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Demystifying the plenary  the process for participating in voting, candidates, resolutions, amendments
 

Demystifying the plenary the process for participating in voting, candidates, resolutions, amendments

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Presentation created for the 76th Law for the People Convention of the National Lawyers Guild, held October of 2013, in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Presentation created for the 76th Law for the People Convention of the National Lawyers Guild, held October of 2013, in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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    Demystifying the plenary  the process for participating in voting, candidates, resolutions, amendments Demystifying the plenary the process for participating in voting, candidates, resolutions, amendments Presentation Transcript

    • NLG’s Annual #Law4ThePeople Convention Plenary
    • The aim of this slideshow, which will be sent to members in advance of the plenary, and show at the plenary, is to familiarize members, especially new members, with the NLG decision making processes.
    • As a democratic organization, the work and focus of the Guild is decided by our members. Each year at the national convention, we hold Friday and Saturday plenaries in which members discuss and vote on programmatic priorities, often in the form of resolutions. We also update our governing documents, our bylaws and constitution.
    • During the Plenaries we Vote on Resolutions and Amendments Resolutions are an opportunity for our membership to propose and agree on statements of programmatic priorities for our organization and to take stances on various issues. Examples of the breadth and depth of past resolution topics are here: http://bacil.io/NLGbyres Amendments can be made to either our constitution or our bylaws. The Guild membership has updated the constitution, originally adopted in 1937, at many conventions. The current constitution and bylaws are available here: http://bacil. io/NLGbyres
    • Each Convention Has 2 Plenaries Plenary 1 Plenary 1 Friday, October 25, 2013 10: 15am — 11:45am Saturday, October 26, 2013 10am — 12pm Introduce ➔ ➔ Candidates Resolutions 1. Resolution Publications 2. Fundraising Solicitations ➔ Amendments 1. Legal Worker on NEC Evaluate whether ➔ ➔ officer elections are contested resolutions are opposed (if not opposed, then deemed non-controversial) ● ● ● Evaluate whether resolutions are “controversial.” Vote applying corresponding voting procedures. Proponents of Resolutions and Amendments & Candidates must be in attendance at both the Friday and Saturday plenaries, and be ready to speak. If they will not be present, proponents should notify the Resolutions Committee and appoint an alternate delegate to present and answer questions during both plenaries.
    • Voting Eligibility & Preparation See NLG Bylaws Section 8 Voting Eligibility ➔ ➔ Must be a current dues paying member before plenary 1 starts Need not vote at the convention (can vote later if attended convention). Preparation Checklist ➔ ➔ Do you have a complete registration packet? ◆ When you register, you should receive an orange “vote” card ◆ This year voting is electronic at www.nlg.org/survey. So you should not have received a ballot. Have you read the candidate statements & resolutions/amendments ◆ Located here http://www.nlg.org/convention ◆ Resolutions/amendments are online. A limited number are passed out during both plenaries. If submitted in advance, candidate statements are online.
    • Summary 3 Plenary Voting Processes Resolutions ➔ ➔ Passed if 2/3 plenary attendees support. If less than 2/3 of plenary supports, then full membership votes electronically (or affirmatively requests paper ballot). If 2/3 of full membership supports, then passes. 2 Distinct Resolution Types ➔ Regular — Deadline for inclusion in convention materials is earlier. Friendly amendments not accepted. ➔ Emergency — Deadline for proposal and inclusion in materials is later. Friendly amendments accepted. 3 Distinct Resolution Voting Outcomes ➔ Non-Controversial —not up for debate — Passed by acclamation (verbal motion and 2nd verbal confirmation – as opposed to vote) in Plenary 2 ➔ Controversial — up for exploration and debate in the 2nd plenary – and full vote – first orange “vote” cards are raised and volunteer vote counters tally counts ➔ BM2 NOTE: There was no Number 3 in the original PPT. Lil’ help? Maybe I just read this section incorrectly.
    • Summary 3 Plenary Voting Processes Amendments ➔ ➔ Substance can be to constitution or bylaws Eligibility — all membership always vote - convention attendees can’t decide alone Officer Elections ➔ Eligibility — to run, candidates must be paid members and declare their candidacy by the end of the first plenary, Friday (the deadline for being included in materials/on website/publicizing candidate statement is earlier).
    • Voting Process Date & Time Overview Officers ➔ ➔ if non-contested as of Friday Plenary end ◆ elected by acclamation at Saturday plenary if contested ◆ Friday — Candidate/Supporter Statements — 3 minutes per candidate ◆ Saturday — No statements ◆ eVote — nlg.org/survey Resolutions ➔ ➔ Friday ◆ if not opposed, then initially deemed non-controversial ◆ If opposed, then deemed controversial and given extra time Sat. Saturday — card vote conducted ◆ if non-controversial (card vote of more than than 66%) ● passes on Saturday plenary floor with orange card vote ◆ if not supported (less than 50% card vote) ● fails on Saturday plenary floor with card vote ◆ if controversial (card vote more than 50% but less than 66%) ● eVote (via nlg.org/survey, done wherever eligible voters prefer) Amendments Constitutional & Bylaw ➔ All — eVote (via nlg.org/survey, done wherever eligible voters prefer)
    • Note About eVoting Process Decided During Saturday Plenary by Show of Hands/Cards ➔ ➔ Officers — uncontested Resolutions — non-controversial (card vote of more than than 66%) Decided by Full Member Vote ➔ ➔ ➔ Officers — contested Resolutions — controversial (card vote more than 50% but less than 66%) ◆ Triggers further discussion Amendments (constitutional or bylaw) — all must go to full membership vote ◆ introduced at the plenary, and debated pro/con – then electronic voting Decided After Plenary Presentation/Debate ➔ ➔ Electronic voting will be live immediately after the Saturday plenary will continue until December 1, 2013, 11:59pm Pacific. Everything else will be voted electronically at nlg.org/survey ◆ Attendees do not need to vote at convention. ◆ Non-attendees: All those who do not attend the convention but are eligible to vote (i.e., dues paid and in good standing as of the start of the first plenary) will get instructions from the NO.
    • First Matter Officer Elections See NLG Bylaws Section 8.5
    • Candidates for Non-Elected or Non-National Positions Candidates for national office which are selected by caucasus, regions, projects, or committees (e.g., National Law Student Vice President, National Legal Worker Vice President, National Jailhouse Lawyer Vice President, Regional Vice Presidents, representatives from The United People of Color Caucus, and representatives from up to ten NLG projects and national committees) should refer to their respective entities for procedures and available offices. http://www.nlg.org/structure-nlg
    • Candidates for Elected National Office All candidates for elected national office (e.g., President, Treasurer, Executive Vice President, and National Vice President) are elected via the plenary process. http://www.nlg.org/structure-nlg
    • 2013 Positions Elected at Plenaries Not all offices are elected every year. Officer terms run from the time the election is determined, to the convention in the final year of the term. In 2013, the following offices are up for election: ➔ Executive Vice President ◆ 1 position is up for election (There are 2 EVPs total) ◆ Three year term: 2013-2016 ◆ Both EVPs serve on the EC (Executive Council). ◆ Responsible for fundraising, and leading major initiatives and projects of the NEC (National Executive Committee) and NLG. ➔ National Vice President ◆ 2 positions are up for election (There 3 NVPs total) ◆ Two year term: 2013-2015 ◆ Responsible for fundraising, and leading major initiatives and projects of the NEC and NLG. ◆ The 3 NVPs share responsibility for contact and assistance to national committees, projects, task forces, and other NLG entities which do not have representation on the NEC.
    • Executive Vice President - Candidates ➔ Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan ◆ lyciaora@gmail.com
    • Executive Vice President Candidate Statement Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan [slide 1/2] ● *Dime con quién andas y te diré quién tu eres*.¨ In Spanish, this means tell me who you walk with and I´ll tell you who you are. ● I have had the privilege of walking with some of the most thoughtful, brilliant, insightful, talented and radical lawyers, law students and legal workers over the past several years since I became involved with the Guild. I have been inspired and supported, provoked and encouraged, roused and humbled by this body. I have seen the faces of people I work with, advocate with or do activist work with when I mention the name of the Guild – they all light up with appreciation at the years of solidarity, advocacy and legal representation this organization has given them. ● And because I have experienced firsthand the significance of our work, I am running for the position of Executive Vice President to continue to support it.
    • Executive Vice President Candidate Statement Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan [slide 2/2] ● ● ● ● ● ● I got involved with the Guild while a law student at CUNY School of Law, namely through the International Committee, which I currently co–chair, along with the Puerto Rico Subcommittee. And it has been an honor to help plan this year´s convention, the first time the Guild has held its convention outside the United States. I traveled to Venezuela last year as part of a Guild delegation to observe the Presidential election of then President Hugo Chavez and have helped plan this year´s delegation to Colombia to meet with human rights defenders from various sectors. Just last month, I filed a petition in the Guild´s name before the Inter–American Commission on Human Rights against the United States for human rights violations in the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, the first of ts kind ever presented in an international forum. I have also been a member of TUPOCC and the Anti–Sexism Committee. And yet I see so much more possibility for our work and the role the Guild can play, particularly in communities of color. Four years ago I initiated an annual joint forum with the Puerto Rican Bar Association to discuss human and civil rights issues in Puerto Rico which has proven to be successful each year. PRBA members will come to this year´s convention, including the PRBA President. Building alliances with other legal institutions representing or working in communities of color to jointly engage in radical work is critical and yet remains largely unaddressed institutionally within the Guild. I am running for EVP to not only continue to ensure that the Guild remains a known, engaged and thoughtful radical institution, but to also ensure that we remain relevant. I ask for your support for my candidacy, *y te pido que andes conmigo*.
    • National Vice President - Candidates ➔ Gabriela Lopez ◆ gabacules@gmail.com
    • National Vice President Candidate Statement Gabriela Lopez [slide 1/2] ● ● ● I first became involved in the NLG as a student at CUNY law through the street law program. The Street Law program allows law students to go into public schools and talk to young people about their rights when being stopped by the police. Through this program I was able to connect with young people of color who are directly affected by the school to prison pipeline and listen to their stories about law enforcement abuses. I went on to become the first paid Street Law coordinator and conducted several trainings for trainers at NYC area law schools. I also helped draft the curriculum and pushed for larger involvement from students of color in curriculum development and in the trainings. Since then I never looked back. I can proudly say that I am a very active member of the Guild both at the chapter level and nationally. I participated as a legal observer during the occupy protests in New York City, provided research and investigative support for Guild attorneys defending arrestees, helped create the curriculum for the Muslim Defense Project’s know your rights program, and participated in trainings in Muslim and South Asian community centers around surveillance and racial profiling. As a new member the Bay Area’s demonstration committee I provide pro bono legal representation for activists and was a Guild representative, on the now defunct, Coalition for Safe San Francisco. I also served on the National Executive Community (NEC) as TUPOCC co-chair and helped develop this year’s anti-oppression trainings for the board and members at the convention. As a member of the NEC I am active in the membership committee, whose goal is to conduct outreach to new members. I have also helped plan for this year’s Convention Safer Spaces Harassment & Anti-Violence hotline.
    • National Vice President Candidate Statement Gabriela Lopez [slide 2/2] ● ● ● ● Without the Guild I don’t know how I would have gotten through law school or found so many amazing people who share my political beliefs. I love being a member of a passionate and dynamic organization that promotes human rights over property rights and is not afraid to push for radical change in all spectrums of the law. It is my strong devotion to the Guild that has pushed me to run for National Vice President. I want to help grow our membership and make the Guild become relevant once again with a new generation of lawyers, law students, and legal workers. As a young member I have seen first hand how the NLG’s culture can make it difficult for new members, particularly people of color, to become active in the Guild. This problem is something that I wish to change as National Vice President. I would like to push the Guild to connect with other legal and activist organizations to promote cooperation as a means to make us relevant once more. This is something that the Bay Area chapter has been to some extent successful in doing and I would like to help the national organization create similar connections. I look forward to working on these issues as National Vice President and ask for your support in the upcoming election.
    • Timing ➔ ➔ Friday – Decided if Contested ◆ Each Candidate (or their supporters) Entitled to Make ◆ 3 Minute Statement Saturday – If Contested, Vote ◆ Announced, No Statements ◆ Candidate gets acknowledged (from audience). 2013 Candidates ➔ ➔ ➔ Proponents of Resolutions and Amendments & Candidates must be in attendance at both the Friday and Saturday plenaries, and be ready to speak. If national officer elections are unopposed, they will be elected by acclamation at the plenary. If the election is contested, it will go to a ballot of the entire current membership
    • Second Matter Resolutions See NLG Bylaws Section 8.4
    • Resolutions are an opportunity for our membership to propose and agree on statements of programmatic priorities for our organization and to take stances on various issues. Examples of the breadth and depth of past resolution topicscan be found online at: http: //bacil.io/NLGbyres
    • Proposed resolutions and amendments must ➔ be no longer than three pages, using 12 point type, and shorter resolutions are encouraged. Any additional endorsing entities or names must be included within this three page limit. ➔ on their face ◆ include the name and contact information of the person submitting the resolution or amendment. ◆ have a specific and explicit implementation clause that indicates what person or entity will be tasked with what specific work ◆ have the explicit agreement of such persons or entities obligated entity to do the work of implementing the resolution Only emergency resolutions may be submitted after August 24, 2013. ● Emergency resolutions are resolutions based on events that take place after August 24, 2013 and therefore could not have been submitted earlier. ● May be submitted up to twenty-four (24) hours prior to the voting plenary, Emergency resolutions must comply with all other resolution requirements. See Bylaws, Section 8.4 nlg.org/members/constitution-resolutions/
    • Background on 2 Types of Resolutions Non- Emergency & Emergency Non-Emergency ➔ ➔ ➔ ➔ Proposed resolutions must be submitted to the Convention Resolutions Committee in writing not less than 60 days prior to the commencement of the National Convention and must contain a specific implementation clause. Whenever possible, resolutions proposed for consideration by the National Convention should be published to the entire membership before the Convention, preferably in the pre-Convention issue of Guild Notes. August 24th, 2013 Resolutions Deadline October 18, 2013 Revisions Deadline — Revisions are not accepted on the floor of the plenary. Therefore, members may send suggested revisions to the proponents. If proponents accept the revisions, the new proposal will be re-vetted by the Resolutions Committee and Re-Posted on the website by October 22nd. Emergency ➔ ➔ Emergency resolutions may be submitted after the 60 day deadline, and up to 24 hours prior to the voting plenary (in 2012, Saturday 1-3), as long as they are based on events that have taken place after the sixty day deadline. The twenty-four hour deadline may be waived in the event that an emergency resolution is non-controversial as determined by the Resolutions Committee and confirmed by the actual vote. Emergency resolutions must comply with all resolution requirements not related to timeliness.
    • Background on 2 Types of Resolutions & Processes Non-Controversial & Controversial Non-Controversial ➔ Timing ◆ Friday ● If no one opposes, initially deemed non-controversial. ◆ Saturday ● If card vote yields 66%, remains non-controversial. Controversial ➔ Timing ◆ Friday ● If statement made in opposition, deemed controversial. ◆ Saturday ● A resolution shall be deemed controversial if it fails to pass on the Convention floor during the Saturday plenary by at least a twothirds majority of those present and voting ● Controversial resolutions approved by a majority vote of those present and voting at the Convention shall be submitted to the entire membership. ● Must be ratified by a majority vote of ballots.
    • Resolutions How to Participate in Debate ➔ Proponents of Resolutions and Amendments & Candidates must be in attendance at both the Friday and Saturday plenaries, and be ready to speak. ➔ Just get in line at the microphone after proponent introduces ◆ Friday — Only proponents stand up to mic. ◆ Saturday — Eligible voters may stand up to mic ● Non-Controversial ○ Proponent, intro, (3 min) ○ No pro, no con ● Controversial ○ Proponent, intro, (3 min) ○ Alternating ◆ 3 pro (1 min each) ◆ 3 con (1 min each)
    • Third Matter Amendments See NLG Bylaws Section 8.4
    • Amendments How to Participate in Debate ➔ Proponents of Resolutions and Amendments & Candidates must be in attendance at both the Friday and Saturday plenaries, and be ready to speak. ➔ Just get in line at the microphone after proponent introduces ◆ Friday — Only proponents stand up to mic. ◆ Saturday — Eligible voters may stand up to mic ● Non-Controversial ○ Proponent, intro, (3 min) ○ No pro, no con ● Controversial ○ Proponent, intro, (3 min) ○ Alternating ◆ 3 pro (1 min each) ◆ 3 con (1 min each)
    • Amendment Constitution Proposed Amendment to the Constitution Regarding the Composition of the Executive Council of the National Executive Committee Nadia Kayyali, Executive Vice President, National NLG Board Member, NLG-SF evp1@nlg.org This amendment is endorsed by the Legal Workers Caucus. Purpose: to add a Legal Worker Vice President to the National Officers that comprise the Executive Council Article 5.8 of the National Lawyers Guild Constitution, entitled “Executive Council Actions Between Meetings” shall be amended as follows: ● The Executive Officers and the Executive Director are authorized as the Executive Council (EC) to govern the business of the organization between meetings of the full National Executive Committee and to take any action on behalf of the organization that the full National Executive Committee is entitled to take. "Executive Officers" refers to the President, Executive Vice Presidents, Treasurer, Legal Worker Vice President and the senior Student Vice President. The national officers shall report to the full National Executive Committee all actions taken by the Executive Council between meetings; important decisions shall be reported within 15 days. Rationale: ● The National Lawyers Guild preamble states : “We seek to unite the lawyers, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers of America in an organization which shall function as an effective political and social force in the service of the people, to the end that human (rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests. ● Furthermore, Article 2.1 of the Constitution, entitled “No Discrimination,” states “No member or other person qualified to participate (including, for public events, members of the public) shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity of the organization based on sex, sexual preference, age, color, race, religion or political belief or affiliation, disability, formal educational level, or condition of restraint within any institution.” ● One of the National Lawyers Guild’s strengths is its inclusion of non-attorney members, including legal workers. Legal workers contribute an incredible amount of experience, knowledge, expertise, and passion to this organization. Their full inclusion also has the potential to break down the hegemonic model of the practice of law, which is oppressive and hierarchical. ● However, Legal Workers as a group with the National Lawyers Guild remain less visible than our Constitution implies. They seldom serve as the President- in fact, we have only ever had one legal worker serve as President. Their interests are oftentimes not strongly represented at conventions and in chapters. Their work on landmark legal cases in demonstrations and other areas is under recognized. ● The Executive Council makes important decisions in between the quarterly NEC meetings. It also occasionally deals with sensitive or confidential matters. Thus, the EC serves an important function, and yet excludes legal workers from that work. It is time to ensure the full inclusion of legal workers in the National Lawyers Guild. While this will not address the entire issue, it is a good start.
    • Results Voting will be conducted at nlg.org/survey Voting will begin after the plenary Voting will end December 31, 2013
    • Please Help us Improve the Convention Take the convention survey at nlg.org/survey
    • Convention Safer Spaces Harassment & Anti-Violence Hotline 305-767-3263 NLG Sexual Harassment & Complaint Procedure www.nlg. org/file/846