Perhaps what is causing confusion is the paragraph in PEP 13 (which was carried forward from PEP 8016): https://github.com/python/peps/blame/master/pep-0013.rst#L85. Corresponds to italics below.
The council has broad authority to make decisions about the project. For example, they can:
- Accept or reject PEPs
- Enforce or update the project’s code of conduct
- Work with the PSF to manage any project assets
- Delegate parts of their authority to other subcommittees or processes
However, they cannot modify this PEP, or affect the membership of the core team, except via the mechanisms specified in this PEP.
The council should look for ways to use these powers as little as possible. Instead of voting, it’s better to seek consensus. Instead of ruling on individual PEPs, it’s better to define a standard process for PEP decision making (for example, by accepting one of the other 801x series of PEPs). It’s better to establish a Code of Conduct committee than to rule on individual cases. And so on.
To use its powers, the council votes. Every council member must either vote or explicitly abstain. Members with conflicts of interest on a particular vote must abstain. Passing requires a strict majority of non-abstaining council members.
Whenever possible, the council’s deliberations and votes shall be held in public.
The italicized wording provides possible, though hypothetical, examples. The rest of the text outlines the powers of the Steering Council.
The updates to PEP 1 were to bring as @brettcannon mentions in line with PEP 13. All steering council members voted to accept the PR 896.