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A motion to fix the time to which to adjourn is made when in the course of business it appears that there will not be an opportunity to introduce it as an incidental main motion. Later in the same meeting, business is completed earlier than anticipated and the motion to fix the time to which to adjourn is moved to be reconsidered. The question is can it be debated?

Page 324 states: EFFECT OF ADOPTION OF THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER; RULES GOVERNING DEBATE ON THE RECONSIDERATION. The effect of the adoption of the motion to Reconsider is immediately to place before the assembly again the question on which the vote is to be reconsidered—in the exact position it occupied the moment before it was voted on originally.

The "exact position" was the considering the motion to Fix the Time to which to Adjourn, made as a privileged motion, and therefore undebatable.

p. 68 fn states that adjourn is a unique case in that it retains privileged status even when no question is pending.

p. 308 l.16 states that Amend Something Previously Adopted is not in order if the if the question can be reached using Reconsider.

My question is then is does the FTWA come back as privileged and therefore not debatable, or does it loose privilege when it is reconsidered as there is no pending question, or, is there no way for the group to discuss when they will meet again once a privileged motion FTWA has been used to set the next date?

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Page 242 (# 8) says it can be reconsiders.  The privileged motion cannot be debated, but if the privileged FTTWTA is voted down, and an incidental main motion to FTTWTA, which would be debatable, could be made.

I would note that the rules could be suspended the rules to debate the privileged motion.  I would recommend that this be done first. 

I would suggest that the mover of reconsider, when making the motion, briefly explain that he will be offering a an incidental main motion to FTTWTA and that he is doing this so that there can be debate.  I would rule the main motion out of order as dilatory without that explanation (and with no intervening business). 

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3 hours ago, Troy said:

A motion to fix the time at which to adjourn is made when in the course of business it appears that there will not be an opportunity to introduce it as an incidental main motion. Later in the same meeting, business is completed earlier than anticipated and the motion to fix the time at which to adjourn is moved to be reconsidered. The question is can it be debated?

Page 324 states: EFFECT OF ADOPTION OF THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER; RULES GOVERNING DEBATE ON THE RECONSIDERATION. The effect of the adoption of the motion to Reconsider is immediately to place before the assembly again the question on which the vote is to be reconsidered—in the exact position it occupied the moment before it was voted on originally.

The "exact position" was the considering the motion to Fix the Time to Adjourn, made as a privileged motion, and therefore undebatable.

p. 68 fn states that adjourn is a unique case in that it retains privileged status even when no question is pending.

p. 308 l.16 states that Amend Something Previously Adopted is not in order if the if the question can be reached using Reconsider.

My question is then is does the FTWA come back as privileged and therefore not debatable, or does it loose privilege when it is reconsidered as there is no pending question, or, is there no way for the group to discuss when they will meet again once a privileged motion FTWA has been used to set the next date?

Be careful how you phrase this. A motion to fix the time at which to adjourn is not at all the same thing as a motion to fix the time to which to adjourn. The former is always a main motion.

Assuming you do mean to refer only to the privileged motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn, I think you raise a very good question, and, at least as of now, I'm not at all sure of the answer. At first blush, I would think that, if a motion to reconsider such a motion is made when no motion is pending, both motions should be debatable. Let's see what others think while I see if I can find anything which answers this question for us. 

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48 minutes ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Be careful how you phrase this. A motion to fix the time at which to adjourn is not at all the same thing as a motion to fix the time to which to adjourn. The former is always a main motion.

Assuming you do mean to refer only to the privileged motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn, I think you raise a very good question, and, at least as of now, I'm not at all sure of the answer. At first blush, I would think that, if a motion to reconsider such a motion is made when no motion is pending, both motions should be debatable. Let's see what others think while I see if I can find anything which answers this question for us. 

Well if this was the answer on my RP test I would have failed this question.  I'm just not seeing how the status of the motion changed from privileged and not debatable (that's what I understand the motion was when it was made) to should be debatable, even though no other motion may be pending when a motion to reconsider is made. I'll await your further research, for sure.

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36 minutes ago, George Mervosh said:

Well if this was the answer on my RP test I would have failed this question.  I'm just not seeing how the status of the motion changed from privileged and not debatable (that's what I understand the motion was when it was made) to should be debatable, even though no other motion may be pending when a motion to reconsider is made. I'll await your further research, for sure.

I don't know, maybe I'm just not thinking straight. It seems to me that the reason for thinking it's now debatable may be somewhat similar to the reason why the rule on page 325, lines 21-24, is what it is.

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39 minutes ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

I don't know, maybe I'm just not thinking straight. It seems to me that the reason for thinking it's now debatable may be somewhat similar to the reason why the rule on page 325, lines 21-24, is what it is.

Oh I think your thinking makes a lot of sense but your cited passage refers to a motion which was debatable to begin with and debate was ended via the previous question, or previously limited or extended.  The privileged motion in question wasn't debatable at all.  But that's all I have on this.

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38 minutes ago, George Mervosh said:

Oh I think your thinking makes a lot of sense but your cited passage refers to a motion which was debatable to begin with and debate was ended via the previous question, or previously limited or extended.  The privileged motion in question wasn't debatable at all.  But that's all I have on this.

I agree, but it is another example of a motion that is about to be reconsidered not coming before the assembly again "in the exact position it occupied the moment before it was voted on originally", at least insofar as its debatability is concerned.

Anyway, I've just been to a meeting of the local chapter of the 2FP, so you gotta cut me a little slack.

Edited by Daniel H. Honemann
Last sentence added for clarity.

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1 hour ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

I agree, but it is another example of a motion that is about to be reconsidered not coming before the assembly again "in the exact position it occupied the moment before it was voted on originally", at least insofar as its debatability is concerned.

Yes, quite true, but the privileged motion in question couldn't have had any of those motions apply.

 

1 hour ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Anyway, I've just been to a meeting of the local chapter of the 2FP, so you gotta cut me a little slack.

I'm heading to mine in about an hour.  I'm not a "Fisherman" with all this free time to hang out at the Chapter.  :)

Oh and thanks to Mr. Troy, for the question.  

Edited by George Mervosh

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6 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

I don't know, maybe I'm just not thinking straight. It seems to me that the reason for thinking it's now debatable may be somewhat similar to the reason why the rule on page 325, lines 21-24, is what it is.

The difference is that those limits to debate were actually adopted by the assembly.  The rule that the privileged motion cannot be debated was not imposed by the assembly; it is a rule of order.  It can clearly be suspended, if it is in force.  For me, it is just a question whether or not the rules have to be suspended.

I think you could have the same situation with Recess as well.

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11 hours ago, J. J. said:

The difference is that those limits to debate were actually adopted by the assembly.  The rule that the privileged motion cannot be debated was not imposed by the assembly; it is a rule of order.  It can clearly be suspended, if it is in force.  For me, it is just a question whether or not the rules have to be suspended.

I think you could have the same situation with Recess as well.

Well, no, the same situation can't arise in connection with a privileged motion to Recess, since such a motion cannot be reconsidered.

The privileged motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn is undebatable because, if it were debatable, its high privilege would allow it to interfere with business (RONR, 11th ed., p. 398, ll. 9-11). When a motion to fix the time to which to adjourn is made while no business is pending, it is, of course, fully debatable, because it's not then interfering with any business.

If a motion is made, at a time when a question is pending, to reconsider the vote on a privileged motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn, its high privilege will allow it to interfere with the business that is pending, and it should be undebatable. But if a motion is made, at a time when no question is pending, to reconsider the vote on a privileged motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn, there is no longer any reason why it should not be fully debatable, since its reconsideration will not interfere with any pending business.

Now I'm fully aware of the fact that SDC 7 for the motion to Reconsider tells us that "When the motion proposed to be reconsidered is not debatable—either because of its nature or because it is subject to an unexhausted order for the Previous Question (16)—the motion to Reconsider is undebatable." On page 322, lines 25-28, we are again told that "Whenever the motion to Reconsider is taken up, as noted in Standard Characteristic 5, it is debatable if the motion proposed to be reconsidered is debatable, and debate can go into the merits of the question proposed to be reconsidered." The only way this makes sense to me, however, is if it is understood to be referring to the nature of the motion sought to be reconsidered if that motion was made at the time when the motion to Reconsider is made.

I'm also fully aware of the fact that, on page 324, we are also told that "The effect of the adoption of the motion to Reconsider is immediately to place before the assembly again the question on which the vote is to be reconsidered—in the exact position it occupied the moment before it was voted on originally." But we also know that this isn't always exactly the case, particularly with respect to its debatability (as evidenced by the rule p. 325, ll. 21-24).

Anyway, my guess is that none of this will matter much in a situation such as the one described by Troy, since the assembly in that situation will most likely, upon reconsideration, simply defeat the motion it had adopted to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn without any debate, there being no longer any need for an adjourned meeting, so maybe I should stop worrying about it.  :)

 

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Thank You all for your responses. I am glad it wasn't just me missing something in RONR. I like black and white answers, but in this case I will settle for its complicated and justification for either allowing or prohibiting debate can be made. I initially felt that it should be debatable and felt the footnote on p. 68 would justify treating the reconsidered Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn as an incidental MM, but will settle for the best case of action being to defeat the reconsidered motion and bring a new incidental MM which is debatable to the floor. It seems to go against the fast and efficient conduct of business, but maybe being the least controversial solution, it would in fact move business along faster. 

Again, thank you all for your time and insight. 

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1 hour ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

If a motion is made, at a time when a question is pending, to reconsider the vote on a privileged motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn, its high privilege will allow it to interfere with the business that is pending, and it should be undebatable. But if a motion is made, at a time when no question is pending, to reconsider the vote on a privileged motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn, there is no longer any reason why it should not be fully debatable, since its reconsideration will not interfere with any pending business.

I agree with this, and with the rest of what Dan wrote [too long to quote it all; I can only imagine what it was like to type it :)]. And thank you to Troy for raising the question.

And once we're talking about what the rules should be, I don't quite see any use in ever allowing a motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn, or a motion to take an immediate recess, to be non-privileged (although under Robert's Rules they clearly can be, so this is a different level of "should" than what Dan wrote about). The assembly could end up in the absurd situation of having all of these motions pending at the same time:

1) a main motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn

2) a privileged motion to Recess

3) a privileged motion to Adjourn

4) a privileged motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn

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