Legislative Positions and Resolutions are the framework for Texas PTA's grassroots legislative work. They are adopted at the annual meeting, thereby giving the Board of Directors the authority to act effectively on behalf of our members.
What is a Legislative Position?
A legislative position is a statement outlining the opinion, will or intent of the association to address statewide problems, situations or concerns that affect children and youth. A position statement usually requires initial action to seek resolution on the issue, but the position is sometimes maintained, even when action has been taken, to substantiate the continuing will of the association.
What is a Resolution?
A resolution is an original main motion which, because of its importance, length, or complexity, is submitted in writing. Resolutions call for action by the Texas PTA or its constituent bodies (areas, councils or local units). Resolutions seek to address problems, situations or concerns which affect children and youth and which require action for solution.
The Board of Directors of Texas PTA reserves the right to reject a resolution/ legislative position for any reason deemed necessary for the best interest of the Texas/National PTA.
Why Submit a Resolution or Legislative Position?
Texas PTA resolutions and legislative positions seek to address problems, situations or concerns that affect children and youth statewide and that require statewide action to be resolved. Positions and resolutions that receive approval from the delegates at the Texas PTA Annual Meeting each year become part of the Texas PTA’s legislative agenda. Board members, volunteers and staff use this agenda – the voice of our membership – to persuade legislators and government officials to enact PTA’s positions into law.
How Long Are They Effective?
Texas PTA resolutions and legislative positions remain effective for five years after adoption at the Texas PTA Annual Meeting. They may be reaffirmed, if necessary. Legislative positions may be withdrawn once the requested legislation is enacted.
Who Submits a Resolution or Legislative Position?
Local PTAs, Councils, or the Texas PTA Board of Directors, may submit resolutions or legislative positions for consideration at the Texas PTA Annual Meeting. The resolution or legislative position must have been presented to and adopted by the voting body of the submitting group.
When Are They Submitted?
Two copies of the resolution or legislative position submission package must be sent to the Texas PTA Office, to be received no later than November 15.
What Criteria Must They Meet?
Each resolution or legislative position submitted to the Texas PTA is subject to consideration by the Advocacy Committee of the Texas PTA Board of Directors and must meet the following criteria:
- Concern the program of the Texas PTA;
- Be in harmony with national and state PTA policies – noncommercial, nonpartisan, nonsectarian;
- Concern a matter of national or state scope, not merely local interest;
- Request action that is both physically and financially feasible for the Texas PTA to undertake; and
- State a position not previously adopted by the Texas PTA.
What Must be Submitted?
- The Submission Cover Sheet completed and signed by the originating group. The cover sheet must include the signatures of the PTA president and secretary and indicate the date on which the proposal was adopted by the originating group.
- The resolution or legislative position itself.
- Table of Contents for supporting materials.
- A Rationale Statement (one page or less) summarizing the issue and the need for the requested action.
- Background materials, documenting each “whereas” clause in a resolution or each statement in a legislative position. This material should indicate that the subject was well researched by the submitting group and should be sufficient to give a person with no previous knowledge of the subject enough information to make an intelligent decision. The material must be unbiased and well balanced and may include PTA-related information such as statements or policies; copies of document research, pertinent laws, surveys or statistics; and copies of relevant articles from publications. Newspaper articles and editorials alone are not sufficient background material.
What Happens if an Issue Arises After the Deadline?
Emergency resolutions or legislative positions must conform to all established criteria and procedures for other resolutions or legislative positions. In addition, the issue which the proposed emergency resolution or legislative position addresses must have arisen after the normal deadline for submitting resolutions and legislative positions. Those wishing to propose an emergency resolution or legislative position must deliver two copies of the complete submission package for the proposal to the Texas PTA State Office at least fourteen (14) days prior to the first general meeting of the state convention.
The Texas PTA Board of Directors will meet after this deadline to determine if the proposed emergency resolution or legislative position meets all requirements for presentation to the convention body. Copies of emergency statements approved for presentation to the convention body shall be prepared for all delegates by the submitting group and delivered to the Texas PTA convention office prior to the business meeting.
A two-thirds affirmative vote of the delegate body is necessary before an emergency resolution or legislative position shall be considered. There are no guarantees that the convention delegate body will agree to consider the resolution or legislative position.
What Do They Look Like?
Resolutions usually consist of two parts:
- Whereas Clause(s) – preamble or introductory statement(s) that contain the background information and reasons for the resolution. Each statement of information or rationale is listed separately and begins with the word “whereas.”
- Resolved Clause(s) – the request for action. Each action has its own “resolved” clause.
Legislative positions usually consist of a single statement listing the new law or the change to existing law that is requested.
One of the most common questions that the Texas PTA Office receives is, “Should I submit a resolution or a legislative position?” There is no single answer to this question – it depends on the issue and on what you hope to accomplish. A resolution can be submitted on virtually any topic that meets the criteria listed above, while a legislative position is usually reserved for issues that require a new law or changes to existing law. Many topics can be covered by either a resolution or a legislative position; a resolution says, “We believe something should happen…” while a legislative position says, “We want a law requiring something to happen…”
As an example, consider the National PTA resolution passed in 1983 concerning guidance counseling services in schools. The resolution reads as follows: Whereas, Students in school are vulnerable to the pressures and problems of the society in which they are nurtured; and Whereas, Families need information, assistance, and support in raising children in a rapidly changing society; and Whereas, The failure to identify learning problems and difficulties encountered by young children may result in problems of greater magnitude and severity as they mature; and Whereas, the responsibility for providing appropriate educational programs, counseling, and coordinating services lies with state and local agencies; now therefore be it Resolved, That the National PTA encourage state PTAs/PTSAs to support the development of a comprehensive guidance counseling plan which provides services to all children; and be it further Resolved, That the National PTA encourages state and local PTAs/PTSAs to seek funding for implementation of comprehensive guidance counseling services.
In response to this resolution, Texas PTA developed the following legislative position, currently listed as position II-R-93.
PTA supports requiring a full-time counselor for every school or cooperative of schools with 500 or more students, whether or not compensatory funds are available.
The rationale statement and other supporting documentation would be roughly the same for either the resolution or the legislative position. Note that, while the legislative position text is shorter, it is more specific and is written so that it can be applied to specific legislation and funding programs.
Disclaimer at bottom of legislative page: Texas PTA is a noncommercial, nonsectarian, nonpartisan organization that promotes the welfare of children and youth. Texas PTA does not endorse any candidate or political party.
Forwarding Resolutions to National PTA
A Texas PTA Resolution may cover an issue of national scope and therefore be appropriate for consideration by a National PTA convention. Resolutions passed by a Texas PTA convention will be forwarded to the National PTA only if the resolution includes the clause “Be it resolved that this resolution be forwarded to National PTA.”
There are very specific requirements that a resolution must meet in order to be considered by the National PTA. Please refer to the National PTA Handbook for more information.