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Maker's Preference in Recognition After Postponement

Weldon Merritt

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I appreciate all the responses I received to this earlier post, which I passed on to the friend who had contacted me about the issue. I have since heard from him, and the assembly managed to successfully resolve the issue by simply withdrawing the resolution. The same friend has now allseed another question that I have decided to submit to the forum.

RONR, p. 188, ll. 28-34, provides,


when a question is taken up on a different day from the one on which it was postponed, the right of members to debate it begins over again, as if the question had not previously been debated; that is, each person can again speak twice to each debatable question, regardless of whether he may have already done so before the postponement …. [Italic in original.]

The question is whether this means that the make of the motion again gets preference in recognition. If the text ended at the semicolon, I think there would be a strong argument that the maker would get preference again. But the text that follows the semicolon could be read to mean that only the right to two speeches per member is retired, and the maker gets no special treatment.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the question?

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I suppose I would draw on page 589 rule 3) (general yields to the specific), rule 4) (other same class not mentioned things not authorized), and rule 5) (prohibition of greater privilege) to argue that the preponderance of the evidence would deny the originator of the motion a second "first cut" in debate on the motion.

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Based in large part on the language on page 379 regarding preference in recognition for the member who made a debatable motion, I would say that although debate is renewed when a motion is postponed to another day, the preference in being recognized to speak first is not renewed.  The member has indeed already spoken on the question.  Here is what I believe is the controlling language on page 379:

While a motion is open to debate:
    1)    A member may rise to give previous notice of another motion (pp. 122–23).
    2)    If the member who made the motion that is immediately pending claims the floor and has not already spoken on the question, he is entitled to be recognized in preference to other members.

I think it is a one-time privilege. I don't see anything that indicates it is renewed on another day.  However, I'm anxious to see if others disagree.  Since I have two meetings this evening, it may be later tonight before I can check back.

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I read this as a one-time privilege.  It applies if the maker has not yet spoken on the motion.  The reset of the two-speech maximum applies in spite of the fact that a member may have already spoken.

I agree that if the statement stopped at the semicolon the interpretation might be different, but as it continues with "that is...." it clarifies what is meant, restricting it in the process.

Edited by Gary Novosielski
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I just now had a chance to check back for responses. (Just returned from Pig Out in the Park.) So far, everyone is in agreement that the maker does not get a second shot at priority in recognition. That's the way I was leaning as well, but I wanted to see if anyone had a different take on it. I think Mr. Brown's quote from p. 379, which I had not considered, nails it. Thanks to all who reesponded.

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