Governance and Operation of Rotary clubs.


The Council on Resolutions and the Council on Legislation give us a voice in how Rotary is governed at an international, district and club level.

Council on Resolutions

Meets online every year to vote on proposed resolutions, which express opinions and make recommendations to the Rotary International Board (that is, a resolution does not change the constitutional documents of Rotary International or clubs).

Resolutions can be submitted to the Council on Resolutions by clubs, districts, the RI Board, and the general council. Resolutions proposed by a club must also be voted on, or endorsed, by the clubs in its district.


Council on Legislation

Rotarians meet every three years to review and vote on proposed changes to the legislation that governs Rotary.

Clubs, districts, the RI Board and the general council, or the Council on Legislation itself, may propose enactments that seek to change Rotary’s constitutional documents (the RI Constitution, RI Bylaws, and the Standard Rotary Club Constitution).

For a club to propose an enactment, the club’s board of directors must first submit the proposed enactment to its club members for adoption. An enactment submitted by a club must also be endorsed by the clubs in its district before it can be submitted to Rotary International.

If your club believes that change need to be made to the way Rotary is governed or operates, then consider whether this can be achieved by proposing that change to the Council on Resolutions or the Council on Legislation.


Voting for The Council on Resolutions 2017 was conducted over the period 15/10/17 to
15/11/17. This year there were 38 resolutions to be deliberated and voted on by delegate Ken Moore..




Detail of the 2016 Council decisions and what your club needs to do to revise its Club Constitution and Club Bylaws are available below.

The most significant action taken by the 2016 Council allows clubs to include in their bylaws exceptions to the standard provisions relating to meeting frequency, format, and attendance and to offer additional membership types that are desired in the community, such as associate, corporate, family membership or others. For more information, please refer to the document titled Greater Flexibility Talking Points.

The 2016 Council on Legislation was held from 10th to 15th April 2016.

Revising Club Constitution and Club Bylaws

Clubs should now take prompt action to revise their Club Constitution and their Club Bylaws to ensure that club governing documents are consistent with Rotary International’s rules and policies.

Importantly, if a dispute occurs within your club these are the instruments that will be of most value in helping resolve the matter.

A kit of documents has been developed that will assist clubs with revising their Club Constitution and Club Bylaws. Incorporated clubs will need to submit their revised Club Constitution to Consumer Affairs. It is recommended that this be done at the time of submitting your annual financial statement, which would normally be done following you annual general meeting scheduled for December.

Rotary International introduced a policy some years ago that requires all clubs seeking to incorporate to obtain approval from the Rotary International Board. This requirement also applies to clubs that were incorporated prior to the introduction of the policy. Most of the clubs that revised their Club Constitution following the 2013 Council on Legislation have undertaken this process but some did not. It is a straightforward process that is outlined in the attached document titled “Rotary Club Incorporation Application”.

The kit of documents that will assist you with revising your Club Constitution and your Club Bylaws is (please click on links to access documents):

It is a relatively simple and straightforward process. James Wilcox can assist clubs by providing a draft of each document to be distributed to club members for their consideration. James will also forward the documents (once approved by your membership) to Rotary International on behalf of your club.

Essential changes for clubs and districts

(The numbers in parentheses identify the relevant legislative enactments)


Ability to change rules. Clubs may relax or tighten attendance requirements and termination policies for non-attendance. However, clubs are still expected to forward attendance reports to the governor. Any club that wishes to continue adhering to the traditional attendance requirements may do so. (16-21)

Rule of 85. Rotarians can be excused from attendance if the combined total of their years of membership in one or more clubs plus their age equals at least 85, with their years of membership totalling at least 20. (16-35)

Club Board

Treasurer. A club treasurer is now a permanent member of the club board. (16-02)

Board meeting minutes. Written minutes should be prepared for all club board meetings and be made available to members within 60 days of that meeting. (16-01)

Club Finances

Admission fees. New members can be admitted without paying admission fees. However, clubs may also choose to retain these fees, and they have the flexibility to add admission or other fees to their bylaws. (16-07)

Club dues increased. To address both financial challenges and the need to improve service to clubs, RI semiannual dues were increased by $4 for each of the next three years — to US$30.00 per half year in 2017-2018, US$32.00 per half year in 2018-2019, and US$34.00 per half year in 2019-2020. (16-99)

Club Meetings

Ability to change meeting schedules. Clubs can now vary their meeting days and times, and can cancel meetings, as long as they meet at least twice a month. However, any club that wishes to adhere to the traditional requirements regarding meetings and cancellations may do so. (16-21)

Cancelling a meeting. Clubs can cancel a meeting if it falls during a week that includes a holiday. (16-26)

In-person and online meeting participation. Clubs can have in-person meetings, online meetings, allow online participation for an in-person meeting, or switch between any of these formats. (16-30)

Council on Legislation

Proposed legislation. Only two types of proposals will be considered: enactments, which seek changes to RI’s constitutional documents, and position statements from the RI Board. (16-113)

Council representatives. Representatives will serve for three years, starting on 1 July of the year following their selection. For example, the 2019 Council representative would take office on 1 July 2017 and serve until 30 June 2020. (16-114)

Council on Resolutions. A Council on Resolutions consisting of Council representatives will meet online annually to consider recommendations. Resolutions may be proposed by a club, district conference, the RIBI general council or conference. Those resolutions adopted by a majority vote of council representatives must be submitted to the general secretary by 30 June of the year prior to the Council on Legislation. (16-113)

District Changes

Moving clubs into adjacent districts. The Board can merge a district with fewer than 1,100 members, or divide districts with more than 100 clubs by moving clubs into adjacent districts. (16-84)

Two years for districting changes to take effect. Any decision by the Board to eliminate or change district boundaries won’t become effective until at least 24 months after it is made. (16-86)

District Leadership

Vice governors. Having a vice governor is no longer mandatory. This role replaces the governor in case of that person’s inability to perform their duties. If the district uses a nominating committee, the committee selects a past governor proposed by the governor-elect. If the nominating committee doesn’t receive a nomination, or if a nominating committee was not used, the governor-elect may choose a past governor as vice governor. The vice governor serves in the year following his or her selection. (16-74, 16-76, 16-77)

Procedures for failing to adopt the annual statement and report of district finances. The statement and report of finances must be discussed and adopted within three months of the conclusion of the district conference or at the next district meeting to which all clubs are entitled to send a representative and for which 30 days’ notice has been given. If no district meeting is held, the governor must conduct a ballot by mail within 60 days of the end of that three-month period. (16-88)

Mishandling of district finances. Anyone who fails to follow Rotary’s financial requirements, including improperly administering the district fund, is prohibited from holding any Rotary or district office until the irregularities are resolved. (16-89)


E-clubs and Rotary clubs. The distinction between traditional clubs and e-clubs was eliminated. While references to e-clubs have been removed from Rotary’s constitutional documents, e-clubs may continue to name and promote themselves as Rotary clubs that meet exclusively or primarily on-line. (16-82)


Concurring with a governor selection challenge. The number of clubs that must concur with a club’s challenge to the nominated candidate has been increased to 10 other clubs, or 20 percent of the total number of clubs in the district, whichever number is higher. Only clubs that are at least one year old as of 1 July of that year are counted in the total and may concur with a challenge. (16-71)

Special elections nominating procedure streamlined. If a district restarts the governor selection process due to special circumstances, the governor does not need to repeat the request for suggestions from clubs if there were none made during the first nominating process. (16-72)


Joint magazine subscriptions. Two Rotarians residing at the same address may choose to subscribe jointly to The Rotarian or to the regional magazine prescribed for their club. (16-96)


Rules and qualifications. Clubs may determine their own rules or requirements for transferring members, dual membership, and honorary members. They’re also free to continue following the traditional provisions for these members. The only mandatory qualifications for membership are that Rotarians must be adults who have demonstrated good character, integrity and leadership; have a good reputation in their business, profession and community; and are willing to serve in their community and around the world. (16-36, 16-38)

New membership types. Clubs may offer associate, corporate, family, or other membership types. Clubs offering these additional types would report these members to Rotary as “active” for purposes of inclusion on the club invoice. Other financial obligations (club dues, meal costs, etc.), attendance requirements, and service expectations for these members are determined by the club. However, only active members may be considered for office and count in determining a club’s voting strength. (16-36)

Dual membership in Rotary and Rotaract clubs. Rotaractors can simultaneously hold separate membership in a Rotaract club and a Rotary club. (16-40)

Transferring member statement. Potential members who owe money to another club are ineligible for membership. Clubs must seek confirmation that a former Rotarian does not have any outstanding debt to their previous club. When a club requests a statement from the club of a member who wishes to transfer, or who was previously a member, as to whether that person owes money, the request must be responded to within 30 days. If no response is provided, it is assumed that the member doesn’t owe anything. These changes are in the RI Bylaws but are no longer repeated in the Standard Rotary Club Constitution. (16-51)

New Clubs

Charter member minimum. New clubs need at least 20 members to be chartered. (16-83)


Suspension of membership. Clubs may now suspend a member for a maximum of 90 days. At the end of that time, they must either terminate or reinstate the member. A suspended member has the right to appeal the suspension or request mediation or arbitration. (16-49, 16-50)

Suspension or termination of clubs because of litigation. Clubs can be suspended or terminated if one of their members takes legal action against RI or The Rotary Foundation — including action against directors, trustees, officers, and employees — before exhausting all Rotary remedies. The Council also clarified the conditions under which the RI Board may take action against districts with repeated election complaints. (16-81)


The Council on Legislation (Rotary’s “parliament”) meets every three years to review and vote on proposed legislation. The legislation is in the form of proposed enactments and resolutions submitted from various sources, including those by put forward by clubs, districts, the RI Board, and the Council itself.

The Council on Legislation is an important part of Rotary’s governance process – it is where we have a voice in how Rotary is governed.

When does the Council on Legislation next meet?

The next Council on Legislation will convene April 2019.

Who can propose legislation?

Proposed enactments and resolutions may be submitted by clubs and districts, though club items must be endorsed by the club’s district. Proposals may also be made by the General Council or Conference of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, the RI Board, and the Council itself

When is the deadline for proposing legislation

The deadline for submitting legislation (enactments) for the 2019 Council on Legislation is 31 December 2017.

The deadline for submitting resolutions to the 2017-18 Council on Resolutions is 30 June 2017.

There are no exceptions to these deadlines.

Details on how to propose legislation is available on the Rotary International website   here .
Club legislation must be endorsed by the district.

If you feel that change is needed then contact District Council on Legislation Representative James Wilcox on mobile 0439 911 747 or email

What are some of the changes made by the Council on Legislation

  • Clubs can vary their meeting days and times, and can cancel meetings, as long as they meet at least twice a month [2016]
  • Clubs may relax or tighten attendance requirements and termination policies for non-attendance [2016]
  • Clubs may offer associate, corporate, family, or other membership types [2016]
  • Rotaractors can simultaneously hold separate membership in a Rotaract club and a Rotary club [2016]
  • Engagement in this club’s service projects, other events and activities can be counted in attendance at club meetings [2013]
  • Satellite clubs introduced prior to expiry of the three year pilot [2013]
  • New Generations be changed to Youth Service [2013]
  • Retired people who had never been in Rotary but would have been qualified permitted to be admitted [1995]
  • Women may be admitted into Rotary [1989]
  • PolioPlus goal of immunizing the world’s children against polio and authorizing a fundraising campaign [1986]