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Kim Goldsworthy

rescind a defeated motion

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Question. A motion that 40 typewriters be purchased

was rejected by a vote of 13 yes and 14 no.

 

One who voted yes, knowing that he cannot move to reconsider,

plans to open the question again by moving to buy 30 typewriters.

(a.) Can he do this at a meeting that is the adjournment of the

meeting at which the first motion was made?

(b.) Could he move to rescind action and then make his motion?

Answer.

(a.) No. The new motion is so similar to the one rejected by the assembly at the same session that it would be out of order.

(b.) Yes, provided the motion to rescind is adopted by a two-thirds vote. This vote is required because no previous notice was given.

[Parliamentary Law. p. 515, question 310]

 

 

Please note letter "b." in the Q-and-A.

Q. How did it come to be that the authorship team of RONR came to the decision that one cannot rescind a defeated motion?

That is, how did the authorship team reason that Henry Martyn Robert was wrong in 1923?

 

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Please note letter "b." in the Q-and-A.

Q. How did it come to be that the authorship team of RONR came to the decision that one cannot rescind a defeated motion?

That is, how did the authorship team reason that Henry Martyn Robert was wrong in 1923?

 

 

I doubt that any of us have said that General Robert was wrong in 1923, because it doesn't matter. The rule now is what it is (and what it has been since at least as far back as 1970).

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Q. How did it come to be that the authorship team of RONR came to the decision that one cannot rescind a defeated motion?

 

I'd be more interested to know why General Robert thought that one could.

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I'd be more interested to know why General Robert thought that one could.

 

 

My guess would be that it effectively suspends the rules, though I would have preferred a more involved answer. 

 

 

Yes, it suspends the rules of logic.

 

 

No, they could be suspending the rules regarding renewal of main motions. 

 

If one insists on engaging in this sort of useless speculation, one should at least base that speculation on something that makes some sense. When General Robert said (in the Q&A in PL referred to above) that a two-thirds vote would be required because no previous notice was given, he obviously was referring to the vote required to adopt the motion to rescind, and not to the vote required to suspend the rules.

 

The General's response in that Q&A is far more likely the result of thinking from time to time in terms of rescinding a vote (e.g., see PL, p. 84, l. 8; ROR, 1915 ed., top of p. 169). But, as I said before, I regard all of this as useless speculation (except that it might serve as a warning never to think of the motion to Rescind in terms of its being a motion to rescind a vote).

 

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If one insists on engaging in this sort of useless speculation, one should at least base that speculation on something that makes some sense. When General Robert said (in the Q&A in PL referred to above) that a two-thirds vote would be required because no previous notice was given, he obviously was referring to the vote required to adopt the motion to rescind, and not to the vote required to suspend the rules.

 

The General's response in that Q&A is far more likely the result of thinking from time to time in terms of rescinding a vote (e.g., see PL, p. 84, l. 8; ROR, 1915 ed., top of p. 169). But, as I said before, I regard all of this as useless speculation (except that it might serve as a warning never to think of the motion to Rescind in terms of its being a motion to rescind a vote).

 

 

Well, could the rules be suspended to permit the renewal of a defeated motion? 

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Well, could the rules be suspended to permit the renewal of a defeated motion? 

 

Yes, but this has absolutely nothing to do with General Robert's response in the Q&A referred to. When he said that a two-thirds vote would be required because no previous notice was given, he obviously was not referring to a suspension of the rules.

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Yes, but this has absolutely nothing to do with General Robert's response in the Q&A referred to. When he said that a two-thirds vote would be required because no previous notice was given, he obviously was not referring to a suspension of the rules.

 

 

Note that the General did not mention a majority of the entire membership, which, even at the time, was a possibility for rescission.   Perhaps in 1923, this was still embryonic.  

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As I have indicated, General Robert's response in the Q&A referred to above is likely the result of thinking in terms of rescinding a vote, and he himself later changed what he wrote in this regard.

 

In the 1915 edition of Robert's Rules of Order Revised, Section 37 begins with the words "Any vote taken by an assembly, except those mentioned further on, may be rescinded ...", whereas in the 1943 edition, into which were incorporated the proposed changes which General Robert had recorded in longhand into his personal copy of ROR prior to his death, Section 37 begins with the words "With exceptions noted later, any action or unexecuted part of an order may be rescinded ..."

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Possibly the General made a mistake.

 

Just sayin'.

 

 

I actually don't think the General did, at least in terms of his answer.  The assembly may permit renewal of a defeated motion at the same session by a 2/3 vote.  It could not do so directly by a vote of the majority of the entire membership, unless that vote was also a 2/3 vote. 

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Guest Nancy N.

Please note letter "b." in the Q-and-A.

Q. How did it come to be that the authorship team of RONR came to the decision that one cannot rescind a defeated motion?

That is, how did the authorship team reason that Henry Martyn Robert was wrong in 1923?

 

 

Before I had read all the above abstruse and nuanced prestidigitation, I would have thought this Q&A an unremarkable reflection of the General's position on the subject at the time:  "If a main motion ... has been adopted or rejected ... the question can be brought up again during the same session only by moving to rescind the motion (ROR, 1951, Section 10 - item 5 ( c ), p. 49 - 50)."

 

Now I'll have to think it through all over again.  See you all in April, maybe.

 

-- Nancy N.

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Before I had read all the above abstruse and nuanced prestidigitation, I would have thought this Q&A an unremarkable reflection of the General's position on the subject at the time:  "If a main motion ... has been adopted or rejected ... the question can be brought up again during the same session only by moving to rescind the motion (ROR, 1951, Section 10 - item 5 ( c ), p. 49 - 50)."

 

Now I'll have to think it through all over again.  See you all in April, maybe.

 

-- Nancy N.

 

If you read that paragraph in its entirety, especially what comes later, I think it becomes clear that General Robert was referring to rescission of an adopted motion.

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Guest Nancy N.

If you read that paragraph in its entirety, especially what comes later, I think it becomes clear that General Robert was referring to rescission of an adopted motion.

 

Oho.  Thanks!  It's clear that when he says "adopted or rejected" at the beginning of the passage (section 5c), he's introducing both of those cases, but he deals with adoption first, and he gets to renewal a sentence or two later.

 

That had bothered me for some time.  I was willing to entertain the conceit that General Robert had thought from the outset that defeated motions could be rescinded, and later changed his mind; so that what made no sense to me -- after all, we can't rescind what isn't there -- was not really the issue, but it was a matter of nomenclature: that is, the words "-rescinding a defeated motion-" meant something different then, to General Robert, from what they mean now.  (Somewhat like "previous question".)  But I never got around to asking.  As the saying goes, there are only 168 hours in a week; and by the time you get to hour 166 or 167, you pretty much have to shrug, accept what is, and, as the saying goes, tomorrow is another week.

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