Michigan State Association of Parliamentarians
Michigan State Association of Parliamentarians

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.


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.
For information about parliamentarians located in and
serving the greater Oakland County area contact us today!

2018 Highlights - Coming Soon

2016 - 2017 Meeting Highlights


By the Book—Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised Of Course!

is the 2016-2017 course of study for the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit.  Order of Business was the first lesson and what sounds like a simple topic of planning a meeting agenda gave us lots to consider.


According to RONR the standard order of business includes the following:

            M for Minutes

            R for Reports

            S for Standing and Special Committee Reports

            S for Special Orders

            U for Unfinished Business

            N for New Business

But, there are variations to MRS. SUN!  Your organization’s ordinary business meeting may include Announcements or something known as the Good of the Order or the Program/Presentation may be included.  RONR does not include the Call to Order, Opening Ceremonies, Roll Call, or the Adjournment in the basic meeting framework.


Here are some of the questions, among many, that presenters Gina LaCroix and Chris Burns answered.


What’s the order for reports from officers and committees?

Officers and committees report in the order they are listed in the club’s bylaws.

When do you do the Treasurer’s Report? 

The Treasurer’s Report is included in the officers’ reports.

What is Unfinished Business?

Formerly called Old Business, Unfinished Business refers to items of business begun at the last meeting and not completed.  The presider does not call for Unfinished Business unless he/she knows that items of business are still pending from the last meeting.

What are Special Orders? 

Many Special Orders are designated in the bylaws such as naming the month when elections will be held.  Others are designated by the club in a previous meeting by establishing the month or hour when a particular discussion will be held.

What’s a Good of the Order? 

A club may have a time when members may say something about the general welfare of the organization; it can be a time for informal announcements.


On October 18 the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit will be studying The Main Motion.  Come and join us for another lively discussion when we meet at 9:30-noon at the First Presbyterian Church, 1669 West Maple, Birmingham, Michigan.  All of our meetings are open to guests but if you want a special invitation contact gcdenton@comcast.net.



Unit Past President Barbara Bonsignore and NAP District 4 Regional Director Joyce Brown-Watkins, PRP, at September 16 Meeting

Program Highlights from 2015-2016

May 16, 2015 - Dissolution of a Society

It can happen. A club that was going strong and saving the world fifteen years ago can hardly get a quorum for meetings. An issue was so very important is being managed in a new way. Planting flowers in the park is now being done by the city.

When an organization is no longer important or it can no longer attract members, money or leadership it may be time to make a decision about the organization’s future. While there may be various options, sometimes it’s time to dissolve the society.

If the society is not incorporated and has no assets, it’s relatively easy to accomplish dissolution. The society gives notice to its members just as if they were going to amend the bylaws and then takes a vote at a meeting called especially for that purpose or at a regular meeting. Some organizations have provisions in the bylaws for dissolution; in that case you would follow those and distribute the assets as outlined.

If the society is incorporated it’s a little more complicated because you then need to fill out state forms where you are incorporated. A 501c(3) organization must be sure to assign its assets to another 501c(3) organization. Obviously all bills must be paid and previous commitments need to be fulfilled.

Again, you follow the bylaw provisions for amending bylaws or, if there is a clause for dissolution it needs to be followed. Especially with an organization that is incorporated it is good to ask an attorney how to proceed to dissolve. Assets, including endowment funds, must be properly disposed of in accordance with bylaws and state law.

During its last two years the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit (LSPU) created a fake unincorporated society called The Garden Gnome Society. Alas, it’s served its purpose as a learning tool. With a mixture of sadness and joy, the members dissolved The Garden Gnome Society by a two-thirds vote of members present and voting at the May 17, 2016 annual meeting, grateful for the pleasure of enjoying those strange little characters every month.


Beginning in September LSPU will continue its monthly meetings the third Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 1669 West Maple, Birmingham, Michigan. In the coming year our lesson topics will all be By the Book—Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR) Of Course! The September 20 topic will be the Order of Business. Guests are always welcome

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.



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 We look forward to hearing from you!

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