Page images

While the speaker is putting a question, no member shall walk out of, or across the house, nor when a member is speaking, shall any member entertain any private discourse, or pass between him and the chair. R. of A. 19.

A member called to order, shall immediately sit down, unless permitted to explain; and the house, if appealed to, shall decide on the case, but without debate; if there be no appeal, the decision of the chair shall be submitted to. R. of A. 20.

The rules of the house shall be observed in a committee of the whole house, so far as they may be applicable, except the rules respecting divisions and limiting the time of speaking. R. of A. 35.



The chairman of the committee, standing in his place, informs the house, that the committee, to whom was referred such a bill, have, according to order, had the same under consideration, and have directed him to report the same without any amendment, or with sundry amendments, (as the case may be,) which he is ready to do, when the house pleases to receive it. And he, or any other, may move that it be now received. But the cry of " now, now," from the house, generally dispenses with the formality of a motion and question. He then reads the amendments with the coherence in the bill, and opens the alterations, and the reasons of the committee for such amendments, until he has gone through the whole. He then delivers it at the clerk's table, where the amendments reported are read by the clerk, without the coherence, whereupon the papers lie on the table, till the house, at its convenience, shall take up the report. Scob. 52. Hakew. 148.

The report being made, the committee is dissolved, and can act no more without a new power. Scob. 51. But it may be revived by a vote, and the same matter recommitted to them. 3 Grey 361.

1. In a committee, every member may speak as often

as he pleases. 2. The votes of a committee may be rejected or altered, when reported to the house. 3. A committee even of the whole, cannot refer any matter to another committee. 4. In a committee, no previous ques tion can be taken. The only means to avoid an improper discussion, is to move that the committee rise; and if it be apprehended that the same discussion will be attempted on returning into committee, the house can discharge them, and proceed itself on the business, keeping down the improper discussion by the previous question. 5. A committee cannot punish a breach of order, in the house or in the gallery. 9 Grey 113. It can only rise and report it to the house, who may proceed to punish. Jefferson's Manual, sec. 30, page 85.

In the assembly of this state, a committee is commonly appointed about the 7th week of the annual meeting of the legislature, that performs nearly all the duties of the 'quasi committee of the National Legislature, and aided by a select committee, performs all the duties of a committee of the whole house.

This committee is commonly named by the speaker, consists of nine, and is appointed, on motion, by virtue of a resolution, generally first adopted in the following words:

"Resolved, That a committee of nine members be appointed, whose duty it shall be to examine all bills from time to time committed to a committee of the whole house, and report all such bills as in their opinion may with safety and propriety be referred to select committees, to be reported complete; but that no bill shall be so recommended to be referred, except with the consent of a majority of the said committee." See Journal of Assembly, 1816, p. 276.

This committee commonly meets twice per week; and from all of the bills before the house, select such as they think "proper;" the chairman then reports to the house what bills they have selected, and gives the titles: the speaker then puts "the question on agreeing with the committee in their report;" if carried in the affirmative, the speaker then addressing himself to the house, says, "Is it the pleasure of the house the committee of the whole house be discharged from the further consideration

of these said several bills, and that the same be referred to select committees to be reported complete ?" One negative is sufficient to prevent a bill from being thus disposed of. The member objecting to any particular bill, commonly objects to that, and consents as to the remainder.

The speaker then appoints a committee of three members to receive three of the bills, and to report the same complete; first naming the bills, and then the committee to whom he proposes to refer them, and then takes the sense of the house on the nomination, as in other cases. Sometimes but one bill is referred to each committee.

These select committees of three, to whom the bills are referred, report the bills complete, with all convenient speed, either with or without amendment; and then the speaker puts "the question on agreeing with the committee in their report;" if agreed to, he asks "shall this (or these) bill (or bills) be engrossed? Those in favor," &c. as in other cases. If carried in the affirmative, the bill is engrossed for a third reading, in like manner as if the same had passed in committee of the whole house.

This is a very expeditious way of disposing of much business before the house of a merely local or private and not very important description.

[blocks in formation]

8. On engrossed bills.

9. On the erection and division of counties.

10. On the incorporation of cities and villages, and charitable and religious societies.

11. On the petitions of aliens.


12. On the incorporation and alteration of banking and insurance companies.

13. On the establishment and improvement of roads and bridges, and the incorporation of turnpike compa


14. On amendments proposed to the constitution of this state and the United States.

15. On canals and internal improvements.

16. On the militia, and other subjects relating to the public defence.

17. On state prisons, and other subjects relating to the penitentiary system.

18. On agriculture.

19. On trade and manufactures.

20. On the erection and division of towns.

21. On bills coming within the ninth section of the seventh article of the amended constitution of this state.



The assent of two thirds of the members elected to each branch of the legislature, shall be requisite to every bill appropriating the public monies or property for local or private purposes, or creating, continuing, altering or renewing any body politic or corporate. Const. Art. 7, Sec. 9.

That a standing committee of five be appointed, on bills coming within the ninth section of the seventh article of the amended constitution of this state; and that when any bill shall have passed in committee of the whole house, which the speaker shall suppose to be within the provisions of the said ninth section, or on which question he may entertain doubts, it shall be referred to the said committee, to examine and report thereon, before the question on its final passage shall be taken. R. of A.47.

That hereafter, the final question on the passage of any bill appropriating the public monies, or property, for local or private purposes, or creating, continuing,

altering, or renewing any body politic, or corporate, shall be taken by a division; and unless eighty-six members shall vote in the affirmative, the bill shall be declared lost; and the speaker shall certify upon all such bills which. shall so pass, that two-thirds of all the members elected to this house, voted in favor of the same. R. of A. 46. The final reading of all bills which require the sanction of a constitutional majority, shall be had on Tuesday or Friday in every week, and on no other days, until otherwise ordered, except by unanimous consent. R. of A. 49.

That the final question on the passage of any bill, requiring a constitutional majority of this house, shall not be deemed to be decided, unless eighty-six members are present, and vote on the question. R. of A. 50.

A motion to reconsider the vote upon the final passage of any bill, requiring the assent of two-thirds of all the members elected to this house, shall be made by a member who voted against the bill; and two-thirds of the members present shall be required to reconsider the same. R. of A. 54.



Every message from the honorable the senate communicating any bill, for the concurrence of this house, shall, after the second reading of the said bill, be referred to a select committee, with the accompanying documents, (if any,) to consider and report thereon. R. of A. 38.

This committee, like most select committees in the assembly, consists of three. They receive the bill and accompanying documents, and having duly considered, report the same according to the exigency of the rule. Their report should contain a brief statement of all the facts embraced in those documents, together with the opinion of the select committee thereon, and be committed to the committee of the whole house.

That amendments by the senate, to all bills which have

« PreviousContinue »