The Committee on the Dispatch of Business has accepted proposed changes to the Rules of Order for the 143rd annual convention to better reflect how convention business is conducted today.

The changes reflect the present reality that information is primarily distributed electronically rather than by print. This includes updating language about balloting (now done online) and extending the deadline to accept nominations for diocesan positions to Oct. 31. The reason for this change is because we often found ourselves at the September deadline with a number of nominees not equal to the number of positions available, and extensive nominating from the floor was needed in order to fill a ballot. Since last minute floor nominations do not allow the voting delegates the time or ability to make an informed choice when voting, and all convention information is now available online and not dependent on a printing schedule for Connections, it was proposed to extend the deadline and hopefully reduce the number of floor nominations.

Approving the proposed Rules of Order will be one of the first orders of business when the convention is called to order on Friday, Nov. 10.

The Rules of Order

RULE I

By 1 January of the year of the Convention, the ecclesiastical authority shall have appointed the following committees to perform the following tasks:

A The Committee on the Agenda and Dispatch of Business:

The committee shall consist of the Chair of the Convention or his/her designated substitute, the Secretary of the Convention, and such members of Convention, as shall seem appropriate to the Chair. Its duties shall be to prepare an agenda for submission to the Council of the Diocese not later than its August meeting; to provide for hearing space for such a number of hearings and small group gatherings it shall deem appropriate, provided that request for a hearing or small groups gathering be made not less than 30 days preceding the date of Convention; at the request of the Chair, to secure persons to provide information for such hearings, being sure that the several sides of any issue shall have equal opportunity of access. The Chair may refer to this committee any matters brought to the floor of Convention not previously referred to it, and the Chair may request the placement of such matters upon the agenda, with due provision for debate and dispatch.

B. The Committee on Resolutions:

The Committee shall consist of eight persons plus the Chair. It shall consider all resolutions to Convention that shall be submitted not later than the 45 days preceding Convention; those submitted by Diocesan Council by the Tuesday after its September meeting; as well as all resolutions arising from the Bishop’s Address and those approved for consideration by the action of two-thirds of the Convention. It shall be the duty of the Committee:

1. to resolve duplicative or substantially similar motions into a single motion, doing so in consultation with the movers of said motions;

2. to make such editorial or stylistic corrections as do not affect the substance of motions, and reporting these changes to the movers in order to ensure that no distortion of the intended meaning has occurred; and

3. to report all such and motions or memorials to Convention. The report may include the following recommendations:

(a) that the motion be passed;
(b) that the motion be defeated;
(c) that the motion be reported to a Committee of the Whole; or
(d) that the motion be reported to the floor without recommendation.

4. In the first three cases, the Committee on Resolutions shall state the reasons for its recommendation. It is not necessary to do so if the motion is reported without recommendation. In the case of a recommendation for the formation of a Committee of the Whole, the Committee on Resolutions shall, with such recommendation, propose enabling procedures. When such a recommendation has been heard, the Convention shall proceed immediately, and without debate, to vote whether it wishes to constitute itself as a Committee of the Whole. Such Committee of the Whole shall meet at a time determined by the Committee on the Agenda and Dispatch of Business. The Committee of the Whole, at the time of its rising, shall itself determine whether it wishes the matter before it to be put to a vote or not, and that determination shall be binding. If the Convention determines that it does not wish to constitute itself as a Committee of the Whole, the Convention shall proceed, at the time determined by the Committee on Agenda and Dispatch of Business, to debate the motion and vote upon it, without further recommendation from the Committee on Resolutions. In any other case than a recommendation for Committee of the Whole, it shall be the prerogative of any member of Convention to request a discussion by a Committee of the Whole. If such a request is made, Convention shall vote upon such a request immediately and without debate. Should such a request be sustained, Convention shall proceed as is outlined.

C. The Committee on Nominations:

The Committee shall consist of eight persons, plus the Chair. No later than one hundred twenty days prior to Convention, the Committee shall circulate a request to all congregations and non-parochial clergy for names of persons to be nominated to positions to be filled by Convention. The Committee shall circulate information about the candidates in order to facilitate reasoned choice by the Convention. Nominations received by September 30 will be posted online prior to the first preconvention meeting. Nominations received thereafter will be posted weekly until October 31. In the event of a convention scheduled to convene other than the second Friday in November, the Committee will announce commensurate dates. Unless the number of nominees is fewer than the positions to be filled, nominations will not be accepted from the floor without a two-thirds approval to do so.

D. The Committee on Credentials:

The Committee shall consist of no fewer than four persons, plus the Chair. The Chair shall be appointed by the bishop. It shall be the responsibility of the Committee to make recommendations to Convention in the event of a challenge to a delegate; to issue credentials, upon submission of appropriate documentation, to any delegate not previously certified; to report to Convention the presence of a quorum prior to the commencement of Convention deliberations.

E. The Committee on Constitution and Canons:

The Committee shall be appointed by the Bishop and shall consist of the Chancellor and no fewer than four additional persons, clergy and lay, who are learned in the law and in the polity of the Episcopal Church. The Chancellor shall be its Chair. It shall be the responsibility of the Committee to receive recommendations for canonical and constitutional change from anyone who has voice in Convention, evaluate them in the light of current constitutional and canonical procedure, determine whether or not the recommendations conform to the Canons of the Episcopal Church in the United States and see that the proposed amendments or enactments are presented in appropriate form. In order to assist the Committee in its work, no recommendation shall be accepted later than sixty days preceding the Convention. The Committee may, in addition, recommend to the Convention of the Diocese of Southern Ohio that said changes be approved, rejected or amended, in which event appropriate reason shall be given for the determination.

Any action of the Committee shall require a majority of those appointed.

RULE II

A. The time, place and nature of the services of worship shall be prepared by the Diocesan Liturgy and Music Commission, in cooperation with the Chair and the Committee on the Agenda and Dispatch of Business. This information shall be made available to the Secretary of the Convention no later than the ninetieth day preceding Convention. The official necrology shall be made available in the chapel during the convention.

B. The Secretary of the Convention shall ascertain the name of Clergy and Lay Delegates present entitled to seats and shall enter them in the minutes.

C. The agenda shall begin as follows: the announcement of a quorum, one resolution regarding persons eligible for seat and/or voice and/or vote and congregations eligible or ineligible to be seated for disciplinary reasons; election of the Secretary of Convention; appointment of assistant secretaries, parliamentarian and persons for any other function necessary to the smooth running of the Convention; approval of the Agenda and report of the Nominating Committee and the first ballot.

D. Elections shall be by ballot. A majority of those present and voting shall elect. The following shall be elected:

Deputies and Alternate Deputies to the General Convention (when applicable)
The Standing Committee of the Diocese
The At-large members of Diocesan Council
The Trustees of the Diocese
The Trustees of the Church Foundation
Members of the board of Episcopal Community Services Foundation
Members of the Procter Center Board of Directors
Members of the Budget Committee
Members of the Disciplinary Board (when applicable)

1.The special constitutional requirements for election as delegate to General Convention or as member of the Standing Committee found in Article IX of the Constitution of the Diocese of Southern Ohio, shall, of course, apply.

2. Balloting will be conducted electronically. The polls will remain open for at least ten minutes at each ballot. The Presiding Officer may increase the time if warranted. Announcements of results of a ballot shall take precedence over any other business, at a time when one item shall have concluded, and another item of business has not begun. Any necessary successive ballot shall be taken immediately upon the report of the tellers. Each report of the tellers shall include the total vote case, the number required to elect, and the complete vote for each person on the ballot.

4. Deputies to General Convention and members of the Standing Committee shall be elected by joint ballot of the Clergy and Laity, and a majority of those present and voting shall be required for an election. In case of a failure or omission to elect such Deputies or members of the Standing Committee, the persons last elected shall continue to serve until others are chosen. If, after four (4) ballots, the election of Deputies to General Convention or members of the Standing Committee has not been completed, the positions still vacant may be filled by a plurality vote, if authorized by three-fourth (3/4) of the members of the Convention present and voting. Election by ballot may be dispensed with by a unanimous vote of the Convention. Alternate Deputies shall be elected as provided for in the Canons.

E. The Ecclesiastical Authority shall appoint persons to the following offices with the consent of the Convention, which may be given vive voce:

The Treasurer of the Diocese
The Registrar of the Diocese
Deputies and Alternates to Provincial Synod (when applicable)
Finance Committee
Examining Chaplains
Commission on Ministry

F. The report of the Committee on Resolutions shall be as an early order of business. Resolutions not submitted to the Resolutions Committee prior to the sixtieth day preceding Convention, and not arising from the Bishop’s Address, may be submitted during the morning of the first day at a time established by the Agenda Committee. A two-thirds vote of the Convention must approve such additional resolutions for consideration.

G. The following additional matters shall be included on the agenda of every Convention in such order as shall seem appropriate to the Committee on the Agenda and Dispatch of Business:

The Bishop’s Address
The written reports of Diocesan Council Officers, Committees, and Commissions
The Budget and its enabling resolutions
The report of the Committee on Constitution and Canons
The Introduction of Guests
Any reports on congregations requesting union with Convention (*below)
Any report from the Finance Committee
Any miscellaneous business
Any courtesy or business resolutions
Announcement of date, place and next Convention.

*The Report of any committee appointed by the Ecclesiastical Authority to examine and report upon the request of any Congregation for union with Convention (if any): Should any Congregation thus be added, the Secretary shall enter upon the roll the names of the Lay Delegates properly accredited from the Congregation.

RULE III

No member shall be absent from the sittings of the Convention unless that member have leave, be unable to attend or be ill.

RULE IV

Unless otherwise specified, all decisions shall be by majority of the Convention.

RULE V

Debate shall be confined strictly to the subject before the Convention.

RULE VI

All questions of order shall be decided by the Chair without debate; but any member may appeal from such decisions. If an appeal be taken, it must be put immediately and without debate.

RULE VII

Objection to the consideration of a question can only be made when the question is first introduced before it has been debated. Such objection requires no second, cannot be debated or amended, and must have a two-thirds vote to sustain it.

RULE VIII

No motion shall be considered as being before the house unless it be seconded and, when necessary, reduced to writing.

RULE IX

A. No member may speak longer than two minutes at one time, without leave of the convention.

B. No member may speak more than twice in the same debate without leave of the convention.

C. No member may speak a second time to a question if any other member who so desires has not spoken for a first time to that question and effort shall be made to include all viewpoints.

D. Total debate on a motion shall be limited to twenty minutes, except when extended by a 2/3 vote of convention.

RULE X 

The procedure for amending the Proposed Budget shall be as follows:

A. Proposed budget amendments, including the required description of all changes and confirmation of contact with parties affected shall be delivered to the Secretary of the Convention and the Financial Officer of the Diocese no later than ten (10) days before the first business session of the Annual Convention. All proposed amendments shall:

1. Be Balanced. All increases to budget lines shall be compensated by decreases to other budget lines preserving the overall balance of the Budget, or authorized by increases in the Mission Share rate.

2. Prior Agreement as to Accuracy. All parties that are affected by changes to budget lines shall be contacted and agree to the accuracy of the proposed changes before the amendment is submitted.

B. The Financial Officer shall immediately confirm the accuracy of the proposed changes and contact the parties affected so that they are prepared to respond when the proposed amendment is introduced on the floor of Convention.

C. Budget amendments proposed in a manner consistent with that outlined herein shall be deemed to have been presented in a manner consistent with Canon XIII, Section 3 (f). Budget amendments proposed in any other manner shall be deemed as falling within the provision of Rule I, paragraph B of the Rules of Order for the Annual Convention which requires approval for consideration by the action of two-thirds of the Convention: Should the Convention so issue their approval for consideration, the Secretary of the Convention shall appoint an ad hoc committee composed of

1. A representative from each group affected by the proposed changes to budget lines,
2. A representative from the Diocesan Budget Committee, and
3. A representative from the Office of the Bishop as staff for the Committee.

This ad hoc committee shall be called the Budget Amendment Review Committee, and shall meet to develop a reconciled, amended Budget. In the event this committee is unable to develop a reconciled, amended Budget, all proposed amendments shall be presented to Convention in the order they were received by the Secretary of the Convention.

D. Action on the reconciled, amended Budget shall be on the second day of Convention.

RULE XI

When a question is under consideration, no motion regarding it shall be made without leave of the Chair unless it is to postpone it for a certain time, postpone it indefinitely, or lay it on the table. Amendments to or changes in any budget and its resolutions shall be dealt with as set forth in the paragraph below.

All amendments or changes to any Budget shall automatically be postponed until the entire Budget has been discussed and all amendments or changes have been gathered. They shall then be discussed in any order determined by the Chair, and no disposition of the Budget shall be made until all amendments or changes have been considered and dispositions made.

RULE XII

The agenda, as adopted by the Convention, will be the General Order of the Day and its times are times definite unless suspended with the concurrence of two-thirds of members present.

A special Order of the Day at a designated time, may be proposed by the President or Committee on Agenda and Dispatch of Business, subject to the consent of the Convention.

RULE XIII 

The motion to Suspend the Rules requires a two-thirds vote, is not debatable, and cannot be amended or reconsidered.

RULE XIV

The motion to reconsider can only be made or seconded by one who voted with the prevailing side. If, however, the original question was decided by a ballot, any member of Convention may move to reconsider. If the motion to reconsider is adopted, it opens the entire subject for discussion. No question can be twice reconsidered during the course of the same Convention. If the original question was debatable, so is the motion to reconsider. The converse also is true.

RULE XV

On motion, duly put and carried, the Convention may resolve itself into a committee of the whole, when the President shall call some member of the Convention to the chair, and the Secretary, if needed, be elected. In Committee, the Rules of Order are suspended. When the Committee rises, its Chairman shall make verbal report to the President of the Convention.

RULE XVI

Clergy of the Episcopal Church, who are not entitled to seats, and candidates for Holy Orders in this Diocese shall be admitted to the floor of the convention, but without the right to take part in the proceedings. Their names shall be reported to the Secretary and entered upon the Journal.

RULE XVII 

The above shall be the Rules of Order of all sessions of the Convention, unless amended or rescinded by a majority vote. Rule I need not be followed for Special sessions, the order of business then to be determined by the Ecclesiastical Authority in accordance with the purpose for which the Special session was called. The Rules of Order shall be published for each annual session of the Convention.

In all matters not specifically covered by these Rules of Order or by the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese, “Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised,” shall govern the Annual Convention in all cases to which they are applicable.

These Rules of Order shall be adopted as the first order of business at the Annual Convention to which they shall be submitted. They shall continue in force until the first order of business of the subsequent Annual Convention. Except as may be otherwise provided by these Rules, proposed amendments to these Rules shall be submitted to the Committee on the Agenda and Dispatch of Business at least sixty (60) days preceding the Annual Convention at which the proposed amendment is requested to go into effect. The Committee on the Agenda and Dispatch of Business shall review the amendments, decide on the merits of them, and, if appropriate, incorporate the amendments into the Rules of Order which are to be submitted to the Annual Convention as otherwise required by these Rules.

Download a printable file here: Rules of Order_PROPOSED_143

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