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Guest Abraham

Committee Main Motions, When there are Multiple Options for Action

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Guest Abraham

Suppose a committee is operating under rules that say it must choose to dispose an items in front of it by a) sending it to the main body with a recommendation to pass, B) sending to the main body with recommendation to reject, or c) sending to the main body with no recommendation.

During a committee meeting, a member makes a main motion to return a referred item to the main body with no recommendation.

If a majority of committee members would prefer another option, according to the best practices of parliamentary law, what is the proper way to proceed:

A. Object immediately to the "no recommendation" main motion being taken up, and initiate another motion.

B. Go through the full debate; vote down "no recommendation"; then immediately consider one of the other options.

Option B seems to make more sense to be -- get to the substance of the debate right away and then vote which way to go at the end, but there may be some surly folks on the committee who will try to say "We've already considered that item today. Can't consider it again" after a "no recommendation" vote. In fact, that may be the reason they will try to initiate to "no recommendation" in the first place.

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If a majority of committee members would prefer another option, according to the best practices of parliamentary law, what is the proper way to proceed:

A. Object immediately to the "no recommendation" main motion being taken up, and initiate another motion.

B. Go through the full debate; vote down "no recommendation"; then immediately consider one of the other options.

Neither. A member should move to amend the motion, in order to try to change it into one of the other options. The motion to Amend is debated and voted on first, and then the motion (as amended, if the motion to amend passes) is debated and voted on.

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