Chicago USA  -  14 - 17 April 2019 - PDG Graeme Blick, (CoL District Representative 2017 - 2020)
Every three years, representatives from each Rotary District meet at the Council on Legislation (CoL) in Chicago to review and vote on proposed changes to the legislation that governs Rotary.  They consider enactments, which change Rotary's governing documents such as the RI Bylaws and Constitution, and position statements by the RI Board.

The 2019 CoL took place between 14-18 April.  As the District 9940 CoL representative this was my first meeting since being appointed to the role in 2018.  I was one of 538 voting members attending from over 140 countries and for 80% of those attending this was their first CoL meeting.  There were another 48 non-voting members present including the RI President, Vice-President, President Nominee, General Secretary, Board Members and past RI Presidents.  I was struck by the regional differences in Rotary and these influenced many of the enactments proposed from these regions. 

One hundred and seventeen enactments were considered and of those 47 were approved, 15 withdrawn and the remaining rejected.  Full details of each enactment can be downloaded from:  

The results of the voting can be found at:

 The 2016 CoL was referred as the progressive CoL, however I found this most recent CoL to be very conservative – this was exemplified by the relatively low number of enactments approved.  I felt that RI senior leaders and the Board had an undue influence on many of the enactments discussed.  This resulted in the surprise results for the following 2 enactments:

·         rejection of enactment 19-104 proposing that the CoL meet every 2 years instead of the current 3 and alternating paired District CoL representatives, effectively reducing the number of CoL representatives at the meetings by 50%; and

·         approval of enactment 19-112 limiting the number of non-voting members able to attend the meeting to the RI President, Vice-President, President Nominee, RI General Secretary and one Board Member, effectively barring past RI Presidents from the meeting. 


This sent a message that CoL wanted to have greater influence over the outcomes of the enactments and not be influenced by non-voting members.   

It was pleasing to see enactment 19-72 passed which will acknowledge Rotaract clubs in the RI Constitution and Bylaws and elevate them as an important member of the Rotary family. Rotaract clubs will continue to have their own standard constitution but will have greater support from RI. Our organization will benefit from this change because it broadens the definition of membership in RI to include Rotaract clubs.  

The significance of 5 other enactments are worthy of mention:

·         19-29 proposed by District 9940 standardising financial reporting procedures between Rotary and satellite clubs was approved;

·         19-68  making the purchase of Rotary magazines voluntary was rejected;

·         19-82 increasing Rotary dues by $US1/year for 2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24 was approved;

·         19-115 reviewing and simplifying the Rotary Bylaws was approved; and

·         19-116 reviewing and simplifying the Standard Club Constitution was approved. 

I feel that this CoL will be remembered for it conservatism and the enactments that were not passed rather than those passed.      

My thanks to Pat Waite, immediate past CoL representative for his advice prior to the CoL meeting, to David Watt for his support as CoL Alternate, and District 9940 for supporting me in this role.