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so reported the state of the bill, no one is to speak to it. Hakew. 143, 146.
In the assembly, the speaker reports the title of the bill; that this is the second time of reading it. Bills are often read first and second time by their title, by unanimous consent of the house: and after second reading, the speaker puts this question, “ Shall this bill be committed to a committee of the whole house ?” “Gentlemen, as many as agree thereto, will please to say aye—those opposed, will please to say no.” He then pronounces it “ carried” or “lost,” as the case may be.
No bill shall be amended or committed until it has been twice read.-R. of A. 24.
A motion for commitment, until it is decided, shall preclude all amendment of the main question.-R. of A. 15.
If on motion and question it be decided, that the bill shall be committed, it may then be moved to be referred to a committee of the whole house, or to a special committee. If the latter, the speaker proceeds to name the committee. Any member also may name a single person, and the clerk is to write him down as of the committee. But the house have a controuling power over the names and number, if a question be moved against any one, and may in any case put in and put out whom they please.
Those who take exceptions to some particulars in the bill, are to be of the committee. But none who speak directly against the body of the bill. For he that would totally destroy, will not amend it. Hakew. 146. Town. col. 208. D’Ewes, 634. col. 2 Scob. 47. or as is said, 5 Grey 145, the child is not to be put to a nurse that cares not for it. 6 Grey 373. It is therefore a constant rule “that no man is to be employed in any matter who has declared himself against it.” And when any member who is against the bill hears himself named of its committee, he ought to ask to be excused. Thus March 7, 1606, Mr. Hadley was, on the question's being put, excused from being of a committee, declaring himself to be against the matter itself. Scob. 46.
All committees are appointed by the speaker, under the sanction of the house.
The clerk may deliver the bill to any member of the committee. Town. col. 138. But it is usual to deliver it to him who is first named.
In some cases, the house has ordered a committee to withdraw immediately into the committee chamber, and act on, and bring back the bill, sitting the house. Scob. 48.
A committee meets when and where they please, if the house has not ordered time and place for them. 6 Grey 370. But they can only act when together, and not by separate consultation and consent; nothing being the report of the committee but what has been agreed to in committee actually assembled.
A majority of the committee constitutes a quorum for business. Elsynge's Method of passing Bills. 11.
Any member of the house may be present at any select committee, but cannot vote, and must give place to all of the committee, and sit below them. Elsynge 12. Scob. 49.
But in 1626, April 24, the house of commons resolved, that though any members may be present at the examination of witnesses, they may not be at the debate, disposition or penning of the business by the select committee. 4 Hats. 124.
The committee have full power over the bill, or other paper committed to them, except that they cannot change the title or subject. 8 Grey 228.
The paper before a committee, whether select, or of the whole, may be a bill, resolutions, draught of an address, &c. and it may either originate with them, or be referred to them. In every case, the whole paper is read first by the clerk, and then by the chairman, by paragraphs. Scob. 49. pausing at the end of each paragraph, and putting questions for amending, if proposed. In the case of resolutions on distinct subjects, originating with themselves, a question is put on each separately, as amended, or unamended, and no final question on the whole; 3 Hats. 276. but if they relate to the same subject, a question is put on the whole. If it be a bill, draught of an address, or other paper originating with them, they proceed by paragraphs, putting questions for amending, either by insertion or striking out, if proposed ; but no question on agreeing to the paragraphs separately, This is reserved to the close, when a question is put on the whole, for agreeing to it as amended or unamended. But if it be a paper referred to them, they proceed to put questions of amendment, if proposed, but no final question on the whole; because all parts of the paper having been adopted by the house, stand of course, unless altered, or struck out by a vote. Even if they are opposed to the whole paper, and think it cannot be made good by amendments, they cannot reject it, but must report it back to the house without amendments, and there make their opposition.
The natural order in considering and amending any paper is, to begin at the beginning, and proceed through it by paragraphs; and this order is so strictly adhered to in parliament, that when a latter part has been amended, you cannot recur back and make any alteration in a former part. 2 Hats. 90. In numerous assemblies this restraint is doubtless important. But in senate of the United States, though in the main they consider and amend the paragraphs in their natural order, yet recurrences are indulged; and they seem on the whole, in that small body, to produce advantages overweighing their inconveniences.
To this natural order of beginning at the beginning, there is a single exception found in parliamentary usage. When a bill is taken up in committee, or on its second reading, they postpone the preamble, till the other parts of the bill are gone through. The reason is, that on consideration of the body of the bill, such alterations may therein be made as may also occasion the alteration of the preamble. Scob. 50. 7 Grey 431.
On this head the following case occurred in U. S. Senate, March 6, 1800. A resolution, which had no preamble, having been already amended by the house, so that a few words only of the original remained in it, a motion was made to prefix a preamble, which having an aspect very different from the resolution, the mover intimated that he should afterwards propose a correspondent a
mendment in the body of the resolution. It was object ed that a preamble could not be taken up till the body of the resolution is done with. But the preamble was received; because we are in fact through the body of the resolution, we have amended that as far as amendments have been offered, and indeed till little of the original is left. It is the proper time, therefore, to consider a preamble: and whether the one offered be consistent with the resolution, is for the house to determine. The mova er indeed, has intimated, that he shall offer a subsequent proposition for the body of the resolution : but the house is not in possession of it; it remains in his breast, and may be withheld. The rules of the house can only operate on what is before them. The practice too of the senate of the United States, allows recurrences backwards and forwards, for the purpose of amendment, not permitting amendments in a subsequent, to preclude those in a prior part, or e converso.
When the committee is through the whole, a member moves that the committee may rise, and the chairman report the paper to the house, with, or without amendments, as the case may be. 2 Hats. 289, 292. Scob. 53. 2 Hats. 290. 8 Scob. 50.
When a vote is once passed in a committee, it cannot be altered but by the house, their votes being binding on themselves. 1607, June 4.
The committee may not erase, interline, or blot the bill itself; but must in a paper by itself, set down the amendments, stating the words which are to be inserted or omitted; Scob. 50. and where, by references to the page, line and word of the bill. Scob. 50.
In forming a committee of the whole house, the speaker shall leave the chair, and a chairman shall be appointed to preside.-R. of A. 25.
The following are the rules of the assembly of NewYork on this subject :
No member shall speak more than twice to the same question, without leave of the house ; nor more than once, until every member choosing to speak shall have spoken. R. of A. 8.
Bills committed to a committee of the whole house, shall be first read through by the clerk, and then read and do
bated by clauses, leaving the preamble to be last considered: All amendments shall be entered on a separate piece of paper, and so reported to the house by the chairman standing in his place; after the report, the bill shall be subject to debate and amendment before the question to engross it be taken. R. of A. 26.
All questions, whether in committee or in the house, shall be put in the order they were moved : except that in filling up blanks, the largest sum and longest time shall be first put. R. of A. 27.
A similar mode of proceeding shall be observed with bills which have originated in, and have passed the senate, as with bills originating in the house. R. of A. 28.
Upon a division, in the house, the names of those who vote for, and those who vote against the question, shall be entered upon the minutes, if any ten members require it. R. of A. 30.
That in all cases where a bill, order, resolution, or motion, shall be entered on the journals of this house, the name of the member moving the same shall also be entered on the journals. R. of A. 37.
All the unfinished business of the preceding day, shall have preference to any other, except special orders of the day, in committee of the whole. R. of A. 44.
No motion for re-consideration shall be in order, unless on the same day, or day following that on which the decision proposed to be re-considered took place, nor unless one of the majority shall move such re-consideration. A motion for re-consideration being put and lost, shall not be renewed, nor shall any subject be a second time reconsidered without unanimous consent. R. of A. 34.
After a motion is stated by the speaker, it shall be deemed to be in possession of the house; but may be withdrawn at any time before decision or amendment. -R. of A. 10.
Every member who shall be present when a question is stated from the chair, and no other, shall vote for or against the same, unless the house shall excuse him, or unless he be immediately interested in the question, in which case he shall not vote. But no member shall be permitted to vote upon any question, unless present when his name is called upon a division in its regular order. R. of A. 18.