[ 25-27.]

Filling Blanks

25. Filling Blanks. In filling blanks the largest sum and the longest time proposed shall be first put to the question. Sometimes the most convenient way of amending a resolution is to create a blank by moving to strike out a certain number or time. It is customary for any number of members to propose numbers to fill a blank without the formality of a motion, these different propositions not being regarded in the light of amendments.

Nominations are treated in a similar manner, so that the second nomination, instead of being an amendment to the first, is an independent motion, which, if the first fails, is to be immediately voted upon. Any number of nominations can be made, the Chairman announcing each name as he hears it, and they should be voted upon in the order announced, until one receives a vote sufficient for an election.

Renewal of a Motion

26. Renewal of a Motion. When any Principal Question [ 6] or Amendment has been once acted upon by the assembly, it cannot be taken up again at the same session [ 42] except by a motion to Reconsider [ 27]. The motion to Adjourn can be renewed if there has been progress in debate, or any business transacted. As a general rule the introduction of any motion that alters the state of affairs makes it admissible to renew any Privileged or Incidental motion (excepting Suspension of the Rules as provided in 18), or Subsidiary motion (excepting an amendment), as in such a case the real question before the assembly is a different one.

To illustrate: a motion that a question lie on the table having failed, suppose afterwards it be moved to refer the matter to a committee, it is now in order to move again that the subject lie on the table; but such a motion would not be in order, if it were not made till after the failure of the motion to commit, as the question then resumes its previous condition.

When a subject has been referred to a committee which reports at the same meeting, the matter stands before the assembly as if it had been introduced for the first time. A motion which has been withdrawn has not been acted upon, and therefore can be renewed.


27. Reconsider. It is in order at any time, even when another member has the floor, or while the assembly is voting on the motion to Adjourn, during the day* [In Congress any one can move a reconsideration, excepting where the vote is taken by yeas and nays [ 38], when the rule above applies. The motion can be made on the same or succeeding day.] on which a motion has been acted upon, to move to "Reconsider the vote" and have such motion "entered on the record," but it cannot be considered while another question is before the assembly. It must be made, excepting when the vote is by ballot, by a member who voted with the prevailing side; for instance, in case a motion fails to pass for lack of a two-thirds vote, a reconsideration must be moved by one who voted against the motion.

A motion to reconsider the vote on a Subsidiary [ 7] motion takes precedence of the main question. It yields to Privileged [ 9] questions (except for the Orders of the Day), and Incidental [ 8] questions.

This motion can be applied* [It is not the practice to reconsider an affirmative vote on the motion to lie on the table, as the same result can be more easily reached by the motion to take from the table. For a similar reason, an affirmative vote on the motion to take from the table cannot be reconsidered.] to every question, except to Adjourn and to Suspend the Rules. It is debatable or not, just as the question to be reconsidered is debatable or undebatable [ 35]; when debatable, it opens up for discussion the entire subject to be reconsidered, and can have the Previous question [ 20] applied to it without affecting any thing but the motion to reconsider. It can be laid on the table [ 19], and in such cases the last motion cannot be reconsidered; it is quite common and allowable to combine these two motions (though they must be voted on separately); in this case, the reconsideration like any other question, can be taken from the table, but possesses no privilege.** [In Congress this is a common method used by the friends of a measure to prevent its reconsideration.] The motion to reconsider being laid on the table does not carry with it the pending measure. If an amendment to a motion has been either adopted or rejected, and then a vote taken on the motion as amended, it is not in order to reconsider the vote on the amendment until after the vote on the original motion has been reconsidered. If anything which the assembly cannot reverse, has been done as the result a vote, then that vote cannot be reconsidered.

The Effect of making this motion is to suspend all action that the original motion would have required until the reconsideration is acted upon; but if it is not called up, its effect terminates with the session [ 42], provided,* [In Congress the effect always terminates with the session, and it cannot be called up by any one but the mover, until the expiration of the time during which it is in order to move a reconsideration.] that in an assembly having regular meetings as often as monthly, if no adjourned meeting upon another day is held of the one at which the reconsideration was moved, its effect shall not terminate till the close of the next succeeding session. [See note at end of this section.] While this motion is so highly privileged as far as relates to having it entered on the minutes, yet the reconsideration of another question cannot be made to interfere with the discussion of a question before the assembly, but as soon as that subject is disposed of, the reconsideration, if called up, takes precedence of every thing except the motions to adjourn, and to fix the time to which to adjourn. As long as its effect lasts (as shown above), any one can call up the motion to reconsider and have it acted upon--excepting that when its effect extends beyond the meeting at which the motion was made, no one but the mover can call it up at that meeting. But the reconsideration of an Incidental [ 8] or Subsidiary [ 7] motion shall be immediately acted upon, as otherwise it would prevent action on the main question.

The Effect of the adoption of this motion is to place before the assembly the original question in the exact position it occupied before it was voted upon; consequently no one can debate the question reconsidered who had previously exhausted his right of debate [ 34] on that question; his only resource is to discuss the question while the motion to reconsider is before the assembly.

When a vote taken under the operation of the previous question [ 20] is reconsidered, the question is then divested of the previous question, and is open to debate and amendment, provided the previous question had been exhausted [see latter part of 20] by votes taken on all the questions covered by it, before the motion to reconsider was made.

A reconsideration requires only a majority vote, regardless of the vote necessary to adopt the motion reconsidered. [For reconsidering in committee see 28].

Note On Reconsider.--In the English Parliament a vote once taken cannot be reconsidered, but in our Congress it is allowed to move a reconsideration of the vote on the same or succeeding day, and after the close of the last day for making the motion, any one can call up the motion to reconsider, so that this motion cannot delay action more than two days, and the effect of the motion, if not acted upon, terminates with the session. There seems to be no reason or good precedent for permitting merely two persons, by moving a reconsideration, to suspend for any length of time all action under resolutions adopted by the assembly, and yet where the delay is very short the advantages of reconsideration overbalance the evils.

Where a permanent society has meetings weekly or monthly, and usually only a small proportion of the society is present, it seems best to allow a reconsideration to hold over to another meeting, so that the society may have notice of what action is about to be taken. To prevent the motion being used to defeat a measure that cannot be deferred till the next regular meeting, it is provided that in case the society adjourn, to meet the next day for instance, then the reconsideration will not hold over beyond that session; this allows sufficient delay to notify the society, while, if the question is one requiring immediate action, the delay cannot extend beyond the day to which they adjourn. Where the meetings are only quarterly or annual, the society should be properly represented at each meeting, and their best interests are subserved by following the practice of Congress, and letting the effect of the reconsideration terminate with the session.