Council on legislation to review changes to RI policies

Rotary members from all over the world will gather in Chicago 14-18 April to consider changes to the Constitutional documents that guide Rotary International and its member clubs.

The Council on Legislation meets every three years and is an essential part of Rotary’s governance. The representatives — one from each Rotary district — review and vote on proposals that seek to change Rotary’s constitutional documents.

This year, the council will consider more than 100 proposals, including one new item and three recently amended motions from the Rotary International Board of Directors:

1. Authorize the RI board to change RI to a 501(c)(3) organization

Proposed enactment 19-117 seeks approval to change Rotary International's charity status from a 501(c)(4) organization to a 501(c)(3) organization under the United States tax code. As a 501(c)(3) organization, RI would be eligible for benefits, such as tax reductions, vendor discounts, and certain corporate sponsorships.

2. To admit Rotaract clubs to RI membership

Proposed enactment 19-72 would acknowledge Rotaract clubs in the RI Constitution and Bylaws and elevate them to being more equal to Rotary clubs. The Board believes that now is the time to emphasize the important role that Rotaract clubs play in the Rotary family by formally recognizing them in the constitutional documents. Rotaract clubs will continue to have their own standard constitution, maintain their own identity as Rotaractors, and preserve their unique club experience but will receive greater support from RI.

3. To amend the term of reference for the Rotaract and Interact Committee

Proposed enactment 19-75 would remove Interact from the responsibilities of the committee in order to emphasize Rotaract as a membership experience distinct from Interact as a youth program conducted by Rotary clubs. It allows the committee to focus efforts on improving the Rotaract experience, which was identified by the strategic plan as showing great potential as a new channel into Rotary. The RI president may still appoint an Interact committee.

4. Revise policy on financial reserves

The RI Board seeks to modernize RI’s policy for reserves to meet future circumstances, in accordance with principles of good governance. Proposed enactment 19-95 would provide a clearer definition of reserves and specify that the appropriate level of reserves is 55 percent of annual operating expenses instead of 85 percent.