MindBender: Rescind or Amend Something Previously Adopted (Answer)

Question:  A motion was made two months ago for an expenditure of funds and passed. At a meeting where the Chairman of the committee was not present, a member made a motion to change the earlier motion to an amount of funds that was less than the amount  previously adopted. Is this in accordance with the rules?

All references are to  RONR 11th ed

Answer: Yes, by way of a motion to Rescind or Amend Something Previously Adopted. Refer to RONR p. 305-307:

By means of the motions to Rescind and to Amend Something Previously Adopted—which are two forms of one incidental main motion governed by identical rules—the assembly can change an action previously taken or ordered. Rescind—also known as Repeal or Annul—is the motion by which a previous action or order can be canceled or countermanded. The effect of Rescind is to strike out an entire main motion, resolution, order, or rule that has been adopted at some previous time. Amend Something Previously Adopted is the motion that can be used if it is desired to change only a part of the text, or to substitute a different version.

In an assembly, except when applied to a constitution, bylaws, or special rules of order, require

(a) a two-thirds vote,

(b) a majority vote when notice of intent to make the motion, stating the complete substance of the proposed change, has been given at the previous meeting within a quarterly time interval or in the call of the present meeting, or

(c) a vote of a majority of the entire membership—any one of which will suffice.

The same vote is required for the assembly to rescind or amend an action taken by subordinate bodies, such as some executive boards, empowered to act on behalf of the assembly.

In a committee, these motions require a two-thirds vote unless all committee members who voted for the motion to be rescinded or amended are present or have received ample notice, in which case they require a majority vote.

Also, if this is a committee meeting, refer to RONR p. 329-330 for another option, i.e. a motion to Reconsider:

RECONSIDERATION IN STANDING AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES. Reconsideration in a standing or a special committee differs from reconsideration in a meeting of the assembly in the following respects:

1) A motion to reconsider a vote in the committee can be made and taken up regardless of the time that has elapsed since the vote was taken, and there is no limit to the number of times a question can be reconsidered. Likewise, the rule requiring unanimous consent to renew a defeated motion to Reconsider does not apply in committees.

2) The motion can be made by any member of the committee who did not vote with the losing side; or, in other words, the maker of the motion to Reconsider can be one who voted with the prevailing side, or one who did not vote at all, or even was absent.

3) Unless all the members of the committee who voted with the prevailing side are present or have been notified that the reconsideration will be moved, it requires a two-thirds vote to adopt the motion to Reconsider.

In other respects, reconsideration in a committee is the same as in a meeting of the society or its board. A vote cannot be reconsidered in a committee of the whole.