Thursday, May 28, 2009

By-law Changes

RWB Doug,
As a follow up to a conversation we had about a month ago about us possibly changing our by-laws to raise the application and degree fees, we have the following questions:
  1. Does this require approval from the Grand Lodge.
  2. If so, what is the protocol (i,e, between the first reading and second or before ever officially presented) and is there a specific format to use?

Dear W. Brother L. P.
Once you have the bylaw changes ready to submit, it must be proposed in writing at a stated meeting of your lodge. If it is approved at that time by the majority of those present, then it is sent to the Grand Lodge office. We get it approved by a member of the Jurisprudence committee and send it back back to the lodge, with a cover letter containing some additional instructions. The lodge then reads it at the subsequent stated meeting and takes no action. Then the lodge publishes a copy to all of the members telling them that a final vote will be taken at the third of this three stated meeting process. At that time, if the change is approved by 2/3 majority then it is sent back to the Grand Lodge office for the Grand Master’s final approval.
The actual Minnesota Masonic Code language is below.
So the short answer is yes, the change does need to be approved by Grand Lodge, using the procedure outlined here.

Here is the section from the Minnesota Masonic Code dealing with bylaw changes:
SECTION G13.32 Neither by-laws of Constituent Lodges nor amendments thereto shall be effective unless approved by the Grand Master and should follow the suggested form in the Masonic Handbook for "Forms and Petitions." They, or any part of them, may be amended at any Stated Communication, but only in the following manner:

(a) Any proposed change must be in writing, by Article and Section, and read to the Lodge a first time. If the Lodge favors the change, it must be by a majority vote of those present.

(b) After it has been read and a majority vote favors the change, the Lodge Secretary will send it to the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge for transmission to the Grand Master and one of the members of the Committee on Jurisprudence for approval as to form only, or correction. The Grand Secretary shall divide the submissions between the members of the Committee on Jurisprudence.

(c) Upon its return by the Grand Secretary with the Grand Master's approval, it shall be read to the Lodge a second time at the next Stated Communication, but no action should be taken at this communication other than to lay it over until a subsequent Stated Communication.
(d) At least five (5) days before the subsequent Stated Communication when action is to be taken, notice by mail to every member at his last known address shall be given, with a sufficient summary of the change to enable him to understand the proposed action.

(e) At the Stated Communication when action is to be taken, the proposed change is to be read a third time; and upon receiving a two-thirds (2/3) vote in favor by those members present, the change shall be declared adopted.

(f) The Lodge Secretary will attach one (1) copy each of the original and the amended Article(s) and one (1) copy of the notice of proposed action sent to the members of the Lodge, and mail these to the Grand Secretary, together with a copy of Certifying By-Laws For Approval, as found in the Handbook For Forms And Petitions.

(g) If a member of the Jurisprudence Committee, when requested, finds the proposed amendment(s) to be correct and proper for final approval, he shall so certify to the Grand Master. A quarterly report shall be made to the Grand Master by a member of the Jurisprudence Committee of all proposed by-law amendments which have been found incorrect and improper for final approval.

(h) When a new set of by-laws is proposed for adoption, the foregoing procedure as to amendments shall apply.

(i) This section may be suspended by any constituent Lodge for the purpose of amending their by-laws for:
1) changing the annual dues to pay increased per capita to the Grand Lodge for its operations and its assessment to the Minnesota Masonic Foundation, Inc. or
2) amending the Lodge by-laws to change isolated single words or numbers, or
3) to act upon a motion made from the floor to change isolated single words or numbers following the third reading of an amendment insofar as receiving approval as to form only from the Jurisprudence Committee of the Grand Lodge and the Grand Master.
All other provisions of this section must be strictly complied with regarding notice and voting, and upon completion of the amendment, a certified copy thereof shall be filed with the Grand Secretary to become effective.