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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 87   View pdf image
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report, and the actual adoption of a clause of
the Constitution without printing it and with-
out giving it proper reflection, even down to
its most minute details. I entirely agree with
him. But I do not want, in order to avoid
that danger, to go so far as to place it in the
power of too small a portion of the Conven-
tion or control the action of the body. The
general rule of parliamentary proceedings is
that the rules may be suspended upon a vote
of two thirds of the members present. The
Constitution of Maryland has gone far beyond
the ordinary rule, in requiring a vote of
three-fourths; and yet there is one reason for
that which does not apply to the business of
this Convention If we adopt areport, it does
not make it a part of the Constitution, It is
in the power of the House to reconsider it at
any lime. But if the Legislature passes an act
that net goes in lo immediate effect. Therefore
there is more reason for providing that it shall
require three-fourths of the members of the
Legislature to pass an act through in one day
than for providing that it shall require three-
fourths of the members of the Convention to
adopt a report, the adoption of which will
have no immediate effects. We merely resolve
that it shall be a part of the Constitution; but
we have to pass all over it again, and it is in
the power of any member to move a reconsid-
eration. So there is not the same urgency in
the objection to passing through a report in a
single day. I think my own proposition, of
two-thirds, sufficiently guards against the
possibility of too rapid legislation.
Mr. CLARKE. I have no desire to prolong
this debate, but the result of the amendment
of the gentleman from Baltimore city wilt be
that propositions may be put through in this
hasty manner. I admit that we have the
privilege of moving a reconsideration; but a
bare majority of the Convention can prevent
a reconsideration. It is in order that the mi-
nority of this House may escape from the
dilemma of being placed in a position to he
required to vote upon propositions of whose
character they are ignorant, that I desire to
embody this proposition in our rules. A re-
consideration afterwards will have no power
to aid them I ask it as the plainest proposi-
tion of justice, that we should not have a re-
port made here and passed right through
without being seen, but that it should be read
on one day, discussed and perfected on
another, and put upon its final passage on a
third day.
Mr. KENNARD. My colleague on the commit-
tee (Mr. Clarke) referred to the fact that there
is no provision in Legislative bodies similar to
that proposed by my friend from Baltimore
city Mr. (Stirling.) That provision is precisely
the same in language with the present rule of
the House of Delegates relating to resolutions
Rule 42, provides that the House may, "by
special order, two-thirds of the members pre
sent agreeing, dispense with the rule,"
Mr. CLARKE. I beg leave to correct the
gentleman from Baltimore city (Mr. Kennard.)
Rule 15 applies merely to reports from com-
mittees containing articles or sections proposed
to be made a part of the Constitution; and in
this report we have assimilated these reports
to bills. By referring to Rule 39 it will be
seen that bills are to be read on three different
days " unless three-fourths of the members of
the House otherwise determine." In every-
thing else excepting a report embodying a pro-
vision to be inserted in the Constitution the
ordinary rule of the House of Delegates ap-
plies, as will be seen by referring to the next
rule, Rule 16.
Mr. SANDS. It occurs to me that the adop-
tion of the two-thirds rule can work no hard-
ship, and may do good Some of the com-
mittees who will report here have more and
some less subject matter on which to report.
Some of the reports are so brief that a single
reading of them at the clerk's desk, would
enable any gentleman in the House to pass
upon this report; why require that the same
length of time be given to such a matter, as
to a report the subject matter of which would
comprise many sections? For instance Art.
9 of the present Constitution does not contain
twenty printed lines, and has but two sec-
tions, which are so plain and simple that a
single reading of them would enable this
House to pass intelligently upon them. Why
should we adopt a rule to require the same
time to pass such an article as to pass the bill
of rights or other important matters. The
adoption of the three-fourths rule put it in
the power of any minority, however small, a
fourth and one member over, if they choose
to avail themselves of it to hinder the action
of this body. Requiring a two-thirds vole to
suspend a rule is simply giving to this body
the reasonable facility in the transaction of its
business that it ought to have. I do no think
our friends need apprehend that we are going
to hurry them on any important matter. 1
am opposed to that forcing process. If they
I claim the three-fourths rule simply dread
of that, I think that all that believe as I do
will unite in assuring them that they need
have no dread of that sort. I simply throw
out the suggestion that the reports of com-
mittees will be very various, the article on
the militia for instance now containing but
sixteen lines. Why consume three or four days
over that matter when it might be acted upon
in one? I shall vote for the amendment of the
; gentleman from Baltimore city (Mr. Stirling)
because I believe it will facilitate the transac-
tion of the business of the Convention.
Mr. CLARKE. One difference between the
amendment of the gentleman from Baltimore
city and that I offered, is that he does not
propose two-thirds of the members elect, but
two-thirds of the members present, which
very materially alters the character of the
amendment. If the gentleman will make it

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 87   View pdf image
 Jump to  

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