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Alicia Percell

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  1. The second response to this post used this argument: "He is not permitted, however, to speak against the Main Motion, as amended. RONR (11th ed.), p. 393." The phrase "as amended" is underlined for emphasis, but I don't really see that angle addressed in the referenced passage, which says: "REFRAINING FROM SPEAKING AGAINST ONE'S OWN MOTION. In debate, the maker of a motion, while he can vote against it, is not allowed to speak against his own motion. He need not speak at all, but if he does he is obliged to take a favorable position. If he changes his mind while the motion he made is pending, he can, in effect, advise the assembly of this by asking permission to withdraw the motion (pp. 295–97)." It says he can't speak against "his own motion" and if he changes his mind "while the motion he made is pending," then he should ask to withdraw. However, if an amendment has been adopted in the meantime, particularly one which makes the result objectionable, is the pending motion still "the motion he made" or is the amended version now a different motion which would allow him to speak against it as it is no longer "his own motion?"
  2. Couldn't a clever member, after seeing his own motion amended in a way that makes it no longer acceptable to him, move to suspend the rules so as to permit himself to speak against it? If the suspension motion is adopted, then he can speak against it. If the suspension motion fails, he has at least signaled to his colleagues that he no longer supports it without actually having spoken against it. If the goal is to document in the minutes that he opposed the motion as amended, perhaps he should move to take a roll call vote on the question. RONR (11th ed.) p. 283, or RONR (12th ed.) 30:1.
  3. We don't have information about the way in which the proposed motion was previously ruled to have been in violation of the charter, nor do I think we need to know that. Even presuming that the previous ruling was correct, during the new agenda item someone could offer a modified version of the prior motion that does not violate the charter and thus is not out of order. So I don't believe that a motion to add the general subject to the agenda would be out of order. Ruling it to be out of order could prevent the assembly from finding a different solution to the issue.
  4. It is completely meaningless to list an abstention option on a ballot, and it makes no difference in the outcome of the vote. RONR (12th ed.) 4:35: "To 'abstain' means not to vote at all..." Marking "abstention" on a ballot is still not voting, just the same as turning in a blank ballot, or not turning in a ballot at all. RONR (12th ed.) 45:32, when the votes are counted, only ballots that indicate a preference are taken into account in determining the number of votes cast for purposes of computing the majority. Someone who abstains has not expressed a preference, so even a ballot which is marked "abstention" is to be ignored. It doesn't count toward the number of ballots cast. RONR (12th ed.) 1:6, a majority vote is only a majority of those "present and voting," so those not voting (abstaining) do not factor into the calculation at all. Only the yes and no votes matter to the calculation.
  5. Is someone alleging to you that the quoted text is in Robert's Rules? It's hard to PROVE a negative, but no, there is not such a sentence in Robert's Rules. All I can offer you as proof is actual quotes from Robert's Rules which contradict that alleged quote. I would suggest starting in 12th edition, 47:7 which is a section titled, "Duties of the presiding officer of the assembly." A list of duties is given including: "4) To state and put to vote all questions that legitimately come before the assembly as motions or that otherwise arise in the course of proceedings (except questions that relate to the presiding officer himself in the manner noted below), and to announce the result of each vote (4); or if a motion that is not in order is made, to rule that it is not in order (although this may be avoided if the chair can suggest an alternative that is in order which the maker agrees to offer instead; see 4:16-18)." There are circumstances in which a chair can refuse to recognize a motion, if you keep reading that same list to numbered item 5 to see the chair is to protect the assembly from dilatory motions, but the chair needs a valid reason to refuse a motion. Either it's dilatory, or it violates some other rule, etc. But the chair is not free to refuse a motion "for any reason or none at all." If a chair is simply refusing to recognize valid motions, see section 62 of 12th edition Robert's Rules, which includes remedies for dereliction of duty in office, specifically starting in 62:3 which states (underline added for emphasis): "For example, some important rules of parliamentary procedure are (a) that the chair must recognize any member who seeks the floor while entitled to it (see 42); (b) that after a member has properly made a motion that is not dilatory (see 39), the chair must either state the question on it, or else rule it out of order for a specified valid reason, require that the wording be clarified or be submitted in writing, or declare that it is not before the assembly for lack of a required second (see 4); and (c) that the chair cannot hurry through the proceedings so quickly as to deprive the members of their rights to debate and to introduce secondary motions (see 43:7)." The same section goes on to describe what to do if a chair fails in these duties.
  6. @Richard Brown thanks for the very nice welcome!
  7. I also disagree that there is no such thing. Perhaps the reason that you are getting the no-such-thing answers is that by default in Robert's Rules (see 11th edition p. 3 lines 1-15, or see 12th edition 1:4) members do have all of those rights, including the right to vote: "A member of an assembly, in the parliamentary sense, as mentioned above, is a person entitled to full participation in its proceedings, that is, as explained in 3 and 4, the right to attend meetings, to make motions, to speak in debate, and to vote. No member can be individually deprived of these basic rights of membership—or of any basic rights concomitant to them, such as the right to make nominations or to give previous notice of a motion—except through disciplinary proceedings. Some organized societies define additional classes of "membership" that do not entail all of these rights. Whenever the term member is used in this book, it refers to full participating membership in the assembly unless otherwise specified. Such members are also described as "voting members" when it is necessary to make a distinction." Unless your bylaws say otherwise, anyone who is a "member" automatically has those rights. Even within this passage, though, is a nod to the fact that the group can create other classes of membership "that do not entail all of these rights." Since the non-voting members are a construct of your organization's specific rules, it is up to your rules to also spell out which of these rights they do or do not have. If all your rules say is that they are non-voting, I think there's a good argument to be made that voting is the only of those membership rights they have been denied. To say only "non-voting" does not inherently also imply "non-attending" or "non-making-motions" or "non-debating."
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