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Postpone Indefinitely with Previous Question


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I read the Feb thread about "Tabling" and Postpone Indefinitely and just want to confirm what it "looks like" in a meeting.  RONR says:

"If it is desired to dispose of a question without a direct vote, the suitable method is to use the motion to Postpone Indefinitely. If it is desired to do this without further debate, the motion to Postpone Indefinitely can be followed immediately by a motion for the Previous Question." RONR (12th ed.) 17:18 (my underline)

1.  Does this mean a member can do both motions in one step, saying,  "I move to Postpone Indefinitely and I move the Previous Question"?   

2. Or, does Postpone Indefinitely have to be stated by the chair and open for debate before the motion maker can be recognized again to move the Previous Question?  So it might go like this:

        " Member A: I move to Postpone the main motion Indefinitely.

         Member B: Second.

         Chair: It is moved and seconded to Postpone the main motion Indefinitely. Is there any debate?  Member A (who gets to speak first since she made the motion).

         Member A: I move the Previous Question.

         Member B:  Second"

3. It was suggested that the motion to Suspend the Rules could also be used to kill the main motion with one step. Would that go like this:

        "Member A: I move to Suspend the Rules and Postpone the main motion Indefinitely without further debate."

I appreciate your help with these scenarios.  Thanks.

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The motion to Postpone Indefinitely should be seconded and stated by the chair before recognizing the maker.  The maker can speak and move the Previous Question at the end, or he can immediately move the Previous Question.

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At any time when Suspend the Rules is in order, a member can move to Suspend the Rules and immediately adopt the motion to Postpone Indefinitely without debate.  This motion requires a two-thirds vote for adoption.

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19 hours ago, Libran said:

1.  Does this mean a member can do both motions in one step, saying,  "I move to Postpone Indefinitely and I move the Previous Question"?   

No. The person who has moved the the motion Postpone Indefinitely has preference in  being recognized by the chair

 

19 hours ago, Libran said:

2. Or, does Postpone Indefinitely have to be stated by the chair and open for debate before the motion maker can be recognized again to move the Previous Question?  So it might go like this:

        " Member A: I move to Postpone the main motion Indefinitely.

         Member B: Second.

         Chair: It is moved and seconded to Postpone the main motion Indefinitely. Is there any debate?  Member A (who gets to speak first since she made the motion).

         Member A: I move the Previous Question.

         Member B:  Second"

Yes, and I once did it in a meeting. 

 

19 hours ago, Libran said:

3. It was suggested that the motion to Suspend the Rules could also be used to kill the main motion with one step. Would that go like this:

        "Member A: I move to Suspend the Rules and Postpone the main motion Indefinitely without further debate."

It could be done this way, but if the motion is defeated, Postpone Indefinitely could not be renewed or reconsidered (11.2, #8).  Therefore, if your goal is to defeat the main motion, it is not particularly use a method that requires a 2/3 vote.  If you move the Previous Question on the motion to Postpone Indefinitely and the Previous Question is lost, you still have a chance of adopting Postpone Indefinitely , 

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21 hours ago, Libran said:

It was suggested that the motion to Suspend the Rules could also be used to kill the main motion with one step. Would that go like this:

        "Member A: I move to Suspend the Rules and Postpone the main motion Indefinitely without further debate."

 

1 hour ago, J. J. said:

It could be done this way, but if the motion is defeated, Postpone Indefinitely could not be renewed or reconsidered (11.2, #8).

I disagree. 

What has been defeated is a motion to suspend the rules and agree to indefinite postponement, without debate. It will still be in order to move indefinite postponement if this motion is defeated.

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2 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

 

I disagree. 

What has been defeated is a motion to suspend the rules and agree to indefinite postponement, without debate. It will still be in order to move indefinite postponement if this motion is defeated.

I agree with Mr. Honemann's disagreement.

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4 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

 

I disagree. 

What has been defeated is a motion to suspend the rules and agree to indefinite postponement, without debate. It will still be in order to move indefinite postponement if this motion is defeated.

To me, that is too close to a dilatory motion.  The assembly had the chance to adopt Postpone Indefinitely, though with a two thirds vote.  The same thing can be accomplished by moving to Postpone Indefinitely  and then moving the Previous Question on the motion to Postpone Indefinitely. 

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6 hours ago, J. J. said:

To me, that is too close to a dilatory motion.  The assembly had the chance to adopt Postpone Indefinitely, though with a two thirds vote.  The same thing can be accomplished by moving to Postpone Indefinitely  and then moving the Previous Question on the motion to Postpone Indefinitely. 

It would not be dilatory to vote against the motion to Suspend the Rules, and yet support the underlying motion.  Members may simply wish to hear debate on the issue before voting.  

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9 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

It would not be dilatory to vote against the motion to Suspend the Rules, and yet support the underlying motion.  Members may simply wish to hear debate on the issue before voting.  

That would be accomplished by voting against the Previous Question.  Members wishing to hear debate could simply vote against the Previous Question. 

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11 hours ago, J. J. said:

That would be accomplished by voting against the Previous Question.  Members wishing to hear debate could simply vote against the Previous Question. 

True, if in fact the Previous Question were moved.  If Suspend the Rules had been moved, they would have to vote against that.  But if either of those failed, it would still be in order to handle Object to Consideration Postpone Indefinitely with all of its normal descriptives.  Although this technically is a different procedure, the effects are the same: the assembly decides whether to object kill the main motion, and whether to permit debate on that question.   Handling this as one motion or as two is a distinction without a substantive difference.

Edited by Gary Novosielski
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33 minutes ago, Gary Novosielski said:

True, if in fact the Previous Question were moved.  If Suspend the Rules had been moved, they would have to vote against that.  But if either of those failed, it would still be in order to handle Object to Consideration with all of its normal descriptives.  Although this technically is a different procedure, the effects are the same: the assembly decides whether to object the main motion, and whether to permit debate on that question.   Handling this as one motion or as two is a distinction without a substantive difference.

An Objection to Consideration could not be made after a motion for the Previous Question has been defeated.

"The objection can be raised only before there has been any debate or any subsidiary motion except Lay on the Table has been stated by the chair; thereafter, consideration of the main question has begun and it is too late to object." RONR (12th ed.) 26:2

I suppose an Objection to Consideration raised after a motion to Suspend the Rules to Postpone Indefinitely without debate would theoretically be in order (assuming that nothing else has yet happened which would make Objection to Consideration out of order, which seems unlikely), since Suspend the Rules is an incidental motion, not a subsidiary motion. Generally, however, it would seem unlikely such an effort would be successful even in rare circumstances where it is in order.

I'm also not quite sure why it is necessary to complicate this discussion further by adding Objection to Consideration to the mix. :)

17 hours ago, J. J. said:

To me, that is too close to a dilatory motion.  The assembly had the chance to adopt Postpone Indefinitely, though with a two thirds vote.  The same thing can be accomplished by moving to Postpone Indefinitely  and then moving the Previous Question on the motion to Postpone Indefinitely. 

 

1 hour ago, J. J. said:

That would be accomplished by voting against the Previous Question.  Members wishing to hear debate could simply vote against the Previous Question. 

But as you've just shown, this does make a difference. If two separate motions are made (to Postpone Indefinitely and the Previous Question), members who wish to hear further debate on Postpone Indefinitely may vote against the Previous Question. On the other hand, if a motion is made to Suspend the Rules and Postpone Indefinitely without debate, members who wish to hear debate on Postpone Indefinitely have no opportunity to express that choice except by voting against this combined motion and for a member to then make a subsidiary motion to Postpone Indefinitely.

It would seem to me that making Postpone Indefinitely after such a motion is defeated would be in order, since it is not substantially the same question as a motion to Suspend the Rules and Postpone Indefinitely without debate.

Edited by Josh Martin
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22 minutes ago, Gary Novosielski said:

True, if in fact the Previous Question were moved.  If Suspend the Rules had been moved, they would have to vote against that.  But if either of those failed, it would still be in order to handle Object to Consideration with all of its normal descriptives.  Although this technically is a different procedure, the effects are the same: the assembly decides whether to object the main motion, and whether to permit debate on that question.   Handling this as one motion or as two is a distinction without a substantive difference.

No it wouldn't.  The question, when Postpone Indefinitely is applied, even under suspension of the rules, has been considered.  Further, moving to Postpone Indefinitely would be effectively voting against one's own motion, since Suspension of Rules could not interrupt. 

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8 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

It would seem to me that making Postpone Indefinitely after such a motion is defeated would be in order, since it is not substantially the same question as a motion to Suspend the Rules and Postpone Indefinitely without debate.

Yes, this is correct, as indicated quite some time ago.

 

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14 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

But as you've just shown, this does make a difference. If two separate motions are made (to Postpone Indefinitely and the Previous Question), members who wish to hear further debate on Postpone Indefinitely may vote against the Previous Question. On the other hand, if a motion is made to Suspend the Rules and Postpone Indefinitely without debate, members who wish to hear debate on Postpone Indefinitely have no opportunity to express that choice except by voting against this combined motion and for a member to then make a subsidiary motion to Postpone Indefinitely.

 

No, that has not been shown.  A member, without suspending the rules, can move Postpone Indefinitely, and upon that motion being stated, immediately move Previous Question.  The mover of Postpone Indefinitely has preference in recognition.

I would liken it to a member, after being properly recognized, to move to suspend the rules to offer a germane amendment to a main motion, that could be considered without suspension.  To me, attempting to do something that is otherwise in order under suspension of the rules is the dilatory use of the motion to Suspend the Rules.

Edited by J. J.
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1 hour ago, J. J. said:

No, that has not been shown.  A member, without suspending the rules, can move Postpone Indefinitely, and upon that motion being stated, immediately move Previous Question.  The mover of Postpone Indefinitely has preference in recognition.

I would liken it to a member, after being properly recognized, to move to suspend the rules to offer a germane amendment to a main motion, that could be considered without suspension.  To me, attempting to do something that is otherwise in order under suspension of the rules is the dilatory use of the motion to Suspend the Rules.

Yes, I agree that the member making the motions has the choice whether to move to Postpone Indefinitely and then proceed to move the Previous Question or instead to combine the motions by suspending the rules.

The question is what choices the other members of the assembly have, depending on which strategy the member uses.

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1 hour ago, J. J. said:

To me, attempting to do something that is otherwise in order under suspension of the rules is the dilatory use of the motion to Suspend the Rules.

This appears to be a different argument than what I had understood as your argument about the motion to postpone indefinitely being dilatory after the motion to suspend the rules and move postpone indefinitely and previous question together.

However, it doesn't change the fact that I still agree with Messrs. Martin and Honemann. I don't see how it is dilatory to do something in a more efficient manner, that is, to deal with both motions at one time by way of suspending the rules.

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1 minute ago, Josh Martin said:

Yes, I agree that the member making the motions has the choice whether to move to Postpone Indefinitely and then proceed to move the Previous Question or instead to combine the motions by suspending the rules.

The question is what choices the other members of the assembly have, depending on which strategy the member uses.

If the member does combine the motions via suspension, I think it would be dilatory, because it is not necessary to suspend to accomplish this goal.  If the assembly should decide it is not dilatory, I think that the rules for renewing Postpone Indefinitely would apply.

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5 hours ago, J. J. said:

If the member does combine the motions via suspension, I think it would be dilatory, because it is not necessary to suspend to accomplish this goal.

"A motion is dilatory if it seeks to obstruct or thwart the will of the assembly as clearly indicated by the existing parliamentary situation." RONR (12th ed.) 39:1

I don't see how the motion in question seeks to obstruct or thwart the will of the assembly. The member presumably wishes to dispose of the pending motion as swiftly as possible (and believes the assembly shares this view) and is therefore combining two votes into one. Depending on the assembly's size and the manner in which it takes its votes, the time saved may be nontrivial. The member's belief may or may not be correct, but I see no reason to believe the member is making the motion for the purpose of obstructing the will of the assembly.

5 hours ago, J. J. said:

If the assembly should decide it is not dilatory, I think that the rules for renewing Postpone Indefinitely would apply.

I think the principle here is similar to the rule regarding renewal when a series of resolutions is made.

"If a series of resolutions voted on together is lost, however, one or more of them can be offered again at the same session, but enough resolutions must be left out to present a genuinely different question from the viewpoint of probable voting result; otherwise this procedure becomes dilatory." RONR (12th ed.) 38:5

While the rule in question is written with main motions in mind, it seems to me the same logic applies. The motion to Suspend the Rules in question includes two motions (or the same effects as those motions) - Postpone Indefinitely and the Previous Question. Some members may wish to postpone the motion indefinitely (or are open to the idea) but wish to speak in debate or hear debate from others on the question. Additionally, only a majority vote is required to adopt Postpone Indefinitely. Therefore, it seems to me that this presents "a genuinely different question from the viewpoint of probable voting result."

Edited by Josh Martin
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Having been following this thread closely, I understand JJ’s point but I ultimately agree with the positions taken by Messrs Martin, Honneman, Merritt, Novosielski and Kapur.  If a motion to suspend the rules and postpone indefinitely without debate fails, I do not believe it would be dilatory or a violation of the rules to later take up the motion to postpone indefinitely in the regular fashion.

Edited by Richard Brown
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10 hours ago, Josh Martin said:

An Objection to Consideration could not be made after a motion for the Previous Question has been defeated.

"The objection can be raised only before there has been any debate or any subsidiary motion except Lay on the Table has been stated by the chair; thereafter, consideration of the main question has begun and it is too late to object." RONR (12th ed.) 26:2

I suppose an Objection to Consideration raised after a motion to Suspend the Rules to Postpone Indefinitely without debate would theoretically be in order (assuming that nothing else has yet happened which would make Objection to Consideration out of order, which seems unlikely), since Suspend the Rules is an incidental motion, not a subsidiary motion. Generally, however, it would seem unlikely such an effort would be successful even in rare circumstances where it is in order.

I'm also not quite sure why it is necessary to complicate this discussion further by adding Objection to Consideration to the mix. :)

 

Sorry, I typed Object to Consideration when I meant Postpone Indefinitely.  I'll attempt to fix that.  

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9 hours ago, J. J. said:

To me, attempting to do something that is otherwise in order under suspension of the rules is the dilatory use of the motion to Suspend the Rules.

I can't agree.  One of the proper uses of Suspend the Rules is exactly the one that we've been discussing, i.e., to adopt something without debate or amendment.

In fact, since Suspend is not debatable, when moving to Suspend the Rules and agree to a motion, it is redundant to add the words "without debate" since this is the automatic result. [§25:18]

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10 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

I can't agree.  One of the proper uses of Suspend the Rules is exactly the one that we've been discussing, i.e., to adopt something without debate or amendment.

In fact, since Suspend is not debatable, when moving to Suspend the Rules and agree to a motion, it is redundant to add the words "without debate" since this is the automatic result. [§25:18]

I would say that suspension of the rules is dilatory if another motion may accomplish exactly the same thing under the existing rules. 

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27 minutes ago, J. J. said:

I would say that suspension of the rules is dilatory if another motion may accomplish exactly the same thing under the existing rules. 

But no other motion can accomplish exactly the same thing. It requires two motions.

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46 minutes ago, J. J. said:

I would say that suspension of the rules is dilatory if another motion may accomplish exactly the same thing under the existing rules. 

 

18 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

But no other motion can accomplish exactly the same thing. It requires two motions.

I still agree with Mr. Martin, et al.  I do not see a motion to "suspend the rules and postpone indefinitely without debate" as being dilatory.  I have seen similar combined motions used many times.  Doing so can save a significant amount of time, especially in large conventions.  It strikes me as being just the opposite of being dilatory.   (I also agree with Mr. Novosielski that adding the words "without debate" is probably redundant and unnecessary).

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12 hours ago, Josh Martin said:

But no other motion can accomplish exactly the same thing. It requires two motions.

The maker of the motion may do exactly the same thing, without suspending the rules. 

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