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Friendly amendment


bigred73
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I understand that a friendly amendment is not appropriate since one person can’t agree to amend a motion . However, at a recent meeting one member stated “I would like to make a friendly amendment to postpone voting on this.” A second member  seconded it. The proposer of the original motion, thinking this a request for a friendly amendment, said she did not accept the request and  business continued with no further discussion. Since the request to postpone, even though preceded by the words friendly amendment, was seconded should discussion and a vote have occurred?

If yes, is it too late to do anything?

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, bigred73 said:

I understand that a friendly amendment is not appropriate since one person can’t agree to amend a motion . However, at a recent meeting one member stated “I would like to make a friendly amendment to postpone voting on this.” A second member  seconded it. The proposer of the original motion, thinking this a request for a friendly amendment, said she did not accept the request and  business continued with no further discussion. Since the request to postpone, even though preceded by the words friendly amendment, was seconded should discussion and a vote have occurred?

If yes, is it too late to do anything?

It should first be understood that a motion to postpone is not an amendment (friendly or otherwise). Nonetheless, I agree that discussion and a vote should have occurred... although the chair first should have asked for clarification on when the member wished to postpone the motion to (such as to the next meeting, or perhaps until a particular time in the same meeting).

It is, however, too late to do anything about it now. Generally, a Point of Order must be raised at the time of the breach.

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15 hours ago, bigred73 said:

I understand that a friendly amendment is not appropriate since one person can’t agree to amend a motion . However, at a recent meeting one member stated “I would like to make a friendly amendment to postpone voting on this.” A second member  seconded it. The proposer of the original motion, thinking this a request for a friendly amendment, said she did not accept the request and  business continued with no further discussion. Since the request to postpone, even though preceded by the words friendly amendment, was seconded should discussion and a vote have occurred?

If yes, is it too late to do anything?

To answer the final question first, Yes, it's too late to do anything now.  But it's also not clear what that "anything" would be.  You say that the motion was not postponed, yet no further discussion took place. Why not?  What did happen to it? Was the motion then voted on, and if so what was the result? 

You're right that friendly amendments are not a thing.  But neither are friendly postponements.  Postponing a motion is not the same as amending it. And postponing applies to all further business on the motion, not just the voting. 

But there's more. It also appears that the motion to postpone did not specify when it was to be postponed to.  That makes this a motion to Postpone Indefinitely which, if adopted, has the effect of killing the motion completely.  Nothing friendly about that. 

But again, we don't know what became of the original main motion.  It sounds like the chair should have done a better job of shepherding the motion through this process, but what's done is done, and there's always next time.

 

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2 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

You say that the motion was not postponed, yet no further discussion took place. Why not?  What did happen to it?

I read that as saying that no further discussion took place on the motion to postpone.

2 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

But there's more. It also appears that the motion to postpone did not specify when it was to be postponed to.  That makes this a motion to Postpone Indefinitely which, if adopted, has the effect of killing the motion completely.  Nothing friendly about that. 

I am not certain it was intended as a motion to postpone indefinitely. I get the impression that it was intended as a motion to postpone to a certain time, but the motion maker failed to provide the necessary details.

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24 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

I read that as saying that no further discussion took place on the motion to postpone.

I am not certain it was intended as a motion to postpone indefinitely. I get the impression that it was intended as a motion to postpone to a certain time, but the motion maker failed to provide the necessary details.

I don't necessarily disagree.  But if that is the right way to read it, I'm still curious what happened to the main motion.

And I'm pretty sure you're right about the intent.  That's why I believe the chair should be taking a more active role in helping the members phrase such motions properly and in identifying the effect that these motions would have.  In this case, it seems that the chair is marginally, if at all, better informed than the average member seems to be.  But that can be easily fixed, and should be.  This does not sound like one of those cases with people entrenched against doing things according to the rules.  It sounds like they'd be quite happy to do things properly, but are just not sure what that is.

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42 minutes ago, reelsman said:

I suspect the wrong term was used. What the member intended was likely a unanimous consent request to postpone.

I don't disagree. However, it is my understanding that if a motion to postpone is made, with no specification as to the length of postponement or what type of postponement it is, then it is a motion to postpone indefinitely. And, we all know what an indefinite postponement does to a motion:  It kills it.  It is therefore incumbent upon the chair to get the member who moved to postpone to clarify his intent.

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1 hour ago, Richard Brown said:

However, it is my understanding that if a motion to postpone is made, with no specification as to the length of postponement or what type of postponement it is, then it is a motion to postpone indefinitely.

I do not agree with this, Mr. Brown.

Edited by reelsman
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1 hour ago, Richard Brown said:

However, it is my understanding that if a motion to postpone is made, with no specification as to the length of postponement or what type of postponement it is, then it is a motion to postpone indefinitely.

 

24 minutes ago, reelsman said:

I do not agree with this, Mr. Brown.

Well, if it is not a motion to postpone definitely, then what kind of postponement is it? According to RONR, there are only two types of postponements. To postpone definitely and to postpone indefinitely. If it isn't one, it must be the other. It seif ems to me that if the postponement is not to a definite time, then it is indefinite.

Edited to add:  I want to reiterate that I think it is incumbent on the chair, when a motion to "postpone" is made without specification as to the length of the postponement or whether it is an indefinite postponement, to ascertain from the mover what his intent is and to phrase the motion to postpone correctly.

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph
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17 minutes ago, reelsman said:

The motion, "I move to postpone the main motion", is not in order on account of its improper form.

Oh, I agree.  And that is why the chair should have determined the maker's intent and put the motion in its proper form.  But, since the chair did not do that, and it was processed as a motion to "postpone" with no definite time set, what is the effect of having admitted it and adopted it without a "date or time certain" even having been mentioned?  It would have required a timely point of order and one was not raised.

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last sentence and underlined portion of previous sentence.
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1 hour ago, Richard Brown said:

Oh, I agree.  And that is why the chair should have determined the maker's intent and put the motion in its proper form.  But, since the chair did not do that, and it was processed as a motion to "postpone" with no definite time set, what is the effect of having admitted it and adopted it without a "date or time certain" even having been mentioned?  It would have required a timely point of order and one was not raised.

That is not what happened. The entire issue at hand is that the motion to postpone was not processed, let alone adopted. A member said “I would like to make a friendly amendment to postpone voting on this.” Another member seconded it. The original motion maker stated that she did not accept the request, and the assembly proceeded with consideration of the main motion, ignoring the fact that a motion to postpone (albeit a poorly worded one) had been made and seconded.

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1 minute ago, Josh Martin said:

That is not what happened. The entire issue at hand is that the motion to postpone was not processed, let alone adopted. A member said “I would like to make a friendly amendment to postpone voting on this.” Another member seconded it. The original motion maker stated that she did not accept the request, and the assembly proceeded with consideration of the main motion, ignoring the fact that a motion to postpone (albeit a poorly worded one) had been made and seconded.

Ah, yes, so it is.  I had forgotten that part in the midst of all the discussion about the effect of making a motion "to  postpone" without any indication of whether it is to be a definite or indefinite postponement.  Thanks!

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