rules made by a company/organization/church or society to control the
actions of its members. Also, a regulation made by a local authority; an
Simply put, your Church Bylaws are considered a legal
document that dictates how your organization must be governed. If your
Church Board doesn't follow the stipulations of what is outlined in your
Church Bylaws it can have devastating consequences to your
church/organization and even the board members themselves. Since bylaws
are such a huge deal, it stands to reason that what they contain and how
they are used should be taken very seriously.
Amendments to the bylaws are extremely important in cases such as a
law changes that might effect the way your church effectively does their
business. In these cases it's often necessary to amend your bylaws as
soon as possible.
How do we amend bylaws?
- Look to see what it states as the procedure. Remember just because
the Robert's Rules of Order gives a procedure that doesn't mean that
your bylaws should give the same procedure.
- After discussing how the bylaws are going to be amended, write down
what bylaw you want changed and how you want it worded. Check with
several people in the organization and have them read it. Does the
proposed changes make sense? Does the change affect other bylaws in the
organization? If so, how? Does other changes need to be proposed if
bylaw change is adopted? If so, word the change carefully and
Previous Notice - In most
instances, it requires previous notice and two-thirds vote to amend the
bylaws. Depending on your church or organization, they might allow for a
very different procedure such as by a unanimous vote of those present.
What does your bylaw state regarding correct previous notice? Can it be
sent in the mail with a call to meeting? Does it have to go to a Bylaw
Committee or Board of Directors first for review or can you present it
directly to the membership?
giving previous notice, state which bylaw you want to amend. If its
going out in the call to the meeting write the bylaw as it now stands
naming the Article and Section, and then state the proposed amendment
and how it would read if amended.
giving previous notice at a meeting, have the proposed amendment
written out and give a copy to the secretary and include in the minutes.
Remember once the notice has been given, members at the next meeting
can't amend it beyond the scope of the notice. Simply put, if the
amendment is proposed and open for discussion at the next meeting no one
could propose an amendment to the amendment. This protects the rights
of the absent members.
Give Notice in Writing
- Robert's Rules of Order recommends that if a notice is required to be
in writing, it would have to be signed by a seconder so the membership
knows that at least two people want to discuss it and there is no wasted
time by only one person who is interested in the proposal.
During the Meeting
- Normally, the bylaw amendment is presented under New Business on the
meeting agenda. A member must present the proposed amendment and will
need a motion and second. It will then be placed before the assembly by
restating the proposed amendment and asks for discussion. The proposed
amendment is considered a main motion and both primary and secondary
amendments are allowed. The vote taken should be a counted vote and
should be recorded in the minutes (how many voted for it and how many
voted against it). The Bylaw Amendment will be effective immediately
unless the members adopt a proviso (incidental motion) for it to take
effect at a later time.
Meeting Minutes - It's
extremely important how the secretary writes this in the minutes. The
secretary should write the original bylaw in the minutes and then the
proposed amendment and who proposed it. Also, record how it was worded,
when it was adopted, and numerical vote - Example: "12 voted in the
affirmative and 6 in the negative." "There was a two-thirds vote in the
affirmative and the bylaw amendment was adopted."
Final Step - When the bylaws are amended, record at the bottom of the page amended the date that it was amended.
most convenient and organized way to keep your bylaws updated are to
have them on a computer disc where you can easily print them and then
put them in a 3 ring binder. This will make it easier to make changes
when needed to your bylaws.
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