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Expunging without Rescinding

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The text discusses the motion Rescind and Expunge from the Minutes. Is it possible for an assembly to adopt a motion to expunge something without rescinding it, such as a motion which was not adopted, or a motion which was adopted but cannot be rescinded? If so, what are the requirements for such a motion?

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My guess is that "Rescind and Expunge from the Minutes" is a "term of art" (ugh!) and, as such, can't be divided without ruining the "art".

 

Not to mention the fact that nothing is really expunged. But I digress.

 

I see no reason why an assembly couldn't adopt a motion to draw a (thin) line through whatever text in the approved minutes it wants to "expunge".

 

Perhaps the 12th edition will include the motion, Draw a Thin Line Through the Minutes.

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It seems to me that there are two schools of thought on this forum as to what an assembly may and may not do.

 

Some on this forum seem to be "strict constructionists" and believe that an assembly (or organization) can do only what a law, bylaw, special rule or RONR explicitly says it can do.

 

Others take the opposite view and believe that an assembly (or organization) can do pretty much whatever it wants to do unless there is some law, bylaw, special rule or provision in RONR that specifically prohibits it.

 

I belong to the second group and I see nothing to prevent an assembly from adopting a valid motion to expunge something from the minutes (or, to quote Mr. Guest, to "draw a thin line through" something in the minutes).   The assembly is the final arbiter of what goes in its minutes, is it not?

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I belong to the second group and I see nothing to prevent an assembly from adopting a valid motion to expunge something from the minutes (or, to quote Mr. Guest, to "draw a thin line through" something in the minutes).   The assembly is the final arbiter of what goes in its minutes, is it not?

I agree with you.  The other part of the original question was what vote would be required to do the expunging.  I would argue it would also require a Majority of the Entire Membership.  My thoughts being that Rescind and Expunge requires a MEM and since a motion to Rescind requires a lower voting threshold it would appear that the higher threshold would come from the proposed act of expunging the language from the minutes.

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I would argue it would also require a Majority of the Entire Membership.  My thoughts being that Rescind and Expunge requires a MEM and since a motion to Rescind requires a lower voting threshold it would appear that the higher threshold would come from the proposed act of expunging the language from the minutes.

 

I'm not sure why such a high voting threshold would be required to draw a thin line though selected text in the minutes. Especially since it really doesn't accomplish anything (though it sounds very serious when the word "expunge" is used).

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I'm not sure why such a high voting threshold would be required to draw a thin line though selected text in the minutes. Especially since it really doesn't accomplish anything (though it sounds very serious when the word "expunge" is used).

 

In addition, however, "In any published record of the proceedings, the expunged material is omitted." (RONR, 11th ed., p. 310)

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In addition, however, "In any published record of the proceedings, the expunged material is omitted." (RONR, 11th ed., p. 310)

 

Though, if the proceedings have been published, hasn't that ship sailed?

 

Speaking of which, I trust you had an enjoyable afternoon on the Bay. It was a splendid day here in the beautiful mid-Hudson valley (albeit on dry land).

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The text discusses the motion Rescind and Expunge from the Minutes. Is it possible for an assembly to adopt a motion to expunge something without rescinding it, such as a motion which was not adopted, or a motion which was adopted but cannot be rescinded? If so, what are the requirements for such a motion?

 

 

 . . .  I would argue it would also require a Majority of the Entire Membership.  My thoughts being that Rescind and Expunge requires a MEM and since a motion to Rescind requires a lower voting threshold it would appear that the higher threshold would come from the proposed act of expunging the language from the minutes.

 

In answering Josh Martin's question, I  concur in the opinion and reasoning expressed by Mr. Harrison, although I question the need for such a high vote threshold.  As a practical matter, it is the members who usually attend meetings who know what is going on.  By requiring such a high vote threshold on something that likely doesn't even affect those members who never show up, we are allowing them to stymie the will of the majority or two-thirds of those members who do attend the meetings and know what is going on.  To  me, this doesn't rise to the level of something like a bylaw amendment.  I would much prefer a two-thirds vote requirement, possibly with previous notice. 

 

RONR doesn't address a "simple" motion to expunge, but following the logic and rationale expressed by Mr. Harrison, with which I agree, I reluctantly conclude that it would take a majority of the entire membership.

 

I'm anxious to hear what others have to say on this.

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RONR doesn't address a "simple" motion to expunge, but following the logic and rationale expressed by Mr. Harrison, with which I agree, I reluctantly conclude that it would take a majority of the entire membership.

 

Even though nothing is actually expunged from the minutes?

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Even though nothing is actually expunged from the minutes?

 

That's one reason that I question the high vote requirement to Rescind and expunge from the minutes" and why I don't like such a high vote requirement to simply "expunge from the minutes" without rescinding anything.... if that is indeed the vote threshold.  I don't like it, but that's the way I interpret it.  Of course, since a "simple" motion to "expunge from the minutes" doesn't exist in RONR, perhaps the assembly can decide for itself what threshold should apply.

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Of course, since a "simple" motion to "expunge from the minutes" doesn't exist in RONR, perhaps the assembly can decide for itself what threshold should apply.

 

And if they can do this with a majority vote I think we're on the same page.

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There are two ways of looking at this.  if the intent of using "expunge" is simply to annotate the minutes so that if they are ever published the offending material is omitted, then it is essentially question of privilege affecting the assembly (akin to going into executive session) and only a majority vote is needed.  If the intent is actually to "delete" the offending material then it is a motion to amend something previously adopted (i.e., the minutes) and hence requires a majority vote with notice or a 2/3 or MEM without notice.

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There are two ways of looking at this.  if the intent of using "expunge" is simply to annotate the minutes so that if they are ever published the offending material is omitted, then it is essentially question of privilege affecting the assembly (akin to going into executive session) and only a majority vote is needed.

 

Do you have a citation for that?

 

 

  If the intent is actually to "delete" the offending material then it is a motion to amend something previously adopted (i.e., the minutes) and hence requires a majority vote with notice or a 2/3 or MEM without notice.

 

Do you have a citation for the vote requirement of a majority vote with notice?   What about the two-thirds without notice?   I see nothing in the provisions dealing with "Rescind and expunge from the minutes" that requires previous notice and I see nothing that allows it to be done with a majority vote. 

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If the intent is actually to "delete" the offending material then it is a motion to amend something previously adopted (i.e., the minutes) and hence requires a majority vote with notice or a 2/3 or MEM without notice.

 

Except that you can't rescind (i.e. amend) an action that's been completed and once the minutes have been approved, the action has been completed. I'm not sure why the word "delete" is in quotes but my guess is that it suggests you might not be quite sure of your position.

 

Nothing in RONR gives the assembly the authority to re-write history. That's not to say it can't. It just can't do so legitimately.

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The text discusses the motion Rescind and Expunge from the Minutes. Is it possible for an assembly to adopt a motion to expunge something without rescinding it, such as a motion which was not adopted, or a motion which was adopted but cannot be rescinded? If so, what are the requirements for such a motion?

What is wrong with just using "Amend Something Previously Adopted"?

Are you not just striking through a word or phrase?

 

Minutes which are adopted are minutes which are amendable. Right?

Q. Where do you see a problem beyond A.S.P.A.?

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What is wrong with just using "Amend Something Previously Adopted"?

Are you not just striking through a word or phrase?

 

Minutes which are adopted are minutes which are amendable. Right?

Q. Where do you see a problem beyond A.S.P.A.?

 

Kim, you might be right and that might be the best way to deal with it. 

 

It might be helpful if you look at the thread in the general discussion forum that led to Josh Martin posting this question in the advanced discussion group.  That thread can be found here: http://robertsrules.forumflash.com/index.php?/topic/23092-to-remove-an-item-from-minutes/

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The text discusses the motion Rescind and Expunge from the Minutes. Is it possible for an assembly to adopt a motion to expunge something without rescinding it, such as a motion which was not adopted, or a motion which was adopted but cannot be rescinded? If so, what are the requirements for such a motion?

It appears that all you need to do is to execute HALF of the motion.

 

There is nothing to rescind.

(Given the motion was defeated, or at least "no vote was taken" per the original poster).

 

Therefore, "I move to expunge from the minutes of [date] the defeated item [X] . . ."

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What is wrong with just using "Amend Something Previously Adopted"?

Are you not just striking through a word or phrase?

 

Minutes which are adopted are minutes which are amendable. Right?

Q. Where do you see a problem beyond A.S.P.A.?

 

My understanding has been that Amend Something Previously Adopted is applied to minutes when there is an error or material omission, not when the assembly doesn't like what happened.

 

It appears that all you need to do is to execute HALF of the motion.

 

There is nothing to rescind.

(Given the motion was defeated, or at least "no vote was taken" per the original poster).

 

Therefore, "I move to expunge from the minutes of [date] the defeated item [X] . . ."

 

Yes, my question was whether it is in order to do that, and if so, what the requirements are.

 

My own opinion on the subject was that yes, it is, and it has the same requirements as for Rescind and Expunge from the Minutes, but I thought it was wise to get a second opinion since the book does not address this subject.

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The text discusses the motion Rescind and Expunge from the Minutes. Is it possible for an assembly to adopt a motion to expunge something without rescinding it, such as a motion which was not adopted, or a motion which was adopted but cannot be rescinded? If so, what are the requirements for such a motion?

 

General Robert was quite skeptical about motions to rescind and expunge from the record, writing in PL (p. 113), "Such a motion, to deface records, requires a vote of the majority of the entire membership, and it is doubtful that if even that vote is sufficient to authorize such action."

Since RONR says that a member may move to Rescind and Expunge from the Record, it has become a legitimate motion, but I would be wary of extending the idea to other forms of expunction.

(In other words, I don't have a definite answer to this question, but I wanted an excuse to use the word expunction. :))

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The text discusses the motion Rescind and Expunge from the Minutes. Is it possible for an assembly to adopt a motion to expunge something without rescinding it, such as a motion which was not adopted, or a motion which was adopted but cannot be rescinded? If so, what are the requirements for such a motion?

 

I think it would be a very bad idea to expunge a motion that can't be rescinded.

 

I suppose it makes just as much sense to expunge a motion that wasn't adopted as one that was adopted but later rescinded. I could see the requirements for expunging a motion like this being the same as for rescind and expunge, but I don't like it.

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Guest Scott Burns

Do you have a citation for that?

 

 

 

Do you have a citation for the vote requirement of a majority vote with notice?   What about the two-thirds without notice?   I see nothing in the provisions dealing with "Rescind and expunge from the minutes" that requires previous notice and I see nothing that allows it to be done with a majority vote. 

Re a majority vote for question of privilege: 11th ed. at p. 225 l. 17-19 "it is treated as a main motion."

 

Re Amend Something Previously Adopted: p. 305 l. 24-31.

 

Note that I was NOT relying on anything RONR provides about Rescind and Expunge from the Minutes; that's why you can't find it there.  The situation that started this post clearly indicated that Mr. Martin was looking for a remedy other than that motion.  I also took the liberty of making a generic response not necessarily limited to his facts.  I.e., there are times one actually wants to "delete" (i.e. "strike") something from the minutes -- not "expunge" in the technical sense.  This occurs when something is in the adopted minutes that should never have been recorded in the first place  -- such as including a resolution that was properly withdrawn by its author after members complained that the Whereas clauses had racist overtones;  or a Secretary's gratuitous comments about the merits of someone's argument;  or a lengthy recitation of debate that includes inappropriate personal remarks that may be defamatory.  None of these are "actions" that can be rescinded and "expunging" them in the manner RONR provides is not a solution. My response was intended to point out ways of making such corrections by using the motions to amend something previously adopted (p. 475 l. 18-24) and a question of privilege of the assembly (main motion).  I acknowledge that my solutions could be abused by someone who wants to rewrite the history of the "actions taken" rather than get rid of "things that shouldn't be there."  That is an ethical issue - not a procedural issue.  

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Re a majority vote for question of privilege: 11th ed. at p. 225 l. 17-19 "it is treated as a main motion."

 

Re Amend Something Previously Adopted: p. 305 l. 24-31.

 

Note that I was NOT relying on anything RONR provides about Rescind and Expunge from the Minutes; that's why you can't find it there.    I also took the liberty of making a generic response not necessarily limited to his facts.  I.e., there are times one actually wants to "delete" (i.e. "strike") something from the minutes -- not "expunge" in the technical sense.  This occurs when something is in the adopted minutes that should never have been recorded in the first place  -- such as including a resolution that was properly withdrawn by its author after members complained that the Whereas clauses had racist overtones;  or a Secretary's gratuitous comments about the merits of someone's argument;  or a lengthy recitation of debate that includes inappropriate personal remarks that may be defamatory.  None of these are "actions" that can be rescinded and "expunging" them in the manner RONR provides is not a solution. My response was intended to point out ways of making such corrections by using the motions to amend something previously adopted (p. 475 l. 18-24) and a question of privilege of the assembly (main motion).  I acknowledge that my solutions could be abused by someone who wants to rewrite the history of the "actions taken" rather than get rid of "things that shouldn't be there."  That is an ethical issue - not a procedural issue.  

Correction: I shouldn't have said "The situation that started this post clearly indicated that Mr. Martin was looking for a remedy other than that motion."  Mr. Martin was looking only for how to "expunge" without rescinding.  It was one of the other responses that took me down this more generic path.  With respect to Mr. Martin's situation specifically, I concur with Kim Goldsworthy: just move to expunge.  Although this half-motion is not expressly provided for in RONR, it is clearly within the nature of a "Question of Privilege of the Assembly/Request"

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I will put this forward.  Expunge changes the rules relating to the content of the minutes as they relate to the orderly transaction of business.  It would take the vote necessary to adopt a special rule to expunge without rescinding, but I think that such a special rule could be adopted. 

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I will put this forward.  Expunge changes the rules relating to the content of the minutes as they relate to the orderly transaction of business.  It would take the vote necessary to adopt a special rule to expunge without rescinding, but I think that such a special rule could be adopted. 

 

As noted in post #19, General Robert was of the opinion that "Such a motion, to deface records, requires a vote of the majority of the entire membership, and it is doubtful that if even that vote is sufficient to authorize such action."

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As noted in post #19, General Robert was of the opinion that "Such a motion, to deface records, requires a vote of the majority of the entire membership, and it is doubtful that if even that vote is sufficient to authorize such action."

 

 

Yet it may be done.  There is precedent, in at least the Senate.

 

I am not speaking to the advisability of doing so.  :)

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