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  1. pwilson

    Minutes Approval at Special Meeting

    I'm interested in knowing whether a special meeting can approve the minutes of an earlier meeting. (I'm not asking about the approval of the minutes of the special meeting itself.) Is it permissible to include, e.g., "approval of the minutes of the regular March meeting" among the matters for which a special meeting is called?
  2. “A special meeting does not approve minutes” (RONR [11th ed.], p. 473, l. 35). Shall I interpret this statement as a blanket prohibition, or instead assume that something like the following is implied: “unless approval of minutes is among the particular matters to which the special meeting is dedicated”? I note that an executive session can be held solely for the purpose of approving the minutes of a previous executive session (p. 96, ll.14-16).
  3. pwilson

    Order of Separate Resolutions

    I had missed these passages, which neatly settle the issue. Thanks!
  4. When a member demands division of a motion containing a series of independent resolutions on different subjects, may the member also demand that the resolutions be considered in a specific order? If a member calls “for a separate vote on Resolution No. 3” ([11th ed.], p. 275, ll. 4–5), for example, may the member also demand that Resolution No. 3 be considered and voted on before the rest of the series? Is there a default order for consideration of such divided resolutions?
  5. pwilson

    Priority of Business

    Thanks for the clarification and for the additional references (which aren't in the current index).
  6. pwilson

    Priority of Business

    The phrase “priority of business” is used, so far as I’m aware, only in the context of undebatable appeals ([11th ed.], p. 257, ll. 34–35). Does the phrase refer to the precedence of items of business (such as general and special orders for particular hours, pp. 367–71) or the precedence of motions—or both or neither?
  7. pwilson

    Unusual Voting Threshold

    Thank you, Mr. Martin, for your characteristically lucid and insightful reply, which I much appreciate.
  8. “No rule protecting a minority of a particular size can be suspended in the face of a negative vote as large as the minority protected by the rule” ([11th ed.], p. 261, ll. 15–17). But the “vote required for adoption” of Suspend the Rules is two-thirds, “except where the rule protects a minority of less than one third” (tinted p. 27). (1) Can a rule that protects 10 members be suspended by a vote of 20-10? Page 261 says no, but tinted p. 27 indicates yes. Should tinted p. 27 say “less than or equal to one third”? (2) As I understand the general principle, suspending a rule that protects a minority of less than or equal to one-third requires a vote greater than two-thirds. In other words, if m = number of members present and voting n = number of members protected by a rule (n ≤ m/3) v = vote necessary for adoption then v > (m – n). Is it okay to have a mathematical difference like this, rather than a fraction, for “the proportion that must concur” (p. 402, l. 26)? How should the chair announce the voting result? What should a tellers’ report say is “necessary for adoption”?
  9. pwilson

    Chair Persuaded by Appeal

    Makes perfect sense--thanks!
  10. If the chair is persuaded during debate on an appeal that his ruling on a point of order was erroneous, may he withdraw the ruling before it becomes precedent, or at least inform the assembly of his change of mind during his second speech at the close of debate? The former alternative would be analogous to a member withdrawing (or seeking permission to withdraw) a motion, although I can find no reference in RONR that would justify the chair withdrawing a ruling. The latter alternative would be similar to a member arguing against his own motion, which no member is allowed to do. What’s the best way for the chair to handle such a change of mind? Should the minutes include the reasons the chair gives during an appeal, or just the reasons he gives while ruling on the point of order itself?
  11. pwilson

    Lone Vote in Committee

    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.
  12. pwilson

    Lone Vote in Committee

    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.
  13. pwilson

    Lone Vote in Committee

    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?
  14. pwilson

    Changing a Vote by Ballot

    For what it’s worth, I had in mind the following sorts of cases in which a member may wish to change her ballot vote: • Immediately after casting her ballot, she regrets how she voted. • She wants the motion to pass only if it does so by an overwhelming majority, then learns when the tellers’ report is first read that the vote is 51-50. • After hearing (when the tellers’ report is first read) that there was only one vote against the motion—hers—she wishes to make the vote unanimous.
  15. pwilson

    Changing a Vote by Ballot

    Makes sense, although I'm struggling with the fact that p. 408 doesn't restrict the right to change one's vote to cases in which there's a reliable way to determine how one voted. Also, the passage appears before the various methods of voting are distinguished and appears to apply to all of them. The section on "Voting by Ballot" (pp. 412ff.) doesn't say anything to restrict the broad right to change one's vote on p. 408. I'm probably missing a passage that would settle the question.