POI Foundation Constitutional Draft
A deadline stated as being ‘X’ days prior to a given event shall be defined as being exactly ‘X*24’ hours prior to 11:59PM of the day on which that event starts.
‘Parliamentary debate’ is a debate format in which a two-student team affirming the resolution debates a two-student team negating the resolution. The exact text of the resolution is given to students no earlier than 30 minutes prior to the start of the round and no later than 10 minutes prior to the start of the round. The combined duration of all speeches in the round is at least 30 minutes. Each team gets at least three speeches.
A ‘season’ shall last one year, shall start on July 1, and shall end on June 30 of the subsequent year.
A ‘school’ is an institution in the United States of America that serves students in grades 9 through 12, is an accredited public school or a registered private school, and graduating from which grants its students a high school diploma.
For the purposes of membership eligibility, a ‘tournament’ shall consist of at least three preliminary rounds, shall be open to all schools, and shall be open to any high school student a school wishes to enter. A tournament may, however, restrict the number of entries per school.
A ‘member’ is a school that registers for the league. The school automatically loses membership eligibility on the day when it has gone for more than one season365 days without competing in at least two parliamentary debate tournaments. Registration procedure shall be determined by the bylaws. Until such bylaws are drafted, registration procedure shall be determined by the Board.
A ‘region’ is any state in the United States of America, with the exception of California, that contains at least three members.
In addition, the following sets of California countries shall be regions:
1. Alameda, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Siskiyou (West of Yreka), Solano (South-West of Highway 12), Sonoma, Trinity
2. Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou (East of Yreka), Solano (North-East of Highway 12), Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Tuolumne, Yolo
3. Los Angeles (Except Bonita, Claremont, and Pomona school districts), San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura
4. Imperial, Los Angeles (Only Bonita, Claremont, and Pomona School Districts), Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego
The Legislature shall be composed of representatives of the member schools.
The adult representative of every member school shall be its head coach or its assistant coach named for this purpose by the head coach. No person shall be the adult representative for more than two schools.
The head coach or principal of a school adult representative of a member school may create a procedure for the students of his/her school to elect a student representative. The student representative must be a student at the school which she/he is representing.
No school may have more than one adult representative or more than one student representative. A school may choose to waive its right to have either an adult representative or a student representative.
Every representative shall have one vote.
Any adult representative can choose a delegate and empower that delegate to cast a vote on any given proposal on the representative’s behalf at a regular league meeting. If a regular league meeting is held at a tournament, a representative shall not transfer her/his vote to a delegate if that representative’s school is attending the tournament. A vote cast by a delegate on a representative’s behalf is final and shall count as that representative’s vote for the purposes of this Constitution and the bylaws.
No delegate shall be allowed to cast more than 20% of the votes on any proposal.
All representatives shall be guaranteed a secret ballot during officer elections and other votes regarding decisions about individual people.
REGULAR LEAGUE MEETINGS
The Legislature shall have the power to pass amendments to the Constitution, and amendments to the bylaws at regular league meetings.
Regular league meetings shall be scheduled at least twice per season.
The time and location of a regular league meeting shall be determined by the previous regular league meeting. The Board shall have the power to change the time and/or location by a two-thirds vote. A regular league meeting can also be called by a petition listing the proposed meeting time, location, and Chair and supported in writing by the majority of all representatives in the league. Each regular league meeting should be announced to the representatives at least 30 days prior to that meeting.
Regular league meetings shall be chaired by the Secretary or any adult designee chosen by the Secretary.
The quorum for a regular league meeting shall consist of at least 10 people physically present who are either representatives or delegates.
Any representative can sponsor a proposal to amend the Constitution or the bylaws at a regular league meeting by submitting the exact text of the proposal in writing (or having the Chair submit it on the sponsor’s behalf) to the other representatives at least 15 days prior to the vote.
Other school representatives can suggest changes in proposal language to the sponsor. If the sponsor agrees to those changes, the sponsor shall re-submit the proposal in writing to the school representatives at least 10 days prior to the vote.
If the sponsor does not agree to those changes, the school representative who suggested the changes can sponsor a counter-proposal. Counter-proposals shall likewise be submitted in writing to the school representatives at least 10 days prior to the meeting. A counter-proposal is defined as a proposal which contradicts the language of a proposal submitted prior to it.
The Legislature can, by a two-thirds vote, not counting abstaining votes, suspend submission deadlines for a bylaw amendment proposal. The Legislature shall not suspend submission deadlines for constitutional amendment proposals.
If a region has no representatives physically present at a regular league meeting, the delegate from that region with the most votes shall be allowed to participate and vote in that meeting remotely.
The voting procedure shall be as follows:
1) Representatives and delegates shall review the ballot options, namely the status quo, the proposal, and, if submitted, any counter-proposals.
2) Each representative and delegate shall vote for his/her first choice or abstain.
3) The ballot option with the fewest number of votes shall be eliminated.
4) Each representative and delegate shall vote on his/her first choice out of the remaining options or abstain.
5) This procedure shall be repeated until only one option remains.
6) The last remaining option shall be considered passed by the Legislature if it received the affirmative votes of at least 20% of the total number of representatives in the league. A vote for a proposal shall be considered affirmative if it ranks the proposal higher than the status quo.
7) In the case of a constitutional amendment proposal, the last remaining option must also receive a two-thirds affirmative vote of the league meeting, not counting abstaining votes, in order to be considered passed by the Legislature.
8) At any step, the tie between the status quo and a proposal shall be resolved in favor of the status quo. The tie between any two proposals shall be resolved in favor of the one submitted earlier for that given meeting.
ONLINE LEAGUE MEETINGS
The Legislature shall have the power to pass amendments to the Constitution, and amendments to the bylaws at online league meetings.
An online league meeting shall be any scheduled receipt of votes on proposals by the Secretary via email, organization-sponsored web forum, or videoconference.
Any representative can sponsor a proposal to amend the Constitution or the bylaws at an online league meeting by submitting the exact text of the proposal in writing (or having the Secretary submit it on the sponsor’s behalf) to the other representatives.
After the original temporary measure proposal is submitted to the representatives, there shall be a 10-day (240-hour) review period before voting can begin. All subsequent language revisions made to the proposal by its sponsor must be submitted to the representatives during that period.
A bylaw amendment proposal shall be considered passed by the Legislature if it receives the affirmative votes of a simple majority of the total number of representatives in the league, not counting explicitly abstaining votes.
A Constitutional amendment proposal shall be considered passed by the Legislature if it receives the affirmative votes of a two-thirds majority of the total number of representatives in the league, not counting explicitly abstaining votes.
BOARD OF OFFICERS
The Board of Officers shall have the power to make all decisions about the league, so long as these decisions are consistent with the Constitution and the bylaws.
Until the first Board elections, the Transition Team composed of Mat Marr, Basil Abushama, Everett Rutan, Julie Herman, and Iain Lampert shall perform the functions of the Board. The Transition Team shall appoint the Supervisor of Elections for the first Board elections.
The Board shall consist of elected officers and appointed officers.
The five elected officers shall be:
The Secretary, who shall chair league meetings, organize officer elections, maintain an updated member roster, manage communication between the league and its members, and conduct student opinion surveys about important matters in the parliamentary debate community.
The Treasurer, who shall manage league finances and report on them to the representatives.
The TOC Director, who shall organize the National Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions.
The Website Editor, who shall oversee a website reporting on important news in the parliamentary debate community, collecting data for rankings used to determine the qualification to the National Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions, and overseeing the creation and compilation of free and publicly available educational resources for parliamentary debate students.
The Outreach Coordinator who shall work toward increasing the regional and socioeconomic diversity of the league, toward establishing and maintaining parliamentary debate school programs, tournaments, other events and toward encouraging existing parliamentary debate school programs, tournaments, and other events to get involved in the league.
Further details of elected officer duties may be defined in the bylaws.
Elected officers may, by a two-thirds vote, create and define additional officer positions and appoint people to fill those positions. Elected officers shall strive to use this power to increase the regional diversity on the Board. Elected officers may, by a simple majority vote, remove appointed officers from the Board.
All elected officers shall have an equal voting share.
Each appointed officer shall have the voting share allotted to her/him by the two-thirds vote of the Board, with the condition that no appointed officer should have a larger voting share than an elected officer.
Elected officers should, in total, hold the majority of the voting share.
The Board shall make decisions by a simple majority vote, not counting abstaining votes, except in cases where this Constitution or the bylaws specify otherwise. Here and elsewhere in the Constitution and bylaws, “majority vote of the Board” shall refer to the majority of vote shares rather than the majority of people.
An officer’s vote on a Board decision shall be considered official once it is communicated to the other officers in writing.
All officers shall be counted as voting in favor of the status quo on any Board decision unless they explicitly and officially vote to take an action to change the status quo or explicitly and officially abstain.
The Board shall have the power to determine its internal procedures.
Any natural person who is a high school graduate and is 18 years or older shall be eligible to be an officer if elected.
No person shall serve on the Board in a specific elected position for more than two consecutive seasons.
No person shall serve on the Board as an elected officer (regardless of the specific officer position) for more than four consecutive seasons.
For the purposes of term limits, serving for only part of the season shall count as serving for the full season.
No person shall be allowed to hold multiple positions on the Board.
The Legislature, the Board, and the individual officers shall have the ability to create and fill designee positions and to temporarily transfer executive powers to such designees. This power shall be exercised in accordance with the league decision hierarchy, and no person or entity shall be able to transfer a power they themselves do not have. Being a designee shall not entitle one to a vote on the Board.
Elections of officers shall be scheduled by the Board to occur in March, April, or May and shall be announced to the representatives at least 30 days prior to the start of the elections. The Board shall designate a 7-day period during which representatives can vote on officer candidates.
Elections for one or more elected officer positions, whether vacant or not, can also be called at any point during the season by a petition listing the proposed 7-day period for the elections, the Supervisor of Elections, and supported in writing by the majority of all representatives in the league.
Elections of officers shall be conducted online in a manner determined by the Supervisor of Elections. Counting votes and other elections logistics shall be the duty of the Supervisor of Elections. The Supervisor of Elections may not be a candidate in the elections she/he supervises. The Secretary shall serve as the Supervisor of Elections, or, subject to the approval of the Board, designate a Supervisor of Elections. The Board shall create procedures to ensure the integrity of the vote and the verifiability of the vote count.
Candidacies must be declared in writing to the representatives by the candidate (or the Supervisor of Elections declaring on behalf of the candidate) at least 15 days prior to the elections.
Once elected, an officer’s term shall start once the season for which she/he was elected begins, and shall conclude once that season ends. If an officer is elected to fill a vacancy, that officer’s term shall start immediately after the election and shall conclude at the end of the season during which the election was held. The term of an appointed officer shall start as soon as that officer is confirmed by a two-thirds vote of the elected officers and shall conclude at the end of the season during which that officer was appointed.
If there is only one candidate for an officer position, that candidate shall become an officer once she/he is confirmed simple majority vote of all representatives who cast a ballot.
If there are two candidates for an officer position, the candidate receiving more votes shall become officer.
If there are three or more candidates for an officer position, the Instant Runoff Voting method shall be used. The school representatives shall rank the candidates from most to least preferred. The ballots shall be counted, and the candidate with the smallest number of voters who picked him/her as their top choice shall be eliminated. The voters who voted for the eliminated candidate shall have their ballots re-distributed to their second choice, if indicated, then their third choice, and so on. This procedure shall be repeated until only one candidate remains. That candidate shall become an officer.
A tie at any of the steps shall be resolved in favor of the candidate who is the top choice for the greater number of people, then, if that is also a tie, the second choice, and so on. An otherwise unbreakable tie shall be resolved by a coin toss.
Further election procedures can be specified by the bylaws.
An elected officer can be removed from the Board by a unanimous vote of other elected officers.
An officer can resign from the Board by informing other officers of her/his resignation in writing.
Any person who is charged with a felony by a government prosecutor or grand jury shall be immediately automatically suspended from her/his officer duties. The person charged can then be reinstated in her/his duties by a two-thirds vote of the remaining officers, not counting abstaining votes. Any person who is deemed by a government court to be unable to make decisions and/or has a person with the power of attorney acting on his/her behalf shall be immediately automatically suspended from her/his officer duties until such time as she/he is deemed by a government court to be able to make decisions and/or the power of attorney is no longer in place. Any person declared legally dead by the government shall be immediately automatically removed from her/his officer duties.
In the event of an elected position vacancy on the Board, the remaining officers shall, as soon as possible, by a simple majority vote, not counting abstaining votes, using the Instant Runoff Voting method if there are more than two candidates, elect a temporary replacement officer.
In the event that two decisions contradict each other, the decision made higher up on the decision hierarchy should be followed. The league decision hierarchy shall be as follows:
1) The Constitution.
2) The bylaws
3) Board decisions
4) The decisions of officers performing their duties
5) The decisions of designees performing their duties
Ties shall be resolved in favor of the more recent decision.
The judiciary shall consist of not less than three and not more than seven former elected board members. Judicial officials may serve until they choose to resign or until they are impeached by the board. A judicial official who has resigned may be eligible to serve on the judiciary again after a period of one year. No individual may simultaneously serve on the board and on the judiciary.
Former board members will be asked by the board to serve on the judiciary by recency, so that individuals who have most recently served on the board have priority. Board members who are removed may not be eligible to serve on the judiciary. The board may fill vacancies on the judiciary at will until the judiciary contains seven members but should minimize periods in which the judiciary contains an even number of members. The first judiciary will be populated by transition committee members after a board is elected.
Judicial officials may resign by submitting a resignation in writing to the board. If a resignation will reduce the judiciary to less than three, the judicial official should serve until another former board member agrees to join the judiciary.
Judicial officials may be impeached by a unanimous decision of the board. Judicial officials are considered removed or suspended from the judiciary under the same conditions as a board member.
The judiciary shall be empowered to arbitrate disputes between member schools, represent the organization to school districts on behalf of member schools, arbitrate disputes between the board and the legislature, represent the organization to tournament directors on behalf of member schools, and determine sanctions to tournaments that deviate from normal and/or announced procedures.
Any board member or representative may petition the judiciary by submitting a query in writing, and the judiciary must issue a public response to the petition. The judiciary may also consider petitions from any other community member but is not required to rule on them. The judiciary may refer petitions to the board or legislature if it feels they do not fall under its jurisdiction or would be better decided by wider review.
Judicial officials shall make decisions by simple majority. In case of a tie, the decision should be referred to the board.
The league Constitution, bylaws, league meeting minutes, list of Board members, list of judiciary members, member roster, and list of all financial transactions engaged in by the league shall be made available to the public at least once per season. Midseason changes in board members must be announced to the league by the board. Constitution and bylaw changes should be announced no more that two weeks after they are voted on.
This Constitution shall be considered ratified once it receives the support of at least 15 head coaches of schools eligible for league membership.