2019 COUNCIL ON LEGISLATION HIGHLIGHTS
April 23, 2019 – The 2019 Council on Legislation may not have made as many dramatic changes as the Council three years ago did, but it made several decisions that will shape the future of Rotary.
Every three years, representatives from Rotary districts around the world meet in Chicago, Illinois, USA, to consider changes to the constitutional documents that govern Rotary International. This year’s Council considered more than 100 proposals.
Among the most important:
1.) The Council elevated the status of Rotaract clubs. The change broadens the definition of membership in Rotary International to include Rotaract clubs. The change is intended to increase the support that Rotaract clubs receive from RI and to enhance their ability to serve. The measure simply expands the definition of membership in Rotary International to include both Rotary and Rotaract clubs.
2.) Representatives authorized the Board to pursue changing RI’s charitable status to a section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. It is presently a 501(c)(4). A task force has been studying the possible change for 18 months and says it will offer benefits that include tax reductions and vendor discounts that will reduce expenses.
3.) As for dues, the Council approved a modest increase of $1 a year for each of three years, beginning in 2020-21. The previous Council set dues for 2019-20 at $34 per half year. With the increase, the dues that clubs pay to RI per member will increase to $34.50 per half year in 2020-21, $35 per half year in 2021-22, and $35.50 per half year in 2022-23. The dues will not be raised again until a future Council votes to change it.
4.) The Council also changed the name of the General Surplus Fund to RI Reserve, because that more accurately reflects the purpose of the fund.
5.) In another vote, the Council approved calling the general secretary a chief executive officer (CEO) in circles outside Rotary, to increase his stature in dealings with other intergovernmental organizations.
6.) A seemingly small but intensely debated action will reduce the number of nonvoting members at future Councils, by removing past RI presidents and allowing only one RI Board director to attend but not vote.
But in some respects, the Council defined itself as much by what it did not do.
No Limit to Flexibility
This year’s representatives resisted pressure to limit some of the flexibility that the 2016 Council granted clubs, rejecting several measures that would have placed restrictions on clubs. One unsuccessful measure would have required clubs to meet at least 40 times each year.
Many clubs have been using the innovative and flexible club formats to attract new members and meet their current members’ needs.
Representatives also rejected proposals to make it optional for members to subscribe to an official Rotary magazine and to reduce the size of the Council by half and have it meet every two years.
FOLLOW THE COUNCIL ON LEGISLATION BY LIVE BLOG
April 14, 2019 – Representatives from around the world are gathering in Chicago 14-18 April for the 2019 Council on Legislation. The Council is Rotary’s process for considering changes to the rules that guide Rotary clubs with the goal of keeping the organization modern and relevant. Some proposals this year build upon flexibility measures adopted by the last council three years ago. Follow all of the action as it happens on the live blog.
Rotary members from all over the world began arriving in Chicago Saturday to discuss changes to the policies guiding Rotary clubs. The Council is Rotary’s version of a congress. Every three years, representatives selected by their districts gather to consider proposals designed to move Rotary forward and adapt to the changing times. Council members had an orientation on Sunday, and then will get down to business today, working their way through more than 100 proposals. We will have all the action here.