April 2007 R. I. Council on Legislation

Zoning issues debated on final day of Council: Results for 27 April

CHICAGO — After covering all of the enactments from the previous days, Rotarian delegates worked through the remaining 65 resolutions at the 2007 Council on Legislation on Friday, 26 April. They also held firm to initial decisions in three highly debated motions that were presented for reconsideration.

Zoning issues, a hot topic throughout the week, resurfaced. Resolution 07-174 was referred to the RI Board for consideration of worldwide rezoning to give all zones an approximately equal number of Rotarians. Seunggi Paik, of District 3640 (Korea), told the Council, “I stand here to support this resolution to keep fairness for all.” Echoes of the previous day’s Council session resonated as he spoke of democracy and equality for all. “Some zones have population difficulties — fairness is a basic principle,” he said.

The following resolution, 07-175, which requested the RI Board to consider realigning districts currently located in two zones so that each district is located in only one zone, was approved. Additionally, with item 07-177 the Council requested the RI Board to consider reorganizing Zone 5 into three sections, instead of the present two sections. Zone 5 covers Nepal and parts of India. Among other matters, the Council also requested that the RI Board consider including Hindi [07-213] and Russian [07-219] as official languages. Debates weighed need verses translation costs.

The Council also showed its desire for Rotary to be more cost effective by passing resolution 07-180, which requests the RI Board to consider finding more efficient and less expensive ways to communicate with Rotary clubs.

Three proposed enactments failed to be reconsidered by the Council. They were to increase the number of members on the nominating committee for RI president [07-231], to increase the number of directors from 17 to 18 and revise the criteria for setting zone boundaries [07-173], and to amend the definition of defective legislation to include resolutions that require or request an administrative act [07-311].

Overall, the Council addressed some 337 items that were brought forward by delegates coming from throughout Rotary’s 532 districts worldwide.

“It was a busy and rewarding week and a productive Council on Legislation,” said Council Chair John F. Germ in his closing comments. “I congratulate you on a great week of hard, dedicated work. What we have done here will have a great impact on Rotary.”

Council wants more democratic processes and transparency; Results from 26 April
By Tonya Weger, Rotary International News

CHICAGO — — The 2007 Council on Legislation debated enactment proposals Thursday, 26 April, changing several aspects of the organization’s constitution. Representatives from 530 Rotary districts around the world debated passionately about key issues, focusing both on present needs within Rotary, while taking into account what has worked during its solid century of service.

Key issues revealed the need for more democratic processes and transparency in Rotary business matters.
For instance, Shigekazu Miyazaki proposed enactment 07-357 on behalf of District 2650 (Japan), saying, “Clubs and districts have a right to know about deliberations of the Board.” He said the RI Board should communicate results of considered resolutions with district governors and ensure the posting of determinations on the Rotary International Web site.

While enactments change the RI Constitution, resolutions are sent to the board for further review upon recommendation of the Council. This shall take place within one year of the conclusion of the Council.
Additionally, the rules for selecting an RI president-nominee were amended in ruling 07-228. Driving this determination was the desire to ensure that the best qualified Rotarian would be selected for RI’s elective offices. The items states that any effort to influence the selection process in a positive or negative manner by campaigning, canvassing, or electioneering would be prohibited.

This enactment also changes the deadlines for the election of members to the nominating committee for RI president. Furthermore, this enactment would also change the deadline for eligible Rotarians to notify the general secretary that they are willing to be considered for nomination for the office of RI president from 31 August to 30 June and provide that the nominating committee for RI president would meet no later than 15 August.

Enactment 07-269, which centers on provisions regarding election complaints and proposing challenging candidates for the office of RI director, failed. In debate, District 7490’s (New Jersey, USA) William F. Rupp deemed the motion as “inappropriate,” noting the need for democratic process.

With enactment 07-357, the Council voted to require the RI Board to announce the results of deliberations for adopted resolutions. This item requires the RI Board to notify all governors of RI Board actions taken as a result of resolutions adopted at a Council on Legislation. This shall take place within one year of the conclusion of the Council.

On Friday, 27 April, the Council enters its fifth and final day of voting, with 65 resolutions and three motions of consideration remaining.

Council approves dues increase, endorses Foundation’s plan: Results from 25 April
by Joseph Derr, Rotary International News

CHICAGO — In a move that will impact all Rotary clubs, the 2007 Council on Legislation Wednesday passed an enactment to increase per capita dues beginning in 2007-08. The enactment (07-283), proposed by the RI Board of Directors, effectively raises dues Rotary club members pay US$1 per year through 2010-11.
The enactment pertains to Article 17.030 of the Bylaws of Rotary International, and increases dues to $23.50 per half year in 2007-08, $24.00 per half year in 2008-2009, $24.50 per half year in 2009-10, and $25.00 per half year in 2010-11.

Treasurer Frank N. Goldberg said the dues increase was necessary, citing costs of supporting an increased number of Rotary clubs and districts in recent years. The moderate increase will help maintain the worldwide operations and essential services of RI, including international meetings and communications, while helping to offset inflation.

After much debate on both sides, a resolution (07-173) proposed by the Board to increase the number of directors from 17 to 18 and revise the criteria for setting zone boundaries failed to get the two-thirds majority it needed to pass, being a proposed enactment to the RI constitution.

The assembly also tackled several items related to The Rotary Foundation. With a resounding vote of 437 to 38, the Council endorsed the mission, motto, and priorities of the Future Vision Plan for The Rotary Foundation. The plan aims to simplify and streamline the Foundation, while advocating proactive problem-solving, increased Rotarian involvement in district-level project administration, and planning for growth.
“The discussion was very interesting and fully supported by the Council, who supported not only the idea but also the activities of this plan,” said Trustee Chair Luis Vicente Giay. “Rotarians on the floor have told me that simplicity is a good beginning for a new vision.”

The Council also sent along several resolutions for the Trustees to consider, including reducing the minimum amount for Matching Grants from $5,000 to $2,500 and authorizing the construction of buildings using Matching Grants.

It was also a day in which the legislative body of Rotary passed measures about itself. The Council passed enactments encouraging a maximum of five legislative items per district (07-308), while revising both the procedure for selecting Council representatives and the timetable for submitting proposed legislation (07-304). These policies will take affect during the next Council on Legislation in 2010.

Other passed items included enactments amending the process of appealing RI Board actions (07-342), revising the appointment process (07-164) for RI committees, and revising district financial reporting requirements (07-158).

Council strong on polio eradication: Results from 24 April
By Tonya Weger, Rotary International News

CHICAGO — Rotary’s parliament determined to hold fast with Rotary’s commitment to eradicating polio in its second full day of voting at the 2007 Council on Legislation in Chicago, where representatives from 530 Rotary districts around the world gathered to discuss and vote on more than 300 items that affect all Rotary clubs.

RI Director Kwang Tae Kim proposed, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, to maintain PolioPlus as Rotary’s corporate program of the highest order. “Until it is eradicated, we should not select another corporate program,” he told Council members. “So far we have 99 percent eradication. We have only one last percent.”

Council members answered his call to action by passing the vote (07-68) 463 to 36. “I’m delighted! I think what it shows is there’s a huge majority of Rotarians still supportive of the program,” said Robert S. Scott, chair of the International PolioPlus Committee. Rotarian “representatives voted overwhelmingly to continue support until polio is eradicated — actually until certification of eradication is attained.”

Due to this decision, the Council referred several items of consideration to the board. Other items, such as water projects, hunger and poverty initiatives, and combating the spread of tuberculosis, were deemed as worthy projects by the Council and forwarded on for review, as they could not be considered as corporate programs. Council members addressed almost 60 votes Tuesday, taking the total items of consideration to 117.

Continuing Monday’s theme, the Council discussed the key issues of how to bring in new members to Rotary and ways to keep the family of Rotary growing. In an overwhelming majority, Council members voted to allow clubs to elect into active membership Rotary Foundation alumni, even if the classification of the alumnus is filled. According to Jeffrey Cadorette, who represented District 7450 (Pennsylvania, USA), Foundation alumni have the ability to “move Rotary forward — they are the shining jewels.” The enactment (07-330) passed with a 414-81 vote.

Staying consistent, the Council determined to allow Rotary Foundation alumni to be active members with a vote of 407-84 on item 07-57. Another item (07-331), which passed by a vote of 271-219, amended the Standard Rotary Club Constitution to clarify that when a member is terminated, a club may still elect a new member within the terminated member’s classification during any appeal period. This could be done as long as the number of active members in such classification is within the provided limitations, even if the club board decision about termination is reversed.

Council casts vote of confidence for strengthening membership: Results from 23 April
by Joseph Derr, Rotary International News

CHICAGO - Ways to bring in new members to Rotary and keep the family of Rotary growing were key themes during the first full day of voting at the 2007 Council Legislation in Chicago, where representatives from 530 Rotary districts around the world gathered to discuss and vote on more than 300 items that affect all Rotary clubs. Despite some technical difficulties with voting equipment early on, Council members were able plough through some 60 items related to Rotary business matters – from meetings and attendance to club administration and membership.

The final item of the day, proposed enactment 07-329, which says clubs can bring in community leaders who have “demonstrated personal involvement in community affairs and a commitment to service and the Object of Rotary, ”generated overwhelming support and ended the day on a positive note as Rotarians looked toward the future. “Today, we’ve added a comma here and an extra word there, but now’s the moment for Rotary to really move ahead,” said Past RI President Clifford L. Dochterman in support of the resolution.

The item, which passed 440 to 53, recognizes the importance of local volunteers who have “lifetimes of experience to offer Rotary,” said Brad Howard of the Rotary Club of Cupertino, California, USA, which proposed a similarly worded enactment (07-328) about the role of community leaders who have demonstrated through their leadership they would make active Rotarians. The enactment was inspired in part by that club’s successful New Models for Rotary Clubs pilot project, which used the criteria to bring in active new members.

Rotary e-clubs got a vote of confidence when a proposed resolution to request that the RI Board consider discontinuing e-clubs (07-36) failed. Numerous Rotarians argued that e-clubs continue to offer a way to attract younger members and flexibility for current members who have time constraints or live in remote rural areas.

Another item (07-42), which passed by a vote of 376 to 111, adds an incentive to Rotaractors who would like to join a Rotary club. Now, individuals who have been active in a Rotaract club within the last two years will be exempt from paying an admission fee to join a Rotary club. The Council also passed a resolution to request the RI Board to consider encouraging clubs to welcome Rotary Foundation alumni as guests at club meetings (07-39).

A resolution (07-35) to request the RI Board to terminate a club with fewer than 10 members failed. David Robinson, representing RI District 5050, spoke in opposition of the resolution, recounting the story of a club in that district that rose from just 11 to more than 25 active members. “That club went on to be the fifth largest per capita giver to The Rotary Foundation in the district,” said Robinson. “When a club’s membership dips to 10 or below, it’s not the time to give up on the club, but to offer resources to help them grow.”

Rotarians also lent their support to resolution 07-37 proposed by the RI Board of Directors, which authorizes the RI Board to suspend or terminate a club that fails to investigate an allegation that a member violated youth protection laws. Supporters of the measure said it will foster Rotary’s commitment to protect children and encourage clubs to act swiftly to investigate allegations of any wrongdoing.

Other passed enactments or resolutions included amending the standard Rotary club constitution to include the Four Avenues of Service (07-29), requiring members to attend 50 percent of regular meetings in each half of the Rotary year (07-14), and clarifying the terms of the president-nominee and president-elect (07-44). Based on the Object of Rotary, the Four Avenues of Service are Rotary's philosophical cornerstone and the foundation on which club activity is based:
· Club Service focuses on strengthening fellowship and ensuring the effective functioning of the club.
· Vocational Service encourages Rotarians to serve others through their vocations and to practice high ethical standards.
· Community Service covers the projects and activities the club undertakes to improve life in its community.
· International Service encompasses actions taken to expand Rotary's humanitarian reach around the globe and to promote world understanding and peace.


The Council on Legislation, Rotary's "parliament," meets every three years to deliberate and act upon all proposed enactments and resolutions submitted by clubs, district conferences, the General Council or the Conference of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, or the Rotary International Board. The Council itself also makes proposals.

The Council is comprised of more than 500 representatives from every part of the Rotary world. Voting members include one elected representative of the clubs of each Rotary district. Some nonvoting members include the chair and vice chair of the council, the RI president, members of the RI Board, and past RI presidents.

The Council first convened in 1934 as an integral part of that year's international convention in Detroit, Michigan, USA. In 1970, it was constituted as the legislative body of RI, no longer to function just in an advisory capacity. Actions of the Council are subject to review by all Rotary clubs prior to being incorporated into the Manual of Procedure.

Share your ideas on the 2007 Council on Legislation actions taken,
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