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O R D E R O F B U S IN E S S.
172. When a variety of subjects offer themselves for the consideration of a deliberative body, what particular order, Žf any, is observed in taking them up 3
TN almost all permanently organized bodies, there is a particular order of business established by a special rule, or by-law. But, where no such rule exists, the President, unless the matter is, for the time, otherwise ordered by a vote of the assembly, introduces business according to his pleasure, or sense of propriety in the CàSé.
173. What advantage, if any, results from a standing rule fiacing the order of business 2
A standing rule, or order of business affords several important advantages. It saves time; it secures to each topic its proper place; and, therefore, prevents disputes about precedency, and so facilitates the transaction of business.
174. Must the standing-rule, or order of business, where there is one, always be adhered to ?
A rule fixing the order of business, like any other rule, may, upon proper occasion, Ofcourse, be suspended. 175. In cases where the minutes of a previous meeting are read, is it necessary to approve them by a formal motion ?
It is quite customary, after the reading of the minutes, for a formal motion of approval to be made and submitted; but such formal action does not appear to be necessary.
For, as they must, if correct, be approved, no motion is needed, unless some error is detected in them. Ordinarily, therefore, where no mistake is discovered, it is quite sufficient for the President to say in substance:—“ What is the pleasure of the meeting in regard to the minutes which have just been read? If there be no objection, they will be considered as approved.” In the event of there being no objection, he simply adds: “The ninutes, then, stand approved.”
176. Suppose an error is detected, what then is done?
In case of the existence of an error in the minutes, a motion is made to correct, and the correction being made, the President, in submitting the question, says: “Shall the minutes, as corrected, be approved?” If decided affirmatively, he simply announces the result, and thus the matter ends.”
177. What is the next step after the approval of the minutes?
Immediately after the approval of the minutes, the President announces the first business, in order, accord
* It should be kept in mind, that no motion to amend the minutes, by striking out words or sentences, is at all admissible, unless they contain some error of fact.
ing to the special rule, if there be one, or if not, whatever he deems appropriate first to introduce.
178. Suppose the first business in order to be the presentation of petitions, memorials, or other communications, in what way are they to be introduced 3
Any member charged with the presentation of a petition, or other communication, should, when the proper time arrives, rise in his place, with the paper in his hand, and announce that he has been commissioned to present such a paper. He then briefly describes the character of the document, and unless anticipated in so doing by another member, moves that it be received.
179. Is the member who presents such petition, or other communication, responsible, in any wise, for the character of its contents?
The member that presents a petition or any other communication, should be prepared beforehand to give, if required, a summary of its contents, and to vouch for the decency and respectfulness of its language and sentiments.
180. Is it in order for parties who are not members of the body, to appear therein, and introduce communications?
A petition or other communication should always be presented by a member, specially entrusted with that service by the parties from whom it emanates, or by others immediately interested in its contents. But letters and other ordinary communications are usually handed to the President, and by him or by the secretary read without further formality.
181. If received. what further action is taken upon it?
If the document be received, it is then handed to the secretary to be read. This being done, the President asks what order shall be taken upon it: whereupon, a motion for that purpose being made, it is either acted upon immediately by the assembly, or set down for a particular time, or referred to a committee, or else postponed indefinitely.
182. Supposing the next thing in order to be reports from committees, in what way are they to be introduced 3
The time being come for reports from Committees, the President, commencing with the first on his list, asks aloud: “Is the committee on (naming the subject) zeady to report?”
The chairman of that committee, if present, or in the event of his being absent, some other member of it, then rises, and, if prepared to report, says: “The committee, Mr. President, to whom was referred the subject (naming it) have had the matter under consideration, and have instructed me to deliver a report, which is ready to be presented whenever the assembly is pleased to receive it.”
183. Is a motion to receive such report necessary?
No motion to receive the report is necessary, or is generally made, unless some objection to receiving it is raised, or it is deemed expedient to fix some other time for receiving it. In either case, a motion must be made, and submitted, in the usual way, either by the chairman of the committee himself, or by some other member of the body.
* If not prepared to report, he may simply announce, that the committee is not prepared to report at this time, or he may report progress, or make any statement, or explanation respecting the matter which may appear proper or expedient.
184. If it be decided to receive the report, what is the next step in the process 3
The report is then, by direction of the President, read,” either by the chairman of the committee in his place, or by the secretary. It is then, together with all other papers connected with it, put in charge of the secretary.
This being done, the President asks: “What order shall be taken on the report which has just been read?
185. In what way is it proper to respond to this question, or what action does it call forth 2
As an assembly can dispose of a report of a committee just as they can of any other matter proposed for their consideration, the question, “What order shall be taken on the report 2" elicits, of course, from members motions, either to accept, or adopt, to amend,t to recommit, or to make any other regular disposition of it whatever.
* Where reports are ordered to be printed before being acted upon, as in legislative assemblies, the reading is rendered unnecessary.
# It is, however, a disputed point, whether the report of a committee can be amended by the assembly. The best usage seems to be against it. Still, according to high authority, a report may be amended just as well as a resolution. Perhaps, the more courteous way is to re-commit with instructions.