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Weldon Merritt

Getting Rid of a Postponed Item

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A friend has asked my advice on an issue that I would like to get some other thoughts on.

A political party central committee adopted a resolution in 2017, which is (so far as I can tell) still in effect. Then in July of this year, a member moved the adoption of a new resolution on a different issue. During consideration of the new resolution, an amendment was moved and adopted to insert an additional whereas clause and an additional resolved clause essentially reiterating the gist of the 2017 revolution that is still in effect.  Subsequently, the pending revolution, as amended, was postponed to a meeting scheduled for later this month. The friend wants to know the best way to get rid of the amendment when the resolution comes up as general order at this month’s meeting.

The amendment prebaby should have been ruled out of order in the first place, on two grounds: (1) it was not germane to the resolution being considered and (2) it merely restated (in slightly different language) a previously-adopted resolution that is still in effect, and therefore accomplished nothing. But I think it is too late to raise a Point of Order on either of those grounds. The amendment doesn’t conflict with the previously-adopted resolution, so I don’t think it can be considered a continuing breach. Or does anyone think otherwise?

One thought was to have someone who didn’t vote on the prevailing side move to reconsider then vote on the amendment, since there is no time limit in a committee. But then I recalled that (at least as I underrated it) a political party central committee is not really a committee in the RONR sense, but more or a board. So reconsideration probably wouldn’t work.

The strategy that I finally decided would work the best is to have the mover of the resolution ask permission to withdraw it. If no one objects, it’s gone. But if anyone does object, it only requires a majority vote to grant permission. If it gets a majority, again,  it’s gone. Either way, once it’s gone, the mover (or anyone else) can move adoption of the same resolution without the offending amendment. And if someone moves the same amendment, someone can then raise a point of order that its in not germane, and simply reiterates a previously-adopted resolution that is still in effect.

Does anyone think I am on the wrong track?

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2 hours ago, Weldon Merritt said:

But I think it is too late to raise a Point of Order on either of those grounds. The amendment doesn’t conflict with the previously-adopted resolution, so I don’t think it can be considered a continuing breach. Or does anyone think otherwise?

Given that the amendment was adopted, and the motion as amended is now the pending motion, I agree, although I have a bit of a question mark in the back of my head.

2 hours ago, Weldon Merritt said:

But then I recalled that (at least as I underrated it) a political party central committee is not really a committee in the RONR sense, but more or a board.

This is certainly the case in every example I have seen.

 

2 hours ago, Weldon Merritt said:

 Does anyone think I am on the wrong track?

I don't think so. Alternatively, you could always vote it down.

 

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Thanks, Josh. Glad to know that at least one person doesn't think I amn off base. And yes, it could be voted down, but I think the proponents want to get the original (pre-amendment) resolution adopted. If it is voted down, they can't introoduce it again in the same meeting, at least without suspending the rules.

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I don't see anything out of line in this, assuming that the mover of the motion desires that it be withdrawn and a majority wishes to do so. But I'm not sure why it is any more efficient to do it that way instead of simply voting the amendment down and moving on.

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3 minutes ago, Greg Goodwiller, PRP said:

I don't see anything out of line in this, assuming that the mover of the motion desires that it be withdrawn and a majority wishes to do so. But I'm not sure why it is any more efficient to do it that way instead of simply voting the amendment down and moving on.

The amendment already has been adopted, and the amended resolution will come up as postponed item at the next meeting. Since the proponents still want to try to get the pre-amendment version adopted, they can 't simply vote the ameded version down, as that would preclude the resolution being moved again in the same session. Withdrawal would allow it to be moved again.

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27 minutes ago, Weldon Merritt said:

Thanks, Josh. Glad to know that at least one person doesn't think I amn off base. And yes, it could be voted down, but I think the proponents want to get the original (pre-amendment) resolution adopted. If it is voted down, they can't introoduce it again in the same meeting, at least without suspending the rules.

If this amendment is such an issue that they no longer want to adopt it, isn't it substantially different if made without the amendment?

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55 minutes ago, Weldon Merritt said:

Come on, folks. Surely someone has some thoughts on this. 

LOL!!!  Weldon, I do have thoughts on it, but since you and I discussed it at the AIP Annual Session in New Orleans about ten days ago, I figured I would hold off and see what others have to say first.  I didn't want my comments to influence others.  My thoughts now are pretty much what they were then.... and the same as your thoughts.  Although it seems there should  be an easier way, if RONR is going to be followed without suspending the rules (which would require a two thirds vote), I think your suggestion of having the  motion withdrawn seems  like the best  option I've heard so far. 

I'm still hoping someone  chimes in with a good solution that  we haven't thought of to simply strip off the objectionable amendment.

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18 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

If this amendment is such an issue that they no longer want to adopt it, isn't it substantially different if made without the amendment?

I geuss that might be a reasonable argument. But it would be safer to withdraw it and make a new motion, just in case someone raises a Point of Order and the chair rules it well-taken. Since the vote threshold is the same either way, why not take th safer route?

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2 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

LOL!!!  Weldon, I do have thoughts on it, but since you and I discussed it at the AIP Annual Session in New Orleans about ten days ago, I figured I would hold off and see what others have to say first.  I didn't want my comments to influence others.  My thoughts now are pretty much what they were then.... and the same as your thoughts.  Although it seems there should  be an easier way, if RONR is going to be followed without suspending the rules (which would require a two thirds vote), I think your suggestion of having the  motion withdrawn seems  like the best  option I've heard so far. 

I'm still hoping someone  chimes in with a good solution that  we haven't thought of to simply strip off the objectionable amendment.

Yes, Richard. I recall our discussion. The situation has changed slightly since then, as the first time the friend contacted me, he wasn't aware of the 2017 resolution. But I think the solution we came up with then is still the best one (which seems to have been confirmed by the responses)..

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

How about moving to amend by substituting a new resolution which happens to be missing the unwanted portion?

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8 minutes ago, Guest Who's Coming to Dinner said:

How about moving to amend by substituting a new resolution which happens to be missing the unwanted portion?

That's an intersting idea, but I'm not so sure it would be in order if the substitute was essentially the same resolution sans the amendment. Seems to me that would be equivalent to moving to strike out the amendment, which clearly would not be in order.

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4 hours ago, Weldon Merritt said:

The amendment prebaby should have been ruled out of order in the first place, on two grounds: (1) it was not germane to the resolution being considered and (2) it merely restated (in slightly different language) a previously-adopted resolution that is still in effect, and therefore accomplished nothing. But I think it is too late to raise a Point of Order on either of those grounds. The amendment doesn’t conflict with the previously-adopted resolution, so I don’t think it can be considered a continuing breach. Or does anyone think otherwise?

 

I think it quite possible that there was no violation of the rules in the first place.

Whether an amendment germane or not can often be a matter of opinion.  Even if a point of order was timely, it might not have been well taken, or the assembly decided it was germane on appeal.  The fact that there was no point of order and that the amendment was adopted indicates that the assembly felt it was germane. 

The resolution itself includes something more than the previously adopted motion.  On the face of it,  the resolution is probably a different question.  There is an element of judgment as to if a question is different enough to be entertained; the assembly exercised it judgement and felt that it was a different question.

Where I disagree with you is if either of these things would constitute a breach in the first place. :)

I will agree that a party central committee probably isn't a "committee" in the sense RONR uses the term.

The best way to return to the motion to its prior form would be to send it to a committee, perhaps of one, to recommend that the amended words be removed (p. 176, ll. 20-31). 

 

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1 hour ago, Ann Rempel said:

Why not reconsider the vote on the amendment?

So far as I can determine, this will be a different session (as J.J. seems to suspect). If it's not, then yes, reconsideration of the amendmennt would work.

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19 minutes ago, J. J. said:

The best way to return to the motion to its prior form would be to send it to a committee, perhaps of one, to recommend that the amended words be removed (p. 176, ll. 20-31). 

 

Thanks, J.J. I hadn't thought of that option. I think the proponents want to get it taken care of in the coming meeting, and not delay it further. But the committee could be instructed to report at a later time in the same meeting. Or maybe they don't mind if it's delayed further; that's just my assumption. I have no idea how often they normally meet, but if it's monthly, another month may not matter much. At least I now have a couple of options to give them 

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1 hour ago, Weldon Merritt said:

Thanks, J.J. I hadn't thought of that option. I think the proponents want to get it taken care of in the coming meeting, and not delay it further. But the committee could be instructed to report at a later time in the same meeting. Or maybe they don't mind if it's delayed further; that's just my assumption. I have no idea how often they normally meet, but if it's monthly, another month may not matter much. At least I now have a couple of options to give them 

 The committee could report back almost immediately, or immediately, if a committee of one, especially if the one knows what to do.  :)

I will note that several of the forms of amendments, strike out and insert, striking out the previously inserted words along with others and the various forms of substitute also work. 

Suspending the rules is, of course, possible.  It would also be possible for the committee adopt the motion and amend something previously adopted; if the committee is such that a majority of membership is present, this could be a viable option. 

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Guest Zev

If Reconsider is no longer an option, make sure that the call of the next meeting includes notice that a motion to Rescind the amendment will be offered. In this fashion only a majority vote will be needed to strike the amendment.

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Not quite... Rescind can be used only on (adopted) main motions -- amend something previously adopted is the motion to use to strike out (or whatever) the portion of the main motion that is unwanted.

Notice is still important to allow ASPA to be adopted by a majority, of course.

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Wait, slow down partner.

1 minute ago, jstackpo said:

Not quite... Rescind can be used only on (adopted) main motions -- amend something previously adopted is the motion to use to strike out (or whatever) the portion of the main motion that is unwanted.

 

Suppose this happened in one session. Are you saying that, if a motion to amend by insertion is adopted (making it out of order to amend by striking out the same language that was just inserted) the motion ASPA can be used to, nonetheless, take it out, before voting on the main motion? I would have thought the application of ASPA was narrower than that.

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Guest Zev
8 minutes ago, jstackpo said:

Not quite... Rescind can be used only on (adopted) main motions -- amend something previously adopted is the motion to use to strike out (or whatever) the portion of the main motion that is unwanted.

But would not that be on the same basis, that is, against a main motion? The main motion has been postponed, it has yet to be taken up again. What prevents a regular subsidiary motion to amend by striking the unwanted part once the motion is taken up again?

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Too many "ifs" coming at me too early in the morning.

If it was all taking place in the same session (same or next business meeting) then Reconsider would work, too.

If the motion was postponed,  it was clearly not adopted (yet), so then any subsidiary motion is fair game once the motion has come back on the floor, as a General Order, presumably.

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I'm always a bit unhappy about being asked to respond to questions when all relevant facts are not provided, and in this instance we still haven't told whether or not the meeting to which this resolution was postponed will be the next meeting in a continuation of the same session during which it was postponed.

If so, reconsideration of the vote or votes by which the undesirable portions of the resolution and its preamble were inserted is a possibility, as has already been noted. If not, then when the resolution is brought back before the assembly, motions can be made to amend it and its preamble by striking out the undesirable portions.

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