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body. This should, strictly, take precedence of an objection to consideration, for if the question is not in order it is useless to vote that it shall be considered. When a question of order arises it interrupts the consideration of the subject out of which it arises until the question of order is disposed of. When a member thinks that the matter proposed or pending is irregular, he rises in his place and says: “Mr. Chairman, I rise to a point of order.” The Chairman replies: “Mr. A will state his point of order.” The presiding officer then, either with or without debate as he may himself determine, decides the point so raised. He may suggest the point of order himself, should no member raise it. An illustration of a point of order would be an objection to the consideration of a motion to amend while a motion to postpone was pending
43. Appeals.-Inasmuch as appeals are most frequently taken from rulings on points of order, their consideration follows. When a member appeals from a ruling of the chair, the presiding officer should insist upon a second before entertaining the appeal. Both the member appealing and the member seconding the appeal should, as in the case of all other motions, rise in their places and address the chair. The form is: “Mr. Chairman, I respectfully appeal from the ruling of the chair.” After the appeal is seconded, the chairman says: “The chair rules that (stating the ruling). Mr. A appeals from this decision of the chair. The question is: Shall the decision of the chair stand? Are you ready for the question?” The question is debatable and the debate is generally participated in by the presiding officer standing in his place. In all other cases, the presiding officer when taking part in debate should do so from the floor, having called someone to take the chair. All questions of order arising under an appeal are decided peremptorily by the chair. The presiding officer, when a member of an assembly, may vote upon the appeal, and, in case of a tie, the ruling stands in spite of the form in which the question is put. A decision of the chair always stands until set aside by a majority vote.
44. The reading of papers.—Recurring now to incidental motions, the next relates to the reading of papers. When a paper embodies a matter upon which the assembly is to take final action, any member may have it read for his information. As to other papers, however, it is not the right of a member to read them himself or to have them read without leave of the assembly. This, being incidental to the matter under debate, must be decided first.
45. Withdrawal of a motion. In the absence of a special rule to the contrary a motion, when made and submitted by the chair so as to be in possession of the assembly, cannot be withdrawn or modified by the maker without leave of the house, obtained upon a motion which is, of course, incidental to the other. 46. Suspension of a rule.—When
proceeding is prohibited by some special rule, it is necessary to move for the suspension of the interfering rule. This motion is consequently incidental to that proceeding and supersedes it until decided.
47. The method of consideration. The last incidental motion to be discussed is a motion as to the method of consideration. This motion is made only when there have been no general rules established on the subject. Where these exist no exception can be grafted upon them except in one of the ways already indicated.
48. General remarks.—Incidental motions, being in order at almost any stage and relating as they do to limitation of debate and order of action, give the body complete control of its business. They are generally adjusted by agreement and at any rate should be decided after brief debate. As to their rank among themselves, a question of order takes precedence of all the others. The other incidental motions have no precedence over one another; each must be decided before another can be put or any action taken on the question pending when the motion was made. Incidental motions are not debatable or amendable except motions relative to the method of consideration, which are amendable and briefly debatable, and questions of order, which may be debated if the presiding officer so requests.
SPECIAL MOTIONS. 49. Reconsideration. There is one more motion, in a class by itself, a knowledge of the rules applicable to which is necessary to a working knowledge of parliamentary law. That is the motion for reconsideration. A motion to reconsider, if allowed, reopens the entire question for further action precisely as it stood just before the vote reconsidered was taken, and, when no further discussion or alteration is desired, the presiding officer must again put the question to vote. Any former order as to the method of taking the vote is no longer in force.
If it is proposed to change any action taken prior to the final vote upon a question, the votes which have been taken, beginning with the final one, must be reconsidered in reverse order until the one desired to be changed is reached. If, for instance, the vote on an amendment, whether affirmative or negative, is unsatisfactory, the vote on the main question must first be reconsidered and then the unsatisfactory vote on the amendment.
A motion to reconsider is applicable to almost all votes. The principal exceptions are a vote to adjourn, to lay on the table, for suspension of the rules, and to reconsider, with sometimes, by special rule, a vote ordering the previous question. The same vote can be reconsidered but once.
A motion to reconsider is not in order after some action has been taken by the assembly under the vote proposed to be reconsidered. For instance, a motion to commit cannot be reconsidered after the papers have been delivered to the committee. A motion to reconsider must be made during the day of the vote sought to be reconsidered. It may be made while a member has the floor and noted on the record to be acted upon at such subsequent time as the business of the assembly permits, even upon a subsequent day.
Under the customary modern practice only some member who was in the prevailing vote, whether that was affirmative or negative, may move to reconsider. The presiding officer may inquire of the mover whether he was in the prevailing vote. A motion to reconsider is debatable whenever the motion on which the vote in question was taken is debatable, otherwise not. Accordingly, a debatable matter may be debated three times. Once before the first vote, once again on the motion to reconsider that vote, and the third time after the vote has been reconsidered.
50. Motions on disagreeing action.—Brief mention should be made of certain motions—three in number—which are peculiar to the situation created by disagreeing action between the two houses of a legislature. When one house passes a bill it is transmitted to the other. If the second body takes different action upon it the bill comes back to the first house with a memorandum of the disagreeing action. Then either one of three motions is in order. If the