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Committee Report Before Deadline


Weldon Merritt
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On 12/11/2021 at 2:35 PM, Dan Honemann said:

Yes, and I bet anything he agrees with the answer I gave.

Are you answering that part of the question, however.

From the question, there was an intent to prevent the committee and the assembly from considering the motion until a specific time, possibly beyond the end of the next session.  A motion to commit (subsidiary or incidental main) could not do that beyond the end of the next session; it would be out of order (and a violation of absentee rights).  It could be done by a special rule.

This is not a question of instructing a committee.

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On 12/11/2021 at 4:54 PM, J. J. said:

Are you answering that part of the question, however.

From the question, there was an intent to prevent the committee and the assembly from considering the motion until a specific time, possibly beyond the end of the next session.  A motion to commit (subsidiary or incidental main) could not do that beyond the end of the next session; it would be out of order (and a violation of absentee rights).  It could be done by a special rule.

This is not a question of instructing a committee.

Okay.  🙂

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On 12/10/2021 at 6:46 PM, Weldon Merritt said:

Suppose a special committee is created for a specified task, and ordered to present its report at a specific meeting. (Not by the specified meeting, but at the specified meeting.)

You mean something like this (although in the form of a main motion instead of applying to a pending resolution)?

“I move to refer the resolution to a committee of seven, the chairman to be Mr. Brownley, six members to be elected by ballot from open nominations, and the committee to be instructed to report at the April meeting” (RONR (12th ed.) 13:25, emphasis added)

We'll have to ask J. J. whether this motion is in order, but RONR seems to assume it is (because otherwise it wouldn't say that it is).

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On 12/11/2021 at 7:47 PM, Shmuel Gerber said:

You mean something like this (although in the form of a main motion instead of applying to a pending resolution)?

“I move to refer the resolution to a committee of seven, the chairman to be Mr. Brownley, six members to be elected by ballot from open nominations, and the committee to be instructed to report at the April meeting” (RONR (12th ed.) 13:25, emphasis added)

We'll have to ask J. J. whether this motion is in order, but RONR seems to assume it is (because otherwise it wouldn't say that it is).

It would definitely not be in order to use the motion to prevent the assembly from dealing with the issue prior to April, if the April meeting is not the next session.  

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On 12/11/2021 at 4:54 PM, J. J. said:

From the question, there was an intent to prevent the committee and the assembly from considering the motion until a specific time, possibly beyond the end of the next session.  A motion to commit (subsidiary or incidental main) could not do that beyond the end of the next session; it would be out of order (and a violation of absentee rights).  It could be done by a special rule.

This is not a question of instructing a committee.

 

On 12/12/2021 at 7:32 AM, J. J. said:

It would definitely not be in order to use the motion to prevent the assembly from dealing with the issue prior to April, if the April meeting is not the next session.  

You seem to be overlooking some of the basic rules regarding carrying business over from one session to another.

"9:10 The only way for business to be carried over directly from one session to some later regular session beyond the next regular business session is by being referred to a committee that will report at that later session.

"9:11 When a question is carried over from one session to another by any of the above processes, it remains within the control of the assembly as a question that has been temporarily, but not finally, disposed of."

10:26 "5) No main motion is in order that would conflict with or that presents substantially the same question as one which has been temporarily but not finally disposed of—whether in the same or an earlier session—and which remains within the control of the assembly (see 9:7–11, 38:8). If a motion that has been temporarily disposed of interferes with the desired introduction of another main motion, it can be brought before the assembly again (at which point the earlier motion can possibly be amended to encompass the idea of the desired new motion), as follows:

"a) If it is in the hands of a committee, the committee can be discharged from further consideration of the question, or the vote that referred it to the committee can be reconsidered (so long as such reconsideration is permissible) and reversed (see 13, 36, 37)." 

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On 12/12/2021 at 8:03 AM, Shmuel Gerber said:

 

You seem to be overlooking some of the basic rules regarding carrying business over from one session to another.

"9:10 The only way for business to be carried over directly from one session to some later regular session beyond the next regular business session is by being referred to a committee that will report at that later session.

"9:11 When a question is carried over from one session to another by any of the above processes, it remains within the control of the assembly as a question that has been temporarily, but not finally, disposed of."

10:26 "5) No main motion is in order that would conflict with or that presents substantially the same question as one which has been temporarily but not finally disposed of—whether in the same or an earlier session—and which remains within the control of the assembly (see 9:7–11, 38:8). If a motion that has been temporarily disposed of interferes with the desired introduction of another main motion, it can be brought before the assembly again (at which point the earlier motion can possibly be amended to encompass the idea of the desired new motion), as follows:

"a) If it is in the hands of a committee, the committee can be discharged from further consideration of the question, or the vote that referred it to the committee can be reconsidered (so long as such reconsideration is permissible) and reversed (see 13, 36, 37)." 

The initial question carried this point:  "But on the other hand, maybe the fact that the committee was ordered to report at a specified meeting (instead of by that meeting) creates an expectation that any assembly members who are interested in the report need not attend earlier meetings, so that presenting the report earlier might potentially violate absentee rights."  In such a case, it would not then be in the control of the assembly.  I took that as the goal of the motion to commit, which would be improper as it ties the hands of the assembly beyond the next session.

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On 12/12/2021 at 9:27 AM, J. J. said:

The initial question carried this point:  "But on the other hand, maybe the fact that the committee was ordered to report at a specified meeting (instead of by that meeting) creates an expectation that any assembly members who are interested in the report need not attend earlier meetings, so that presenting the report earlier might potentially violate absentee rights."  In such a case, it would not then be in the control of the assembly.  I took that as the goal of the motion to commit, which would be improper as it ties the hands of the assembly beyond the next session.

But how can it be improper when 9:10 specifically says the assembly can do it?

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On 12/12/2021 at 11:27 AM, J. J. said:

The initial question carried this point:  "But on the other hand, maybe the fact that the committee was ordered to report at a specified meeting (instead of by that meeting) creates an expectation that any assembly members who are interested in the report need not attend earlier meetings, so that presenting the report earlier might potentially violate absentee rights."  In such a case, it would not then be in the control of the assembly.  I took that as the goal of the motion to commit, which would be improper as it ties the hands of the assembly beyond the next session.

I think you are confusing everybody with counterfactual hypotheticals. It seems that you agree with Dan's answer that no previous notice is required to receive the report of a committee at an earlier session than the one at which it was originally instructed to report, but that if no such notice has been given, it will require a two-thirds vote, or the vote of a majority of the entire membership, to do so.

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On 12/12/2021 at 11:49 AM, Shmuel Gerber said:

I think you are confusing everybody with counterfactual hypotheticals. It seems that you agree with Dan's answer that no previous notice is required to receive the report of a committee at an earlier session than the one at which it was originally instructed to report, but that if no such notice has been given, it will require a two-thirds vote, or the vote of a majority of the entire membership, to do so.

Yes, but I was looking at the line in the question  "maybe the fact that the committee was ordered to report at a specified meeting (instead of by that meeting) creates an expectation that any assembly members who are interested in the report need not attend earlier meetings, so that presenting the report earlier might potentially violate absentee rights," as the goal of the motion to commit.   You could not use commit to create that effect. 

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On 12/12/2021 at 10:45 PM, J. J. said:

Yes, but I was looking at the line in the question  "maybe the fact that the committee was ordered to report at a specified meeting (instead of by that meeting) creates an expectation that any assembly members who are interested in the report need not attend earlier meetings, so that presenting the report earlier might potentially violate absentee rights," as the goal of the motion to commit.   You could not use commit to create that effect. 

Even if the intent of the maker of a motion to refer a matter to a committee with instructions to report at a specified meeting (instead of by that meeting) is to prevent the assembly from any consideration of the matter prior to the time when the committee is instructed to report, such an intent has no effect on the validity of the motion to refer since adoption of the motion will not have this intended effect. Members of the assembly are charged with knowledge of this fact.

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On 12/13/2021 at 10:46 AM, Dan Honemann said:

Even if the intent of the maker of a motion to refer a matter to a committee with instructions to report at a specified meeting (instead of by that meeting) is to prevent the assembly from any consideration of the matter prior to the time when the committee is instructed to report, such an intent has no effect on the validity of the motion to refer since adoption of the motion will not have this intended effect. Members of the assembly are charged with knowledge of this fact.

Not the maker of the motion, the question.  I took that as being the intent of the question, i.e. will doing this prevent the assembly from dealing with the matter until that future time. 

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On 12/14/2021 at 9:34 PM, J. J. said:

Not the maker of the motion, the question.  I took that as being the intent of the question, i.e. will doing this prevent the assembly from dealing with the matter until that future time. 

And the answer that has been given several times now is "no."  If "a special committee is created for a specified task, and ordered to present its report at a specific meeting" (Mr. Merritt's words), this will not prevent the assembly from considering the matter which was referred to the committee prior to the specified meeting. 

I think Shmuel had it right. I think that, without telling anyone exactly what sort of motion you are referring to, you want to talk about it and not Mr. Merritt's. But please understand that we are all familiar with the difference between a motion to refer a matter to a committee with instructions as to when to report and a motion to create a special rule of order. 

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The rules are fairly obvious that one assembly cannot prevent any future assembly from considering a question except by way of commit. And even then a future assembly may discharge that committee or the committee may report early. If extremely influential members of the assembly which I rely on are going to be absent and have strong feelings about this motion then I may want to consider being absent from the meeting that considers this matter, since I know in my heart that I will get an earful from the absent members when they return. If the committee springs this matter from the blue then I may grab my cell phone and exclaim "I gotta' go!" and run out the door.

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On 12/15/2021 at 9:12 PM, Guest Zev said:

The rules are fairly obvious that one assembly cannot prevent any future assembly from considering a question except by way of commit. And even then a future assembly may discharge that committee or the committee may report early. If extremely influential members of the assembly which I rely on are going to be absent and have strong feelings about this motion then I may want to consider being absent from the meeting that considers this matter, since I know in my heart that I will get an earful from the absent members when they return. If the committee springs this matter from the blue then I may grab my cell phone and exclaim "I gotta' go!" and run out the door.

The highlighted portions of this response leave one with the impression that a committee which has been instructed to report at (not "by") a specified meeting may report at an earlier date on its own volition.  This, of course, is not the case. The assembly itself, however, can order the committee to report at an earlier date.

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I have indicated that I agree that an early report could present a problem. We know also that the assembly could discharge the committee at an earlier time. However, if a member of the committee gains the floor before the time indicated in the referring motion and informs the assembly that the committee is ready to report, and the assembly is in the mood to receive such a report notwithstanding the potential absence of important assembly members, a possibility which I dislike, then as a presiding officer I am at a loss as to how to prevent the early consideration. 

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Guest Zev, it is not the role of the presiding officer to "prevent" the assembly from doing what it has the authority to do under the rules.  The presiding officer may consider the discharge of the committee or instructing the committee to be unwise, but he is not in a position to "prevent" parliamentary actions that are in order.

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On 12/17/2021 at 12:58 PM, Rob Elsman said:

Guest Zev, it is not the role of the presiding officer to "prevent" the assembly from doing what it has the authority to do under the rules.  The presiding officer may consider the discharge of the committee or instructing the committee to be unwise, but he is not in a position to "prevent" parliamentary actions that are in order.

No, he can't prevent the assembly from discharging the committee, but a well-prepared chair might know that the report from that committee is not yet due.  I would also expect any other members of the committee who are present to object when this committee member makes the false report. 

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As I see it, the early discharge of the committee or a committee member reporting its readiness, and the assembly in the mood to receive it, then there is nothing in the world that will prevent the assembly from considering it and adopting whatever motions they feel like adopting. The only way that I can imagine that would prevent its early consideration is the interested members and their supporters to ensure that any intervening meetings between such an event and the return of their friends, the assembly will have a majority willing and able to postpone it to the occasion they see as most convenient to their purposes.

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On 12/28/2021 at 8:59 PM, Gary Novosielski said:

No, he can't prevent the assembly from discharging the committee, but a well-prepared chair might know that the report from that committee is not yet due.  I would also expect any other members of the committee who are present to object when this committee member makes the false report. 

False report?  What in the world are you talking about?

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On 12/29/2021 at 1:01 AM, Guest Zev said:

As I see it, the early discharge of the committee or a committee member reporting its readiness, and the assembly in the mood to receive it, then there is nothing in the world that will prevent the assembly from considering it and adopting whatever motions they feel like adopting. The only way that I can imagine that would prevent its early consideration is the interested members and their supporters to ensure that any intervening meetings between such an event and the return of their friends, the assembly will have a majority willing and able to postpone it to the occasion they see as most convenient to their purposes.

All of this seems to be ignoring the fact that, without previous notice having been given, either a two-thirds vote or the vote of a majority of the entire membership will be required in order for the assembly to receive the committee's report at a time prior to the time when the committee was instructed to report (36:7), and if previous notice has been given, a majority vote will be required in order to do so. If a majority of the members present are opposed to receiving the report, all that they need do is to vote in opposition to the motion to instruct the committee to report. They won't need to adopt anything, and certainly not a motion to Postpone.

 

 
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On 12/29/2021 at 5:20 PM, Gary Novosielski said:

False in the sense that, per the hypothetical, the report offered by some random member on his own initiative would not be a proper report of the committee.

Your response posted on December 14 makes more sense than this one.  🙂

What hypothetical? Who has said anything about a "report offered by some random member on his own initiative"?

 

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