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Amendments, Motions and Resolutions, Oh My!

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, December 11, 2019

As chair of the SDA National Bylaws Committee, it’s my job to help national and all chapters assure that their bylaws and standing rules are current and in compliance.

But what are bylaws anyway? They are the document that governs the national organization (or chapters), basically a contract between the organization and its officers so that the business of the organization is conducted consistently. They describe various membership categories, committees, types of meetings and how they are held, and the people who have authority to make decisions, among other things. As a chapter, your state requires bylaws in order for you to be organized in that state. (And SDA National requires that you have bylaws/standing rules to remain in good standing as a chapter.)

In general, bylaws shouldn’t change considerably, unless there are changes within the organization that would require changes to the bylaws.

Standing rules establish specifics for the organization, such as uses of finances and responsibilities of committees.

Bottom line, bylaws are designed to be overarching and procedural, while standing rules are specific and administrative.

Sounds complicated, I know… That’s why SDA’s Bylaws committee exists – to help members and chapters understand their bylaws and standing rules, and to assist when changes are contemplated.

We’re a small committee (shout out to Gretchen Renz, CDFA, my right-hand committee member and our ExCom Liaison, Karen Roman, FSDA), and we don’t get much time in the spotlight, which is just how we like it. Unless there are amendments to the national bylaws or standing rules that create a lot of discussion during the annual business meeting. Remember the name change amendment?

But we’re here when needed – by ExCom and chapters – when a question arises regarding conformance with bylaws, when a chapter wants to make a change, or has a question. Just the other day I received an email about whether or not their chapter had a quorum. The answer was yes, by the way.

So remember your national Bylaws Committee when you have a question – we love to hear from you!



Betsy Nickless, FSDA, currently serves the SDA National Bylaws Committee Chair.

Contact Betsy 



Tags:  Bylaws Committee  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

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Permalink | Comments (5)

Comments on this post...

Judy A. Beebe, FSDA says...
Posted Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Thanks, Betsy! A friendly reminder about quorums would be awesome - how to determine if we have a quorum for voting purposes.
Permalink to this Comment }

Anne McNeely, CDFA says...
Posted Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Thanks Betsy! Judy, i believe a Quroum is based on the voting members present at the time of the meeting. I'm sure i will be corrected if that is incorrect.
Permalink to this Comment }

Penny Nelson, CDFA says...
Posted Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Thanks for all of the work you and your committee do! The Orange County chapter is so lucky to have you as our resident bylaws guru :)
Permalink to this Comment }

Betsy Nickless, FSDA says...
Posted Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Stay tuned for Bylaws "did you know" coming up. But yes, a quorum is those present at the time a vote is taken. Only way you wouldn't have a quorum would be if more than half of the attendees left the meeting after roll call.
Permalink to this Comment }

Nikki Pierce, CDFA, LEED AP BD+C says...
Posted Thursday, December 12, 2019
A great summary and explanation. Thanks for sharing, Betsy!
Permalink to this Comment }

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