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New Version of Written Motion Previously Distributed with Agenda


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A relatively complex motion (5-6) pages was distributed to the membership in advance with the agenda. At the meeting, when we reached the point in the agenda at which that motion was to be discussed, and the chair invited the author of the motion to introduce it, the author proceded to hand out a new version of the proposed motion, with at least a full page of additional material added, and other changes underlined.

A member protested that s/he had studied the earlier version carefully, and prepared notes on the same, but was not prepared to discuss this new version, given its complexity, without time to study it. Nevertheless, after some parliamentary wrangling, but without the new version of the motion being read, the motion was debated and passed after debate had been cut off by a successful motion to "call the question."

Is something wrong here?

I guess my most basic question is: What is the status of a motion that is distributed with the agenda? May the members, who were preparted to disucss the version distributed with the minutes, be surprized by a new version at the moment the motion comes up for discussion?

Thanks!

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I guess my most basic question is: What is the status of a motion that is distributed with the agenda?

It has no real status unless previous notice is required and there would be scope of notice issues. For example, say that a member gave notice that he would propose an amendment to the bylaws to increase the dues to $20 a year (the current amount is $10) and then at the meeting the member made a motion to increase dues to $50. That motion would be out of order because members may have no issue with a potential $10 bump in dues and thus not come to the meeting but would have a huge issue with a potential $40 bump and would have showed up at the meeting ready for a fight.

May the members, who were preparted to disucss the version distributed with the minutes, be surprized by a new version at the moment the motion comes up for discussion?

Apparently they were. :)

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A relatively complex motion (5-6) pages was distributed to the membership in advance with the agenda. At the meeting, when we reached the point in the agenda at which that motion was to be discussed, and the chair invited the author of the motion to introduce it, the author proceded to hand out a new version of the proposed motion, with at least a full page of additional material added, and other changes underlined.

A member protested that s/he had studied the earlier version carefully, and prepared notes on the same, but was not prepared to discuss this new version, given its complexity, without time to study it. Nevertheless, after some parliamentary wrangling, but without the new version of the motion being read, the motion was debated and passed after debate had been cut off by a successful motion to "call the question."

Is something wrong here?

Certainly you can argue during debate that the proposed new version should not be passed because it was sprung upon you in this fashion. You could perhaps move that it be referred to committee for further study. But if a majority of people are in favor of it (even if they haven't studied it) and the required number of people are in favor of ending debate on it, it sounds as if the protesting member might be a lone voice in the wilderness, and majority rules.

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And, just to make sure that another aspect of the procedure was handled correctly, take a look at this FAQ regarding 'calling the question.'

The "calling the question" was handled more or less correctly. I do not believe it was the type of motion that required "previous notice." There were several attempts to divide the question, which failed.

Thanks to all for their input.

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If there were no requirements for previous notice, then the mover could simply have crumpled up the original and made a completely new motion. For that matter he could have simply made a motion out of the blue with no previous inkling of its nature or contents.

Of course, in these instances, he is far more likely to see his motion referred to a committee, or simply voted down, and the argument for these is made stronger the more complicated and surprising the motion is.

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