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Resolutions Report 15 May 2015.doc

Resolutions Adopted in May 2015 DPCA Global Meeting.pdf

Resolutions Report from 15 May 2015

Resolutions from May 2015 Global Meeting

Report of the International Secretary to the Resolutions Committee

May 18, 2015

Dear Resolutions Committee and Executive Committee,

Please accept this draft report on the status of the resolutions addressed during the Global Meeting on May 3, 2015.

My record of the fully amended texts of all adopted resolutions is included in this report. I will plan to publish the official texts to the appropriate online sites within the next two weeks.

Julia Bryan, DPCA International Secretary

The “Package” of Resolutions passed by the DPCA

The following four resolutions were passed by the DPCA as a group, by voice vote.

  1. Resolution on a Right-to-Vote Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
  2. Resolution in support of Legislation to Amend a Federal Requirement that US Citizens Living Abroad Register in Each Election Cycle
  3. Resolution for Justice in Law Enforcement
  4. Resolution in support of cost-free identification for Federal election voters

The Resolution in support of efforts to minimize and challenge political gerrymanders was proposed by Will Bakker as part of the “package” but removed by a motion that succeeded on a voice vote. Tom Schmid moved to withdraw the Resolution in support of cost-free identification for Federal election voters from the package, in order to substitute the operative text below, but that motion did not pass:

BE IT RESOLVED that Democrats Abroad opposes voter-identification laws as unnecessary restraints on the constitutional right of all American citizens to vote, provided , however, that with respect to any state or federal jurisdiction in which voter identification is required for participation in federal elections, Democrats Abroad recommends that Congress enact legislation to provide voters with cost-free identification documents for federal elections.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Democrats Abroad urges the Democratic Party of the United States to incorporate the substance of this resolution into its party platform.

Resolution in support of the establishment of a Democrats Abroad Medicare Portability Task Force

The Resolution in support of the establishment of a Democrats Abroad Medicare Portability Task Force was proposed. At the pre-resolutions meeting, Sandra Loridans, John Chudy, and Stanley Grossman asked to be added as co-sponsors. From the floor on May 3, Jody Quinnell asked for DA-Mexico to be added as a co-sponsor, a member of DA-Canada asked that DA-Canada be added, and a member of DA-Thailand asked that DA-Thailand be added.

Mike Michener expressed frustration at the very existence of the resolution, which Will Bakker misinterpreted as a motion to amend. That motion to amend nevertheless passed without objection (but fortunately did not change the substance of the resolution). Amendments proposed by Bill Barnard and Bob Bragar were accepted as friendly amendments by Carmelan Polce after brief discussion. Mike Michener persisted in his motion to eliminate the resolution, but after a brief explanation of the purpose of this kind of resolution by Bob Bragar, his motion failed. The altered resolution (with text as included below) passed without objections.

Remainder of Resolutions referred back to the Resolutions Committee

The following resolutions were referred back to the Resolutions Committee by a motion made by Will Bakker and passed by voice vote. The informal “Pre-Resolutions” meeting of April 30 came to consensus on several of these resolutions, and Will Bakker’s notes on that meeting are attached to this report as an appendix.

  1. Resolution in support of efforts to minimise and challenge political gerrymanders
  2. Resolution in support of making Election Day a nation-wide public holiday
  3. Resolution to increase opportunities and reduce confusion in bidding for Global Meetings
  4. Resolution to Strengthen Diplomacy
  5. Resolution to Establish a Residence-Based Taxation Task Force
  6. Resolution for simplified tax filing for Americans abroad who simply don’t owe any U.S. income tax
  7. Resolution in favor of equal civil rights for Americans living in territories of the United States
  8. Amendment to eliminate conflicts of interest
  9. Amendment to add Last Verified Date requirement
  10.                      Amendment to expand the Executive Committee

Please note that the resolution distributed as “Resolution to relieve middle- and lower-income Americans living outside the U.S. from undue stress and expense due to U.S. tax reporting regulations” was re-named to “Resolution for simplified tax filing for Americans abroad who simply don’t owe any U.S. income tax” at the request of its author, Ed Ungar. The final text for consideration was also altered at Ed Ungar’s request, with that text included in this report.

Please also note that some of the DPCA Executive Committee’s proposed amendments to the Charter were considered, failed to pass, reconsidered, and passed in part. The result is that it may be in order to consider some proposed amendments during the next DPCA meeting, whether in-person or electronic. Please consult with the International Counsel to determine how to proceed.


Resolutions from May 2015 Global Meeting

Texts as adopted (draft as of May 16, 2015)

Resolution for Justice in Law Enforcement

Authored by Pat Klipp (DA-Germany, Frankfurt Chapter). Proposed by Quaide Williams (DA-Germany), and Will Bakker (DA-Luxembourg).

WHEREAS legitimate and just policing requires a foundation of trust and shared community among those sworn to protect and those policed;

WHEREAS the vast majority of law enforcement officers serve their communities with integrity every day;

WHEREAS it is ultimately the responsibility of every American to secure justice for our fellow citizens, no matter where in the world we live;

WHEREAS, for many nations, the United States of America is a model of a non-militarized republic governed by the rule of law and human rights, and members of Democrats Abroad are first-hand witnesses to the harm done to the reputation and international standing of the United States when law enforcement agencies fail to meet these expectations;

WHEREAS power without accountability leads to an overly aggressive policing culture that values the appearance of safety and security over the rights and well-being of vulnerable citizens;

WHEREAS policies such as the 1033 Program created by the National Defense Authorization Act of 1997 make military tools available for policing fellow citizens, thereby encouraging aggressive approaches to law enforcement;

WHEREAS divisive policies like racial profiling and stop-and-frisk contribute to the problem, notably increasing the likelihood of minority groups to suffer abuse;

WHEREAS the perception of law enforcement agents’ and officers’ de-facto immunity from legal consequences of unlawful and violent misconduct creates an atmosphere of distrust and a hesitance to call upon police for help or protection;

WHEREAS anything less than vigorous criminal prosecution of police brutality amounts to tacit acceptance of the culture that produced it;

BE IT RESOLVED that the Democratic Party Committee Abroad fully endorses the 2014 Democratic National Committee Resolution Promoting Community Policing and Justice for All .

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Democratic Party Committee Abroad calls on Federal, State and local government immediately to address the urgent need to re-establish trust in law enforcement, by undertaking the following:

  1. US Congress should expand the requirements of the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013, which establishes a national database of American deaths in police custody, by making that database public (subject to appropriate privacy protections) and enforcing the reporting requirements; and establish a wider national database of police shootings, accusations of excessive force, and misconduct complaints, with aggregate data publicly available;
  2. US Department of Justice should update and strengthen national guidelines and uniform standards for the use of force by law enforcement agents;
  3. US Congress should increase funding for the Department of Justice’s Office for Civil Rights;
  4. US Congress should create and fund programs that encourage community-controlled and community-based policing practices;
  5. US Congress should pass the End Racial Profiling Act, which would build on the progress made when the US Attorney General issued the 2014 update to the 2003 US Department of Justice guidance regarding the use of race by Federal law enforcement agencies;
  6. US Congress and the US Department of Defense should set strict limits on the transfer of any military equipment to local law enforcement under the 1033 program, including eliminating the requirement that military weaponry be used within a year;
  7. All state Governors should immediately issue executive orders requiring the appointment of independent prosecutors for all cases involving unarmed civilians killed by police;
  8. All State legislatures should pass laws requiring the appointment of independent prosecutors for all cases involving unarmed civilians killed by police;
  9. All local police forces should be regulated by strong, independent, well-funded civilian police accountability review boards;
  10.                      All local police forces should consider equipping all law enforcement agents with complete video surveillance equipment and rules making agents accountable for their full-time use.

Resolution on a Right-to-Vote Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Proposed by Katie Solon (International Chair); Ken Sherman (International Vice Chair); Will Bakker (International Secretary); Orlando Vidal (International Counsel); Arthur Schankler (International Counsel); Adrienne Jones (Americas Regional Vice Chair); Alex Montgomery (Asia-Pacific Regional Vice Chair); Merrill Oates (EMEA Regional Vice Chair); Bob Bragar (DNC Member); John Eastwood (DNC Member); Gary Suwannarat (DNC Member); Caitlin Kraft Buchman (DNC Member); Stanley Grossman (DNC Member); and Sandra Loridans (DNC Member).

WHEREAS, in a democracy, the right to vote is a moral imperative, the most fundamental legal right and is protective of all other   rights; and

WHEREAS, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act he said, “The right to vote is the basic right,   without which all others are meaningless”; and

WHEREAS, each state, except for the State of Arizona, has explicitly enshrined the right to vote with at least some level of protection   in its state constitution; and

WHEREAS, nowhere in the United States Constitution is there an explicit declaration of the right to vote, which weakens protection   in federal courts and undercuts state voting rights protections due to state courts often “lock stepping” rights to the level of support   provided federally; and

WHEREAS, the United State Supreme Court has called the right to vote a fundamental right, this fundamental right should be   explicitly guaranteed to all Americans in the U.S. Constitution; and

WHEREAS, as President Barack Obama, as a professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago, began each of his   constitutional law classes sharing with his students the surprising fact that an explicit “federal individual right to vote” is not in the   U.S. Constitution; and

WHEREAS, the only reference to an individual right to vote in the original U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights is the requirement   that any citizen qualified to vote for a member of a state’s most “numerous house of the state legislature” is eligible to vote for   Members of the House of Representatives; and

WHEREAS, the Constitution has been amended 17 times since the passage of the Bill of Rights and 7 of those amendments pertain to   voting – 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 23rd, 24th and 26th – but none of them add the explicit, fundamental, affirmative, individual,   citizenship or federal right to vote to the Constitution; and

WHEREAS, three amendments outlaw discrimination in voting, whether on the basis of race (15th) with the 1965 Voting Rights Act   serving as the implementing legislation for this amendment 95 years later, sex (19th), or age (26th); and

WHEREAS, a right to vote constitutional amendment would fulfill the promise of the 15th, 19th and 26th Amendments; and

WHEREAS, of the 119 nations that elect their public officials using some form of democratic elections, 108 have the right to vote in   their constitution, but the United States is one of the 11 nations - including Australia, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize,   India, Indonesia, Nauru, Samoa, and the United Kingdom - that does not explicitly contain a citizen's right to vote in its constitution;   and

WHEREAS, with the exception of certain federal laws such as the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, the Help America Vote   Act of 2002 and the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act of 2009, the U.S. has virtually no national uniform standards for   voting systems controlled by the states; and

WHEREAS, despite the protections of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act of 2009, military and overseas voters still grapple with varied state and local practices and regulations that often discourage their civic participation; and

WHEREAS, since voting is a state right, with virtually no national uniform standards, we have ended up with multiple and varied   election systems in the 50 states (plus the District of Columbia), 3,143 counties (or county equivalents), and about 13,000 local voting   jurisdictions that administer about 186,000 precincts, all organized and controlled and managed by local election officials with 86% of   Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act Preclearance objections involving local, not national or state, voting issues; and

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court has unfortunately undermined the right to vote in recent years, notably in its 2013   decision of Shelby County v. Holder which made the preclearance requirement ineffective and, as Freedom Rider, Selma marcher and   US Congressman John Lewis so aptly stated, "struck a dagger in the heart of the Voting Rights Act"; and

WHEREAS, since 2014 at least 83 restrictive voting rights bills were introduced in 29 states, and the Brennan Center reports that 21   states have enacted restrictive voting laws since 2011, including North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin, and that in Texas alone   this will affect more than 600,000 adult-age citizens who do not have state-issued photo identification; and

WHEREAS, voter turnout in November 2014 represented a smaller percentage of eligible voters than in a congressional election   since 1942, voter turnout in many primary elections in 2014 was at an all-time low in more than half of states holding primaries, and   voter turnout in some major cities is now in single digits; and

WHEREAS, a “right to vote” constitutional amendment applies to and should be supported by all Americans because it is (a) nonpartisan   – not Democratic, Republican or independent; (b) non-ideological – not liberal or conservative; (c) non-programmatic – it   does not require you to support or oppose any particular legislative program(s); and (d) non-special interest – it’s application is not   limited to minorities, women, labor, business, seniors, lesbians and gays or any other special interest groups;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Democrats Abroad supports amending the United States Constitution to explicitly guarantee an individual’s right to vote; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Democrats Abroad specifically supports House and Senate Joint Resolutions which would amend the   United States Constitution to explicitly guarantee an individual’s right to vote – e.g., such as resolution H.J. Res. 25 introduced into   the 114th Congress by Congressman Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Democrats Abroad supports H.R. 885 to amend the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to revise the criteria for   determining which States and political subdivisions are subject to section 4 of the Act, as introduced in the 114th Congress by   Congressman James F. Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin along with 30 cosponsors, including several members of the Congressional Black   Caucus; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Democrats Abroad will educate the general public on this issue by drafting and distributing this resolution in support of amending the United States Constitution to explicitly guarantee an individual’s right to vote and sharing the   resolution with all appropriate governmental officials; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Democrats Abroad encourages other organizations and individuals – e.g.,   political organizations and leaders, religious organizations and leaders, civil rights organizations and leaders, other civic organizations   and leaders, business organizations and leaders, voting rights organizations and leaders, labor organizations and leaders, women’s   organizations and leaders, youth organizations and leaders, gay and lesbian organizations and leaders, environmental organizations   and leaders – to pass organization resolutions to endorse amending the United States Constitution to explicitly guarantee an   individual’s right to vote; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Democrats Abroad will continue to work with various Secretaries of State and other   election administrators to ensure all eligible U.S. citizens have access to the ballot box across the country and around the world.

Resolution in support of cost-free identification for Federal election voters

Proposed by John Boyd (DA-Philippines) and Carmelan Polce (DA Lion City).

WHEREAS the right to vote is a cornerstone of the democratic process;  

WHEREAS many voters must overcome significant financial and time costs to obtain voter identification documents;  

BE IT RESOLVED that Democrats Abroad recommends that Congress enact legislation to provide voters with cost-free identification documents for federal elections.

Resolution in support of Legislation   to Amend a Federal Requirement that US Citizens Living Abroad Register In Each Election Cycle

Proposed by John Boyd (DA-Philippines) and Carmelan Polce (DA Lion City).

WHEREAS many US citizens residing abroad find it cumbersome to re-register each election cycle;

WHEREAS a great many US citizens residing abroad lack computer skills or computer access to register to vote via the internet;  

WHEREAS the task of helping those who have no skills or access to a computer to register for each two-year federal election cycle is logistically complicated to achieve;

WHEREAS too many US citizens fail to vote because of this requirement to register for each two-year election cycle;

BE IT RESOLVED that Democrats Abroad recommends that Congress amend existing federal election legislation   (Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment MOVE Act of 2009)   to require election officials to mail at the beginning of each election cycle documents to citizens without computer access to enable them to re-register by mail for succeeding federal elections and to vote by mail in primary and general federal elections.

Resolution in support of the establishment of a Democrats Abroad Medicare Portability Task Force

Proposed by John Boyd (DA-Philippines) and Carmelan Polce (DA Lion City). Added as co-sponsors at the meeting itself: Sandra Loridans, John Chudy, Stanley Grossman, DA-Mexico, DA-Canada, and DA-Thailand.

WHEREAS potentially hundreds of thousands of American citizens living outside of the USA annually pay for Medicare benefits that are available primarily for health care costs incurred in the USA;

WHEREAS potentially hundreds of thousands of US citizens residing outside of America would prefer to seek long term, low-cost health care outside of the USA if Medicare benefits were available to pay for such health care costs;

WHEREAS residents of Guam are currently permitted to use Medicare benefits to pay for health care costs incurred in the Philippines because the cost of such health care is lower than the cost of seeking care in the USA after taking into consideration the costs of flying to the USA;

WHEREAS the US federal government is seeking to reduce significantly the costs of Medicare;

WHEREAS a reduction of potentially many billions of dollars annually  in federal government payments supporting Medicare could be achieved by permitting American citizens to enjoy long term health care outside of the USA by using Medicare benefits to pay for such care;

WHEREAS Democrats Abroad has demonstrated its support for Medicare Portability by passing a resolution in support of a Medicare Demonstration project trialling the use of Medicare benefits for retirees receiving care in Mexico;

WHEREAS investigations by Medicare policy analysts suggest there are many serious political concerns to navigate in advocating for Medicare Portability, not the least including the pressure to “voucherize” Medicare benefits for care outside the US, which could then put all of Medicare provision at risk of being “voucherized”;

WHEREAS Democrats Abroad seeks to address the unique concerns of Americans abroad and understands there to be considerable numbers of retired Americans living in The Philippines, Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, Belize and Costa Rica, to name a few, who would benefit from Medicare Portability;

BE IT RESOLVED that Democrats Abroad establishes a Democrats Abroad Medicare Portability Task Force to advocate for an amendment to the Medicare law permitting American citizens residing outside of the USA to use Medicare benefits to pay for health care costs incurred in selected hospitals outside of the USA.


Resolutions from May 2015 Global Meeting

Texts not adopted (draft as of May 16, 2015)

Resolution in support of efforts to minimise and challenge political gerrymanders

Proposed by John Boyd (DA-Philippines) and Carmelan Polce (DA Lion City).

WHEREAS the long tradition of open, wide-spread and unchallenged use of political gerrymanders has been shown to skew the democratic process in many states;

WHEREAS, in some states, political parties control redistricting after each national census;

WHEREAS, the political party in power in these states can use its position to draw the boundaries of congressional districts to enhance its majority and/or ensure favourable election returns so that certain politicians can hang on to office;

WHEREAS, without a proper basis for striking down political gerrymanders structured in the naked pursuit of partisan strength, we enable and condone the violation of a state’s duty to govern impartially;

BE IT RESOLVED that Democrats Abroad deplores all political gerrymandering, appeals to such states to put a stop to this practice and supports a Constitutional amendment to protect the rights of citizens to challenge political gerrymanders that result in a minority of voters electing a majority of representatives to the House of Representatives.

Resolution in support of making Election Day a nation-wide public holiday

Proposed by John Boyd (DA-Philippines) and Carmelan Polce (DA Lion City).

WHEREAS every U.S. citizen should exercise his or her responsibility to vote in federal elections;

WHEREAS many of those who work on federal election days are unable to vote because of employment obligations;

WHEREAS Constitutional amendments dealing with the right to vote including the   15th (right of citizens to vote), 19th (women's right   to vote), 24th (no poll tax), and 26th (citizens 18 years   or older have the right   to vote) support legislation that facilitates this right to vote;

BE IT RESOLVED that Democrats Abroad recommends that Congress enact legislation that federal general election day be designated a national holiday.

Resolution to increase opportunities and reduce confusion in bidding for Global Meetings

Proposed by Katie Solon (International Chair), Ken Sherman (International Vice-Chair), and Will Bakker (International Secretary).

WHEREAS the attendance of Global Meetings has been expanded and enhanced by the use of videoconferencing technology over the past eight years; and

WHEREAS the costs of travel remain high while our leadership continues to develop more diversity in lifestyles, career commitments, and economic means; and

WHEREAS the commitment to host a Global Meeting is ever more challenging due to increasing attendance, technological requirements, and the imperative to keep meetings as affordable as possible to all Democrats living abroad; and

WHEREAS the 2008 Standing Resolution on Global Meetings of the Democratic Party Committee Abroad in Every Region has created confusion in the bidding process and unnecessarily limited the options available for Global Meetings; and

WHEREAS the benefits of holding Global Meetings frequently in Washington, DC have become more clear over the past eight years;

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) rescinds the Standing Resolution on Global Meetings of the Democratic Party Committee Abroad in Every Region of November 2008; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the DPCA re-affirms the original statement “that DPCA members from every region share in the commitment to attend all global meetings”; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the DPCA sets itself a non-binding goal to hold at least one global meeting in each region during the course of each eight-year cycle, beginning with 2016.

Resolution to Strengthen Diplomacy

Proposed by Merrill Oates on behalf of DA-Hungary.

Whereas, the United States is currently faced with significant global diplomatic challenges as we seek to strengthen America’s leadership in the world;

Whereas, there are specific countries where the insidious erosion of human rights are a constant threat to liberty and international peace and which demand the highest level of diplomatic expertise;

Whereas, Democrats Abroad recognizes that the best interests of diplomacy are served by Presidential appointees who have had direct experience with the country and with its leadership, people, and cultures in which they have been asked to serve; 

Now, therefore, BE IT RESOLVED that Democrats Abroad urges the Obama Administration and all future Administrations to ensure that only the most qualified candidates for diplomatic assignments will be considered for critical posts; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Democrats Abroad considers the appointment of the most qualified Presidential appointees to the diplomatic corps to be crucial in order to advance persuasively our message of democracy, security, respect for human rights, freedom, and economic opportunity for all.

Resolution to Establish a Residence-Based Taxation Task Force

Proposed by Maureen Harwood (DA-Canada), Ken Sherman (DA-Canada), and Steve Nardi (DA-Canada).

WHEREAS the US is the world's only nation (besides Eritrea) that imposes Citizenship-based Taxation (CBT) ,  requiring filing two annual tax returns that attempt to reconcile complex tax codes of differing nations;

WHEREAS these problems are only partially and inadequately addressed by IRS Section 911 Earned Income Exemption and various tax treaties;

WHEREAS discontent among overseas Americans with the onerous, excessive and unreasonable demands of Citizenship-Based Taxation has worsened exponentially in recent years to the point where taxation is now THE hot button issue for Americans residing abroad;

WHEREAS support for   Residence-based Taxation ( RBT ) has been enshrined in the DPCA Party Platform since 2004, with expanded versions of the RBT Resolution appearing in the 2008 and 2012 Platforms under the umbrella argument of Fairness in Taxation ;

WHEREAS other overseas US citizens groups - American Citizens Abroad (ACA), Association of Americans Resident Overseas (AARO), Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas (FAWCO), and FAWCO Alumni (FAUSA) - are actively and publicly lobbying for Residence-Based-Taxation;

WHEREAS Residence-Based Taxation forms part of the discussion on US Tax Code reform currently taking place in the Senate Finance Committee and other Congressional bodies;  

WHEREAS The Republican National Committee in August 2014 unanimously passed a Resolution calling for Residence-Based-Taxation ;

BE IT RESOLVED that Democrats Abroad establish a Residence-Based Taxation Task Force to develop strategies to lobby Congress, including mobilizing the membership by a referendum at the Global meeting;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this RBT Task Force will work in coordination with the FATCA Task Force to ensure parallel support for both group objectives.  

Resolution for simplified tax filing for Americans abroad who simply don’t owe any U.S. income tax

Note from the former International Secretary: This version was received by Will Bakker, former International Secretary, from the author on April 29. The text is revised from the version distributed on April 16 and April 21, in accordance with the author’s wishes.

Proposed by Ed Ungar (DA-Canada) and supported by Giles Hogya, Julie Buchanan, Adrienne Jones, Marc Seltzer, and Steve Nardi, all of DA-Canada.

Whereas numerous Americans residing outside of the United States do not earn enough money in any given year to owe even one cent in U.S. federal or state income taxes;

Whereas the experience of Democrats Abroad leads us to estimate that the overwhelming majority of Americans living abroad have incomes below the current tax payment threshold.

Whereas compliance with current U.S. tax filing requirements are, at present, excessively complicated, requiring specialized accounting services that often can run into thousands of dollars;

Whereas the present system, for these overseas tax filers, while not raising a cent for the U.S Treasury, in effect, functions as a work enhancement program for foreign accountants;

Whereas most middle and lower income tax filers residing within the U.S. can reasonably look forward to receiving tax refunds and/or tax credits while their counterparts outside the U.S. can only look forward to personally funding the foreign accountants job enhancement program;

Whereas this complicated and costly tax filing process discourages many U.S. citizens abroad from filing in the first place; 

Therefore Democrats Abroad strongly recommends either by IRS regulation or by a change in U.S. tax law that:

Be it Resolved that:   All Americans living outside the U.S who have not earned enough to be liable for a single cent of U.S. tax simply sign a one-sentence declaration to the IRS to that effect.

Be it resolved that:    This declaration will be available on an easily accessible web site as well as in every U.S. embassy and consulate. It can also be handwritten, or printed from a computer.

Be it resolved that:  This declaration will be accompanied by a tax return or tax assessment from the country of residence to confirm the annual income for the appropriate year of the American citizen.

Be it resolved that:    This will be entirely optional with no actual or implied penalty if an American citizen chooses not to exercise this option.

Resolution in favor of equal civil rights for Americans living in territories of the United States

Proposed by Katie Solon (International Chair), Orlando Vidal (International Counsel), and Will Bakker (International Secretary).

WHEREAS Democrats Abroad consistently stands in favor of easily accessible voting for all, fair representation of U.S. citizens, and equal treatment before the law; and

WHEREAS the 2012 Platform of Democrats Abroad recognizes the implications of our ideals through our support of Congressional representation for the residents of the District of Columbia; and

WHEREAS the 2012 Platform of Democrats Abroad already recognizes the implications of our ideals through our support of the right of residents of the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to vote for president without prejudice to their future independence or statehood; and

WHEREAS the We The People Project calls for the 5 million Americans   living in U.S. territories and the District of Columbia to be treated as   full and equal citizens through equal representation ; and

WHEREAS the legal basis for continued discrimination against Americans in U.S. territories relies on outmoded and shameful precedents like the Insular Cases ; and

WHEREAS the lack of Federal representation has documented and profound effects on the Americans living in U.S. territories, particularly in the provisioning of services like medical care for veterans.

BE IT RESOLVED, that Democrats Abroad supports:

  • the recognition of the 14 th Amendment’s provision of birthright citizenship and designation as “natural born citizens” for all persons born in U.S. territories, including American Samoa; and
  • the enfranchisement of the more than four million Americans living in U.S. territories in the General Election of the President of the United States; and
  • the ongoing work to make voting Congressional representation available as a democratically chosen possibility for Americans living in U.S. Territories.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Democrats Abroad will stand together with our fellow Americans residing in U.S. territories to promote fair representation, voting rights, and equal treatment under U.S. law for citizens in every U.S. state and territory, and all over the world.

Amendment to eliminate conflicts of interest

Proposed by Quaide Williams (DA-Germany)

Append the following paragraph to Section 2.4, as paragraph (c):

A DPCA member, including DNC representatives, who (i) serves on the board of a SuperPAC with similar goals and responsibilities as the DPCA or, (ii) in their capacity as a member of the DPCA or the DNC, raises money for a Super-PAC shall be deemed to have resigned from the DPCA and/or their DNC position. The only exceptions are SuperPACs founded to support a particular candidate.

After the addition, the current third paragraph to be designated paragraph (d).

Amendment to add Last Verified Date requirement

Proposed by Quaide Williams (DA-Germany)

Append the following paragraph to Section 3.6, paragraph (a):

Should verified membership numbers be the basis for determining the voting strength of country committees, only members whose data has been physically or electronically verified within four years of the membership verification deadline may count.

Amendment to expand the Executive Committee

Proposed by Quaide Williams (DA-Germany)

Amend Section 4.1 “Officers” so that it reads in entirety:

The elected officers of the DPCA shall include:

  1. the International Chair, International Vice Chair, International Treasurer, International Secretary, and the International Counsel, no more than two of whom shall be from the same Country Committee at the time of the election. Such offices shall be held by individuals from at least two different Regions.
  2. the three Regional Vice Chairs.
  3. five at-large members who are elected to coordinate the most important tasks of the organization. The titles and Responsibilities (see 4.6-4.12) of these positions will be set by the Executive Committee three months before an international meeting where they are to be elected. The titles and job descriptions (Responsibilities) must also be approved by the DPCA membership at such meeting. These jobs may include, but are not limited to: IT & Database, Membership & Volunteers, Fundraising & Events, Diversity & Constituencies, Communications, etc.

However, if there is no other candidate for any position, a candidate who would otherwise be ineligible under the previous sentences of this Section 4.1 may be elected.

The Executive Committee shall be comprised of these eight thirteen elected officers of the DPCA.

Bold and strikethrough type herein are for clarity and should not appear in the Charter as amended.


Notes on Resolutions from the April 30 “Pre-resolutions” meeting

Notes by Will Bakker as Resolutions Committee member in attendance

Resolution for Justice in Law Enforcement and Resolution in favor of equal civil rights for Americans living in territories of the United States

Some members expressed the need to discuss the appropriateness of Democrats Abroad passing resolutions on “domestic” issues that do not directly affect Americans living abroad. The consensus was to plan for a general discussion of this perennial question before voting on individual resolutions.

Resolution in support of efforts to minimize and challenge political gerrymanders

The effectiveness of calling for a Constitutional amendment was widely doubted and the resolution was considered duplicative of the Right to Vote amendment by some members. The near-consensus was to add this resolution the “package” of easily passed resolutions with a minor amendment: in the RESOLVED clause, add the words “or other effective measures” following the words “a Constitutional amendment.”

Resolution in support of making Election Day a nation-wide public holiday

After intense discussion of the effect of naming public holidays, Joe Smallhoover offered to craft a friendly amendment from the floor on May 3 that would make the text widely acceptable.

Resolution to increase opportunities and reduce confusion in bidding for Global Meetings

The consensus, quickly reached, was that this resolution would significantly change the DPCA’s decision-making process and should be discussed thoroughly.

Resolution to Strengthen Diplomacy

The consensus after some discussion was that this resolution was not likely to pass without a significant overhaul of substance and style.

Resolution to Establish a Residence-Based Taxation Task Force

Several members spoke in favor of the resolution and specifically to express the need for a Task Force separate from the FBAR/FATCA Task Force. The strong majority of those present said that the resolution was likely to pass but would require discussion.

Resolution for simplified tax filing for Americans abroad who simply don’t owe any U.S. income tax

The consensus was that the resolution expressed an important position for Americans abroad, worthy of consideration, but that a fair number of amendments from the floor during discussion would be required to eliminate flaws that would prevent its passage.

Resolution in favor of equal civil rights for Americans living in territories of the United States

The author, Orlando Vidal, asked that time be scheduled to discuss the issues so that the DPCA may be well-informed before voting. There were no objections to that plan.

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