Friday, February 12, 2010

Resolutions in the Texas Democratic Party Precinct Convention

A Guide to Introducing and Passing Resolutions in the Texas Democratic Party Precinct Convention

Purposes of a resolution
  1. To memorialize someone recently deceased.
  2. To congratulate a person or group.
  3. To amend the Rules of the Texas Democratic Party (TDP).
  4. To amend the TDP Platform.
  5. To urge Democratic elected officials, especially in the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress, to advocate certain positions on policy issues. As the delegates assembled at the state convention are the highest authority within the TDP, such resolutions should carry weight with elected officials as the consensus of the grassroots of the party.
Example of a well-written resolution:
WHEREAS 44 million people in America have no health insurance, and another 38 million have inadequate health insurance, forcing nearly one-third of Americans to face each day without the security of medical care for themselves and their families; and

WHEREAS medical debt contributed to 62 percent of U.S. bankruptcies in 2007, and, even though, 78 percent of those families filing bankruptcy had health insurance, they still were bankrupted by their medical debt; and

WHEREAS Research released in the American Journal of Public Health in September 2009 estimates that 45,000 U.S. deaths each year are associated with the lack of health insurance; and

WHEREAS A Families USA report released in March 2009 found that 9.3 million Texans were uninsured in throughout 2007 and 2008 and an additional 5,550 Texans continue to lose their health coverage each week; and

WHEREAS Both conservative and progressive researchers agree, according to facts given in a September 19, 2009 The Dallas Morning News article, that Texas leads the nation in percentage of residents without health insurance, even after removing illegal immigrants from the numbers, with only 49.5 percent of Texas residents covered by employer-sponsored insurance, compared with 58.5 percent nationwide, with an average family of four in Dallas spending $17,000 annually to pay for medical care and health insurance,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Texas Democratic Party supports the passage of comprehensive Private Heath Insurance Industry Reform legislation.

Submitted to and adopted by Precinct ___ in Collin County, Texas, Senatorial District __, on March 2, 2010.
Convention Secretary (signature)
Structure of a resolution
  1. Give the resolution a title that indicates not merely the topic, but also the position to be advocated (i.e., instead of "Resolution on Private Heath Insurance Industry Reform," it would be better to put "Resolution For Private Heath Insurance Industry Reform").
  2. List the reasons for the resolution at the beginning, each reason being in a separate paragraph beginning with the word "whereas" (capitalized, italicized or in boldface).
  3. List each action to be taken in separate paragraphs introduced by the words "be it resolved" (capitalized, italicized or in boldface).
  4. Use semicolons to separate each paragraph, and avoid periods. A well-written resolution should consist grammatically of a single sentence.
  5. Keep the resolution brief. It should fit easily on a single page.
  6. At the end of the resolution, write: "Submitted to and Adopted by Precinct ___ in ____ County, Texas, Senatorial District ___, on March 2, 2010" and leave a signature line for the precinct convention secretary, who will sign it if the precinct convention adopts the resolution.
  7. Anyone wishing to submit a resolution show bring three printed copies of each resolution to the precinct convention
Process by which resolutions move forward
  1. Someone has an idea for a resolution and writes it up.
  2. Priority is given when the same resolution comes from multiple counties or senatorial districts. It would be a good idea to share your resolution with others who live in different precincts and in other parts of the state. Sponsoring organizations might post a resolution on their website.
  3. The resolution is introduced at the precinct convention on the evening of March 2, 2010.
  4. If the resolution passes, it will be included in the convention packet that must be delivered to the county chair within three days after the convention.
  5. The next level is the county convention.
  6. The Resolutions Committee will meet prior to the county convention. They can amend a resolution, combine it with other similar resolutions, or vote it down.
  7. The county convention or senatorial district convention will consider all the resolutions recommended by the Resolutions Committee. Those that pass will proceed to the state convention.
  8. A Temporary Resolutions Committee will consist of members of the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC). They will organize the resolutions submitted for the state convention. They can pull out any resolution they don't like unless it has come from multiple counties or senatorial districts.
  9. Resolutions that are not statewide in significance (except for memorial or congratulatory resolutions) will not be considered at the state convention.
  10. Resolutions concerning TDP Rules or the TDP Platform will be referred to the Rules Committee or the Platform Committee.
  11. At the state convention, each senatorial district elects one member for each of various committees, such as the Permanent Resolutions Committee, the Rules Committee, and the Platform Committee, and others.
  12. If the Permanent Resolutions Committee works expediently, they will consider all of the submitted resolutions, combine them with others as possible, and then refer them for a vote on the convention floor. If they waste time, worthy resolutions will fall by the wayside.
  13. At the state convention, other resolutions may be introduced that haven't come through a county or senatorial district convention by petition of 20% of the delegates (using the proper form).
  14. Resolutions passed by the state convention will be sent by the SDEC to the Democrats elected to the Texas Legislature and U.S. Congress, as appropriate. Hopefully our representatives, whom we work so hard to get elected, will pay attention to us!

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