PhilaDems.org

Rules for Meetings

The Pennsylvania laws concerning organization of political parties is found in the Unconsolidated Statues, 25 P.S. Article VIII. In some versions the sections are numbered 2831-2842; in other versions (including the version available online from the Pennsylvania Department of State) the sections are numbered Sections 801-812.

The rules for the reorganization meeting in each Ward should be easily available, according to the Statement of Principles of the Democratic Party of Pennsylvania: "The Democratic Party of Pennsylvania and all subsidiary bodies shall publicize fully, and in such manner as to assure timely notice to all interestedparties, a full description of the legal and practical procedures for selection of Democratic Party Officers and representatives at all levels. Publication of theseprocedures shall be done in such a fashion that all prospective and currentmembers of the Democratic Party may be fully and adequately informed of pertinent procedures at all levels of the Democratic Party Organization."

On 3/31/2014, a new, certified set of Rules of the Democratic Party of Philadelphia was submitted to the Chair of the Philadelphia County Board of Elections.

Bylaws

Bylaws must be consistent with state law, the rules of the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee and the rules of the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee. Otherwise there are no restrictions. For example, if a majority of the Committeepeople in a particular Ward wish for every Committeeperson to be paid the same amount at each election, they could pass a bylaw requiring that. Or a majority of Committeepeople could, if they wished, pass a bylaw to compel the Ward Leader to vote in the City Committee on nominations or endorsements according to majority votes of the Committeepeople.

Rules of Order

Rules of Order make clear how members of a committee may encourage discussion of particular issues and push for votes on suggested actions of the committee. Without a clear set of rules of order, whoever runs the meeting can often shut down or shut out discussions she or he does not want.

Many Ward Committees use Robert's Rules of Order, or some informal version of them, to run meetings. A majority of Committeepeople could, if they wished, pass a bylaw (or merely insist) that the Ward Committee meetings be run by Robert's Rules of Order. This would require, among other things, creation and approval of meeting minutes and regular reports of the Treasurer. Robert's Rules also gives individual Committeepeople the power to introduce motions and push for votes on policy or actions.


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