Gere Reist, secretary of the General Conference, estimates that a rule change enacted on the first night of General Conference will save six hours of plenary time.
All preceding sessions of the legislative body have followed Robert’s Rules of Order in dealing with substitute motions. The body must first perfect the substitute motion, then the assembly must perfect the main motion. That process frequently involved amendments and amendments to the amendments on both the main motion and the substitute. In preceding conferences, only after all amendments were acted upon could the body receive a motion to move the substitute to the main motion.
The Rules Committee proposed and the assembly agreed to no longer follow Mr. Roberts. Instead, delegates will immediately debate whether to accept the substitute motion. If the motion is passed, the substitute becomes the main motion and it can be amended before final approval. If the motion is defeated, the original motion remains on the floor for consideration.
In pre-General Conference news briefings, Gere has compared the church’s past process to the act of getting up in the morning, brewing both a cup of coffee and a cup of tea, and then tasting each before deciding which one to drink.