There isn’t much a delegate can do when a resolution, being presented by the Resolutions Committee, is not clear or is lacking in substance, except to “Refer it back” to the committee. Rule A.14 states:
“Committees may combine resolutions or prepare a composite to cover the intent of the question at issue. Reports of Committees are not subject to amendment except such as is acceptable to the Committee, but a motion to refer back to the Committee for reconsideration shall be in order.”
When a motion is referred back to the committee, such as the Resolutions Committee, it is usually understood that the committee will reconsider the matter in the light of what the delegates had to say about the resolution.
However, Rule A.14 gives the committee the right not to change the resolution notwithstanding that some delegates see the need to do so. In most cases, the suggestions made by the delegates are taken into consideration and the committee will re-submit an amended resolution later on in the convention.
In view of this rule, a delegate can point out the inadequacies of a resolution and hope that somebody else will make a motion to “Refer”. This restriction is contained in Rule A.15 which states:
“A delegate shall not move a motion to refer back after having spoken on the question at issue.”
Once again your attention is drawn to the Parliamentary Chart which shows that the motion to “Refer” is not debatable, cannot be amended, requires a seconder, needs a majority vote, cannot interrupt when another is speaking, and cannot be reconsidered. Rule A.16 states:
“A motion to refer back is not debatable and when properly seconded the question shall be immediately put to the Convention.”
A word of caution. Delegates should be on guard to see that the motion to “Refer” is not used to disrupt the business of the convention. An indiscriminate use of the motion can create a situation where there is a backlog of referrals that may never return to the convention floor for further discussion.
It should be noted that it is in order to make a motion to refer a resolution back to the committee during debate. Also, it is possible to use the motion to “Refer” after discussion has ceased and a vote has been taken, but only if the recommendation of the Resolutions Committee was defeated. This is covered under Rule A.17, which states:
“If the report of a Committee is adopted it becomes the decision of the Convention. If defeated, it may be referred back to the Committee for reconsideration.”