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Tomm

Length of motion

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Is there a limit to the length of a motion? A committee was assigned to look into and set-up a new procedure for selling tickets to the entertainment shows provided to our members. That involved an additional cost for using a specialized third-party software program, which involved added costs to the members. The explanation was so long and involved that when it was finally presented to the membership, it was shortened in length which ended up creating more questions than answers. 

How should long and very involved motions be presented to it membership? 

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30 minutes ago, Tomm said:

Is there a limit to the length of a motion?

No.

30 minutes ago, Tomm said:

How should long and very involved motions be presented to it membership? 

Motions should be as long and involved as they need to be.

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Did the full explanation need to be in the motion itself? I would have thought that the explanation would be in the substance of the committee's report. The motion itself would only contain what is required to put the recommendations into effect.

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I agree with Mr. Kapur with respect to the text of the motion. However, with respect to the "substance of the committee's report", RONR does not give us examples of reports of committees containing long, complex explanations. Unless the parent body has provided the committee with instructions to the contrary, the report should be kept brief, like the examples given. The reporting member should provide whatever "explanation" is necessary in debate, keeping in mind that the reporting member has preference in recognition to open the debate.

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It really was necessary to provide a full explanation.

Would it be appropriate to have simply made a motion to accept the committee report but not vote on it until the next meeting? In the mean time provide access (handouts?) with all the incidental details explained? Or should the report and details be provided prior to the meeting when the motion will be made?

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2 hours ago, Tomm said:

It really was necessary to provide a full explanation.

Sure, but probably not in the motion itself, as was noted earlier.

2 hours ago, Tomm said:

Would it be appropriate to have simply made a motion to accept the committee report but not vote on it until the next meeting? In the mean time provide access (handouts?) with all the incidental details explained? Or should the report and details be provided prior to the meeting when the motion will be made?

The report itself is not adopted.  A motion to adopt the recommendations contained in the report is what's voted on.  If the motion was made to adopt the recommendations, and the assembly wanted more time to consider the information provided in the full report, it could have adopted a motion to postpone the matter until the next regular meeting, assuming that the next regular meeting occurs within a quarterly time interval.  RONR has no rule against providing information to members in advance of a meeting and in some cases it's probably a good idea.

Edited by George Mervosh

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13 hours ago, reelsman said:

RONR does not give us examples of reports of committees containing long, complex explanations. 

The book's already 716 pages; you want them to make it even longer by including an example of a long and complex committee report?

The book does not include every possible example of all situations. That does not mean that they are disallowed.

In fact, on page 505, there is a recommendation on the form of a detailed report.

Edited by Atul Kapur
Didn't have book in front of me when I initially replied.

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2 hours ago, George Mervosh said:

Sure, but probably not in the motion itself, as was noted earlier.

But maybe it is?

I am uncertain what exactly the nature of the additional details are. If they are reasons why the committee feels the motion should be adopted, then I agree they should not be included in the motion itself, and should instead be stated in debate (and perhaps also included in the committee’s reports or other documents distributed to members).

If the additional details, however, are concerning the manner in which the motion is to be implemented, they should be included in the motion itself.

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13 hours ago, jstackpo said:

Or the motion could be presented as a resolution (page 105ff) and the salient points placed in the preamble.

It could be, although RONR recommends against this unless there are “special circumstances.” A preamble is common if the resolution is to be published, for instance.

”It is usually inadvisable to attempt to include reasons for a motion's adoption within the motion itself. To do so may encumber the motion and may weigh against its adoption—since some members who approve of the action it proposes may dislike voting for it if it states reasons with which they disagree. When special circumstances make it desirable to include a brief statement of background, the motion should be cast in the form of a resolution, with the background or reasons incorporated in a preamble that is placed before the resolving clauses.” (RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 106-107)

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15 hours ago, Josh Martin said:

If the additional details, however, are concerning the manner in which the motion is to be implemented, they should be included in the motion itself.

Certainly.  I was simply agreeing with the last sentence of Dr. Kapur's first post.

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18 minutes ago, George Mervosh said:

Certainly.  I was simply agreeing with the last sentence of Dr. Kapur's first post.

I believe we three are in agreement. I don't think anything I've said contradicts anything you have said (at least in this thread).

Edited by Atul Kapur

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Guest Zev
20 hours ago, Atul Kapur said:

In fact, on page 505, there is a recommendation on the form of a detailed report.

Parliamentary Law has a bunch of sample reports.

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Speaking of which, I believe Parliamentary Law enters the public domain this year. You may soon find a complete copy for your own on Google Books. Maybe it's already there.

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21 hours ago, reelsman said:

Speaking of which, I believe Parliamentary Law enters the public domain this year.

If I understand this Wikipedia article correctly (keeping in mind I am not a lawyer, copyright or otherwise), anything published before 1924 (which includes Parliamentary Law, published in 1923) is already in the public domain in the US.

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7 hours ago, J. J. said:

Good to know.  I have a hard copy but it's easier to do searches with e-copies.

In glancing through, I stumbled upon something interesting.  It has, I think, been stated here that the antiquated practice of having the secretary, by unanimous consent, cast a single ballot for an unopposed candidate was one of questionable origin lost in the mists of time.

But it's right there at the top of page 379 in the suggestions for drafting bylaws.  I had never run across it until just now.

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