Michigan State Association of Parliamentarians
Michigan State Association of Parliamentarians

Mark your calendar to attend the April 16, 2016 Workshop at the Bloomfield Township Public Library on Saturday from 9:30-12:30. Register now for the free event (free in celebration of LSPU’s 40th anniversary!) by contacting gcdenton@comcast.net or by using the registration form on the flyer linked below.

April Workshop
April 16_ Workshop Flier_2016.pdf_J copy[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [93.0 KB]

Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit

About the Unit

Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit (LSPU) was originally the Parliamentary Unit of Oakland. In May, 1990, the name was changed to honor Mary Louise Saks, founder and longtime supporter of the unit. The Michigan State Association of Parliamentarians (MSAP) recognized LSPU as NAP unit of the year in Michigan for 2003-2007 and for 2009. In 2011 the unit was awarded national 3rd place for Unit Educational Opportunities. 


Visit Us Via Social Media on the Internet
Website:  http://lspunit.wordpress.com/      
Facebook:  facebook.com/LSPUMichigan       
Visitors are always welcome. 
  • The third Tuesday of each month

  • 9:30 to noon 

  • September through May

  • Location: the First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, 1669 W Maple Rd, Birmingham. The May meeting is at the Village Club in Bloomfield Hills. 


An education program opens each meeting, followed by a recess.
The business meeting begins at 11 a.m. and usually finishes by noon.
For information about parliamentarians located in and
serving the greater Oakland County area contact:
Gretchen Denton


2015 - 2016 OFFICERS

President - Gretchen Denton

Vice-president - Dianne Bostic Robinson

Recording secretary - Eleanor “Coco” Siewert

Corresponding secretary - Vesta DeRiso

Treasurer - Dot Martin


Program schedule for 2015-2016


March 15, 2016   PRIVILEGED MOTIONS (See below for highlights!)

Presenter:   Vesta DeRiso

Presider:   Vacant at this Time

RONR (11th ed.) pp. 66-69, 219-246


April 19, 2016     RESOLUTIONS

Presenter:  Barbara Bonsignore

Presider:    Chandra Jones

RONR (11th ed.) pp. 105-110, 548-551



Presenter:   Rosy M. Latimore

Presider: Ruth M. Schluchter

RONR (11th ed.) pp. 563-564



March 2016 Meeting Highlights: LSPU Meeting


What’s a privileged motion?


At its recent meeting, members of the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit, thoughtfully considered the nature of all privileged motions and the specific characteristics that affect a meeting’s flow.

What is a privileged motion? It is a special kind of motion that deals with privileges of the assembly and privileges of individuals in a meeting, special matters of immediate importance. Because they are of immediate importance, none of the privileged motions offer an opportunity for debate.

There are five privileged motions and while they do not directly relate to the pending motion of the floor, they do have a ranked order with their order as follows:

Call for the Orders of the Day Raise a Question of Privilege Recess

Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn.

With their ranked order it would not be in order to call for the orders of the day when the motion to recess is pending. But, it would be in order to move to recess while the lower ranking call for the orders of the day is pending.

Each has a particular description related to the matter of privilege.

Call for the Orders of the Day makes the assembly conform to the agenda or order of business and is stated, “I call for the orders of the day.” The presiding officer then goes immediately to what is supposed to be on the agenda at this time unless she/he senses that the assembly wants to complete the present business. Then, he/she takes a vote to set aside the orders of the day. It takes a 2/3 vote to set aside the orders of the day.

Raise a Question of Privilege permits a member to make a request related to the rights and privileges of the assembly or an individual. For example, a member may raise a question of privilege if the member cannot hear the speaker by saying, “I rise to a question of personal privilege; I cannot hear the speaker.”

Recess allows the assembly to take a short intermission and, upon returning, resume the business at hand. While it’s not debatable, the motion to recess is amendable related to the length of time of the recess. “I move to take a (set the amount of time) recess.” The motion requires as second and a majority adopts.

Adjourn is a motion that ends the meeting immediately while business is still pending. “I move to adjourn.” is the statement. It requires a second, a majority vote to approve, and, like all privileged motions, is not debatable.

Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn is seldom encountered but it can be very useful when it becomes apparent that the assembly cannot complete business that must be accomplished at a specific meeting. The motion sets a later time to continue the current meeting before the next regular meeting. Here is how it is stated, “I fix the time to which to adjourn to 7 PM tomorrow at our present location.” If the undebatable motion is adopted the meeting will continue at 7 PM

tomorrow at the same location. This motion has nothing to do with setting the time that the present meeting will end; it relates only to continuing the meeting at a later time and place.

Presenters Vesta DeRiso and Eleanor Siewert followed these descriptors with some scripted examples of how and when the privileged motions might be used. Nearly everyone recalled a time when such privileged motions were used and many began to consider situations where using a privileged motion would have improved the meeting’s comfort or flow. This lesson surely offered all the chance to look for such opportunities in the future and to have the skill to use privileged motions.


The next Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit meeting will be April 19, 2016 at the First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, MI located at 1669 West Maple Road. As usual the meeting will begin promptly at 9:30 with the education lesson followed by the unit’s business meeting concluding by noon.

Guests and visitors are always welcome to discover how much fun it can be to study and learn together in a congenial, accepting atmosphere.



40 Years and Counting...

This year the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit (LSPU) celebrates its 40th anniversary as an organization offering leadership and education in parliamentary procedure. In 1975 we began serving the community, teaching how to have effective meetings where work is accomplished and all can participate following the guidance of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised.

In its early years LSPU was the Oakland County Parliamentary Unit, but upon the death of its founder Louise Saks, a Professional Registered Parliamentarian, who brought people together to study and then practice parliamentary procedure in various organizations, the Unit was renamed to honor Ms. Saks’ legacy. Now, members come from all around southeast Michigan, meeting at the First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.


LSPU is one of six parliamentary units in Michigan, all of them dedicated to educating members and the communities they serve in using Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised to accomplish organizations’ purposes.


March 2016 Meeting Highlights: LSPU Meeting



Annual Workshop - April 16, 2016

Save the date for the annual LSPU parliamentary workshop! This workshop comes with a guarantee; you will learn something new. Forty years and the still going strong... 



Here is what happened at the October 2015 Meeting...


When an assembly gets bogged down in the details of a proposed motion or when it appears that more information is needed so people can make an informed decision, it’s a good time to Refer or Commit the motion to a committee.  The October 20 lesson presented by Deb Davis and Terrien Bell showed members of the Louise Saks Unit how to do that correctly.  As usual, the imaginary Garden Gnome Society served as the organization that had to make a decision on a proposed motion “to have a gnome mascot.”


The question of having a mascot was referred to a special committee after considerable discussion about the type of mascot needed or if the society needed a mascot at all.  

“After all,” one member argued, “ a garden gnome image exists in our hearts and there is no need to select one particular gnome, male or female, to represent the society.”

Since there were widely-divergent views and numerous options, the entire motion was referred to a committee who will report in November with their recommendation.


Every month, the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit offers its members and guests an opportunity to be refreshed about a particular topic or to learn how to accomplish the action that is new to the group or to individuals.  All levels of expertise are welcome at our meetings.




March 2016 Meeting
Privileged Motions
3-15-16 website copy.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [36.1 KB]
Unit Past President Barbara Bonsignore and NAP District 4 Regional Director Joyce Brown-Watkins, PRP, at September 16 Meeting

Want to Become a Member?

To become a member of MSAP you must also belong to the National Association of Parliamentarians.  However, anyone interested in parliamentary procedure is welcome to join a local unit as a provisional member. For more information, use our contact form or feel free to contact one of the local units directly. We look forward to hearing from you!

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