The rules of our State Legislature make no provision for punishing disorderly members, but usage has fully established the right. Disorderly or quarrelsome conduct in the House, contempt of the authority of the House, or improper conduct in debate, are punishable offences in the Legislature, as well as in Congress and the British Parliament.
The usual punishments are, the exaction of an apology, a public reprimand, or expulsion. In the latter case a vote of two-thirds is required.
Societies generally make provision for this matter in their by-laws.
From the Journal of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, April 9, 1840.
A motion was made by Mr. Wilcox and Mr. Park, that the House reconsider the vote on the 7th inst., on adopting a resolution to expel Thomas B. M ' Elwee, a member from Bedford county, from his seat in the House. [Mr. M'E. had been expelled for spitting in the face of a member, on the floor of the House.]
When Mr. Watts, of Erie, objected to the reception of the motion, alleging that the subject matter was no longer in the power of the House. Whereupon the Speaker submitted to the House for its decision, the question whether the motion to reconsider the said vote is in order, and stated the fol-lowing facts, viz:
"On the 7th inst., the House of Representatives adopted a resolution by the constitutional majority, [two-thirds] to expel from his seat in this House, Thomas B. M'Elwee, a member from Bedford county; whereupon, the Speaker then announced that Thomas B. M'Elwee, a representative from Bedford county, was expelled from this House, and his seat declared vacated."
And on the question, "Is the motion to reconsider in order?" it was decided in the affirmative, yeas 46, nays 36.