Council on Legislation Makes Historic Changes to Rotary
Posted on Aug 01, 2016
Like a corporation, Rotary is governed by a Board of Directors lead by a President. Every three years however, with a nod towards a Parliamentary form of government, Rotary meets in a forum called the Council on Legislation. 2016 was such a year and the Council on Legislation met last week April 11-15.
In the opinion of Canadian, RI Director Jennifer Jones, “This has been a historic council, probably one of the most progressive, evolutionary councils that we ever have seen.”
The Council on Legislation approved on Monday two key measures that would give clubs greater flexibility in their meetings and membership. The first measure gives clubs greater leeway in when and how often they meet, how often they cancel meetings, and what constitutes a meeting, as long as they meet at least twice a month. The second measure grants clubs flexibility to experiment with membership models. Proponents argued that clubs need the enhanced freedom in order to determine what works best in their communities, noting that "one size does not fit all."
The Council on Legislation agreed to simplify the qualifications for membership in a Rotary club. The measure removed the six membership criteria from the RI Constitution, and replaced them with the simple requirement that a member be a person of good character who has a good reputation in their business or community and is willing to serve the community. Proponents argued that the change will give power back to clubs to "choose their own members without a checklist" and encourage membership growth.
Citing a need to provide programs and services that allow Rotary clubs to flourish, the Council on Legislation approved three $4 increases in the annual per capita dues that clubs pay to Rotary International. The increase sets the dues at $60 in 2017-18, $64 in 2018-19, and $68 in 2019-20.
Council members approved the creation of a Council on Resolutions, a separate governing body that will meet online every year. It will propose resolutions to the RI Board, leaving the triennial Council on Legislation to deal exclusively with enactments, which change Rotary's governing documents. Representatives also voted to allow Rotaractors to simultaneously be members of Rotary clubs.
Since students in some part of the world remain in high school beyond the maximum Interact age, proponents of a resolution just approved by the council are asking the Board to allow students in school-based Interact clubs to remain in Interact until they graduate, even if they have turned 18.
A resolution asking the RI Board to consider adding the word "family" to the statement on opportunities for service passes by the narrowest of margins, a single vote.
In his closing remarks RI President Ravi Ravindran said "The effects of your decisions will ripple to every corner of the world for years, decades, even centuries to come."