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Parliamentary Law refers originally to the customs and rules of conducting business in the English Parliament; and thence to the customs and rules of our own legislative assemblies. In England these customs and usages of Parliament form a part of the unwritten law of the land.
Roberts Rules of Order PDF Book by Henry Martyn Robert
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And in our own legislative bodies they are of authority in all cases where they do not conflict with existing rules or precedents. But as a people we have not the respect which the English have for customs and precedents, and are always ready for innovations which we think are improvements.
And hence changes have been and are being constantly made in the written rules which our legislative bodies have found best to adopt. As each house adopts its own rules, it results that the two houses of the same legislature do not always agree in their practice; even in Congress the order of precedence of motions is not the same in both houses.
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And the Previous Question is admitted in the House of Representatives, but not in the Senate. As a consequence of this, the exact method of conducting business in any particular legislative body is to be obtained only from the Legislative Manual of that body.
The vast number of societies, political, literary, scientific, benevolent and religious, formed all over the land, though not legislative, are still deliberative in their character, and must have some system of conducting business, and some rules to govern their proceedings.
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And are necessarily subject to the common parliamentary law where it does not conflict with their own special rules. But as their knowledge of parliamentary law has been obtained from the usages in this country, rather than from the customs of Parliament.
It has resulted that these societies have followed the customs of our own legislative bodies, and our people have thus been educated under a system of parliamentary law which is peculiar to this country, and yet so well established as to supersede the English parliamentary law as the common law of ordinary deliberative assemblies.
The practice of the National House of Representatives should have the same force in this country as the usages of the House of Commons have in England, in determining the general principles of the common parliamentary law of the land; but it does not follow that in every matter of detail the rules of Congress can be appealed to as the common law. Roberts Rules of Order PDF Book
Governing every deliberative assembly. In these matters of detail, the rules of each House of Congress are adapted to their own peculiar wants, and are of no force whatever in other assemblies. But upon all great parliamentary questions, such as what motions can be made, what is their order of precedence, which can be debated, what is their effect, etc.
The common law of the land is settled by the practice of the U. S. House of Representatives, and not by that of the English Parliament, the U. S. Senate, or any other body. The member upon whose motion the subject under discussion was brought before the assembly (or.
In case of a committee’s report, the one who presented the report) is entitled to be recognized as having the floor (if he has not already had it during that discussion), notwithstanding another member may have first risen and addressed the Chair. Roberts Rules of Order PDF Book
If the Chairman rise to speak before the floor has been assigned to any one, it is the duty of a member who may have previously risen to take his seat. [See Decorum in Debate, § 36.] When a member has obtained the floor, he cannot be cut off from addressing the assembly, nor be interrupted in this speech by a motion to adjourn.
Or for any purpose, by either the Chairman or any member, except (a) to have entered on the minutes a motion to reconsider [§ 27]; (b) by a call to order [§ 14]; (c) by an objection to the consideration of the question [§ 15]; or (d) by a call for the orders of the day [§ 13].* [See note to § 61.
In such cases the member when he arises and addresses the Chair should state at once for what purpose he rises, as, for instance, that he “rises to a point of order.” A call for an adjournment, or for the question, by members in their seats, is not a motion; as no motion can be made. Roberts Rules of Order PDF Book
Without rising and addressing, the Chair, and being announced by the presiding officer. Such calls for the question are themselves breaches of order, and do not prevent the speaker from going on if he pleases. 3. Before any subject is open to debate [§ 34] it is necessary, first, that a motion he made.
Second, that it be seconded, (see exceptions below); and third, that it be stated by the presiding officer. When the motion is in writing it shall be handed to the Chairman, and read before it is debated. This does not prevent suggestions of alterations, before the question is stated by the presiding officer.
To the contrary, much time may be saved by such informal remarks; which, however, must never be allowed to run into debate. The member who offers the motion, until it has been stated by the presiding officer, can modify his motion, or even withdraw it entirely; after it is stated he can do neither, without the consent of the assembly. Roberts Rules of Order PDF Book Download
When the mover modifies his motion, the one who seconded it can withdraw his second. Exceptions: A call for the order of the day, a question of order (though not an appeal), or an objection to the consideration of a question [§§ 13, 14, 15], does not have to be seconded.
And many questions of routine are not seconded or even made; the presiding officer merely announcing that, if no objection is made, such will be considered the action of the assembly. The clerk should furnish him, or some other member of the committee, with notice of the appointment of the committee.
Giving the names of the members, the matter referred to them, and such instructions as the assembly have decided upon. The chairman shall call the committee together, and if there is a quorum (a majority of the committee, see § 43,) he should read or have read, the entire resolutions referred to them. Roberts Rules of Order PDF Book Download
He should then read each paragraph, and pause for amendments to be offered; when the amendments to that paragraph are voted on he proceeds to the next, only taking votes on amendments, as the committee cannot vote on the adoption of matter referred to them by the assembly.
If the committee originate the resolutions, they vote, in the same way, on amendments to each paragraph of the draft of the resolutions, (which draft has been previously prepared by one of their members or a sub-committee); they do not vote on the separate paragraphs, but having completed the amendments, they vote on the adoption of the entire report.
When there is a preamble, it is considered last. If the report originates with the committee, all amendments are to be incorporated in the report; but, if the resolutions were referred, the committee cannot alter the text, but must submit the original paper intact, with their amendments (which may be in the form of a substitute, § 23) written on a separate sheet. Roberts Rules of Order PDF Book Download
A committee is a miniature assembly that must meet together in order to transact business, and usually one of its members should be appointed its clerk. Whatever is not agreed to by the majority of the members present at a meeting (at which a quorum, consisting of a majority of the members of the committee.
Shall be present cannot form a part of its report. The minority may be permitted to submit their views in writing also, either together, or each member separately, but their reports can only be acted upon, by voting to substitute one of them for the report of the committee.
In debate a member must confine himself to the question before the assembly, and avoid personalities. He cannot reflect upon any act of the assembly, unless he intends to conclude his remarks with a motion to rescind such action, or else while debating such motion. Roberts Rules of Order PDF Book Download
In referring to another member, he should, as much as possible, avoid using his name, rather referring to him as “the member who spoke last,” or in some other way describing him. The officers of the assembly should always be referred to by their official titles.
It is not allowable to arraign the motives of a member, but the nature or consequences of a measure may be condemned in strong terms. It is not the man, but the measure, that is the subject of debate. If at any time the Chairman rises to state a point of order, or give information, or otherwise speak.
Within his privilege, the member speaking must take his seat till the Chairman has been first heard. When called to order, the member must sit down until the question of order is decided. If his remarks are decided to be improper, he cannot proceed, if any one objects. Roberts Rules of Order PDF Book Download
Without the leave of the assembly expressed by a vote, upon which question there shall be no debate. Disorderly words should be taken down by the member who objects to them, or by the clerk, and then read to the member; if he denies them, the assembly shall decide by a vote whether they are his words or not.
If a member cannot justify the words he used, and will not suitably apologize for using them, it is the duty of the assembly to act in the case, requiring both members to withdraw* [If both are personally interested. [See page 161.]] till it has decided its course.
It being a general rule that no member should he present in the assembly when any matter relating to himself is under debate. If any business has taken place since the member spoke, it is too late to take notice of any disorderly words he used. Roberts Rules of Order PDF Book Free
He is entitled to vote when the vote is by ballot,* [But this right is lost if he does not use it before the tellers have commenced to count the ballots. The assembly can give leave to the chairman to vote under such circumstances.] and in all other cases where the vote would change the result.
Thus in a case where two-thirds vote is necessary, and his vote thrown with the minority would prevent the adoption of the question, he can cast his vote; so also he can vote with the minority when it will produce a tie vote and thus cause the motion to fail.
Whenever a motion is made referring especially to the chairman, the maker of the motion should put it to vote. The chairman can, if it is necessary to vacate the chair, appoint a chairman protem.,** [When there are Vice Presidents, then the first one on the list that is present, is, by virtue of his office. Roberts Rules of Order PDF Book Free
Chairman during the absence of the President, and should always be called to the chair when the President temporarily vacates it.] but the first adjournment puts an end to the appointment, which the assembly can terminate before, if it pleases, by electing another chairman.
But the regular chairman, knowing that he will be absent from a future meeting, cannot authorize another member to act in his place at such meeting; the clerk [§ 41], or in his absence any member, should in such case call the meeting to order, and a chairman pro tem.
Be elected, who would hold office during that session [§ 42], without such office was terminated by the entrance of the regular chairman.
No one session of the assembly can interfere with the rights of the assembly at any future session,* [Any one session can adopt a rule or resolution of a permanent nature, and it continues in force until at some future session it is rescinded. But these Standing Rules, as they are termed. Roberts Rules of Order PDF Book Free
Do not interfere with future sessions, because at any moment a majority can suspend or rescind them, or adopt new ones.] without it is expressly so provided in their Constitution, Bylaws, or Rules of Order, all of which are so guarded (by requiring notice of amendments.
And at least a two-thirds vote for their adoption) that they are not subject to sudden changes, but may be considered as expressing the deliberate views of the whole society, rather than the opinions or wishes of any particular meeting. Thus, if the presiding officer were ill.
It would not be competent for one session of the assembly to elect a chairman to hold office longer than that session, as it cannot control or dictate to the next session of the assembly. By going through the prescribed routine of an election to fill the vacancy, giving whatever notice is required. Roberts Rules of Order PDF Book Free
It could then legally elect a chairman to hold office while the vacancy lasted. So it is improper for an assembly to postpone anything to a day beyond the next succeeding session, and thus attempt to prevent the next session from considering the question.
On the other hand, it is not permitted to move a reconsideration [§ 27] of a vote taken at a previous session [though the motion to reconsider can be called up, provided it was made at the last meeting of the previous session.] Committees can be appointed to report at a future session.