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and does not stand ipso facto before them at their next meeting: but must come forward in the usual way. So, when it is interrupted by the order of the day. Such other privileged questions also as dispose of the main question, (e. g. the previous question, postponement or commitment,) remove it from before the house. But it is only suspended by a motion to amend, to withdraw, to read papers, or, by a question of order or privilege, and stands again before the house when these are decided. None but the class of privileged questions can be brought forward, while there is another question before the house, the rule being, that when a motion has been made and seconded, no other can be received, except it be a privileged one.



If, on a question for rejection, a bill be retained, it passes of course to its next reading. Hakew. 141. Scob. 42. And a question for a second reading, determined negatively, is a rejection without farther question. 4 Grey 149. And see Elsynge's Memor. 42. in what cases questions are to be taken for rejection.

Where questions are perfectly equivalent, so that the negative of the one amounts to the affirmative of the other, and leaves no other alternative, the decision of the one concludes necessarily the other. 4 Grey 157. Thus the negative of striking out amounts to the affirmative of agreeing; and therefore, to put a question on agreeing after that on striking out, would be to put the same question in effect twice over. Not so in questions of amendments between the two houses. A motion to recede being negatived, does not amount to a positive vote to insist, because there is another alternative, to wit, to adhere.

A bill originating in one house, is passed by the other with an amendment. A motion in the originating house to agree to the amendment is negatived. Does there result from this a vote of disagreement, or must the question on disagreement be expressly voted? The questions


respecting amendments from another house are, 1. To agree. 2. Disagree. 3. Recede. 4. Insist. 5. Adhere. 1st. To agree. Either of these concludes the other 2d. To disagree. ( necessarily for the positive of either is exactly the equivalent of the negative of the other, and no other alternative remains. On either motion amendments to the amendment may be proposed, e. g. if it be moved to disagree, those who are for the amendment have a right to propose amendments, and to make it as perfect as they can, before the question of disagreeing is put. 3d. To recede. You may then either insist or adhere. 4th. To insist. You may then either recede or adhere. 5th. To adhere. You may then either recede or insist.

Consequently the negative of these is not equivalent to a positive vote the other way. It does not raise so necessary an implication as may authorise the secretary by inference to enter another vote: for two alternatives still remain, either of which may be adopted by the house.



The question is to be put first on the affirmative, and then on the negative side.

After the speaker has put the affirmative part of the question, any member who has not spoken before to the question, may rise and speak before the negative be put. Because it is no full question till the negative part be put. Scob. 23. 2 Hats. 73.

But in small matters, and which are of course, such as receiving petitions, reports, withdrawing motions, reading papers, &c. the speaker most commonly supposes the consent of the house, where no objection is expressed, and does not give them the trouble of putting the question formally. Scob. 22. 2 Hats. 79, 2, 87. 5 Grey 129. 9 Grey




To prevent bills from being passed by surprise, the house, by a standing order, directs that they shall not be put on their passage before a fixed hour, naming one at which the house is commonly full. Hakew. 153.

The usage of the senate of the United States is not to put bills on their passage till noon.

A bill reported and passed to the third reading cannot on that day be read the third time and passed: because this would be to pass on two readings in the same day.

Every bill shall receive three several readings, previous to its being passed; and the second and third reading shall be on different days: and the third reading shall be on a day subsequent to that on which it has passed a committee of the whole house, unless the house unanimously direct otherwise. R. of A. 23.

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 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.

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.

At the third reading, the clerk reads the bill and delivers it to the speaker, who states the title, that it is the third time of reading the bill, and that the question will be whether it shall pass? Formerly, the speaker, or those who prepared a bill, prepared also a breviate or summary

statement of its contents, which the speaker read when he declared the state of the bill, at the several readings. Sometimes, however, he read the bill itself, especially on its passage. Hakew. 136, 137, 153. Coke 22, 115. Latterly, instead of this, he, at the third reading, states the whole contents of the bill verbatim, only instead of reading the formal parts, "Be it enacted, &c." he states that "the preamble recites so and so-the 1st section enacts that, &c.-the 2d section enacts that, &c."

But in the senate of the United States and in the assembly of New-York, both of these formalities are dispensed with; the breviate presenting but an imperfect view of the bill, and being capable of being made to present a false one: and the full statement being an useless waste of time, immediately after a full reading by the clerk and especially as every member has a printed copy of every important bill in his hand.


A bill on the third reading, is not to be committed for the matter or body thereof; but to receive some particular clause or proviso, it hath been sometimes suffered, but as a thing very unusual. Hakew. 156. thus 27 El. 1584. a bill was committed on the third reading, having been formerly committed on the second, but is declared not usual. D'Ewes 337. col. 2, 414, col. 2.

When an essential provision has been omitted, rather than erase the bill, and render it suspicious, they add a clause on a separate paper, engrossed and called a ryder, which is read and put to the question three times. Elsynge's Memorials 59. 6 Grey 335. 1 Blackst. 183. For examples of ryders see 3 Hats. 121, 122, 124, 126. ery one is at liberty to bring in a ryder without asking leave. 10 Grey 52.


It is laid down as a general rule, that amendments proposed at the second reading shall be twice read, and those proposed at the third reading thrice read; as also all amendments from the other house. Town. col. 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28.

It is with great, and almost invincible reluctance, that amendments are admitted at this reading, which occasions erasures or interlineations. Sometimes a proviso has been cut off from a bill; sometimes erased. 9 Grey 513.

This is the proper stage for filling up blanks!; for if filled up before, and now altered by erasure, it would be peculiarly unsafe.

At this reading the bill is debated afresh, and for the most part is more spoken to, at this time, than on any of the former readings. Hakew. 153.

The debate on the question whether it should be read a third time, has discovered to its friends and opponents the arguments on which each side relies, and which of these appear to have influence with the house; they have had time to meet them with new arguments, and to put their old ones into new shapes. The former vote has tried the strength of the first opinion, and furnished grounds to estimate the issue; and the question now of fered for its passage, is the last occasion which is ever to be offered for carrying or rejecting it.

When the debate is ended, the speaker, holding the bill in his hand, puts the question for its passage by saying, "Gentlemen, all you who are of opinion that this bill shall pass, say aye," and after the answer of the ayes, "All those of the contrary opinion say no."Hakew. 154.

After the bill is passed, there can be no further alteration of it in any point. Hakew. 159.



The affirmative and negative of the question having been both put and answered, the speaker declares whether the yeas or nays have it by the sound, if he be himself satisfied, and it stands as the judgment of the house. But if he be not himself satisfied which voice is the greater, or if, before any other member comes into the house, or before any new motion made, (for it is too late after that,) any member shall rise and declare himself dissatisfied with the speaker's decision, then the speaker is to divide the house. Scob. 24. 2 Hats. 140.

When the house of commons is divided, the one party goes forth, and the other remains in the house.


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