All amendments to the by-laws of a Lodge must be submitted to the Grand or Provincial or District Lodge for its approval.
An amendment to a motion pending before a Lodge takes precedence of the original motion, and the question must be put upon the amendment first. If the amendment be lost, then the question will be on the motion ; if the amendment be adopted, then the question will be on the original motion as so amended ; and if then this question be lost, the whole motion falls to the ground.
The principal parliamentary rules in relation to amendments which are applicable to the business of a Masonic Lodge are the following :
1. An amendment must be made in one of three ways: by adding or inserting certain words, by striking out certain words, or by striking out certain words and inserting others.
2. Every amendment is susceptible of an amendment of itself, but there can be no amendment of the amendment of an amendment ; such a piling of questions one upon another would tend to embarrass rather than to facilitate business. The object which is proposed to be effected by such a proceeding must be sought by rejecting the amendment to the amendment, and then submitting the proposition in the form of an amendment of the first amendment in the form desired.
Luther S. Cushing (Lex parliamentaria Americana; elements of the law and practice of legislative assemblies in the United States) illustrates this as follows : ''If a proposition consists of AB, and it is proposed to amend by inserting CD, it may be moved to amend the amendment by inserting EF; but it cannot be moved to amend this amendment, as, for example, by inserting G. The only mode by which this can be reached is to reject the amendment in the form in which it is presented, namely, to insert EF, and to move it in the form in which it is desired to be amended, namely, to insert EFG."
3. An amendment once rejected cannot be again proposed.
4. An amendment to strike out certain words having prevailed, a subsequent motion to restore them is out of order.
5. An amendment may be proposed which will entirely change the character and substance of the original motion. The inconsistency or incompatibility of a proposed amendment with the proposition to be amended, though an argument, perhaps, for its rejection by the Lodge, is no reason for its suppression by the presiding officer.
Of course an amendment is not in order if it fails to relate to the question to be amended; if it is merely equal to the negative of the original question ; if it is identical with a question previously decided; if it only changes one form of amendment or motion to another form.
6. An amendment, before it has been proposed to the body for discussion, may be withdrawn by the mover; but after it has once been in possession of the Lodge, it can only be withdrawn by leave of the Lodge. In the Congress of the United States, leave must be obtained by unanimous consent but the usage in Masonic bodies is to require only a majority vote.
7. An amendment having been withdrawn by the mover, may be again proposed by another member. 8. Several amendments may be proposed to a motion or several amendments to an amendment, and the question will be put on them in the order of their presentation. But as an amendment takes precedence of a motion, so an amendment to an amendment takes precedence of the original amendment.
9. An amendment does not require a seconder, although an original motion always does. There are many other rules relative to amendments which prevail in parliamentary bodies, and are discussed in detail in General Henry M. Robert's Rules of Order Revised (page 134, edition 1921), but these appear to be the principal ones which regulate this subject in Masonic assemblies.
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