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Bylaws Amendments presented seriatim

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Guest Sally

At an upcoming convention, our bylaws revision committee will make a motion to adopt a series of bylaws amendments seriatim.  The amendments in the package will be a large number of individual bylaws amendments which address numerous subjects.  Among the amendments is one that adds an Article to the bylaws.  There are two others that then reference that Article.  If a motion is made to amend to strike from the package the amendment that adds the Article, what happens to the other two amendments?  Do they also need a motion to be stricken or are they automatically invalid?

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Guest Sally

Thanks.  Must there be a motion from the floor to strike them or may the chair announce that they are no longer applicable and will be stricken?

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52 minutes ago, Guest Sally said:

Thanks.  Must there be a motion from the floor to strike them or may the chair announce that they are no longer applicable and will be stricken?

The chair cannot unilaterally declare that an adopted bylaw Amendment is suddenly unadopted or deemed stricken. If it has already been adopted, it must be removed by a vote of the assembly. That can be done by unanimous consent with or without a formal motion having been made. The point is that only the assembly can remove it, not the chair.

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Guest Sally

The amendment that is no longer applicable wouldn't have been adopted yet.  It would still be part of the package under consideration.  However, I assume from the above answers that to strike it from the package we would still need unanimous consent and the chair can't just declare it no longer applicable?

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Guest Sally

I agree.  I just want to make sure the proper procedures are followed.  Thank you both for your assistance.

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On 12/2/2016 at 0:16 PM, Guest Sally said:

At an upcoming convention, our bylaws revision committee will make a motion to adopt a series of bylaws amendments seriatim.  The amendments in the package will be a large number of individual bylaws amendments which address numerous subjects.  Among the amendments is one that adds an Article to the bylaws.  There are two others that then reference that Article.  If a motion is made to amend to strike from the package the amendment that adds the Article, what happens to the other two amendments?  Do they also need a motion to be stricken or are they automatically invalid?

During the consideration of the individual parts of the package, it would not be in order to strike out an entire part. (The purpose of considering the parts one at a time is to open them to debate and perfecting amendments, not to take a vote on whether that part should be included at all.) The appropriate time to move striking out an entire part is when the whole package is open to amendment after the individual parts have been considered, and at that time a motion can be made to amend by striking out that part along with the other parts that refer to it.

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We are told that the motion to be considered seriatim will contain a large number of individual bylaw amendments addressing numerous subjects. Presumably, some of these are independent proposals which would have to be considered and voted on separately upon the demand of a single member, but once the assembly has decided to consider this motion seriatim it will be too late to demand a division of the question. Under these circumstances, I think it is incumbent upon the presiding officer to inform members at the convention that this is the case before a decision is made to consider this package of amendments seriatim.

In any event, suppose, during seriatim consideration, a member becomes convinced that one of these independent bylaw amendments that have been proposed should be considered separately. I gather that now his only recourse will be to move to strike it out at the appropriate time, and if this motion is adopted, to move, after the pending main motion has been voted on, to adopt the proposed amendment that was struck out. He ought to explain that this is his intent during debate on his motion to strike out the proposed amendment.

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9 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

We are told that the motion to be considered seriatim will contain a large number of individual bylaw amendments addressing numerous subjects. Presumably, some of these are independent proposals which would have to be considered and voted on separately upon the demand of a single member, but once the assembly has decided to consider this motion seriatim it will be too late to demand a division of the question. Under these circumstances, I think it is incumbent upon the presiding officer to inform members at the convention that this is the case before a decision is made to consider this package of amendments seriatim.

I agree.

9 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

In any event, suppose, during seriatim consideration, a member becomes convinced that one of these independent bylaw amendments that have been proposed should be considered separately. I gather that now his only recourse will be to move to strike it out at the appropriate time, and if this motion is adopted, to move, after the pending main motion has been voted on, to adopt the proposed amendment that was struck out. He ought to explain that this is his intent during debate on his motion to strike out the proposed amendment.

Theoretically, he could do that, but I think it would be confusing and not likely to promote his desired outcome in most circumstances. Let's call the amendment in question "A".

- If the member wants A to be adopted, he can just wait and see whether the whole series is adopted. If it is, then A is too. If it's not, then he can move the adoption of A separately afterward.

- If the member wants A to be adopted and is opposed to some of the other provisions, he can make motions to strike out those provisions while the series is pending.

- If the member wants A to be rejected, he can move to strike it out and not say anything about wanting to have a separate vote on it afterward.

- If he just wants to see what the other members think of A, a vote on striking it while the series is pending will basically accomplish that (if no one confuses things by talking about wanting to move A afterward as a separate amendment regardless of what happens to the rest of the series).

Striking out A and then moving it again afterward might be useful if one faction will vote against the whole series if A is included and another faction will vote against the whole series if A is not included, but in the end the people who were opposed to A might be sorely disappointed if it promptly gets adopted on a separate vote anyway. :)

Alternatively, I think it would be in order to simply suspend the rules for the purpose of having a separate vote taken on amendment A. (And I'm pretty sure that at least Kim Goldsworthy would agree with me on that.)

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What he wants is a separate consideration and vote on amendment A.

There are a number of legitimate reasons why this may be the case. During debate, amendment A may have proven itself to be especially complicated and controversial, and if it remains in the package it may have an undue influence over the vote on the rest of the proposals. If separately considered, it may turn out that the assembly will want to have amendment A postponed to a later time during the convention, or referred back to the committee for further study. Situations of this nature may present themselves at any time during debate, which is why, in the normal case, a Division of a Question can be moved or demanded at any time before the question on adopting the pending main motion is actually put to a vote.

Yes, he can move to suspend the rules for the purpose of having a separate vote taken on amendment A, but I can't imagine why this would be preferable to seeking to have amendment A stripped out of the package by a majority vote, with an opportunity to explain why he is doing so.

I was afraid you might want to stir up some real trouble by asking if anyone thinks, if the package is voted down, he could then move to reconsider the vote on amendment A alone.  :)

 

Edited by Daniel H. Honemann
Added the last sentence out of sheer orneriness.

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6 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Yes, he can move to suspend the rules for the purpose of having a separate vote taken on amendment A, but I can't imagine why this would be preferable to seeking to have amendment A stripped out of the package by a majority vote, with an opportunity to explain why he is doing so.

I think that moving to suspend the rules, or simply asking for unanimous consent, to divide the question is preferable because unless the member is very specific about why the amendment should be brought up again after the vote is taken on striking it out, such as your examples of postponing it or referring it to committee (and not simply taking an additional separate vote on the amendment itself), members are likely to not appreciate the procedural nuances, and once the amendment is struck out it will just be gone altogether.

And I think that a member offering a motion to suspend the rules and divide the question should be, and would be under the rules in RONR, allowed to offer a brief explanation of why the division is desired.

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6 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

I was afraid you might want to stir up some real trouble by asking if anyone thinks, if the package is voted down, he could then move to reconsider the vote on amendment A alone.  :)

I don't feel like reading it all again, but that question must have been covered somewhere in this topic. :-)

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19 hours ago, Shmuel Gerber said:

I don't feel like reading it all again, but that question must have been covered somewhere in this topic. :-)

Well, it's not covered directly in that topic, although the underlying question as to what a motion to Reconsider seeks to reconsider is the same.

But referencing that topic might prompt someone to inquire as to whether or not it would be in order to move to suspend the rules which interfere with reconsideration of a motion to Suspend the Rules, particularly in light of this newly disclosed penchant for suspending the rules.  :)

Edited by Daniel H. Honemann

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