Indivisible – Upper Yellowstone
Monday, March 20, 2017 6:30PM
Livingston Food Resource Center, 202 South Second
Twenty-four people present, chaired by Dixie Hart and Nelson King
The Montana Special Election “Voting by Mail” is the first Action focus of our group and virtually all of those present indicated they’d called/written/emailed relevant people associated with SB 305 (the bill authorizing the use of mail for voting in the special election for Ryan Zinke’s former U.S. House of Representatives seat). According to feedback from the Montana legislative switchboard and others, the volume of protest communication has surprised State House Judiciary Committee leaders. There will be a hearing on the bill March 23 (Wednesday). In ad hoc fashion, two or more carloads of people from Indivisible-Upper Yellowstone organized to go up to Helena either to demonstrate or speak in favor of the bill.
Organization status: Departing from the agenda to address an overriding organizational issue, Nelson read from an email by Annie Hosefros outlining her feeling about formalizing the status of the organization:
“I understood the Indivisible groups to be a loosely organized group of people with common goals of action. Once it changes to a formal group with non-profit status, or registration of a group, then there are legal and fiscal responsibilities for the board members. Which would then require legal counsel. It all seems so much for what I thought was a group of people who would take action through writing emails, making calls, carpooling to protests, gathering together to discuss community needs ( immigrant families and protection) and projects ; maybe assigning one or two people to keep up on literature and reading materials to keep the group informed. Getting together to make signs, staying current on bills and what to do and who to call, resistance training, canvassing for progressive candidates and the training for that, etc. “
At the foundational meeting, March 7, the issue of whether Indivisible-Upper Yellowstone should have the legal status of: a. Domestic Non-profit Organization (with members), b. Non-profit Tax-Exempt 501c3 Organization, or c. unregistered unaffiliated organization was tabled in favor of further research by members (Dixie Hart). She found that while the organization could go under the umbrella of another 501c3 non-profit it would have many complications. After discussion, it was decided that for the time being (meaning until growth and scale demand otherwise) we should remain an informal group, with financial reserves under the state limit of $5000, and not register with the state as an official organization. Officially organized or not, it was felt there was a need for recognizable leadership. Dixie Hart proposed Nelson King to be chairperson of the group, which was unanimously approved.
Membership Dues: As approved by the last meeting, Indivisible-Upper Yellowstone will be a membership organization with dues of $10/year to sustain operational expenses (room rent, postage, website, etc.) Dixie Hart passed around a sign-up sheet for membership and began collecting dues for entry into our ‘official’ record. Dues will also be collected via mail by sending them to Membership: Indivisible-Upper Yellowstone, PO Box 2533, Livingston MT 59047.
Indivisible-Upper Yellowstone now has a functioning website: http://indivisible-upper-yellowstone.org, which also has a Forum capability (now open for registration but will need documentation and some training). We will also have a Facebook presence. More on the procedures later.
Volunteer work: we discussed and by informal consensus agreed to organize volunteers into five general areas of activity (Issues, Action Planning, Action Teams, Communications, and Tactics). Sign-up sheets were passed around. We have at least two people in each area (with overlap). Each ‘group’ (sub-group?) will meet to discuss what the work entails. The email list of people (now 60 in all) will be solicited to sign-up. [Details of the work areas and how they fit into the organization are on the website.]
We decided the meetings of Indivisible-Upper Yellowstone would be held monthly, unless otherwise required. The next meeting will be Monday April 17, 2017, again at 6:30 in the Livingston Food Resource Center.