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When the house have proceeded to the “ general orders of the day,” no other business shall be in order, until the house have disposed of the same by laying them upon the table, or by postponing them until the next day.-R. of A. 41.
A settled order of business is necessary for the government of the presiding person, and to restrain individual members from calling up favourite measures, or matters under their special patronage, out of their just turn. It is useful also, for directing the discretion of the house, when they are moved to take up a particular matter, to the prejudice of others having priority of right to their attention in the general order of business.
1. After the reading and reference of petitions, however, bills for a second reading are read, that they may be re-committed to a committee of the whole house, and so put under way.
Reports of committees are next in order. These should all be delivered in, that the business may take its proper place upon the general orders of the day.
2. Bills ready for it, are read the third time, and the question taken thereon, which is either to lie on the table, postponed to a day certain, to reject, to re-commit, or that the same do pass. If the latter, the speaker puts the question, “ Shall this bill pass ? Gentlemen, as many as agree that this bill do
will say aye—those opposed say no.” The speaker then pronounces the vote, so'tis carried,” or
“ 'tis lost," as the case may be. 3. Bills and other matters before the house, and unfinished on the preceding day, whether taken up in turn or on special order, are entitled to be resumed and passed on through their present stage.
4. These matters being dispatched, the general orders of the day is again taken up, and each article of it is brought on according to its priority of entry thereon. And although many bills were passed over the day preceding, the general order, except as to the unfinished business, is to be taken up from the beginning of the list of bills undisposed of by the house.
In this way time is not wasted in debating what shall be taken up; one thing is done at a time: thus the house follows up a subject while it is fresh, and till it is done
with; clears the house of business grad. atim, and prevents, to a certain degree, its immense accumulation towards the close of the session.
Orders of the day may be called for, even when another question is before the house.
The order of the day shall have the preference to any motion before tbe house. R. of A. 31.
In Parliament, “ instances make order," per speaker Onslow, 2 Hats. 141. but what is done only by one Parliament, cannot be called custom of Parliament, by Prynne. 1 Grey 52.
The clerk is to let no journals, records, accounts, or papers
be taken from the table, or out of his custody. 2 Hats. 193, 194.
Mr. Prynne having at a committee of the whole amended a mistake in a bill without order or knowledge of the committee, was reprimanded. 1 Chand. 77.
A bill being missing, the house resolved that a protestation should
be made and subscribed by the members "before Almighty God and this honourable house, that neither myself nor any other to my knowledge, have taken away, or do at this present conceal a bill entitled, &c. 5 Grey 202.
After a bill is engrossed, it is put into the speaker's hands, and he is not to let any one have it to look into. Toron. col. 209.
ORDER IN DEBATE.
When the speaker is seated in his chair, every member is to sit in his place. Scob. 6. 3 Grey 403.
When any member means to speak, he is to stand up in his place, uncovered, and to address himself, not to the house, or any particular member, but to the speaker, who calls him by his name, that the house may take notice who it is that speaks. Scob. 6. D’Ewes, 487. Col. 1. 2 Hats. 77. 4 Grey 66. 8 Grey 108. But members who are indisposed may be indulged to speak sitting. 2 Hats. 75, 77. 1 Grey 195.
Every member, previous to his speaking, shall rise from his seat, and address himself to the speaker.-R. of A. 6.
When a question is under debate, no motion shall be received, unless to amend it; to lay it on the table ; to commit it; to postpone it to a day certain; for the previous question; or to adjourn.-R. of A. 11.
The previous question, until it is decided, shall preclude all amendment and debate of the main question, and shall be decided in this form-shall the main question be now put ?—R. of A. 13.
No member shall speak more than once, without leave, upon a previous question.—R. of A. 14.
A mo for commitment, until it is decided, shall preclude all amendment of the main question.---R. of A. 15.
When a member stands up to speak, no question is to be put, but he is to be heard, unless the house overrule him. 4 Grey 390. 5 Grey 6, 143.
If two or more rise to speak nearly together, the speaker determines who was first up, and calls him by name, whereupon he proceeds, unless he voluntarily sits down and gives way to the other. But sometimes the house does not acquiesce in the speaker's decision, in which case the question is put “which member was first ?" 2 Hats. 76 Scob. 7. D’Ewes 434. col. 1, 2.
In the assembly of New-York, when two or more members rise at once, the speaker shall name the member who is first to speak. R. of 4.7.
No man may speak more than once to the same bill on the same day; or even on another day if the debate be adjourned. But if it be read more than once in the same day, he may speak once at every reading Co. 12, 116. Hakew. 148. Scob. 58. 2 Hats. 75. Even a change of opinion does not give a right to be heard a second time. Smyth Comw. L. 2. c. 3. Arcan. Parl. 17.
T'he corresponding rule of assembly, is in these words: 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.
But he may be permitted to speak again to clear a matter of fact. 3 Grey 357, 416. Or merely to explain himself, 2 Hats. 73. in some material part of his speech, ib. 75. or to the manner or words of the question, keeping himself to that only and not travelling into the merits of it; Memorials in Hakew. 29. or to the orders of the house if they be transgressed, keeping within that line, and not falling into the matter itself. Mem. in Hakew. 30, 31.
But if the speaker rises to speak, the member standing up ought to sit down, that he may be first heard. Town. col. 205. Hale Parl. 133. Mem. in Hakew. 30, 31. Nevertheless, though the speaker may of right speak to matters of order and be first heard, he is restrained from speaking on any other subject, except where the house have occasion for facts within his knowledge; then he may, with their leave, state the matter of fact. 3 Grey 38.
No one is to speak impertinently or beside the question, superfluously or tediously. Scob. 31 33. 2 Hats. 166, 163. Hale Parl. 133. No
person is to use indecent language against the proceedings of the house, no prior determination of which is to be reflected on by any member, unless he means to conclude with a motion to rescind it. 2 Hats. 169, 170. Rushw. P. 3. v. 1. fol. 42. But while a proposition is under consideration, is still in fieri, though it has even been reported by a committee, reflections on it are no reflections on the house. 9 Grey 508.
No person in speaking, is to mention a member then present by his name; but to describe him by his seat in the house, or who spoke last, or on the other side of the question, &c. Mem. in Hakew. 3 Smyth's Comw. L. 2. c. 3. nor to digress from the matter to fall upon
the person, Scob. 31. Hale Parl. 133. 2 Hats. 166. by speaking, reviling, nipping, or unmannerly words against a particular member. Smyth's Comw. L. 2 c. 3. The consequences of a measure may be reprobated in strong terms; but to arraign the motives of those who propose or advocate it, is a personality, and against order. Qui digreditur a materia ad personam, Mr. Speaker ought to suppress. Ord. Com. 1604. Apr. 19.
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.
No one is to disturb another in his speech by hissing, coughing, spitting, 6 Grey 332. Scob. 8. D'Eres 332. col. 1. 640. col. 2. speaking or whispering to another; Scob. 6. D'Ewes 487. col. 1. nor to stand up or interrupt him; Town. col. 205, Mem. in Hakew. 31. nor to pass between the speaker and the speaking member, nor to go across the house; Scob. 6. or to walk up and down it, or to take books or papers from the table, or write there. 2 Hats. 171.
Nevertheless, if a member finds that it is not the inclination of the house to hear him, and that by conversation or any other noise they endeavor to drown his voice, it is his most prudent way to submit to the pleasure of the house, and sit down : for it scarcely ever happens that they are guilty of this piece of ill manners without sufficient reason, or inattentive to a member who says any thing worth their hearing. 2 Hats. 77, 78.
If repeated calls do not produce order, the speaker may call by his name any member obstinately persisting in irregularity, whereupon the house may require the member to withdraw. He is then to be heard in exculpation, and to withdraw. Then the speaker states the offence committed, and the house considers the degree of punishment they will inflict. 2 Hats. 167, 7, 8, 172.
For instances of assaults and affrays in the house of commons, and the proceedings thereon, see 1 Pet. Alise.