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Tie vote on application - Next appropriate motion


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I chair a local licensing board and recently had a contentious matter before the board, so I was pleased to find this forum and hope someone can provide a little guidance.  I've been combing through the Rules.  Looking for other thoughts.


An application for a retail alcohol license was presented.   A public hearing was opened.   After two sessions of discussion and debate, the public hearing was closed.   A motion was made to "approve the application as presented."   That motion failed on a 2-2 vote, with one member absent.   A second motion was immediately offered to "table the issue until the next meeting when all five members would be present."   That motion was seconded by one of the negative votes on the prior motion, and it passed unanimously.   The law allows the absent member to review the minutes of the meeting he missed and sign an affidavit that he reviewed the minutes of the prior session and is familiar with the business before the board.


I construe "the issue" that was tabled to be the question of what action the licensing board will take on the application.   It did not approve the application, but I see no reason why a second motion to "approve with conditions" or another appropriate motion couldn't be offered at the next session.   The question I have is:  Can a new motion to "approve the application" be offered? And, if so, who can make that motion?


My sense is that, if the identical motion were to be made, it would need to be preceded by a motion to reconsider; and, that motion could only be made by one of the two negative votes on the prior motion that failed on a tie vote.   However, I don't see any reason why the applicant couldn't resubmit his application and, if the board chose, the board could hear it.  Or, it's quite common for licenses like this to be remanded to the licensing board upon appeal to the state authority.  Either way, "the issue" is properly back before the board and any member can make any motion, so I'm wondering whether, procedurally, it matters how we get from Point A to Point B.    The goal, I think, is for the full board to be able to vote on the same motion, and we'll let the chips fall.


So, my take is that any of the following could happen at the next session, and wanted thoughts or suggestions from others more experienced and knowledgeable than I.  The Board could take "the issue" off the table and:


(1)  Reconsider the prior vote, upon motion by one of the negative votes(?), and then reconsider the "motion to approve"

(2)  Entertain a motion to "approve with conditions" - anyone can make that motion

(3)  Deny the application - anyone can make that motion

(4)  Discuss and vote on any other appropriate motion (e.g. table, postpone to a date certain, etc.)


Any thoughts?  The four members present at the prior session were unanimous that they wanted this considered by the full board.   On the other hand, I'm not sure one of the negative votes would be so eager to make a motion to reconsider; since I think he would see that as tacit endorsement of the application.  I am the other negative vote.   I understand that the Rules allow me, even though chair, to move reconsideration - and I will, if necessary.  But, since this was a contentious matter, and since that would be a unique occurrence, I'm really looking to avoid the unique.   It would be best if the board could simply treat "the issue" as if no prior vote were taken and then any member could make any motion.   I want to be procedurally correct, though.   And, frankly, I know and like those on both sides, so I truly don't care which way the vote tilts.


Thanks for any and all thoughts on this.

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Speaking only for RONR  (your liquor board may have other rules that supersede RONR)...


First, the application was defeated - you got that right as it was a tie vote.  The motion was completely disposed of for the current session.


Second, it was not then proper to "Table" the motion as there was nothing pending to Table - or more properly postpone to the next meeting.  The motion was gone, dead, defeated, kaput (like the Monte Python parrot),


However, at the next session, it is perfectly proper for any board member to make the same motion again - "renew" is the proper term - since it was defeated earlier.  No need (and it would be improper anyway) to precede the renewal of the original motion with a motion to reconsider.


Don't move to "deny" the application.  What would it mean if that motion was defeated?  Still no "approval".


One thing to check - is your subsequent meeting actually a new "session"?  Ask your lawyer.  If not, then the renewal would itself be improper and the motion will have to wait until a really new session comes around.

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Don't move to "deny" the application.  What would it mean if that motion was defeated?  Still no "approval".

John, if this was a normal organization, i would agree.  However, I suspect that this board operates under rules which require them to either approve the application as submitted, approve it with amendments or conditions, or to deny it.  It is probably important that they have the right....and maybe the duty.... to officially deny it, as such a denial may be necessary for the applicant to appeal to a review board or to the courts.  It has been my experience that things such as applications for alcohol permits, special event permits, zoning variances, etc are either granted, granted with conditions or amendments, or denied.  If it is simply "not approved", the applicant is left hanging, possibly without being able to appeal a denial.   There are often time limits within which such a board must act.


Since this is a public body, I would suggest that our poster consult with the city or county attorney regarding their options.

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