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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Legislation at General Convention

How does legislation get through the General Convention?

1. A diocesan convention passes a resolution and sends it to the GC and it is registered with the secretary of convention.
A bishop submits a resolution to the GC
A deputy submits a resolution.
A committee/program/department of the GC submits a resolution.

2. The resolution is assigned to a General Convention legislative committee -- for example, a resolution asking for an ecumenical relationship with the African Methodist Church would be assigned to the committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. All legislative committees of the Convention are cognate -- that is, they are made up of deputies and bishops.

3. During the Convention the committee meets and discusses the resolutions. The committee also schedules open hearings on the resolutions. Anyone can testify at an open hearing. Only deputies and bishops can discuss the resolution when it is being considered on the floor of convention, and only deputies or bishops can offer amendments.

4. The committee may rewrite the resolution -- defeat it -- or pass it as is. If it is defeated, it can still reach the floor of either house by actions of the members thereof.

5. The resolution (if it passes committee) is sent to the appropriate body of the convention -- there is a protocol on which types of resolutions are first assigned to the various houses (Bishops or Deputies).

6. The first house may pass the resolution, defeat it, or pass an amended version. If it passes it is then sent to the other house for consideration. In the second house it can be passed, defeated, or amended and passed. Each resolution must be passed in each house in the same form in order to become an action of the Convention. Resolutions and canons take affect on January 1, following the General Convention. A constitutional change must be passed in the same form at two successive General Conventions.

7. Because of the short length of the General Convention, not every resolution reaches the floor of each house. If a resolution does not get passed by both houses for lack of time to consider, it is not held over to the next General Convention. It must be resubmitted at the next meeting of the Convention.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder how GC will be affected by the ability of committees to do more and more of their organizational work online before convention starts. Last time I remember, the chair gave us the heads up on the order in which he wanted the committee to work on resolutions and I think also invited us to sign up for working groups.


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