The Thoroughly Modern Mason's Manual

By Shapiro, Larry G. J.; Maley, Edwin J., Jr. | State Legislatures, July 1992 | Go to article overview

The Thoroughly Modern Mason's Manual


Shapiro, Larry G. J., Maley, Edwin J., Jr., State Legislatures


The latest edition of the legislator's bible on procedures reflects today's pressures and practices.

What can a legislator do if he makes a motion at a committee meeting and no one seconds it? Turn to section 62 of the 1989 edition of Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure and find that seconds to motions are not required. Unlike a member of a private association, a legislator represents a constituency and is entitled to present a matter for consideration of the body without having the support of another legislator.

Since 1935, lawmakers have been turning to Mason's to solve procedural problems not addressed by their legislature's rules. Today Mason's is used in 63 of the 99 state legislative chambers.

Paul Mason, a parliamentarian and attorney who worked with the California Legislature, compiled the first edition of the manual in 1935, drawing on other precedure manuals and court decisions that affect the rules. He revised his book six times, the last time in 1979.

Mason died in 1985, after turning over the copyright to Mason's Manual to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A commission composed of 16 members of the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries from 14 states continue his work. Starting in the mid-'80s they took a fresh look at the manual and published a new edition in 1989.

How does the 1989 Mason's differ from the 1979 edition? Many of the changes reflect the challenges that legislatures have faced in recent years--an increasing workload, the shifting of responsibility for many federal programs to the states, the declines of party control and pressure for open government. Just as the unique nature of legislatures shaped the rule on seconds to motions, so have the recent forces affecting state legislatures shaped changes in procedure.

For State Legislatures Only

Mason's early editions included rules for both state and local legislative bodies. In 1953, he added administrative bodies and private associations. This has often been confusing because the various bodies have different functions and frequently different rules.

Mason's is now clearly for the use of state legislatures only. The new edition deleted almost all provisions applicable to administrative and local legislative bodies and private associations. Several provisions were retained but adapted for legislatures. For example, a rule that "a vacancy on a city council when a member moves out of the city does not exist until ascertained and declared by the council" now applies instead to a legislator moving out of his district.

Further changes incorporated in the 1989 edition document the evolving relationship between the legislature and the executive branch of state government. Provisions are added that describe legislative authority to delegate rule-making power to administrative agencies, to review agency regulations and to oversee the operations of the executive branch. Moreover, the new manual recognizes that many legislatures have become more independent of the governor. The 1979 edition contained language that an interim committee could be created by statute, which would require the governor's signature, but only by concurrent resolution, which generally would not. The new edition provides that interim committees may be created by either method. Similarly, the 1979 edition referred to the governo's "exclusive authority" to call special sessions of the legislature; the new edition indicates that some constitutions or statutes include provisions for legislatures to call themselves into session.

Role of Legislative Committees

In many states, legislative committees are used to handle the legislatures' expanded responsibilities and increased workload. The 1989 edition adds language clarifying the authority of committees to conduct public hearings, gather information and work on proposed legislation during the interim between sessions.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Thoroughly Modern Mason's Manual
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.