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Chapter 10 - Using Motions That Bring a Question Again Before the Assembly

There are two ways to bring a motion back before the assembly. One way is called renewing a motion: If a motion is defeated, a member can reintroduce it as new business at the next meeting. The second way is by using a group of motions that are described in this chapter. It is a parliamentary rule that any main motion that is defeated can't be brought before the assembly at the same meeting unless it is substantially a new question, its wording has changed significantly, the time or conditions in the motion have changed, or the special procedures explained in this chapter are used.

The motions discussed in this chapter show the correct way to return a question to the assembly for reconsideration. Members make these motions when no other business is pending. The purpose of each motion, its restrictions (whether it needs a second, is debatable, can be reconsidered, and so on), and the result of the motion are outlined at the beginning of each section. Examples show you how to use the motion correctly.

Take from the Table

When a motion is laid on the table (set aside temporarily), members must take it from the table by the end of the next meeting or it dies. Members must make this motion when no other business is pending. Anyone can make this motion. It needs a second and is not debatable. The vote is taken immediately, and it requires a majority vote to adopt. If adopted, the motion that was tabled is now before the assembly. For example, if several motions were pending when it was laid on the table @md a main motion, an amendment, and refer to a committee @md the chair begins discussion with the last motion made, which was refer to a committee.

To make the motion, a member says:

Member: I move to take from the table the motion relating to the computer.

Member 2: Second.

President: It is moved and seconded to take from the table the motion relating to the computer. All those in favor say "Aye." Those opposed say "No." The ayes have it, and the motion to buy a computer and laser printer is taken from the table. The last pending motion was refer to a committee. Is there any further discussion on referring to a committee?

Reconsider

The motion reconsider allows the assembly to change its mind about how the membership voted on a motion. In a group whose meetings last one day, members must make this motion at the same meeting in which the vote was taken. In conventions or sessions of more than one day, members can reconsider a motion voted on at one meeting the next day. If time has run out on the motion to reconsider, members can offer the motion to rescind the action or amend something previously adopted (explained later in this chapter). If the motion was defeated at the previous meeting, a member can renew the motion by reintroducing it as new business.

Reconsider is an unusual motion; making the motion to reconsider suspends all action until the motion to reconsider is taken up or terminates. Therefore, to prevent its dilatory use by the losing side, only a member that voted on the prevailing side can make the motion, although anyone can second it. It is debatable if the type of motion to be reconsidered is debatable, and debate can go to the merits of the main motion. The motion to reconsider is not amendable and requires a majority vote for adoption.

A member who makes this motion should state that he or she voted on the prevailing side. If the member doesn't state this, it is the chair's duty to ask the member whether he or she voted on the prevailing side. If there is no business pending, the motion is taken up immediately. If business is pending, the chair tells the secretary to make a note that the motion to reconsider has been made; it isn't taken up until a member calls the motion to reconsider the vote when no other business is pending, which can be at another meeting. If the motion to reconsider the vote is carried, the motion being reconsidered is placed before the assembly as if it had never been voted on. And, if a member has exhausted his or her right to debate the motion, the member can't debate it again unless it is taken up at another meeting.

Members cannot reconsider a motion in the following cases:

To make the motion to reconsider, a member states:

Member: I move to reconsider the vote on the motion to buy a computer and laser printer. I voted on the prevailing side.

Member 2: Second.

President: It is moved and seconded to reconsider the vote on the motion to buy a computer and laser printer. Is there any discussion on reconsidering the vote?

Members can discuss the merits of the main motion. The members must remember that this is a two-step process. They first vote on whether to reconsider the vote. If this motion is adopted, the motion to be reconsidered is again under discussion and they take another vote on it.

Because the motion to reconsider suspends action on the issue at hand until it is taken up, it has a time requirement. If the assembly can't take up the motion to reconsider at the meeting in which the motion was made, and if the assembly's next meeting is within a quarterly time interval, the assembly must take up the motion to reconsider before the end of the next meeting. If it isn't taken up, the members can proceed with the action. If the next meeting is more than a quarterly time interval, members must take up the motion to reconsider at the current meeting. If it isn't taken up, the members proceed with the action.

If business is pending when the motion to reconsider is made, it must be called up when no business is pending. To call up the motion to reconsider, a member rises, addresses the chair, and states:

Member: I call up the motion to reconsider.

Because the motion to reconsider was seconded when it was originally proposed, the chair immediately states it this way:

President: It is moved and seconded to reconsider the vote on the motion to buy a computer and laser printer. Is there any discussion on the motion to reconsider the vote?

Rescind and Amend Something Previously Adopted

The rules concerning the two motions to rescind and amend something previously adopted by the assembly are very similar. These are considered incidental main motions. They need a second and are debatable. They are not in order if the action has already been carried out and is impossible to undo.

Debate can go to the merits of the original motion. A motion can't be rescinded or amended:

The vote requirements for rescinding or amending a motion previously adopted are as follows:

Giving previous notice is best, especially when the issue is controversial. To give previous notice, a member can request that the notice is included in the letter sent to the membership notifying them of the meeting; or, a member can give notice orally at the previous meeting.

To give previous notice at a meeting, a member states:

Member: Mr. President, I rise to give previous notice that at the next meeting I will make a motion to rescind the action that we give a donation to the Fourth Annual President's Night banquet.

Previous notice is never seconded. However, when the member makes the motion at the next meeting, it requires a second. The secretary records the previous notice in the minutes.

At the next meeting, the member rises and states the motion.

Member: I move to rescind the action that we give a donation to the Fourth Annual President's Night banquet.

Members 2: Second.

President: It is moved and seconded to rescind the action that we give a donation to the Fourth Annual President's Night banquet. Because previous notice has been given, it takes a majority to adopt. Is there any discussion?

If the member did not give previous notice, the chair states:

President: Because no previous notice has been given, this motion requires a two-thirds vote to adopt (or a majority of the entire membership, whichever is the easiest to obtain).

To phrase a motion to amend something previously adopted, a member says:

Member: I move to amend the motion that was adopted to give $100 to Habitat for Humanity, by striking out $100 and inserting $200.

Member 2: Second.

President: It is moved and seconded to amend the motion that was adopted to give $100 to Habitat for Humanity, by striking out $100 and inserting $200. If adopted, we will give $200 to Habitat for Humanity. Is there any discussion on the proposed amendment?

Discharge a Committee

Note: If the committee fails to report at the time specified in the subsidiary motion, discharging a committee requires only a majority vote. Or, if the committee gives a partial report, members can discharge the committee by a majority vote.

The motion to discharge a committee is an incidental main motion and can be made only when no other business is pending. Use this motion only when a committee fails to report at the specified time or when something urgent comes up and the assembly needs to decide immediately. This motion is useful to prevent a motion or question from dying in committee.

Member: Madam President, I move to discharge the committee to select new furniture for the office.

Member 2: I second it.

President: It is moved and seconded to discharge the committee to select new furniture for the office. Because no previous notice was given, this takes a two-thirds vote to adopt. Is there any discussion?

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