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as much information as possible on every question on which he is to vote, that when he desires the reading, if it be seen that it is really for information, and not for delay, the Speaker directs it to be read without putting a question, if no one objects. But if objected to, a question must be put.-2 Hats. 117, 118.
It is equally an error to suppose, that any member has a right, without a question put, to lay a book or paper on the table, and have it read, on suggesting that it contains matter infringing on the privileges of the House.-2 Hats. 117, 118.
For the same reason, a member has not a right to read a paper in his place, if it be objected to, without leave of the House. But this rigour is never exercised but where there is an intentional or gross abuse of the time and patience of the House.
A member has not a right even to read his own speech, committed to writing, without leave. This also is to prevent an abuse of time; and therefore is not refused, but where that is intended. 2 Grey, 227.
A report of a committee of the Senate on a bill from the House of Representatives being under consideration, on motion that the report of the committee of the House of Representatives on the same bill be read in the Senate, it passed in the negative.-Feb. 28, 1793.
Formerly, when papers were referred to a committee, they used to be first read; but of late, only the titles; unless a member insists they shall be read, and then nobody can oppose it.-2 Hats. 117.
WEN a question is under debate, no motion shall be received bu adjourn, to lie on the table, to postpone indefinitely, to postpone te
a day certain, to commit, or to amend; which several motions shal have precedence in the order they stand arranged, and the motion for adjournment shall always be in order, and be decided without debate --Rule 11.
When a question is under debate, no motion shall be received but to adjourn, to lie on the table, for the previous question, to postpone ta a day certain, to commit or amend, to postpone indefinitely; which several motions shall have precedence in the order in which they are arranged and no motion to postpone to a day certain, to commit, or to postpone indefinitely, being decided, shall be again allowed on the same day, and at the same stage of the bill or proposition. A motion to strike out the enacting words of a bill shall have precedence of a motion to amend, and if carried, shall be considered equivalent to its rejection.-Rules H. R. 41
It is no possession of a bill, unless it be delivered to the clerk to be read, or the Speaker reads the title.-Lex. Parl. 274; Elsynge, Mem. 85; Ord. House Commons, 64.
It is a general rule, that the question first moved and seconded shall be first put.-Scob. 28, 22; 2 Hats. 81. But this rule gives way to what may be called privileged questions; and the privileged questions are of different grades among themselves.
A motion to adjourn, simply takes place of all others; for otherwise the House might be kept sitting against its will, and indefinitely. Yet this motion cannot be received after another question is actually put, and while the House is engaged in voting.
Orders of the day take place of all other questions, except for adjournment. That is to say, the question which is the subject of an order, is made a privileged one, pro hac vice. The order is a repeal of the general rule as to this special case. When any member moves, herefore, for the orders of the day to be read, no further debate is permitted on the question which was before the House; for if the debate might proceed, it might continue through the day, and defeat the order.
This motion, to entitle it to precedence, must be for the orders generally, and not for any particular one; and if it be carried on the question, "Whether the House will now proceed to the orders of the day?" they must be read and proceeded on in the course in which they stand.—2 Hats. 83. For priority of order gives priority of right, which cannot be taken away but by another special order.
After these there are other privileged questions, which will require considerable explanation.
It is proper that every Parliamentary assembly should have certain forms of question, so adapted as to enable them fitly to dispose of every proposition which can be made to them. Such are, 1. The previous question: 2. To postpone indefinitely: 3. To adjourn to a definite day: 4. To lie on the table: 5. To commit: 6. To amend. The proper occasion for each of these questions should be understood.
1. When a proposition is moved, which it is useless or inexpedient now to express or discuss, the previous question has been introduced for suppressing, for that time, the motion and its discussion.-3 Hats. 188, 189.
2. But as the previous question gets rid of it only for that day, and the same proposition may recur the next day, if they wish to suppress it for the whole of that session, they postpone it indefinitely.-3 Hats. 183. This quashes the proposition for that session, as an indefinite adjournment is a dissolution, or the continuance of a suit sine die is a discontinuance of it.
3. When a motion is made which it will be proper to act on, but information is wanted, or something more pressing claims the present time, the question or debate is adjourned to such a day within the session as will answer the views of the House.-2 Hats. 81. And those who have spoken before, may not speak
again when the adjourned debate is resumed.-2 Hats. 73. Sometimes, however, this has been abusively used, by adjourning it to a day beyond the session, to get rid of it altogether, as would be done by an indefinite postponement.
4. When the House has something else which claims its present attention, but would be willing to reserve in their power to take up a proposition whenever it shall suit them, they order it to lie on their table. It may then be called for at any time.
5. If the proposition will want more amendment and digestion than the formalities of the House will conveniently admit, they refer it to a committee.
6. But if the proposition be well digested, and may need but few and simple amendments, and especially if these be of leading consequence, they then proceed to consider and amend it themselves.
The Senate, in their practice, vary from this regu lar gradation of forms. Their practice, comparatively with that of Parliament, stands thus:
For the Parliamentary,
Laying on the table.
The Senate uses,
-Postmt. to a day beyond the session -Postmt. to a day within the session. Postponement indefinite.
In their 11th Rule, therefore, which declares, that while a question is before the Senate, no motion shall be received, unless it be for the previous question, or to postpone, commit or amend the main question, the term postponement must be understood according to their broad use of it, and not in its Parliamentary sense. Their rule then establishes as privileged questions, the previous question, postponement, commitment, and amendment.
But it may be asked, Have these questions any privilege among themselves? or are they so equal
that the common principle of the "first moved, first put," takes place among them? This will need explanation. Their competitions may be as follow:
In the 1st class, where the previous question is first moved, the effect is peculiar; for it not only prevents the after motion to postpone or commit from being put to question before it, but also from being put after it. For if the previous question be decided affirmatively, to wit, that the main question shall now be put, it would of course be against the decision to postpone or commit. And if it be decided negatively, to wit, that the main question shall not now be put, this puts the House out of possession of the main question, and consequently, there is nothing before them to postpone or commit. So that neither voting for nor against the previous question, will enable the advocates for postponing or committing to get at their object. Whether it may be amended, shall be examined hereafter.
2d class. If postponement be decided affirmatively, the proposition is removed from before the House, and consequently, there is no ground for the previous question, commitment or amendment. But if decided negatively, that it shall not be postponed, the main question may then be suppressed by the previous ques tion, or may be committed or amended.