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usual to take the yeas and nays. If decided in the affirmative, the vote will then be taken on the amendments pending, in their order, and then on the main question.*
Formerly the rule in our Legislature was, that when the main question was ordered to be put, all pending amendments were cut off, and this is still the Parliamentary practice. The course now pursued, as laid down above, is a decided improvement over the old usage, and should certainly be adopted in Societies.
In the Legislature of New York, as well as in that of Massachusetts, the effect of a negative, is to leave the main question and the pending amendments, under debate, as they were before the Previous Question was moved.
On a motion for the Previous Question, no debate is allowable. All incidental questions of order, arising after the motion is made, must be decided without debate, whether on an appeal from the decision of the chair, or otherwise. The Previous Question having
*What the "Main Question" will be, will depend upon eircumstances. If a resolution be under debate, with amendments pending, the "main question" will be on the adoption of the resolution.
been moved and seconded, cannot be withdrawn, except by consent of the majority, nor can it be superseded by any other motion, excepting a motion to adjourn.
Motions to postpone are of two kinds-a motion to postpone for the present, and a motion to postpone indefinitely.
A motion to postpone "for the present," may be amended, by fixing a definite time, or it may be amended so as to read indefi nitely. Where different times are named, the Legislative rule is to put the question on the most distant day first.
The motion to postpone indefinitely cannot be amended, nor superseded by a motion to commit, or to amend the original proposi tion, but must first be decided. If decided affirmatively, the proposition is finally disposed of; if negatively, the motion to commit, or to amend, may then be received.
In the Senate of the United States, when
a question is postponed indefinitely, it cannot be acted upon again during the session. The usual effect of this motion, in all Legistative bodies, is to make a final disposition of the subject to which it is applied. The same proposition, however, is sometimes reintroduced in a different shape.
OF MOTIONS TO RECONSIDER. In Congress, motions to reconsider are in order on the same day, or the day after, the passage of a motion, proposition or bill. In our State Legislature the time is extended to the six following days, exclusive of Sabbath. In the U. S. Senate, one of the rules is, that "no motion for the reconsideration of any vote, shall be in order after a bill, resolution, message, report, amendment, or motion upon which the vote was taken, shall have gone out of the possession of the Senate."
In Societies it is not usual to extend the privilege of this motion beyond the next meeting, and this extension is, in some cases, too long. If the matter proposed to be re
considered, has passed from the meeting, the motion to reconsider should not be received. The Senate rule should be applied in all such cases. When the subject is still in possession of the Society, it may be allowable to entertain the motion to reconsider at the next meeting after that at which the proposi tion proposed to be reconsidered was adopted. This matter should, however, be provided for in the by-laws.
In all cases the motion to reconsider must be made and seconded by gentlemen who voted in the majority; or, in case of equal division, by those who voted in the negative.
In Congress, it not unfrequently happens, that a member will vote for a proposition to which he is opposed, and which he finds is about to carry, merely for the purpose of mak ing himself eligible to move a reconsideration, which, if carried, gives him another oppor tunity of making a thrust at the measure.
During the limitation, a motion to reconsider takes precedence, in Congress, of all motions, excepting the motion to adjourn. motion to reconsider is sometimes made, and then postponed, and the only way to avoid this
inconvenience is to force a vote, by calling and sustaining the previous question.*
In Parliament, the motion to reconsider is not allowable. There, a question once carried, cannot be questioned again, and stands as the judgment of the House, and a bill once rejected, cannot be brought in again, in the same shape, during the session.† English authors remark that various expedients, are resorted to, in order to correct the effects of this rule, such as passing an explanatory act, if any thing has been omitted or ill-expressed, or an act to enforce, and make more effectual an act, &c., or an act to rectify mistakes in an act, &c. Or, the session may be closed for one, two, three, or more days, and a new one commenced; or a part of a subject may be taken up by another bill, in a different manner, so as to change some of its prominent features.
*In this case, the "main question" will be the motion to reconsider.
Hatsell states that a bill to tax leather being once defeated in the House of Commons, the same proposition was subsequently renewed with this variation, "that skins and tanned hides should be charged," &c.