2 December 2019

Updated Process on AAS Policy Actions

Kelsie Krafton, American Astronomical Society (AAS)

The AAS Board of Trustees recently passed an update to the rules text on the adoption of policy resolutions for the Society. You can visit the official web page. Or simply read the new text here:

Policy on Resolution Approval Process

Adopted 24 May 2003 and Revised 19 October 2019

  1. a) Draft resolutions of the AAS may be submitted to the Board of Trustees by AAS Divisions, Working Groups, Committees, or Trustees at any time.
    b) Draft resolutions may be submitted to the Board of Trustees by any full AAS member at any time if accompanied by the signatures of four other full AAS members.
  2. The Secretary shall review the draft resolution and refer the draft to the Committee on Astronomy and Public Policy (CAPP) or to any other appropriate AAS Committee(s) or Division(s) as necessary.
    a) CAPP should review the draft resolution to determine any specific benefits or potential harm that may that may occur as a result of adopting the resolution.
    b) Other Committees or Divisions should provide advice on specific matters as necessary, e.g. planetary science, employment issues, education concerns, RFI mitigation.
  3. a) Once the opinion of CAPP and any other cognizant body participating in the review process is received by the Board of Trustees, the Board should either adopt the resolution or proceed with discussion and review. The Board of Trustees may modify the resolution.
    b) Discussion by the Board of Trustees is recommended for those resolutions that are controversial in nature, that require the broadest possible discussion and debate, that may require additional expert input, or that require additional development prior to adoption.
    c) The Board of Trustees should establish a public comment period, of a reasonable length of time, that is made widely known to the membership, during the consideration of all resolutions, so that AAS members may comment on any proposed resolution.
    d) In cases requiring rapid action, the Board of Trustees may proceed to take action without a public comment period.
  4. a) The Trustees must in all cases submit their consent in writing (including e-communications and certified polls) for the adoption of resolutions between meetings of the Board. The Board of Trustees shall deliver the resolution and the consents to the Membership. The Board of Trustees shall file the resolution and the consents with the Board of Trustees’ meeting minutes or with the corporate records. A Trustee can withdraw their consent by delivering a signed revocation (including by e-communications) to the Society prior to the delivery of the consents.
    b) A super majority of the Board of Trustees (2/3 of the voting members) is required for the adoption of any resolution.
  5. a) AAS Resolutions should be reviewed each year by CAPP. A list of the resolutions that CAPP recommends be retained should be presented to the Board of Trustees at each summer AAS meeting.
    b) The Board of Trustees should decide which resolutions are retained for the coming year at each summer AAS meeting.
  6. a) A list of the titles of the current AAS Resolutions and links to the full text on the AAS website should be distributed to the membership soon after every summer AAS meeting.
    b) The AAS Press Officer should be consulted on the best way to widely disseminate any newly adopted AAS resolution.

On AAS Policy Actions

Adopted 24 May 2003 and Revised 19 October 2019

Occasionally the President may decide to take some action that does not require the adoption of a formal resolution in response to input from the Board of Trustees, a committee, working group, division, member, or on their own initiative. Examples include sending a letter to a government official or the media on a policy matter, joining other societies in signing such a letter, issuing Action Alerts to the membership, or thanking policy makers for taking some particular action. Activities such as these are called Policy Actions and are reported to the Board of Trustees in accordance with the by-laws. In the case of Action Alerts or Informational Emails, only the approval of the chair of the Committee on Astronomy and Public Policy is required to allow distribution.