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Voting on filling blanks for multiple proposals on division of the question


Setemu
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Hello, Everyone.

I serve as parliamentarian for my organization (which uses RONR as parliamentary authority) and am quite inexperienced relative to many of you. I have a question about the consideration of multiple recommendations being made in a report.

Situation: In this case, there are four recommendations made in a single motion by a committee's reporting member .  Each recommendation can stand alone. I know in advance that one member would like to consider one recommendation separate from the other three. I suspect other members might wish to offer other divisions. RONR states that "If several different proposals [for dividing the question] are made, they should be treated as filling blanks" (RONR 11th ed., p. 272). In thinking ahead, I am uncertain about voting procedure. RONR states (continuing from the previous passage) "...[proposals] should be voted on in the order in which they were proposed unless they suggest different numbers of questions, in which case the largest number is voted on first" (ibid.) I have to two questions.

First question: I am unclear about that "the largest number [of questions]" means immediately above.  In the case where a member proposes recommendation 1 is divided from recommendations 2, 3, 4, is this considered a proposal "two questions" or a proposal that contains one question and three questions? Put differently, would this be an appropriate order for voting on filling blanks on division of the question:

Proposal A: rec. 1, rec. 2, rec. 3, rec. 4 (all considered separately = four questions?)

Proposal B:  1-2, 3, 4,  (three groups = three questions?)

Proposal C: 1-2-3, 4  (two groups = two questions?)

Second question has to do with gaining majority vote: My understanding is that each proposal is then voted on separately, in the order above, if I'm correct there, until one proposal gets a majority, and then voting stops.  In the ideal case, this would mean voting stops at proposal B if proposal A garnered 30% in favor and proposal B garnered 52% in favor. What happens, though, if none of the proposals get majority vote, only a plurality? Does that mean all fail and the assembly is then back to voting on all four recommendations as a whole, as originally moved by the committee's reporting member?  If so, can another motion for division of the question be made?

Thank you for your time.

 

 

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39 minutes ago, Setemu said:

Situation: In this case, there are four recommendations made in a single motion by a committee's reporting member .  Each recommendation can stand alone. I know in advance that one member would like to consider one recommendation separate from the other three. I suspect other members might wish to offer other divisions.

Which of the types of reports discussed on pages 514-525 would the committee's report be? And are the recommendations on a single subject or separate subjects?

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It is unclear to me at this time whether the report is At the Initiative of a Standing Committee Recommending Action or is On a Referred Subject on Which No Resolution or Motion was Pending, but it would be one of the two. I hope that's enough to answer the question.

There is a separate issue, which might complicate matters: the report to the assembly actually came directly from the Chair of a subcommittee of a standing committee as a report from the subcommittee (even though I advised against it when I became aware of the practice; they did so on the grounds it was customary practice--it had been done once or twice before, ). The subcommittee then wanted the assembly to directly charge it with tasks it is recommending, and the rules were suspended by the assembly to allow this. The question was then postponed to our next meeting.

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2 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

I suggest you read what is said on pages 274-75 about motions that must be divided on demand.

Thank you. I think I understand. So, if a member first proposes proposal A above, then no more proposals are in order, because questions must receive separate consideration on demand, and that proposal demands all questions be treated separately. If, on the other hand, a member first proposed proposal C (treating rec. 4 separately) above and then another member proposed B (treating rec 3 and 4 separately), then rec's 1 and 2 would be voted on first, together, and then the ones requiring separate treatment ones would be voted on individually next. Correct?

Edited by Setemu
for added clarity
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I think you've got it right. Note, however, that the demand mechanism operates only when the questions pertain to different subjects. If the four recommendations revolve about the same subject, then the motion to Divide the Question must be used.

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1 hour ago, Setemu said:

Thank you. I think I understand. So, if a member first proposes proposal A above, then no more proposals are in order, because all of the questions must receive separate consideration on demand, and that proposal demands all questions be treated separately. If, on the other hand, a member first proposed proposal C (treating rec. 4 separately) above and then another member proposed B (treating rec 3 and 4 separately), then rec's 1 and 2 would be voted on first, together, and then the ones requiring separate treatment ones would be voted on individually next. Correct?

You've told us that there are four recommendations which have been made in a single motion by a committee's reporting member. If these are independent proposals dealing with different subjects, and if a member demands a separate vote on proposal A and no one demands a separate vote on any of the others, the remaining three proposals are considered and voted on as a group, and then proposal A is considered and voted on. If a demand is made for a separate vote on any of the other proposals, then they are considered and voted on separately as well.

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1 hour ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

You've told us that there are four recommendations which have been made in a single motion by a committee's reporting member. If these are independent proposals dealing with different subjects, and if a member demands a separate vote on proposal A and no one demands a separate vote on any of the others, the remaining three proposals are considered and voted on as a group, and then proposal A is considered and voted on. If a demand is made for a separate vote on any of the other proposals, then they are considered and voted on separately as well.

And if multiple proposals pass then which is adopted?

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On 11/13/2017 at 3:05 PM, Daniel H. Honemann said:

You've told us that there are four recommendations which have been made in a single motion by a committee's reporting member. If these are independent proposals dealing with different subjects, and if a member demands a separate vote on proposal A and no one demands a separate vote on any of the others, the remaining three proposals are considered and voted on as a group, and then proposal A is considered and voted on. If a demand is made for a separate vote on any of the other proposals, then they are considered and voted on separately as well.

Follow-up questions

Part I:  I am now pretty clear on the fact that there are motions that cannot be divided and ones that can must be divided, and I believe I am clear on what criteria are required of each. But I am not as certain about what it means for a question to fit neither of those two categories. Am I correct to assume that the Crestwood example given on p. 273 does not fall into the "cannot divide" category because it meaningfully can be divided by making minor adjustments to language, and it would not fall into "must be divided" category because there has to be minor adjustment to the language in order to divide it, and this is why the Crestwood example is an example of a motion where a motion of Division of the Question is in order? 

Part II: is the following decision tree sensible?

1) Are the motions independent of each other? If yes, divide upon demand; motion of Division of the Question is out of order. If no, continue to 2)

2) Are the motions divisible with minor adjustment to language? If yes, motion of Division of the Question is in order. If no, move to 3)

3) The motion is not divisible; motion of Division of the Question is out of order.

Thank you in advance for your time.

Edited by Setemu
clarity
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On 11/15/2017 at 8:13 PM, Setemu said:

Follow-up questions

Part I:  I am now pretty clear on the fact that there are motions that cannot be divided and ones that can must be divided, and I believe I am clear on what criteria are required of each. But I am not as certain about what it means for a question to fit neither of those two categories. Am I correct to assume that the Crestwood example given on p. 273 does not fall into the "cannot divide" category because it meaningfully can be divided by making minor adjustments to language, and it would not fall into "must be divided" category because there has to be minor adjustment to the language in order to divide it, and this is why the Crestwood example is an example of a motion where a motion of Division of the Question is in order? 

Part II: is the following decision tree sensible?

1) Are the motions independent of each other? If yes, divide upon demand; motion of Division of the Question is out of order. If no, continue to 2)

2) Are the motions divisible with minor adjustment to language? If yes, motion of Division of the Question is in order. If no, move to 3)

3) The motion is not divisible; motion of Division of the Question is out of order.

Thank you in advance for your time.

No, that's not it. As stated on pages 272-273, a motion can be divided only if (a) each part presents a proper question regardless of the adoption of the other parts, AND (b) the effect of adopting all the separate parts is the same as adopting the motion as a whole, AND (c) the parts are easily separated, requiring at most an essentially mechanical separation, with appropriate minor grammatical adjustments.

If the motion is thus divisible: (i) it must be divided on the demand of a single of member if it consists of a series of independent resolutions or main motions dealing with different subjects, or if it is a divisible series of amendments to a main motion offered in one motion; (ii) otherwise, it requires a majority vote (or unanimous consent) to divide the question.

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