General Assembly from the Trenches

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It is 9:57pm, The GA Procedures Committee recessed for the evening at 9:30, current with its work, but 12 hours after first meeting.  The day was a whirlwind.  Committee sessions from 9:30 – 12:00,  1:30- 5:00pm, and 7:30 – 9:30.   We got through 15 items.  I also was able to get to know some of my fellow commissioners, having lunch and dinner with them.  It was good times in spite of the hours. 

The morning was kind of a rough start, the committee moderator was learning the ropes of moderation;  committee members felt compelled to speak on everything, and to repeat what other’s had said; the committee parliamentarian was also learning the ropes.   The afternoon and evening went much more smoothly.  We did some important business.  I was able to move the approval of new associate stated clerks, including my friend and former Executive Presbyter Sue Krummel.  I worked hard to kill a set of new proposed ethical standards for commissioners that I thought was fundamentally flawed, had biases in it, and needed much refinement.  

In something my Academic Senate friends would expect, I made a substitutionary motion to amend an amendment, and strike a whole part of the overture.  After much confusion in the committee, this ultimately failed.  But I then suggested we could strike the entire motion and refer it back to COGA — presby-speak for “Committee on the General Assembly” to refine and clean up several of the issues for the next GA in 2016.    Ultimately however, I realized that 1) I have only so much political capital in the committee, and were I to speak again, and propose ANOTHER substitutionary amendment, I might get physically hurt.  🙂   So, I opted to let the amended resolution pass, and I will issue THAT new motion from the floor of plenary, after pulling it from the consent agenda on Wednesday.   

We also debated giving Young Adult Advisory Delegates, short for YAADs, the right to vote as full commissioners.   This was interesting as a YAAD moved to disapprove the motion, and then another commissioner moved to disapprove with comments.  We went on with this for a long time.  But it passed 53-2, with all but 2 YAADs voting for the motion.   

We debated other issues tonight, but I am so brain dead, I can hardly remember what they were.   GA is hard work.   Oh yeah, I remember.  I moved to refer a commissioner’s resolution to provide child care at General Assembly to COGA, and thus let the NEXT GA Procedures committee deal with it!   Snark happens after 9pm. 

My day was also made exciting by attaining a level of #PresbyGeek status by being mentioned by name in two Presbyterian News sources.  The Presbyterian Outlook published a story mentioning my resolution opposing the so-called study guide Zionism Unsettled.   A longer story appeared both in the daily print Genera Assembly News, and in a press release on the PCUSA Website.   If, the Layman picks up the story tomorrow, I will have hit the Presby Trifecta, but this was still pretty cool.

Somehow during committee time, I also found time to write a 3 minute overture presentation for CR 04-10, which I will present to the Middle East Committee tomorrow at some point, hopefully during the day, and not late at night.  

So, today was a good day.   This commissioner is in recess until 9:30am tomorrow.   

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