Sherman Croswell New York (State). Legislature.

The Clerk's manual of rules, forms and laws for the regulation of business ... online

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and an indignity which cannot, with self-respect, be
overlooked, the House, in a plain case, proceeds at
once to vindicate itself; or, if the case calls for in-
vestigation, institutes an inquiry through a com-
mittee and awaits their report before taking action.

Petitions are seldom read except by the indorse-
ment thereon. But by the Senate rule they must be
read through if any Senator insists.

Motions to print petitions are subject to similar
rules in both Houses. The rules and the practice in
both Houses in regard to the reading and printing
of petitions, papers, etc. are noticed elsewhere.

Eorms of Indorsements.

All papers presented by a member are required by
the rules to be properly indorsed.

If the paper is a petition, it must be indorsed
legibly on the back, with a brief statement of the
contents, together with the name of the member
presenting the same, as for example:

Petition of certain citizens of New York, praying for a
change of excise laws.
Mr. Jones.

If it be a resolution, it will only be necessary to
add, on the upper or lower margin, the uame of the
mover, thus:

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Ci£bk's Manual. 573

By Mr. Johnson.

Resolved, That when this House adjourns to-day, it ad-
journ to meet at eleven o'clock A. M., on Monday next.

Of Committees, Standing and Select.
Under the rules of both Houses all committees are
appointed by the presiding officers, respectively, unless
otherwise ordered.

" He (the President) shall appoint all committees, ex-
cept when the Senate shall otherwise order." — Senate
rule 2.

" All committees shall be appointed by the Speaker, ex-
cept wh»re the House shall otherwise order." — Assembly
rule 2, subdivision 3.

The Senate sometimes, for obvious reasons, -takes the
appointment of committees into its own hands. In the
Assembly, for like and equally o'bvious reasons, the
power of appointment is always left in the hands of the

The rules also prescribe what standing committees
shall be appointed, and their duties generally.

" There shall be the following standing committees : To
consist of eleven members each — Finance ; Judiciary ; Af-
fairs of Cities ; Railroads. To consist of nine members
each — Canals ; Commerce and Navigation ; Codes ; Insur-
ance ; Taxation and Retrenchment ; Forest, Fish and Game
Laws ; Internal Affairs of Towns and Counties. To con-
sist of seven members each — Banks ; Military Affairs ;
Miscellaneous Corporations ; Public Health ; Penal Institu-
tions ; Revision ; Affairs of Villages ; Agriculture ; Privi-
leges and Elections. To consist of five members each

t eacn — ^^^m^.

674 Clebk*s Manual.

Printed and Engrossed Bills ; Indian Affairs ; Trade and
Manufactures ; Public Printing. To consist of three mem-
bers — Rules." — Senate rule 7.

" The standing committees shall be as follows, viz. : To
consist each of thirteen members : 1. Ways and Means. 2.
Judiciary. 3. General Laws. 4. Revision. 5. Codes. 6.
Taxation and Retrenchment. 7. Canals. 8. Affairs of Cities.
9. Railroads. 10. Commerce and Navigation. 11. Insurance.
12. Banks. 13. Electricity, Gas and Water Supply. 14.
Public Education. 15. Internal Affairs. 16. Labor and
Industries. 17. Excise. 18. Affairs of Villages. 19. Fisheries
and Game. To consist of eleven members : 20. Public Print-
ing. 21. Public Health. 22. Public Lands and Forestry. 23.
Public Institutions. 24. Military Affairs. 25. Soldiers* Home.
To consist each of nine members : 26. Claims. 27. Federal
Relations. 28. Charitable and Religious Societies. ^9. State
Prisons. 30. Privileges and Elections. 31. Trade and Manu-
factures. 32. Agriculture. 33. Indian Affairs. To consist
each of five members : 34. Rules. 35. Printed and Engrossed
Bills. 36. Unfinished Business." — Assembly rule 18.

In regard to the chairmans-hip of committees — when
the appointment is made by the presiding oflOcer — the
parliamentary rule is this:

** The person first named is generally permitted to act
as chairman, but this is a matter of courtesy, every com-
mittee having a right to elect their own chairman, who
presides over them, nuts questions and reports their pro-
ceedings to the House." — Jefferson's Manual.

But what is apoken of as a matter of courtesy has
come to be a usage; the designation of chairman by the
presiding officer never having been reversed or changed
by the committee itself.

In cases where the Senate appoints the committees,



Clebk's Manual. 675

the chairmen thereof are usually designated when
the committees are selected.

Standing committees continue through the session,
unless sooner disbanded by the House.

Select committees, being always charged with
some special duties, having reported thereon, are dis-
solved, and can act no more without a new lease of
power. But they may be renewed by the House
and the same matters recommitted to them re-

They may report in part only, and thus prolong
their own existence until a final report is made, un-
less sooner discharged by the House.

The duties of standing committees are prescribed
or understood to be, generally, to originate bills or
resolutions touching matters coming within their
jurisdiction, to inquire into and report on all such
matters, when, in their opinion, the public good re-
quires it, and on all matters referred to them, with-
out unreasonable delay.

Certain standing committees are in addition
specially charged with specific duties by the rules:

" The Committee on Revision shall examine and correct
bills referred to It, for the purpose of avoiding repetitions
and insuring accuracy in the text and references. It shall
also report whether the object sought to be accomplished
can be secured without a special act under existing laws,
or by enactment of a general law."— Senate rule 9.

•• The Committee on Revision shall examine and correct
the bills which are referred to It, for the purpose of avoid-
ing repetitions and unconstitutional provisions. Insuring ac-
curacy In the text and references, and consistency with the

Digitized by VjOO^ lid!

576 Clebk*s Manual.

language of the existing statutes. It shall also report
whether the object sought to be accomplished can be
secured without a special act, under existing laws, or
without detriment to the public Interest, by the enactment
of a general law provided that any change in the sense
or legal eflfect, or any material change in construction,
shall be reported to the House as a recommendation and
not as an amendment.) All bills other than Senate bills
which have not been amended In the House shall be so
referred prior to their third reading." — Assembly rule 19.

"All resolutions for printing extra copies of documents
shall be referred to the Committee on Printing, which shall
report on each resolution within seven days after such
reference." — Assembly rule 16.

"All other resolutions calling for or leading to expendi-
tures shall be referred to, and reported on, by the Commit-
tee on Ways and Means." — Assembly rule 17.

Select committees are charged with their peculiar
duties, when appointed, and cannot go beyond the line
thus marked out for them.

In the composition of standing and select committees
there is this diflferenee:

Select committees are " nursing committees,'* so called
because always favorable, or a majority thereof, to the
object of the petition or bill or other matter committed
to them. The rule that " the child is not to be put to
a nurse that cares not for it" [Jefferson's Manuall, is
always observed in selecting them.

Standing committees, one the other hand, are deemed
to be selected with reference solely to their fitness for
the duties generally assigned them, and their capacity
to act without bias and favoritism as regards the inter-
ests of localities or individuals, where they conflict with
the general interest or welfare.

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Clebk'8 Manual. 577

The powers of committees and the limitation thereof
may be thus summed up:

Committees have full power over the bill or other
paper committed to them.

They cannot sit during the stated sessions of the

They can only act when together, and not by separate
consultation and consent, nothing being the report of
the committee but what has been agreed to in committee
actually assembled.

But this rule is subject to qualification, as when a
committee is directed by the House to amend a bill or
other matter, and to report it back forthwith. In such
a case, having no time for meeting and consultation,
nor any discretion to exercise, they have no other alter-
native but to comply with the order of the House.

A majority of a committee must concur in a report:

Sometimes a committee is so constituted that the
views of a majority cannot be concentrated; in which
case, its members may, on leave, submit their views,
singly or otherwise, as to numbers, in the form of a
report, or ask a discharge, or both. It is seldom, if
ever, that either is refused.

Specific powers are conferred on committees by the
Legislative Law which confers on the charman of any
committee, either of the Senate or Assembly, or of any
joint committee, the power to administer oaths to all
witnesses coming before such committee for examination.

It also authorizes the chairman of any committee
which, by the terms of its appointment, shall be au-
thorized to send for persons and papers, to issue, under
the direction of the committee, compulsory process for
the attendance of any witness within the State, whom
the committee may wish to examine.

Digitized by Vj'

678 Clerk's Manual.

It also provides that every such chairman shall have
power, under the directioi of the committee, to issue a
commission for the examination of any witnesses who
shall be without the jurisdiction* of this State, or if
within the State, shall be unable to attend, or who shall,
for special reasons, be excused by the committee from

It also provides that, whenever a committee shall
obtain authority for the purpose from the House or
Legislature by which it shall be appointed, it may issue
such commissions to be executed during the recess of
the Legislature.

Reports of Standing Committees.

But messages from the Governor and Assembly, com-
munications and reports from State officers, reports from
the Committee on Privileges and Elections involving
the right of a Senator to his seat, and reports from the
Committee on Engrossed Bills, on Revision and on
Rules shall be received at any time. The Committee on
Rules may«sit at any time; consideration of its report
shall always be in order, debate on its adoption shall not
exceed one hour, one-half hour for and one-half hour
against, and no other motion shall be in order until the
vote of the Senate is had thereon. — Subdivision 11 of
Senate rule 1.

" The order of business shall not be departed from
except by a vote of two-thirds of the members present
to be determined by a call of the roll." — Assembly
rule 5.



Clerk's Manual. 579

Reports of standing committees can be made only
in their turn, without consent or a suspension of

Such reports, being in compliance with the express
or implied order of the House, are received and en-
tertained, when made in order, as of course, and
without leave asked or question put.

They are either oral or written — generally written.
They must be in writing in certain obvious cases.

Being advisory or suggestive — except those of the
Committee on Engrossed Bills — and without effect
until sanctioned by the House, they always accom-
pany the petition, bill, resolution or other paper to
which they relate, and are disposed of along with it.

The action of the House on these reports varies,
necessarily, according to their nature, and the cir-
cumstances of each case. Thus:

If the report be accompanied by an original bill, in
accordance with the prayer of a petition, or the
order of the House, or the Committee's own views of
the public interest or policy, such bill must have its
first and second readings, constructively or other-
wise, before any disposition can be made of it. It
may then pass directly to the Committee of the
Whole, to take its place and turn on the General Or-
ders, or be made a special order, or tabled or recom-
mitted or postponed.

If the report be favorable to a bill, with or without
amendment, such bill having had two readings be
fore its reference, is in a condition to be disposed
of in either of the modes indicated in the last pr*

> be disposed ^^ABh_
the last P^^^^^^2^L

Digitized by VriUl^^^B ^H^SrH

580 Clerk's Manual.

ceding paragraph. It usually goes, sub sitentio, di-
rectly to the Committee of the Whole.

" No bill shall be amended or committed until it shall
have been twice read."— Senate rule 18.

If the report be adverse to a bill, the question of
agreeing to the report may be taken forthwith. If the
House agree, the bill is deemed to be rejected. If the
House do not agree, or the question of agreement be
not taken, the report and bill go together to the Com-
mittee of the Whole, unless some other disposition be
made of them, by tabling, recommitment or postpone-

'• Every report of a committee upon a bill, which shall
not be considered at the time of making the same, or
laid on the table by a vote of the Senate, shall stand upon
the general orders with the bill, and be entered on the jour-
nal."— Senate rule 10.

'* All bills reported favorably or for consideration, If re-
ported with amendments, shall be Immediately reprinted,
and the amendments proposed by the committee shall be
printed underscored in their proper position, except in cases
where the committee recommend striking out certain words.
In which case they shall be printed enclosed In black-faced

'* All bills favorably reported shall. If the report be
agreed to, be placed on the order of second reading; but
where a bill has been reported adversely, and such report
shall be agreed to by the House, It shall be considered
as rejected."— Assembly rule 11.

If the report be neither favorable nor adverse— that
is, if a bill or other proposition be reported back " for

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Clerk's Manual. 581

the consideration of the House," it may be recom-
mitted for an opinion, or disposed of as other bills
coming from a Committee with a favorable report

If the report be favorable or adverse to amend-
ments by either House to bills originating in the
other, the question of concurrence may be, and gen-
erally is, at once put to a vote. But the report may
be recommitted, tabled or postponed. If the report
be favorable to such amendments, with amendment,
the question of concurrence in the amendments, as
proposed to be amended, may be disposed of in either
of the modes mentioned. But in all cases the amend-
ments, whether of the oth^r House or of the Com-
mittee, or both, are open to debate and amendment.

If the report be favorable or adverse to a joint res-
olution, or resolution amendatory of the Constitution,
which go through a form of proceeding similar to
that prescribed for bills, such resolution or resolu-
tions may take any direction usually given to bills
reported on by Committees, or be disposed of in like

" AH resolutions which propose any amendment of the
Constitution, shall be treated, in the form of proceedings
on them, In a similar manner with bills."— Senate rule IS.

If the report be favorable or adverse to a resolu-
tion or resolutions of any other character, it or they
may be finally acted on forthwith, or be tabled, re-
committed, postponed or made a special order.

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582 Clerk's Manual.

If the Committee report a bill "complete" under
authority from the House, the question of agreeing
to the bill as it came from the Committee, may be
superseded by motions to amend, to lay on the table,
to recommit or postpone. But, if the House agree,
the bill passes to a third reading; if not, the bill is in
the same condition as if reported by the Committee
of the Whole, and disagreed to.

The practice of recommitting bills to report com-
plete has been discontinued as an unsafe mode of

If the report be adverse to a petition, the question
of agreeing is usually taken at once. If the report
be agreed to, the prayer, of the petition is denied.
But the question of agreeing may be tabled or post-
poned, or the petition and report recommitted.

Not unfrequently bills coming from Committees
with favorable reports are recommitted. They may
be ordered at once to a third reading. But this can-
not be done without unanimous consent, or under a
suspension or abrogation of rules.

*' No bill shall be ordered to a third reading without hav-
ing been acted upon In committee of the whole.** — Senate
rule 18.

" Every bill shall receive three separate readings, and
on three different days, previous to Its passage, except by
unanimous consent, or when made a special order."— As-
sembly rule 13.

In all cases where the report of a Committee is laid
on the table, or postponed, or adjourned, it can be
taken up again only when reports of sucb Commit-

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Clerk's Manual. 583

tees are in order, unless some future day and hour be
assigned for its consideration, when so tabled, post-
pone or adjourned.

Beports of Select Committees.
The proceeding remarks in regard to the reports of
Standing Committees apply, without exception, to the
reports of Select Committees.

Beport — Minority.
It sometimes happens that one or more members of
a Committee will dissent from the views of the majority,
and that they will naturally desire to express their an-
tagonistic opinions in a written paper. This paper is
usually called a " minority report." But the term is
an inaccurate one, since the decision of parliamentary
law is, that the minority of a Committee cannot make
a report, a minority not being a Committee.

Messages from the Governor.

The Governor's messages received during the session,
whether communicating his approval of bills that have
passed both Houses, or covering expressions of other
State Legislatures on matters of general concern, or
recommending legislative action, or reiterating former
recommendations, though always receivable, are usually
allowed, except in pressing emergencies, to take their
turn in the prescribed order of business.

Messages from the Governor at the opening of a regu-
lar or extra session, or communicating, during the ses-
sion, his objections to bills that have passed both
Houses, take precedence of all other business, are read
in extenao, as soon as received, and entered on the
Journal, and ordered printed for future consideration.

Veto messages, after being read and entered on the
Journal, are either laid on the table or the bills to
which they relate are taken up and acted on.

Messages of other descriptions, after being read, are
referred to some appropriate Committee or Conunittees.

Digitized by VjOOQIC

584 Clerk's Manual.

Communications from State Officers.

These are either the annual reports required by
law from the departments of State, or they are in
response to inquiries calling for information on mat-
ter of fact, or for opinions on points of law, or for
statistics in relation to certain branches of the public

Though always receivable, they generally take their
turn, like ordinary messages from the Governor.

The annual reports from the Departments are
never read beyond the introductory communication
indicating their tenor; but they are at once referred
to the appropriate Committee.

Casual reports from the Departments, in answer
to inquiries, are usually read, in whole or in part,
before reference.

Messages from one House to the Other.

These are usually disposed of as soon as received,,
or as soon as the pending business will permit.

If the message transmit a bill for concurrence,
such bill, after having had its first reading, must be
referred, under the Assembly rule, to a Standing or
Select Committee.

*• Every message from the Senate, communicating any
bill for the concurrence of the House, shall, with the ac-
companying documents, if any, be referred to a standing
or select committee to consider and report thereon." — As-
sembly rule 10.

" Every bill shall be introduced by a Senator In his place,
or on the report of a committee, or by message from the
Assembly, and after its first and second reading unless

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Clerk's Manual. 686

otherwise ordered by the Senate, shall be referred to a
standing or select committee, to consider and report
thereon. When a bill is received as a message from the
Assembly, and Senate bill, identical therewith, is on the
order of third reading in the Senate, or in the committee
of the whole, the Assembly bill may be substituted for the
Senate bill upon a vote of a majority of the Senate. A
motion for such substitution shall be in order under the
order of business of messages from the Assembly, motions
and resolutions, or the order of business in which the
Senate bill Is." — Senate rule 16.

If the message announce the passage of a bill with
amendments, such amendments, by the practice of
the Senate, may be acted on at once, concurred in
with or without amendment, or non-concurred in, or
referred to a Standing or Select Committee.

" Every such message communicating an amendment
shall be referred to the committee which reported the
measure proposed to be amended, with power to report at
any time." — Assembly rule 10.

If the message communicate a joint resolution or
resolutions for concurrence, it or they are, by custom
and practice, laid on the table for one day, the same
as concurrent resolutions introduced by members of
the House; but if the message communicates amend-
ments to resolutions for concurrence, the question of
concurrence may be at once taken, or it or they ma.^
be referred, or made a special order, or otherwise
temporarily disposed of.


These are either notices of motions to be made to
suspend, change or rescind a rule or for a call of
the House.

Notices of the latter class are rare, nor are they
required by the rule; but they are sometimes given ij
secure a full attendance on some important occasr
by compulsion, if need be, or through fear them>j

686 Clerk's Manual.

Motions and Besolutions.

The motions and resolution admissible under this
order of business, are such as propose to amend the
Constitution, to susnend, change or rescind an exist-
ing rule, to adopt a new one, to instruct Committees,
to raise new Committees, to call for information or
opinions from State officers, to make special orders,
etc., etc., being such motions and resolutions as
constitute a class distinct from those which occur
during the pendency of business, and have reference
to the disposition thereof.

Joint or concurrent resolutions are offered under
the order of Motions and Resolutions. After lying
over one day, they may be called up for action when-
ever the same order of business is reached. If
passed, they are delivered by the Clerk to the other
House, and after being acted upon, are returned to
the House in which they originated, with an appro-
priate message. Certain resolutions, such as amend
the Constitution, etc., after passing both Houses, are
engrossed and delivered by the Clerk of the House
in which they originated, to the Secretary of State,
and are published at the end of the volume of Ses-
sion Law.s.

" All resolutions which propose any amendment to the
Constitution shall be treated, in the form of proceedings
on them, in a similar manner 'with bills, and no bills shall
be ordered to a third reading without having been acted
upon in committee of the whole."— Senate rule 18.

The Assembly has no rule on the subject; but there,
proposed amendments of the Constitution are treated

Digitized by VjOU^ It:

Clerk's Manual. 687

in form like bills, though not acted on in Committee
of the Whole, and have their final reading when en-
grossed, and are finally acted on as bills are on a third

All concurrent resolutions relating to adjournments,
or recalling bills from the Governor or Senate, are, un-
der rule 31 of the Assembly, privileged and may be
offered at any time the member can obtain recognition
for that purpose.

All resolutions, whether concurrent or not, and all
motions should be in writing and sent to the Clerk's

Of these motions and resolutions there are those

Online LibrarySherman Croswell New York (State). LegislatureThe Clerk's manual of rules, forms and laws for the regulation of business ... → online text (page 38 of 45)