Here’s a couple of motions that can help an organization change its mind.  These relatively uncommon motions are two of the “Bring Back” motions.

  •    Recind
  •    Amend Something Previously Adopted.

By the way, the other “Bring Back” motions are Reconsider, and Discharge a Committee; these have unique characteristics and can be helpful when an organization wants to undo or do-over.

Presenters May Ann Rosenberger and Joan C. Price, PRP,  focused on Rescind and Amend Something Previously Adopted that can applied to anything (bylaw, rule, policy, decision) that has continuing force and was made by adopting a motion.

For example, Club Z voted in February 2019 at its regular monthly meeting to quit having meeting refreshments; it was then the Club’s policy as stated in the Standing Rules.  Member Susan misses the morning snack (though she never signed up to bring a treat) and moves to rescind the vote that ended meeting refreshments.  The motion to rescind the refreshments decision is seconded, debated, amended, and when the vote is taken the motion to rescind is lost and the early 2019 motion is retained.  The question was on rescinding the earlier decision and the noes had it.  Club Z would continue without morning refreshments.

On the other hand, Club Z might have adopted the motion to rescind the refreshment decision and would return to having morning snacks.  Strategically, it can be risky to move to rescind because it opens the entire previous motion to debate.

Member Susan could have also moved to Amend Something Previously Adopted by amending the no refreshments policy with a change that would have permitted beverages, refreshments on special days, or other options.

The motion to rescind can be useful when new information emerges.  At its last meeting Club Z moved to purchase a hand-crafted portable podium at a cost not to exceed $1,000.  Nobody began podium shopping and during the treasurer’s report, Club Z learned that the Club had received only five member dues for the year.  Any expenditure is beyond the Club’s means.  Member Susan, now an expert in rescinding, moves to rescind the motion to purchase a hand-crafted portable podium for not more than $1,000.  The motion to rescind is readily adopted and the purchase will not be made at this time.  On the other hand, if the portable podium had been purchased, the motion authorizing it could not be rescinded.

Presenters Rosenberger and Price emphasized an important characteristic  of rescinding in a short skit, the need for a two-thirds vote when no notice of the motion has been given.   If notice is given that a motion to rescind is going to be made at the next meeting, the vote required is a majority.  However, if no notice is given motions to Rescind and Amend Something Previously Adopted they two-thirds vote because they undo a decision the assembly had made.  Neither of Club Z’s motions to rescind had been noticed so they required a two-thirds vote, a vote accomplished by members rising and being counted.

While you may seldom use Rescind or Amend Something Previously Adopted, these are two useful Bring Back motions for particular situations.  A more advanced lesson on the Bring Back motion Reconsider will be offered to all Michigan State Association of Parliamentarians (MSAP) members at its upcoming annual meeting.  If you are interested in going beyond the basics contact Gretchen at gcdenton@comcast.net for more information on parliamentary procedures lessons available through MSAP and through the National Association of Parliamentarians at parliamentarians.org.

The March meeting of the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit (LSPU) will be on the third Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, from 9:30 to noon at the First Presbyterian Church, 1669 West Maple, Birmingham, Michigan.  Guests are always welcome; the March lesson will be Committee of the Whole and Alternate Forms and, as usual the program is at 9:30.

Another way to learn how to have effective meetings is at the LSPU Annual Workshop that will take place on May 2.  Please see the attached information and registration.  We look forward to meeting you and enjoying a morning of stimulating seminars—along with great food!