Submitted by: PDG Thomas Riley

Rotary International’s Council on Legislation

The Rotary International Council on Legislation (RiCL, or COL) is a legislative body responsible for determining the policies and procedures of Rotary International. The council meets every three years to review and vote on proposed changes to the Rotary Constitution and Bylaws. 

The first RICL was held in 1910, and since then it has played a crucial role in shaping the direction and future of the organization. 

Some notable actions taken by the RICL include the adoption of the Four-Way Test in 1943 and the inclusion of women as full members of Rotary in 1987. 

The RICL serves as a key forum for members to express their views and help guide the organization towards its goals of promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, saving mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies.

Each Rotary District selects one delegate to a term of three years to the RICL from among its Past District Governors. The delegate is responsible for voting in the Council, which meets once every three years in Chicago, and represents his/her district’s views on the direction of Rotary. The Council votes on potential enactments that are proposed by clubs, districts, or by the Board of Directors of RI. It also votes on policies of The Rotary Foundation, but these are recommendations to the Trustees of the Foundation.

A simple majority vote is enough to enact a change in RI governance documents. 

D5580 presented an enactment in 2016 that effectively abolished a rule demanding a level of Rotarians’  attendance at Rotary club meetings. The rule abolishing required attendance was proposed by the Rotary Club of Cloquet, Minnesota, and was vetted by the District for form and consonance with the strict rules of presentation to the Council. 

It was my privilege as D 5580 delegate to present the proposal. 

I can state here that I did not agree with it, but I did my best to present the proposed enactment, which  was volubly objected to by the then sitting officers of RI, including its President. 

Despite the arguments of the members of the Board of Rotary, the enactment passed, and attendance at Rotary meetings is no longer required by statute, though any particular Club is free to keep attendance a necessary part of membership in the club.


Tom Riley


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