Department of Florida

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Judge Advocate

October 2020

Constitution and By-Laws Template

The Constitutions and By-Laws (C-BL) backlog continues to be a problem. There is a template online at floridalegion.org for Posts to use when writing their C-BL. The template has largely been ignored – less than 10% adhere to it – and the remaining 90% are radically different than the template. With the approval of the Department Commander, the Judge Advocate will now do a quick read of each C-BL with the goal of processing those that have the least issues and returning those that most differ from the template for a rewrite. Article 9, Section 7 of the National Constitution states “Each Department may prescribe the Constitutions of its Posts.” Please follow the template.

There are several Posts that have submitted C-BL’s that used language that implied that their Executive Committee runs their Post. It does not. The membership runs the Post and approves or disapproves of Executive Committee action at a regular meeting. Posts should also consider having Standing Rules for items such as: when the Post meets, what the dues are, what the hours of operation are, etc. Any item that may need to be changed routinely should be in the Standing Rules so a C-BL change is not needed.

A letter will be sent with the return of each C-BL with a promise of a 30-day review from when it is received by the Judge Advocate. SAL C-BL’s should be processed through the SAL chain.

Our Department Commander and staff have successfully negotiated a change in Florida’s classification of our Posts. The requirement to have a 509 restaurant license to serve food has been removed as nonprofit Fraternal Organizations are exempt by statute. Posts may now sell alcohol for on premises consumption whether they serve food or not. We still must follow CDC Guidelines on social distancing, wearing facemasks, 50% occupancy, the use of hand sanitizers and any additional guidelines imposed. Posts need to protect our Legion Family Members. Finally, Facebook is public-let’s put pictures on Facebook that show Legion Posts following the CDC guidelines and working their programs, instead of what has been posted to date.

Clarence Hill
Judge Advocate
judgeadvocate@legionmail.org