GPCA Bylaws Revision Spring 2012 Article 7 General Assembly
Sponsor: Coordinating Committee
Background: The text relating to General Assemblies in the current bylaws is spread over two disconnected Sections: "Section 4-2. Delegate Selection to General Assembly" and "Article 5. General Assembly Meetings." This proposal consolidates that content into a single Article and adds to it with the following six objectives:
• Simplifies the explanation of the consensus-seeking process used at General Assemblies (see proposed 7-5.5 below), making it easier to follow (compared to 5-8.1 in the existing bylaws), but without changing its meaning.
• Creates "7-5.6 Minutes", to clarify specifically what belongs in the party's General Assembly minutes. Currently the bylaws state "Note takers shall compile an accurate record of the session highlighting decisions made and tasks taken on by delegates or others", but without any further specificity, this has led to an uneven practice of taking subjective 'notes' at General Assemblies that vary with each note taker, and generally leave a consistently incomplete record of party decision-making. To address this, the new text provides a specific list of what belongs in the minutes.
• Creates "Section 7-4 Endorsements" from the text of the current "Section 9-1. Statewide Endorsement Procedure" and adds to it to make explicit that the method of endorsement will be to provide ranked choice voting options to rank 'Endorse', 'Oppose', 'Abstain' and 'No Position'. Currently those four positions are options in the county polling process the GPCA uses, but delegates can only vote for one option, not use ranked choice voting to rank among them. The GPCA has long favored the use of ranked choice voting and this would allow the party to practice what it preaches, and to give delegates more flexibility in expressing their preferences.
• Creates "Section 7-6 Standing Green Assembly." This section formally establishes the Standing General Assembly (SGA) in the bylaws. In so doing, it (a) establishes the length and starting and ending dates of terms for SGA delegates, (b) which type of decisions automatically go before the SGA and (c) the length of the discussion period (six weeks) and voting period (one week) for proposals and elections before the SGA.
• Creates a section "Section 7-1. Delegates" that has a revised Delegate Allocation formula with the objective to ensure a consistent number of delegates for each county, based upon how many registered Greens in that county compared to the total number of registered Greens statewide. If a county is active, it gets its proportional number of delegates and a county is not active, it doesn't get any delegates. This makes for standard sizes for all county delegations and gives each county a clear idea of how many Standing Delegates it has to appoint and by when. (see the references section below for fuller explanation of the flaws in the current system and how this revision addresses them)
• Creates a single section "Section 7-2. Proposals" to consolidate the text surrounding (1) how proposals come to the General Assembly (Committees and Working Groups may submit proposals within the scope of their Duties and Authority as defined in the bylaws, and County Organizations may submit proposals to amend the Bylaws, Rules & Procedures and Fiscal Policy), as well as (2) what the decision-making thresholds are on different types of decisions and (3) what voting systems are used to decide upon them.
The primary changes come in "7-2.3 Approval Thresholds", which establishes what are the decision-making thresholds for different types of decisions.
One substantial ambiguity in the current bylaws is addressed in 7-2.3, between what is considered a 'policy' decision and what is a 'business' decision, with the former requiring a 4/5 approval threshold and the latter 2/3. However, there is no definition in the current bylaws about what this difference is supposed to be. Despite this, the bylaws state that if only one person disputes that something is a 'business' item, then it automatically becomes 'policy' and requires a higher approval threshold. This proposal resolves this ambiguity (and its attendant potential for manipulation of the approval threshold by a single individual) by providing a clear list in 7-2.3 of what decisions merit what level of approval threshold.
Like today, the proposed bylaws have two levels of approval threshold. But instead of 4/5 and 2/3, this proposal recommends 2/3 for major party decisions like platform amendments and GPCA positions on statewide initiatives, and 3/5 for administrative decisions. There are two reasons to prefer 2/3 instead of 4/5 for specific types of decisions.
First, the GPCA's use of the 80% is a holdover from the pre-party days before the party's founding in 1990 when small, pre-party Green locals used it. These were usually small locals of ten or fewer people that met together frequently in person, often were based upon long standing personal relationships, and shared general agreement about goals and objectives. In such small, face-to-face contexts among people who know each other well, it was argued then that 80% is a functional threshold. When the GPCA was started, the people who started it didn't contemplate whether what was appropriate for such small local groups would also be appropriate for a larger, statewide organization of people who may not know each other as well and didn't meet in person as often. As a result, the GPCA is the only state or national level Green Party in the world that uses an 80% approval threshold for large parts of its decision-making. Most use a 2/3 approval threshold for amending bylaws and platforms and a lower threshold for other types of decisions.
As it turned out, the GPCA on a state level is not a small, face-to-face body like the Green locals of the late 1980s and early 1990s - it is much larger, it meets less frequently and it consists of many people who don't know each other as well as some people do locally.
Requiring at least 80% agreement from among such a group can prove to be an unproductive obstacle when used for bodies of 50 to 150 people who often don't know each other that well, and who do not have unlimited time at a busy state meeting to try and resolve their differences. In some cases, rather than promoting consensus-seeking, the use of 80% can also turn the party's decision-making process into a tyranny of a small minority, by allowing as little as 21% of (what is often a very small number of) delegates who simply do not and will not agree with a proposal, to block the rest of the party from taking action.
It is for these reasons that no other Green Party in the world uses an 80% approval threshold as does the GPCA.
Second, the move to a larger, more inclusive and diverse Standing Green Assembly (SGA) also argues for a 2/3 approval threshold for certain kind of decision-making. The GPUS uses the same kind of voting page and email list discussions and teleconferences for its national decision making that the GPCA has used for its SGA and the size of the GPUS's decision-making body is roughly the same size (up to 150) as provided for in the SGA. In that context, the GPUS has successfully used 2/3 for decision-making on platform and rules amendments (as well as recall elections of its officers, accreditation of new state parties and other such decisions) since 2001. Of note: since the GPUS joined the GPUS in 2001, the GPCA has never argued that this 2/3 threshold is inappropriate for such decision-making and should be raised to 80%.
Finally, if it is more reasonable to use 2/3 for large, on-line decision-making bodies like the SGA, it would not be sensible for the GPCA to have two different approval thresholds - 4/5 and 2/3, for the same kind of proposals, depending upon whether a proposal was submitted to a face-to-face General Assembly or the SGA. This would only open up the party to gaming the system, by bringing a proposal to one body or the other, depending upon the different approval thresholds applicable at either.
Proposal: That the following text be approved
Article 7. General Assembly
Section 7-1. Delegates
7-1.1 The General Assembly shall consist of Delegates from active County Organizations. Delegates shall be elected by the County Council, unless the County Organization specifies an alternate process in its bylaws. The process by which delegates are elected must be defined in the bylaws of each county and a copy be on file with the Coordinating Committee and the Bylaws Committee.
7-1.2 The total number of delegates and the number of delegates per county shall be the total of two sums:
7-1.2(a) Each active County Organization shall have at least one delegate seat, for a total of 58 if County Organizations are active in all of California's counties.
7-1.2(b) Each active County Organization shall have an additional number of delegates seats out of an additional 100 seats, equal to its percentage of registered Greens from within the county, compared to the total number of registered Greens in all counties, with a minimum of 1% required for one seat, times 100.
7-1.3 Delegates shall be familiar with the party's Governing Documents - the Bylaws, the Rules and Procedures and the Fiscal Policy. First time delegates shall participate in the delegate orientation session at each General Assembly. Other delegates are encouraged to do so.
7-1.4 Delegates assume the responsibility to be familiar with the agenda, to read materials and prepare clarifying questions in advance, and be prepared to participate in all General Assembly sessions. Where practicable, County Organizations are encouraged to review agenda items and provide advance input to their delegates.
Section 7-2. Proposals
Committees and Working Groups may submit proposals within the scope of their Duties and Authority as defined in these bylaws. County Organizations may submit proposals to amend the Bylaws, Rules & Procedures and Fiscal Policy.
Proposals shall include the name of the sponsoring committee, working group and/or County Organization; the presenter(s), title/subject, background/purpose, text of proposal, approval threshold, timeline, resources/budgetary implication, committee/working group/county decision, and references/attachments.
7-2.3 Approval Thresholds
The General Assembly shall seek consensus in its decision-making, utilizing the consensus-seeking process in 7-5 for in-person meetings. In the absence of consensus, the following proposals shall require 2/3 of all 'yes' and 'no' votes cast for passage.
7-2.3(a) Approval of the Annual Budget and mid-year budget amendments; Annual Strategic Plan;
7-2.3(b) Amendments to the Bylaws, the Rules & Procedures and the Fiscal Policy;
7-2.3(c) Amendments to the Platform;
7-2.3(d) Endorsement of or opposition to statewide ballot measures;
7-2.3(e) Recall of Coordinating Committee Members; Removal for Cause of County Councilmembers;
7-2.3(f) Recognition of County Organizations upon appeal of Coordinating Committee non-recognition.
All other proposals shall require 3/5 of all 'yes' and 'no' votes cast for passage. Abstentions are not counted in calculating the percentage vote, but are counted towards quorum. The minimum number of affirmative votes required for passage shall be the voting threshold times the decision making quorum.
7-2.4 Voting Systems
7-2.4(a) Multi-Seat Elections: Ranked Choice Voting
Each delegate shall be provided a ballot containing the names of the candidates in alphabetical order. The ballot shall also include a No Other Candidate option. The delegates shall vote by ranking the candidates along with the No Other Candidate option in order of preference. The ballots shall be tabulated utilizing a Ranked Choice Voting system with fractional transfers and a Droop threshold, 1/(n+1) (1/3 threshold with two open seats). No candidate shall be seated who does not cross the threshold before No Other Candidate. For the purpose of calculations, n = open seats shall be adjusted, when necessary, so that the value of n shall not be higher than the number of candidates qualified for the ballot.
7-2.4(b) Single Seat Election: Instant Runoff Voting
When only one seat is open, an Instant Runoff Vote shall be held. The ballot shall contain the names of all candidates and a No Other Candidate option. Delegates shall vote by ranking the candidates along with No Other Candidate in order of preference. The ballots shall be tabulated using Instant Runoff Voting.
Section 7-3 Elections and Confirmations
7-3.1 The following shall be conducted by Ranked Choice Voting:
7-3.1(a) Elections to fill multiple seats on the Coordinating Committee or the GPUS Delegation.
7-3.2 The following shall be conducted by Instant Run-Off voting with a majority threshold:
7-3.2(a) Confirmation of the Treasurer and of the Liaison to the Secretary of State
7-3.2(b) Elections to fill a single vacancy on the Coordinating Committee or the GPUS Delegation.
Section 7-4 Endorsements
General Assembly Delegates may rank the following choices and the result shall be calculated by instant run-off voting: 'Endorse' (that the GPCA should support the measure or candidate), 'Oppose' (that the GPCA should oppose the measure or candidate), 'No Position' (that the GPCA should not take any position on the measure or candidate) or 'Abstain' (that the delegate takes no position on what should be the GPCA position). A GPCA position to endorse or oppose shall require 2/3. Abstentions are counted to determine quorum, but not towards the approval/disapproval threshold. If quorum is not achieved, or if the 2/3 threshold is not reached for a 'Endorse' or 'Oppose', the GPCA's position will be 'No Position', as would it be if the 2/3 threshold is reached for 'No Position.'
Section 7-5 Meetings
7-5.1 Draft Agenda
7-5.1(a) The Coordinating Committee shall establish a Draft Agenda for all General Assembly meetings, distribute it at least 42 days in advance to each County Organization and submit it for approval at the beginning of each General Assembly.
7-5.1(b) The Draft Agenda shall incorporate agenda items submitted by committees, working groups and County Organizations as provided for in these bylaws; shall distinguish among decision making items, reports and discussion items; shall distinguish among proposals, elections and confirmations; and shall include facilitators, times and the full text of each item as described in 7-2.2
7-5.1(c) The Draft Agenda may contain a Consent Calendar consisting of proposals that have been judged by their sponsors to be sufficiently non-controversial as to be considered and approved without the normal consensus-seeking process of presentations, clarifying questions, and affirmations and concerns. When the Consent Calendar is heard, any proposal for which there are outstanding concerns without stand asides shall be removed without approval. The sponsor(s) of the proposal shall make an effort to address the outstanding concerns, after which the proposal may be brought back to the General Assembly at a later point for approval.
7-5.2 Delegate Registration
Delegates shall register at the beginning of each day of a General Assembly, identifying their county. Delegates who permanently leave the General Assembly before it is adjourned shall notify the facilitators (or other appropriate officials) and shall be removed from the delegate registration count for the purposes of calculating quorum.
7‑5.3(a) A quorum exists for the purpose of opening a General Assembly when 2/3 (rounding to the nearest whole number) of the regions containing active counties are represented.
7‑5.3(b) A quorum exists for the purpose of decision‑making when 80% of registered delegates are present and a minimum of 90% of the maximum number of delegates registered for that day are present, if delegates earlier present have left and unregistered.
7‑5.3(c) Facilitators shall conduct a roll call to establish a quorum at the beginning of each session of the General Assembly.
7-5.4(a) The Coordinating Committee shall designate at least one facilitator and preferably two co-facilitators for all General Assembly sessions. Approval of facilitators shall be included as part of the approval of the Draft Agenda. Facilitators must be GPCA members.
7-5.4(b) Facilitators shall be chosen who can facilitate the General Assembly according to the consensus-seeking process in 7-5, who can provide non-directive leadership and process clarity, and who honor the agenda and promote good will. A facilitator shall not give her/his personal opinion unless clearly stepping out of her/his role as a facilitator. Facilitators should be familiar with the Ten Key Values and the GPCA's Purpose, Bylaws, and Rules and Procedures. The use of gender-stacking, where the order of the "stack" would alternate between one woman, one man, shall be considered as first choice for use by the facilitators.
7-5.5 Consensus Seeking
Consensus shall be sought according to the following process:
7-5.5(a) Delegates shall be given priority in decision-making discussions. At the discretion of the facilitation team and time permitting, other GPCA members and guests may participate. Only delegates may hold outstanding concerns.
7-5.5(b) Presenters shall present their proposal, after which clarifying questions are taken from the delegates and responded to by the presenter(s).
7-5.5(c) Affirmations, concerns and proposed amendments follow from the delegates only. Presenters attempt to address concerns and may amend their proposal, in which case clarifying questions may again be made and responded to by the presenters. The proposal is then restated, including as amended, if amended by the presenters.
7-5.5(d) The facilitators shall ask if there are any more unresolved, outstanding concerns. If there are none, the proposal is considered approved by consensus.
7-5.5(e) If there remain outstanding concerns, the facilitators shall ask whether those holding outstanding concerns are willing to "stand aside" and have their concerns recorded in the minutes, along with the adopted proposal. If so, the proposal is considered approved by consensus, with the stand asides recorded.
7-5.5(f) If there is not consensus, the presenter(s) may request more time from the General Assembly, go to a vote or withdraw the proposal.
7-5.5(g) If the presenter(s) go to a vote, the facilitators shall conduct a roll call and record each delegate's vote as "yes", "no" or "abstain". Passage shall be according to the approval thresholds in 7-2.3
7-5.5(h) If more time is added by the General Assembly, the presenters may attempt to address the remaining outstanding concerns, and may amend their proposal, in which case clarifying questions may be made and responded to. The proposal is then restated, including as amended, if amended. The process is then repeated to identify any outstanding concerns and whether those holding them are willing to stand aside. If there are no outstanding concerns, or if those holding them are willing to stand aside, the proposal is considered approved by consensus. If outstanding concerns remain, the presenters may go to a vote or withdraw their proposal.
The Coordinating Committee has the responsibility to ensure that minutes are taken at each General Assembly. Minutes shall include the date, time, location and list of delegates in attendance, the subject/title, sponsor(s) and presenter(s) of all agenda items heard, the decisions-taken (including whether by consensus or by roll-call vote) and the text of all proposals, including amendments.
7-5.7 Points of order
7-5.7(a) Any delegate may signal the facilitator(s) by raising two hands on a Point of Clarification if they do not understand the process. The Point of Clarification shall be heard before moving on to other speakers.
7-5.7(b) Any delegate may signal the facilitator(s) by raising two hands on a Point of Information to provide a critical piece of information otherwise missing in the discussion. Delegates are expected to utilize this option sparingly and judiciously.
7-5.7(c) Any delegate may signal the facilitator(s) by raising two hands on a Point of Process, if they believe the process being followed violates GPCA Bylaws, Rules and Procedures, Fiscal Policy or other such procedures adopted by the General Assembly. Before moving on to other speakers, the Point of Process shall be heard and the facilitator(s) shall rule upon it.
7-5.8 Setting Next Meeting
The date and location for the General Assembly shall be determined by the close of each meeting. Should the General Assembly fail to make this determination, it shall become the responsibility of the Coordinating Committee to do so. The General Assembly may set more than one meeting date and location at a time.
Section 7-6 Standing Green Assembly
7-6.1 Standing Delegates and Alternates
7-6.1(a) Delegates to the Standing Green Assembly shall be called Standing Delegates, shall be appointed by active County Organizations and shall serve for one year terms, with no term limits. Terms shall run concurrent with the GPCA's Fiscal Year.
7-6.1(b) Each active County Organization is entitled to as many Standing Delegates as it is entitled to General Assembly delegates under 7-1.2. The number of Standing Delegates per active County Organization shall be based upon the state of California's annual February voter registration count, and be calculated by the Coordinating Committee and published to the active County Organizations by the end of March following the annual February count, which shall form the basis for the number of delegates chosen by each active County Organization for the ensuing Fiscal Year.
7-6.2 Decision Items
The following decision items shall automatically be placed before the Standing General Assembly. Other decision items may be submitted to the Standing General Assembly by Standing Committees, Working Groups and/or active County Organizations as provided for in 7-2.1.
7-6.2(a) Endorsement/opposition of qualified statewide ballot measures;
7-6.2(b) Endorsements of statewide candidates;
7-6.2(c) General Assembly Minutes;
7-6.2(d) Election of the Coordinating Committee;
7-6.2(e) Election of the GPUS Delegation;
7-6.2(f) Removal for Cause petition for County Councilmembers;
7-6.2(g) Recall petition for Coordinating Committee and GPUS Delegation members.
7-6.3 Discussion and Voting Period
7-6.3(a) The discussion period for Proposals and Elections shall be six weeks, beginning on a Monday at 12:01 am and ending on a Sunday at 11:59pm. The discussion period for Coordinating Committee and GPUS Delegation elections shall begin on the first Monday of May.
7-6.3(b) The purpose of the discussion period is to provide an opportunity to utilize the consensus-seeking process in 7-5 within the context of utilizing electronic means, teleconferences and other methods of communication other than an in-person General Assembly.
7-6.3(c) Proposals may be amended at any time during the discussion period by the proposal’s sponsor(s), except that the final amended version must be placed before the Standing Green Assembly no later than on a Monday at 12:01 am preceding the end of the discussion period.
7-6.3(d) The voting period for Proposals and Elections shall commence immediately at the close of the discussion period, and shall be for one week beginning on a Monday at 12:01 am and ending on a Sunday at 11:59pm.
A quorum has been reached when the number of votes cast is equal to a majority of delegate seats allocated under 7-1.2, together with a majority of all active County Organizations having cast at least one vote. In such cases, abstentions count as a vote cast.
Reference: Existing text from GPCA Bylaws
Section 4-2. Delegate Selection to General Assembly
4-2.1 Election of Delegates
Delegates to the General Assembly shall be chosen by the active county organizations of the Green Party of California. The process by which delegates are elected by each county organization must be defined by the bylaws of each county; and a written copy of the current method of selection must be on file with the Coordinating Committee and the Bylaws Committee. If a county organization fails to specify a delegate selection process, then the delegates of that county shall be elected by the County Council.
4-2.2 Delegate allocation formula
a) The General Assembly of the Green Party of California shall consist of at least 100 delegate seats. Each active county organization shall have at least one delegate seat. b) No sooner than twelve weeks and no later than six weeks before the opening of each General Assembly meeting, the Liaison to the Secretary of State, or another individual designated by the Coordinating Committee, shall obtain the most recent Report of Registration from the Secretary of State, and the Coordinating Committee shall determine, based on the relevant articles of these bylaws, which county organizations are currently active. c) Once this determination has been made, 100 delegate seats shall be allocated to the active counties using the method of equal proportions (see appendix), and the counties shall be notified of their allocation. d) If, after the allocation of delegate seats has been made, but before the opening of the General Assembly, additional counties are found by the Coordinating Committee to be active, the newly active counties shall be allocated one delegate seat each. In this case, the General Assembly will have more than 100 delegate seats.
Article 5. General Assembly Meetings
Section 5-1. Regular Meetings
5‑1.1 Meeting frequency
The General Assembly shall meet at least twice a year. Date and location for next meeting shall be determined by the close of each meeting.
Section 5-2. Special Meetings
5‑2.1 The General Assembly may hold special meetings in the following ways;
a) upon call of the Coordinating Committee. b) upon agreement of delegates at a General Assembly meeting (fallback 2/3 vote).
Section 5-3. Agenda
5‑3.1 Proposed agenda
Establishing agenda for all regular General Assembly meetings and special meetings is the responsibility of the Coordinating Committee.
5‑3.2 Draft agenda
The CC has the task of collecting items, proposing an agenda and circulating a draft at least 3 weeks in advance of a meeting.
5‑3.3 Agenda package
The agenda package shall include General Assembly committee draft proposals submitted by a General Assembly committee coordinator for pre-meeting consideration by the locals.
5‑3.4 Agenda ratification
Ratification of the proposed agenda and times shall occur at the beginning of the Saturday session.
Section 5-4. Quorum
A quorum exists for the purpose of opening a General Assembly when 2/3 (rounding to the nearest whole number) of the regions containing active counties are represented.
5‑4.2 Criteria for active county status
For the purposes of this section, an active county shall be defined as fulfilling at least one of the following conditions:
a) The county has a County Council;
b) The county has sent delegates to at least two of the last three meetings;
c) The county has held a General Meeting within the last six months in which at least eight registered Greens were present, and delegates to the General Assembly were chosen. The county must notify the State Coordinating Committee that the General Meeting has taken place.
5-4.3 Quorum for decision‑making
A quorum for decision making exists when 80% of registered delegates are present. However, a minimum number of delegates are required to remain registered in order to establish a valid quorum. That minimum shall be 90% of the maximum number of delegates registered
for that day.
a) Delegates shall register at the beginning of each day of a General Assembly, identifying their county. Delegates shall notify the facilitators (or other appropriate officials), and be removed from the delegate registration, if they permanently leave the General Assembly before it is adjourned.
b) Facilitators shall conduct a roll call to establish a quorum at the beginning of each plenary session.
Section 5-5. Guests & Observers
5‑5.1 Open meetings
General Assembly meetings are public and open to observers.
5‑5.2 Observer registration and identification
a) Guests and Green Party Observers shall register with the host committee/door keepers.
b) For purposes of identification by the facilitation team, delegates, Green Party observers, and guests shall wear different colored name badges.
Section 5-6. Meeting Roles, Duties, & Responsibilities
5‑6.1 Facilitation Team
a) Coordinating Committee shall present a team to the General Assembly for approval at the beginning of each plenary session
b) Team provides non-directive leadership, process clarity, honors agenda contract, promotes good will; a facilitator does not give personal opinions unless clearly stepping out of her/his role as a facilitator.
c) Responsibilities: must be registered Green Party voter (if eligible to vote in CA), must have a working knowledge of "formal consensus" as defined in the GREEN PARTY OF CALIFORNIA, must be in agreement with the "key values" of the GCoC, must have a working knowledge of the GREEN PARTY OF CALIFORNIA bylaws and guidelines, must be experienced at facilitation or have attended a workshop on same.
d) The use of gender-stacking; that is that the order of the "stack" would alternate; one woman-one man, shall be considered as first choice for use by the facilitators.
5‑6.2 Minutes/Note Taker(s)
a) Coordinating Committee, facilitation team, and/or hosting committee shall provide at least one note taker for each plenary session.
b) Note takers shall compile an accurate record of the session highlighting decisions made and tasks taken on by delegates or others.
c) Note takers shall receive from committee leaders, copies of the committee proposals to be presented to the plenary. These shall be included in the record as received and as amended during the session with notation as to disposition of the proposal.
d) Minutes of every statewide meeting shall include a status report from each functioning General Assembly committee.
e) The Coordinating Committee has the responsibility to see that minutes are properly recorded and gathered together at the close of a General Assembly meeting.
f) In a timely manner, a copy of the draft minutes shall be sent to each region and posted on the GPCA website.
5‑6.3 Meeting Scribe
a) The facilitation team shall find a person to act as a public scribe for the purpose of writing on a board, or large piece of paper, those concerns or items of discussion that come out in the plenary sessions.
a) A timekeeper shall work with the facilitation team to guide the group through the agenda contract.
5-6.5 Vibes Watcher(s)
a) Vibes watcher(s) are presented to the General Assembly by the facilitation team before the session begins.
b) Vibes watchers are keepers of the group's cool - they pay attention to the overall mood or tone of the meeting. Only vibes watchers may interrupt the proceedings at any time to call for a time-out, break or to remind us all of our shared values and goals.
a) Coordinating Committee, facilitation team, or hosting committee shall arrange for someone to be a doorkeeper at each General Assembly session.
b) Doorkeeper(s) shall see that all persons sign-in and receive delegate or guest information packets.
c) Doorkeeper shall keep a running record of delegates in the meeting room and be prepared to provide this to the facilitation team at all times.
5‑6.7 General Assembly Delegates
a) Delegates shall sign in before the first plenary session, listing their county.
b) Delegates shall be familiar with the bylaws and guidelines.
c) Delegates assume the responsibility to participate in all General Assembly sessions contracted in the agenda.
d) If a delegate must leave the meeting before the agenda has been completed, she/he shall notify the facilitation team so that they will have an option to move to critical agenda items before the departure.
Section 5-7. Participation in General Assembly Decision-Making
5‑7.1 Priority to authorized delegates
Authorized delegates representing locals shall be given priority in decision-making discussions. At the discretion of the facilitation team, and time permitting, observing Green Party members and guests may participate in these discussions.
All persons intending to participate in General Assembly meetings shall first attend the meeting orientation session.
In the event that a vote is necessary to make a General Assembly decision, only authorized delegates may participate.
Section 5-8. Decision-Making at General Assembly Meetings
Decisions of the Green Party of California shall be made at General Assemblies of the Green Party of California using a consensus-seeking process as follows:
a) Consensus is sought after adequate discussion, including the repeated asking for and discussion of any unresolved concerns, within the time and content limits of the agenda.
b) Any stand-asides shall be recorded.
c) In calling for a consensus, any unresolved concerns shall be recorded, and those unresolved concerns shall signal a move to a vote.
d) Voting shall be on the basis of a two-third majority for business and procedural questions, and an 80% majority to amend, repeal, or replace bylaws and to make policy decisions.
e) If there is a question as to which voting count to use, the higher percentage shall be needed for a vote.
5-8.2 Items presented in proposal form
Items being presented before the General Assembly for a decision shall be in the form of proposals advocated by one of the General Assembly standing groups.
5-8.3 Assignment of uncertain items
The Coordinating Committee shall receive for consideration those items falling into areas where committee assignment is uncertain.
5-8.4 Allotment of discussion time
The Coordinating Committee, in consultation with the agenda planners and the General Assembly committee coordinators, shall assign each committee a finite amount of time before the General Assembly in plenary session. Times shall be listed for presentation of the proposals and for discussion/approval. These times shall be reviewed and ratified as an agenda contract at the beginning of each day's meeting.
5-8.5 Role of committee coordinator
The committee coordinator, or her/his assignee, shall act as a "floor manager" for this block of time. The floor manager shall assign proposals to the appropriate presenter for submission to the General Assembly.
5-8.6 Guidelines for prioritization
The committees shall use the time allotted for proposals, reports, brainstorming, workshops, etc. within the following guidelines for prioritization:
a) Proposals to advocate before the General Assembly.
1. Committee generated material.
2. Non-GPCA generated material.
b) Other material, workshops, etc.
5-8.7 Presentation of a proposal before a meeting
a) The committees shall post proposals in the pre-meeting agenda package on the GPCA website.
5-8.8 Presentation of a proposal at a General Assembly meeting
a) General Assembly committee coordinator (presenter) gives a written copy of the proposal to the minutes takers. At the same time, copies are given to delegates or a copy is posted by the scribe.
b) The presenter provides a brief statement on the background of the proposal and how the committee has decided to bring it before the General Assembly for decision.
c) The presenter reads the proposal which includes:
1. What action is required by the Green Party of California?
2. What timetable is anticipated for completion?
3. Who will be accountable to report progress to the General Assembly?
4. What are the budgetary implications of adoption?
d) Time is given in the agenda for delegates to review the proposals from the committees.
5-8.9 Details of process flow
a) The facilitation team determines if a quorum exists.
b) General Assembly committee presenter for a given proposal answers "clarifying questions" from delegates.
c) Facilitation team checks for affirmations and concerns.
1. Concerns are listed by the scribe where all can see them.
2. Facilitation team gets a feel for everyone's assessment of the proposal.
d) The group seeks to resolve those concerns deemed legitimate by incorporating them into the proposal - presenter must agree to modifications before they can be made. Note takers read back any modifications to be sure they are properly recorded.
e) The facilitation team asks if there remain any unresolved concerns.
1. If there are no remaining concerns, the proposal is adopted with the plan for implementation.
2. If concerns remain, go to the next level for resolution.
f) The facilitation team asks those holding concerns if they are willing to allow the group to adopt the proposal without their approval, having their unresolved concerns listed with the plan for implementation.
1. If those holding such concerns are agreeable, these "stand aside" concerns are recorded with the note takers and included in the minutes with the adopted proposal.
2. If the person holding a concern is unwilling to stand aside, the facilitation team moves to the next level to seek a resolution.
g) The facilitation team addresses the remaining concerns one at a time as follows:
1. The concern is restated.
2. Questions clarify the concern.
3. Discussion focuses on the single concern.
h) The facilitation team asks if all concerns are resolved.
1. If yes, the proposal is adopted; stand asides are recorded with the implementation plan.
2. If no, facilitation team asks for stand asides.
3. If concern remains and is unwilling to stand aside, go to the closing options.
i) Closing options are the prerogative of the presenter and the advocating committee. They include:
1. Return the proposal to committee for further refinement and an attempt to resolve the legitimate concerns raised.
2. Suggest the empowerment of an ad hoc group made up of representatives of the remaining concerns and advocates of the proposal to reach some fair resolution and:
i) to act on behalf of the Green Party if time is critical in the matter or ii) to return to a subsequent plenary with a recommendation for adoption.
3. Request additional time in the plenary to reach a resolution of any remaining concerns.
4. Request that the General Assembly use the voting option.
j) Requests for additional agenda time for an item shall include a specific number of minutes and whether the time will be added to the length of the meeting or if it will come from some other item. An 80% vote of the delegates is necessary to approve the request for more time.
When the closing option of voting is selected by the presenter of the proposal, the facilitation team shall proceed in the following steps:
1. The note taker shall be asked to read the proposal as it stands.
2. The scribe shall record the vote of the delegates where all can see it by "yes", "no" and "abstain".
3. The facilitation team shall call a roll and record each delegate vote with the help of the doorkeeper.
4. 2/3 vote is necessary to approve a "business" item.
5. 80% vote is necessary to approve a "policy" item.
6. If uncertain, the 80% figure is necessary.
7. Abstentions are not counted in calculating the percentage vote. The minimum number of affirmative votes required to pass a proposal shall be the voting threshold times the decision making quorum.
8. The roll call recorded vote shall be included in the meeting minutes.
l) When time runs out....
The time keeper shall notify the facilitation team when three minutes remain in the time allotted for a proposal. At this point, the presenter shall decide on a closing option.
5-8.10 Points of order
a) Any delegate may signal the facilitation team (by raising two hands) on a POINT OF CLARIFICATION if they do not understand the procedure or they believe a violation of these procedures has taken place. In doing so, they must identify at the outset which item in these procedures is at issue.
1. The facilitation team shall rule on the point of clarification.
b) Any delegate may signal the facilitation team on a POINT OF PROCEDURE if they have a procedural suggestion that they feel will aid or improve the facilitation of the discussion. Signal with two hands.
c) A POINT OF INFORMATION may be asked for at any time:
1. By the facilitation team when there is an item of information that is important to the discussion;
2. By a note taker when there is some item of information that is important to record.
5-8.11 Consent Calendar
a) The Coordinating Committee may place on the agenda a consent calendar, of proposals judged to be non-controversial. These proposals may be approved without presentations, clarifying questions, or debate.
b) Any proposals so presented must have been made available in written form to the county organizations and the delegates prior to the meeting (but in no case later than the agenda packet); and any proposal that receives any objection at the time it is presented shall be removed from the consent calendar before approval.
c) The Coordinating Committee shall assign each proposal on the consent calendar to a committee on a contingency basis. Any proposal removed from the consent calendar by objection shall be assigned to its contingent committee for consideration.
d) After consideration by the committee to which it was assigned, the proposal may then be presented to the General Assembly for approval.