Platform Committee – Rules, Policies And Procedures

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The GPUS Platform is a consensus document, arrived at by a process involving submissions, input and feedback, based on the “4 D’s” – democratic deliberation, discussion and debate – and open to members of all GPUS state affiliates and accredited caucuses. The Platform presents to Greens and the general public the policy on which most Greens reasonably agree.

The Platform Committee does not make policy decisions. The committee organizes and then facilitates participation in the development of the Platform. The working rules, now rules, policies and procedures, are applied to internal committee functions.

GPUS Platform Committee Work Rules approved online and finalized in July, 2002, in Philadelphia Amended, August-October, 2005 Amended, November 21, 2005; approved, January 2, 2006, by the GPUS National Committee

I. MEMBERSHIP and VOTING

The Platform Committee of the GPUS rules on membership shall be derived from the Bylaws of the Green Party of the United States (GPUS) under Article III. Committees (see addendum below).

Affiliated state parties or caucuses and those state parties in the process of affiliation (hereinafter “states or caucuses”) can elect delegates to the Committee as members or observers.

The terms for members and observers shall be one or two years, as determined by the state or caucus. If not specified, the term shall be one year.

Members of the Committee shall be approved (elected, appointed or selected) by states or caucuses.

Observers of the Committee shall be approved (elected, appointed or selected) by states or caucuses.

MEMBER and OBSERVER STATUS CHANGE:

Members may change their membership status to Observer or reinstate their Member status during the term in which they were approved. While in Observer status, a Member loses their right to vote and quorum may need to be recalculated.

If a Member chooses to change their status, they must simultaneously inform the Platform Committee (via the Committee’s email list) and the state or caucus which they represent. The Platform Committee Secretary shall confirm this change with the Member’s state or caucus within one week of the Member’s notification. Members who have not been active for at least six months will be contacted by the Co-Chairs, the Secretary or another Member designated for this task, and asked to become active, change their status to Observer or resign.

Members who cannot be reached (through e-mail, telephone or their state party/caucus contacts) after at least 4 attempts spread over a period of two months will be dropped from the Platform Committee membership. Notification of such pending change shall be sent to Member’s state party or caucus no fewer than 30 days before the change in status occurs.

Observers changing their status back to that of Member during the course of deliberation on a proposal (starting from when the proposal is made) can not vote on that proposal. The above rules apply only to those who were approved by their state or caucus to serve as a Member. Those selected to serve as Observers can not make themselves Members without approval from their state or caucus.

Advisors of the Committee shall be nominated by a Member then elected by obtaining a simple majority for placement on the Committee. Advisors need only be a member of states or caucuses; or, the nominee may be a registered Green Party voter in their state or territory.

Advisors participate in those matters when requested to do so by any Member regarding their particular expertise for advising the Committee. Any advice provided by a Committee Advisor must be put in writing by the advisor and must be posted by them to the Committee’s email list.

II. MEETINGS

The Committee shall meet face-to-face at each Mid-Term Convention, at each Presidential Nominating Convention, and otherwise as necessary. The Committee may also meet online.

III. OFFICERS

The Committee shall elect 2 Co-chairs and a Secretary for 2 year terms. The Co-chairs shall facilitate the work of the Committee. The Secretary shall keep the records of the Committee, including minutes of meetings and online decisions. The secretary would be responsible for minutes of meetings, archiving bylaws and rules, recording the language of motions, records of votes, lists of names, and contact information. The secretary will also work with and assist the co-chairs.

Terms of officers are two years, staggered with one co-chair and the secretary running from the mid-year convention to the nominating convention, with elections in the summers of even years. The other co-chair is elected in the summers of odd years.

All members of the Platform Committee are eligible for Co-chair and may nominate themselves or be nominated by another member.

All Co-chairs’ decisions are openly made and distributed to the membership.

IV. DECISION-MAKING

All decisions by the Platform Committee (live or online) shall be through motions passed by consensus, or by voting.

IV. a. Consensus Decision Process of the Platform Committee

1. Any committee member may submit a Proposal by posting it to the Platform Committee e-mail list. When s/he submits a proposal, it must have a label or title in the subject line and that label must be used thereafter for identification.

2. When a proposal is seconded by a committee member from another state or caucus than the original proposer, the proposer notifies the Secretary who numbers, declares the 2-week dates for discussion followed by one week for voting of the timeline and publishes the proposal within a day of notification. Thereafter the proposer is responsible for chartering (guiding) the proposal through to the vote. The proposer accepts and negotiates amendments or rejects them, and reports a block when one occurs.

3. The discussion period runs for two weeks starting on the Monday following the seconding of the proposal (or the day of seconding, if it’s seconded on a Monday), unless the Secretary and Co-Chairs establish a different discussion period within 4 days of the seconding of the proposal.

4. When one or more proposals are in discussion period, the Secretary will publish the list of numbered proposals with discussion and voting periods each week.

5. Discussion period shall last a minimum of 2 weeks. The proposer or Co- chairs may extend the discussion period if: -amendments accepted by the proposer are significant (change the reach or direction of original proposal); and, -these amendments are offered in 2nd week of discussion thus curtailing review time for members. A call for an expedited decision may be requested by the proposer or Co-chairs, in case of an urgent need for a decision.

6. If no blocking or unfriendly amendment is offered by end of discussion period, the proposal is adopted and is published as such by the Secretary. If an unfriendly amendment is offered and the proposer cannot reconcile it with his/her original intention, the offerer may withdraw it, change it to a block, or offer it in a new proposal.

7. If a proposal is amended, then it is discussed between the amender and the original proposer, and the amended version is published.

8. If a proposal is blocked, then a one week voting period automatically ensues starting the day after the end of the discussion period. Then votes are cast via e-mail. The Secretary is responsible for tracking and counting the votes, and reporting a pass or fail. If the proposal passes, the Secretary archives the proposal as official.

9. Decisions by consensus or vote are recorded and posted by the secretary.

10. Proposals that fail by vote may be re-submitted after 6 months.

Quorum: A quorum for any decision-making shall be 2/3 of the members represented on the committee. Votes will be cast by individual committee members and counted on that basis.

Work may be conducted over conference calls. Conference call decisions are not final, but must be submitted on email to the rest of the committee for approval, possible objections or amendments. Members who have difficulty paying personal conference call costs be reimbursed upon application to the Co-chairs, pending availability of funds.

Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the default authority for decision-making questions, unless otherwise specified by these rules or by the GPUS bylaws.

[It is recommended that, during periods of activity, each committee member check their e-mail at least once every other day.]

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Working Rules Pertaining to Platform Submissions and Development

I. Submissions to the GPUS Platform will be filtered through the template posted on our online submissions page and/or made available to all GPUS affiliate state parties and caucuses. Submissions must be approved by a state party or accredited caucus before being submitted to the Platform Committee.

States which do not have a member on the Platform Committee will be asked to appoint/elect a member to act as “platform liaison,” to be responsible for ensuring that necessary information gets back and forth, make sure members know of the opportunity and the submissions process, and perhaps help facilitate members in decision-making. If the state party or caucus is unable to provide a liaison, the Platform Committee shall assign a member to serve as liaison.

[NOTE: The Online Forum no longer in exists, however this is partly applicable to the committee email list.]

II. Online Platform Forum (General Discussion Forum): The PlatCom wishes to keep communications as open as possible, but also realizes the need to keep the Forum workable for its participants. The right to free speech needs to be set in relation to others’ right not to be subject to hostility.

Our webmaster has registrants sign a web form agreeing not to engage in hostile behavior. A message has also been posted on the Forum, with an explanation of our policy. List moderators will give a warning to someone whose post is found obviously inappropriate, and ask that communications be kept respectful. If the problem occurs again, the person will be taken off the Forum.

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Addendum:

Excerpt from current Bylaws of the GPUS
(http://www.gp.org/documents/bylaws.shtml) regarding Committees —

ARTICLE III. COMMITTEES

“The National Committee of the Green Party of the United States shall establish standing committees and may create other committees according to need. The NC shall cause to be produced, and then approve a document for each committee including the purpose, duties and general charge of the committee, as a part of the process of creating a committee.

The Steering Committee shall be responsible for oversight for all committees and ensure that the NC is kept informed about the work of the committees.

Delegates to the NC shall automatically be eligible to serve on committees by virtue of their position. Other committee members shall be members of a state green party and have written permission from their state party to serve. Permission shall be submitted by the NC delegates or State Party co-chairs from the various states to the co-chairs of the relevant committee, and can be submitted on paper or via email. No state shall have more than three members per committee without a waiver from the Steering Committee. No committee shall have fewer than five states represented.

There shall be three categories of activity for GPUS committees:

1. MEMBERS – Committee Membership shall be defined as being a voting member of a committee who may take part in all decision making. Committee members shall be selected by their committees according to individual committee P&Ps. All committee members shall be approved by their respective state parties according to written, democratically derived state party rules that ensure full and open due process.

2. ADVISORS – It shall be at the discretion of committees to select advisors. Advisor status shall be determined by individual committees in their P&Ps . Anyone may serve as a committee advisor. Advisors shall enjoy limited participation in committee deliberations as determined by committees’ written P&Ps .Advisors shall not be voting members of a committee, shall not formally introduce proposals and shall not represent either the committee or the party. Advisors shall serve one-year terms and will be eligible for re-election. State parties shall be free to express objections to committees regarding specific advisors. Such objections shall be considered by committee members in their deliberations.

3. OBSERVERS – Committee approved observers may monitor the listserv activity of a committee but cannot participate in discussions or votes. Observers must be approved by committees according to their P&P documents.

Furthermore, committees may communicate with individual Greens on an as needed basis on specific matters of mutual import.

All committees shall:

1) develop written rules, policies and procedure (RP&P) documents which must be approved by the National Committee.

2) use consensus-seeking procedure with backup voting for all decision making, and codify the procedure in their RP&Ps.

3) when voting, vote by state with each state casting one vote. The NC or the SC may, in their reviews ofthe work of a committee, allow a committee to waive the one state, one vote rule and replace it with a one member, one vote standard.

4) codify RP&Ps used to conduct general committee business and, when appropriate, codify rules for decision making via conference calls, email, and/or in-person meetings.

5) report to the NC on a regular basis and set up a schedule for written reporting, with monthly reports being the standard unless otherwise approved by the NC.

6) develop policies and procedures by which minority opinions on committee business that relate to the internal workings of the Green Party may be conveyed to the NC.

7) have two co-chairs unless directed to have a different number by the NC. Gender balance and co-chairs from different states shall be the norm, though under extraordinary circumstances committees may choose another arrangement.

8) detail all non-co-chair leadership position (e.g. secretary, coordinators etc.) in the committee’s RP&P document.

9) conduct elections for leadership slots using preference voting and codify election procedures in their RP&P document.

10) participate in a biannual review of committee RP&Ps conducted by the BRPP, which shall report to the NC on each committee’s procedures.

11) develop and make available to all members of the committee a packet including all rules, policies and procedures and provide other training and orientation, as appropriate, for new members. This material shall also be available on the committee website.

12) set up guidelines for member participation, with an emphasis on ensuring participation as a requirement of membership and/or participation in consensus decision making or quorum voting.