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OF THE MOTIONS TO RESCIND AND
The motion to rescind is a very common one in many Societies, and in too many cases is rendered necessary by hasty and illadvised action. The business of a Society should be so conducted as, to render the necessity for its use of rare occurrence. motion of the kind is employed in Parlia ment. The corresponding motion in our State Legislature and in Congress, is the motion to repeal, which may be carried by a simple majority.
In our State Legislature, to expunge any matter from the Journal, requires the unanimous vote of all present, as appears by the subjoined precedent.
From the Journal of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, March 21, 1832.
A motion was made by Mr. Waugh, that the amendments to the bill No. 458, entitled "An Act to authorise the Governor to incorporate a company for making a turnpike road from the borough of Somerset, in Somerset county, to the canal basin at Johnstown, in
Cambria county, and to incorporate the Evansburg and Pierpoint turnpike road company," made in the house on second reading yesterday, except those upon which the yeas and nays were required, be expunged from the Journal.
The motion being opposed, the Speaker decided that under the constitution of the state, and the uniform practice of this house, the motion could not prevail without the unanimous consent of the members present.
Whereupon Mr. Waugh appealed from the decision of the Speaker, and on the question, "Is the Speaker right in his decision?" it was decided in the affirmative-yeas 67, nays 22.
When a decision is made by the Presi dent, which the members believe to be contrary to rule, or out of order, any two members may make an appeal, and the question may then be argued. It is not necessary that the President should leave the chair. He may do so, however, if he prefers, and may appoint a Chairman pro tempore, or the meeting may appoint. The
President will give his reasons for the deci sion, but neither he nor any other member is allowed to speak more than once, unless by leave of the meeting. The same rule prevails, when a question of order is submitted to the meeting by the President.
The member making the appeal, is required, in all cases, to reduce the appeal to writing, which will be stated from the Chair. The appeal, together with the vote upon it, should be entered on the minutes.
On an appeal, the question before the meeting is, "Shall the decision of the Chair be sustained?" On putting the question, if the vote be equal, and the President is in the chair, he may give the casting vote sustaining his decision. A precedent for this is found in Congressional proceedings.
When two or more members are competing for the floor, and the President gives it to one who was not the first to rise, his decision may be appealed from, and overruled by the meeting. In Parliamentary practice any decision of the presiding officer may be made the subject of appeal.
In Congress it is in order to move that an
appeal from the decision of the Speaker be laid upon the table.
The rights of a minority are best protected by a rigid adherence to rule. As it is always in the power of the majority, by their numbers, to stop any improper measures proposed by their opponents, the only means by which the minority can defend themselves against similar attempts from those in power, are the forms and rules adopted by the Society -by a strict adherence to which the weaker party can always be protected from those irregularities and abuses which the wantonness of power is but too often apt to suggest to large and successful majorities. So remarks Hatsell.
The mode of introducing a report from the minority of a committee, is explained on page 38.
In the Legislature of this State, it not unfrequently happens that gentlemen who are favorable to the general tenor of a bill, are
compelled to vote against it, in consequence of some objectionable amendment having been incorporated with it, during the discussion. In such cases, in order that the constituents of members may know the reasons which influence their votes, it is usual to state these reasons in writing, and the rules allow them to be inserted in the Journal.
But when members protest against any action of the House, in the adoption of a resolution or proposition, the protest cannot be inserted in the Journal without the consent of a majority. When the protest is couched in respectful language, this privilege is never denied, unless in some extraordinary cases.
A subsisting order of the Society being neglected, any member has the right to insist on its being attended to without delay.
It is usual for the President, after a motion has been made, seconded, and stated from the chair, to give the floor to the mover, in preference to others, if he rises to speak.