The PCA Rocky Mountain Presbytery Approves Overtures to Amend Portions of the Rules of Assembly Operation

The PCA Rocky Mountain Presbytery, meeting in Ft. Collins, Colo. on January 26, approved overtures asking the General Assembly that it amend two sections of the Rules of Assembly Operation (RAO). The overtures request that RAO 11-5 and 14-9 be amended to streamline the way GA handles overtures and amendments on the floor.

These amendments will be considered by the 40th PCA General Assembly that will meet in Louisville, Ky., June 19-22, 2012.

The amendment to RAO 11-5 is intended to clarify that Committee Commissioners are responsible to frame and propose final answers to overtures that come before the General Assembly.

The amendment to RAO 14-9 would allow the General Assembly to suspend the rules in order to allow for subsidiary and incidental motions while a matter is being considered on the floor of the General Assembly.

Overture to Amend RAO 11-5: Clarify that Committee Commissioners Frame and Propose Final Answers to Overtures

Whereas, there was some confusion at the 39th General Assembly regarding how Committee Commissioners are to handle overtures referred to them; and

Whereas, RAO 11-5 indicates the manner in which the Stated Clerk is to refer overtures; and

Whereas, it is unclear how Committee of Commissioners are to understand any recommendations on proposed answers from the respective permanent Committee or Agency or ad interim committee; and

Whereas, it is appropriate for each permanent Committee or Agency or ad interim committee to consider and propose recommended answers to overtures; and

Whereas, it the responsibility of each Committee of Commissioners to frame and propose the final answers to overtures referred to them.

Therefore, be it resolved that RAO 11-5 be amended to clarify the role and responsibility that each permanent Committee or Agency or ad interim committee has to propose recommended answers to overtures, and further the role and responsibility that Committee of Commissioners have in framing and proposing answers to overtures:

Each permanent Committee or Agency or ad interim committee shall review each overture referred to it, and may recommend amendments and/or propose a recommended answer for each overture before it is referred to the appropriate Committee of Commissioners. Proposed amendments to recommendations must be germane according to Robert’s Rules (see RAO 14-6d for an explanation of germane). The Committee of Commissioners shall deliberate on each overture separately, consider recommendations referred to it, and frame and propose an answer for each overture separately.

If amended, RAO 11-5 would then read (new wording in bold):

Upon receipt the Stated Clerk shall refer all overtures requesting amendment of the Book of Church Order or the Rules of Assembly Operations to the Committee on Constitutional Business for its advice to the Overtures Committee. Upon receipt, the Stated Clerk shall forward all overtures concerning presbytery boundaries or a new presbytery to the permanent Committee on Mission to North America. Any overture, other than proposed amendments to the BCO, having to do with the nature or responsibilities of a permanent Committee or Agency shall be referred by the Clerk to the appropriate permanent Committee or Agency or ad interim committee. Each permanent Committee or Agency or ad interim committee shall review each overture referred to it, and may recommend amendments and/or propose a recommended answer for each overture before it is referred to the appropriate Committee of Commissioners. Proposed amendments to recommendations must be germane according to Robert’s Rules (see RAO 14-6d for an explanation of germane). The Committee of Commissioners shall deliberate on each overture separately, consider recommendations referred to it, and frame and propose an answer for each overture separately. All other overtures shall be referred to the Overtures Committee. All overtures shall be printed in the Commissioner Handbook with reference for consideration indicated.

Overture to Amend RAO 14-9: Allow the General Assembly to Suspend the Rules in order to allow for Subsidiary and Incidental Motions

Whereas, there were a number of times at the 39th General Assembly during the consideration of recommendations where the GA desired or attempted to amend some recommendations from the floor; and

Whereas, the only option under RAO 14-9e available to the GA was to recommit the whole matter to the respective Committee of Commissioners; and

Whereas, there were no options available to the GA in the RAO for the GA to consider these matters; and

Whereas, it would be beneficial for the GA to have options available to it other than a motion to recommit; and

Whereas, requiring a super majority of a 3/5 (60%) vote to allow for Subsidiary and Incidental motions would be a high threshold expressing the desire of the GA to consider a matter without having to recommit it.

Therefore, be it resolved that RAO 14-9e be amended to allow the GA by a super majority vote to consider a matter under this provision without having to recommit it to the respective Committee of Commissioners:

However, the Assembly, by a 2/3 (66%) vote of those present on the floor and voting, may suspend this rule at any time during the consideration of a recommendation to allow for Subsidiary and Incidental Motions.

If amended, RAO 14-9e would then read (new wording in bold):

A recommendation shall be considered under the standard rules governing debate, but Subsidiary Motions (RRO VI) to Postpone Indefinitely, to Amend, to Commit, and to Limit Debate; and Incidental Motions (RRO VIII) to Divide a Question, to Consider Seriatim, and Constitutional Inquiries, shall not be permitted. A motion to Recommit shall be permitted, but a motion to Recommit With Instructions shall not be permitted. However, the Assembly, by a 2/3 (66%) vote of those present on the floor and voting, may suspend this rule at any time during the consideration of a recommendation to allow for Subsidiary and Incidental Motions.