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Lone Vote in Committee

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At a recent meeting, a committee report contained a motion that only the reporting member wanted to come before the assembly. (The vote in committee had been 1-0, with several abstentions.) Does the motion require a second?

RONR says no, “since the motion’s introduction has been directed by a majority vote within the board or committee and is therefore desired by at least two assembly members” ([11th ed., p. 36, ll. 18–21; see also the footnote on p. 507). I don’t follow this reasoning, given the sort of case above.

Should the reporting member have briefly explained the situation and requested that the chair ask for a second?

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16 minutes ago, pwilson said:

At a recent meeting, a committee report contained a motion that only the reporting member wanted to come before the assembly. (The vote in committee had been 1-0, with several abstentions.) Does the motion require a second?

RONR says no, “since the motion’s introduction has been directed by a majority vote within the board or committee and is therefore desired by at least two assembly members” ([11th ed., p. 36, ll. 18–21; see also the footnote on p. 507). I don’t follow this reasoning, given the sort of case above.

Should the reporting member have briefly explained the situation and requested that the chair ask for a second?

A vote of 1-0 is a majority vote. By abstaining, the other members agreed to go along with the majority of the members actually voting - which turned out to be just one member. If they didn’t want the motion to be part of the committee’s report, they should have voted against it.

So no, a second is not required, and the reporting member should not explain the situation. It is improper to refer to the committee’s deliberations during debate on the report.

Edited by Josh Martin

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Thanks for the helpful replies.

Interestingly, abstaining from the vote in committee has the effect of “anonymously seconding” the motion in the assembly—which might have been exactly what some committee members wanted.

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1 hour ago, pwilson said:

Thanks for the helpful replies.

Interestingly, abstaining from the vote in committee has the effect of “anonymously seconding” the motion in the assembly—which might have been exactly what some committee members wanted.

First you say that only one member wanted the motion in the report to come before the assembly, and now you say that some of the others wanted to second the motion (albeit anonymously), which would mean that they wanted it to come before the assembly. One of these two statements has got to be wrong, so which is it?

 

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1 hour ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

First you say that only one member wanted the motion in the report to come before the assembly, and now you say that some of the others wanted to second the motion (albeit anonymously), which would mean that they wanted it to come before the assembly. One of these two statements has got to be wrong, so which is it?

 

Unclear on my part. I should have emphasized the word anonymously just above and stated originally that only the reporting member publicly wanted the motion to come before the assembly. As I learned after the meeting in question, at least one committee member wanted the motion to come before the assembly but did not want to openly assert that fact during the committee meeting by voting in the affirmative.

The replies above indicate, however, that abstaining from the committee vote of 1-0 is one way for a member to assert that he doesn't object to having the motion come before the assembly.

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