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Guest Kris

Call for the Question

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Guest Kris

In a small meeting a controversial question is being discussed, monopolized, by three members. Other members wish to discuss the question and the chair tries unsuccessfully to recognize them. Finally one of the loudmouth three, attempting to cut off debate, calls for the question and is seconded. The chair ignored the seconded motion (call) and allowed other members to speak. Then a vote was taken on the original question. Was the chair correct to ignore the seconded call for the question?

 

Thanks

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In a small meeting a controversial question is being discussed, monopolized, by three members. Other members wish to discuss the question and the chair tries unsuccessfully to recognize them.

If I understand correctly that the members were continuing to speak even when they did not have the floor (and in fact, even after the floor had been assigned to someone else), this is a serious offense. The members responsible should have promptly been called to order by the chair, and disciplinary procedures would have been appropriate if the members persisted in this behavior.

Finally one of the loudmouth three, attempting to cut off debate, calls for the question and is seconded. The chair ignored the seconded motion (call) and allowed other members to speak. Then a vote was taken on the original question. Was the chair correct to ignore the seconded call for the question?

It's not entirely clear whether the member who moved the Previous Question had been recognized by the chair. I don't think the chair should have ignored him in either case. If the member was recognized, the chair should have stated the question on the motion for the Previous Question and proceeded to take a vote on that motion. If the member was not recognized, the chair should have called him to order.

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Guest Kris

Can't say for sure the member who called for the question was recognized before making that motion, although for other reasons I'm sure he was out of order, but let's say his seconded motion to call was legit. As I understand the call for the question, if legitimately made and seconded, can there be discussion on the call before a vote is taken on it?

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As I understand the call for the question, if legitimately made and seconded, can there be discussion on the call before a vote is taken on it?

 

The unfortunately named motion to call (or move) the Previous Question is not debatable.

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Why does this matter?

Perhaps because in small meetings, alerting the chair that you want to be recognized does not have to be by standing?  That's the only thing I can think of.

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It is often harder to tell when someone is 'recognized' in a small meeting because small meetings tend to be less careful about it, in addition to the rules about standing to seek recognition.  

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Guest Kris

This was a board meeting with some general members attending, maybe a dozen all familiar with each other, having belonged to this group for many years. Standing for recognition is rarely done, maybe that will change.

 

After re-reading the available information in RONR, I understand better, but I still refer back to the original ambiguity that confused me. Pg 202 lines 13 - 15 ""Before or after such a motion has been seconded, the chair may ask if there is any objection to closing debate" which there definitely was. Other lines under the same heading caution against "violation of members' rights of debate". And the end of the section seems to remind of the wish to allow all members to speak to a question.

 

Thanks for all your responses so far.

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. Pg 202 lines 13 - 15 ""Before or after such a motion has been seconded, the chair may ask if there is any objection to closing debate"

 

Yes, the FAQ notes this is an option.

 

Don't let the rest confuse you too much.  The bottom line of the motion is - by a 2/3 vote the assembly can cut off everyone's right to debate, assuming, as the FAQ notes, the motion is properly moved by a member who was recognized by the chair and then seconded.  As Edgar noted, the motion for the previous question itself is not debatable.

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