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Guest Greg Steeves

Suspend Rules to Increase Size of Majority Required to Pass a Motion

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Guest Greg Steeves

It has been suggested by someone that to promote unity in a church for a controversial upcoming vote that someone make a motion to suspend the rules to increase the majority to 80% for the motion to pass. It would take a two thirds vote to suspend the rules, but is that an appropriate use of that type of motion?

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It has been suggested by someone that to promote unity in a church for a controversial upcoming vote that someone make a motion to suspend the rules to increase the majority to 80% for the motion to pass. It would take a two thirds vote to suspend the rules, but is that an appropriate use of that type of motion?

No.

But if two thirds of the voters don't want the motion to be adopted by a majority vote, there's a simpler and more direct solution . . . by which the matter will take care of itself.

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No.

But if two thirds of the voters don't want the motion to be adopted by a majority vote, there's a simpler and more direct solution . . . by which the matter will take care of itself.

Tim, what about General Robert's answer in Q&A 323 on page 518 of PL?

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Tim, what about General Robert's answer in Q&A 323 on page 518 of PL?

Since you put it that way . . .

It seems to me (in my little mind) that this type of "practical" suspension is directly connected to the creation of a rule that would only be in effect for the duration of the session. Namely, that rule would be that "Motion X shall require a four-fifths vote for adoption." In such a case, I think the new single-session rule could be suspended by a majority vote, which is presumably the same vote the motion originally required.

I don't see that it makes much sense to create such a rule, but General Robert didn't say it made sense; he said it can be done.

Would you agree that the higher voting requirement, if adopted, could be suspended by a majority vote on motion "to suspend the four-fifths voting requirement"? As I see it, this is not simply a suspension of the rules, but also a creation of a new single-session rule.

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Guest Greg Steeves

Thank you for replying. this is the first time I have used this site.

Where can I view the text referenced below: General Robert's answer in Q&A?

I am our church's moderator and am looking for the simplest and correct way to handle this. To promote unity after a church vote on a potential property purchase, the deacons have suggested raising the threshold to a 4/5 majority for passage. I haven't been able to find the reference you made, but wouldn't a motion to do that require suspension of the rules since PL only requires a simple majority otherwise?

Thanks for your help!

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Thank you for replying. this is the first time I have used this site.

Where can I view the text referenced below: General Robert's answer in Q&A?

You have to find a copy of the book, Parliamentary Law (1923). It is not available on-line.

I am our church's moderator and am looking for the simplest and correct way to handle this. To promote unity after a church vote on a potential property purchase, the deacons have suggested raising the threshold to a 4/5 majority for passage. I haven't been able to find the reference you made, but wouldn't a motion to do that require suspension of the rules since PL only requires a simple majority otherwise?

Thanks for your help!

A vote requirement, with some exceptions, is a rule "in the nature of a rule of order." It can be suspended.

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Guest Greg Steeves

You have to find a copy of the book, Parliamentary Law (1923). It is not available on-line.

A vote requirement, with some exceptions, is a rule "in the nature of a rule of order." It can be suspended.

Thanks. I just ordered the book from Amazon.

Procedurally, I am still a little confused. Would there be a motion to suspend the rules on the simple majority requirement, followed by a motion to adopt a rule for the 4/5 requirement?

Maybe the book will clear this up?

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Thanks. I just ordered the book from Amazon.

Procedurally, I am still a little confused. Would there be a motion to suspend the rules on the simple majority requirement, followed by a motion to adopt a rule for the 4/5 requirement?

Maybe the book will clear this up?

The phrasing, if made while the motion is pending would be, "I move to suspend the rules and require a four fifths vote to adopt this main motion." The motion requires a 2/3 vote to adopt.

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Procedurally, I am still a little confused. Would there be a motion to suspend the rules on the simple majority requirement, followed by a motion to adopt a rule for the 4/5 requirement?

As previously noted, all that is needed is to suspend the rules which interfere with requiring a four-fifths vote for the adoption of the motion you contemplate will be made relating to the purchase of some property. Adoption of the motion to suspend the rules for this purpose will require a two-thirds vote for its adoption, and if it is adopted, the motion to purchase the property will then require a four-fifths vote for its adoption.

The answer to your original question is yes, this is an appropriate use of the motion to Suspend the Rules. You will find the rules relating to the motion to Suspend the Rules in Section 25 of RONR (11th ed.), and I hope you already have a copy of it. :)

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Since you put it that way . . .

It seems to me (in my little mind) that this type of "practical" suspension is directly connected to the creation of a rule that would only be in effect for the duration of the session. Namely, that rule would be that "Motion X shall require a four-fifths vote for adoption." In such a case, I think the new single-session rule could be suspended by a majority vote, which is presumably the same vote the motion originally required.

I don't see that it makes much sense to create such a rule, but General Robert didn't say it made sense; he said it can be done.

Would you agree that the higher voting requirement, if adopted, could be suspended by a majority vote on motion "to suspend the four-fifths voting requirement"? As I see it, this is not simply a suspension of the rules, but also a creation of a new single-session rule.

If we look at this as creating a rule that a four-fifths vote will be required for adoption of motion X, I think that, since it is a rule having only a single application, it will not be suspendible at all, and will require either a two-thirds vote or the vote of a majority of the entire membership for its rescission (RONR, 11th ed. p. 621, ll. 11-14).

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If we look at this as creating a rule that a four-fifths vote will be required for adoption of motion X, I think that, since it is a rule having only a single application, it will not be suspendible at all, and will require either a two-thirds vote or the vote of a majority of the entire membership for its rescission (RONR, 11th ed. p. 621, ll. 11-14).

Thanks for the clarification.

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Thanks for the clarification.

Thank you for causing me to think about this type of motion to Suspend the Rules as being in the nature of a motion to create a one-shot rule! It hadn't occurred to me to think about it in this way, but I think that you and your "little mind" are right in doing so. :)

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Thank you for causing me to think about this type of motion to Suspend the Rules as being in the nature of a motion to create a one-shot rule! It hadn't occurred to me to think about it in this way, but I think that you and your "little mind" are right in doing so. :)

Having spent much of the past couple of weeks trying to keep up with marathon airings of "Doctor Who" on BBC-America, I'm prompted to think that Tim Wynn's mind, while maybe appearing little to the casual observer, is, like a TARDIS, much larger on the inside. That might also help explain why the parts of his shirt visible in his photo evoke the image of a 1950's British Police Box.

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Having spent much of the past couple of weeks trying to keep up with marathon airings of "Doctor Who" on BBC-America, I'm prompted to think that Tim Wynn's mind, while maybe appearing little to the casual observer, is, like a TARDIS, much larger on the inside. That might also help explain why the parts of his shirt visible in his photo evoke the image of a 1950's British Police Box.

If you refer to post #4, you will see that it is Tim himself who was the first "casual observer" to describe his mind in this fashion, and, even although I disagree, I never disagree with him in public when I know what's good for me. :)

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Having spent much of the past couple of weeks trying to keep up with marathon airings of "Doctor Who" on BBC-America, I'm prompted to think that Tim Wynn's mind, while maybe appearing little to the casual observer, is, like a TARDIS, much larger on the inside. That might also help explain why the parts of his shirt visible in his photo evoke the image of a 1950's British Police Box.

This post is awesome from every possible point of view. :)

Now, I really must get a hold of an episode or two of this "Doctor Who." After all, I've already read the spread that Entertainment Weekly ran on the subject.

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If you refer to post #4, you will see that it is Tim himself who was the first "casual observer" to describe his mind in this fashion, and, even although I disagree, I never disagree with him in public when I know what's good for me. :)

;)

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This post is awesome from every possible point of view. :)

Now, I really must get a hold of an episode or two of this "Doctor Who." After all, I've already read the spread that Entertainment Weekly ran on the subject.

"Pyramid of Mars" is mentioned in a logic textbook. The rules, like time travel, do occasionally pose a paradox or two. :)

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I have nothing to add to the excellent parliamentary discussion above, except to observe that, as a practical matter, raising voting requirements to "supermajority" levels seldom has the actual effect of encouraging unity. In fact, it often has exactly the opposite effect.

If you doubt that, compare the level of cooperation one observes in the U.S. Senate nowadays with the 60% rule routinely in effect, with that which was common when the usual vote threshold was a majority.

Majority voting encourages the minority side to engage in cooperation, compromise and consensus building, while "supermajority" voting encourages them to obstruct and stonewall.

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Guest Qverious

Late to the thread, but I do want to ask, I thought I saw here previously that the "preferred" way to achieve this end was to include a proviso along the lines of "... Action XYZ will be taken ... Provided that this motion passes by at least a N/M vote."

Memory being what it didn't use to be, I go out on no limbs, but the above does seem to be simpler, more 'self-contained'?

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Late to the thread, but I do want to ask, I thought I saw here previously that the "preferred" way to achieve this end was to include a proviso along the lines of "... Action XYZ will be taken ... Provided that this motion passes by at least a N/M vote."

Memory being what it didn't use to be, I go out on no limbs, but the above does seem to be simpler, more 'self-contained'?

Hmm. I think so too.

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Late to the thread, but I do want to ask, I thought I saw here previously that the "preferred" way to achieve this end was to include a proviso along the lines of "... Action XYZ will be taken ... Provided that this motion passes by at least a N/M vote."

Memory being what it didn't use to be, I go out on no limbs, but the above does seem to be simpler, more 'self-contained'?

 

 

I think there are some problems. 

 

First, it would convert a plain vanilla main motion into one that would create what is effectively a special rule that this motion is only in effect if there is a N/M vote.  Presumably, if the motion is still adopted by a majority, its effects would extend into future sessions.  (I'm not firm on that.)

 

Second, nothing would prevent the majority from removing that clause, using Reconsider if necessary.  If the motion is adopted by a vote of N-x/M, and N-x is greater than a majority, the friends of the motion could move to reconsider, and N-x could adopt an amendment to strike out the clause, "Provided that this motion passes by at least a N/M vote."  For me, that is the killer.

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Late to the thread, but I do want to ask, I thought I saw here previously that the "preferred" way to achieve this end was to include a proviso along the lines of "... Action XYZ will be taken ... Provided that this motion passes by at least a N/M vote."

Memory being what it didn't use to be, I go out on no limbs, but the above does seem to be simpler, more 'self-contained'?

 

As I recall, some people asked about this, and the regulars on the forum advised them not to do it.

 

I would advise that the assembly simply Reconsider the motion if it feels that it would be inadvisable to move forward with a smaller majority than desired. Alternately, Committee of the Whole or Postpone Indefinitely can be used to test the size of the majority favoring the motion. I think the first one might be preferable, since Postpone Indefinitely can then be used to kill the motion without taking a direct vote on it.

 

I think there are some problems. 

 

First, it would convert a plain vanilla main motion into one that would create what is effectively a special rule that this motion is only in effect if there is a N/M vote.  Presumably, if the motion is still adopted by a majority, its effects would extend into future sessions.  (I'm not firm on that.)

 

Second, nothing would prevent the majority from removing that clause, using Reconsider if necessary.  If the motion is adopted by a vote of N-x/M, and N-x is greater than a majority, the friends of the motion could move to reconsider, and N-x could adopt an amendment to strike out the clause, "Provided that this motion passes by at least a N/M vote."  For me, that is the killer.

 

I disagree on the first point, but I agree on the second. The proviso could easily be removed with Reconsider or Amend Something Previously Adopted.

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I disagree on the first point, but I agree on the second. The proviso could easily be removed with Reconsider or Amend Something Previously Adopted.

 

 

Well, for me, the second point is the absolute killer.

 

In the first case, perhaps a better analogy is that if the vote is a majority but less than N/M, it becomes a motion to refrain (pp. 104-5).  It would be in force in subsequent sessions.

 

In theory, the assembly could adopt something that could do that in future session, but it would be a special rule.

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