Summary of the Third Bylaws Committee Conference Call

We held our third bylaws conference call Wednesday night. It was our most productive yet, as far as I’m concerned. You’ll need to refer to the bylaws drafting subcommittee’s report to see the language firsthand. You can also see the committee’s bylaws report as it has been approved thus far.

The general consensus was to refer to the organization as “TLC” in the bylaws. The opinion was that by using the phrase “hereinafter TLC” and not “hereafter TLC” it only limited that abbreviation to the bylaws document itself and allowed for other abbreviations to be used for Web domains or other purposes. Though, it was mentioned, “TLC” might carry more weight since it is officially referenced in the bylaws.

It was stated that the original idea behind combining the purpose and powers sections was to prominently display the manner in which the state organization is restricted to selected enumerated powers.

The first motion of the meeting was to strike Article I Section 2 on powers from the bylaws. It was thought that by leaving it as it were, the bylaws could be interpreted to only allow for networking technology. It was not seconded. A motion to postpone the section on powers as written passed on the understanding that the enumerated powers and the 9th and 10th Amendment aspects would later be added to the document where it were deemed more appropriate. As I understand it, there was no objection to the wording, in and of itself, only the placement of the wording.

For the sake of expedience, the next motion proposed forming a legal subcommittee of five to research such issues as the definition of “residents,” the legal liability of having minors as voting members, and other issues. Sean Cheben was the only nomination for the chair. A motion was passed without objection that he be allowed to choose the others who join the subcommittee.
Another motion called to strike the first paragraph of Article III for the sake of streamlining the document. An amendment was made to move the paragraph to the powers section in Article II, which was earlier postponed to add elsewhere later. The amendment and the amended motion were approved.

A motion was approved unanimously to strike the proposed “Pledge to follow the law/nonviolence” section. A substitute non-aggression pledge, it was argued, would be better suited in a separate code of conduct to be produced after the bylaws.

A motion was put forward to change the age of voting members to 18 years of age. An amendment to substitute was proposed that would say a member should be “of an age to be eligible to register to vote in Texas.” This would allow for individuals disqualified from voting or those who choose not to register to vote in government elections to be TLC members. The amendment failed, and the main motion was voted down 54-45 percent based on state senate district voting strength. Many were still interested in including minors as full members but favored taking the time to research the legal liability of full membership for members and alternative approaches of including minors, such as requiring a legal guardian being present. A motion, which passed, was made to move Article III Section 1 A to the legal subcommittee.

A motion was made to add the phrase “, and to forswear the use of illegal means in furtherance of the said purpose on behalf of the TLC” to the membership requirements. The objection to the motion was that the bylaws should deal with the procedure by which actions are taken and how they are taken. The consideration of the legality of the action being considered is not relevant to the procedures of the bylaws. The motion was referred to the legal subcommittee.

The next motion proposed was to adopt Article III Section 1, excluding the sections already sent to the legal subcommittee. The objection settled around a lack of a dues requirement in Article I. The motion passed by the slimmest margin of any vote yet, 50.44-49.56 based on SD voting strength. There were seven individuals in favor and six against. Most likely, some members will propose a minority report with any suggested changes to the final report, and our scheduling subcommittee will begin hearing amendments from members not on the bylaws subcommittee sometime by mid-July.

For the final business of the night, the issue of quorum was raised again. The concern was that a lack of quorum hurt the legitimacy of the committee’s actions and that those members who have not participated could stall future efforts if they wanted to rehash past debates. Over 50 percent of the voting strength was represented, and 15 of the 30 members were present tonight. A motion was called that here forward, not including the current meeting, any members who misses three consecutive meetings without permission of the chairman shall be removed from the committee. It passed without objection.

There will be a conference call on Monday and Wednesday of next week. If you are interested in listening or testifying, then let me know and I’ll get the number for you.