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APPA members have opportunity to shape association's policy; next meeting of L&R Committee is at National Conference


From the May 16, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published May 16, 2013

All regular APPA members (utilities, joint action agencies, state/regional associations) have the opportunity to help shape APPA's policies on legislation, regulation and other federal issues by participating in a democratic process that begins with the Legislative and Resolutions (L&R) Committee. The L&R Committee will meet during APPA’s National Conference in Nashville, Tenn., on Sunday, June 16, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Each year, the L&R Committee meets twice to consider proposed policy resolutions – once at the Legislative Rally in Washington, D.C. (held early in the year, usually in March) and once at the National Conference in June. Any regular APPA member may designate one voting delegate to the L&R Committee, by filling out a short form available on APPA's website or by sending an email to the APPA Government Relations Department. No proxies are allowed.

Voting delegates to the L&R Committee receive a "call for resolutions" several weeks prior to each of the two annual committee meetings. The call for resolutions delineates the process and sets the deadline for submitting proposed new policy resolutions to APPA staff. All of the proposed resolutions are then sent out to the L&R Committee voting delegates two weeks in advance of the meeting to give voting delegates the chance to review the proposed policy and discuss any concerns with the drafters. APPA government relations staffers are available to consult with APPA members throughout the process of developing and reviewing the proposed resolutions.

Once the proposed resolutions are sent out, they cannot be modified until considered at the meeting. APPA staff works with the chair of the committee -- a representative from an APPA member with a one-year term -- to draft the committee agenda, and establish the order in which the resolutions will be considered at the meeting. The meeting is governed by Robert's Rules of Order, and a certified parliamentarian is employed to help the chair with any parliamentary inquiries. During consideration of the resolutions, each one may be debated, amended, sent back to an APPA committee for further consideration, passed without amendment, or defeated. Once a resolution is passed at the Legislative Rally meeting, it becomes APPA policy until the APPA National Conference, at which point it is reviewed again at the L&R Committee meeting during the conference, and may be amended. New resolutions may also be considered at that June meeting.

Once the L&R Committee reconsiders the resolutions passed at the Legislative Rally and considers any new resolutions, it then sends this package of resolutions to the entire APPA membership for consideration at the annual Association Business Meeting, which takes place on the Tuesday afternoon of the National Conference.

Voting delegates for the Association Business Meeting must be designated in advance when they register for the National Conference. The L&R Committee delegate and the Association Business Meeting delegate may or may not be the same person -- that is up to each APPA member to decide. The L&R Committee delegates typically specialize in government relations and legislative and policy issues, while the Association Business Meeting delegates will be voting not only on the policy resolutions, but also on the APPA board of directors, and therefore may want to have a broader perspective.

When the full association passes the package of resolutions, they go into the APPA Codification of Resolutions and cannot be amended. If a clarification to, or reversal of, existing policy is necessary, then a new resolution must be offered the following year. New resolutions may also build on existing resolutions as a policy matter becomes more complex or nuanced. Otherwise, if no change to an existing policy resolution is adopted in subsequent years, it remains APPA policy. Periodically, policy resolutions are offered by members seeking to highlight an important issue where no new policy is needed.

For anyone who would like to review APPA’s existing policy positions, the resolutions passed in March 2013 at the Legislative Rally may be found on APPA’s website. Another helpful document for reviewing APPA's policy positions, also available on APPA's website, is the Codification of APPA Resolutions, which is a compilation of all of the resolutions passed since APPA was formed.

A document, Understanding Voting Delegates, also is available on the APPA website, as is a form for making changes or additions to the L&R Committee.

If you have any questions about your L&R Committee voting designee or the designation process, contact Joy Ditto, APPA's vice president of government relations, at jditto@publicpower.org (202/467-2954) or Forrest Sholars, APPA, at fsholars@publicpower.org (202/467-2959).

For questions about the Association Business Meeting, contact Shelley Padilla at spadilla@publicpower.org (202/467-2902).

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