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Daniel H. Honemann

Idle Thoughts re Fundamental Principles

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11 minutes ago, J. J. said:

That isn't irrelevant.  In B, the assembly specifically agreed  "that the pending motion be postponed indefinitely." That is tantamount to adopting a motion to Postpone Indefinitely.  I as I am sure that you are aware, there are many cases where motions are not made in so many words, but a none the less, adopted.

In B the assembly has said that, the result of this motion being adopted will be that the pending motion will be postponed indefinitely  It states it in so many words. 

I would also note that if Postpone Indefinitely was moved, it would be in order that the Previous Question be made immediately.  The Previous Question were adopted by less than a 2/3 vote, and Postpone Indefinitely then adopted, by a majority vote.  In such cases, the motion to Postpone Indefinitely would still be adopted. 

In this case, the rules that are being suspended are that a member needs to seek recognition to move the Previous Question, and that the members need not take a separate vote on the motions Previous Question and Postpone Indefinitely.  . 

 

Well, I'm afraid that I can be of no further assistance.

 

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2 minutes ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Well, I'm afraid that I can be of no further assistance.

 

You did help frame the question, and I regard that as excellent assistance. 

 

I will be honest, I would rule that the assembly, under suspension, did postpone the question indefinitely, though did obviously not do so as a separate motion, and I would not permit an appeal on that ground (though that would not be a blanket ruling on any appeal related to this motion). 

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Since I have another idle moment, I'll try once more to assist.  :)

J.J., you say that "In this case, the rules that are being suspended are that a member needs to seek recognition to move the Previous Question, and that the members need not take a separate vote on the motions Previous Question and Postpone Indefinitely", but the fact is that we are dealing with a motion "to suspend the rules and agree that the pending motion be postponed indefinitely", which motion is governed by the rules in Section 25 of RONR.

The rule being suspended is the rule that debate must be allowed before voting to indefinitely postpone a main motion, and it is a fundamental principle of parliamentary law that this requires a two-thirds vote.

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2 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Since I have another idle moment, I'll try once more to assist.  :)

J.J., you say that "In this case, the rules that are being suspended are that a member needs to seek recognition to move the Previous Question, and that the members need not take a separate vote on the motions Previous Question and Postpone Indefinitely", but the fact is that we are dealing with a motion "to suspend the rules and agree that the pending motion be postponed indefinitely", which motion is governed by the rules in Section 25 of RONR.

The rule being suspended is the rule that debate must be allowed before voting to indefinitely postpone a main motion, and it is a fundamental principle of parliamentary law that this requires a two-thirds vote.

But does violation of the presumed fundamental principle create a breach that extends beyond the motion being postponed indefinitely?

I submit that once the assembly passes beyond the point where debate would normally be in order, the breach ends.  There is a breach of a continuing nature, but it is healed when the assembly postpones the motion indefinitely.    I think this principle applies at this point:  "that once a motion has been voted on it is too late to raise a point of order that debate on that motion had been improperly suppressed."  That was used in a different, but similar, context.  

A continuing breach is not an eternal breach.  This is not a question of if there is a breach of a continuing nature regarding suppressing debate by less than a 2/3 vote; for the purposes of this thread, I agree that there is one.  It is a question of the duration of that continuing breach, i.e., how long does that continuing breach last?

In the scenario described, there is a breach of a continuing nature, but its existence is rather short.  There can be circumstances where the duration of breach related to closing debate by less than a 2/3 vote would last longer.

 

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3 minutes ago, J. J. said:

But does violation of the presumed fundamental principle create a breach that extends beyond the motion being postponed indefinitely?

I submit that once the assembly passes beyond the point where debate would normally be in order, the breach ends.  There is a breach of a continuing nature, but it is healed when the assembly postpones the motion indefinitely.    I think this principle applies at this point:  "that once a motion has been voted on it is too late to raise a point of order that debate on that motion had been improperly suppressed."  That was used in a different, but similar, context.  

A continuing breach is not an eternal breach.  This is not a question of if there is a breach of a continuing nature regarding suppressing debate by less than a 2/3 vote; for the purposes of this thread, I agree that there is one.  It is a question of the duration of that continuing breach, i.e., how long does that continuing breach last?

In the scenario described, there is a breach of a continuing nature, but its existence is rather short.  There can be circumstances where the duration of breach related to closing debate by less than a 2/3 vote would last longer.

 

What you are saying is that, in this instance, the breach is healed by the exact same act that created it. This makes no sense at all.

The breach here is the declaration that the motion "to suspend the rules and agree that the pending motion be postponed indefinitely" was adopted, thus allowing a vote which was less than a two-thirds vote to kill (suppress) the main motion for the duration of the session without any debate, and this breach will not be "healed" (as you call it), until the session is adjourned (unless, of course, it is corrected before that time).

 

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5 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

What you are saying is that, in this instance, the breach is healed by the exact same act that created it. This makes no sense at all.

The breach here is the declaration that the motion "to suspend the rules and agree that the pending motion be postponed indefinitely" was adopted, thus allowing a vote which was less than a two-thirds vote to kill (suppress) the main motion for the duration of the session without any debate, and this breach will not be "healed" (as you call it), until the session is adjourned (unless, of course, it is corrected before that time).

 

 

Pretty close, in this case to the breach healing almost immediately.  There are examples, and you've given some quite good ones, where the breach continues, and could continue into the next session.

 

In looking another fundamental principle, one motion at a time, I would see something analogous.  Assume that Main Motion A is pending, and Sam, a member, moves Main Motion B.  The assembly thinks Motion B is great and a member asks for unanimous consent to adopt Motion B.  The chair if there are any objections and, with none, declares Motion B adopted.  The members return to debating Motion A and after a few hours, adopts it..

This clearly violates a fundamental principle, but should a point of order raised, at some point after Motion A was adopted, that Motion B was improperly pending and therefor void?  My answer is no.  A point of order about Motion B violating the one motion at the time rule would have to be raised when Motions A and B were simultaneously pending (and in this example that was only a few seconds).

You can have a continuing breach that lasts for a while, or one that lasts about as long as a breach not of a continuing nature.  It depends on the circumstances.

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16 hours ago, J. J. said:

 

Pretty close, in this case to the breach healing almost immediately.  There are examples, and you've given some quite good ones, where the breach continues, and could continue into the next session.

 

In looking another fundamental principle, one motion at a time, I would see something analogous.  Assume that Main Motion A is pending, and Sam, a member, moves Main Motion B.  The assembly thinks Motion B is great and a member asks for unanimous consent to adopt Motion B.  The chair if there are any objections and, with none, declares Motion B adopted.  The members return to debating Motion A and after a few hours, adopts it..

This clearly violates a fundamental principle, but should a point of order raised, at some point after Motion A was adopted, that Motion B was improperly pending and therefor void?  My answer is no.  A point of order about Motion B violating the one motion at the time rule would have to be raised when Motions A and B were simultaneously pending (and in this example that was only a few seconds).

You can have a continuing breach that lasts for a while, or one that lasts about as long as a breach not of a continuing nature.  It depends on the circumstances.

It seems to me you are saying that, in Scenario B, although you will assume (for the sake of argument) that a breach of a fundamental principle of parliamentary law has occurred by permitting a vote which was less than a two-thirds vote to kill (suppress) the main motion for the duration of the session without any debate, a point of order must nevertheless be raised promptly, at the time when the breach occurred, because the breach was healed by the same act that created it, and so, in point of fact, there is no continuing breach.

But if this were the case, the same thing would be true with respect to Scenario A. In both of these scenarios there is only one motion voted on, the (erroneously declared) adoption of which suppressed the main motion for the session without debate. In both scenarios, the motion which was voted on required a two-thirds vote for its adoption because it was undebatable and its adoption would itself suppress, without any debate, the pending main motion for the duration of the session.

These two scenarios are not at all the same as Scenario C, in which the motion (Previous Question) was erroneously declared to have been adopted by less than a two-thirds vote, and thereafter, as a consequence of this breach of the rules, a motion (Postpone Indefinitely) was voted on without any debate. In Scenario C, the breach of the rules occurred when the Previous Question was declared to have been adopted by less than a two-thirds vote, but this breach of the rules (although violating a fundamental principle of parliamentary law) did not itself suppress the main motion for the session without debate. 

However, it appears that we do agree as to what occurs in A and C if the rule being violated is a fundamental principle, and I'm willing to settle for that. Both of these scenarios involve motions which are frequently encountered, whereas the motion involved in B is a form of the motion to Suspend the Rules which is not at all likely to be encountered.

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2 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

It seems to me you are saying that, in Scenario B, although you will assume (for the sake of argument) that a breach of a fundamental principle of parliamentary law has occurred by permitting a vote which was less than a two-thirds vote to kill (suppress) the main motion for the duration of the session without any debate, a point of order must nevertheless be raised promptly, at the time when the breach occurred, because the breach was healed by the same act that created it, and so, in point of fact, there is no continuing breach.

 

No, I am not saying that.  :)

I am saying that, as a general rule, the point of order can be raised while the breach is in existence, continuing in the terms of RONR.  It this case, the existence of this breach is quite short.  In other cases, dealing with a violation the same (assumed) fundamental principle, the breach may exist longer.

 

In Scenario B, the assembly took an action, postponing the motion indefinitely, which it can do by majority vote.  It cannot suppress debate on the action of postponing the motion indefinitely without a two thirds vote, but even if debate is improperly suppressed, the majority can still postpone the motion indefinitely 

In Scenario A, the majority (that is not a 2/3 vote) cannot adopt Objection to the Consideration of the Question.  It would require a 2/3 vote. 

In Scenario A, the assembly could take the action that it did take, that is objecting to the consideration, only by a 2/3 or greater vote.

In Scenario B, the assembly could take the action that it did take, postponing the motion indefinitely, by only by a majority or greater vote.

In Scenario A, the vote threshold was not met.  In Scenario B, the vote threshold was met.

Here is perhaps a middling example:

Member John makes Main Motion A, which is seconded and stated by the chair.  John declines to speak on the motion.

Member Mary is recognized and moves "that the rules be suspended to prohibit the debate on the main motion and any subsidiary motions made in regard to the main motion."  This motion gets less than a 2/3 vote, but the chair declares it adopted. 

These motions follow in rapid succession; assume that they were all proper made, seconded and stated by the chair..

The motion Postpone Indefinitely is made.

A motion to Amend the main motion is made.

A motion to Refer the motion to a committee is made.

Prior to any vote taken on any of these motions, should a point of order "that debate is permitted on all of these motions because the motion to suspend the rules was adopted by less than a 2/3 vote" be well taken?  (I would say yes). 

No point of order is made, and the motion to Refer is defeated.  Should a point of order "that debate is permitted on the motions to Amend, Postpone Indefinitely, and the main motion because the motion to suspend the rules was adopted by less than a 2/3 vote" be well taken?   (I would say yes.)

Should a point of order "that the motion to Refer was improperly rejected because debate was improperly closed," be well taken?  (I would say no.)

The motion to Amend is adopted.  Should a point of order "that debate is permitted on the motions to Postpone Indefinitely, and the main motion because the motion to suspend the rules was adopted by less than a 2/3 vote" be well taken?  (Yes)

Should a point of order "that the motion to amended was improperly adopted because debate was improperly closed," be well taken?  (I would say no.)

The motion to Postpone Indefinitely is adopted.  Should a point of order "that the motion to Postpone Indefinitely was improperly adopted because debate was improperly closed," be well taken? (I would still say no).

If Postpone Indefinitely was defeated should a point of order "that debate is permitted on the main motion because the motion to suspend the rules was adopted by less than a 2/3 vote" be well taken?  (Yes)

This would be consistent with the rubric "that once a motion has been voted on it is too late to raise a point of order that debate on that motion had been improperly suppressed." 

In Scenario A, the point of order would be "that the assembly could not adopt the motion, which has the effect of closing debate, by less than a 2/3 vote,"  should be well taken (if the fundamental principle exists).  It is a distinction with a difference. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

I apologize for trying to make some sense out of what you have been saying, and promise not to do it anymore.  :)

Not angry in the least.  :)

I am suggesting that it is not the length of a breach that determines if a breach is continuing, it is the nature of the breach itself. 

 

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On ‎9‎/‎14‎/‎2016 at 10:51 PM, J. J. said:

Not angry in the least.  :)

I am suggesting that it is not the length of a breach that determines if a breach is continuing, it is the nature of the breach itself. 

 

To the best of my knowledge, no one has suggested that it is anything other than the kind of rule which has been breached that determines whether or not a breach is one of a continuing nature (RONR, 11th ed., p. 251, ll. 3-23). These continuances will obviously be of varying durations. 

What I noted was that it seems to me you have said that, in Scenario B, although you will assume (for the sake of argument) that a breach of a fundamental principle of parliamentary law has occurred by permitting a vote which was less than a two-thirds vote to kill (suppress) the main motion for the duration of the session without any debate, a point of order must nevertheless be raised promptly, at the time when the breach occurred, because the breach was healed by the same act that created it, and so, in point of fact, there is no continuing breach.

I gather that you are saying, however, that if such a breach occurs, a point of order must be raised promptly at the time when the breach occurs (in other words, within the same time frame as is required in the event of a breach which is not of a continuing nature). If I'm wrong about this, how would you describe the period of time during which the breach is continuing?

 

 

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15 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

 

What I noted was that it seems to me you have said that, in Scenario B, although you will assume (for the sake of argument) that a breach of a fundamental principle of parliamentary law has occurred by permitting a vote which was less than a two-thirds vote to kill (suppress) the main motion for the duration of the session without any debate, a point of order must nevertheless be raised promptly, at the time when the breach occurred, because the breach was healed by the same act that created it, and so, in point of fact, there is no continuing breach.

I gather that you are saying, however, that if such a breach occurs, a point of order must be raised promptly at the time when the breach occurs (in other words, within the same time frame as is required in the event of a breach which is not of a continuing nature). If I'm wrong about this, how would you describe the period of time during which the breach is continuing?

 

I would not phrase it like that.  I would say that in Scenario B:

A,  There was definitely a breach of a continuing nature.

B.  The breach, in this case, may be of very short duration. 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, J. J. said:

A,  There was definitely a breach of a continuing nature.

B.  The breach, in this case, may be of very short duration. 

Hmmmmmm . . . . .

Q. If a given breach is of a "very short duration", then what makes it literally "continuing"?

Q. How "short" do you think this continuing breach is?

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39 minutes ago, Kim Goldsworthy said:

Hmmmmmm . . . . .

Q. If a given breach is of a "very short duration", then what makes it literally "continuing"?

Q. How "short" do you think this continuing breach is?

It is continuing because of the nature of the breach.

This breach continues only until the assembly finally disposes of the motion(s) being entertained under suspension, provided that the motion could otherwise be disposed of by a majority vote.

 

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On to a question that I think is related.  Resolution X is pending with one amendment; the amendment is the immediate pending question. Another member moves "to suspend the rules and a agree to the resolution [ i.e. Resolution X]" which will have the effect of adopting the motion [Resolution X] without amendment or further debate (p. 262, ll. 6-8)."  The motion is adopted by a greater than 2/3.  You, as a legitimate member, vote on the prevailing side.

Later in the meeting, you realize that Resolution X is a terrible idea.  The reconsideration of Resolution X would not, at this point, violate any rule on pp. 318-9.   Can you move to Reconsider the adoption of Resolution X? 

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6 hours ago, J. J. said:

I would not phrase it like that.  I would say that in Scenario B:

A,  There was definitely a breach of a continuing nature.

B.  The breach, in this case, may be of very short duration. 

In Scenario B we have a specific factual situation, and so I ask again, how would you describe the period of time during which the breach of the rules which occurred in Scenario B is continuing? When did it commence and when did it end?

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, J. J. said:

On to a question that I think is related.  Resolution X is pending with one amendment; the amendment is the immediate pending question. Another member moves "to suspend the rules and a agree to the resolution [ i.e. Resolution X]" which will have the effect of adopting the motion [Resolution X] without amendment or further debate (p. 262, ll. 6-8)."  The motion is adopted by a greater than 2/3.  You, as a legitimate member, vote on the prevailing side.

Later in the meeting, you realize that Resolution X is a terrible idea.  The reconsideration of Resolution X would not, at this point, violate any rule on pp. 318-9.   Can you move to Reconsider the adoption of Resolution X? 

J.J., I can understand why would like to change the subject, but I respectfully request that you start your own topic in order to do so.

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2 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

In Scenario B we have a specific factual situation, and so I ask again, how would you describe the period of time during which the breach of the rules which occurred in Scenario B is continuing? When did it commence and when did it end?

 

 

 

The breach began when the assembly closed debated improperly and ended when the assembly finally disposed of the subject by the required vote (in this case, a majority).   In other words, when the assembly completed the action that it could have taken without suspending the rules, the breach ended.  (That is the general rule.)

In Scenario B, the breach ended when the chair declared that the motion was postponed indefinitely.  It began when the motion which had the effect of closing debate, the motion to suspend the rules, was adopted by less than a 2/3 vote. 

Had the motion to Postpone Indefinitely for some reason required a 2/3 vote, my answer would be different.    :)

 

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2 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

J.J., I can understand why would like to change the subject, but I respectfully request that you start your own topic in order to do so.

I will ask it separately, but it is part of the same subject.  I do hope you will answer it. 

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6 hours ago, J. J. said:

The breach began when the assembly closed debated improperly and ended when the assembly finally disposed of the subject by the required vote (in this case, a majority).   In other words, when the assembly completed the action that it could have taken without suspending the rules, the breach ended.  (That is the general rule.)

In Scenario B, the breach ended when the chair declared that the motion was postponed indefinitely.  It began when the motion which had the effect of closing debate, the motion to suspend the rules, was adopted by less than a 2/3 vote. 

Had the motion to Postpone Indefinitely for some reason required a 2/3 vote, my answer would be different.    :)

 

Okay, the breach began (occurred) when the assembly "closed debated improperly", which was when the presiding officer declared the motion "to suspend the rules and agree that the pending motion be postponed indefinitely" adopted by less than a two-thirds vote, and ended when the presiding officer declared that the motion "to suspend the rules and agree that the pending motion be postponed indefinitely" was adopted. In other words, at exactly the same time.  Got it!  :)

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3 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Okay, the breach began (occurred) when the assembly "closed debated improperly", which was when the presiding officer declared the motion "to suspend the rules and agree that the pending motion be postponed indefinitely" adopted by less than a two-thirds vote, and ended when the presiding officer declared that the motion "to suspend the rules and agree that the pending motion be postponed indefinitely" was adopted. In other words, at exactly the same time.  Got it!  :)

In  this case, yes.  In all cases, no.

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