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Guest Dartward

Amend Agenda Out of Order

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Guest Dartward

There will be a motion to amend the agenda, submitting a new motion under decision items. 

This new motion has been previously ruled as out of order, opposes charter and past organizational practice. 

Is the motion to amend the agenda also out of order? Or is the motion to amend the agenda considered separate from the merits of the new motion?

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2 hours ago, Guest Dartward said:

Is the motion to amend the agenda also out of order?

No, I don't think so.

2 hours ago, Guest Dartward said:

Or is the motion to amend the agenda considered separate from the merits of the new motion?

Yes, in my view, the motion to amend the agenda is considered separate from the merits of the main motion. Indeed, generally a motion to amend the agenda will not have sufficient specificity to determine whether the main motion would or would not be in order. Even if the agenda item is unusually specific, I don't think the motion to amend the agenda would be out of order on the grounds that the main motion which is expected to be made under that agenda item would be out of order.

Edited by Josh Martin

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I am curious why a member would renew a main motion that has been ruled out of order in a previous session.  Unless the previous ruling was clearly wrong or sufficient changes have been made to the motion to make it a different question, the chair will almost certainly rule the motion out of order again on the basis of the precedent set by the previous ruling.  So, what is the purpose of this exercise?

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Guest Zev

Why would the out-of-order ruling be eternal? Is it not true that upon appeal, given the passage of time, circumstances or new information, that the assembly could reverse the chairman's previous ruling or reverse its own vote and allow the motion to proceed? I am having some difficulty in finding the text that tells me that a chairman's ruling is eternal and cannot be countermanded. The book indicates that a ruling sets a precedent, but to my knowledge it does not say that it can never be reversed. Or did I miss something?

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I am simply curious about the basis upon which the original poster thinks the presiding officer will rule differently, based upon the fact that there is a precedent set that the motion is out of order on account of the grounds given.  Nothing in my reply was intended to imply that rulings of the chair are "eternal".  It may well be that there is some basis for making a different ruling; I would like to know what that "some basis" is.

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Most of the reasons are likely to be specific to the motion itself, so I won't speculate on that.

However, it doesn't just have to be an expectation that the chair will rule differently. It may be a different presiding officer, a different group of attendees who will vote differently on appeal, the mover may have marshalled more evidence to make a better argument during the appeal, etc.

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I would note that motion changing a past practice (custom) is totally legitimate; a motion should never be ruled out of order solely on the ground that it violates a past practice.  In this case, there may be other reasons for ruling this particular motion out of order.

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4 hours ago, Guest Dartward said:

This new motion has been previously ruled as out of order, opposes charter and past organizational practice. 

Agreeing with @J. J., a motion that conflicts with the charter can and should be ruled out of order, but it would not be proper to rule a motion out of order on the basis that it conflicts with past organizational practice, which RONR calls custom.  

The primary way that custom is changed is to adopt a motion that conflicts with it.  Adopted rules take precedence over custom.

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Guest Dartward


I am pleased to have submitted inquiry to this group of intellectual colleagues. Very appreciative of your esteemed input. 

@Josh Martin thank you for the confirmation. Precisely my deduction. Motions to amend the agenda is debatable, concerning the pros + cons of of adding the item to the agenda, and not the merit of the decision item.

@Rob Elsman the renewal (although crafted differently) of the main motion has always been a question of authority between bicameral mandates. The charter interpretation can be seen through both lenses, and has been controversial for over a decade. The authority has sought legal opinion (recently submitted) and remains with a pending judicial verdict. 

I (the OP) am the elected presiding officer of this assembly... which meets today. Should matters of Points of Order arise, (RONR, pg450, ln. 14): "... when in doubt, the presiding officer prefers initially to submit such a question to the assembly for decision." - leaving the debate for the assembly, where it should occur.

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We don't have information about the way in which the proposed motion was previously ruled to have been in violation of the charter, nor do I think we need to know that.  Even presuming that the previous ruling was correct, during the new agenda item someone could offer a modified version of the prior motion that does not violate the charter and thus is not out of order.  So I don't believe that a motion to add the general subject to the agenda would be out of order.  Ruling it to be out of order could prevent the assembly from finding a different solution to the issue.

 

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