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In every case of a difference between the two houses upon any subject of legislation, either house may request a conference, and appoint a committee for that purpose, and the other shall also appoint a committee to confer. The committee shall meet at such hour and place as shall be agreed upon by their chairman, and state to each other, verbally or in writing, as either shall choose, the reasons of their respective houses, and confer freely thereon. And they shall be authorised to report to their respective houses, such modifications or amendments as they may think advisable. Joint R. of S. and A.5.
It shall be in order for either house to recede from any subject matter of difference subsisting between the two houses at any time previous to conference, whether the papers on which such difference has arisen are before the house receding, formally or informally, and that a majority shall govern, except in those cases where two thirds are required by the constitution; and the question having been put and lost, shall not be again put on the same day, and the reconsideration thereof shall in other respects be regulated by the rules of the respective housIb. 6.
After each house shall have adhered to their disagreement, the bill which is the subject of difference, shall be deemed lost, and shall not be again revived during the same session in either house. Ib. 7.
It is on the occasion of amendments by one house disagreed to by the other, that conferences are usually asked; but they may be asked, 4 Hats. 4, 223, in all cases of difference of opinion between the two houses, on matters depending beween them. 4 Hats. 4, 5, 7. The request of a conference, however, must always be by the house which is possessed of the papers. 3 Hats. 31. 1 Grey 425. 4 Hats. 3, 43.
Conferences may be either simple or free. At a conference simply, written reasons are prepared by the house asking it, and they are read and delivered, without de
bate, to the managers of the other house at the conference; but are not then to be answered. 3 Grey 144. The other house then, if satisfied, vote the reasons satisfactory, or say nothing: if not satisfied, they resolve them not satisfactory, and ask a conference on the subject of the last conference, where they read and deliver in like manner written answers to those reasons. 3 Grey 183. They are meant, chiefly, to record the justification of each house to the nation at large, and to posterity, and in proof that the miscarriage of a necessary measure is not imputable to them. 3 Grey 255. At free conferences, which are asked after two conferences, 4 Hats. 37, 40. the managers discuss, viva voce and freely, and interchange propositions for such modifications as may be made in a parliamentary way, and may bring the sense of the two houses together. The conferees may argue in support of what was done in their house, but not against it, nor assent to any new thing there propounded, till their house be informed and agree to it. 4 Hats. 31, 33. And each party reports in writing to their respective houses, the substance of what is said on both sides, and it is entered in their journals. 9 Grey 220. 3 Hats. 280. 4 Hats. 48. This report cannot be amended or altered, as that of a committee may be. Journ. Sen. May 24, 1796. A conference may be asked before the house asking it has come to a resolution of disagreement, insisting or adhering. 3 Hats. 269, 341. In which case the papers are not left with the other conferees, but are brought back to be the foundation of the vote to be given. And this is the most reasonable and respectful proceeding. For, as was urged by the lords on a particular occasion, "it is held vain and below the wisdom of parliament to reason or argue against fixed resolutions, and upon terms of impossibility to persuade." 3 Hats. 226. So the commons say "an adherence is never delivered at a free conference, which implies debate." 10 Grey 147. And on anot occasion, the lords made it an objection that the commons had asked a free conference after they had made resolutions of adhering. It was then affirmed, however, on the part of the commons, that nothing was more parliamentary than to proceed with free conferences after adhering; 3 Hats. 269. and we do in fact see
instances of conferences, or of free conference, asked after the resolution of disagreeing, 3 Hats. 251, 253, 260, 286, 291, 316, 349; of insisting, ib. 280, 296, 299, 319, 322, 355; of adhering, 269, 270, 283, 300; and even of a second or final adherence, 3 Hats. 270. And in all cases of conference asked after a vote of disagreement, &c. the conferees of the house asking it, are to leave the papers with the conferees of the other and in one case, where they refused to receive them, they were left on the table in the conference chamber. Ib. 271, 317, 323, 354. 10 Grey 146.
The commons affirm that it is usual to have two free conferences or more, before either house proceeds to adhere because, before that time, the houses have not had the full opportunity of making replies to one another's arguments; and to adhere so suddenly and unexpectedly, excludes all possibility of offering expedients. 4 Hats.330.
After a free conference, the usage is to proceed with free conferences, and not to return again to a conference. -3 Hats. 270. 9 Grey 229.
After a conference denied a free conference may be asked. 1 Grey 45.
When a conference is asked, the subject of it must be expressed, or the conference not agreed to. Ord. H. Commons 89. 1 Grey 425. 7 Grey 31. 4 Hats. 20, 46. They are sometimes asked to enquire concerning an offence, or default of a member of the other house. 6 Grey 181. 1 Chandler 304. Or the failure of the other house to present to the king a bill passed by both houses. 8 Grey 302. Or on information received, and relating to the safety of the nation. 10 Grey 171. Or, when the methods of parliament are thought by the one house to have been departed from by the other, a conference is asked to come to a right understanding thereon. 10 Grey 148. So when an unparliamentary message has been sent, instead of answering it, they ask a conference. 3 Grey 155. Formerly, an address, or articles of impeachment, or a bill with amendments, or a vote of the house, or concurrence in a vote, or a message from the king, were sometimes communicated by way of conference. 6 Grey 128, 300, 387. 7 Grey 80. 8 Grey 210, 255. 1
Torbuck's Deb. 278. 10 Grey 293. 1 Chandler 49, 237. But this is not the modern practice. 8 Grey 255.
A conference has been asked after the first reading of a bill. 1 Grey 194. This is a singular instance.
During the time of a conference the house can do no business. As soon as the names of the managers are called over, and they are gone to the conference, the speaker leaves the chair, without any question, and resumes it on the return of the managers. It is the same while the managers of an impeachment are at the house of lords. 4 Hats. 47, 209, 288.
Messages between the two houses are to be sent only while both houses are sitting. 3 Hats. 15. They are received during a debate, without adjourning the debate. 3 Hats. 22.
In the house of representatives, and in the assembly of N. Y. as in parliament, if the house be in committee when a messenger attends, or when any important message is transmitted, the speaker takes the chair to receive the message, announces the same, and then quits it to return into committee, generally without any question or interruption. 4 Grey 226.
Messengers are not saluted by the members, but by the speaker for the house. 2 Grey 253, 274.
If messengers commit an error in delivering the message they may be admitted or called in to correct their message. 4 Grey 41. Accordingly, March 13, 1800, the senate of the United States having made two amendments to a bill from the house of representatives, their secretary, by mistake, delivered one only; which being inadmissible by itself, that house disagreed, and notified the senate of the U. S. of their disagreement. This produced a discovery of the mistake. The secretary was sent to the other house to correct his mistake, the correction was received and the two amendments acted on de novo.
All bills, resolutions and other messages relative to any particular matter before the legislature, transmitted by either house, are delivered by the clerk of the house sending the message; the clerk of one house delivers the same to the clerk of the other, informing him of the import of the same; and the first convenient opportunity, unless it be very important, it is communicated to the speaker and by him announced to the house.
As soon as the messenger who has brought bills from the other house, has retired, the speaker holds the bill in his hand, and acquaints the house, "that the other house have, by their messenger, sent certain bills," and then reads their titles, and delivers them to the clerk to be safely kept, till they shall be called for to be read. Hak. 178.
In the assembly, as soon as a bill is received from the senate, the speaker, holding the same in his hand, acquaints the house, "that the honourable the senate have passed the bill entitled "an act, &c. (title) in which bill they request the concurrence of this house." He then delivers them to the clerk, and if no motion or objection is made to the contrary, the bill then has its first reading through, and its "second reading by its title."
It is not the usage for one house to inform the other by what numbers the bill has passed. 10 Grey 150. Yet they have sometimes recommended a bill, as of great importance to the consideration of the house to which it is sent. 3 Hats. 25. Nor when they have rejected a bill from the other house, do they give notice of it; but it passes sub silentio, to prevent unbecoming altercation. 1 Blackst. 183.
But in congress, the rejection is notified by message to the house in which the bill originated.
A question is never asked by the one house of the other by way of message, but only at a conference; for this is an interrogatory, not a message. 3 Grey 151, 181.
When a bill is sent by one house to the other, and is neglected, they may send a message to remind them of it. 3 Hats. 25. 5 Grey 154. But if it be mere inattention, it is better to have it done informally, by communications between the speakers, or members of the two houses.
Where the subject of a message is of a nature that it can