Jump to content
The Official RONR Q & A Forums

? Reference for : A member is not permitted to speak against his or her own motion.


Guest Julie Robison

Recommended Posts

What continues to be suggested is that we should do away altogether with a rule that has been in effect since 1876. I'm not prepared to do so based on nothing more than the views and concerns expressed here.

If an assembly feels that its members should be allowed to speak against their own motions, it is free to adopt a rule saying so.  I'm quite certain that not many have felt a need to do so.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 64
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Guest Puzzling
37 minutes ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

What continues to be suggested is that we should do away altogether with a rule that has been in effect since 1876. I'm not prepared to do so based on nothing more than the views and concerns expressed here.

I do see good points in that the maker/sponsor  is not allowed to speak against the original motion (or even against motions that are perfecting the original motion) 

It prevents members making main motions they disagree with . (I was tempted to suggest that in another tread) 

But not being allowed to speak against an motion that more-or-less is the opposite is a bridge to far.

My (present)  suggestion is only to add to the disputed paragraph a reference to the motion for  request the withdraw of the motion and to remove seconding of the last motion. And some  other changes regarding the minutes.

Hardly to do away with an old and respectable rule.

I am still wondering if the debates we now have originated in a related change that made unfriendly amendments possible long ago.

Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

What continues to be suggested is that we should do away altogether with a rule that has been in effect since 1876. I'm not prepared to do so based on nothing more than the views and concerns expressed here.

Would you give us a good reason for keeping me rule other than the fact that it has been in effect since 1876? That doesn’t sound like a very good reason to me.  Some pretty good arguments have been made for doing away with it ... or at least for modifying it. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

Would you give us a good reason for keeping me rule other than the fact that it has been in effect since 1876? That doesn’t sound like a very good reason to me. 

One very good reason, by my standards, is that I'm not sure I know why General Robert inserted it in the first place, and then kept repeating it (as have my predecessors). Without this knowledge, deleting it runs the very real risk of triggering unforeseen, adverse consequences.

 

23 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

 Some pretty good arguments have been made for doing away with it ... or at least for modifying it. 

I strongly disagree that this is the case.

Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Guest Puzzling said:

I am still questioning is when did unfriendly amendments became possible? Were amendments originally only a means to perfect the motion (not to change it in the motion into something opposite)

I am not aware that there ever was a time at which "unfriendly amendments" were not possible. The common parliamentary law appears to have permitted "unfriendly amendments" since at least the late 18th century, and very possibly much earlier.

Jefferson's Manual (1801) is the oldest parliamentary manual in the United States and it explicitly provides that "Amendments may be made so as totally to alter the nature of the proposition; and it is a way of getting rid of a proposition, by making it bear a sense different from what was intended by the movers, so that they vote against it themselves." (Jefferson, pg. 53)

In his statement of this rule, Jefferson cites John Hatsell's Precedents of Proceedings in the House of Commons (1781).

In any event, the rule which permits "unfriendly amendments" apparently predates the rule which prohibits a motion maker from speaking against a motion the member. So the latter rule was (for reasons unknown to us) included notwithstanding that "unfriendly amendments" were a part of the common parliamentary law at the time.

2 hours ago, Guest Puzzling said:

I do see good points in that the maker/sponsor  is not allowed to speak against the original motion (or even against motions that are perfecting the original motion) 

I don't believe anyone said the latter part. The rule in question provides that the motion maker may not speak against the motion the member made. The rule has no application regarding how the member may speak on "motions that are perfecting the original motion" (unless the member also made those motions).

2 hours ago, Guest Puzzling said:

My (present)  suggestion is only to add to the disputed paragraph a reference to the motion for  request the withdraw of the motion

The paragraph in question already includes a reference to a request to withdraw the motion.

"In debate, the maker of a motion, while he can vote against it, is not allowed to speak against his own motion. He need not speak at all, but if he does he is obliged to take a favorable position. If he changes his mind while the motion he made is pending, he can, in effect, advise the assembly of this by asking permission to withdraw the motion (33:11–18)." RONR (12th ed.) 43:25

Or do you mean that the minutes should include a reference to the request to withdraw the motion?

2 hours ago, Guest Puzzling said:

and to remove seconding of the last motion.

I don't know what this means.

Edited by Josh Martin
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

One very good reason, by my standards, is that I'm not sure I know why General Robert inserted it in the first place, and then kept repeating it (as have my predecessors). Without this knowledge, deleting it runs the very real risk of triggering unforeseen, adverse consequences.

I generally am less interested in why a rule was originally adopted than I am in whether it serves any good purpose now. Knowing the original rationale may have a bearing on that issue, but if no one can articulate the reason, then I would question its importance. As to "unforeseen, adverse consequences," I belong to another group that uses a parliamentary authority that does not include the prohibition, and I have seen no evidence of any adverse consequences resulting from the absence of the rule.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Puzzling
28 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

I am not aware that there ever was a time at which "unfriendly amendments" were not possible. The common parliamentary law appears to have permitted "unfriendly amendments" since at least the late 18th century, and very possibly much earlier.

Jefferson's Manual (1801) is the oldest parliamentary manual in the United States and it explicitly provides that "Amendments may be made so as totally to alter the nature of the proposition; and it is a way of getting rid of a proposition, by making it bear a sense different from what was intended by the movers, so that they vote against it themselves." (Jefferson, pg. 53)

In his statement of this rule, Jefferson cites John Hatsell's Precedents of Proceedings in the House of Commons (1781).

In any event, the rule which permits "unfriendly amendments" apparently predates the rule which prohibits a motion maker from speaking against a motion the member. So the latter rule was (for reasons unknown to us) included notwithstanding that "unfriendly amendments" were a part of the common parliamentary law at the time.

I don't believe anyone said the latter part. The rule in question provides that the motion maker may not speak against the motion the member made. The rule has no application regarding how the member may speak on "motions that are perfecting the original motion" (unless the member also made those motions).

The paragraph in question already includes a reference to a request to withdraw the motion.

"In debate, the maker of a motion, while he can vote against it, is not allowed to speak against his own motion. He need not speak at all, but if he does he is obliged to take a favorable position. If he changes his mind while the motion he made is pending, he can, in effect, advise the assembly of this by asking permission to withdraw the motion (33:11–18)." RONR (12th ed.) 43:25

Or do you mean that the minutes should include a reference to the request to withdraw the motion?

I don't know what this means.

Thanks for your response 

If unfriendly amendments were always possible in congress there should be instances where the sponsors wanted to withdraw the amended bill and others would want to propose a bill for the amended version, but I have never heard of such a situation,  it would be interesting to know how congress responded in such a case. (And to the sponsors who are now listed a sporting a bill they do not support) 

 

3 hours ago, Guest Puzzling said:

I do see good points in that the maker/sponsor  is not allowed to speak against the original motion (or even against motions that are perfecting the original motion)

I mean the amendments that are made before the motion is stated by the chair and the maker approved.

37 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

In debate, the maker of a motion, while he can vote against it, is not allowed to speak against his own motion. He need not speak at all, but if he does he is obliged to take a favorable position. If he changes his mind while the motion he made is pending, he can, in effect, advise the assembly of this by asking permission to withdraw the motion (33:11–18)." RONR (12th ed.) 43:25

The problem is that the maker did not changed his mind (on the subject,) , the motion changed. So the paragraph should at least add this variation as well.

The requests to withdraw a motion in RONR 12ed needs to be seconded , I would like that to change so that no second is needed.

Also if the withdraw is denied that it is recorded in the minutes.

In a later version in RONR I would like that a supporter of the main motion is mentioned in the minutes (not just the original maker that might not support the main motion as adopted anymore) but I fear this needs lots of puzzling on how to formulate such a system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Henry Martyn Robert III made a point of it that the authors of RONR were not attempting to legislate parliamentary law.  They saw themselves as codifiers of the practices that were widely in place.  I think we should take this into consideration in this discussion.

Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Rob Elsman said:

Henry Martyn Robert III made a point of it that the authors of RONR were not attempting to legislate parliamentary law.  They saw themselves as codifiers of the practices that were widely in place.  I think we should take this into consideration in this discussion.

I agree. But so far I have seen no evidence that this particular rule was "widely in place" when it was inserted into the second edition. And too the extent that it now is "widely in place," I suspect that's only because so many organizations have adopted RONR (often without being more than vaguely aware of its contents).

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Guest Puzzling said:

The requests to withdraw a motion in RONR 12ed needs to be seconded , I would like that to change so that no second is needed.

 

To be more accurate, it is not the request to withdraw a motion per se that needs to be seconded, it is the motion to grant permission to withdraw the motion  - if made by the member making the request. And this is only necessary when the request does not receive unanimous consent.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Puzzling
8 minutes ago, Bruce Lages said:

And this is only necessary when the request does not receive unanimous consent

And even for this case I think seconding should be abolished. So that  the original maker can always  have a vote (and a note in the minutes) on his request to withdraw his motion. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Rob Elsman said:

Henry Martyn Robert III made a point of it that the authors of RONR were not attempting to legislate parliamentary law.  They saw themselves as codifiers of the practices that were widely in place.  I think we should take this into consideration in this discussion.

I think it then the footnote in the 3rd edition, becomes exceptionally important.  General Robert noted that the rule was at variance from the House rule at the time. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, J. J. said:

The issue of if the motion, once stated by the chair, is under control of the assembly or of the maker would not arise. 

It is interesting to note that in the footnote to withdrawal of a motion (Section 17), of the 3rd edition (1893), General Robert noted that the House Rules of the day prohibited withdrawing a motion after amendment.  He concluded, however, "Nothing would be gained in ordinary societies by varying from the old common law rule as stated above."

We are seeing something that would be gained by varying from that rule, at least in 2021.

It's not clear that the motion could not be withdrawn even with permission of the House. But in any event, in Congress the motion could be (and I believe the rule is still that it can be) withdrawn unilaterally by the mover, at least up until a certain point. The note (on page 50 of R.O. 3rd edition; see https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=osu.32435065852162&view=1up&seq=5) says:

"* In Congress, a motion may be withdrawn by the mover, before a decision or amendment [Rule 40 H. R.]. Nothing would be gained in ordinary societies by varying from the old common law as stated above [See note to § 5]." (emphasis added)

The earlier footnote, on page 32, says:

"* Rule 40 H. R. is as follows: “After a motion is stated by the Speaker, or read by the Clerk, it shall be deemed to be in the possession of the House, but it may be withdrawn at any time before a decision or amendment.” The practice under this rule has been, not to allow a motion to be withdrawn after the previous question has been seconded. This manual conforms to the old parliamentary principle, which is probably better adapted to ordinary societies. In certain organizations it will, doubtless, be found advisable to adopt a special rule like the Congressional one just given."

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/25/2021 at 11:37 PM, Rob Elsman said:

After a main motion has been amended, who must make or second a motion to Request Leave to Withdraw it?  Is it not still the maker of the main motion, even though the wording (and, possibly, the meaning) has been modified in such a way that the maker finds his main motion objectionable?  So, too--I would reason--the maker of a main motion may not speak in debate against an amended main motion that he originally made and now finds objectionable.

But the motion to withdraw is not debatable, so the maker needs to argue against the pending motion to explain why it's actually no longer his own motion before seeking leave to withdraw it. 🙂

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...