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Suspend the rules and Reconsider


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15 minutes ago, Atul Kapur said:

That argument assumes the conclusion.
If it didn't receive a 2/3 vote, then it was dilatory and the the assembly's time was not protected.

There is no reasonable grounds for the presiding officer to make that assumption at the time the person on the losing side attempts to make the motion. So Mr. Honemann's position takes effect before your counter-argument can be tested.

You could say the same about any motion. We cannot tell if it dilatory until tested.  The chair has to make that determination.

In this specific case, the chair rules the motion to suspend the rules to permit a member voting on the losing side to move reconsider.  The chair rules it out of order.  The chair's decision is appealed and overturned.  The motion will be considered  by the assembly and could not be considered dilatory.   You could pretty much say that about any motion.

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3 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Well, I have no hesitancy in saying that if a motion to Reconsider has been rejected, unanimous consent will be required in order to renew it, and I'm quite sure that this rule cannot be suspended by a two-thirds vote.  🙂

I certainly agree with that. But I wasn't asking about renewal of the motion to Reconsider. I was asking about renewing the original motion at the same session (whether or not Reconsider was attempted first).

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For the record, I am still of the opinion  that a "motion to suspend the rules and to reconsider and enter on the minutes" may be made by a member who did not vote on the prevailing side as a single combined motion and that its adoption would require a two-thirds vote.  I further do not believe that the mere making of such a motion is automatically dilatory.  Also, as someone (I believe J.J.) pointed out,  the question of whether a motion is dilatory can be decided by a majority vote.

Edited to add:  There are numerous instances where RONR says that certain motions require unanimous consent.  This is not one of them.

Edited by Richard Brown
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17 hours ago, Weldon Merritt said:

Neither did Richard Brown and I in the other thread. But Dr. Kapur had a good argument that it does, base on the RONR provision that, "In any case, no rule protecting a minority of a particular size can be suspended in the face of a negative vote as large as the minority protected by the rule." P. 261, ll. 15-17.

Dr. Kapur's argument was that the 10%+ who voted against the motion discussed in that thread were "the minority protected by the rule." That was in a different context (the ability to move Reconsider); but I'm not so sure the same argument, if valid in that context, wouldn't apply in this one as well. But I'm certainly willing (and even a bit hopeful) to be persuaded.

On the contrary, those protected by the rule on who may move  to Reconsider are not the minority who voted against the main motion, but the majority who prevailed and are then protected against the dilatory use of Reconsider by the minority who did not prevail. So in this case the rule does not protect any minority.

I would also question whether the rule protects "the entire assembly" as Mr. Honemann suggests.  I don't think it can be said to protect that portion of the assembly whom it prevents from moving to Reconsider.  It protects only those who would be opposed to reconsideration, i.e., those who voted on the prevailing side.

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5 minutes ago, Gary Novosielski said:

On the contrary, those protected by the rule on who may move  to Reconsider are not the minority who voted against the main motion, but the majority who prevailed and are then protected against the dilatory use of Reconsider by the minority who did not prevail. So in this case the rule does not protect any minority.

In the situation Dr. Kapur and others are referring to, the motion in question required a 9/10 vote for adoption, and the motion was defeated. In such a case, the prevailing side is those who voted against the motion, which was a minority of the assembly which was slightly larger than 1/10.

Edited by Josh Martin
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1 hour ago, Richard Brown said:

For the record, I am still of the opinion  that a "motion to suspend the rules and to reconsider and enter on the minutes" may be made by a member who did not vote on the prevailing side as a single combined motion and that its adoption would require a two-thirds vote.  I further do not believe that the mere making of such a motion is automatically dilatory.  Also, as someone (I believe J.J.) pointed out,  the question of whether a motion is dilatory can be decided by a majority vote.

Edited to add:  There are numerous instances where RONR says that certain motions require unanimous consent.  This is not one of them.

While I initially agreed that only a two-thirds vote is required, I have since become persuaded that this is not correct in the instance of a motion to Reconsider made by a member on the non-prevailing side.

True, the rules for Reconsider don't say that unanimous consent is required to suspend the rules and allow a member from the losing side to move it. But the rules do lay out what such a member may do to attempt to have the motion reconsidered, I think there is a strong implication that those are the only things they may do.

I also recognize that the chair's ruling that a motion to Suspend the Rules by a member from the losing side is not in order could be appealed, and that it would only take a majority to overturn such a ruling. Since there obviously is a difference of opinion among some well-qualified parliamentarians, I would have to say that such an appeal would have to be allowed (i.e., there are at least two reasonable opinions), and the result respected at least for that particular instance. That's why I think it would be great if an official interpretation could be added to the RONR web site. (I'm confident that it will not be clarified in the 12th edition; else Mr. Honemann would not have said that he previously had not given it any though.)

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25 minutes ago, Weldon Merritt said:

I also recognize that the chair's ruling that a motion to Suspend the Rules by a member from the losing side is not in order could be appealed, and that it would only take a majority to overturn such a ruling. Since there obviously is a difference of opinion among some well-qualified parliamentarians, I would have to say that such an appeal would have to be allowed (i.e., there are at least two reasonable opinions), and the result respected at least for that particular instance. That's why I think it would be great if an official interpretation could be added to the RONR web site. (I'm confident that it will not be clarified in the 12th edition; else Mr. Honemann would not have said that he previously had not given it any though.)

My problems here are these:

1.  A defeated bylaw amendment can be reconsidered by a majority vote, even if it requires a 2/3 vote and previous notice.  The fact that this does create a problem with absentee rights or the rights of an individual member, tells me that those things do not apply.

2.  On its face, a motion "to suspend the rules and permit someone who did not vote on the prevailing side to move to reconsider the motion," does not "obstruct or thwart the will of the assembly."  Therefor it does not meet the definition of being a dilatory motion.  The assembly, by majority vote, is the ultimate authority on if the motion is dilatory.

On the second point, I will concede that there are circumstances where the motion could be dilatory.  I think I could say the same about any motion.

I will also concede that there might be some other reason for rule the motion "to suspend the rules and permit someone who did not vote on the prevailing side to move to reconsider the motion" out of order in the general case, but not these  two reasons. 

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2 hours ago, J. J. said:

1.  A defeated bylaw amendment can be reconsidered by a majority vote, even if it requires a 2/3 vote and previous notice.  The fact that this does create a problem with absentee rights or the rights of an individual member, tells me that those things do not apply.

True; but that says anything about the vote required to suspend the rules and allow the motion to be made by a member who voted on the non-prevailing side. 

2 hours ago, J. J. said:

2.  On its face, a motion "to suspend the rules and permit someone who did not vote on the prevailing side to move to reconsider the motion," does not "obstruct or thwart the will of the assembly."  Therefor it does not meet the definition of being a dilatory motion.  The assembly, by majority vote, is the ultimate authority on if the motion is dilatory.

It was Mt. Honemann, not I, who said that the motion would be dilitatory. And I agree that the assembly is the ultimate judge of whether a given motion is dilatory. But I think there are other reason that the motion is not in order.

2 hours ago, J. J. said:

I will also concede that there might be some other reason for rule the motion "to suspend the rules and permit someone who did not vote on the prevailing side to move to reconsider the motion" out of order in the general case, but not these  two reasons. 

I think the fact that RONR provides specific ways for a member who did not vote on the prevailing side the attempt to get the motion reconsidered is a pretty compelling indication that those are the only ways to do so.

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3 hours ago, Weldon Merritt said:

I think the fact that RONR provides specific ways for a member who did not vote on the prevailing side the attempt to get the motion reconsidered is a pretty compelling indication that those are the only ways to do so.

I have no doubt that the motion Lay on the Table cannot be properly  used to suppress a main motion, because RONR specifically says that this usage is out of order.  I have no doubt that the rules could be suspended to permit Lay on the Table to be used to suppress a main motion.  

I do not find a compelling reason there that prohibits suspension of the rules to permit someone who did not vote on the prevailing side to move to reconsider the motion.  I will say that I do find this a stronger argument than this motion always being dilatory. 

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18 hours ago, Weldon Merritt said:

And after carefully considering your reasoning, I now agree. But there still remains the question of whether a particular tactic is dilatory. I think it is clear enough that under the rules of RONR, a motion to Reconsider made by a member who voted on the non-prevailing side would be dilatory. But what about renewal of a defeated motion at the same session? I would be very interested in your thoughts on that scenario. 

 

17 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Well, I have no hesitancy in saying that if a motion to Reconsider has been rejected, unanimous consent will be required in order to renew it, and I'm quite sure that this rule cannot be suspended by a two-thirds vote.  🙂

 

14 hours ago, Weldon Merritt said:

I certainly agree with that. But I wasn't asking about renewal of the motion to Reconsider. I was asking about renewing the original motion at the same session (whether or not Reconsider was attempted first).

Well, you didn't say what kind of motion you were asking about, so I had to pick one for myself. I still don't know what the original motion is, but I'll assume now that it's a main motion.

Any attempt to renew a defeated main motion immediately following its rejection is, on the face of it, clearly dilatory, as would be a motion to suspend the rules and agree to [whatever motion it was that was just defeated]. This presents a self-evident case of an attempt "... to obstruct or thwart the will of the assembly as clearly indicated by the existing parliamentary situation." (RONR, 11th ed., p. 342, ll. 12-14)  This would not be the case if some time has passed and there may have been a change in circumstances causing the motion to become a different motion in some respect.

Not sure what this has to do with this thread, however. Any attempt by a member who did not vote with the prevailing side to move to reconsider the vote is, on the face of it, clearly dilatory, and this, we are told, is the reason why there is a rule which prohibits it.

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5 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Not sure what this has to do with this thread, however. Any attempt by a member who did not vote with the prevailing side to move to reconsider the vote is, on the face of it, clearly dilatory, and this, we are told, is the reason why there is a rule which prohibits it.

I am certain we are all in agreement that, in the ordinary case, the proper course of action is for members to persuade someone on the prevailing side to move to Reconsider. After all, it is generally the case that if no members on the prevailing side are willing to move to Reconsider, there is no chance of the motion to Reconsider being adopted, let alone a chance of a different result on the underlying motion. As a result, it certainly seems to generally be the case that a motion of this nature is dilatory.

I think there are some situations, however, in which a different result could be obtained even although no members on the prevailing side are willing to move to Reconsider. This could occur because members who abstained from or who were absent during the original vote are willing to reconsider, however, there is no member who voted on the prevailing side who is willing to do so. It may be that there are enough such members that it could change the result of the original vote.

In such cases, I am not clear on why a motion to Reconsider would be dilatory, since the motion is being used for its intended purpose of seeking to reconsider the vote rather than to obstruct the business of the assembly, and there is reason to believe that the motion to Reconsider (and the subsequent debate and vote to change the result on the underlying motion) may be successful. In addition, Reconsideration in this manner is permissible in committees. While it is certainly reasonable that there are different rules for committees than for full-fledged assemblies due to their differing sizes and objectives, it is not clear why such a motion would be in order in a committee but would actually be dilatory in an assembly. While RONR also generally requires a 2/3 vote for reconsideration in committees (unless all members who voted on the prevailing side are present), such a vote is satisfied here (even if some members who voted on the prevailing side left) because a 2/3 vote is required to suspend the rules.

So I think it would be reasonable for the chair to request an explanation from the member making the motion to Suspend the Rules to permit a member who did not vote on the prevailing side to move to Reconsider, and the chair might (or might not) rule the motion out of order as dilatory based on that explanation and other aspects of the current parliamentary situation. I do not think, however, that it would be reasonable for the chair to categorically rule all such motions out of order as dilatory.

Edited by Josh Martin
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46 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

In such cases, I am not clear on why a motion to Reconsider would be dilatory

Again, it is not the motion itself which is dilatory, it is the attempt by someone who did not vote on the prevailing side to move it.

47 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

and there is reason to believe that the motion to Reconsider (and the subsequent debate and vote to change the result on the underlying motion) may be successful

What reason is there to believe this? There is, in fact, no evidence that the motion would be successful precisely because there is no one on the prevailing side who can be found to make the motion to Reconsider. Other possibilities, such as "members who abstained from or who were absent during the original vote are willing to reconsider," seem fanciful.

54 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

it is not clear why such a motion would be in order in a committee but would actually be dilatory in an assembly.

Well, first, "a committee is not itself considered to be a form of assembly." (RONR 11th ed., p. 349, lines 4-5).

And the rule on who can make the motion is only loosened somewhat in committee, and for the same purpose as the rule disallowing motions to close or limit debate, "In order
that there may be no interference with the assembly’s having the benefit of its committees’ matured judgment" (p. 500, lines 18-20).

 

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1 hour ago, Josh Martin said:

I am certain we are all in agreement that, in the ordinary case, the proper course of action is for members to persuade someone on the prevailing side to move to Reconsider. After all, it is generally the case that if no members on the prevailing side are willing to move to Reconsider, there is no chance of the motion to Reconsider being adopted, let alone a chance of a different result on the underlying motion. As a result, it certainly seems to generally be the case that a motion of this nature is dilatory.

I think there are some situations, however, in which a different result could be obtained even although no members on the prevailing side are willing to move to Reconsider. This could occur because members who abstained from or who were absent during the original vote are willing to reconsider, however, there is no member who voted on the prevailing side who is willing to do so. It may be that there are enough such members that it could change the result of the original vote.

In such cases, I am not clear on why a motion to Reconsider would be dilatory, since the motion is being used for its intended purpose of seeking to reconsider the vote rather than to obstruct the business of the assembly, and there is reason to believe that the motion to Reconsider (and the subsequent debate and vote to change the result on the underlying motion) may be successful. In addition, Reconsideration in this manner is permissible in committees. While it is certainly reasonable that there are different rules for committees than for full-fledged assemblies due to their differing sizes and objectives, it is not clear why such a motion would be in order in a committee but would actually be dilatory in an assembly. While RONR also generally requires a 2/3 vote for reconsideration in committees (unless all members who voted on the prevailing side are present), such a vote is satisfied here (even if some members who voted on the prevailing side left) because a 2/3 vote is required to suspend the rules.

So I think it would be reasonable for the chair to request an explanation from the member making the motion to Suspend the Rules to permit a member who did not vote on the prevailing side to move to Reconsider, and the chair might (or might not) rule the motion out of order as dilatory based on that explanation and other aspects of the current parliamentary situation. I do not think, however, that it would be reasonable for the chair to categorically rule all such motions out of order as dilatory.

I do agree that if the motion "to suspend the rules to permit someone who voted on the losing side to move to reconsider" was made immediately after the vote it would be dilatory, just as to two motions to lay a pending on the table made in immediate succession would be dilatory.  However, with the passage of time, it may not be.

Likewise, when the motion "to suspend the rules to permit someone who voted on the losing side to move to reconsider," is not dilatory, it would require a 2/3 vote.

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21 minutes ago, Atul Kapur said:

What reason is there to believe this? There is, in fact, no evidence that the motion would be successful precisely because there is no one on the prevailing side who can be found to make the motion to Reconsider. Other possibilities, such as "members who abstained from or who were absent during the original vote are willing to reconsider," seem fanciful.

 

They may or may not be fanciful depending on the specific circumstances.

21 minutes ago, Atul Kapur said:

Well, first, "a committee is not itself considered to be a form of assembly." (RONR 11th ed., p. 349, lines 4-5).

And the rule on who can make the motion is only loosened somewhat in committee, and for the same purpose as the rule disallowing motions to close or limit debate, "In order
that there may be no interference with the assembly’s having the benefit of its committees’ matured judgment" (p. 500, lines 18-20).

Yes, I fully understand why the rule itself is different. To go further and suggest that to Suspend the Rules in order to permit a motion for this purpose is dilatory, regardless of the circumstances of a particular case, seems like a stretch.

Edited by Josh Martin
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41 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

Yes, I fully understand why the rule itself is different.

I was responding to your assertion that the fact that something would be in order in committee suggests it would not be dilatory in an assembly.

41 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

To go further and suggest that to Suspend the Rules in order to permit a motion for this purpose is dilatory, regardless of the circumstances of a particular case, seems like a stretch.

The purpose of the rule is to prevent the dilatory use of Reconsider (p. 316, 6-8).

Is it really a stretch to say that the purpose of Suspending the rule would be to allow its dilatory use?

Edited by Atul Kapur
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33 minutes ago, Atul Kapur said:

 

The purpose of the rule is to prevent the dilatory use of Reconsider (p. 316, 6-8).

Is it really a stretch to say that the purpose of Suspending the rule would be to allow its dilatory use?

I think so.  The question of if a motion is dilatory is largely a function of the circumstance and always, ultimately, decided by the majority. 

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1 hour ago, Atul Kapur said:

Is it really a stretch to say that the purpose of Suspending the rule would be to allow its dilatory use?

I. for one, don't think it is a stretch at all. But it seems that so far, only you. Mr. Honemann, and I (after being persuaded) are the only ones who see it that way. Further, even if the motion would not be dilatary in a specific instance, I come back to the fact that Reconsider lists very specific ways that a member of the losing side can attempt to have the motion reconsidered, and Suspend the Rules is not one of them 

I don't think that the fact that a majority could overrule the chair's ruling is persuasive. As I've said before, a majority can do all sorts of things if they are willing to vote for what they would like the rule to be rather than what it is.

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13 minutes ago, Weldon Merritt said:

 

I don't think that the fact that a majority could overrule the chair's ruling is persuasive. As I've said before, a majority can do all sorts of things if they are willing to vote for what they would like the rule to be rather than what it is.

In the case of dilatory motions, it is always a matter of opinion.  If the assembly, by majority vote, decides that a particular question is not dilatory, it is not dilatory.  The chair, as ruling a motion dilatory is, in theory, protecting the assembly from dilatory motions.  If the assembly desires to consider a motion, it needs no protection. 

The rules may be suspended for a number of reasons, not all of which are stated in RONR (the book would have to be several thousand pages long). 

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20 minutes ago, J. J. said:

In the case of dilatory motions, it is always a matter of opinion.  If the assembly, by majority vote, decides that a particular question is not dilatory, it is not dilatory.  The chair, as ruling a motion dilatory is, in theory, protecting the assembly from dilatory motions.  If the assembly desires to consider a motion, it needs no protection. 

I agree that whether something is dilatory usually is a matter of opinion. But there are some things that the book flat out says are dilatory. (Straw Polls, for example.) I admit that it is less clear in the case of a motion to Reconsider made by a member who did not vote on the prevailing side, but there is a pretty strong indication that it is inherently dilatory.

 

25 minutes ago, J. J. said:

The rules may be suspended for a number of reasons, not all of which are stated in RONR (the book would have to be several thousand pages long). 

True. But in this instance, the book specifically says how a member who did not vote on the prevailing side can nevertheless seek to have the motion reconsidered. I again contend that this is strong evidence that those are the only legitimate ways.

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2 minutes ago, Weldon Merritt said:

I agree that whether something is dilatory usually is a matter of opinion. But there are some things that the book flat out says are dilatory. (Straw Polls, for example.) I admit that it is less clear in the case of a motion to Reconsider made by a member who did not vote on the prevailing side, but there is a pretty strong indication that it is inherently dilatory.

 

True. But in this instance, the book specifically says how a member who did not vote on the prevailing side can nevertheless seek to have the motion reconsidered. I again contend that this is strong evidence that those are the only legitimate ways.

A straw poll is out of order, because the vote is valid.  You cannot have a situation where the vote, if successful, does not take some action.  It is only dilatory because it effectively does not exist.  Further, it actually defines it as dilatory; there is nothing in the book about reconsider.

RONR list the easiest and most common method for reconsideration; that does not preclude other methods.  In another example, while a primary or secondary amendment is pending, the rules could be suspended to permit a tertiary amendment or to strike out words one place or insert different words in another place in the primary amendment.  That isn't listed but it would be in order under suspension.

Further, we do have a list of the type of rules that cannot be suspended.  I know of no FPPL that would be violated by suspending the rules to permit someone who did not vote on the prevailing side to move to reconsider.  It is not generally a procedural rule of law or a rule in the bylaws.  It is not a rule protecting absentees.  It is clearly not applicable outside a meeting.  I would not call it the right of an individual member (p. 263-4).

 

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4 hours ago, Atul Kapur said:

The purpose of the rule is to prevent the dilatory use of Reconsider (p. 316, 6-8).

Is it really a stretch to say that the purpose of Suspending the rule would be to allow its dilatory use?

I think it is, actually, because the motion to Reconsider is debatable while the incidental motion to Suspend the Rules is not. So if any member could move to Reconsider, this could end up wasting a lot of the assembly's time. If a member makes a motion to Suspend the Rules to permit the making of a motion to Reconsider by a member who did not vote on the prevailing side, however, the assembly can swiftly dispose of the motion if it wishes to do so.

Additionally, the fact that the rule is intended to prevent the dilatory use of Reconsider does not necessarily mean all motions to Reconsider not made by a member who voted on the prevailing side are dilatory. The rule may be overinclusive.

Edited by Josh Martin
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Well, it seems obvious that we are not likely to come to agreement on this issue unless and until an Official Interpretation is issued. And even then, I suspect some still will disagree. But I, for one, am content to let my previous arguments stand. 

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