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Breach of Previously Approved Motion


Guest Bob Kaufman

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Guest Bob Kaufman

As Charter Organization for a Boy Scout Troop our sports club voted 2 years ago to issue 2 key cards to the senior troop leaders so they could access our clubhouse on meeting nights. Recently, with no reference to the previously approved motion, a motion was approved to pull the key cards since the troop leaders since they are not also club members and that a club member must now be present at every meeting.

Because the recent motion did not specifically refer to the orginal motion was the motion and subsequent vote a breach and point of order? As I understand it, the original motion is still in effect as if the latest motion and vote never took place.

Bob Kaufman

bobkaufman@msn.com

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An adopted main motion that conflicts with a main motion previously adopted and still in force creates a continuing breach, unless it is adopted by the vote required to Rescind or Amend Something Previously Adopted (majority with notice, 2/3 without notice, or majority of the entire membership). See RONR (11th Ed.) p. 251 ll. 11-15; p. 111 ll. 23-26. So it depends on the vote received for the second motion whether the first motion was Rescinded. If it was not adopted by an appropriate vote, a Point of Order can be raised at any subsequent meeting, subject to Appeal. See Sections 23 & 24 (RONR 11th Ed.).

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David's reply is spot on, of course. But it seems to me the OP's question has more to do with the wording of the later motion, that it somehow has to contain the actual wording of the earlier motion or somehow reference it. I am not aware of any such requirement on a motion to Rescind or Amend Something Previously Adopted.

The motion to pull the cards conflicts with the motion giving them and it must meet the threshold as David states. But what more reference or pointing to the original motion would you need other than the reference to the cards themselves?

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Handled properly, a motion to Rescind (something) or Amend Something Previously Adopted would (imho) need to reference that "something" (previous motion/decision) so the members would know what they are rescinding or amending. Otherwise, how do you know you're rescinding/amending what has been previously adopted?

That said, "In a great many instances, the motion or resolution originally adopted is not referred to, and only the bylaw, rule or policy to be rescinded or amended is mentioned." (RONR 11th Ed. p. 309 ll. 17-19)

So there (he thinks to himself).

Edited by David A Foulkes
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Guest Gary c Tesser

I'm not sure I agree.

I have in mind the example used in RONR 10th for Question of Privilege, where the windows of the meeting hall are ordered closed because of the noise from the jackhammers outside. When the Sgt-at-Arms (or maybe just a corporal) has closed the windows, the effect of the motion (the effect of the order that the motion created, actually), the effect of the motion is exhausted: to have the windows re-opened later requires only a main motion to that effect, not a rescinding of the order to close them, because the motion was not to cause the windows to be open on an ongoing basis.

So: was the point of the original motion to give key cards to two Boy Scout leaders, period, so that the motion was exhausted once the leaders had the cards; or was the point that the leaders should have custody of the cards?

Hmm. I'll venture that little would be accomplished by ordering the leaders to get key cards, without the intention that the leaders get to use them until circumstances change and we decide to say different. OP Kaufman might help by confirming, but I lean towards agreeing with Mr Foulkes and tc that rescinding is what's called for.

(I'm reminded how around 2003 I went through a tortuous line of reasoning that went knowhere, finishing with the observation that I might not have written anything useful. To which Mr Honemann cheerily replied, "But don't let that stop you."

(I found the print-out a couple of weeks ago. Laughed and laughed.)

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Handled properly, a motion to Rescind (something) or Amend Something Previously Adopted would (imho) need to reference that "something" (previous motion/decision) so the members would know what they are rescinding or amending. Otherwise, how do you know you're rescinding/amending what has been previously adopted?

Can it be done implicitly? Or can the reference to the original motion be done during the debate? Or can the reference to the original question be when the chair puts the question and explains what an affirmative vote will do? I agree that somewhere along the line the assembly must be aware of what it is doing, that it is rescinding. To that end, previous notice must be given in order to have the motion pass with the majority vote, so there's at least a nod to the original motion. I guess all I'm saying is I think enough reference can be made to the original motion so that it is understood that we're rescinding without containing the actual words of the original motion in the actual motion to rescind.

I ask again, after all, what more reference to the original motion would you need other than it's the same darn cards that were given that are being taken away. OF COURSE we're rescinding!!

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Can it be done implicitly?

...

Take the first example on page 309. The prior resolution that "authorized additional landscaping of the grounds" may have included important details as to where on the grounds, the boundaries around the area, a high limit budget, and so on. No need to mention all that when rescinding the resolution beyond just enough to assure the membership they wouldn't be cancelling the pool cleaning service or the annual awards dinner.

Without knowing the exact motion previously adopted, it would seem a motion "to take back the key cards from the troop leaders" covers it. It would seem....... ;)

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I'm not sure I agree.

I'm sure I agree with Gary, doubling the number of Garys who are not sure they agree.

Once the cards are issued, the motion has been completed, and it would not require anything beyond a majority to revoke the keys.

Besides, it makes no sense for a society to be able to give out keys on a majority vote, yet require more than a majority to get their own keys back.

In the case of card keys, they could probably "revoke" them even if they could not physically recover them, but that's of no parliamentary significance.

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I'm not sure that Gary agrees with himself.

I'm sure I agree with Gary, doubling the number of Garys who are not sure they agree.

I'm not sure I agree.

.....

.....I lean towards agreeing with Mr Foulkes and tc that rescinding is what's called for.

Once the cards are issued, the motion has been completed, and it would not require anything beyond a majority to revoke the keys.

You make perfect sense, of course, although we still don't know what the actual motion adopted 2 years ago was, and whether it's been "completed."

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...

Besides, it makes no sense for a society to be able to give out keys on a majority vote, yet require more than a majority to get their own keys back.

...

I think that argument is a paper tiger -- something similar could be said about most motions to rescind; nonetheless, rescinding a motion is purposely made harder than adopting the motion in the first place.

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