No, this isn't really the Business Meeting. It just feels like it sometimes.
Here are the general classes of objects you'll see at the Preliminary Business Meeting (PBM) on Thursday morning (10 AM, Room 300B) at this year's Worldcon in Spokane, but not necessarily in the order we're going to consider them.
- Resolutions: These include resolutions to extend the Hugo Award eligibility of individual works (2/3 vote required). Also on the list is a resolution to request this year's Hugo Administrators to release anonymized Hugo Nominating ballot raw data. (Administrators need not comply with the request, but they're not prohibited from doing so.) All of these items can be finally resolved (passed or defeated) by the Thursday meeting.
- Constitutional Amendments Awaiting Ratification: These are the four Constitutional amendments passed in 2014 that were passed on for a ratification vote this year. The PBM's actions here are primarily confined to setting the debate time for the Main Meetings on Friday onward, although technically the PBM could try to amend (without increasing the scope of) any of these items. Included in this is my Popular Ratification proposal, for which I'll recuse myself in order to debate it on Friday.
- New Constitutional Amendments: These are the new constitutional amendments submitted for first reading this year, including the changes to the Hugo Award nominating process. The Preliminary Business Meeting can amend these proposals, send them to committees to report back to the Main Meeting (but not next year; only the Main Meeting can do that), and set the debate time for the Main Meeting. The PBM can also kill new proposals at this stage by the motion to Postpone Indefinitely. If PI is moved against a proposal, there will be four minutes debate (split evenly) about whether or not the proposal should be considered. A 2/3 vote can kill a new constitutional amendment on Thursday, and if it does, the amendment will not be considered at the Main Meeting. If you are backing a proposal and blow off the PBM, you could show up on Friday and discover that your pet project isn't even on the agenda anymore.
- WSFS/Business Meeting Committee Reports: The WSFS Mark Protection Committee and the standing and special committees of the Business Meeting will have reports. These reports may include either resolutions or proposed constitutional amendments. If things go as planned, those items will be included in the agenda sections above as necessary. For example, I expect a resolution to come out of the MPC, and it would work best if it was considered after the MPC's report.
- Worldcon/NASFiC Financial Reports: Worldcons and NASFiCs are required to submit financial reports to the Business Meeting until they've spent all of the money they took in running their conventions. They are not required to appear in person at any meeting, although sometimes they do. If time permits and if they send anyone to the meeting, they may be asked questions. We might not have enough time to take questions, given the loaded agenda. Including things I expect to receive before deadline but haven't yet received, I currently have sixteen main motions (constitutional amendments and resolutions) on my list. Programming wants us out by 12:45 PM, and I am going to try to oblige them.
Getting everything done within a 3-hour program block can be challenging, particularly as I do intend to put in at least one ten-minute recess and maybe two depending on how things go, plus short "technical time outs" every 30 minutes to swap recording cartridges.