TPA members to consider membership rules change

Texas Press Association members will vote on a proposed bylaws change regarding membership rules at the Midwinter Conference in January.

After much discussion over many months, TPA Board Chairman Randy Mankin instructed the executive committee to review the association’s bylaws regarding membership and report back to the board. The executive committee subsequently proposed an amendment that would relax existing membership rules and give newspaper companies the flexibility to make business decisions that might otherwise prevent them from being members of TPA.

The change would allow newspapers that did not meet the requirements of active membership to be participating members if approved by a majority vote of the board of directors. Those who were approved to be participating members of TPA would be subject to an annual review.

The proposed amendment will be placed before the general membership for a vote at the Midwinter Conference and Trade Show, Jan. 19-21 in Frisco.

The proposed amendment reads as follows:

Proposed Amendment:

ARTICLE VII. Section 1. Participating membership in the Association may be extended to periodicals [news publications] not qualified for active membership or to bona fide newspapers published outside the State of Texas [subject to a majority approval of the Board of Directors and subject to annual review by the board].

Section 2. Participating members shall be entitled to all privileges of the Association except participation in official business, voting and holding office.

Summary Explanation:

TPA offers four categories of membership: Active, Participating, Individual and Associate. This amendment would relax the rules for Participating Membership and move application approvals from the executive director to the board of directors.

Participating members currently include periodical publications that publish less than weekly; or publish outside of Texas; or publish special-interest news; or distribute using a Requester Periodical permit.

The amendment would remove the requirement that newspapers seeking membership maintain a periodical permit. It would thus give publishers the flexibility to make business decisions regarding distribution that might otherwise jeopardize their TPA membership. Approval would require a majority vote of the board of directors. In addition, all existing and new participating members would be subject to annual review by the board.

As an example, a newspaper that is an Active Member could convert to free circulation and would have the ability to retain membership in TPA as a Participating Member. However, the newspaper would lose circulation and legal notice revenue, and would be subject to annual review.

The proposed amendment will be read at the opening session of the Midwinter Conference and Trade Show and referred to the bylaws committee. The committee will give an opportunity for members to discuss the proposed changes. The amendments must be approved by 2/3 majority of active members present and voting at the convention.