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EDITING CONVENTION REQUEST: if you see someone adding a comment with their name attached, please don't delete that comment. like if Laura says xyz, let her delete it when she's satisfied that her comment is no longer needed, or if you REALLY feel like you've answered it, then go for it, but be prepared that Laura may want it back in. if you want to add another comment/question about her comment, pls do, or if you want a comment anywhere to document your concern or question, do so, but put your name next to your own comment, in brackets or something.

Pass Mass Amendment Bylaws (draft/proposed)


Embracing our responsibility to our community, and identifying the corrupting influence of Big Corporate Money on our government, we, the activists of Pass Mass Amendment seek an Amendment to our Massachusetts State Constitution to clarify that the inalienable rights enumerated by our constitution are for human inhabitants only, not artificial entities, and that monies spent by such entities for political purposes may not be considered free speech and may be regulated.

In the hope of creating a model organization that will make the Ballot Initiative Process in Massachusetts more readily accessible to voters on a volunteer basis, we establish these bylaws to govern the operations and functions of this Organization. We are entirely run by volunteers. We aim to get money out of politics. As such, we do not want to engage in fundraising, or in paying people to help us.

Within the structure of the Organization, we aim to create a safe and accessible space for discussion, while also allowing decision making to proceed effectively. We are committed to preventing oppression in our organization. We are dedicated to maintaining spaces that are free of sexism, racism, ageism, classism, and other isms and hierarchies do not leave room for such safe spaces.
worked on the language, MG, pls review the Preamble again to see if you can live with it.

Article I: Name and Purpose

1.1 This organization shall be known as Pass Mass Amendment, herein after referred to as PMA or “the Organization”.

1.2 PMA is a state ballot initiative committee, whose purpose is to amend the MA State Constitution to clarify that corporations are not people and that the money they spend for political purposes cannot be considered free speech. PMA aims to do this either through the ballot initiative process OR by lobbying our State Legislature to produce such an amendment through their Constitutional Convention Process. PMA in its very existence, hopes to also evolve the organizational mandates which historically have been patriarchal and hierarchical. And so by our organizational strategies and tactics, we hope to figure out ways for organizations to scale in a way which promotes horizontal, grassroots control of the Organization itself.

Article II: Golden Principles

2.1. PRINCIPLE: ONE HUMAN ONE VOTE. A guiding principle of our leadership is that one human should have one vote. All persons have voting rights at “General Membership Meetings”. All humans have a right to be heard at any PMA meeting. PMA does not want to promulgate systems of oppression by having qualifications for power or voting. However, because PMA also does not want to have groups of people who want to destroy PassMass by swarming a meeting and voting it out of existence, some criteria for voting at General Membership and Core Team meetings should be established.

2.2. PRINCIPLE: 100% CONSENSUS is GOAL. Another principle is that we want to avoid having to vote. We strive for consensus, and prefer to achieve it. But we understand that in circumstances of severe disagreement that we may have to resort to voting to progress beyond the disagreement.

2.3. PRINCIPLE: WE ENCOURAGE INDIVIDUAL ACTION: It is a principle of PMA that individual action is lauded and nourished, as long as that individual action is respectful of other individuals, and is within the principles, goals, and vision of PMA. Of course, PMA cannot limit an individual's action outside of PMA. But if the member is acting “on behalf” of PMA, that individual action must be in accordance with the vision, principles, and direction of PMA. Individual action which is deemed disrespectful or outside of the vision, principles, and direction of PMA can result in the loss of voting rights. If Individuals want to create posters/flyers, or other materials that look like they are “by” PMA, we require that the Individuals use the language from the website/wiki. But beyond that, we encourage people to act with good intentions to do what they want to support PMA.

Article III: Leadership Structure

3.1 DESCRIPTION: The leadership of PMA shall be broken up into three groups the General Membership, the Core Team and the Board of Trusted Servants. The General Membership rules and leads and determines the vision and direction for the Organization, and therefore shall be described first.

3.1.1 DESCRIPTION: GENERAL MEMBERSHIP. The General Membership rules the Organization. It sets the vision and the direction for the Organization. The General Membership is the boss of PMA. All humans are invited to be members of the PMA General Membership. By having a commitment to the goals of our group and showing that commitment by action, everyone is considered a member.

All members must act respectfully to other members. Disrespectful behavior will result in the removal of voting rights (see process below under meetings).

The General Membership shall have the right to participate in the consensus process used to:

  • a. Decide PMA policy
  • b. Amend these Bylaws or standing rules
  • c. Ally with other orgnizations Make endorsements ?? (Can we endorse anything?)
  • d. Conduct meetings (see process below) How often does the General Membership meet? Who can call a meeting? How much notice is needed for a meeting? Is a minimum number members needed for a valid meeting? Are there a minimum number of Core Group members for a valid meeting? e. PMA will publish the results/decisions/minutes of each general membership meeting.

The General Membership may establish committees and working groups
The General Membership shall be responsible for maintaining an organizational structure and process consistent with the principles of grassroots democracy
1) not sure specifically, but basically everything that it wants to do. don't we want all power to reside in the GM

3.1.2 DESCRIPTION: CORE TEAM. The Core Team is to follow the direction provided by the General Membership. The Core Team can act on its own in support of and vote only on specific positions that support the direction and vision of the General Membership.

The Core Team can only vote on issues that are within the scope of the Core Team's “authority”. The Core Team cannot change direction of the Organization, without approval of the General Membership. The Core Team should only vote on issues that fall within the Core Team's responsibilities, granted by this bylaw and approved the General Membership.

Existing Core Team members can decide to invite new members into the Core Team. Core Team members can choose to be on the Core Team email list and participate in email discussions and/or planning. Core Team members are not required to participate in Core Team email discussions.

Basic qualifications to be invited to be part of the Core Team include:

  • - has read the “legal discussion” on the website
  • - has attended at least 3 regional meetings
  • - has gathered signatures
  • - has met with at least one legislator
  • - has called/written at least one legislator
  • - other actions which show ones' commitment to the mission

To attain voting rights in the Core Team, one must done two of the above list of things, and then been accepted into the Core Team by consensus process.

MG question: how many people on Core Team? is there a Quorum?

3.1.4. DESCRIPTION: BOARD OF TRUSTED SERVANTS (BOTS). The Board of Trusted Servants (BOTS) are the “official administrators” who are told what to do by the Core Team. BOTS will never act outside of the vision and direction that the General Membership has given the Core Team. The BOTS have the responsibility and the authority to carry out the wishes of the membership and the Core Team. BOTS will not act unilaterally on independently. BOTS have no power to overrule the wishes of the Core Team or the membership.

If any of the BOTS feel as though the Core Team is acting outside of the vision and direction of the General Membership, they can engage in a formal objection to the action or to remove any or all of the Core Team, just like any member can. See process below.

By law, PMA is required to have a “Board of Directors”. While “the law” may refer to such a “Board of Directors”, we prefer to call the people entrusted with such titles to be the Board of Trusted Servants (BOTS). But the General Membership is “the boss”.

BOTS will be Core Team members.

The BOTS shall be proposed by the Core Team at a General Membership Meeting. At a General Membership meeting, any member can object to the proposed list. We hope to achieve 100% consensus on who becomes BOTS. BOTS will be re-elected at all General Membership meetings. We hope that enough people will want to be BOTS that we will rotate who are BOTS regularly. Ideally, rotation will be automatic and random so that everyone gets to be a BOT before someone gets to be a BOT again. The goal is for BOTS to have no more than a one year term every three years. A goal is to have a mix of sex, age, and racial/cultural background.

(LB: can we change the name of the board of trusted servants to something like really outstanding board of trusted servants, so that they can actually be refered to as roBOTS?? No, seriously….)

MG question: how many BOTS? BOTS are core team members so, if there is a set number, they must be included.Why would anyone want to be a BOTS?4.2 To what extent?

TF question: do BOTS have titles, to meet with legal requirement?

ARTICLE IV: Locals and Allies

4.1. Local groups are encouraged to meet, and plan for events, and promote PMA in their area
4.1.1 Locals are accountable to the General Membership
4.2 Members are also encouraged to seek PMA allies within other activist groups
4.2.1 We respect the right of ally organizations to act autonomously, without necessarily endorsing their activities outside involvement with PMA, but we require all allies to act within the mission/vision of the General Membership. See Individual Action.
4.3 Many groups want PMA to ally with their group, but offer nothing in return. What do we consider an “ally”, as compared to a “potential ally”? MG question

Article V: Meetings and Agenda


6.1.1 CONSENSUS PROCESS. As described above, our goal is to reach 100% consensus. We have to opportunity to grow our organization to help make a better world possible. We have the opportunity to evolve society by evolving ourselves. To “save democracy”, we must first save ourselves from the oppressive systems of “majority rule”. In this principle, we hope to always achieve 100% consensus. This may not always be possible. As such, we have a “modified consensus” process for those circumstances when the group believes that 100% consensus is not possible.Proposals/questions to any of the groups will be presented. If seconded, by one other voting member, the facilitator will ask if there are any objections. If there are none, then the proposal is accepted “by consensus”.If there is an objection, then the group will hear the objection, with a limit of 2 minutes for the objection. The proposer will be asked if they are willing to amend the proposal so mitigate the objection. It is hoped that the proposer will try to work out the objection with an amendment. Assuming the proposal is amended, the objector will be asked amended proposal is acceptable. If the objection is satisfied, then we have reached consensus. If not, the objector and the proposer will be asked to amend their objection/proposal a couple more times in the hopes of reaching consensus. If the objection/amendment process has resulted in many tries and consensus has not been reached, the facilitator will ask the group if they want to go to a vote, or to table the proposal and give the proposer/objector time to resolve their differences. If the group decides instead to go for a vote, we will first ask if the objector will “stand aside”. If the objector is willing to “stand aside” then consensus has been reached. If the objector is not willing to stand aside, for reasons of principle, then the vote will occur. Votes require 90% “yes” for an objection to be overruled and the proposal accepted. What is described here is a “Quick Consensus Process”. Members may adopt a “More Thorough Consensus Process” on more important issues. Tabling to another date allows such a thorough process to be engaged in. if we don't want to have two processes...quick and thorough, then skip it... the tabling process can serve as the "more thorough" version

7.0 VOTING RIGHTS, PRINCIPLE. Our guiding principle is that one human should have one vote. We do not want to encourage systems of oppression by having too many qualifications for voting. However, because we also do not want to have groups of people who want to destroy PassMass swarm into a meeting and vote us out of existence, we want to have some criteria for voting. (Terra: this is already above, do we need it in two places??)

7.1 VOTING RIGHTS: GENERAL MEMBERSHIP. All humans are invited to be members of the PMA General Membership. By having a commitment to the goals of our group and showing that commitment by action, everyone is considered a member. All members must act respectfully to other members. Disrespectful behavior will result in the removal of voting rights (see process below under meetings). Active members of PMA are allowed to vote at a meeting of the General Membership. An 'active member' is defined as any member, in good standing.
7.2 VOTING RIGHTS: CORE TEAM MEMBERSHIP. Only active members of the Core Team are allowed to vote at a Core Team meeting. An 'active Core Team member' is defined as any Core Team member, in good standing, who has met any two of the “Basic Qualifications” and has been accepted into the core team by consensus process. See below for how to achieve these voting rights. Any member of the organization can move to remove the voting rights of a Core Team member. See process below.
7.3 VOTING RIGHTS: BOTS. The “Board of Trusted Servants” (BOTS) have no meetings on their own. They take direction from the Core Team. They are not allowed to meet on their own. Any discussions between BOTS should be documented and reported to the Core Team. All email correspondence between BOTS must be part of a publically available email list that any General Member can view at their leisure.

7.4 REMOVAL OF VOTING RIGHTS. Any member of the BOTS, Core Team, or even General Membership voting rights can be removed with the following process. If any member, of good standing, believes that someone is doing things that are not in line with the membership wishes or has been disrespectful, that member can propose that the person's voting rights be removed. If the offense is egregious the member may demand an emergency meeting to decide if we should limit member activity while a formal vote of the membership ensues. A formal meeting will then be announced within 10 days of such a demand.

8.1 A BOT or Core Team member will maintain the list of Core Team members. Anyone who is no longer an active Core Team member shall be removed from the list. In any meeting where confusion may occur about who is authorized to vote, the Membership Coordinator shall make the active member list available for inspection and distribute name tags or other appropriate identification before the commencement of the meeting.
8.2 There are several mailing lists. Anyone can create their own mailing list, but the “official” mailing lists are:- Master List- Core Team List- Action Team List
8.2.1 The Master List is everyone and anyone who wants to get email ANNOUNCEMENTS. The Master List is “announcement only”. There is no discussion. It's a one way (sent out) list, so people who don't want to get a lot of email can get “announcements only”.
8.2.2 The Core Team list includes all Core Team members that want to be on the email list. Some Core Team members may not want to be on the Core Team email list. But they will still maintain Core Team voting rights.
8.2.3 Action Team List. This list includes anyone who wants to get regular, sometimes daily notifications of “actions” that we're engaging in. All General Membership votes will take place will be announced to the Action Team list. All minutes or other documentations will be sent to the Action Team list. Everyone is invited to join the Action Team List. There are no responsibilities or requirements, except that if someone is disrespectful of PMA or the group, we may remove them. The Action Team List differs from the Core Team list in many ways. The Core Team list is active discussion by participants. The Action Team is primarily an announcement list to people who want to be involved, but don't want to be as involved as the Core Team.
8.3 The PMA calendar on the website will have all meetings posted within 48 hours. For all Core Team and General Membership meetings.
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Other Notes to be integrated:= How are the BOTS selected and removed? Consensus Process.pdf


Meeting agenda

The group should attempt to have an agenda before each meeting, which will be sent to the Action Team list. The agenda builder responsibilities should rotate. Anyone can add items to the agenda. If the agenda gets too full, the Core Team will decide what items to include.
If a person finds that the agenda builder has not included their item, and that the Core Team has ignored their request, that person can show up at the next meeting and propose the item to the group. The group will discuss and come to consensus whether to add the item to the meeting agenda for that meeting or to add it to a future meeting agenda. Agenda decision making will use “the quick consensus” model.
3. Consensus Process
3. a. We believe that all voices should be heard. As such, we will attempt to achieve as close to 100% consensus as possible, using the processes outlined here. To facilitate progress, decisions will be categorized into two categories, each with its own process. The two categories for decisions will be:

  • Quick Decision Making
  • Thorough Decision Making

3. b. Proposals can be made at meetings, or on the Core Team email list. Any proposal that has not been Consented Upon, can be brought to a vote if one person proposes that a vote occur, and another person “seconds” the proposal. All proposals brought to a vote must be announced to the Action Team list two days ahead of time. Votes of Core Team members in good standing can vote via Telephone Conference (telcon) or via the Core Team email list. Only Quick Decision Making proposals can be voted online/telecon. All Thorough Decisions Making issues/proposals must be voted on in person, or via telcon. Anyone who wants to attend such decision making meetings can do so. All Thorough Decision Making meetings will be posted two days in advance on the Action List and on Facebook. Anyone who wants to speak to an issue or a proposal is welcome to do so at such meetings. Any comments received by, will be forwarded to the Core Team for consideration. All comments to proposals will be posted on the PassMassAmendment Facebook page if the commenter desires.
3.c. The exception to 100% will only be when three rounds of “Consensus Attempts” have been made and consensus has not been achieved. There are two types of Consensus Process. Quick Decision Making and Thorough Decision Making. Formal process for voting is to be used only where there is disagreement. If a proposal emerges and there is no objection, we consider this “Consented Upon”.
3. d. Quick Decision Making. Quick Decision Making is to be used only for issues of small consequence. Any person who feels like a decision should use Thorough Decision Making process, instead of the Quick Decision Making process, they may do so, but the proposal to use the Thorough Decision Making process must be “seconded” by another person who has voting rights.
3. e. Thorough Decision Making. Issues which are deemed to be a matter of principle or are associated with bylaws or the very existence of PassMassAmendment shall not be voted on only with the Thorough Decision Making process.

Losing voting rights

Formal objections/petitioning the GM to change policy, remove voting rights, etc

what else do we want general membership to be able to do/not do?
internal_-_bylaw_development.txt · Last modified: 2018/07/23 11:48 (external edit)