2017 Proposed Bylaws Changes
The 36th District Democrats bylaws provide that they can be amended by a simple majority of Elected PCOs present and voting at a biennial Reorganization Meeting in January of odd-number years, and by a simple majority of Elected and Appointed PCOs at the following February meeting. (Amendments at all other meetings require 2/3 of Elected and Appointed PCOs.)
To take advantage of the lower threshold, we generally organize a volunteer Bylaws Committee prior to each Reorganization meeting. An invitation to join was posted at 36th.org/reorg in late December, and additional volunteers were solicited between the January and February meetings. The following volunteers served on the committee:
Jayson Todd Morris
For Consideration February 15, 2017 – Endorsement Procedure
The Bylaws Committee discussed the organization’s endorsement procedure and did not come to consensus prior to the Reorganization Meeting. Additional volunteers joined the committee in February. The committee met February 13th and those in attendance reached consensus to recommend two changes to the bylaws regarding the 36th endorsement process:
- Changing the threshold for endorsements to 55%. Currently, if the Executive Board recommends an endorsement it requires a simple majority, while other endorsement motions require a 2/3 vote. The committee recommends changing the threshold to 55% for all motions, regardless of whether the Executive Board makes a recommendation. (Any Executive Board recommendation would still be the first motion considered for a particular race.)
- Requiring a 2/3 threshold for revocations: Currently, any motion to revoke an existing endorsement follows the same thresholds as other endorsements (either a simple majority ratifying an Executive Board recommendation or otherwise 2/3). The committee recommends requiring 2/3 to revoke an existing endorsement.
Committee member Bruce MacLean is the Elected PCO making the motion to change the bylaws. You can see the exact text of the changes here.
Bylaws Changes – Passed January 2017
At the January 2017 Reorganization Meteing, the Elected PCOs voted to approve bylaws changes proposed by the Bylaws Committee, seen here in track-changes: Proposed Bylaws Changes
While the changes are in several sections of the bylaws, they fall under three categories:
- Clarifying who can be elected Chair or Vice Chair (Article VII, Section 1): The Bylaws state that only an Elected, Appointed, or Acting PCO may be elected as Chair or Vice Chair. However, at Reorganization meetings the Chair and Vice Chair are elected prior to the appointment of Appointed and Acting PCOs (by state law and King County Democrats rule). Because this would effectively limit these positions to only Elected PCOs, we have traditionally interpreted the rule as aspirational and not exclusive, that someone may be elected Chair or Vice Chair if they are appointed as a PCO later in the meeting. The Bylaws Committee recommends changing the bylaws to make this explicit, so that “those willing to be appointed as an Appointed or Acting PCO at the earliest opportunity” may also be elected as Chair or Vice Chair.
- Clarifying that expenditures may be made by debit card (Article XV, Section 6): Currently our bylaws state that expenditures of organization funds may only be made by check signed by the Treasurer or Chair. We have interpreted this to mean that expenditures cannot be made by cash (for obvious paper-trail reasons), but that debit card or other electronic payments are allowed. The Bylaws Committee recommends amending the language to conform with this interpretation.
- Removing references to a newsletter (Article V, Section 2; Article VII, Section 3; Article VIII, Section 5; Article X, Section 2; Article XII, Section 1; Article XV, Section 1): The organization has not mailed a paper newsletter in several years and many parts of the bylaws regarding communicating information contemplate a pre-internet world. We replaced references to publishing in the newsletter with “published by electronic notification,” i.e. email. However, references to publication in the newsletter did not have any specific time requirement, while the bylaws require some information to be communicated in the “meeting notice,” which must be sent 10 days in advance of a meeting. We felt the following information should be subject to a 10-day notice requirement and so changed references to the newsletter to “published in notice of the meeting” to effectuate the deadline: proposals for the membership to create, remove, or rename officer positions; notice of special meetings of the membership; and filling officer vacancies. Additionally, there were two pieces of information that previously were required to be published in the newsletter but we felt could simply be published on our website instead of included in emails: notice of Executive Board meetings and financial reports.