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WSI Bylaws Committee Manual

This manual outlines the purpose, responsibilities, methods, and overall operating procedures of the WSI Bylaws Committee. The manual is updated as needed to keep the information current and is intended to serve as a reference tool for committee and subcommittee members, as well as for anyone in FA interested in understanding the work of the WSI standing committees.

The bylaws chair should appoint 5-7 committee members. It is recommended that the committee be composed of members with at least 7 years of continued abstinence and prior experience working with bylaws either in their personal career or in intergroups or chapters. It helps if committee members include: a person with good editing skills, a prior bylaws chair, current bylaw chairs of intergroups, and another member of the WSB. Members should represent a good cross-section of the worldwide fellowship.

The bylaws committee chair is responsible for the maintenance and accuracy of the World Service governing documents which include the WSI Bylaws and Continuing Effect Motions Manual, the WSI Organizational Chart, Terminology Reference, the WSB Manual, the WSI Standing Committees Manual, and the WSC member manual. If any of these documents are updated, the bylaws chair should submit the documents to the WSI secretary for sign-off and posting to www.foodaddicts.org.

Other responsibilities include reminding other chairs to make updates to the WSB manual and WSI Standing Committees Manual (for their committee), considering any bylaws amendments, addressing bylaws motions issues, submitting motions and presenting motions where appropriate to the World Service Conference, and providing guidance for questions related to the bylaws.  The bylaws committee chair also acts as an advisory to remind FA members to adhere to any relevant stipulations in bylaws related to WSB or WSI issues or concerns. The chair should also remind fellows, when necessary, that adherence to the Twelve Step, Twelve Traditions, and Twelve Concepts is foundational.

The bylaws chair is the liaison between the WSB and the BMRC (Board Motions Review Committee) and the RC (resolutions Committee). Note that these committees are composed of the same members and have the same chair. It is called the BMRC (which is a special standing committee of the WSB) from the months of July through February. [Note that chairs of special standing committees of the WSB have voting privileges at the convention.]

Once the motion submission deadline has passed for the WSBC, the name changes to the Resolutions Committee. Typically the committee is called the RC from March through June.  The Resolutions Committee changes names because it is a WSI committee and serves the general fellowship. For more information, refer to the WSB Manual.

Historical reference: The 2020 WSB Manual (and prior) had reference to an additional committee named the Emergency New Business Committee (ENBC). This committee was composed of the same people as the Resolutions Committee. This is a duplication of function so the ENBC was eliminated. The RC handles any new business at the convention following the emergency new business procedures delineated in the WSB Manual. The emergency new business procedure remains the same.

The Bylaws chair is a standing member of the Traditions Review Committee.


July 1


  • Remind the chair to appoint a chair for the BMRC/Resolutions Committee
  • Update the Continuing Effect manual with any motion that was adapted during the convention. (Historically, bylaw changes were not included. As of June 2021, on the advice of our parliamentarian, they were included.)
  • Give all new members of the board a link to the WSB Manual. Also inform them of how changes are made.   Changes will be on-going during the year. Any changes suggested by a board member will be brought before the board for discussion. If a change is warranted, the WSI Bylaws Chair will make the change to the WSB Manual. Note that changes to the board manual are board decisions. The bylaws chair is in charge of actually making the change to the document.
  • Remind all board members to read the governing documents including bylaws and CEMs.
  •  Remind all board members to become familiar with the Twelve Concepts of FA. Note that they are different from the AA Twelve Concepts.  (Refer to and distribute the Twelve Concepts of FA Correlation Chart.)
  • Gather any bylaw changes the committee has suggested but not yet processed in prior years for discussion at the August or September meeting.
  • Create a bylaws committee.  Suggestion of 6 members plus another board member for a total of 7 members, including you.
    • Abstinence requirement: 10 years is suggested though 7 is necessary.
    • Suggestion that one of the members be a past bylaws chair. 
    • The EAI and WAI Bylaws chairs should be invited to be members.
    • At least one member should have some editing background- should be familiar with editing standards since this is a legal document.
    • I suggest everyone have some type of editing, legal, or interest in bylaws. All members need to be solid, logical thinkers.
    • It is beneficial for one member to be a lawyer.

August meeting

  • Review any motions from prior years that did not go to any prior convention.
  • Get a relationship going with the convention planning chair since you will be working with them a lot.
  • Review the deadlines in the bylaws for convention. You should work with the convention chair for several notifications.

1st week of September

Email chapters and intergroups with deadlines for submitting motions for the business convention so they can create their own submission deadlines. Work backwards from the convention date. I suggest that you also do all the dates for January/February/ March/April/May deadlines.


Give the bylaws committee a copy of the 12 concepts illustrated and the Twelve Concepts correlation table.  Also make sure they all know how to access the bylaws and CEM manual online. 


Get yourself familiar with the 2009 CEM regarding literature. The literature chair or WES members may ask for guidance. I suggest you work backwards on those dates. 


The Bylaws committee reviews the WSC member Service Manual. Make essential edits. It needs to be ready for folks to access when they start signing up as WSC members usually in January (there’s a March deadline for WSC registration and they are supposed to read the manual when they register.)


Continue to work on writing up suggested bylaw motions. Ask the BMRC to take a look at them to get their feedback. Once the motion is clear, present it to the board.


Review the FA Org chart and FA terminology. Make updates as needed


Continue work on bylaws motions until ready to submit to the WSB.


Review the bylaws committee manual.


Review motions submission procedure. Will be sent out with the 120 day constituent notice.


Submit all bylaws motions to WSB for approval.  Note that they are not formally due until March. But it is a great idea to have the entire board behind any motion suggested by the WSI Bylaws committee. This gives the board time to think, discuss, and give feedback.


Work with the convention chair to create notices in JANUARY

120 day notice sent out typically early February.

The March notice is written by the bylaws chair and convention chair.

If there are motions that are going to go out to the WSC members to determine if they should be placed on the agenda, have 2 to 3 calls for folks to ask questions to make sure they understand the intent of the motions so they can make an educated decision.

January work


120 days prior to the convention, send out procedures for submitting motions to the intergroups and chapters.  This is called the Constituent Notice.   Work with the convention chair to get this sent out.  Make certain the Motion Submission Procedures on the website is up to date and that the motion submission form is accessible via the website with login. Usually found in “My Convention”. Any motion submitted should automatically be sent to the WSB secretary, convention chair, bylaws chair, and BMRC chair.


Typically beginning of Feb.


Motions may be submitted by intergroups, chapters, or WSI committees. The form for submission is on the website. The convention chair makes certain the link is included in the email announcing deadlines. Here’s what it says in the bylaws:

  1. The Constituent Group Notice will include
    1. Date and location of the WSBC.
    2. Deadline for submitting motions and notice that procedures for submission have been sent to the boards of intergroups and chapters. (NOTE: this submission process is typically included as a link in this notice.)
    3. Officer and trustee nomination requests and procedures.
    4. Procedure for registering WSC members.
    5. Notice that elected WSC members must be elected and registered at least 90 days prior to the first day of the WSBC.

NOTE that the convention chair takes care of all election applications and notices. The only thing the bylaws chair needs to do is to make sure the positions being elected are in sync with the bylaws. (It lists which are elected odd years and which are elected even years.)

Regarding WSC member registration: WSC members should be encouraged, when they register, to read the WSC member manual and all proposed motions thoroughly since they will be asked to attend motion calls so they are prepared for voting at the convention.

February work

NO LATER THAN 90 days before WSB

Typically beginning of March. Motions are due to be submitted to the WSB via the website.

All main motions must be submitted via the website no later than 90 days prior to the convention.  Any motions submitted after this date are considered as emergency motions and go to the Resolutions Committee (BMRC) so they can go through the emergency motion procedure. (Note that the BMRC changes name at this point to the resolutions committee.)

Sometimes motions get submitted earlier than the deadline. As soon as they are submitted anything having to do with bylaws should be reviewed by the bylaws committee. Any other motions should be reviewed by the BMRC (sometimes literature does their own thing.)

The bylaws committee and BMRC should review the motion to make sure it’s in line and there is nothing detrimental to FA. They can recommend rewording but may not change the intent of the motion. Also may make recommendations regarding the rationale. When reviewing, check the rationales and suggest any changes that would make the rationale clearer and easier to understand.

If the deadline has not yet come for submitting motions, the intergroup, chapter, or WSI committee may change the statement of the motion. After the deadline, they may reword for clarification but cannot change the intent.

MARCH work


NO LATER THAN 60 days prior to WSBC

Typically beginning of April

  • Ask the parliamentarian to review any motions for issues they may foresee or glitches.
  • WSC receives notice via email of all main motions including bylaws.   For any motion submitted by the chapter or intergroup, they are given the procedure to vote on which should be on the agenda. They have 15 days to respond.
  • WSC members should also receive a copy of the WSC Service Manual.
  • If motions have been submitted by any intergroup or chapter, have 2-4 calls for WSC members to give them the opportunity to ask questions regarding these motions since they will need to vote to determine if each motion should be included in the convention agenda. NOTE: These calls must be scheduled after the WSC member registration and before they are required to vote on motions submitted by intergroups or chapters.



NO LATER THAN 30 days prior to WSBC

Typically beginning of May

WSC members receive WSC members notice which includes all motions and agenda including those running for office.  This notice is created by the convention chair and reviewed by the bylaws chair.


After the 30 days notice and before the convention

Have 2-3 conference calls for WSC members so they can discuss the motions and ask questions to make sure they understand the intent and implications.



Be familiar with the emergency motion process (see bylaws article VII 3e and the section from the WSB manual regarding emergency new business below). An emergency motion is ANY motion that is submitted after the March deadline. The BMRC reviews the motion and talks with the folks who submitted it so they have all the facts. Once they have all the facts, the BMRC issues an opinion as to if they feel it really is an emergency. Regardless of what the BMRC thinks, the WSC members get to vote if they want to put it on the agenda.

NOTE: If an emergency motion is submitted by the board, the BMRC gives their opinion ONLY to the board. According to our bylaws, the WSB may submit a motion at any time without conference approval. Also note that the motion must be submitted by the WSB - not a WSI committee. For example, if the PI committee wanted to submit a motion it would still go in front of the conference. BUT if the WSB decides that the WSB is going to submit that very same motion, it goes on the agenda.

NOTE: NO emergency motion may be made regarding literature or bylaw changes according to Article VIII section 3(c).


The BMRC and RC are comprised of the same members. The BMRC functions from the close of the WSBC to the March deadline for motion submission. The RC functions from the date of the March deadline for motion submission to the close of the WSBC.

Board Motions Review Committee (BMRC) The chair of the BMRC is appointed by the WSI Chair. This committee consists of 5-7 members appointed by the chair of the BMRC. The BMRC is charged to assist the WSB throughout the year as potential motions arise. The committee may also be asked to assist intergroups and chapters in development of motions and rationale. WSI committees and/or the WSB may also request review and input from the BMRC. The committee will be asked to provide feedback on the clarity, intent, and value of the motion(s). The BMRC functions from July through February. These committee members also fulfill the role of the Resolution Committee which serves the WSI Conference from March through the WSBC which is typically in June. The bylaws chair is an ad-hoc member of the committee and maintains all communications between this committee and the WSB. For additional information, refer to THE BYLAWS MANUAL.

Note: Any motion regarding the bylaws will be initially referred to the bylaws committee. After reviewing the motion, the bylaws committee may refer the motion to the BMRC for additional feedback.

Resolutions Committee (RC) This committee is a recurring special committee. It functions from the motion submission deadline (usually the beginning of March) through the close of the WSBC for that year. Prior to the deadline, the BMRC assists motion makers. The purpose of the RC is to process a final review of any motion submitted for the WSBC.  The committee does not issue an opinion for or against the adoption of the motion by the WSC.  Any motion submitted after the deadline will be considered an emergency motion and will follow emergency motion procedures [refer to WSI Bylaws Article VIII section 3(e)]. Emergency is defined as a “sudden unforeseen crisis usually involving danger.” The Resolution Committee will process and review any emergency motion following the emergency motion procedures. The committee may be asked by the WSB or WSC to offer an opinion on whether or not an emergency motion would be heard at the WSBC. 

The purpose of the Resolutions Committee is to assist intergroup/chapter boards and committees who wish to bring main motions to the floor of the convention.   The committee does not issue an opinion for or against the adoption of the motion by the WSC. All main motions submitted to the WSI Secretary, with the exception of motions to amend the Bylaws, shall be referred to the RC (Article VIII, Section 3(c)).

A. Committee Chair and Membership

  1. In accordance with Article IX, Section 10 of the bylaws, the RC chair shall be appointed by the WSI chair.
  2. Additional members of the committee shall be appointed by the committee chair.
  3. The RC will consist of 5-7 members.

B. Primary Functions of the Committee

Assist the motion makers (intergroups/chapters/WSI committees).
The RC shall contact the intergroup/chapter board or committee submitting the motion to discuss the motion. The committee’s role is to confirm that the motion as submitted meets the motion-makers’ intent; that the language is clear and grammatically correct; and that the proposed motion does not duplicate or conflict with already existing provisions in the bylaws or policies. The committee should encourage awareness of the context created by our Traditions and Concepts.

C. Review emergency motions: those submitted after the deadline

    1. In accordance with Article VIII, Section 3(e), the RC will review emergency motions and make a recommendation to the WSC as to their hearing.

D. Process emergency motions following the process established in the bylaws.

a. Bringing Emergency New Business Motions to the Convention Floor:

    1. Motions will only be accepted on fully filled out forms and only from (1) executive boards or committees of FA chapters or FA intergroups, (2) WSI committees, or (3) the WSB and are submitted to the RC.
    2. The RC will meet as often as necessary to address emergencies.
    3. The maker of the motion will be informed as to the approximate time at which their motion will be heard.

b. Procedure during the meeting

    1. Any member of the presenting intergroup or chapter executive board may speak to the motion. This will be contingent upon the volume of motions and time available.
    2. During the general business session, the committee will present to the WSC its recommendation regarding whether or not the Conference should hear the motion. The standards for a positive recommendation are the following:
      1. The motion must be an emergency that cannot wait until next year.  Emergency is defined as a “sudden unforeseen crisis usually involving danger.”
      2. The motion must fall within the Twelve Traditions.
      3. The motion cannot be redundant with stipulations already made in FA governance documents (bylaws, policies and procedures, and continuing effects motions).
      4. The motion must not be frivolous.

c. Procedure at the General Business Session

    1. The RC Chair will give a report and recommendation for each motion that was presented to the RC and will give a brief summary of the process involved in determining the recommendation.
    2. The voting body will then hold a yes or no vote, without discussion, to agree with the RC or not. The voting body has the final say. The job of the committee is not to decide if the motion itself has merit. That responsibility falls to the Conference.
    3. If the motion receives a two-thirds vote from the body, the WSI chair places it on the agenda. Once on the agenda it proceeds as any other motion.