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Libran

Suspend the rules to postpone indefinitely

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Our organization had its fall council meeting this weekend.  One of the agenda items was to determine the location of the 2019 spring conference.  Our procedures (not bylaws) require that the location be determined at least 18 months prior to the conference.  The  main motion was proposed as a fill in the blank, with 3 suggestions for locations.  A ballot vote was ordered, due to the way our proxies are counted. 

During debate, a delegate wanted to postpone the motion so he could talk to his unit members about their preferences.  He tried to postpone to a certain time, which the chair ruled out of order, as the next meeting isn't until May 2018. 

#1 -- Would it have been in order to suspend the rules (about determining the location 18 months ahead of time) to postpone indefinitely, so as to kill the motion for this session (and presumably renew it at the May 2018 meeting)? 

#2 -- Or, since fill in the blank is a form of an amendment, is postpone indefinitely not in order, due to the precedence of motions, even though the original motion was presented as a main motion with options? 

#3 -- Since suspend the rules is not debatable, could he have spoken in debate on the main motion and then made the motion to suspend the rules and postpone indefinitely?   And there would be no further debate?

Thanks for your help.

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1 hour ago, Libran said:

#1 -- Would it have been in order to suspend the rules (about determining the location 18 months ahead of time) to postpone indefinitely, so as to kill the motion for this session (and presumably renew it at the May 2018 meeting)? 

#2 -- Or, since fill in the blank is a form of an amendment, is postpone indefinitely not in order, due to the precedence of motions, even though the original motion was presented as a main motion with options? 

#3 -- Since suspend the rules is not debatable, could he have spoken in debate on the main motion and then made the motion to suspend the rules and postpone indefinitely?   And there would be no further debate?

The organization’s rules require the assembly to determine the location of its 2019 spring conference 18 months in advance. As a result, the motion to Postpone Indefinitely is not in order. The purpose of the motion to Postpone Indefinitely is to kill a motion without a direct vote. Since the assembly is required to hold a spring conference, this is not in order. The question before the assembly is where to hold the spring conference, not whether to hold one.

It is also not, in my opinion, in order to suspend the rules which require the conference to be scheduled 18 months in advance. It seems to me that this rule has effect outside of the current session, and may therefore not be suspended. Additionally, a motion may not be postponed to the next regular meeting if the next regular meeting is in May 2018 anyway, as a motion may not be postponed for more than a quarterly interval. This rule also may not be suspended, for the same reason.

Since it seems that what the member really wanted to do is to postpone the motion to a later meeting, the appropriate course of action to achieve this objective would be one of the following: 

1.) Make a motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn to schedule an adjourned meeting sometime in the near future. If this is successful, the member may then make a motion to Postpone to a Certain Time in order to postpone the motion to that meeting.

2.) Make a motion to Postpone to a Certain Time to postpone the motion to later in the same meeting. If this is successful, the member may make a motion to amend the rule which requires the spring conference to be scheduled 18 months in advance (perhaps reducing it to 12 months in advance, for example). If this is also successful, the member may then make a motion to refer the motion to a special committee, with instructions to report at the May 2018 meeting.

And yes, a member may speak in debate and conclude his remarks by making a motion.

Edited by Josh Martin

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Thank you, Mr. Martin.  I forgot that "rules which have their application outside of the session which is in progress cannot be suspended."  RONR (11th ed.) p. 264, ll.29-30.   Your other comments and suggestions make sense.  Now I have a related "What if". 

If the motion was simply to "have the 2019 conference at City A", and we did not have the 18 month requirement, the member would have been able to move to Postpone Indefinitely, right?  Can you have a blank as part of a main motion?  Would having a blank ("have the 2019 conference at City ___") make Postpone Indefinitely not in order?  The motion was about choosing a location, and he wanted to kill the motion without a direct vote so he could talk to the folks at his home unit about their preferences.  I'm just curious about the effect of the blank and Postpone Indefinitely. 

 

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37 minutes ago, Libran said:

Thank you, Mr. Martin.  I forgot that "rules which have their application outside of the session which is in progress cannot be suspended."  RONR (11th ed.) p. 264, ll.29-30.   Your other comments and suggestions make sense.  Now I have a related "What if". 

If the motion was simply to "have the 2019 conference at City A", and we did not have the 18 month requirement, the member would have been able to move to Postpone Indefinitely, right?  Can you have a blank as part of a main motion?  Would having a blank ("have the 2019 conference at City ___") make Postpone Indefinitely not in order?  The motion was about choosing a location, and he wanted to kill the motion without a direct vote so he could talk to the folks at his home unit about their preferences.  I'm just curious about the effect of the blank and Postpone Indefinitely. 

If there was no 18 month requirement, I suppose Postpone Indefinitely would be in order, and it would be understood that the motion would be introduced again at a later meeting. Postpone Indefinitely, after all, simply kills the motion for the duration of the session. A main motion may contain a blank and, in this instance, I do not think this would prevent the making of a motion to Postpone Indefinitely. Even if it did, that rule could be suspended.

In my opinion, referring the motion to a committee which is instructed to report in May 2018 would still be preferable, however, as this would be a clearer path to accomplishing the member’s intent.

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner
2 hours ago, Libran said:

Can you have a blank as part of a main motion?  Would having a blank ("have the 2019 conference at City ___") make Postpone Indefinitely not in order?

Yes (RONR [11th ed.], p. 163, ll. 8–13). Your second question is interesting. Filling blanks is not a form of amendment (ibid. p. 162, ll. 23–24) so it seems that Postpone Indefinitely would be in order. However, I'm uncertain whether a motion to Close Suggestions would be required first.

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On 10/24/2017 at 8:36 PM, Guest Who's Coming to Dinner said:

Yes (RONR [11th ed.], p. 163, ll. 8–13). Your second question is interesting. Filling blanks is not a form of amendment (ibid. p. 162, ll. 23–24) so it seems that Postpone Indefinitely would be in order. However, I'm uncertain whether a motion to Close Suggestions would be required first.

I think the answer is no, but if it is yes, I'd like to know exactly why.

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Guest Peter

Since a motion can be moved with a blank (ie: blank is not equivalent to an amendment) (RONR [11th ed], p. 163, ll. 8-11), I think that Postpone Indefinitely would be in order.

A motion can be adopted while still containing a blank (RONR [11th ed], p. 167, ll. 25-30). So, as there is no requirement to even fill the blank, there is no need to Close Suggestions.

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1 hour ago, Guest Peter said:

Since a motion can be moved with a blank (ie: blank is not equivalent to an amendment) (RONR [11th ed], p. 163, ll. 8-11), I think that Postpone Indefinitely would be in order.

A motion can be adopted while still containing a blank (RONR [11th ed], p. 167, ll. 25-30). So, as there is no requirement to even fill the blank, there is no need to Close Suggestions.

It's true that a motion can be adopted while still containing a blank, but if this occurs, there is a requirement to fill it.  (RONR, 11th ed., p. 167, ll. 28-30)

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Guest Guest Peter
10 hours ago, Guest Peter said:

Since a motion can be moved with a blank (ie: blank is not equivalent to an amendment) (RONR [11th ed], p. 163, ll. 8-11), I think that Postpone Indefinitely would be in order.

A motion can be adopted while still containing a blank (RONR [11th ed], p. 167, ll. 25-30). So, as there is no requirement to even fill the blank, there is no need to Close Suggestions.

 

8 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

It's true that a motion can be adopted while still containing a blank, but if this occurs, there is a requirement to fill it.  (RONR, 11th ed., p. 167, ll. 28-30)

Thank you. I should have said "... as there is no requirement to even fill the blank before the motion is voted on, there is no need to Close Suggestions."

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