Standing Rules of the Assembly
A. Parliamentary Rules
- With the permission of the assembly, the chair shall have the authority to call items of business before the assembly in whatever order the chair considers most expedient for the conduct of the business of the assembly.
- Unless this rule is suspended by a 2/3 vote, in all plenary sessions persons speaking from the floor shall be limited to 3 minutes and no person shall speak more than twice on the same question. This rule shall not apply to persons presenting a report, or when direct questions are posed to specific individuals for clarification.
- Only one who is specifically recognized to move the previous question may make the motion for the previous question.
- All substantive motions shall be written by the mover on forms provided for that purpose, signed and sent to the secretary’s table. The chair may use discretion not to open the floor for debate on a motion until a written copy is available to the chair, the secretary, or the assembly membership.
- When the motion to Amend by Substitution is before the assembly, a vote must first be taken to substitute before the surviving motion may be amended.
B. Non-voting Members of the Assembly
- Assistants to the Bishop who are not otherwise voting members shall be advisory members of the assembly and have voice but not vote.
- All youth officially registered for the assembly shall be granted the privilege of participating in its proceedings with voice but not vote.
- Official visitors may address the assembly at the request of the chair or by majority vote.
- Visitors shall be seated in the designated areas.
- (SA2004) Rostered Synodical Deacons who are not otherwise voting members but who are in attendance as registered visitors to the assembly shall have the privilege of voice in the assembly.
- The Committee on Reference and Counsel may assist the chairperson in the schedule for handling business items, consider requests for the distribution and posting of materials and give other assistance as the chairperson may request. New business shall be processed through this committee.
- No resolutions received after the deadline shall be considered by the Synod Assembly unless the Synod Council or the Committee on Reference and Counsel determines that it is either of overriding importance or germane to the issues of the Synod Assembly agenda and whether there are other matters on the agenda related to the item. If any voting member proposes to add any new item of business, it shall immediately be referred to the Committee on Reference and Counsel. The deadline for submitting any item of business shall be the close of the first plenary session. The committee shall report to the assembly its recommendation for handling such new business, which may be that the matter not be considered. If the committee determines that the item is neither of overriding importance nor germane to the agenda of the Synod Assembly, it shall report its conclusion to the Synod Assembly. This report shall include a recitation of the “resolved” clauses. If no further action is taken by the Synod Assembly, the minutes shall contain the report of the Committee regarding such item, and the item shall be referred to the Synod Council for consideration. In such matters, a two-thirds vote of the assembly shall be required to add the item of business to the agenda.
- Priority shall be given to those resolutions received in advance of the assembly on or before the deadline for submissions. Insofar as possible, resolutions shall be considered in the order in which they were received.
- When two or more resolutions addressing the same general topic are received the committee on Reference and Counsel may adapt, edit, amend or combine them as seems helpful, securing the consent of (or consulting with) the original author(s) if at all possible. If the committee presents a substitute resolution it becomes the main motion. The maker of the original resolution has the right to place the original resolution on the floor as an amendment by substitution.
- Resolutions to amend the budget as recommended by the Synod Council must be submitted in writing to the treasurer by the conclusion of Plenary Session in which the budget is put before the assembly.
- All resolutions proposing the establishment of any new committee, board, commission or task force etc. must include a plan for funding. Those resolutions which do not include such a plan shall be automatically referred to the Synod Council.
- Floor nominations for all positions to be elected at this assembly shall be called for at the beginning of the assembly during the report of the Nominating Committee, except for those positions closed under S9.20.05.a.
- Floor nominations must have the support of at least ten (10) credentialed voting members (by signature) on the forms provided at the assembly.
- Nominations forms including biographical information shall be submitted to the secretary on the form provided by the close of the first plenary session.
- After floor nominations have been closed, a brief summary of data on each nominee shall be distributed to the members of the Assembly. Floor nominations whose nomination and biographical forms have not been received by the secretary by the end of session in which the nominations report is given will be considered withdrawn.
E. Rules pertaining to the election of a Bishop
1. Biographical Information
Biographical information on the seven nominees (plus ties) who received the greatest number of votes on the second ballot, submitted on a form determined by the Synod Council, shall be distributed to voting members prior to the casting of the third ballot for bishop.
2. Speeches by Nominees
a. Prior to the third ballot for bishop, the seven persons (plus ties) who received the greatest number of votes on the second ballot will be invited to address the assembly, with each speech limited to five minutes. If any such person is not present at the assembly, the individual, if possible, may designate an alternate to speak on her or his behalf.
b. A time keeper shall indicate to the speaker when 30 seconds remain of the allocated time and when the allocated time has elapsed.
c. The sequence of the speeches shall be determined by lot.
a. Prior to the fourth ballot for bishop, the three persons (plus ties) who received the greatest number of votes on the third ballot will be invited to participate in a question-and-answer period.
b. The period shall be moderated by the person designated to preside at the election.
c. The questions shall be asked in rotating order of the nominees, and the same questions will be asked to each nominee. Each nominee shall have a maximum of 90 seconds to respond to each question.
d. A time keeper shall indicate to the speaker when 30 seconds remain of the allotted time and when the allotted time has ended. The sequence of the questions to be asked shall be determined by the vice president and presiding officer.
e. The time for the question-and-answer period shall be a maximum of 45 minutes.
f. Questions may be submitted in writing to the secretary, or the secretary’s designee, by any voting member of the assembly by 5:00 p.m. of the 15th day prior to the beginning of the synod assembly.
g. Questions will be compiled and distributed no fewer than seven days prior to the beginning of the synod assembly via the synod’s usual electronic communications.
4. The election of bishop at the 2019 Synod Assembly shall be conducted under the oversight of The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the ELCA.
F. On-Site Registration
- Voting Members not registered in advance of the Assembly are permitted to register and be credentialed as Voting Members as space permits.
G. Process for Appeals of Decisions under §13.24
- A congregation shall submit a written statement of its appeal of any decision under §13.24 to the Synod Secretary no later than thirty days prior to the next meeting of the Synod Assembly.
- When an appeal of a Synod Council decision under §13.24 is made to the Assembly, the Assembly shall docket time for at least two reports from members of the Consultation Committee, ordinarily on separate days of the Assembly meeting. The Assembly shall not vote on the appeal until it has heard the final report from members of the Consultation Committee.
- Following the first report from members of the Consultation Committee, members of the Assembly may submit written questions to members of the Consultation Committee, which may respond as appropriate in later reports to the Assembly.
- During the final report from members of the Consultation Committee, the Assembly chair will recognize members of the appealing congregation to speak to the Assembly regarding the appeal.
- Each speaker from the congregation will have no more than two minutes.
- No additional speakers will be recognized after 15 minutes has elapsed.
- When there are multiple factions within the appealing congregation, the Assembly chair may confer with members of the Consultation Committee so as to recognize speakers in a way that divides this time as equally as possible among members of the various groups.
- At the conclusion of the final report from members of the Consultation Committee, the question before the Assembly will be, “Shall the action of the Synod Council exercising Section §13.24 of the Synod Constitution in relation to (name of appealing congregation) be sustained?”
- Each voting member of the Assembly recognized to speak will have no more than three minutes to speak for or against the motion to sustain the action of the Synod Council. No additional speakers will be recognized after 20 minutes has elapsed. During the debate:
- A motion to amend, postpone, or refer this question shall not be in order.
- A motion to call the previous question or change the limits of debate beyond the limitations stated in this procedure shall not be in order.
- Members of the Assembly will not be recognized for questions on the content and substance of the motion during the debate.
- Before the Assembly votes, the Assembly Chair shall restate the question, “Shall the action of the Synod Council exercising Section §13.24 of the Synod Constitution in relation to (name of appealing congregation) be sustained?” and clearly indicate the intent of each vote.
- A “yes” vote shall sustain the action of the Synod Council to exercise Section §13.24 of the Synod Constitution.
- A “no” vote shall overturn the action of the Synod Council to exercise Section §13.24 of the Synod Constitution.