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XVIII. COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE

Section 136. Constituting the Committee. The House may constitute itself into a Committee of the Whole on motion of the Majority Leader to act upon a bill or resolution. When the House constitutes itself into a Committee of the Whole, it functions as one committee acting upon a bill or resolution and conducting its proceedings like a regular committee, with its membership composed of all the Members of the House.

If a motion to constitute the House into a Committee of the Whole is lost, a similar motion shall not be presented within the same session day.

Section 137. Proceedings. The Speaker shall appoint a Chairperson to preside over the Committee.

The Committee shall conduct business only when there is a quorum. If there is no quorum, the Chairperson shall report the same and move that the Committee immediately suspend its proceedings. The Speaker may take part in the proceedings. The Speaker and all the Members shall vote on all questions before the Committee.

Documents and papers in the possession of the House may be called for by any Member and read by the Secretary General for the information of the Committee unless the Committee orders otherwise. Resource persons and/or technical assistants may be invited to attend the proceedings and, upon permission of the Chairperson, may directly answer questions and inquiries propounded by Members.

The Chairperson shall have the power to clear the session hall and the galleries in case of disturbance. The Committee, however, cannot punish disorderly conduct of its Members but must report the same to the House for appropriate action.

The committee may, at any time during its proceedings, report to the House its desire to close the debate or to limit the time allowed for Members to speak.

The Committee may, on motion, suspend consideration of any matter and to reconvene at any time to resume its proceedings. The motion shall take precedence over all motions and shall be immediately decided without debate. If the Committee, for want of time, fails to complete deliberations on any matter under consideration, it may, on motion and at any time, recess and reconvene. A motion that the Committee suspends its proceedings, reports progress and reconvenes, may be made at any time, and shall take precedence over all other motions. The motion shall be decided without debate.

When the Committee has disposed of bills, resolutions and other measures before it, on motion, it shall rise and the Chairperson shall be instructed to report the action of the Committee to the House. At this point, the Speaker shall, reassume the chair, and the Chairperson shall, thereafter, make a report to the House. Matters reported shall then be before the House for action as though reported by any other committee.

SOURCE: Committee on Rules