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Non-amendable motion?


Alexander George
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If the goal is simply to adopt a main motion without debate or amendment, a motion to suspend the rules is the proper way to accomplish that:

"When the object is to adopt a motion without debate or amendment, the form is: 
MEMBER A (obtaining the floor): I move to suspend the rules and adopt [or "agree to"] the following resolution: "Resolved, That ..." (Second.) 
RONR (11th ed.), p. 266

Or did I misunderstand the intended goal?

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13 minutes ago, Alexander George said:

Thanks, Mr. Mervosh.  My organization would like to allow debate on the motion but not allow any amendments to the motion. 

Yes the assembly can agree to consider the motion without amendments but not by including that language in the text of the motion itself.

Edited by George Mervosh
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49 minutes ago, reelsman said:

A preliminary main motion can be used. However, since the motion, if adopted, would have the effect of suspending the rules, this preliminary main motion would require a two-thirds vote for adoption.

Can you please explain what you mean by a "preliminary main motion"?

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4 hours ago, Alexander George said:

Thanks, Mr. Mervosh.  My organization would like to allow debate on the motion but not allow any amendments to the motion. 

This is odd.  If the organization does not wish to amend the motion, nothing forces it to do so.  And if a member moves an amendment that (a majority of) the organization does not approve of, it will not vote to agree to the amendment.  

However, I presume that as the rules may be suspended in order to agree to a motion without debate or amendment, they could also be suspended to allow a motion to be considered with debate but without amendment.  A motion of this form could be used:

 I move to suspend the rules and consider, without amendments, the following resolution: "Resolved, That ..." (Second.)

It would require a 2/3 vote to agree to that motion, and if passed, the resolution could be debated, adopted (presumably by a majority vote), defeated, referred, postponed, etc., but not amended. 

If a 2/3 vote to suspend the rules was not achieved, the resolution could be considered in the normal way and amended in the normal manner.  But this would simply mean that the organization did not, in fact, wish to prevent amendments.  After all, who is the "organization" if not the membership?

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By "preliminary main motion", I mean one of a series of main motions made to set the parameters for consideration of another main motion in the series. These "parameters" might set the limits on the length and number of speeches; set limits on the number of amendments; set limits on the number of motions to commit; etc. It will usually be the case that such a motion will have the effect of suspending the rules. When it does, it requires a two-thirds vote for adoption.

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3 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

This is odd.  If the organization does not wish to amend the motion, nothing forces it to do so.  And if a member moves an amendment that (a majority of) the organization does not approve of, it will not vote to agree to the amendment.  

 

A majority seems to be worried that an as-yet-unknown amendment could persuade one of two of their numbers, while the rest like the motion just as it is. Since they don't know what the amendment would be, though, they don't know which of them could be persuaded, so all of them are better off just blocking amendments. It's just game theory. At least, that's one way this could arise. 

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3 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

However, I presume that as the rules may be suspended in order to agree to a motion without debate or amendment, they could also be suspended to allow a motion to be considered with debate but without amendment.  A motion of this form could be used:

 I move to suspend the rules and consider, without amendments, the following resolution: "Resolved, That ..." (Second.)

It would require a 2/3 vote to agree to that motion, and if passed, the resolution could be debated, adopted (presumably by a majority vote), defeated, referred, postponed, etc., but not amended. 

If a 2/3 vote to suspend the rules was not achieved, the resolution could be considered in the normal way and amended in the normal manner.  But this would simply mean that the organization did not, in fact, wish to prevent amendments.  After all, who is the "organization" if not the membership?

Thanks - that's very helpful.

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18 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

A majority seems to be worried that an as-yet-unknown amendment could persuade one of two of their numbers, while the rest like the motion just as it is. Since they don't know what the amendment would be, though, they don't know which of them could be persuaded, so all of them are better off just blocking amendments. It's just game theory. At least, that's one way this could arise. 

It could but it's a bit distasteful.  If it's a true majority, they'll have no trouble defeating troublesome amendments.  There's no need to deprive others of their rights in order to get their way. 

Democracy doesn't mean you always get what you want.  But you usually have a better chance of getting what you want by thoughtful debate than by parliamentary trickery.

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No. The maker should offer the main motion in the regular way. After the chair has stated the question, the maker rises to be assigned the floor. After being recognized, the maker can make his speech, ending with a motion for the Previous Question. If the motion for the Previous Question is adopted by a two-thirds vote, further amendment is shut off, and the main motion is put to a vote.

This works because the maker of the motion has preference in recognition over other members competing for the floor.

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1 hour ago, reelsman said:

No. The maker should offer the main motion in the regular way. After the chair has stated the question, the maker rises to be assigned the floor. After being recognized, the maker can make his speech, ending with a motion for the Previous Question. If the motion for the Previous Question is adopted by a two-thirds vote, further amendment is shut off, and the main motion is put to a vote.

Apparently, however, the goal is to permit debate, but not amendments. So the Previous Question won’t work.

The appropriate tool for this purpose would be a motion to Suspend the Rules.

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I'm less certain about whether the original poster desires to continue debate. However, granting that he does–for the sake of argument—I think I would favor a preliminary main motion over your suggested incidental motion, because a preliminary main motion would be debatable as to the merits of shutting off amendments.

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