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Joint Motion By Several Council Members


Guest Brent
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I am the parliamentarian for our eleven member City Council which has it's own meeting rules but defaults to Robert's on issues where the meetings rules are silent. Our Mayor has asked if a group of Council Members can make a joint motion and another group jointly second that motion. I do not find anything in Robert's that addresses that. I am contemplating advising that perhaps one member can make a motion "on behalf of" several other members and same for the second. Is a joint or group motion possible or authorized by Robert's? Thanks for your help!

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In my own city council, as with the state legislature, it is not unusual for more than one member to actually sponsor or submit a piece of legislation. however, when the item is taken up, one member actually moves its adoption and is treated as the primary sponsor.

I'm not aware of a rule in RONR that specifically prohibits more than one member from actually being the mover on a motion, but I don't think I have ever seen it done. Stay tuned.

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24 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

I'm not aware of a rule in RONR that specifically prohibits more than one member from actually being the mover on a motion, but I don't think I have ever seen it done.

Well, I don't think it says it directly, but I'm basing my opinion on the many references in RONR to "the mover."

3 hours ago, Greg Goodwiller said:

In addition to what my colleague has said, I think a resolution composed and signed by multiple members can be submitted, the adoption of which is then moved by one member and seconded by another.

I agree.

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1 hour ago, Richard Brown said:

I'm not aware of a rule in RONR that specifically prohibits more than one member from actually being the mover on a motion

 

40 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

Well, I don't think it says it directly,

The use of the singular below seems direct enough for me:

"The three steps by which a motion is normally brought before the assembly are as follows:
1) A member makes the motion. (The words move and offer also refer to this step. A person is said to “make a motion,” but he uses the word “move” when he does so. He
is also said “to move” a particular proposal, as in “to move a postponement.”)
2) Another member seconds the motion." (RONR 11th ed., p. 32, lines 11-19)

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This is a City Council, a public and law-making body. The probable reason is that the proceedings are published and the support for  the various motions are scrutinized by the voters.

Guest Brent: Take a look at the rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. They allow any number of congresspeople to sponsor a bill. Their names are attached to the bill even when printed in the Congressional Record. The rule does not require seconders. Perhaps this is the type of thing your City Council wishes to consider.

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1 hour ago, Atul Kapur said:

The three steps by which a motion is normally brought  before the assembly are as follows:

Please note the use of the word normally.  We have been told many times by the authorship team that the use of language similar to that used in the quoted provision is not intended to mean that that is the only way something can be done.

Also, please note that I am not saying that it is permissible for more than one member to be the mover of a motion. I am saying simply that there is no express prohibition against it. In my opinion, a statement of the way something is usually or customarily or normally done is not an iron-clad rule stating that that is the only way it can be done.

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