Rules contained in the bylaws (or constitution) cannot be suspended—no matter how large the vote in favor of doing so or how inconvenient the rule in question may be—unless the particular rule specifically provides for its own suspension, or unless the rule properly is in the nature of a rule of order as described on page 17, lines 22–25.
—RONR (11th ed.), p. 263, ll. 1-7
No main motion is in order that conflicts with the corporate charter, constitution, or bylaws (although a main motion to amend them may be in order; see 35, 57); and to the extent that procedural rules applicable to the organization or assembly are prescribed by federal, state, or local law, no main motion is in order that conflicts with such rules.
—RONR (11th ed.), p. 111, ll. 4-10
ARTICLE 3. All men may freely speak, write, and publish their sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right, and no law shall be enacted to restrain the liberty of speech, or of the press, except such laws as may be necessary for the protection of His Majesty the King and the royal family.
In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, Article 19 provides for freedom of speech, and Article 20 provides for freedom of assembly. In the Hawaiian Kingdom Constitution of 1864, Article 3 provides for freedom of speech, and Article 4 provides for freedom of assembly.
These provisions, from the highest law of the land, protect the freedom of association for voluntary assemblies in the Hawaiian Islands. This allows an organization to determine the scope of its bylaws, setting boundaries around which kinds of motions can be brought before its assembly and which kinds of actions it can take.
Under the general parliamentary law, bylaws cannot be suspended, unless a provision allows for its own suspension, is in the nature or a rule of order, or conflicts with a procedural rule contained in an applicable statute. In other words, adherence to a bylaw cannot otherwise be suspended unless it conflicts with a meeting rule specifically prescribed by an identifiable law.
The bylaws of a society set boundaries around the types of business that can be brought before its assembly. This is referred to as the scope of the bylaws. Since the scope of the bylaws is not in the nature of a rule of order, there is no statute which can supersede the scope of the bylaws for a voluntary deliberative assembly, either by restricting or expanding it. This would contradict the very idea of a voluntary organization.
If the government could overrule the scope of a society's bylaws, by way of statute, it would no longer be a voluntary organization. Rather, it would violate the organization's freedom of assembly guaranteed by the government's constitution. The statute itself would conflict with the constitutional provision, and therefore be null and void. In other words, such a statute would have no legal force over the proceedings of a voluntary assembly. Otherwise, the organization would be under authoritarian rule by the government, and not enjoy the civil liberties and basic human rights of a free society.
Post by Keokani Kipona Marciel, MS
Loea Lula Hoʻomalu Kākau Inoa - Registered Parliamentarian (RP)
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