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Interruption to Debate Time

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I have a question per page 295 ll. 11-12 ('If the speaker consents to the interruption, the time consumed will be taken out  of his allowed time.')

 

Why is it that if the speaker consents that it is taken out of his time?  This seems to all the potential for abuse.  For example, if I wanted to ask another member a question, I would likely try to be as brief as possible,  However, if someone did not get along with the member then he/she could take as long as possible to ask the question in order to limit the other member's speaking time.

 

To me, it seems more fair and practical to not take the question out of the member's time.

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Guest Edgar

I'd assume that the member who yielded could regain the floor if he thought the interrupter was getting too wordy. Or perhaps the member could specify how much time he was willing to yield.

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I have a question per page 295 ll. 11-12 ('If the speaker consents to the interruption, the time consumed will be taken out  of his allowed time.')

 

Why is it that if the speaker consents that it is taken out of his time?  This seems to all the potential for abuse.  For example, if I wanted to ask another member a question, I would likely try to be as brief as possible,  However, if someone did not get along with the member then he/she could take as long as possible to ask the question in order to limit the other member's speaking time.

 

To me, it seems more fair and practical to not take the question out of the member's time.

 

The question is taken out of the speaker's time. If this privilege is abused (particularly if it is apparent that it is being abused for the purpose of using up the speaker's time), I concur with Edgar that either the chair or the speaker can step in to resolve the matter.

 

Members who regularly use such tactics should get a healthy dose of Ch. XX.

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Guest Nancy N.

I have long pondered on this question:  why indeed?  And -- plaudits to Rev Ed  -- his question is phrased generally, from the topic title on; the citation is in the context of a Request for Information, yet this is a good question to be applied to any interruption of a debater's time.

 

  It seems to me that the clock should be paused on the speaker's time the moment that the processing of the request for information begins -- that is, the moment the chair hears "I have a request for information (RONR, 11th Ed (that Ed means "Edition", not a kind of  Rev, this time) -- p. 294)," or, for that matter, when he hears "I rise to a parliamentary inquiry," or "Point of order," or any other interruption (tinted pages 40 - 41) that the speaker has not made himself.  (The time this takes may seem trivial using RONR's default limit, 10 minutes, on speeches, but for organizations whose rule is two, three, or five minutes, it can make a significant difference.)

 

Two points:

1.  It may be fair for the speaker to be charged, in that the speaker has the choice of whether to allow the interruption, or to refuse it.  (Indeed, I maintain, utterly without foundation, )

 

2.  If it happens that the interruption benefits the speaker, then why shouldn't he be charged for the time.  Suppose a large purchase is pending.  Speaker A, let's call him Ed, has the floor, and is vehemently against the purchase.  Speaker B, Victor*, interrupts with a request for information, which is granted, and asks what the current bank balance is and how the purchase would affect it.  The treasurer reports that buying this item will leave seventeen cents in the bank, making Ed's point.  Should Ed now get to go on with his speech, his point already made for him?

 

Alternatively, our orchid fanciers want to buy a fire truck; Speaker A, still Ed because unimaginative, is arguing against it, and Victor, to be uncharacteristically consistent, interrupts to again ask about money.  The treasurer -- oh I forgot -- um, Todd, reports that if we were to buy the General Motors Truck Division, we wouldn't notice the cost.

 

Now, Ed should get this boost for free?

_________

* Surprise!

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  It seems to me that the clock should be paused on the speaker's time the moment that the processing of the request for information begins -- that is, the moment the chair hears "I have a request for information (RONR, 11th Ed (that Ed means "Edition", not a kind of  Rev, this time) -- p. 294)," or, for that matter, when he hears "I rise to a parliamentary inquiry," or "Point of order," or any other interruption (tinted pages 40 - 41) that the speaker has not made himself.  (The time this takes may seem trivial using RONR's default limit, 10 minutes, on speeches, but for organizations whose rule is two, three, or five minutes, it can make a significant difference.)

 

This is the way it should be handled under the rules in RONR.

Edited by Daniel H. Honemann
Added "under the rules in RONR" for the sake of clarity.

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Thanks everyone.  Nancy makes a valid point, the member can refuse to yield.  However, most of the time I do not see a reason not to allow the request - which is why I don't understand why this is taken out of the member's time.  Although in most cases I would assume that it would not normally be an issue (unless it is a presentation, I find most members can contain themselves to 10 minutes with a minute or two to spare - at least.)  And I know that the Chairman can ask, or the member, for extra time if necessary (such as "Due to answering a request for information, may I/the member be allowed an extra two minutes?")

 

I don't see this as a big issue, but just one of those 'little' things that I just don't necessary agree with.

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Thanks everyone.  Nancy makes a valid point, the member can refuse to yield.  However, most of the time I do not see a reason not to allow the request - which is why I don't understand why this is taken out of the member's time.  Although in most cases I would assume that it would not normally be an issue (unless it is a presentation, I find most members can contain themselves to 10 minutes with a minute or two to spare - at least.)  And I know that the Chairman can ask, or the member, for extra time if necessary (such as "Due to answering a request for information, may I/the member be allowed an extra two minutes?")

 

I don't see this as a big issue, but just one of those 'little' things that I just don't necessary agree with.

 

Ed, are you asking why the question is charged to the speaker's time or why the answer is charged to the speaker's time? Or both?

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Both I guess.  I can see why the answer is taken out of the speaker's time if the speaker responds.  But I don't totally understand why the question, and the response if another has to provide the answer, would come out of my time. 

 

For example, let's say we are discussing the cost of replacing the roof on the the clubhouse of "Team RONR."  If I am debating a particular option over another (let's say its a roof with solar panelling.)  If a member wants to know how much we would have in the bank if we approve this option, I do not see why the question, nor the answer from the Treasurer, should be taken out of my debate time.  The member has the right to wait until I am finished to make his/her inquiry. 

 

Mind you, I understand why if the question to directed to me (through the chair) about why I like the solar panels, that the answer comes out of my time (I am responding to the question thus making my debate more effective - or not depending on your view.)

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Both I guess.  I can see why the answer is taken out of the speaker's time if the speaker responds.  But I don't totally understand why the question, and the response if another has to provide the answer, would come out of my time. 

 

For example, let's say we are discussing the cost of replacing the roof on the the clubhouse of "Team RONR."  If I am debating a particular option over another (let's say its a roof with solar panelling.)  If a member wants to know how much we would have in the bank if we approve this option, I do not see why the question, nor the answer from the Treasurer, should be taken out of my debate time.  The member has the right to wait until I am finished to make his/her inquiry. 

 

Mind you, I understand why if the question to directed to me (through the chair) about why I like the solar panels, that the answer comes out of my time (I am responding to the question thus making my debate more effective - or not depending on your view.)

 

Okay. Yes, I can see legitimate disagreement over whether the question should be charged to the speaker's time. I think we may just have to chalk that one up to tradition.

 

I don't think these rules are really intended to apply when a member asks a question of someone other than the speaker, and I'd think that in most cases such questions can and should wait until the speaker has concluded his remarks.

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Okay. Yes, I can see legitimate disagreement over whether the question should be charged to the speaker's time. I think we may just have to chalk that one up to tradition.

 

Although there can be disagreement over what the rule should or should not be in this connection, there should be no disagreement over what it actually is.

 

Furthermore, if rational thought is given to the matter it will be seen that it would make no sense at all for the rule to be anything other than what it is, particularly when one considers (among other things) that inquiries of this kind are often made "for the purpose of reminding a speaker of a point to be made in argument" (p. 295, ll. 20-21), and that if the time is not charged to the speaker (whose consent to the interruption is required) he will be able to control who does and who does not get to speak over a very long period of time.

 

However, there is ordinarily nothing to be gained by this sort of a discussion, and so I expect I will regret having allowed myself to be drawn into it, even to just this extent. :)

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However, there is ordinarily nothing to be gained by this sort of a discussion, and so I expect I will regret having allowed myself to be drawn into it, even to just this extent. :)

 

Oh, but we don't regret hearing from you - especially with 4-5 inches of new snow on the ground.

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Furthermore, if rational thought is given to the matter it will be seen that it would make no sense at all for the rule to be anything other than what it is, particularly when one considers (among other things) that inquiries of this kind are often made "for the purpose of reminding a speaker of a point to be made in argument" (p. 295, ll. 20-21), and that if the time is not charged to the speaker (whose consent to the interruption is required) he will be able to control who does and who does not get to speak over a very long period of time.

 

How does one member "control who does and does not get to speak over a very long period of time?"

 

But I do have a better understanding of why this occurs as 1) the member does not have to allow the inquiry, 2) if the other member takes up too much time the Chairman (or the member whose time is being 'consumed') should object to the time, and 3) the fact that it would still have to be germane to what is occurring.

 

Thanks everyone.

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How does one member "control who does and does not get to speak over a very long period of time?"

 

Were the time for a Request for Information not charged to the speaker, he would be able to accept requests from others who would then get to speak for several minutes, without any limit to how many such requests are made, and to refuse requests (and therefore access to the floor) to others.

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How does one member "control who does and does not get to speak over a very long period of time?"

 

The speaker may consent to being interrupted only by his allies, each of whom takes a substantial amount of time making the point he wishes to make in the form of a question (“Isn’t it true that …?). If none of this time is charged to the speaker, it may go on for quite a while. 

 

I see that Mr. Ralph beat me to it. :)

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The speaker may consent to being interrupted only by his allies, each of whom takes a substantial amount of time making the point he wishes to make in the form of a question (“Isn’t it true that …?). If none of this time is charged to the speaker, it may go on for quite a while. 

 

I see that Mr. Ralph beat me to it. :)

 

Okay Daniel, now I understand that. Thanks to the both of you for explaining it that way.  Let's end the discussion now.

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