Please identify the co-facilitators and minutes-taker. Also, when listing absentees, there is no need to list Alternates. Unlike full reps, their attendance does not affect their ability to continue as Alternates. Also, in determining quorum, the alternates do not count, so the number of alternates need not be recorded.
i) While there might not be any major concerns about amending the bylaws, if the presentation/discussion time starts late or runs over, there might not be enough time for lunch which is already too short. 2) One hour for canvassing is not enough time. After allowing enough time for lunch and for getting to and from wherever we canvas, then there needs to be an hour for canvassing itself. This is one of the most important things we can do. 3) Since ballot initiatives is a proposal, perhaps that should come before Legislative Committee. 4) Since the above suggestions require more time, maybe we can convene at 9:15 instead of 9:30? Then I suggest that 1 3/4 hours for the ballot initiatives and legislative committee could be reduced, maybe by 15 minutes each, or 10 and 20 minutes respectively.
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Shepherd: M K Merelice, Norfolk County Representative
Co-Sponsor(s): Frank Jackson
Vetting Committees: Platform, AdCom, CDLC (?)
Background: Over the years, the GRP has worked on state legislative bills and warrant articles, with varying degrees of success. Sometimes the effort has been frustrating and has discouraged further involvement. However, the party’s advocacy has also helped legislation pass (e.g. MAAPL bills related to the foreclosure crisis).
As an official political party that hopes to engage directly in state government, there are particular issues that rise to the top of party interest. This proposal is to identify up to a half dozen such issues in which the party might help develop legislation or, minimally, follow legislation and communicate progress and any timely need for lobbying to GRP members.
Proposal Text: The GRP hereby establishes a Legislation Working Committee. The responsibility of members of the committee will be to select up to a half-dozen issues that require state legislation to address.
Once the issues are defined (within the scope of the GRP’s volunteer resources), a volunteer will track the progress of relevant legislation from filing to enacting, keeping GRP members informed and activated. Communications will also be posted on social media.
Implementation: Issues to be considered could include the Community Uplift Initiative introduced by the 2014 statewide candidates and endorsed by the GRP, the continuing foreclosure problem being addressed by the GRP-founded Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending (MAAPL), Instant Runoff (ranked) Voting (IRV), Single-Payer Health Care (Medicare for all), eliminating the Supreme Court decision about corporate personhood and money as free speech, and establishing a State Bank (a goal raised during the campaign for State Treasurer and about to be worked on by party members). If helpful, this committee could work under the auspices of the Platform Committee.
Financial impact: None identified.
Regarding the wording of the proposal, I suggest it be edited so that the GRP is committing to the actions, not that the sponsors are saying “we propose.”
This is about saving and restoring people’s homes, not about certain reasons people might feel uncomfortable about working with MAAPL. I have had to keep that goal firmly in mind.
My concern about calling it a slate working group remain. I believe it is prejudicial.
May I respectfully suggest changing the name of the Working Group? To call it the Slate Working Group implies a foregone conclusion that there will be a slate of candidates. I suggest it be called instead the Electoral Working Group.
I believe this is more than just semantics. Until a definite conclusion or recommendation is reached after discussion and analysis, all opinions should be welcomed without preconceived expectations.
[[ The name called for by the Bold Action Plan was “Exploratory Committee”. David and I suggested “Slate Working Group” as a more appropriate name because it is structurally a working group, not a working committee. And if a slate is nominated, it might continue past the exploratory phase. The group deals only with the slate, not with electoral work in general, so putting “slate” in the name seems to add clarity. I don’t think the name preconceives anything that isn’t in the Bold Action Plan. But the name can be changed. Why don’t we take a straw poll on Sunday to see if StateCom has a clear opinion on this? ]]
Obviously this working group needs to complete its task by the January StateCom meeting if any candidacy is to be valid in 2014. Therefore, its members need to be available and prepared to work during a busy year-end season — and to recruit potential candidates in a tight timeframe.
[[Yes, the Bold Action Plan calls for creating the group at the state convention, which means there is no time to waste if State Convention passes the proposal. ]]
There is a reference to a 2/3rds vote of the working group (to add additional members to the group). But nowhere is there an indication of what size the group might be in the first place. It begs the question, 2/3rds of what?
[[The size is not specified – its up to State Convention to name initial members, but other members can be added by the defined process. It’s important to have people who will go out and do the work and not people who just sit in the seats. If new workers show up, we thought it would be appropriate to seat them rather than tell them that all seats are filled. ]]
I’m assuming that so much authority is being placed in the hands of the State Committee instead of holding a state nominating convention (especially since the party doesn’t have official ballot status). But in an electoral activity, where the ultimate choice rests with the voters, is it really appropriate for so much authority to rest with the State Committee? For example, if there really are two potential candidates for the same position and they are both willing to try to get enough signatures, is it appropriate for the State Committee (or the party) to prevent that? On the other hand, since GRP candidates will not be running against each other in a primary, could the final election have two candidates on one party line? Anyway, my point relates to how stringent the party should be in the unlikely event of a glut of candidates.
[[ This gets to the question of whether we want to put together a slate effort through a deliberate process or just want to let things happen. The Bold Action Plan assumes that having a slate is a good idea. That means recruiting people to fill the slots. It also means nominating one person per slot and then having everyone work together to get the signatures needed to put the slate on the ballot. Personally, I think it would be terrible if we had candidates running their own signature collection efforts independently of the slate. We just don’t have enough volunteers to be able to split our forces. If two people want to run for the same office, the Slate Working Group should try to determine who would make the best candidate and may be able to convince one of the candidates to run for another office on the slate. My understanding of election law is that only one candidate is allowed to run in the general election with the “Green-Rainbow Party” designation. This prevents someone from sabotaging a party by putting multiple party members on the general election ballot, thus splitting the party vote. The Party can confer the right to use its name by almost any process it wants to use. (This flexibility is given because we are a political designation, not a political party.) If two GRP members independently collected the required number of signatures, it’s possible that one could run as an independent and the other as GRP. I think we should try to avoid that. ]]
[[ Under paragraph 10, StateCom could decide to call for a nominating convention rather than going ahead and nominating a slate. Although that is an option that is permitted, there are some arguments against it. First, it means that several weeks slip by before the slate is known which loses critical organizing time. Second, it involves a lot of work that would be more wisely put into organizing the signature collection effort. Third, if we only have one candidate for each office, the nominating convention may have no competitions to be decided. Fourth, in practice, a nominating convention is not necessarily more democratic than State Committee. It depends on who turns out and what transpires. A convention can be hijacked to produce a non-democratic result. ]]
[[I’m suggesting that we hold off publishing the state committee proposal until Monday, at which point we could tweak it to reflect any clear guidance from StateCom. Since the Convention Committee has not given us any deadline for submitting the proposal, we might as well wait until Monday.]]
The timing of steps toward adopting a budget might need review. According to the draft, AdCom will invite input in November, will adopt/approve a budget in December, and will have it adopted by StateCom in January. At the same time, StateCom members are requested to submit any modifications/additions to AdCom’s approved budget three weeks before that January meeting. I don’t see how that timeframe can work.
Possibly later, it might be worthwhile to consider engaging in the budget process earlier (1) to avoid the holiday season, (2) to engage officers who have experience behind them rather than have it be the first order of business for new officers (assuming conventions continue to be held in November), and (3) to be ready to launch into the activities of a new year with an approved budget.
Regarding 4.2.4 e (transfers from Special Funds); I believe StateCom should also have authority to make transfers (by majority vote?).
My main question is whether larger regions with more state senators will provide the political glue that prompted this exercise in the first place. My other question relates to how effectively proportional representation will be implemented with larger regions in which reps could be geographically clustered instead of spread out.
Regarding splitting municipalities, this is inevitable — at least in the case of Boston which has so many state senatorial districts. However, for regional conventions, it has usually been the practice for regions to combine so it is possible to keep municipalities intact for those conventions.
I believe it would be helpful to pass the current changes, even if only to put on record that there will not be regional conventions in 2014 as would be the case under the former system.
Historically, the GRP has given little emphasis to forming official Ward, City, and Town Committees. In contrast, some members have felt that one purpose of local chapters is to foster — and even eventually become — Ward, City, and Town Committees. Until that happens, I’m not particularly fond of calling the chapter a “club” — which sounds exclusive rather than inclusive (and no new chapter has ever put “club” in its name). But if (when?) a chapter becomes a state-recognized committee, why would we want to drop it as a GRP chapter? That seems counter-productive — especially since such a committee is no longer officially recognized by the state when the GRP is a political designation.
The bylaws should be flexible enough to accommodate the party’s status as either a political designation or a political party in the context of Massachusetts regulations. It would be far too complex to have to make bylaw changes every time the GRP swings back and forth.
The Boston Chapter would not be recognized under the proposed requirements if we were not grandfathered. Our Bylaw provision that we encourage the formation of other chapters in our area would not be allowed. Our becoming a PAC would not be allowed. The fact that members in Lenox, Mass. chose to become a Town Committee would eliminate them as a local chapter. The proposal simply does not allow enough flexibility to accommodate the stage of growth that the party is at TODAY — and the ways in which local members are determining how best to grow the party locally.
I urge the State Committee to consider chapters and caucuses separately. I think it would be confusing to identify caucuses as chapters, given their distinctive roles and responsibilities.
It would also help to discuss further the role of campus organizations. It was my understanding that the-then MIT and Harvard Greens were part of the-then Mystic River Green-Rainbow Action (MRGRA) which was a Cambridge-Somerville GRP chapter. In fact, students from both MIT and Harvard ran for office in Cambridge. The Amherst Chapter has a varied history that has included being a Town Committee and, I think, at the time might have encompassed the UMass-Amherst Greens. When Mike Aleo ran for State Rep (getting 38% of the vote), Smith College students were major supporters/campaign workers. Were they part of a campus or local chapter?
Although I hope this proposal benefits from some serious discussion, it is a complex proposal that, in my view, is not ready for prime time. In particular, it is not tuned in to the thinking of some of the most active GRP members and local chapter activists. I urge the State Committee to refer it to the Membership Committee and Local chapters for further input and development.