Jump to content
The Official RONR Q & A Forums

Substanially the Same (question)


Guest Joseph
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am soliciting opinions as to the meaning of the word “substantial”  in proposed legislation and appreciate whatever feedback you can provide.

Last month, County Board narrowly voted down (by one vote)  the passage of an advisory referendum regarding marijuana. The advisory referendum posed 3 questions: (1) should marijuana  be decriminalized (2) should marijuana be taxed and (3) should marijuana be available for medical purposes only? A supervisor has indicated he wants to bring back a new resolution requesting an advisory referendum solely on the use of marijuana for medical purposes.  Roberts Rules is clear about the assembly/board not being asked to decide the same question or substantially the same question twice during a session.  Do you think this proposed resolution is substantially the same as the first resolution? My initial reaction was that it was substantially the same and if it was to be brought back it should be brought back via Motion to Reconsider by a member who voted on the prevailing side.  Now, I am thinking it might not be the substantially same question since 2/3 of the wording in the original question has been removed.  Whatever thoughts you can provide are appreciated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"A main motion, or a motion for the same amendment to a given motion, cannot be renewed at the same session unless there is a change in wording or circumstances sufficient to present substantially a new question, in which case this becomes technically a different motion. "  RONR (11th ed.), p. 338  I think you're referring to this.

But see this:  " If a series of resolutions voted on together is lost, however, one or more of them can be offered again at the same session, but enough resolutions must be left out to present a genuinely different question from the viewpoint of probable voting result; otherwise this procedure becomes dilatory."  RONR (11th ed.), p. 338

Ultimately the board can decide the matter.  If you don't feel it is substantially, a new question, raise a point of order and the presiding officer will issue a ruling (subject to appeal) or put the question to the assembly to board to decide.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And by the way, are you sure that the next meeting of this County Board will be a continuation of the same session as the one in which this motion was defeated? Normally, the next monthly meeting would constitute a new session, but it is true that county boards and city councils often operate under rules which extend the length of sessions for a substantial period of time, often for a year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Joseph, while I agree completely with Mr. Mervosh, I think it is important to first decide if this matter is being brought back up at the same session.  With most ordinary organizations which meet weekly, monthly or quarterly,  each meeting is a separate session.  However, with some governmental bodies, especially state legislatures, a session lasts many days, maybe even weeks or months. 

Apparently, based on your post, this "county board" is likely a public body of some kind.  If so, you should determine from your clerk or county attorney whether each meeting of the board is considered a separate session or if a session lasts for, perhaps, for a year or more.... even perhaps four years from election to election.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to tie up one loose end, even if this is the same session, Reconsider will only be in order the day after the motion was made.

I'm not convinced any of this is going to be governed by RONR, for what it's worth. When the motion is for an advisory vote, you're far enough out of RONR territory that there's likely some controlling law.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Guest Joseph said:

I am soliciting opinions as to the meaning of the word “substantial”  in proposed legislation and appreciate whatever feedback you can provide.

Last month, County Board narrowly voted down (by one vote)  the passage of an advisory referendum regarding marijuana. The advisory referendum posed 3 questions: (1) should marijuana  be decriminalized (2) should marijuana be taxed and (3) should marijuana be available for medical purposes only? A supervisor has indicated he wants to bring back a new resolution requesting an advisory referendum solely on the use of marijuana for medical purposes.  Roberts Rules is clear about the assembly/board not being asked to decide the same question or substantially the same question twice during a session.  Do you think this proposed resolution is substantially the same as the first resolution? My initial reaction was that it was substantially the same and if it was to be brought back it should be brought back via Motion to Reconsider by a member who voted on the prevailing side.  Now, I am thinking it might not be the substantially same question since 2/3 of the wording in the original question has been removed.  Whatever thoughts you can provide are appreciated.

Is there some reason to think that last month's meeting is part of the same session as this month's meeting?  If, as is likely, it is not, then any defeated motion can be renewed even if it is exactly the same question.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

Just to tie up one loose end, even if this is the same session, Reconsider will only be in order the day after the motion was made.

"In a convention or session of more than one day, a reconsideration can be moved only on the same day the original vote was taken or on the next succeeding day within the session on which a business meeting is held." (p. 316, ll.26-30 , emphasis added). So if this is the first meeting since the one where the motion was defeated, then a motion to Reconsider would still be in order (assuming RONR applies and is not superseded).

FWIW, I don't think Reconsider is necessary because this is, in my mind, a different question.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Atul Kapur said:

"In a convention or session of more than one day, a reconsideration can be moved only on the same day the original vote was taken or on the next succeeding day within the session on which a business meeting is held." (p. 316, ll.26-30 , emphasis added). So if this is the first meeting since the one where the motion was defeated, then a motion to Reconsider would still be in order (assuming RONR applies and is not superseded).

FWIW, I don't think Reconsider is necessary because this is, in my mind, a different question.

Why should we assume that this is a session of more than one day?  Without a reason to think so, I'm assuming last month's meeting was one session, and next month's will be another.  So the time period for Reconsider has gone by.

But if so, it's not needed anyway.  That same motion (or a different one) can simply be moved at the next meeting, with no higher threshold, and no restriction on who can move it.

Did I miss something somewhere? (It wouldn't be the first time.)

Edited by Gary Novosielski
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Gary Novosielski said:

Why should we assume that this is a session of more than one day? 

Because that was the whole point of the OP's question.

10 hours ago, Guest Joseph said:

Roberts Rules is clear about the assembly/board not being asked to decide the same question or substantially the same question twice during a session.  Do you think this proposed resolution is substantially the same as the first resolution?

Without the assumption that this is one long session, there is no question: Even the exact same question could be moved at the next meeting if it's a separate session.

The assumption has been challenged earlier in this thread but, given that it's a County Board, the assumption is not unreasonable.

10 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

And by the way, are you sure that the next meeting of this County Board will be a continuation of the same session as the one in which this motion was defeated? Normally, the next monthly meeting would constitute a new session, but it is true that county boards and city councils often operate under rules which extend the length of sessions for a substantial period of time, often for a year.

 

9 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

Apparently, based on your post, this "county board" is likely a public body of some kind.  If so, you should determine from your clerk or county attorney whether each meeting of the board is considered a separate session or if a session lasts for, perhaps, for a year or more.... even perhaps four years from election to election.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

On 8/13/2018 at 10:28 PM, Atul Kapur said:

Because that was the whole point of the OP's question.

The mention of a "session" was in the language from RONR.  There was no clear assertion that the County Board has sessions longer than one meeting.  The point of the question (in fact the title of the question) was whether the questions were substantially the same, but I suspected (and still do) that it may not be the pertinent question.

I don't disagree with anything Messrs.H. or B. have said.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...