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amended at the first reading,46 Grey, 286 ; nor is it usual for it to be opposed then, but it may be done and rejected.—D'Ewes, 335, col. 1; 3 Hats. 198.
BILLS, SECOND READING.
The second reading must regularly be on another day.Hakew. 143. It is done by the clerk at the table, who then hands it to the Speaker. The Speaker, rising, states to the House the title of the bill, that this is the second time of reading it, and that the question will be, Whether it shall be committed, or engrossed and read a third time? But if the bill came from the other House, as it always comes engrossed, he states that the question will be, Whether it shall be read a third time? And before he has so reported the state of the bill, no one is to speak to it.—Hakew. 143, 146.
In the Senate of the United States, the President reports the title of the bill, that this is the second time of reading it, that it is now to be considered as in a committee of the whole, and the question will be, Whether it shall be read a third time? or, that it may be referred to a special committee.
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 controlling 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, would 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 6, 1606, Mr. Hadley was, on the question being put, excused from being of a committee, declaring himself to be against the matter itself. Scob. 48.
No bill shall be committed or amended until it shall have been twice read, after which it may be referred to a committee.-Rule 14.
All committees shall be appointed by ballot, and a plurality of voices shall make a choice.—Rule 15.
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 the 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 must sit below them.-Elsynge, 12; Scob. 49.
But in 1626, April 24th, 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 inserting 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 the Senate of the United States, though in the main we 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 the 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 amendment in the body of the resolution. It was objected 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 mover, 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 of the Senate, too, allows recurrences backwards and forwards for the purpose of amendments, not permitting amendments in a subsequent, to preclude those in a prior part, or a 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 that are to be inserted or omitted, Scob. 50; and where, by reference to the page, line, and word of the bill. Scob. 50.
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 amendment, 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 upon the table, till the House, at his 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.4 Grey, 361.
AFTER a bill has been committed and reported, it ought not, in an ordinary course, to be recommitted. But in cases of importance, and for special reasons, it is sometimes recommitted, and usually to the same committee. Hakew. 151. If a report be committed before agreed to in the House, what has passed in the committee is of no validity; the whole question is again