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Guest Richard

Repeated motions permitted?

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Guest Richard

1. If at a meeting, a motion is made to remove an officer, and the motion is defeated, can the same motion be made at the next meeting, or even at the same meeting, if different reasons are given each time, or are they considered the same motion, since the same action is being proposed, regardless of the reasons given?

2 If the officer in question is the president, do they have the right to ignore such a motion, treating it as dilatory, and not repeating it, etc?

 

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If the next meeting is a different session, which is almost always the case when you have weekly, monthly, etc meetings, then the same motion may be made again at the next meeting (and again at the meeting after that, and again....). This is called renewal of a motion and is the general rule.

Motions to remove an officer may or may not be in order, depending on the definition of their term of office in the bylaws. See Section 62, particularly pages 653-4 of RONR 11th ed.

The Chair cannot ignore any motion made and seconded. The Chair may rule it out of order and therefore not state it to the assembly, but they have to give their reasons for the ruling.  If the Chair is abusing their authority, see pages 650-3. 

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11 hours ago, Guest Richard said:

1. If at a meeting, a motion is made to remove an officer, and the motion is defeated, can the same motion be made at the next meeting, or even at the same meeting, if different reasons are given each time, or are they considered the same motion, since the same action is being proposed, regardless of the reasons given?

No, such a motion may not be made at the same meeting. In my view, this is substantially the same motion whether or not different reasons are given.

The motion may be made at the next meeting, since the freedom of each new session means that there is no prohibition against moving the same motion again at a new session. 

Depending on the rules in the bylaws for discipline (or in the absence of such rules, the wording for the term of office), however, it may not be so simple to remove an officer. See FAQ #20

Assuming it is in order to make such a motion anew at each session, I would note that these efforts can be shut down fairly swiftly if these efforts have little support. A 2/3 vote, for instance, could order the Previous Question.

11 hours ago, Guest Richard said:

2 If the officer in question is the president, do they have the right to ignore such a motion, treating it as dilatory, and not repeating it, etc?

No. The facts presented do not suggest to me that the motion is dilatory, let alone that it should simply be ignored. If the motion is made at a later meeting, the motion is perfectly in order (assuming such a motion would otherwise be in order) and the question should be stated. If it is made at the same meeting, it should be ruled out of order on the grounds that it presents substantially the same question as a motion which had already been finally disposed at the current session, but it should not simply be ignored.

If members repeatedly and incessantly make this motion, or other related motions, during the same meeting, then it may be appropriate to rule the motions out of order as dilatory, or even (eventually) to ignore the members, but this should not be the first step. A motion is not dilatory on the grounds that the motion has been defeated in a previous meeting, or even multiple previous meetings.

”It is the duty of the presiding officer to prevent members from misusing the legitimate forms of motions, or abusing the privilege of renewing certain motions, merely to obstruct business. Whenever the chair becomes convinced that one or more members are repeatedly using parliamentary forms for dilatory purposes, he should either not recognize these members or he should rule that such motions are out of order—but he should never adopt such a course merely to speed up business, and he should never permit his personal feelings to affect his judgment in such cases. If the chair only suspects that a motion is not made in good faith, he should give the maker of the motion the benefit of the doubt. The chair should always be courteous and fair, but at the same time he should be firm in protecting the assembly from imposition.” (RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 342-343)

I would also note that, given the subject matter of these motions, the chairman should relinquish the chair to the Vice President rather than preside over their consideration himself.

“Whenever a motion is made that refers only to the presiding officer in a capacity not shared in common with other members, or that commends or censures him with others, he should turn the chair over to the vice-president or appropriate temporary occupant (see below) during the assembly's consideration of that motion, just as he would in a case where he wishes to take part in debate (see also p. 394–95).” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 451)

9 hours ago, Atul Kapur said:

The Chair cannot ignore any motion made and seconded.

I would not go so far as to say “any” motion. The text does note that ignoring a motion may be appropriate in cases of especially dilatory behavior. I agree, however, that the facts presented certainly do not rise to such behavior.

Edited by Josh Martin

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