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Does Availability of Reconsideration Pre-empt Amend or Rescind


Guest Lucy P

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My small board (7 members) has a by-law that allows a motion to Reconsider to be made any time within the fiscal year in which the previously-decided matter was originally decided. Otherwise, the motion to Reconsider is subject to the same rules in RONR for who can may make the motion and the number voting in favor required for its adoption. In regard to the time-frame, however, the fiscal year period is more liberal than the RONR standard, which would require the motion to be made in the same meeting as the previously-decided motion or, in the context of a session, in the same or next following meeting. The motions to Amend or Rescind are generally additional tools to bring back before the assembly a matter that has been previously decided. RONR, however, prohibits use of these motions "[w]hen it has previously been moved to Reconsider the vote on the main motion, and the question can be reached by calling up the motion to Reconsider." RONR, section 35, p. 308, ll. 17-19. In the context of my board's rule that allows the motion to Reconsider to be made anytime within the fiscal year of the previously-decided motion, are the motions to Amend or Rescind unavailable within that fiscal year due to the ability to make the motion to Reconsider? If this interpretation is correct, the motions to Amend or Rescind would not be available until after the fiscal year ended. Alternatively, the restriction would apply only if the motion to Reconsider were actually pending when a member wanted to move to Amend or Rescind, and the motions to Amend or Rescind be available in the absence of a pending motion to Reconsider. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

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My small board (7 members) has a by-law . . .

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

My first thought is that boards don't usually have their own bylaws, and certainly not ones which conflict with those of the organization, which, if RONR has been adopted as the parliamentary authority, would include the standard restrictions on the motion to Reconsider.

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In this case, the board is a legislative body, which has its own by-laws that "generally" defer to RONR but include some provisions to allow flexibility. The allowance of Reconsideration within the fiscal year time-frame is one such "more flexible" provision.

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In this case, the board is a legislative body, which has its own by-laws that "generally" defer to RONR but include some provisions to allow flexibility. The allowance of Reconsideration within the fiscal year time-frame is one such "more flexible" provision.

You say that:

"RONR, however, prohibits use of these motions "[w]hen it has previously been moved to Reconsider the vote on the main motion, and the question can be reached by calling up the motion to Reconsider." RONR, section 35, p. 308, ll. 17-19. In the context of my board's rule that allows the motion to Reconsider to be made anytime within the fiscal year of the previously-decided motion, are the motions to Amend or Rescind unavailable within that fiscal year due to the ability to make the motion to Reconsider?"

What in the world would "the ability to make the motion to Reconsider" have to do with what happens after "it has previously been moved to Reconsider?"

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You're right, the ability make the motion to Reconsider is different from the motion having been previously made. My focus was more on the second part of the quoted provision from RONR, which is that the motion can be reached by calling up the motion to Reconsider. "Calling up the motion" is an unfamiliar phrase to me, but I gather from your response that it must mean the same thing as "call for the question" in reference to the previously made motion to reconsider. I thought that it may have meant that the motion simply could be made. After thinking about this one some more, I will conclude that any of the three motions -- Reconsider, Amend, or Rescind -- may be made to bring a previously decided question back before the board, unless a motion to Reconsider is pending. If a motion to Reconsider is pending, then it must be decided first.

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"Calling up the motion" is an unfamiliar phrase to me, but I gather from your response that it must mean the same thing as "call for the question" in reference to the previously made motion to reconsider.

Not really. It means the motion to Reconsider was made, but because of the time it was made (as an example see RONR, p. 238, line 14ff, particularly bullet 3 and the footnote) it couldn't be dealt with then and can be called up (brought before the assembly and considered) at a later meeting

After thinking about this one some more, I will conclude that any of the three motions -- Reconsider, Amend, or Rescind -- may be made to bring a previously decided question back before the board, unless a motion to Reconsider is pending. If a motion to Reconsider is pending, then it must be decided first.

Scrap "is pending" and insert "has been made and not called up", even though clearly the others can't be made while Reconsider is pending.

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