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SptbgLawyer

Multiple Amendments to Rules of Procedure

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Following every General Election year, our Council is required, by their Rules, to adopt Rules of Procedure.  There is no notice requirement since it is laid out in the Rules and majority vote is all that is necessary to both pass the Rules as a whole or to make any changes while the Rules are in effect.  With a new Chairman, some changes to the longstanding Rules of Procedure are now a possibility.  The Rules of Procedure are quite lengthy, almost 20 pages in total with multiple sections.  I am aware that the Chairman can proceed with adopting of the Rules of Procedure by section and if he does not choose to do so, another Member can make the motion to do so.  If the Chairman does not proceed by section and if a motion to proceed by section is not successful, my concern is that there will be numerous requests for amendments to varying sections of the Rules of Procedure and they would not necessarily all work together where a motion to divide the question would be possible.  That being said, if the Chairman and Council decide to proceed with consideration of the document as a whole, would the proper procedure then be a motion to adopt the Rules of Procedure, a second, and then during discussion one amendment at a time is brought up and voted upon (obviously these would not be primary and secondary amendments because they are all different amendments to different sections of the Rules) and then the Rules of Procedure as amended by multiple amendments be voted upon - or would each amendment be brought up and voted upon and provided it passes, there need to be a vote each time a successful amendment passes on the Rules of Procedure as a whole?  I guess the same may be true with section by section consideration, as well, if there are multiple amendments to the pending section - would it be all amendments can be made and voted upon and then the section, as amended, is adopted or would there need to be each amendment taken up separately and each time, provided it passes, the section must be adopted? 

I am sorry if I am not make a lot of sense.  I guess I am really just trying to get to whether multiple amendments which are unrelated can be brought up and voted upon without the need each time to return to the main motion to adopt the Rules. 

Thank you in advance for any guidance. 

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I'm not sure what the two possibilities you envision look like, but here's the procedure for considering multiple unrelated amendments. First, the main motion is pending. An amendment is moved - debate is now on the amendment - and the amendment is either adopted or not. Now the question is on the main motion, and it's subject to any motions - including motions to amend (but not limited to - someone could move the previous question, for instance, before anyone gets a chance to move another amendment, and if 2/3 agree, then you move to a vote on the main motion). As long as someone who wants to amend gets the floor, he'll move to amend - debate is now on the motion to amend - and that amendment will either be adopted or not. Rinse and repeat as necessary. At some point, either no one will make any more motions, or you'll adopt the previous question, or time on the item will expire - and then you'll vote on the main motion. If you stop making motions before running out of time, you'll have time to actually debate the main motion.

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4 hours ago, SptbgLawyer said:

I am sorry if I am not make a lot of sense.  I guess I am really just trying to get to whether multiple amendments which are unrelated can be brought up and voted upon without the need each time to return to the main motion to adopt the Rules. 

After an amendment is voted on, the main motion is once again the pending question, at which time more amendments may be offered. Only a single vote is taken on the main question, however, after all debate and amendments are completed.

If the assembly considers the document by section, there is still a single vote on the main question after debate and amendments are completed. Votes are not taken on individual sections.

Edited by Josh Martin

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Mr. Martin, I think this is an instance where even a single member can demand a separate vote on any particular rule. Each rule is, in effect, an independent proposition.

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Guest Zev
14 minutes ago, reelsman said:

Mr. Martin, I think this is an instance where even a single member can demand a separate vote on any particular rule. Each rule is, in effect, an independent proposition.

The object in this case, the "Rules Of Procedure," according to the OP, are not a series of independent propositions or motions, but one unified document which is, in my opinion, indistinguishable from a set of bylaws and should be treated as such.

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24 minutes ago, Guest Zev said:

The object in this case, the "Rules Of Procedure," according to the OP, are not a series of independent propositions or motions, but one unified document which is, in my opinion, indistinguishable from a set of bylaws and should be treated as such.

Indistinguishable from a set of bylaws? I hope not. We are told that “Following every General Election year, our Council is required, by their Rules, to adopt Rules of Procedure.“ If the council is required to adopt bylaws (as opposed to amending them) each year, that is highly problematic.

I was under the impression they were in the nature of special rules of order, standing rules, or a combination of the two. Unlike bylaws, I’m not sure such rules are viewed as a cohesive whole in parliamentary law, even though they may be printed in a single document.

49 minutes ago, reelsman said:

Mr. Martin, I think this is an instance where even a single member can demand a separate vote on any particular rule. Each rule is, in effect, an independent proposition.

I don’t think I know enough about this document to say for certain one way or the other, but this is very possible. If so, those rules which are separated for a separate motion, discussion, and vote shall be considered in that manner, and those rules which remain may be considered seriatim or as a whole, as the assembly wishes.

Members who wish to make such demands should be sure to do so immediately, as a motion cannot be divided after the assembly has voted to consider it seriatim.

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The demand for a separate vote on a rule would not be a division of a motion.

What I think we have, here, is actually a series of main motions, one for each rule. It is analogous to a "platform" at a convention, where each "plank" is actually a separate, independent proposition.

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On 4/12/2019 at 5:57 PM, reelsman said:

The demand for a separate vote on a rule would not be a division of a motion.

What I think we have, here, is actually a series of main motions, one for each rule. It is analogous to a "platform" at a convention, where each "plank" is actually a separate, independent proposition.

Well, analogies to platforms or bylaws notwithstanding, according the the original question, this was a single document.  If so, the motion is to approve the entire document, amendments to the then-pending document are considered either individually as offered, or by paragraph, and the final vote is on the document as amended.

I don't see what is gained by treating this as a raft of individual main motions.

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