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Motion maker can't speak against it


paulmcclintock

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RONR p. 381 prohibits the maker of a motion from speaking against it in debate.

1. Can the maker of a main motion move to postpone it indefinitely? Or would that be considered speaking against it? (He may have exhausted his rights in debate and wants to move PI to debate more, not to defeat his main motion.)

2. Can a proponent of a main motion move postpone indefinitely to extend debating and then speak for the main motion? Or would that be prohibited as implicitly speaking against his own motion to PI?

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As for #1, since a member who has exhausted his rights to debate can make other allowable motions, it suggests that making the motion is not necessarily considered debate (unless made while actually during his 10 minutes of debate time), so I wouldn't say you could consider it "speaking against" his own motion, especially if his time has been used up, since he can no longer engage in debate and thus would not be"speaking" against anything.

I'll wait to see what the others here have to say about your second question.;)

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Ref # 1) The book doesn't say so explicitly, but it sure seems reasonable, particularly since, p. 381, the mover can ask permission to withdraw "his" motion if he changes his mind.

Ref #2) P. 123 notes that one of the reasons for moving to PI, is to give "members who have exhausted their right of debate ... to speak further". To limit this right to only those in favor of PI would be an absurdly unfair restriction.

This also raises the question as to whether a mover who has changed his mind and wants to speak against his motion, could move PI and speak for the latter. For the same reason as above, (actually its inverse) the answer would have to be yes.

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Since the motion to Postpone Indefinitely is now the immediately pending motion, even though it allows debate to go "fully into the merits of the main question", the debate itself is relevant to the motion to Postpone Indefinitely. That is, the maker is debating that motion, not the main motion. He isn't actually speaking "against" the main motion, but rather "for" the immediately pending motion. Or is that hair too fine to split here?

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RONR p. 381 prohibits the maker of a motion from speaking against it in debate.

1. Can the maker of a main motion move to postpone it indefinitely? Or would that be considered speaking against it? (He may have exhausted his rights in debate and wants to move PI to debate more, not to defeat his main motion.)

2. Can a proponent of a main motion move postpone indefinitely to extend debating and then speak for the main motion? Or would that be prohibited as implicitly speaking against his own motion to PI?

1. The motion Postpone Indefinitely isn't debate, and isn't against anything.

The motion exist to avoid taking a stance, and to set aside business that ought not be adopted nor rejected.

So, I don't see it as a violation of the rule of debate.

You aren't speaking contrary to your motion. You are indirectly withdrawing it, but without using the better tool, "Withdraw a motion".

Page 381 says that "withdraw a motion" isn't speaking against it.

If that is the case, then any kind of withdrawal (in the dictionary sense of the word) should be sufficient.

You cannot debate Postpone Indefinitely, as the mover, since you would then be in violation.

But moving it is okay. Just don't talk!

2. Sneaky. The motion "PI" does allow one to speak to the MM being targeted. As long as you never speak to "PI" but focus 100% on the MM, you have not yet "spoken against your own motion".

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"Postpone Indefinitely is a motion that the assembly decline to take a position on the main question. Its adoption kills the main motion (for the duration of the session) and avoids a direct vote on the question. " RONR, p. 121

It seems decidedly improper to me to make a motion which, if adopted, will kill your main motion without violating the spirit of the rule Paul cites.

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It seems decidedly improper to me to make a motion which, if adopted, will kill your main motion without violating the spirit of the rule Paul cites.

And all men kill the thing they love,

By all let this be heard,

Some do it with a bitter look,

Some with a flattering word,

The coward does it with a kiss,

The brave man with a sword!*

And the mover with a motion to postpone indefinitely.

*Oscar Wilde, The Ballad of Reading Gaol

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RONR p. 381 prohibits the maker of a motion from speaking against it in debate.

1. Can the maker of a main motion move to postpone it indefinitely? Or would that be considered speaking against it? (He may have exhausted his rights in debate and wants to move PI to debate more, not to defeat his main motion.)

2. Can a proponent of a main motion move postpone indefinitely to extend debating and then speak for the main motion? Or would that be prohibited as implicitly speaking against his own motion to PI?

1. No rule in RONR limits the right of the maker of a main motion to make subsidiary motions that are otherwise in order under the rules.

2. Try, instead, a motion to Consider Informally, RONR (10th ed.), pp. 523, 524.

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1. Can the maker of a main motion move to postpone it indefinitely?

Yes.

Or would that be considered speaking against it?

Making the motion to Postpone Indefinitely, in and of itself, would not be speaking against the main motion. This seems analogous to requesting to withdraw a motion (although the latter generally seems like a superior strategy).

(He may have exhausted his rights in debate and wants to move PI to debate more, not to defeat his main motion.)

Well, if that's the case, this does not seem like a particularly intelligent tactic, but he is still able to do so.

2. Can a proponent of a main motion move postpone indefinitely to extend debating and then speak for the main motion? Or would that be prohibited as implicitly speaking against his own motion to PI?

While a proponent of a main motion could use the motion to Postpone Indefinitely for this purpose, this does not seem especially wise as this would give the opponents of the motion two chances to defeat the motion. There is a reason the text suggests that this tactic is primarily used by opponents of the motion. As Mr. Elsman suggests, there are better tools to use if proponents of the motion desire additional time to debate.

To limit this right to only those in favor of PI would be an absurdly unfair restriction.

Not really. It's not very sensible for a supporter of the motion to give the motion's opponents an extra chance to defeat it.

This also raises the question as to whether a mover who has changed his mind and wants to speak against his motion, could move PI and speak for the latter. For the same reason as above, (actually its inverse) the answer would have to be yes.

I think this is going too far. While I see nothing which would prevent the motion maker from making a motion to Postpone Indefinitely, I think he is obliged to remain silent in the ensuing debate. I don't think it is the role of the member to seek out a technicality to avoid the relevant rule.

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There is a tactical use for Postpone Indefinitely found on p. 123. A supporter of the motion (including the maker) may want to gauge support; this could be true in a motion that might require more than a majority to adopt. It also might give supporters, though not the maker, of the motion additional time for debate.

While I do not see how the maker of the main motion could speak in debate both for the main motion and for Postpone Indefinitely, moving to Postpone Indefinitely would not necessarily indicate the mover opposes the motion.

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There is a tactical use for Postpone Indefinitely found on p. 123. A supporter of the motion (including the maker) may want to gauge support; this could be true in a motion that might require more than a majority to adopt. It also might give supporters, though not the maker, of the motion additional time for debate.

While I do not see how the maker of the main motion could speak in debate both for the main motion and for Postpone Indefinitely, moving to Postpone Indefinitely would not necessarily indicate the mover opposes the motion.

What is said on p. 123 pertains to the opponents of a main motion. It doesn't apply to the current situation.

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What is said on p. 123 pertains to the opponents of a main motion. It doesn't apply to the current situation.

However, the same principle would apply. The rule is against the member speaking against a motion he has made, and there is a legitimate reason why someone in favor of a motion might move to postpone it indefinitely.

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But not the maker, imo.

I don't see any rule in the current edition that would prevent it, or prevent a member, any member, from making a motion that he does not want to see adopted. I cannot point to a rule that prohibits it, and I can see some legitimate reasons for someone, including the maker, that supports the motion for doing it.

I'm also looking at other motions, like amend. Member Joe moves to "commend Officer George" (no relation), which is pending. I don't see a rule that would prevent Joe from moving "to strike out 'commend' and insert 'censure,'" even though it is hostile to his original motion.

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I don't see any rule in the current edition that would prevent it, or prevent a member, any member, from making a motion that he does not want to see adopted.

"A motion is a formal proposal by a member, in a meeting, that the assembly take certain action" (p. 26). To say that there's no rule against proposing the assembly take an action that you don't think the assembly should take seems like saying there's no rule against lying.

I'm also looking at other motions, like amend. Member Joe moves to "commend Officer George" (no relation), which is pending. I don't see a rule that would prevent Joe from moving "to strike out 'commend' and insert 'censure,'" even though it is hostile to his original motion.

I can't see how suggesting that one's motion to commend be changed into a motion to censure could not be construed as speaking against it.

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"A motion is a formal proposal by a member, in a meeting, that the assembly take certain action" (p. 26). To say that there's no rule against proposing the assembly take an action that you don't think the assembly should take seems like saying there's no rule against lying.

Yet quite clearly, the member may is under no obligation to agree that the assembly should take that action, only that he may not speak against it. RONR notes that, "If he changes mind while the motion he made is pending, ... (p. 381)." That does indicate that there are other cases where he not change his mind while the question is pending.

I can't see how suggesting that one's motion to commend be changed into a motion to censure could not be construed as speaking against it.

The motion is one that expresses an opinion of Officer George, which is still included in the amendment to strike out commend and insert censure. It is not opposed to the motion that the assembly express an opinion on Officer George (see p. 131). And there are some tactical reasons why it could be done (along with some PR reasons).

If the commend is struck out and censure inserted, the maker of the main motion still cannot speak against the main motion.

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That does indicate that there are other cases where he not change his mind while the question is pending.

Yes, it does, but I believe it is the assumption that the motion maker originally supports his motion.

If the commend is struck out and censure inserted, the maker of the main motion still cannot speak against the main motion.

I was once of this opinion as well, but I recall Mr. Honemann explaining that the prohibition does not apply if the motion is materially amended, as the reason for the prohibition no longer exists. This certainly seems like a sensible position and I hope this is clarified in the 11th edition.

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Yes, it does, but I believe it is the assumption that the motion maker originally supports his motion.

The text does not state that and the implication from what is stated is that the maker of the motion may not necessarily support it. The text notes that the maker "need not speak at all." There is no suggesting in text that the member much, when making a motion, must intend to vote for it, or must intend not to vote against it.

I was once of this opinion as well, but I recall Mr. Honemann explaining that the prohibition does not apply if the motion is materially amended, as the reason for the prohibition no longer exists. This certainly seems like a sensible position and I hope this is clarified in the 11th edition.

The member would have the option of of withdrawing his motion, as noted.

While a motion might become a substantially different question (see p. 325, l. 12-19), I would question that the change in wording would make it such, without a difference in time or circumstances. (And yes, I could construct a scenario where it would.)

I also do not recall Mr. Honemann's statement on matter.

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The text does not state that and the implication from what is stated is that the maker of the motion may not necessarily support it. The text notes that the maker "need not speak at all." There is no suggesting in text that the member much, when making a motion, must intend to vote for it, or must intend not to vote against it.

No, there is no suggesting that the member must support it, and I can certainly imagine a situation where a member who is undecided on an issue makes a motion (perhaps to facilitate the business of the assembly, or as a favor to an absent friend). I think it should be quite rare that an individual would make a motion he actively opposes.

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No, there is no suggesting that the member must support it, and I can certainly imagine a situation where a member who is undecided on an issue makes a motion (perhaps to facilitate the business of the assembly, or as a favor to an absent friend). I think it should be quite rare that an individual would make a motion he actively opposes.

Well, the member wishes the society to go on record as rejecting the motion, he may do it.

As for "actively opposes," I think most everyone here says he could not speak against it. Noting that, in the case of PI, the motive of the member who supports the main motion is to ascertain the support for the motion. That is hardly opposing it.

Likewise, as PM noted, PI has the effect of permitting more debate, which might give the allies of the mover, thought not the mover himself a greater chance to debate the motion. The supporters of the motion might not have the votes to extend debate, and could use this as a legitimate tool for doing so. The maker of the motion may want others to speak.

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Well, the member wishes the society to go on record as rejecting the motion, he may do it.

But he shouldn't. RONR mentions "going on the record" with regards to the seconder (p. 34), not to the maker of the motion. I think it does this to counter the common (mis)understanding that seconding a motion always indicates support. If it wanted to counter the understanding that making a motion indicates support, one would think it would have done so.

The member who makes a motion that the clubhouse be painted red is understood to be in favor of a red clubhouse.

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But he shouldn't. RONR mentions "going on the record" with regards to the seconder (p. 34), not to the maker of the motion. I think it does this to counter the common (mis)understanding that seconding a motion always indicates support. If it wanted to counter the understanding that making a motion indicates support, one would think it would have done so.

Why do you think that would not necessarily apply to the maker?

The member who makes a motion that the clubhouse be painted red is understood to be in favor of a red clubhouse.

By whom is it understood. The maker has not indicated it. His comments in debate might, but he is not required to make any remarks.

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Why do you think that would not necessarily apply to the maker?

Because if it was important enough to mention with regard to the seconder, it's surely important enough to mention with regard to the maker. The reason it's not mentioned is that no one would ever think the maker of a motion would not be in favor of the motion he is making. Some people think that's also true of the seconder so RONR disabuses them of that notion.

By whom is it understood. The maker has not indicated it. His comments in debate might, but he is not required to make any remarks.

When I make a motion that the clubhouse should be painted red, the assembly has a right to assume that I think the clubhouse should be painted red. It's called integrity.

Yes, I can be in favor of permitting smoking in the gazebo and make a motion to prohibit it, but I shouldn't. It's analogous to the duty one has to express his opinion by voting.

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Yes, it does, but I believe it is the assumption that the motion maker originally supports his motion.

I was once of this opinion as well, but I recall Mr. Honemann explaining that the prohibition does not apply if the motion is materially amended, as the reason for the prohibition no longer exists. This certainly seems like a sensible position and I hope this is clarified in the 11th edition.

And I have the same memory on this.

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