Could an exchange on Twitter lead to a change in a law in Kentucky?
My tribal homeland of Kentucky has finally made it legal for boards of nonprofits to vote online; it’s an issue I have been talking about since the 1990s, as a part of virtual volunteering, so I’m glad Kentucky got around to it at last. According to this article in the Nonprofit Quarterly, “Boards of directors can now take action outside of a meeting through means of electronic voting, unless the organization’s bylaws prohibit such action. If that vote is taken, and the directors vote for it unanimously, the action passes and is effective just as if a vote had been taken in a regular meeting.”
Sadly, the laws has some flaws: “Similarly, board directors are now allowed to telecommute into a meeting. If a director is using a method of communication whereby they can hear all the other participants in the meeting, they are allowed to be deemed ‘present’ in the meeting and, therefore, count towards quorum. It is probably unintended that this precludes people who are deaf from taking advantage of this newly acceptable way of participating in a meeting. Interestingly, the law also does not require a director who is telecommuting to have the same materials as all of the other directors, a stipulation that has been included in laws in other states.”
Why the state didn’t simply use the laws already in other states – California has allowed online board meetings and votes since the 1990s – so that it didn’t leave anyone out, I don’t know.
I tweeted several times about the law, including one tweet about not being happy about leaving out people with hearing impairments. Below is that Tweet and the conversation it lead to. Could it also lead to real change? (transcript of the conversation after the screen capture). Kudos to@kynonprofits for not getting defensive but, instead, ENGAGING with us on Twitter:
David J. Neff (to me): Ouch. Why such a big mistake?
Me, replying to David: No idea. It’s quite shameful. @kynonprofits ? Ideas?
@kynonprofits, to me and David: we not finished working on these laws! Would love your input on what technology might be used to address!
Me, replying to both @kynonprofits @daveiam : Contact the nonprofit org @knowbility – they are experts in accessible tech (& dear friends of mine).
@kynonprofits to everyone: will do. We’re just getting started with improving these laws. Thanks!