NOW National Conference 2000

Proposed Conference Rules



I. Admission

A.  The Conference shall be open to all persons properly registered.  Registration badges shall be  issued to identify members, visitors, special guests, and press, and shall be required for admittance to any segment or function of the Conference.

1. "Members" shall be defined as persons having an expiration date of 0003 (March 2000) or later and whose dues were paid to the National Organization for Women prior to the opening of registration for the Conference.  The membership of persons who join NOW during the Conference shall take effect upon the adjournment of the Conference.

2. "Visitors" shall be defined as persons who are not members of NOW.  "Special guests" shall include speakers, entertainers and others designated by the President.

3. "Press" shall be defined as persons who may report on the Conference to the public through any media other than NOW publications or platforms.

B. Press shall be required to register at the press table prior to receiving press badges and relevant information.

C.  Members who are press, upon completing their registration for the Conference, shall be required to sign a statement that, in the event the Conference or any segment or function thereof votes at any time to exclude press, members with press identification who choose to remain in such session(s), pledge, by their continuing presence therein, not to report on the general substance or the details of such session(s) through any media other than NOW publications or platforms.


II. Delegates

A. The Credentials Committee shall certify delegates and alternates to the Conference, and shall issue voting credentials to delegates.  In order to be eligible to be a delegate, a member must have (1) an expiration date of 0003 (March 2000) or later for renewing members; or (2) proof of payment of dues to the National Organization for Women by April 1, 2000, for new members.

B. It shall be the responsibility of delegates who leave the Conference to report their departure(s) and surrender their credentials to the Credentials Committee.  When notified, the Credentials Committee shall issue voting credentials to the eligible alternates.  A brief absence of a delegate shall not entitle an alternate to be credentialed to vote.  Credentials will not be returned to delegates who have relinquished them.  If delegates leave the Conference without notifying the Credentials Committee, the Committee will make reasonable efforts to locate such delegates before issuing credentials to the eligible alternates.  It is the responsibility of alternates to be in attendance at all sessions in readiness to replace delegates.

C. The Chair of the Credentials Committee shall report at the opening of voting plenary sessions the number of delegates credentialed and the number of people registered.

D. Challenges to voting rights shall be referred to the Credentials Committee.  The Credentials Committee shall report to the Conference on any credentials challenges and their disposition.


III. Plenary Sessions

A. Delegates shall be seated by regions.  Each region shall be marked with a sign bearing the name of the region.

B. Motions and Debate

1. When their services are required, the presiding officer shall appoint a Timekeeper, Facilitator and Plenary Advisors.

a. The Plenary Advisors shall assist members by providing assistance with parliamentary inquiries and other "red" card items.

b. The Facilitators shall staff microphones, maintain order in plenary sessions and implement the decisions of the body pertaining thereto.  Upon request, they shall assist Hearings Chairs and workshop coordinators in facilitating orderly proceedings and in preventing overcrowding in workshops.

2. Motions shall be made by delegates and must be in writing prior to being recognized to speak at a microphone.  The motion must be signed with the proponent's name, classification  (delegate or non-delegate) and chapter or state affiliation.  Mike facilitators will have a supply of motion paper that provides for three copies of a motion.  Upon introduction of a motion, the maker of the motion shall provide one copy of the motion to the Chair, one copy to the Recorder and shall retain the third copy.  Makers of motions shall be entitled either to open or to close debate on their motions.

3. While delegates are the only persons who can make motions, all NOW members are entitled to speak to motions.  Each speaker shall be limited to three (3) minutes of discussion on each motion.  No person shall speak a second time to an issue until all persons seeking recognition have had an opportunity to speak.  Visitors may participate in floor discussion only upon invitation of the presiding officer, the National Board, or the Conference.

4. Persons desiring to speak from the floor shall form lines behind the microphones and shall indicate to the mike facilitators their classification (delegate or non-delegate) and the purpose for which recognition is sought.  The facilitator shall convey such information to the presiding officer by means of colored cards as follows: green, main motion or debate;  red, privileged or incidental motion such as parliamentary inquiry, point of order, point of information, suspension of rules; yellow, subsidiary motion such as amend, limit or extend limits of debate, call the previous question.  (A detailed explanation of the green, red, yellow system can be found in the Roberts Rules/Procedures section)  After recognition and prior to debating, speakers shall state their name, classification (delegate or non-delegate) and chapter or state affiliations.

5. When questions are put to a vote, the microphone lines and aisles shall be cleared and all persons shall be seated.  Aisles and microphones shall remain clear until the vote is completed.

C. Voting in Plenary Session

1. Voting shall be accomplished by seated delegates raising their credentials.

2. If a vote is inconclusive, delegates shall stand and raise their credentials.

3. If a standing vote is inconclusive, the presiding officer may order, or the body may request, a standing counted vote (division of the house).

D. Procedure for Standing Counted Vote

1. The count is taken by having those in the affirmative rise and stand until counted, then having those in the negative rise and stand until counted.

2. The tellers shall count off each delegate, who shall be seated one at a time after being counted.

3. No one shall be allowed to enter or leave the hall while a standing count is being taken.

E. Smoking shall not take place within the plenary hall, workshops, issue hearings, caucus rooms, exhibit areas, or the hallways outside these rooms.


IV. Hearings

A. Hearings will be comprised of the following: a chair, co-chair, and NOW participants.  Hearings shall be organized by topic.  Members who wish to have a resolution considered shall bring the resolution to the appropriate Hearing.  The Hearing titled "Other Issues" shall be reserved for consideration of resolutions which do not appropriately belong in one of the topic Hearings.

B. The Chair will begin each Hearing by reviewing the format of the Hearing.  A copy of the Issues and Administrative Policy Manuals shall be available for chairs' and members' use to review current policy on the issues.

C. Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall be the parliamentary authority.

D. At the beginning of the Hearing, the Chair shall be advised of the number of resolutions being presented.  The Chair will divide the allotted time by the number of resolutions to be considered (this does not mandate equal time per resolution), including time for discussion and time for voting on final wording and prioritizing.  In order to consider all ideas, strict time division will be maintained.  Time may also be allotted per speaker.

E. The voting procedures shall be:

1. All NOW members registered at the Conference shall be eligible to vote in Hearings.

2. After discussion of all resolutions presented to the Hearing, the chair shall conduct a vote on each resolution.  Members may vote for or against as many resolutions as they choose.

3. If two or fewer resolutions receive a majority vote, those resolutions shall be forwarded to the Resolutions Committee for plenary consideration.

4. If more than two resolutions receive a majority vote, the chair shall conduct a second round of voting on those resolutions which received a majority vote.  During this second round of voting, members may vote for only two or fewer resolutions.
5. The two resolutions which receive the highest affirmative votes in the second round of voting shall be forwarded to the Resolutions Committee for plenary consideration.

F. Resolutions which result from the hearings must comply with the requirements for resolutions contained in these rules.

G. Members may not be denied admittance to a Hearing at any time except temporarily when a vote is in progress on an individual motion, amendment, or resolution.


V. Resolutions

A. Who may submit resolutions:

1. Resolutions may be submitted by the chair of the issue hearing and/or her/his designee signed by the chair.  Only two (2) resolutions shall be accepted from each issue hearing.  Such resolutions must have been adopted in accordance with the voting procedures described in Section IV, E of these rules.

2. Other than from issue hearings, resolutions may be submitted if signed by 100 NOW members registered at the Conference.

B. Deadline for Submission

1. The deadline for submission of resolutions from issue hearings shall be one and one-half (1 and 1/2) hours after the agenda-scheduled time for the adjournment of the issue hearing submitting resolution(s).

2. Resolutions submitted with 100 signatures of NOW members registered at the Conference shall be submitted no later than one and one-half (1 and 1/2) hours after the original agenda- scheduled adjournment time of the last regularly scheduled issue hearing.

C. Location for submission of Resolutions

1. Resolutions shall be submitted to the Resolutions Committee via its designee at the Conference office.

D. Format of Resolutions

1. Resolutions must be typed, single or double spaced on 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper.  All resolutions shall be no more than one page, one side in length.  All margins (top, bottom, right, left) shall be at least one inch.  Resolutions shall be printed in type size no smaller than 10 point.

2. Each resolution shall include at the bottom of the page a contact name and affiliation (for identification purposes only) so that members will know from whom to seek additional information about the resolution.

3. Each resolution shall be submitted on a separate sheet ready for reproduction.  The Resolutions Committee requires the submission of the original signed copy and one copy ready for reproduction without signatures.  Signatures shall be on file with the resolutions Committee for reference.

4. If multiple pages of signatures are submitted, the text of the resolution must appear on the front and/or back of each page of signatures.

5. Each member signing a resolution for submission by petition shall print her/his name, sign her/his name, and indicate her/his chapter or state affiliation.

6. Submitters are responsible for typing and proofing resolutions ready for reproduction.  Typewriter/word processors will be available for NOW members.

E. Proposed Order of Consideration

1. The Resolutions Committee shall present the order of consideration for resolutions which may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote.


VI. Workshops

A. Workshops shall be open to all Conference registrants.  In the event that any session becomes overcrowded, priority for seating shall be given to members.  Voting shall be limited to members.

B. Participation in discussion may, at the discretion of the facilitator or by majority vote, be limited to members.

C. Workshops may exclude press, camera and/or tape recorders.


VII. Materials

A. Distribution, sale, and/or display of materials and/or literature shall be confined to the literature table and booths in the Exhibit Hall, with the exception of NOW materials.

B. No political party, group, or candidate with the exception of (1) NOW PAC and NOW Equality PAC endorsed or supported candidates and (2) NOW candidates for National NOW office shall distribute materials and/or literature except at the literature table and booths in the Exhibit Hall; hold forums, workshops, caucuses or seminars;  collect or attempt to raise funds;  or otherwise use the National NOW Conference and/or its members for partisan political purposes.


VIII. Fundraising

A. Fundraising is not permitted by any entity, including NOW sub-units, without the express permission of the Executive Committee.


IX. Authority

A. This conference shall be governed by the Bylaws of the National Organization for Women, Inc.; Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised; and these conference rules.



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