The objective of this workshop is to solicit input (a) on the general concept of establishing regular legislative sessions for the GPUS National Committee (NC); and (b) the specific choices and trade-offs that would be involved in implementing it.
The goal of establishing regular NC legislative sessions (NCLS) is to enable the NC to be more efficient and effective, while involving more NC members in the decision-making process. This would be facilitated by establishing a predictable timeline for NC decision-making. Such a proposal has been presented to the BRPP (Bylaws, Rules, Policies and Procedures) Committee. It is on the slow path, in order to get input from many sectors of the party. This workshop is one step on that path.
Under the current NC system, there is great uncertainty on behalf of NC delegates in timing and length of proposals. This makes it hard for many NC delegates to participate meaningfully in the NC decision-making process.
The result is a GPUS decision-making process primarily involving a limited number of individuals who are able to spend large amounts of time on the NC’s email list, leaving many other NC delegates de facto excluded from meaningful participation, by timing and circumstance. This does not align with the GPUS key value of grassroots democracy; nor does it promote inclusive and well-informed GPUS decision-making.
Under current GPUS Rules and Procedures, state parties, caucuses and committees can introduce proposals at any time, and can ask for discussion periods of differing lengths, the timing of which can then be amended at the last second. This often results in multiple proposals at different points in the decision-making timeline before the National Committee at any one time, with new proposals being introduced, others are in the discussion period, and others in the voting period – all at the same time. Furthermore all of this is unannounced and on no set printed schedule. Most NC delegates learn about these proposals when they appear without prior notice on the National Committee email list and voting page.
(Current GPUS Rules and Procedures Section 6-11 Long Term Planning and Scheduling of Proposals is meant to at least address this issue, directing the Steering Committee to publish a bi-annual work plan with the expected timing and length of decision-making mandated by GPUS Bylaws, Rules and Procedures and Presidential Convention Rules, along with discretionary proposals reported by GPUS Standing Committees. However, successive Steering Committees going back many years have failed to carry out this task. Given this, this proposal seeks a different approach to provide more predictability and inclusion to the National Committee decision-making process.)
All of this makes it virtually impossible for most NC delegates to plan their timing around active participation in NC decision-making, especially while also being active Greens on other levels, let alone attending to their personal lives. All of this greatly limits what types of people can meaningfully participate in the NC, and often intersects with other privileges and/or limitations to limit participation. This also leads to a less efficient NC – and by extension, a less efficient GPUS – because the talents, knowledge and experience of many NC members are not well-utilized by this process.
Topics to be presented at the 2018 ANM workshop:
(please click on and review background documents below beforehand)
Type & frequency of decisions before the GPUS National Committee (NC)
Review the raw data about what kind of decisions the NC makes, including what kind of decisions are required by party rules, and how many are discretionary.
GPUS_NC_Votes_raw_data (a spreadsheet of all NC decisions May 2003 to July 2018, with decisions categorized by type)
Four year GPUS calendar plotting currently mandated NC decisions
All NC decisions mandated by GPUS governing rules documents, presented over a four year calendar, with text (and link) from party rules explaining those decisions
Standing decisions mandated in GPUS governing documents (drawn from GPUS Bylaws, Rules and Procedures, Fiscal Policy, Convention Rules, and a series of mandated elections not covered in those documents.
Four-year NC calendar of mandated decisions (2019-2022) (Decisions w/o a calendar date: Elections to Finance Committee, Forum Managers)
Draft legislative sessions (NCLS) calendar incorporating existing timelines
Each legislative session of same length – six weeks of discussion, followed by one week of voting. How many sessions should be held and when, in order to meet GPUS needs? The timing at six weeks discussion and one week voting would be longer than the current two to four week discussion period. Amendments would allowed through the five week, leaving one full discussion week afterwards to consider them., compared to amendments allowed up to 48 hours before end of discussion period at present. The advantages of this would be to
(a) allow for a longer and more set period of time, so that delegates would not be rushed nor excluded by a short timeline, nor subject to the uncertainty over whether the discussion period for any given proposal would be changed at the last minute;
(b) allow delegates could have more time to check in on the decisions at hand with their state party or caucus that appointed them;
(c) give delegates more time to respond to late amendments during the discussion period,whereas at present given the last minute nature of amendments being submitted, such responses often are compelled to occur once voting has begun.)
Operational choices & trade-offs to implement legislative sessions (NCLS)
Conceptual amendments to facilitate legislative sessions (NCLS)
Specific amendments to GPUS Rules and Procedures Article VI to facilitate legislative sessions (NCLS)
Summary and analysis of types of NC decisions, May 2003 to July 2018 (the period covered on the current GPUS Voting Page)
There were 764 decisions placed before the NC during this period. Of them, 379 of them were decisions mandated by GPUS rules (including 280 internal elections). Additionally 96 were platform amendments. Of the remaining 284 non-mandated decisions, 122 were discretionary amendments to GPUS Bylaws, Rules & Procedures, Fiscal Policy and Presidential Convention Rules, 26 involved forming/establishing new committees and 37 more establishing/amending their Mission Statements and/or their Committee Rules.
Section 1 – Mandated Decisions – predictable timeline (282)
Mandated – Election (231)
Mandated – Annual Budget (24)
Mandated – ANM selection (14)
Mandated – Periodic Apportionment (16)
Mandated – Election Certification (7)
Section 2 – Mandated Decision – open timeline (87)
Mandated – Accreditation State/Caucus (20)
Mandated – SC Decision Challenge (18)
Mandated – Election to Finance Committee (28)
Mandated – Election of Forum Managers (21)
Section 2 – Discretionary Proposals – Platform Amendments (96)
Section 3 – Discretionary Proposals – Amendments to Bylaws, Rules & Procedures, Fiscal Policy and Presidential Convention Rules (122)
Section 4 – Other Discretionary Proposals (162)
Committee Formation (21)
Committee Mission/Rules (37)
Internal Operations/ANM Minutes (35)
Strategic Plan (6)
Section 5 – Voting Page Malfunction (5)
Operational choices and trade-offs to implement legislative sessions
(a) How would competing proposals to the National Committee be addressed that appeared in the same legislative session,
(b) How to handle proposals that aren’t submitted properly so that they can still meet the deadline for a given session (current Section 6-5 Steering Committee Review),
(c) How the Steering Committee’s schedule would interact with legislative session timelines,
(d) How to handle emergencies or other exceptions to the timeline (current Sub-section 6-3.2) and
(e) How to handle challenges to Steering Committee decisions under Section 6-10 Appeals of Procedural Decisions Made by the Steering Committee, Floor Manager or Facilitator
Regarding (a), there are current GPUS Rules and Procedures that address this issue, but it comes up rarely and it isn’t clear how to resolve two competing proposals if they both pass. This issue merits its own discussion thread.
“6-11.5 Where there may be potential overlap of mission and/or jurisdiction among proposals and/or proposal sponsors, the Steering Committee may facilitate a consultative process among them and any relevant other committees, caucuses, networks, and/or state parties. The existence of such a consultative process does not prevent a proposal from going forward in the voting queue as otherwise specified in Section 6-5. However, a proposal’s sponsor(s) may amend the timing and content of their submission as a result. Resources As specified. Many committees will need to review their Committee documents to ensure that they have a clearly defined Mission Statement.
Regarding (b), this proposal would establish a longer lead time for proposals to be submitted through the Steering Committee and processed by the Steering Committee, so that if they were not submitted properly, there would be time for them to be resubmitted before the discussion period of upcoming legislative session would commence.
One technological improvement for this submission process could be an on-line submission form for all proposals that contains fields for all required information, along with a clear explanation of what is required next to each field. That would compel proposal sponsors to submit all required info.
Regarding (c), clearly the Steering Committee’s meeting schedule would need to relate to the timing of the legislative sessions, so that proposals to the National Committee could be properly processed. This would include processing all proposals a few weeks before the legislative session starts, so that proposals that are not submitted properly according to GPUS Rules and Procedures Article VI Procedures for Proposals to the National Committee, could be revised and resubmitted. This same earlier deadline would allow for #266 challenges to be resolved before the beginning of the discussion period (see ‘e’ below).
Regarding (d), there are currently procedures for the Steering Committee to make findings to handle special cases in Article VI, sub-section 6-3.2 How this sub-section might be amended to fit with legislative sessions will require its own discussion track as part of this proposal.
Regarding (e), the Steering Committee should process all proposals far enough in advance of the beginning of the discussion period, that any Section 6-10 Appeals of Procedural Decisions challenges to the Steering Committee’s determination can be challenged and resolved either way before the discussion period begin
Rules amendments and other procedural changes to facilitate legislative sessions
– Approval of amendments to Article VI of the GPUS Rules and Procedures: Procedures for Proposals to the National Committee
– Approval of four year NCLS timeline, amend timing of some already mandated decisions to fit this timeline
– Establish specific date for elections to Finance Committee, Forum Managers
– Establish specific date for NC approval of IC-Nominated FPVA delegates (this currently gets lost after IC sends its nomination to SC)
(support IC nomination process by amending GPUS Voting Page to give IC ability to use for own elections.
– Establish specific NCLS for Steering Committee election only
– Establish specific NCLS for Platform amendments only (meaning NCLS may be different in platform amendment years and non-)
– Establish and publish timeline for submitting proposals to SC, to allow for sufficient time for processing proposals; possibly establish an SC sub-committee that reviews all proposals for compliance and then reports to SC before SC makes its final determinations
– Standardize naming of proposals and other decisions, particularly amendments to governing rules documents, platform, elections, confirmations
– Changes to GPUS Voting Page Menu: (a) Change from Proposal Title to Decision, (b) Add proposal sponsor and remove name forum manager
– Standardize process of how amendments to GPUS governing rules documents and the GPUS platform are posted; amend GPUS Voting Page to enable crossout language and/or other means to more clearly illustrate proposed changes
FIRST CHANGE – NEW LANGUAGE :
Section 6-3 Decision-Making Timelines
All decision-making items placed before the National Committee shall have six weeks of discussion, followed by a one-week vote, and shall be placed in the online voting queue at the beginning of the legislative session, except as otherwise provided in this Article.
FIRST CHANGE – REPLACES OLD LANGUAGE:
6-3.1 When it submits a proposal, a proposal’s sponsor(s) may request in advance one of the following timelines, and then may amend that request later as specified in Section 6-6:
6-3.1(a) Timeline A – Two weeks discussion, followed by one-week vote.
6-3.1(b) Timeline B – Three weeks discussion, followed by one-week vote.
6-3.1(c) Timeline C – Four weeks discussion, followed by one-week vote.
SECOND CHANGE – NEW LANGUAGE:
6-1.5 Proposals that have been submitted to the Steering Committee at least twenty-one days before the beginning of a legislative session, and meet the conditions as specified in Section 6-5, shall be placed in the online voting queue at the beginning of the legislative session, except as otherwise provided in this Article.
SECOND CHANGE – REPLACES OLD LANGUAGE:
6-1.5 Proposals that have been submitted at least six days before a regular Steering Committee meeting, and meet the conditions as specified in Section 6-5, shall go to the online voting queue at the next regular starting date, except as otherwise provided in this Article.
THIRD CHANGE – NEW LANGUAGE
6-1.6 Proposals that have been submitted to the Steering Committee less than twenty-one days before the beginning of a legislative session, but which meet the conditions as specified in Section 6-5, may be placed in the online voting queue at the beginning of the legislative session, at the discretion of the Steering Committee.
THIRD CHANGE – REPLACES OLD LANGUAGE:
6-1.6 Proposals submitted less than six days before a regular Steering Committee meeting, but which meet the conditions specified in Section 6-5, may be placed in the online voting queue at the next regular starting date, at the discretion of the Steering Committee.
6-1.7 A proposal’s sponsor(s) may request a later regular starting date than the next scheduled one. If the proposal meets the conditions specified in Section 6-5, it shall go to the voting queue at the date requested by the sponsor(s), except as otherwise provided in this Article.
FOURTH CHANGE – NEW LANGUAGE:
6-6.1 The regular starting time of the discussion period shall begin at 12:01am Eastern Time on Mondays. The regular discussion period shall be for six weeks, as specified in Section 6-3 followed by a voting period of one week, ending at 11:59pm Pacific Time on Sundays.
FOURTH CHANGE – REPLACES OLD LANGUAGE
6-6.1 The regular starting time of the discussion period shall begin at 12:01am Eastern Time on Mondays. The regular discussion period shall be for either two or three weeks, as specified in Section 6-3 followed by a voting period of one week, ending at 11:59pm Pacific Time on Sundays.
6-6.3FIFTH CHANGE – OLD LANGUAGE TO BE DELETED:
6-6.3 If a two-week discussion period had been chosen, the sponsor(s) retain the option to extend the discussion period for one or two more weeks, upon notifying the Floor Manager at least 48 hours before the close of the discussion period. If a three-week discussion period had been chosen, the sponsor(s) retain the option to extend the discussion period for one more week, upon notifying the Floor Manager at least 48 hours before the close of the discussion period.
SIX CHANGE – NEW LANGUAGE
Section 6-7 Amendments by the Sponsor(s)
6-7.1 During the online discussion period, sponsors may amend their proposal and resubmit the amended version to the National Committee at least one week before the commencement of the voting period, by (a) making their submission directly to the Secretary and copying the Floor Manager so that the voting page may be amended to reflect the new text and by (b) simultaneously posting the text of such amended proposals directly to the National Committee votes list to help ensure that the National Committee has the greatest opportunity to discuss the amended proposal.
FIFTH CHANGE – OLD LANGUAGE
Section 6-7 Amendments by the Sponsor(s)
6-7.1 During the online discussion period, sponsors may amend their proposal and resubmit the amended version to the National Committee if at least 48 hours before the commencement of the voting period, they make their submission to the Secretary and notify the Floor Manager. The sponsors shall also post the text of such amended proposals to the National Committee votes list to help ensure that the National Committee has the greatest opportunity to discuss the amended proposal.