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Bylaws Revision for Chapters and Caucuses
Proposal Title: Bylaws Revision on Chapters/Caucuses
Contact Info: John Andrews, [email protected], Tel. 781-862-6498
Requested review: Membership Committee
There has been general agreement that GRP locals should become more important and more active participants in the functioning of the GRP in Massachusetts. One stumbling block to this is the current Section 7 of the GRP bylaws regarding "Green Rainbow Local Chapters" . Section 7 is confusing and inconsistent with the reality of how the Party has been operating. It encourages a confusing and legally hazardous intermixing of state law and GRP structure. It does not provide for proper allocation of the decisions made in creating chapters and it has no provision for decertifying an inactive chapter. This revision seeks to update Section 7 to make them clear and relevant and to ensure productive interactions between chapters and the rest of the party.
The distinction between a local chapter and a caucus is made. The process for creating chapters is clearly defined. The process for deactivating a chapter is defined.
Financial Impact: None
Implementation: AdCom and Membership Committee must be aware of the changes.
Section 7 of the current Party bylaws are hereby deleted and replaced by the following:
7 Green-Rainbow Local Chapters
7.1 Green-Rainbow Local Chapters form a basic organizing unit of the Green-Rainbow Party and are hereby granted independent decision-making authority regarding their internal affairs as well as rights to participate in party-wide decision-making as defined in these bylaws. In exchange for these rights, Chapters but are expected to a) support the Ten Key Values and the overall organizing objectives of the Green-Rainbow Party. b) faithfully and democratically represent their identified constituencies, c) work constructively with other locals and the rest of the Party, d) remain in compliance with the GRP bylaws, and e) remain active as indicated by regular meetings and communicating as required with the Party.
7.2 A Green-Rainbow Chapter may be defined as a Local Chapter or a Caucus. A Local Chapter consists of members residing within a defined geopolitical region. Such regions are assigned during the Chapter certification process to avoid overlaps. A Caucus is defined by a particular issue interest or demographic characteristic that is the basis of membership. A caucus may be statewide or regional in extent and may overlap the regions assigned to local Chapters.
7.3 Chapters designated as certified as of January 1, 2013, and their assigned proportional votes, are as follows: Amherst (1), Greater Boston (3), Nashua River (1), Pioneer Valley (1), and Worcester (2).
7.4 New chapters may be certified in the following way:
a) An application form as approved by the Administrative Committee is submitted to the Secretary of the Party that contains required information including:
- The region to be represented by the chapter or, for a caucus, the interest affinity.
- An argument for the establishment of the chapter with the above characteristics.
- Signatures of three persons willing to serve as founding officers of the chapter, subject to election by the chapter membership.
- Signatures of 15 GRP members, or 5% of the GRP voters in the chapter's region, who desire to be members of the chapter and who are qualified to be members.
b) Upon verifying that the application is complete, the Secretary will forward the application to State Committee for consideration. The Secretary shall also recommend the number of proportional votes to be granted to the Chapter as defined in Section 7.6 below.
c) The Chapter may be authorized by a 2/3 vote of State Committee.
d) After authorization, the Chapter shall hold an organizational meeting to which all GRP members within its jurisdiction are invited by email notice distributed by the Secretary with at least two weeks notice. At this meeting the officers of the Chapter shall be elected by the attending members. Upon receipt of the minutes of this meeting by the Secretary, the Chapter shall be considered to be fully certified and to have all rights, privileges, and obligations of a certified Chapter.
7.5 Chapters must provide the Secretary with contact information for a contact person for the Chapter. All information sent to this person shall be presumed to have been communicated to the chapter. Chapters are required to send a copy of minutes of each official chapter meeting to the Party Secretary within three weeks of each meeting.
7.6 When Green-Rainbow Chapters are voting on matters that affect the Party beyond their jurisdiction, such as Article 6.6 (calling a state convention), Article 8.8 (overriding a state committee by-law change or decision), or Article 8.9 (calling a state committee meeting), each Chapter shall be permitted to cast the number of votes granted to it upon certification. The Secretary shall recommend the number of votes based on the following guidelines:
a) For a local, the number of registered Green-Rainbow Party voters in the chapter jurisdiction, divided by thirty, and then rounded upward, but not to exceed four votes.
b) For a caucus, one vote.
Green-Rainbow Chapters with two or more votes are encouraged to allocate their votes in proportion to an actual vote cast by the chapter members.
7.7 The Green-Rainbow Party may, by 2/3 vote of State Committee, decertify a Green-Rainbow Chapter for one or more of the following reasons which if finds to persist after reasonable efforts have been made to resolve the issue:
a) actions by the Green-Rainbow Chapter that are in substantial contradiction to the Ten Key Values;
b) actions by the Green-Rainbow Chapter that significantly damage the functioning or the reputation of the Green-Rainbow Party or .
c) violation of the requirements of being open to all eligible GRP members and operating according to democratic principles;
d) failure to hold official meetings at least twice in each calendar year as determined by minutes submitted to the Party Secretary;
e) failure to provide information requested by the Secretary that is needed for the proper functioning of the Party.
7.8 Prior to a decertification vote, the Secretary must post a public notice to members giving the reasons for decertification and including a statement by officers of the affected chapter if they wish to provide such a statement. At the next state committee meeting, the state committee may vote on decertification. If such a motion passes, the Green-Rainbow Chapter will be no longer be affiliated with the Green-Rainbow Party and will no longer be allowed to participate as a chapter in the Green-Rainbow Party decision-making process, or permitted to represent themselves as part of the Green-Rainbow Party structure. An application to form a new chapter to replace the decertified chapter may be acted upon at any time after the decertification occurs.
7.9 Several types of legally recognized political organizations can be formed under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and federal election laws, including political action committees (PACs), town and ward committees, People's Committees for ballot initiatives, 501(c)4 organizations, and 527 committees. These organizations generally operate under laws that cannot be modified by the Party. State Committee and any chapter may form and dissolve such political organizations as they see fit, although coordination at the state level is recommended. The Party reserves the right for State Committee to grant or withold the right for such organizations to use the name of the Party in their name or in their public communications. The Secretary shall keep the list of organizations authorized to use the Green-Rainbow Party name.
7.10 State Committee may, through it normal proposals process, alter the jurisdictional boundaries of existing chapters and revise the number of proportional votes allocated to each chapter.
END OF REVISION
Choosing a New Method to Elect StateCom Members
Sponsors: Mike Heichman, Suffolk County and
Contact Info for Floor Manager: [email protected], 617-265-8143
Committees Vetted: Adcom, ComCom, CDLC, Membership & Diversity, & Platform
Background: We want to grow our party. From the beginning of our party’s history in 2002, we have been overly dependent on a relatively small number of people who have carried the party on their shoulders. We all agree that we need to grow and we all agree that we need more of our members to become leaders in our party.
Sometimes, our members are prevented from being on the StateCom. Some counties are only able to elect a small number of Representatives. The fact that some of our active members are not Representatives while other Representatives are inactive is unjust and dysfunctional. As much as we can, we want to encourage our members to become active leaders of our party. The way we elect our leadership (StateCom) should reflect the values and principles of our party.
Summary: We want to encourage our members who want to be leaders of our state party, to be members of the StateCom. The requirement for being a leader of the State Party is that StateCom members agree to help with the work of our state party. We especially want to encourage and support the leadership of our members who are people of color, women, GLBTG, handicapped, low-income and youth.
This proposal is consistent with the following “10 Key Values”: Grassroots Democracy, Social Justice and Equal Opportunity, Decentralization, and Respect for Diversity.
This proposal will end the necessity of having regional conventions to elect members of the StateCom.
1. We will have a StateCom that will have a maximum of 100 members. Increasing the number above 100 would require a 75% vote of the StateCom.
2. StateCom will be a continuous body.
3. Requirements to be a member of the StateCom
A. You must agree to participate in the work of the StateCom (attend meetings, read your e-mails and if you wish, participate in the discussions, etc.)
B. You must choose at least one of the following:
i. Be a member of Adcom
ii. Be an active member of at least 1 Working Committee
iii. Be a GRP elected official or candidate
iv. Participate in the work of the GPUS
v. Be an officer (Co-Chair, Secretary or Treasurer) of a local chapter
4. Local Chapters will elect as many members as they wish to the State Comm. The only requirements are that those elected will agree to the description of requirements in 3A and 3B.
i. Local Chapters are encouraged to elect a diverse membership to the StateCom.
ii. Each member will serve a 1-year term. At the end of their term, they will be eligible for re-election by their local chapters.
iii. Local Chapters can recall their Representatives any time they wish.
5. Members of Adcom (Co-Chairs, Treasurer, Secretary, and Diversity Reps) are members of the StateCom. Adcom members are encouraged, but not required, to be members of local chapters. As long as they remain on Adcom, they will remain on StateCom. (Note: Members of Adcom will continue to be elected in the same manner.)
6. Committee Directors and Committee Co-Chairs are members of the StateCom. They are encouraged, but not required, to be members of local chapters. As long as they remain in their positions, they will remain on StateCom. (Committee Directors will continue to be elected at the annual convention. In case of a vacancy, they will continue to be elected by the StateCom. Committee Co-Chairs will be elected for up to a 1-year term by members of their committee and can be re-elected.)
7. Members elected at the MA Presidential Primary at senatorial districts will continue to be elected to the StateCom for a 4-year term.
8. Members of the StateCom who represent local chapters, who are members of Adcom, who are elected for a 4-year term during the MA Presidential Primary, and who are Committee Directors and Committee Co-Chairs will elect other GRP members to be on the StateCom. (They can be elected as long as the number of the current members of the StateCom are 100 or lower, unless the StateCom votes by at least a 75% vote to increase the number.)
i. These members must agree to the same requirements as other StateCom members (see 3A and 3B)
ii. Encouraging diversity is an important consideration.
iii. They will serve a 1-year term and will be eligible for re-election.
9. There will no longer be any StateCom Alternates. This position will no longer be needed.
10. If this proposal is passed, the appropriate sections of the by-laws will be changed.
Implementation: This new structure will go into effect after the 2013 annual convention. After the convention, the new officers will take the necessary steps to encourage local chapters to elect their Representatives, and to encourage other members to apply for membership on the StateCom (which will be elected at the Winter, 2012 StateCom meeting.)
This proposal has been withdrawn by its sponsor.
A Green-Rainbow Party Agenda for Massachusetts
Sponsor: GRP Platform Committee, co-chairs, Brian Cady and Joanna Herlihy
Floor managers: Brian Cady and Joanna Herlihy
Committees sent to for review and feedback: Membership. CDLC, Communications
Background: At the Green-Rainbow State Convention in Worcester on November 17, 2012, delegates reviewed a draft text entitled ‘Fundamental Platform’ and approved a proposal requesting that the Platform Committee continue the development of this document, facilitating broad participation, and that the State Committee discuss and recommend approval of such a document at its January 19, 2013 meeting.
Summary: Given that this document attempts to state a vision for a political action program in Massachusetts for the indefinite future and purports only to serve as a source for political campaign platforms, we hope to avoid confusion by renaming it as an ‘agenda’, rather than a ‘platform’. We welcome any designation that the State Committee considers appropriate for this document. Such an ‘agenda’ can also serve the Green-Rainbow Party as basis for taking positions on contemporary issues.
Financial Impact: No direct impact.
Implementation: If approved, this document will be posted on the Green-Rainbow website, to be used in whatever manner members consider appropriate.
Proposal: Caught between its mandates to solicit and incorporate broad input and to produce a document expressing a coherent vision, the Platform Committee presents to the State Committee for approval the current version of the draft document:at http://grp.kingpine.info/mediawiki/index.php/Fundamental_Platform This document could surely benefit from editorial expertise. On the other hand, the possibility for revision of the party agenda should remain open. We request that that State Committee consider what would be appropriate procedures for improving and updating this document.
The Green-Rainbow Party (GRP) is the Massachusetts affiliate of the Green Party of the U.S. In 2002, the GRP united (1) the Massachusetts Green Party and the Rainbow Coalition Party on the basis of shared values. The Ten Key Values (2) of the Green-Rainbow Party rest on grassroots democracy, social justice, nonviolence, and ecological wisdom--an understanding of the interconnectedness of everything on Earth, respect for all life and its creativity
The social and environmental crises and dysfunctions of our time are driven by a profit-hungry economic system, governments serving the interests of the few, and false ideas spread by mass media. Unlimited economic growth is not possible on a planet with finite resources. We recognize that it is essential to create a vibrant and sustainable economic system that provides a decent life for all people while maintaining a healthy ecological balance.
The Green-Rainbow Party seeks ways to strengthen and revitalize our communities, the foundation of human society, economy, and democracy. With all empowered to participate, we seek to reclaim and rebuild our economic and political activities to sustain the well-being of people and our planet.
2) Proposed Text
I. Healthy Communities
Healthy communities are places where people thrive and find meaning in their lives. Communities where all find a place and a livelihood are more stable and better able to deal with physical and social crises and disasters. Growing income inequality and the continuing transfer of wealth from the less to the more affluent undermine our society and the shared understandings on which it is based. We propose measures to strengthen the vitality of Massachusetts communities, funded with savings from superseded programs and shifts in sources of local and state revenue.
To enable all to participate in their communities, we will prioritize measures to meet basic needs, adding community based programs to the standard safety net. We will act to facilitate local food production and make healthful, affordable food available in all communities, assure adequate and affordable housing for all, and provide universal health care. We will fund services which strengthen communities, including, but not limited to, early childhood education, day care, after-school and outreach programs, adult education, special needs and arts programs.
Residents need opportunities to connect with work that helps their community and its environment, as apprentices, volunteers, or employees at living wages. On the job training, public service projects, and other enterprises with social benefit should be encouraged by government agencies and the private sector, as well as by residents.
We propose to improve public schooling, making sure that all schools are funded to meet the needs of their children, are run democratically, and are staffed with teachers who are able to cultivate in children a sense of autonomy, a spirit of cooperation, critical thinking, empathy, and an appreciation for diversity. Such schooling, free from the influence of private corporate agendas and militarism, should encourage students to develop practical understandings and skills for living in the wider world.
College attendance should not be a requirement for many jobs. State-supported colleges should provide for specialized learning or serve as a platform for professional education. For those who seek it, higher education and research opportunities, as well as professional training, must be made available without incurring debt for tuition.
The criminal justice system must serve community needs, giving priority to prevention and rehabilitation. The Commonwealth must decriminalize possession and use of drugs, treating substance abuse and addiction as public health problems. We must eliminate mandatory sentencing, and reduce use of incarceration as punishment. Correctional facilities must protect rights of prisoners and their families and must not be run for profit.
The proposed social advances are intended for the benefit of everyone living in the Commonwealth, without discrimination on the basis of sex, color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, language, immigration status, criminal record, religion, belief system or political orientation.
The Massachusetts tax system must be revised to make it truly progressive, relieving the burden on people who are experiencing financial difficulties. This should be done at both state and local levels. Government revenue should eventually shift from taxes on incomes to taxes on profits, land and resource use, excessive consumption, and environmental pollution. This should enable development of universal minimum income (3) to allow democratic participation for all.
II. Sustainable Economies
Economies are systems developed by ordinary people working together to meet their needs. Ecologically sound economies conserve and recycle natural resources and fully involve human capabilities and imagination and are responsible to the future of humanity. The prevailing global "economic" system, controlled by the powerful, is wasteful, predatory, and destabilizing. Accepting this model, Massachusetts has failed many sectors of its population and permitted widespread degradation of its land, water, air, and ecosystems. We will strengthen local and regional economies, encouraging sustainable enterprises that are rooted in and responsible to their communities, while promoting regional and trans-regional collaboration.
The Commonwealth must establish and maintain programs and take measures to assist conversion to ecologically sound, locally and democratically controlled economies based on a mix of enterprises--cooperative, public, and private. The Commonwealth as a whole and individual towns should organize employment in projects beneficial to communities and their environments, providiing training, experience, and wages. Such programs should provide employment opportunities to all through democratically managed job banks.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts was formed to work for the common good. To protect the commons, including land, water, air, and ecosystems, in the face of catastrophic threats posed by accelerating climate change, the Commonwealth must aggressively promote the transition to local, sustainable economies. Such economies are based on energy conservation and efficiency, distributed clean energy production, local organic agriculture, and public transportation with safe walking and bike paths between transportation hubs. Towards this end, we must generously fund environmental research, programs, and education, as well as regional planning and public transportation. The highest standards for environmental and public health protection must be applied to new and old technologies. Reducing use of energy from fossil fuels and developing alternative energy sources need persistent attention and funding.
Wage labor in the Commonwealth must be compensated with living wages adequate for a worker and dependents to afford basic housing, food, and healthcare, laying the ground for reduced working hours and job sharing. Rights of workers to organize, for safety in the workplace, and for collective bargaining must be protected. Rights of whistleblowers to share information about things that endanger society, in both private and public enterprise, must be supported
The Commonwealth must assume more responsibility in the operation of enterprises serving the general public, such as communications, utilities, and transportation networks. Government ownership, state or municipal, should be enabled when indicated by the public benefit. Where the ownership of enterprises is held by individuals, varieties of cooperative, democratic, and non-profit ownership should be strongly encouraged by law and policy.
The legislature must create a transparently and democratically run state bank to provide financial support for local sustainable economies and enterprises. A state bank would also lessen the massive transfer of wealth to the elite that controls the privately owned banking corporations. Legislation must also enable municipal level public banks. Such institutions can fund needed investments in community and ecosystems, greatly reducing the price of public projects by eliminating near-crippling costs on interest for loans from private banks. A state-owned bank can also support local private banking. The people benefit when funds are retained locally. Local currencies, time banks, and barter systems will also reduce dependence on the dominant monetary economy.
The Commonwealth should regularly review corporate charters and exercise its powers to assure that they act in the interest of all, not causing harm to workers, communities, the environment. or democracy in Massachusetts or world-wide. Municipalities should exercise their powers to the same end. For all the reasons described by Thomas Jefferson centuries ago, corporations and other artificial entities should not be given constitutional rights. These are reserved for individual human beings. Toward that end, our congressional delegation should be instructed to support a Constitutional amendment to clarify that corporations are not people and that money is not speech.
International treaties negotiated by the federal government can affect the economy of Massachusetts adversely. The Commonwealth's International Trade Commission must advise the state about the harmful effects of such trade treaties, which may override labor and environmental protection. The Commonwealth should challenge the legality of harmful treaties and advise our Congressional delegation accordingly, opposing all corporate activity which is not accountable to the people or the planet. The Commonwealth must not enter into contracts with suppliers who engage in human rights violations or participate in war.
III. Democratic Governance
Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one individual, family, or class: Therefore the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require it. (4) (Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Article VII) The Green-Rainbow Party proposes to remedy the failure to follow through on the stated premise of commonwealth government over the past two hundred years through a variety of measures, as follows:
The Commonwealth must protect the civil liberties of all residents, whatever their legal status. People require ready access to accurate information and the opportunity to assemble in public spaces and to exchange opinions. Voting rights must be guaranteed to all citizens. The integrity of voter choice must be respected; it is best assured by a paper trail for ballots and careful auditing of election results by nonpartisan officers.
Representative government requires that candidates for elected office have reasonable access to the ballot and to public information media for both state and local elections. We work towards voter rights for residents, state financing of candidacy for public office, election by majority (not plurality), and preferential/ranked choice for all candidates in primary and general elections. In a bicameral legislature, it should be possible to represent both the interests of local communities and also the broad range of opinions on conduct of state-wide affairs. Political diversity in the Commonwealth as a whole should be represented in its legislative bodies. Compact districts of roughly equal population should be drawn on the basis of shared concerns of these populations.
Democratic deliberation and decision making must be carried out as close to the people concerned as possible, and conducted in a manner which assures that all perspectives are considered. Citizen assemblies, chosen openly and freely by those most directly involved in outcomes, should be given appropriate powers in coordination with state and municipal governments. Planning, participatory budgeting, and economic development councils should be open to all affected sectors of society, and the findings of these groups must be legally and fiscally binding. Commonwealth law on 'home rule' (5) must be revisited to ensure adherence to the principle of subsidiarity.
It may at times be necessary for the Commonwealth to contest federal laws and policies that are or may be damaging to the common good. It is a duty of all government officials to call attention to such cases. Our Congressional delegation should be instructed to support downsizing of the bloated military budget and redirecting funds to support real security through meeting critical needs here at home.
Transparency in government operations relies on open hearings, legislative procedures that can be followed by the public, open reporting of legislative actions, and easy access to records. Financial records must be publicly available in spreadsheet format to allow for analysis by citizens. Contracts must be structured to assure competition to take advantage of innovation and efficiency. Continuous auditing of government expenditures will enable critical scrutiny, reducing waste and providing data for improvements. Instituting full cost accounting will assist decision-making by indicating long term effects on the environment and the people. Liability accounting should include future liabilities caused by land use policy and law. The ability to adapt to rapidly changing reality will determine the success of governments and the survival of the people who institute them.
~ END ~
4)Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Article 7
The Green-Rainbow Party (GRP) is the Massachusetts affiliate of the Green Party of the U.S. In 2002, the GRP united the Massachusetts Green Party and the Rainbow Coalition Party on the basis of their shared values and aspirations.
Our Ten Key Values rest on understanding the interconnectedness of people, planet, and peace. We emphasize the ability of human beings to work together because they recognize their sustaining role within the diversity and complexity of healthy living systems and robust human societies, without which peace is impossible.
Massachusetts, like much of politics today, takes interdependent social and ecological systems and splinters them into scattered and contentious issues. In contrast, the GRP sees the various crises of our times -- in human rights, the environment, the economy, and electoral politics -- as the result of the unending excesses of corporate capitalism and greed which threaten democracy by dominating our political systems and mass media.
As we map out a plan of action, we do not expect our government to do for us what we can and want to do ourselves. But neither will we allow our government to desert us as we struggle against unequal conditions that we cannot control on our own. In the world’s richest -- yet least taxed -- industrial country, we should not be made to fight each other for crumbs, while global corporations and the most wealthy among us fill their pockets.
To counter the exploitation of people and the planet, the GRP seeks to strengthen and revitalize our communities so every person can be a creative contributor, have a decent life, and be free from fear, discrimination, and hopelessness. To that end, we seek to reclaim and rework the economic and political activities of our Commonwealth.