Constitutional Bylaws

ARTICLE I: DEFINITIONS

SECTION 1: These bylaws are a document subordinate to the Coast Forensic League Articles of Incorporation. The purposes of Coast Forensic League are those outlined in Article II of its Articles of Incorporation. These bylaws may also refer to Coast Forensic League as ‘CFL’ or ‘league.’

SECTION 2: CFL bylaws consist of constitutional bylaws and of operational bylaws. Constitutional bylaws prescribe the general governing structure of the league. Operational bylaws codify the rules pertaining to particular aspects of league activities.

SECTION 3: A constitutional amendment is an amendment to the constitutional bylaws. An operational amendment is an amendment to the operational bylaws.

SECTION 4: A season shall last one year, shall start on July 1, and shall end on June 30 of the subsequent year.

SECTION 5: An ‘active season’ shall start on October 1 of each season and end on March 31 of that season.

SECTION 6: A deadline which is ‘X’ days prior to a meeting shall be defined as being exactly ‘X*24’ hours prior to 11:59PM of the day on which the meeting is held.

ARTICLE II: MEMBERSHIP

SECTION 1: Any school which is

1) in the following counties: San Mateo, Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and

2) serves students in grades 9 through 12, and

3) is an accredited public school or is a registered private school that has filed the mandatory Private School Affidavit (see California Education Code 33190 http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/psaffedcode.asp)

shall be eligible for membership in the CFL.

In addition, by mutual agreement of CFL and Golden Gate Speech Association, the following schools shall be eligible for membership in the CFL: Mission San Jose High School (in Fremont, California) and Washington High School (in Fremont, California).

SECTION 2: To become a member or renew its membership, a school speech/debate program must do two things:

1) Submit a filled-out membership registration form, as drafted by the Board, which shall include the name of the head coach and a signature of a school administrator authorizing the speech/debate program to act as a school affiliate. The head coach may be a school employee or an outside consultant. If a school gets a different head coach later on in the season, it shall notify the league by submitting a statement naming the new head coach signed by either the outgoing head coach or by a school administrator, with the school administrator having the final say in case of a dispute. The Board must make the membership registration form available to potential member schools on or before September 1.

2) Pay its membership dues for that season or have its dues waived. The amount and payment deadline for membership dues and the procedure for waiving membership dues shall be defined in the operational bylaws.

SECTION 3: Once a school satisfies the requirements in Article II Section 2, it shall be a member until the start of the next active season (see I.5), at which point its membership shall expire unless it is renewed.

SECTION 4: School membership can be terminated with or without cause by a two-thirds vote of the CFL Legislature, not counting abstaining votes. School membership can be reinstated by a simple majority vote of the CFL Legislature, not counting abstaining votes. The process of terminating a membership must follow the criteria laid out in California Corporations Code, Section 5341, subdivision (c).

SECTION 5: Any person who is charged with a felony by a government prosecutor or grand jury shall be immediately automatically suspended from his/her CFL chaperon, school representative, officer, adviser, designee, or committee member duties until the next regular league meeting. The person charged can then be reinstated in his/her duties by a simple majority vote of the Legislature, 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 his/her CFL chaperon, school representative, officer, adviser, designee or committee member duties until such time as he/she 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 his/her CFL chaperon, school representative, officer, adviser, designee, or committee member duties.

ARTICLE III: VOTING ELIGIBILITY

SECTION 1: A school shall be eligible to vote if and only if it is listed on the voter roster. All schools that meet all the requirements in this article shall be added to the voter roster.

SECTION 2: A school may only be added to the voter roster if it is a member school (see II).

SECTION 3: A school may only be added to the voter roster if in the 365 days prior to it being added, students from that school competed in at least two CFL tournaments.

SECTION 4: A school may only be added to the voter roster if it is an accredited public school or if it is a private school that enrolls at least 100 students in grades 9 through 12.

SECTION 5: Operational bylaws shall prescribe the timeline and logistics of updating the voter roster (see III.1).

SECTION 6: By default, a school representative is the head coach of a member school that is eligible to vote. The operational bylaws may establish a procedure for that head coach to designate a different person affiliated with the school to be the school representative.

SECTION 7: No person shall cast votes on behalf of more than two schools at a time.

SECTION 8: The operational bylaws may establish a procedure for school representatives to vote without being physically present at the regular league meeting.

ARTICLE IV: LEGISLATURE - LEAGUE MEETINGS

SECTION 1: The Legislature shall have the power to regulate all aspects of all interscholastic speech and debate activities sponsored by the CFL and to act on all matters for the benefit of the CFL.

SECTION 2: Except in cases where the constitutional bylaws specify otherwise, the Legislature shall make all its decisions by a simple majority vote, not counting abstaining votes.

SECTION 3: The Legislature shall consist of all school representatives (see Article III) who participate in person or via teleconferencing or by proxy at a duly scheduled league meeting.

SECTION 4: Regular league meetings shall be scheduled at least twice a season.

SECTION 5: Each regular league meeting should be announced to the school representatives at least 14 days prior to that meeting.

SECTION 6: The time of regular league meetings shall be determined by the Board. The physical location and/or teleconferencing platform for regular league meetings shall be determined by the Board.

SECTION 7: Regular league meetings shall be organized and presided over by the League Meeting Chair. The President or his/her designee shall serve as the Chair. If neither the President nor his/her designee is present at the regular league meeting, the VP/D or his/her designee shall serve as the Chair, and so on, in order of officer seniority (see V.1).

SECTION 8: Notwithstanding Section 6 and Section 7 of this article, a regular league meeting can be called by a petition listing the proposed meeting time, physical location and/or teleconferencing platform, and Chair and supported in writing by one third of the school representatives in the league.

SECTION 9: One-third of the member schools eligible to vote, represented in person or via teleconferencing or by proxy, shall constitute a quorum at a regular league meeting.

SECTION 10: The Legislature shall have the power to pass amendments to the bylaws.

SECTION 11: Bylaw amendments can only be voted on at regular meetings.

SECTION 12: A proposal to amend the bylaws can be sponsored by any school representative.

SECTION 13: The exact text of proposals shall be submitted by their sponsor (or the Chair submitting it on behalf of the sponsor) to the school representatives in writing at least 21 days prior to the vote for constitutional amendments and at least 7 days prior to the vote for operational amendment.

SECTION 14: 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 2 days prior to the vote for constitutional amendments and at least 2 days prior to the vote for operational amendment.

SECTION 15: 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 2 days prior to the vote for constitutional amendments and at least 2 days prior to the vote for operational amendment. A counter-proposal is defined as a proposal which contradicts the language of a proposal submitted prior to it.

SECTION 16: The Legislature can, by a two-thirds vote, not counting abstaining votes, suspend submission deadlines for an operational amendment proposal. The Legislature shall not suspend submission deadlines for constitutional amendment proposals unless by unanimous consent. This section shall not be construed as to foreclose an amendment to a proposal pending before the legislature offered by a member during a meeting.

SECTION 17: The voting procedure shall be as follows:

1) School representatives shall review the ballot options, namely the status quo, the proposal, and, if submitted, any counter-proposals.

2) Each school representative shall vote for his/her first choice or abstain.

3) The ballot option with the fewest number of votes shall be eliminated.

4) Each school representative shall vote on his/her first choice out of the remaining options or abstain.

5) This procedure shall be repeated until an option enjoys support from a majority, not counting abstaining votes. That option shall be considered passed by the Legislature, except in the case of constitutional amendments.

6) In the case of constitutional amendments, the last remaining option must then receive a two-thirds affirmative vote, not counting abstaining votes, in order to be considered passed by the Legislature.

7) A constitutional amendment can be repealed at the next regular meeting after the meeting when that amendment was passed. Repealing a constitutional amendment in such a manner shall require following the same procedure as passing an operational amendment. Repealing a constitutional amendment at any subsequent meeting shall require another constitutional amendment.

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.

SECTION 18: Once passed by the Legislature, a proposal shall take effect immediately, unless its text specifies otherwise. The exception to this is that proposals which alter the duties of officers shall only take effect upon the start of a new term, unless the officer in question agrees to assume new duties immediately.

SECTION 19: Changing the order and/or numbering/lettering of the bylaw/Manual articles/sections/subsections/appendices without changing their text or their place in the decision hierarchy (see VI.9) shall not require an amendment and may be done by a joint decision of the President and the Secretary. When the bylaws/Manual or the California Codes are amended, the Secretary shall adjust the numbering/lettering and references throughout the bylaws/Manual to maintain consistency.

SECTION 20: Minutes shall be taken at every league meeting, but the text of the minutes shall not be considered the official stance of the Legislature.

SECTION 21: The operational bylaws may establish a procedure for school representatives to democratically pass temporary measures. A temporary measure is a temporary suspension of, a temporary revision of, and/or a temporary addition to a specific part of the operational bylaws that expires at the end of the season during which it was passed (or earlier, if so specified in the operational bylaws or in the text of the temporary measure). None of the requirements for passing an operational amendment listed in the constitutional bylaws shall be interpreted as applying to temporary measures.

ARTICLE V: EXECUTIVE - BOARD OF DIRECTORS

SECTION 1: The CFL Board of Directors (the Board) shall consist of the following league officers, listed here in order of seniority:

1) the President, who shall have 20 percent of the vote on the Board,

2) the Vice-President of Debate (VP/D), who shall have 16 percent of the vote on the Board,

3) the Vice President of Speech (VP/S), who shall have 16 percent of the vote on the Board,

4) the Treasurer, who shall have 16 percent of the vote on the Board,

5) the Secretary, who shall have 8 percent of the vote on the Board,

6) the Vice President of Congress (VP/C), who shall have 8 percent of the vote on the Board,

7) the Vice President of Scripts (VP/Sc), who shall have 8 percent of the vote on the Board,

8) and the Vice President of Topics (VP/T), who shall have 8 percent of the vote on the Board.

Every league officer shall be considered a board director and every board director shall be considered a league officer.

SECTION 2: No person shall be allowed to hold multiple positions on the Board.

SECTION 3: The position of the President, VP/D, and or VP/S can be filled by two (but not more) people simultaneously, but only if the two candidates who want to serve as co-officers agree to serve jointly, run on a ticket during officer elections, and, prior to the elections, give a binding written commitment to the school representatives about how, if elected, the two would split up the voting share granted to their position, how they would split up the officer duties, and how they would resolve disagreements about the use of power vested in their officer position. Other officer positions shall be held by no more than one person; officers may, however, within the parameters of the bylaws, delegate part of their duties to a designee (see V.24).

SECTION 4: In order for the Board to make a decision, a simple majority of the voting shares of all officers then in office who have not explicitly abstained shall be cast in favor of that decision, except in case where these bylaws require a larger majority.

SECTION 5: Failure of an officer to submit a vote or attend a Board meeting shall not be considered abstaining.

SECTION 6: Once a new Board is elected, it may begin voting on Board decision proposals right away, but its decisions shall not take effect until the start of that Board’s term.

SECTION 7: The Board shall have the power to determine its internal procedures. The Board shall have the power to exempt itself from any and all provisions of Section 5211 of the California Corporations Code except for subdivisions (a)(2) and (a)(3), but unless the Board does so, these provisions shall be in force.

SECTION 8: Any natural person who is a high school graduate and is 18 years or older shall be eligible to be an officer if elected.

SECTION 9: All school representatives shall be guaranteed a secret ballot during officer elections and other league meeting votes regarding decisions about individual people.

SECTION 10: Elections of officers for the subsequent season shall be held at (a) regular CFL meeting(s) between January 1 and June 30. Elections held to fill a vacancy can be held at any regular CFL meeting.

SECTION 11: Counting ballots and other elections logistics shall be the duty of the Inspector of Election. The Inspector of Election may not be a candidate in the elections he/she supervises. The Chair shall serve as the Inspector of Election, or, subject to the approval of the Board, designate an Inspector of Election.

SECTION 12: Candidacies must be declared in writing to the school representatives by the candidate (or the Inspector of Election declaring on behalf of the candidate) at least two days prior to the elections, unless the Legislature suspends this deadline for a given candidate by a two-thirds vote, not counting abstaining votes.

SECTION 13: Once elected, an officer’s term shall start once the season for which he/she 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.

SECTION 14: If there is only one candidate for an officer position, that candidate shall become an officer once he/she is confirmed by a simple majority vote of the Legislature, not counting abstaining votes.

If there are two candidates for an officer position, the candidate receiving a majority of the votes cast 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, without ties, 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 one candidate enjoys a majority of the votes cast. That candidate shall become the 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.

SECTION 15: School representatives shall have the right to be present when ballots for officer elections are counted and when a coin is tossed in order to verify the integrity of the electoral process.

SECTION 16: Further election procedures can be specified in the operational bylaws.

SECTION 17: An officer shall only lose his/her position on the Board prior to the end of his/her term in the following instances:

1) An officer can resign from the Board by informing other officers of his/her resignation in writing.

2) An officer can be removed from office, with or without cause, by a vote of two-thirds of the other officers then in office who have not explicitly abstained (see V.5), with the vote of each of the other officers counting equally.

3) An officer can be removed from office, with or without cause, by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, not counting abstaining votes.

4) See Article II Section 5.

SECTION 18: In the event of a vacancy on the Board occurring in between regular league meetings, 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, who shall serve until the next regular league meeting. Until the Board elects such an officer, the most senior remaining officer (see V.1) shall temporarily assume the duties (but not the title or the voting share) of the vacant officer position.

SECTION 19: Until a replacement officer is elected, the vacant position shall be counted as casting an official abstaining vote on every Board decision.

SECTION 20: The Legislature shall elect officers to fill vacancies that occur during the season in the same manner as it shall elect other officers.

SECTION 21: No person shall serve in the same officer position for more than two consecutive seasons.

SECTION 22: No person shall serve on the Board (regardless of the specific officer position) for more than four consecutive seasons.

SECTION 23: For the purpose of Section 21 and Section 22 of this article, serving for only part of the season shall count as serving for the full season. Co-officers shall both be considered to have served the term.

SECTION 24: The Legislature, the Board, and the individual officers shall have the ability to create committees and designee positions and to delegate executive powers to such committees and designees. This power shall be exercised in accordance with the CFL decision hierarchy (see VI.9), and no person or entity shall be able to delegate a power they themselves do not have. Being a designee or a committee member shall not entitle one to a vote on the Board.

SECTION 25: The Board (unless overruled by the Legislature) shall have the power to create reasonable guidelines and forms to manage the logistics of elections, proposal submissions, league meetings, tournaments, membership registration, payments, reimbursement requests and other league activities.

SECTION 26: The Board may codify its decisions in the Board Manual (Manual). Both the Board (see V.4) and the Legislature (see IV.17.1-5,8) shall have the power to amend the Manual. Any Board decisions that do not get codified in the Manual shall expire by the end of the season during which they were made.

ARTICLE VI: JUDICIARY - COUNCIL OF ADVISERS

SECTION 1: The Council of Advisers (the Council) shall consist of five advisers.

Two of those shall be the two most recently retired Presidents who had previously served for at least one complete active season, are available, and satisfy the eligibility requirements for being on the Council.

The other three (or more, if fewer than two of the past Presidents are available and eligible to serve) shall be the three (or more, as above) past officers who have retired from the Board most recently after serving for at least one complete active season.

An officer who changes his/her officer position but stays on the Board shall not be considered retired.

A tie in recency shall be resolved in favor of the more senior retired officer (see V.1). A tie in recency between two co-officers shall be resolved by a coin flip.

SECTION 2: An adviser shall only lose his/her position on the Council in the following instances:

1) An adviser can resign from the Council and by informing other members of the Council and of the Board of his/her resignation in writing.

2) An adviser can be removed from the Council if this removal is supported by all officers on the Board or all officers on the Board except one officer (not counting abstentions). The Board cannot remove more than one adviser in a 30-day period.

3) An adviser’s term on the Council shall end once an officer retires from the Board and makes that adviser no longer be in the top five most eligible retired officers (based on the guidelines in VIII.1).

4) No person can simultaneously be an adviser and an officer. Thus if a person re-joins the Board, he/she must resign from the Council.

5) See Article II Section 5.

SECTION 3: Immediately after a position on the Council becomes vacant, the retired officer who is next in line (based on the guidelines in VI.1) shall become an adviser.

SECTION 4: The Council shall have the power to determine its internal procedures.

SECTION 5: The Council shall assist with the transition from one Board to the next, advise the Board, and train the officers in their duties.

SECTION 6: The Council shall make decisions by a simple majority vote, not counting abstaining votes. A tied vote shall be resolved in favor of the Council not taking any action on the issue at hand.

SECTION 7: An adviser’s vote on a Council decision shall be considered official once it is communicated to the other advisers in writing.

SECTION 8: All advisers shall be counted as voting in favor of not taking any action on the issue at hand on any Council decision unless they explicitly and officially vote to take an action to change the status quo or explicitly and officially abstain.

SECTION 9: The Council shall have the final say on the interpretation of the Articles of Incorporation, the bylaws, temporary measures and other decisions. The Council shall thus have the power of judicial review, meaning that it shall be able to invalidate any bylaw, temporary measure, or other decision in the event that such a decision contradicts a decision higher up in the decision hierarchy. The ruling of the Council is final (unless the Council itself later votes to overturn it) and shall take effect immediately after it is made. The Council shall issue written explanations for its rulings to the CFL Legislature. The CFL decision hierarchy shall be as follows:

1) The Articles of Incorporation

2) The constitutional bylaws.

3) The operational bylaws and the non-expired temporary measures.

4) The Manual and non-expired decisions of the Board of Officers.

5) The decisions of officers, committees, and designees acting within the scope of power delegated to them.

Ties shall be resolved in favor of the more recent decision.

SECTION 10: The Council’s judicial authority shall not extend to imposing punishments of any kind on individual people or individual schools. Instead, the body or bodies which have an authority to punish individuals and/or schools shall be created by the Legislature and defined in the bylaws. The Council shall, however, have the power to overrule punishments that contradict decisions higher up in the decision hierarchy.

ARTICLE VII: TRANSPARENCY

SECTION 1: CFL Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, temporary measures, Manual, league meeting minutes, list of Board members and Council members, and list of all financial transactions engaged in by the league shall be made available to the public at least once per season.

The constitutional bylaws were adopted by a vote of the CFL members on August 21, 2017 at a regular league meeting held at Saint Francis High School, Mountain View, CA.

By a joint decision of the President and the Secretary (see IV.19) on February 3, 2018, article numbers I through X are reserved for constitutional bylaws (see I.2), article numbers XI through XX are reserved for operational bylaws (see I.2), and article numbers XXI through XXX are reserved for the Manual (see V.26).