Monday, February 25 Update
General Conference delegates began Monday morning with worship. After morning announcements and instructions, they returned to their work as the Special Session's single Legislative Committee. Their task was to go through all the legislation before them in the order they established on Sunday through the legislation priority ranking process.
The first legislation of the day was the group of petitions coming from the Commission on a Way Forward Report known as the Traditional Plan. After a motion to postpone the Traditional Plan in favor of discussing the One Church plan failed, delegates began working to perfect the Traditional Plan. Last October's Judicial Council decision 1366 noted a number of constitutional issues in petitions which make up this plan.
Delegates adopted three amendments to the plan before discussion was ended. The Committee approved the Traditional Plan in a vote of 461 to 359. During the committee’s work not all issues named by the Judicial Council were addressed. However, the plenary will have the opportunity to continue to perfect the legislation on Tuesday.
The Legislative Committee moved to the next two petitions on the priority list. Each one create a new paragraph in the Book of Discipline with a process for local churches who desire to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church without the loss of church property. The Committee amended petition 90066 and approved it 427 to 385. They also approved petition 90059 as submitted by a vote of 425 to 392.
Throughout the day discussion not only included the legislation before them, but also procedural issues as they worked under the General Conference Plan of Organization and Rules of Order. The delegates also worked through translation technology issues as both English speaking and non-English speaking delegates participated in the business discussions.
As the afternoon began, the delegates considered the set of petitions coming from the Commission on a Way Forward Report known as the One Church Plan. The Legislative Committee made several amendments to petitions in this plan that had also been flagged by Judicial Council decision 1366. When the entire plan came up for vote, the Legislative Committee did not approved it. That vote was 386 yes to 436 no.
A motion came to the floor that the Committee reject all other legislation before them. General Conference rules require that all petitions before a Legislative Committee get a vote. This motion grouped all remaining legislation to allow one vote to reject them. An amendment was made to the motion to exclude the group of petitions known as the Simple Plan. That amendment passed.
The Conference adopted the motion rejecting all the remaining petitions except for the Simple Plan by a vote of 734 to 64.
Before discussion began on the Simple Plan, the Committee also adopted a motion which requested a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council on the constitutionality of all legislation the Legislative Committee had approved during the Special Session. Delegates speaking in favor of this motion noted the 2012 General Conference in Tampa when, near the end of the Conference, the Judicial Council ruled that the adopted restructuring legislation was unconstitutional. Delegates noted they did not want this Special Session to meet a similar fate and have legislation they adopt to be voided. The Conference approved the motion. This declaratory decision from the Judicial Council could help guide delegates' work of perfecting legislation in the plenary session on Tuesday
The delegates then discussed the Simple Plan. It was not approved by the Committee by a vote of 323 to 494.
After a time of worship and delegates adjourned for the evening.
Tomorrow they will do their work as the plenary. The legislation approved by the Legislative Committee will come before the plenary. This includes the Wespath petitions approved on Sunday; the Traditional Plan; and the two disaffiliation petitions approved today. (For online legislative tracking go to www.umc.org/calms.)
General Conference rules allow two paths for additional legislation to also come before the plenary. The first, established by rule 29, allows for a minority report to be presented to the plenary as a substitute motion for the report of the committee. In a press conference following the close of the afternoon session, General Conference Secretary Gary Graves confirmed that there would be at least one minority report on the calendar tomorrow.
Additionally, rule 34 allows for legislation not supported by the committee to come before the plenary if it is brought forward by 20 delegates. Legislation brought forth this way is often considered after other calendar items and is not guaranteed a vote by the plenary according to Graves.
The Committee on Agenda and Calendar has the task of ordering the legislation that will come before the plenary tomorrow. This committee also verifies any minority reports or legislation submitted under rule 34. The calendar will appear in Tuesday’s Daily Christian Advocate. (To download a .pdf when the publication is posted go to www.umc.org/dca)
General Conference is scheduled to complete its work by 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. A few hours later, set up will begin for The Dome at America's Center next event - the Monster Jam truck competition.
Pictures from Today
The Special Session of General Conference is meeting in The Dome at America's Center. This multi-purpose stadium was home to the St. Louis Rams football team for 21 seasons. Here is a picture of the Conference floor taken from the 6th floor press box where media and communicators are working.
Members of the North Alabama delegation join Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett for a picture during the afternoon break. The Conference will conclude its work tomorrow evening.
General Conference sessions are interpreted in French, Portuguese, Spanish, KiSwahili, German, Russian, Korean and American Sign Language. Here the North Alabama delegation uses translation devices for an English translation during Legislative Committee discussion.
The Council of Bishops sit on stage during General Conference sessions. Bishops preside over General Conference but have neither vote nor voice in the sessions and may address the assembly only with its permission.
8:00 – 8:20 a.m.
8:20 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Morning Session 1
Morning Session 2
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
1:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Afternoon Session 1
Afternoon Session 2
Legislation and Information
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