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What is Parliamentary Procedure/Parliamentary Law?

Parliamentary procedure is the rules of democracy. When a group of people meets for the purpose of a common goal, such as a meeting, decisions are made in the best interest of the organization. Parliamentary law is based on considering the rights of the majority, minority, individual members, and absentees.

From National Association of Parliamentarians website: Parliamentary procedure defines how groups of people, no matter how formal or informal, can most effectively meet and make decisions in a fair, consistent manner- and make good of everyone’s time. While parliamentary procedure cannot guarantee that every member of the organization is pleased with the outcome of a decision, it aims to ensure that every member is satisfied by the manner in which the decision was made and that the organization makes decisions efficiently but with consideration for every member’s opinion.

Group using parliamentary procedure include but are not limited to: legislatures, city and county councils, school boards, neighborhood/homeowners’ associations, boards, charitable organizations, churches, clubs, unions, fraternal and professional organizations.

A deliberative assembly is a group meeting to determine action to be taken in the name of the entire group, after free and complete discussion. Each member is free to make decisions based on their best judgment and each vote is weighed the same for each member. Rules governing absentee members/votes may be established. Types of assemblies include: legislative bodies, boards, conventions, mass meetings or an assembly of an organized society.

What is RONR?

Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR) is the most commonly used parliamentary authority. It was originally published in 1876 as the Pocket Manual of Rules of Order for Deliberative Assemblies. Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised is currently in its 11th edition.

Other parliamentary authorities may be used, such as AIP Standard Code, Cannon, Demeter’s. The use of which parliamentary authority should be designated in the organizations bylaws

Why hire a credentialed parliamentarian?

A parliamentarian is a consultant on parliamentary procedure. Two parliamentary associations credential parliamentarians. Obtaining credentials in either parliamentary association show the member has met the highest standards of parliamentary knowledge.  Continuing education is mandatory to retain credentialed status.

The National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP) strictly focuses on Roberts’ Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR), which is the most commonly utilized parliamentary authority. Members must pass an exam to be granted membership, based on Robert’s Rules of Order In Brief. The second exam and first credential are received after passing the Registration Exam to gain a Registered Parliamentarian (RP) credential. Professional Registered Parliamentarian (PRP) status is gained after passing the qualifying course, the highest credential obtained in the NAP.

The American Institute of Parliamentarians (AIP) has two levels of credentials also, but no membership exam. The Certified Parliamentarian (CP) credential is obtained first and the Certified Professional Parliamentarian (CPP) is the highest credential obtained in the AIP. AIP focuses on all parliamentary authorities including RONR, AIP Standard Code, Cannon, and Demeter. AIP credentialed members that have obtained the CP-T or CPP-T have passed courses to become a recognized Teacher of parliamentary procedure.

Parliamentary Services:

Valoree Althoff, PRP offers the following parliamentary services:

  • Teach parliamentary procedure workshops
  • Teach basics of RONR; option to culminate in NAP membership exam
  • Serve as convention parliamentarian
  • Advise officers and board of directors
  • Supervise elections
  • Presiding officer and board of directors training
  • Write formal parliamentary opinions
  • Create or revise bylaws

Valoree has served as the District 6 Director for the National Association of Parliamentarians, the New Mexico Association of Parliamentarians President, and currently serves on the credentialing committee for NAP.

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