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vious day: provided that, after the first 30 days of the session, petitions shall not be received, except on the first day of the meeting of the house in each week. The presiding officer announces, therefore, in compliance with the foregoing rule, "Petitions are in order from the state of Maine." A member from Maine, having a petition, rises and says, "Mr. Speaker." Whereupon the speaker, casting his eye in the direction of the member, says, "The member from Maine." The member being now recognised, as in the eye of the speaker, says " Mr. Speaker, I have been requested to present a memorial, signed by, praying for an appropriation to build a light-house at Point Look-out, and I move that it be referred, without reading, to the committee of commerce." The speaker, without rising, says, "Referred."
It not unfrequently happens, that the member moves that it be printed; in this case, the speaker rises and puts the question on printing, as its printing is not a matter of course. Sometimes the reading of the memorial is called for, but in most instances it is referred without reading. The committee to whom it is referred generally have it printed, or such portions of it as are important, when they report thereon to the house.
Although the rule says that, for the first thirty days of the session, petitions are in order, and after that time, they are only in order on the first day of meeting in each week, yet it frequently happens that the house suspends the rule, and permits them to be presented more frequently than once a week, after the first thirty days have elapsed.
Petitions having been called for from the different states and territories, and being disposed of, the speaker says, in a clear, full voice, "Reports of committees are now in order." By the rules of last session, the order of calling over the committees is prescribed. Of course the speaker follows that order, and says, " Reports from the committee of elections." Pausing a moment, if no report is tendered, he says, "Committee of ways and means," and so on.
The standing committees having been called over, the speaker calls for reports from select committees. It sometimes happens that the speaker does not call over all the committees. In that event, on the next day, he resumes the call where he left off. After which, he says, "Resolutions are now in order,"-commencing with Maine, and which are disposed of by the same rules which apply to petitions; provided that no member shall offer more than one resolution, or one series of resolutions, all relating to the same subject, until all the states and territories have been called.
After an hour has been devoted to reports from committees and resolutions, it shall be in order, pending the consideration or discussion thereof, to entertain a motion, that the house do now proceed to dispose of the business on the speaker's table, and to the orders of the day, which being decided in the affirmative, the speaker shall dispose of the business on his table. By this rule it is left to the discretion of the house, at any time after an hour has been expended upon reports and resolutions, to move that it proceed to the orders of the day. This is a very convenient rule at the
opening of the session, as it permits the house, if there is no very pressing business standing among the orders of the day, to progress with the reports and resolutions, till they are all disposed of. If the reports and resolutions have been all acted upon, or the orders of the day called and sustained, then the speaker is to dispose of the business on his table in the following order:
The business on the speaker's table comprises1st. Messages and other executive communications.
Every day breeds, if one may use the expression, its own business, and must be cleared off, or all regularity of proceeding will be destroyed. These messages usually refer to matters before the house, or submit some new subject of legislation to its consideration, and of course take a preference in being read, for the purpose of reference.
2d. Messages from the senate, and amendments proposed by the senate to bills of the house.
These also require prompt action. All communications from the senate, upon principles of courtesy, ought to be attended to, and in case of amendments to bills from the house of representatives, they should be immediately examined, and if they meet the approbation of the house, ought to be concurred in without delay, so that bills so far progressed in, may be finally passed by both houses.
3. Bills and resolutions from the senate, on their first and second reading, that they may be referred to committees, and put under way; but if, on being read a second time, no motion be
made to commit, they are to be ordered to their third reading, unless objection be made, in which case, if not otherwise ordered by a majority of the house, they are to be laid on the table, in the general file of bills on the speaker's table, to be tak-. en up in their turn.
Without this third rule, the senate bills might rest for days upon the speaker's table, unreferred. By its provision, every day a chance occurs for sending the bills in their proper direction from the table of the speaker. This rule is most ex. cellent. It leaves it no longer either in the breast of the presiding officer or any member to delay its progress. Daily the speaker's table should be
cleared of its bills..
4th. Engrossed bills, and bills from the senate on their third reading.
After bills of the house have been engrossed, or senate bills on a third reading, every facility should be afforded to bring them to the final action of the house. If the bills are not satisfactory to a majority, let them vote against them. But when they are ready to be acted upon, and particularly when they are on their third reading, every step should be taken to have them voted on immediately. It seems to be an act of great propriety to give such bills a preference.
5th. Bills of the house and from the senate, on the speaker's table, on their engrossment, or on being ordered to a third reading, to be taken up and considered in the order of time in which they passed to a second reading.
This is a very judicious regulation, giving to each bill its proper order, dating it according to the or
der of time in which it had passed to a second reading. If there were no regulations of this kind, great difficulty would occur in taking up the bills that had gone to a third reading.
The messages, communications, and bills, on his table, having been disposed of, the speaker will proceed to "call the orders of the day."
If the speaker strictly adheres to these rules, he will be sure to carry on the business of the nation impartially and successfully, and establish a character for ability, punctuality and despatch. This point has been pressed upon the chair, under a firm conviction, that it is the only true mode of correctly passing or acting upon the whole business of the house. It gives all bills that are furthest advanced a sure chance of being acted upon. But if, after all these rules, so carefully prepared, to finish the business so far progressed in towards final completion, the house should adjourn with bills on a third reading, or amendments pending between the two houses, rely upon it, the speaker has not faithfully lived up to the rules, which direct him to dispose of all matters on the speaker's table, before he proceeds to the orders of the day. The speaker will, himself, find his duties much more readily executed, by adhering strictly to this order of proceeding. They are designed, especially, to leave no bills unacted upon, which have once reached a third reading, or are hanging between the two houses on amendments. Ile must, to be successful in the execution of these rules, commence with them at the opening of the session, and adhere to them throughout. No special order can interfere with the business on the speak.