GA swiftly adopts Article XV amendments
General Assembly delegates voted overwhelmingly and without debate to pass a bylaw change to Article XV of the UUA bylaws, which dictates the procedure for amending other bylaws. Moderator Gini Courter called for a vote after no delegates appeared to speak at the con microphone.
Lew Phinney, trustee from the Mountain Desert District, expressed the board’s unanimous support for the proposed change, and said that the changes should help clarify the process of amending bylaws.
Article XV came under scrutiny after delegates at the 2009 General Assembly in Salt Lake City narrowly rejected a proposed revision to Article II, the Principles and Purposes, because they were not able to amend the revisions or vote on them in sections under the rules outlined in Article XV.
Under Article XV’s current language, any change in Article II must be considered by a review and study commission and be approved by two consecutive GAs. The Commission on Appraisal had prepared an amended version of Article II, but Article XV prohibited delegates from proposing any changes to that proposal. When the proposal failed, delegates passed a responsive resolution asking for clarification of “the process and limitations of a proposal to amend a bylaw in Article II.”
The amendment to Article XV retains the current process for amending Article II, with a study commission followed by votes at consecutive General Assemblies. However, under the revised process, amendments could be proposed to the study commission’s Article II language using a mini-assembly process, and no revisions would be allowed at the second GA.
At a mini-assembly Thursday morning, Phinney said, “The most significant change is that there is a way for delegates through the mini-assembly process—that’s very similar to the Commission on Social Witness process—to propose amendments, which I think would have solved much of the problem in Salt Lake City.”
The full text of the bylaw amendment is on pages 17-20 of the Final Agenda.