Q&A: How does the legislative council work?

CLOC meeting

(Jenn Roberts-Uhlig/CHSAANow.com)

CHSAA's Legislative Council is meeting on Jan. 30. Assistant commissioner Bert Borgmann breaks down how the meeting works in this Asked & Answered:

Typically, after these meetings, you’ll hear, "CHSAA did X." What does that really mean?

The CHSAA is an organization made up of 343 individual high schools, found in 197 communities across Colorado. The CHSAA membership has over 190,000 student participants and 7,000 coaches in nearly 30 different sports and activities.

Often, when a reference is made to “CHSAA did X,” that person is referring to the CHSAA staff -- perhaps without having any knowledge of how the Association works. What is missing with this perception is the knowledge of the CHSAA as an organization with an established democratic process similar to that of a state government. The CHSAA staff cannot change rules or bylaws.

Before a CHSAA rule or a playoff format can be implemented, it has to go through this process. So, “CHSAA did X,” really refers to this democratic process.

Can a CHSAA administrator simply decide to change a rule and have it be done at the snap of a finger?

No. The role of the CHSAA staff is to interpret and implement the Association Constitution and Bylaws. Commissioner Paul Angelico has the ultimate authority on the interpretations and implementation of the rules. He is supported by six Assistant Commissioners who carry out that authority. The Assistant Commissioners -- Bert Borgmann, Tom Robinson, Bethany Brookens, Harry Waterman, Bud Ozzello and Jenn Roberts-Uhlig -- also administer the various activities within the organization and may be asked to address situations for the Legislative Council and Board of Directors on proposals that impact their activities. But, the staff does not have the authority to change a rule.

Can you explain the process of how the legislative council works?

The Legislative Council is made up of 73 representatives from the CHSAA member schools’ 36 leagues, along with three representatives from the Colorado Association of Secondary School Administrators, five from the Colorado Association of School Boards and three from the Colorado Athletics Directors Association. Each league automatically receives one LC representative. A league is eligible for additional LC members when that league has 10-19 schools or has 10,000 or more students in its member schools. A league with 20 or more schools receives four representatives on the LC.

Each member has a single vote and is allowed to vote on any constitutional or administrative proposal or committee report brought before the Legislative Council. The LC meets twice a year, once in January and again in April. Its role is to establish the rules and regulations that the Association will operate under for the next year. It is also responsible for approving or altering the playoff formats that have been submitted by the various sports, activities and administrative committees.

What’s the difference between proposals set forth in the agenda and those from the floor?

Only a league or the CHSAA Board of Directors may propose a change to the CHSAA Constitution and Bylaws. Those proposals must be submitted 60 days in advance of the LC meeting. Those proposals must be voted on as written and no amendments can be made to a constitutional or administrative proposal once it is submitted. No constitutional or bylaw proposal may be brought up from the floor. Constitutional proposals require a two-thirds majority of those voting to pass, while administrative bylaws require a majority vote to pass.

Any committee report may be amended. If the amendment to the committee report is received 60 days in advance, then a majority vote is required for its passage. Committee reports may also be amended from the floor, but will require a two-thirds majority for passage.

How much involvement does CHSAA staff have on amendments/proposals?

The CHSAA staff’s role in the Legislative Council can come in a variety of ways. The Commissioner and his assistant commissioners serve as liaisons on all committees -- sports, activities or administrative -- and each has assignments within those committees. They assist the committees in the development of playoff formats in sports, the various state events for non-athletic activities and the support information for the administrative committees like Budget/Property Administration, Tournament and Playoff Finance, Sportsmanship, or other committees.

Because of the staff’s statewide perspective from their roles with the office, the staff may also be asked by the Board of Directors and leagues to assist with the wording of amendments and proposals. Leagues and the Board may also seek their perspective on issues as they relate to bylaws based on experience from a more global perspective.

The staff cannot submit bylaws on its own, but would have to have Board of Directors approval for any they might wish to see the membership consider.