The fourth joint rule of the Senate and House of Representatives of this State, declares that no motion or proposition, on a subject different from that under consideration, shall be admitted under color of an amendment. The same regulation prevails in Congress, and should certainly be adopted in all Societies, although contrary to Parliamentary practice.
In Parliament, amendments may be made so as totally to alter the nature of the original proposition, and, to get rid of a resolution, the expedient is frequently resorted to of making it bear, by amendments, a sense different from that intended by the movers, so that they vote against it themselves. This practice prevails also in the Legislature of New York, and in that of Massachusetts.
When it is moved to amend, by striking out certain words, and inserting others, the manner of stating the question is first to read the whole passage to be amended, as it stands before the meeting, then the words proposed to be stricken out, next those to be inserted, and lastly the whole passage as it will be when amended.
When a resolution is pending, it is entirely in order to move to strike out all after the word Resolved, and insert a phraseology entirely different, provided the matter proposed to be inserted relates to the same subject as that proposed to be stricken out.
A suggestion to amend may be received as a modification by the mover, even after a resolution has been amended by the members, provided the modification does not affect the previous amendment.
An amendment to an amendment may be moved, but it is not in order to amend an amendment to an amendment, as this would certainly lead to embarrassment. In this case the question is first taken on the amendment to the amendment, and afterwards on the amendment, and then on the resolution as amended.
In our State Legislature, when a bill has passed second reading, it may be amended on third reading, by unanimous consent. Sometimes, however, it is moved to go into Committee of the Whole, for the purpose of general amendment, and if this motion prevails, the whole matter is open to amend ment. If the House, however, go into committee of the whole for a special purpose, that of striking out or amending a particular section, the moment that is done, the committee must rise.
If it be desirable to amend a resolution, after it has finally passed, it may be done if the proposition be sanctioned by the unanimous consent of the members, or, if not, by effecting a reconsideration.
The general usage in all Legislative bodies, is, that when an amendment is moved, a member who has spoken to the main question, may speak again to the amendment, and, indeed, on every amendment offered.
A motion to amend may be superseded by a motion to postpone to a day certain, so that an amendment and postponement competing, the latter is to be put first. A motion to amend may also be superseded by a motion to commit.
Parliamentary usage declares that "when it is proposed to amend by inserting a paragraph, or part of one, the friends of the paragraph may make it as perfect as they can by amendments, before the question is put on inserting it. If it be received, it cannot be amended afterwards, in the same stage, because the House has, on a vote, agreed to it in that form.*
On the same point Mr. Cushing declares: "Whatever is agreed to by the assembly, on a vote, either adopting or rejecting a proposed amendment, cannot be afterwards altered or amended. Thus, if a proposition consist of A B, and it is moved to insert C; if the amendment prevail, C cannot be afterwards amended, because it has been agreed to in that form; and, so, if it is moved to strike out B, and the amendment is rejected, B cannot afterwards be amended, because a vote against striking it out is equivalent to a vote agreeing to it as it stands."
In the House of Representatives of this State, April 10th, 1846, during the pendency of the first section of the bill granting to the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road Company the Right of Way to Pittsburg, a motion was made by Mr. McFarland, to amend by adding certain words as a proviso.
* In like manner, if it is proposed to amend by striking Out a paragraph, the friends of the paragraph are first to make it as perfect as they can by amendments, before the question is put for striking it out. If on the question it be retained, it cannot be amended afterwards : because a vote against striking out is equivalent to a vote agreeing to it in that form. - Jefferson's Manual.
Mr. Kunkle moved to amend the amendment by striking out all the words there stated, and inserting other words, which was agreed to.
The question recurring on the amendment as amended, it was agreed to, and thus became incorporated as part of the section.
Mr. Burrel then moved further to amend, by inserting certain words in the paragraph just adopted as Mr. Kunkle's amendment, but the Speaker, (Mr. Patterson, of Armstrong,) decided the amendment out of order, declaring that under the rule above quoted it was not in the power of the House to amend words formally agreed to.
From this decision an appeal was taken by Mr. Burrel and Mr. Edie, which was debated for some time and then withdrawn, so that the decision of the Speaker was concurred in.
The usual forms of amendments, are to strike out certain words, to insert or add certain words, or, to strike out and insert.
While the amendment is pending, that also is susceptible of amendment, but if the amendment to the amendment is objectionable, the only way of reaching the matter is to vote that down, and then, by another proposition, endeavour to shape the amendment to the form desired.
If it be proposed to amend, by striking out certain words, it may be moved as an amendment to this amendment, to strike out a part of the words proposed to be stricken out by the amendment, which is equivalent to retaining them in the resolution, should the amendment be agreed to.
So, if an amendment proposes to strike out certain words, and it be moved as an amendment to the amendment to strike out certain words from among those proposed to be stricken out by the amendment, and the amendment to the amendment should prevail, and then the amendment itself be negatived, the effect of the vote is, that the words proposed to be stricken out by the amendment to the amendment, no longer remain as a part of the resolution.
In the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, March 19th, 1846, during the pendency of one of the sections of the bill entitled "An Act to incorporate the Pennsylvania Rail-Road Company," Mr. Magehan moved to amend by striking out the latter half of the section. Mr. Cochran moved to amend the amendment by striking out certain words in that portion of the section proposed to be stricken out by Mr. Magehan, which amendment to the amendment was agreed to, and said words were stricken out.
The question was then taken on the amendment proposed by Mr. Magehan, as amended, and decided in the negative.
Whereupon a question of order was raised, whether the words stricken out by the amendment to the amendment, offered by Mr. Cochran, were still a part of the section, and the Speaker, (Mr. Patterson, of Armstrong,) decided they were not, and that the section stood before the House with those words stricken out. In this decision the House concurred, without an appeal.
An amendment to strike out or to insert, or to strike out and insert certain words, being negatived, cannot be renewed in the same form.
If an amendment be proposed and agreed to, to strike out certain words, or to insert certain words, it cannot be afterwards moved to insert or to strike out the same words, but it may be moved to strike out or insert the same words in connection with others, provided the proposed striking out or insertion makes a new proposition.
From the Journal of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Feb. 11, 1843.
Pending the consideration of the bill No. 97, entitled "An Act to reduce the number and expenses of the Board of Canal Commissioners," and during the consideration of an amendment, a motion was made by Mr. Lowry, to amend the amendment, by adding thereto the following words :
"The board elected under this act shall not remove any officers appointed by the old board, without good and sufficient cause, a specification of which they shall enter upon the journal of their proceedings.
"And the members of the present and future Senate and House of Representatives, shall receive but two dollars per day, for every day actually in the service of the State."
On the question, "Will the House agree so to amend?" a division of the question was called for by Mr. McDaniel, to end with the word "proceedings." And on the question, "Will the House agree to the first division ?" the yeas and nays were required by Mr. Lowry and Mr. Hahn, and were as follow: - yeas 31, nays 60; so the question was determined in the negative.
And on the question, "Will the House agree to the second division of the amendment ?" viz:
"And the members of the present and future Senate and House of Representatives shall receive but two dollars per day, for every day actually in the service of the State,"
A question arose, whether the said division of the amendment was in order, under the fourth joint rule of the Senate and House of Representatives. Whereupon the Speaker decided the second division of the said amendment "not in order." From which decision Mr. Lowry appealed, and on the question, "Is the decision of the Speaker correct?" it was determined in the affirmative.