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Agenda and additional item.


J. J.
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An assembly meets once a year.  It has no special rule or bylaw establishing an order of business.

At this year's meeting, an agenda is adopted.  It contains 10 main motions, A through J, none of which require previous notice.  That is all.  Of note is that there is no provision for new business. 

Question 1.  A member attempts to add Motion K, an original main motion, to the agenda, when pending.  The motion to add Motion K is defeated.  The assembly considers and disposes of Motions A through J.  It is in order to move Motion K?

Question 2.  The proposed agenda without anyone even proposing an amendment. The assembly considers and disposes of Motions A through J.   It is in order to move Motion K?

Question 3.  Same question, but on adopted agenda the heading "Adjournment" came after Motion J.  Would the answer to Questions 1 and 2 be the same?

Please explain the answers.  

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On 2/13/2022 at 8:40 AM, J. J. said:

An assembly meets once a year.  It has no special rule or bylaw establishing an order of business.

At this year's meeting, an agenda is adopted.  It contains 10 main motions, A through J, none of which require previous notice.  That is all.  Of note is that there is no provision for new business. 

Question 1.  A member attempts to add Motion K, an original main motion, to the agenda, when pending.  The motion to add Motion K is defeated.  The assembly considers and disposes of Motions A through J.  It is in order to move Motion K?

Question 2.  The proposed agenda without anyone even proposing an amendment. The assembly considers and disposes of Motions A through J.   It is in order to move Motion K?

Question 3.  Same question, but on adopted agenda the heading "Adjournment" came after Motion J.  Would the answer to Questions 1 and 2 be the same?

Please explain the answers.  

I agree that the answer is Yes/Yes/No.

As to why, the reason for the "Yes" for both Questions 1 and 2, the reason is that an agenda is simply a list of orders of the day. Adopting such a list, in and of itself, does not limit the assembly to consideration of the items on such a list. The purpose of an agenda (at least so far as the rules in RONR are concerned) is to ensure that the assembly completes the most important business first, not to limit the business which may be considered. RONR has no rule which provides that items not listed on an agenda may not be considered. Failing to place "New Business" on the agenda does not create a rule of order which changes this.

In this regard, I don't think it makes any difference whether Motion K was offered to be placed on the agenda or not. If such a motion is made and defeated, the assembly has determined that Motion K will not be on the agenda. But as noted above, such a decision does not mean the assembly has decided Motion K shall not be considered at all at the meeting.

The reason that the answer to Question 3 is different is because, as previously noted, the agenda is a list of orders of the day. If "Adjournment" is included on this list immediately after Motion J, then Adjournment is the business which is called for at that time. So unless the rules are suspended to set aside the orders of the day, the assembly will adjourn immediately after Motion J and it will not be in order to make any other motions.

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1) That applies to bylaws. This is not a bylaw.

1b) The items are not all of the same class. The motions A-J all are General Orders when the agenda is approved. Motion K is New Business.

2) if the answer to Q1 is "no" then that is effectively allowing Objection to Consideration with only a majority vote.

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On 2/15/2022 at 7:01 AM, Atul Kapur said:

1) That applies to bylaws. This is not a bylaw.

1b) The items are not all of the same class. The motions A-J all are General Orders when the agenda is approved. Motion K is New Business.

2) if the answer to Q1 is "no" then that is effectively allowing Objection to Consideration with only a majority vote.

1.  The rules of interpretation 56:68 say that it to "other rules and documents adopted by the organizations."  So I disagree with your assertion as well.

1b. All are main motions. Where do you draw the line?

2.  This would occur if added "Adjournment" after Motion J.  The agenda can be adopted by a majority with adjournment in it.   Even if added by amendment while the agenda is pending, the amendment requires a majority vote. 

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On 2/16/2022 at 9:09 AM, Rob Elsman said:

With respect to Question 3, what is said in RONR (12th ed.) 41:67 is relevant, and the proper procedure is discussed in RONR (12th ed.) 18:8.  So, at best, the answer is "maybe", depending on the result of a motion to "set aside the orders of the day".

The question(s) asked if it will be in order, under the circumstances described, to move Motion K? One assumes that this is asking if will it be in order to do so without requiring a suspension of the rules, or its equivalent.

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On 2/16/2022 at 7:56 AM, J. J. said:

1.  The rules of interpretation 56:68 say that it to "other rules and documents adopted by the organizations."  So I disagree with your assertion as well.

An agenda is neither a rule nor a document.

 

On 2/16/2022 at 7:56 AM, J. J. said:

1b. All are main motions. Where do you draw the line?

Even if one considers the agenda described here as a rule or document, 46:68(4) is clearly inapplicable.  This is question 1:

"Question 1.  A member attempts to add Motion K, an original main motion, to the agenda, when pending.  The motion to add Motion K is defeated.  The assembly considers and disposes of Motions A through J.  It is [sic] in order to move Motion K?"

Here Motion K, when moved, is clearly an item of new business. The assembly has previously decided that it is unwilling to make it a general order, but that is all that the assembly has decided. An item of business that is new business is a very different thing than an item of business that is a general order (which is the reason why the answer to Question 2 is also yes, as Mr. Martin has so ably explained).

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On 2/16/2022 at 12:30 PM, Dan Honemann said:

An agenda is neither a rule nor a document.

 

Even if one considers the agenda described here as a rule or document, 46:68(4) is clearly inapplicable.  This is question 1:

"Question 1.  A member attempts to add Motion K, an original main motion, to the agenda, when pending.  The motion to add Motion K is defeated.  The assembly considers and disposes of Motions A through J.  It is [sic] in order to move Motion K?"

Here Motion K, when moved, is clearly an item of new business. The assembly has previously decided that it is unwilling to make it a general order, but that is all that the assembly has decided. An item of business that is new business is a very different thing than an item of business that is a general order (which is the reason why the answer to Question 2 is also yes, as Mr. Martin has so ably explained).

An agenda, but its nature, is a document, by the definition in English of the word "document." I see no textural reference that anyone could legitimately interpret to change that definition. 

I do not, however, see a substantive difference between a main motion brought forth as a general order or as an item of new business.   In the first example, why wouldn't attempting to introduce Motion K as new business conflict with 38:3 #1? 

Is there a test to determine if an item is dissimilar enough not to run afoul of 56:68 #4 and, where applicable, 38:3 #1.   

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On 2/16/2022 at 8:56 PM, J. J. said:

Is there a test to determine if an item is dissimilar enough not to run afoul of 56:68 #4

First, as Mr. Honemann has noted, 56:68(4) doesn't really apply. Setting that aside, it refers to items "of the same class." As 41:14, 41:15, 41:25, 41:38, and 41:44 make clear by their use of the word, each heading under the standard order of business is a separate class. So the difference is not the wording of the motion but what under which class it is introduced, General Orders or New Business.

On 2/16/2022 at 8:56 PM, J. J. said:

why wouldn't attempting to introduce Motion K as new business conflict with 38:3 #1?

Renewal doesn't apply here at all. In Question 1 in your OP, Motion K was never introduced during the agenda amendment. An attempt was made to amend the agenda to add motion K, but the motion itself was never placed before the assembly.

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On 2/16/2022 at 10:05 PM, Atul Kapur said:

First, as Mr. Honemann has noted, 56:68(4) doesn't really apply. Setting that aside, it refers to items "of the same class." As 41:14, 41:15, 41:25, 41:38, and 41:44 make clear by their use of the word, each heading under the standard order of business is a separate class. So the difference is not the wording of the motion but what under which class it is introduced, General Orders or New Business.

Renewal doesn't apply here at all. In Question 1 in your OP, Motion K was never introduced during the agenda amendment. An attempt was made to amend the agenda to add motion K, but the motion itself was never placed before the assembly.

That is the problem with trying to draw the line.  Is the line drawn at the class of business, or at main motions.   A main motion is a "class of motions."  Sections 5 and 6 put that in the title.

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On 2/16/2022 at 7:56 PM, J. J. said:

An agenda, but its nature, is a document, by the definition in English of the word "document." I see no textural reference that anyone could legitimately interpret to change that definition. 

I do not, however, see a substantive difference between a main motion brought forth as a general order or as an item of new business.   In the first example, why wouldn't attempting to introduce Motion K as new business conflict with 38:3 #1? 

Is there a test to determine if an item is dissimilar enough not to run afoul of 56:68 #4 and, where applicable, 38:3 #1.   

I don't see how 38:3 #1 is applicable at all. Making Motion K itself is not the same as making a motion to add Motion K to the agenda. Therefore a rule that "No motion can be renewed during the same session in which it has already been before the assembly, except where its renewal is permitted by a specific rule" is irrelevant.

I repeat that an agenda, so far as RONR is concerned, is simply a series of orders of the day. There is no rule in RONR which suggests that items of business which are not listed on the agenda cannot be introduced. So unless the assembly has its own rule to that effect, I see no basis for an argument that Motion K is out of order - whether or not a motion to add it to the agenda was made and defeated.

The adoption of an agenda which does not include a "New Business" heading or the defeat of an amendment to add a particular motion to an agenda does not, in and of itself, create a rule of order prohibiting the introduction of New Business or of a particular motion.

If the assembly does, in fact, wish to prohibit the introduction of motions not listed on the agenda, the assembly has tools at its disposal to accomplish this objective. Some ideas are as follows:

  • A member may move to Adjourn immediately after all business listed on the agenda has been completed.
  • The assembly may specify a time for adjournment, either on the agenda itself or through a separate motion.
  • The assembly may adopt a rule of order for the meeting, by a 2/3 vote, prohibiting the introduction of items of business not listed on the agenda, for that particular meeting.
  • The assembly may adopt a special rule of order, by a 2/3 vote with notice or a vote of a majority of the entire membership, prohibiting the introduction of items of business not listed on the agenda, for all meetings.
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On 2/16/2022 at 8:56 PM, J. J. said:

I do not, however, see a substantive difference between a main motion brought forth as a general order or as an item of new business.

The difference is that if item K is added to the agenda (as a general order), and the meeting is adjourned before item K is reached, then in a society that meets at no more than quarterly intervals, it will go over to the next meeting as unfinished business, to be taken up before the new business of the next meeting.

If item K is not added to the agenda, then it can still be brought up by a motion under New Business at this meeting after the agenda has been completed, but it would not go over to the next meeting if the meeting is adjourned before the motion has been made.

I don't think the fact that this particular society meets only once a year automatically changes every general order into new business. There is still a difference between adding an item to an agenda, and entertaining it as a motion after the agenda has been completed.

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On 2/16/2022 at 10:05 PM, Atul Kapur said:

First, as Mr. Honemann has noted, 56:68(4) doesn't really apply. Setting that aside, it refers to items "of the same class." As 41:14, 41:15, 41:25, 41:38, and 41:44 make clear by their use of the word, each heading under the standard order of business is a separate class. So the difference is not the wording of the motion but what under which class it is introduced, General Orders or New Business.

 

On 2/17/2022 at 5:40 AM, J. J. said:

That is the problem with trying to draw the line.  Is the line drawn at the class of business, or at main motions.   A main motion is a "class of motions."  Sections 5 and 6 put that in the title.

First of all, you appear to be the only one attempting to draw a line; the answer to questions 1 and 2 is Yes.

That being said, the line is (I would have thought, obviously) class of business. Question 1 in your OP refers to motion K; although I'm wary of going through this looking glass, even if motion K is not allowed in question 1, there is nothing there that would limit the assembly from considering a different main motion L.

But all this is not important because 56:68(4) does not apply.

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On 2/17/2022 at 10:12 AM, Shmuel Gerber said:

The difference is that if item K is added to the agenda (as a general order), and the meeting is adjourned before item K is reached, then in a society that meets at no more than quarterly intervals, it will go over to the next meeting as unfinished business, to be taken up before the new business of the next meeting.

If item K is not added to the agenda, then it can still be brought up by a motion under New Business at this meeting after the agenda has been completed, but it would not go over to the next meeting if the meeting is adjourned before the motion has been made.

I don't think the fact that this particular society meets only once a year automatically changes every general order into new business. There is still a difference between adding an item to an agenda, and entertaining it as a motion after the agenda has been completed.

If this were a group meeting more often than quarterly, there would be no agenda, except by a 2/3 vote.  I can see that distinction, but that distinction does not exist in an assembly that meets less frequently than quarterly.

I take it that there would be no problem using the heading "New Business" on a proposed agenda and that the agenda could then be adopted. 

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On 2/17/2022 at 2:39 PM, J. J. said:

I take it that there would be no problem using the heading "New Business" on a proposed agenda and that the agenda could then be adopted. 

Ah, finally something I can agree with.  🙂

An example of such an agenda is found in RONRIB on pages 16-17.  

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On 2/18/2022 at 7:41 AM, J. J. said:

Then, if new business can be a heading on an adopted agenda, the exclusion of it would act to prevent new business.

 

No, not necessarily.

Using the sample agenda in RONRIB for purposes of illustration, if both of the last two items (XI and XII) are not included in the adopted agenda, items of new business will be in order after the assembly's consideration of purchasing a new headquarters, up until such time as the assembly decides to adjourn. If, however, only Item XI (New Business) is omitted, the assembly will need to adjourn immediately following its consideration of purchasing a new headquarters (thus precluding any new business) unless, by a two-thirds vote, it amends the agenda prior to that time or chooses to set aside the orders of the day when Adjournment is reached.

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On 2/18/2022 at 8:33 AM, Dan Honemann said:

No, not necessarily.

Using the sample agenda in RONRIB for purposes of illustration, if both of the last two items (XI and XII) are not included in the adopted agenda, items of new business will be in order after the assembly's consideration of purchasing a new headquarters, up until such time as the assembly decides to adjourn. If, however, only Item XI (New Business) is omitted, the assembly will need to adjourn immediately following its consideration of purchasing a new headquarters (thus precluding any new business) unless, by a two-thirds vote, it amends the agenda prior to that time or chooses to set aside the orders of the day when Adjournment is reached.

That is where I am running into a problem, but the problem is more related to the principle that the expression of some things prohibits unmentioned things of the same class.  Making that determination seems to be a very grey area. 

Some people here have made the argument that these things are of a different class, but I'm seeing any to determine if the items are truly of a different class. 

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