there any debate?” as a less formal alternative to “Are you ready for the question?” and clarification of the proper procedure with regard to the use of these questions, or use of the question, “Are there any amendments?” depending on whether the motion is debatable or amendable [38, 44, 120, 386].
  12. Establishment of Request for Information as the preferred name for the motion Point of Information, in an effort to reduce the common misunderstanding or misuse of this motion to give information rather than request it [294-95].
  13. Clarification of the relation between acts of an executive board and its parent assembly [482-83, 577].
  14. Revision of the rules concerning the suspending effect of Reconsider and addition of a new sub-subsection on reconsideration of a motion that is no longer in order because of intervening action [318, 321-22].
  15. More precise delineation of the motions in order in the absence of a quorum [347-48] and in a convention before adoption of the Credentials Committee report, as well as what rules apply before adoption of the Standing Rules of the Convention [615, 618, 641].
  16. Clarification of what rights members have to inspect records of the assembly, boards, and committees [460].
  17. Provision permitting notice to be sent by electronic communication, such as e-mail or fax, to members who consent [89].

    In addition to the changes above, noted in the Preface, the Eleventh Edition:

  18. Minimizes references to what is “legal” or “illegal,” in recognition that RONR is a manual of parliamentary procedure, not a lawbook.
  19. Eliminates the size requirement from the elements of the description of a deliberative assembly to achieve better congruence with the designation of boards as a form of deliberative assembly [1-2].
  20. Refines the definition of a member of an assembly, and the enumeration of a member's basic rights [3].
  21. Modifies the text's coverage of the relation of the quorum requirement to the description of majority, two-thirds, and majority-of-the-entire-membership votes [4-5, 400-401].
  22. Clarifies that special rules of order do not supersede rules in a parliamentary authority prescribed in the bylaws that the authority states can be altered only by a provision in the bylaws [16n, 580].
  23. Refines the subsection on standing rules [18].
  24. Moves coverage of custom to its own subsection following that on standing rules [19].
  25. Recognizes that a member who is unable to stand is permitted to speak while seated [24n].
  26. Clarifies the meaning of “privileges of the floor” [29].
  27. Adds sample language for the chair to use in order to let the floor alternate between supporters and opponents [31].
  28. Adds guidance for members and the chair in handling a resolution submitted in writing, describes how the procedure varies when copies are pre-distributed to the members, and clarifies when a member may demand that a pending motion or resolution be read [33, 35-36, 38-39, 46].
  29. Treats announcement of the business that follows upon the conclusion of a vote as separate from, rather than as a part of, the announcement of the voting result [48-49].
  30. Refines the descriptions: of secondary motions as an underlying concept [59-60]; of the characteristics of subsidiary motions as a class [64-65]; of the basis for the classification of motions that bring a question again before the assembly [74-75]; and of the relationship among motions that bring a question again before the assembly [76-79].
  31. Clarifies the description of the general rule providing for the freedom of each new session [87].
  32. States that the place, as well as the hour, for regular meetings is established by standing rule [89].
  33. Refines the definition of “quarterly time interval” [89-90].
  34. Recognizes the use of a special meeting to dedicate an entire session to one or more matters [91-92].
  35. States that the intervention of a special meeting does not affect the rules governing business going over from one regular meeting to a later one. [92n]
  36. Establishes that if business required to be attended to at the annual meeting is taken up at that meeting, it may thereafter be postponed to another meeting [95, 185].
  37. Describes more clearly what is required for a meeting to be held in executive session, who is excluded from such a meeting, and that non-members of a body can be excluded even when the body is not meeting in executive session [95-96].
  38. Substantially rewrites the list of characteristics or conditions that cause a main motion to be out of order [110-13].
  39. Clarifies the cases in which ratification is applicable [124-25].
  40. Clarifies that reconsideration of an adopted motion to Postpone Indefinitely causes the motion that was postponed indefinitely to become pending (although not immediately pending) [111n, 127n].
  41. Adds an explanation of Amend [130-31], and clarifies its standard descriptive characteristics, moving detailed treatment of degrees of amendment to a new sub-subsection under “Further Rules and Explanation” [131-33, 135-36].
  42. Recognizes, as a form of amendment, a motion to strike out a paragraph from one place and insert it into another place [134n].
  43. Explains the application to secondary amendments of the rule requiring germaneness [136].
  44. Revises the list of improper amendments [138-39].
  45. Expands guidance for the chair in stating and putting the question on amendments [142-44].
  46. Concerning the form of amendment to strike out and insert, establishes that its parts must be germane to each other [149-50].
  47. Takes note in Standard Descriptive Characteristic 1 of the applicability of Amend to Amend [131-32], Commit [169], Postpone Definitely [181], Limit or Extend Limits of Debate [192], Recess [231], and Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn [243].
  48. Clarification of the rules governing creation and filling of a blank [163-64, 167].
  49. Moves the rule preventing introduction of a new subject before the details of an adopted but incomplete motion to Commit or Refer are completed to the section on that motion (from the section on preference in recognition) [173, 382].
  50. Establishes that when a main motion is referred to a committee, motions to reconsider adhering subsidiary or incidental motions are dropped [177, 329].
  51. Clarifies the effect of a motion to Limit Debate on subsequently made subsidiary motions [193-196].
  52. Clarifies that a motion admitted as a question of privilege is amendable and debatable if it is a main motion [226-227].
  53. Clarifies the effect of an adjournment on business temporarily but not finally disposed of, when the adjournment closes a session which ends the term of some or all of the meeting body's members, or when there will not be another session within a quarterly time interval [236-37].
  54. Rewrites Standard Descriptive Characteristic 1 of Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn [243].
  55. No longer classifies a rule requiring officers to be elected by ballot as a rule protecting a basic right of the individual member, but provides that a rule in the bylaws requiring that a vote be taken by ballot cannot be suspended, and that the violation of such a rule in the bylaws is a breach of a continuing nature [251, 263].
  56. Identifies when a violation of a member's right to vote causes an adopted motion to be null and void [252-253].
  57. Establishes that an Appeal is undebatable when an undebatable question is involved in the appeal, even when the undebatable question is not immediately pending when the appeal is taken [257].
  58. Clarifies what part of the chair's announcement of the result of a vote is, and is not, subject to appeal [259].
  59. Adds to the provisions describing rules that cannot be suspended by expanding and refining the list of rules protecting absentees, and by clarifying that rules applicable outside a meeting may not be suspended [263-265].
  60. Clarifies Standard Descriptive Characteristic 1 of Objection to the Consideration of the Question and adds a new explanation of reconsideration of a vote that has sustained the objection [267, 269].
  61. Adds rules concerning indivisible conforming amendments [273-74].
  62. Establishes that a series of amendments to a main motion, or to a primary amendment, may be offered in one motion, but any member may demand a separate vote on any of them [275].
  63. Distinguishes between incidental main motions and incidental motions relating to methods of voting and the polls [283].
  64. Clarifies that an order that the vote on a main motion be taken by ballot also applies to a vote on whether to postpone the main motion indefinitely [285].
  65. Clarifies when Close Nominations is out of order [287, 288].
  66. Provides for the manner of submitting a resignation [291].
  67. Clarifies that when a member's request to withdraw a motion is objected to, that member, as well as any other member, may offer a motion to permit it [297].
  68. Clarifies the vote required to Rescind or Amend Something Previously Adopted, including cases in which the motion would change an action taken by a subordinate body [306].
  69. Describes how to substitute a motion to Amend Something Previously Adopted for one to Rescind, and the converse [306, 309-10].
  70. Adds to the circumstances in which a motion to Reconsider is out of order [318].
  71. Clarifies when it is in order to call up a previously made motion to Reconsider [323].
  72. Provides that the rule requiring unanimous consent to renew a defeated motion to Reconsider does not apply in committees [329].
  73. Establishes that the rule restricting renewal of a motion in the same session does not apply to a motion that dies for lack of a second [337].
  74. Eliminates the confusing provision barring renewal of a motion so long as the vote on it can be reconsidered, while retaining the rule barring reconsideration of a motion if it can be renewed [318, 338].
  75. Clarifies that when the chair's decision has been sustained on appeal, no point of order or appeal contrary to it can be made during the same session [339].
  76. Revises the subsection on dilatory motions [342-43].
  77. Clarifies when the standard order of business applies [353].
  78. Rewrites the provisions relating to reading and approval of minutes [354-55].
  79. Establishes the vote required for adoption of an agenda at a session having a prescribed order of business, as well as that required for amendment of an agenda [372, 373].
  80. Distinguishes the procedures employed when the time for a recess or adjournment in an agenda arrives while business is pending from the procedure employed when the time for any other special order in an agenda arrives while business is pending [374].
  81. In the section on rules governing assignment of the floor, takes notice of the preference in recognition to which a member is entitled, after the chair has reported a vote, to move that the vote be taken again by another method [378], and also takes notice of the chair's rights to preference in recognition in the case of an Appeal or of a Point of Order the chair has submitted to the assembly [380].
  82. Establishes that in large assemblies, pending the adoption of convention standing rules or special rules of order, the chair may direct adaptation of the rules governing assignment of the floor [383].
  83. Recognizes that the chair may appoint timekeepers [388].
  84. Establishes that a motion to create a proviso is debatable only when the motion to which it applies is debatable [398].
  85. Describes when a vote ordering a ballot vote may be reconsidered [412].
  86. Restates the rules on recording the votes in a ballot vote [415-17].
  87. Describes the procedure for recapitulation of a roll-call vote [422].
  88. Eliminates the requirement that detailed rules for the procedure for conducting preferential voting must be in the bylaws [428].
  89. Clarifies the rationale for nominations in an election [430-31].
  90. Provides that if a nominating committee fails to report in a timely fashion, the assembly may proceed to nominations from the floor [435].
  91. Clarifies the procedure when, on a single ballot for multiple offices, a person receives a majority for more than one office [440].
  92. Clarifies the circumstances under which a nominee may be dropped from a succeeding ballot, and the effect of so doing [441].
  93. Establishes that acclamation is the required procedure when there is only one nominee and the bylaws do not require a ballot vote [443, 494].
  94. Notes that cumulative voting violates the fundamental principle of “one person, one vote” [444].
  95. Includes revised and expanded rules concerning an invited temporary presiding officer, such as a professional presiding officer [453-54].
  96. Adds a subsection on filling vacancies [467-68].
  97. Clarifies how corrections to the minutes are recorded [469].
  98. Establishes that the minutes include the names of the makers of main motions (as opposed to those of the movers of “all important motions”) [470].
  99. Adds reference in the section on minutes to items that other provisions in RONR state are to be included in them [470, 471].
  100. Clarifies the meaning of and rules governing a motion to “dispense with the reading of the minutes”[474].
  101. Replaces a sub-subsection previously entitled “Minutes to Be Published” with a rewritten one with the title “Publication of an Assembly's Proceedings”[475-76].
  102. Clarifies the definition of ex-officio board members who are under the authority of the Society [483].
  103. Establishes that the officers of an ordinary society serve as the officers of the board unless the bylaws provide otherwise [484, 577].
  104. Clarifies that executive committees operate under the rules related to boards, not committees [485].
  105. Establishes that boards and committees may employ procedures to protect themselves against breaches of order [486, 500n, 501].
  106. Clarifies that only in a meeting may a board properly transact business [486-87].
  107. Recognizes circumstances under which a standing committee may be constituted by a vote of the majority of the entire membership [491].
  108. Allows special rules of order to authorize appointment of nonmembers to committees [492].
  109. Clarifies the procedure under which, when there are no more nominations for members of a committee than there are places to fill, the nominees are declared elected by unanimous consent [494].
  110. States that reasonable notice of committee meetings is to be sent to every committee member [499, 501].
  111. States more definitively the applicability to committees of modified, more informal rules of parliamentary procedure unless otherwise instructed by their parent assembly, and clarifies the nature of the rules under which committees operate [500-501].
  112. Clarifies the rules governing scheduling and adjournment of committee meetings [501-2].
  113. Clarifies when a special committee ceases to exist [502-3].
  114. Noting the possibility of electronic meetings, eliminates the previous rule that the majority of a committee whose members are appointed from different sections of the country may adopt a report without a committee meeting [503].
  115. Clarifies the procedure for putting the question on all of a committee's recommended amendments together [522-23].
  116. Eliminates references to a ranking order for motions to go into committee of the whole or quasi-committee of the whole and to consider informally [532, 538, 540].
  117. Advises preceding lengthy bylaws with a table of contents [570].
  118. Clarifies that if the bylaws specify when officers' terms begin, the terms of outgoing officers then end [573].
  119. Provides clearer suggested bylaws wording for setting term limits and establishing by what procedure officers are subject to removal [574, 585].
  120. Refines the explanation of the meaning of alternative bylaws wordings for the authority given to executive boards [577-78].
  121. Advises that investigating committees in disciplinary proceedings should be excluded from any bylaws provision authorizing the president to appoint members of special committees [579-80].
  122. Alters the model bylaws language for the time required for notice of a special meeting [586].
  123. Alters the model bylaws language for the establishment of committees and appointment of their members [587].
  124. Eliminates the requirement that written notice of a bylaw amendment be signed by two members [596].
  125. Adds a table summarizing the rules for counting ballots [tinted page 48].

List published September 19, 2011; updated January 31, 2012


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NOTE: While there are many books available with “Robert's Rules” in the title, be aware that only the 2011 editions of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, published by Da Capo Press, are the current, official versions.

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