Any reservation of a right to acquire or recall any stock.
The basis of distribution of assets upon liquidation and, if changes in the basis of distribution are to be prohibited, a statement that this provision may not be changed and a reference to the restriction under s. 185.033
The complete address, including street number, city, town or village, county and zip code of its principal office or the name and complete address, including street number, city, town or village, county and zip code of its registered agent.
The names and addresses of at least 5 incorporators who will act as the temporary board.
It is not necessary to set forth in the articles any of the powers granted by this chapter. The articles may include additional provisions, consistent with law, including provisions which are required or permitted to be set forth in the bylaws. Any provision required or permitted in the bylaws has equal force and effect if stated in the articles. Whenever a provision of the articles is inconsistent with a bylaw, the articles control.
The articles shall be filed and recorded as provided in s. 185.82
. The legal existence of a cooperative begins when the articles are filed. Upon the filing of the articles, the department shall issue a certificate of incorporation. The department shall forward within 5 days a duplicate original of the articles to the register of deeds of the county of the cooperative's principal office or registered agent for recording.
The certificate of incorporation shall be conclusive evidence, except as against this state in a proceeding to cancel or revoke such certificate, that all conditions precedent to existence have been met.
See s. 182.01 (3)
for provision that certain corporate documents may not be filed with secretary of state unless they bear the drafter's name.
Organization meetings. 185.06(1)(1)
After articles have been filed, an organization meeting of the temporary board shall be held at the call of a majority of the incorporators or of a majority of the temporary directors for the adoption of bylaws, election of temporary officers, and transaction of other business.
The first meeting of the members shall be called by the temporary president or a majority of the temporary directors. Such meeting shall be held as soon as reasonably possible after the organization meeting of the temporary board, but not later than 6 months after filing the articles. Failure to hold such meeting within the time specified does not affect the validity of organization.
History: 1981 c. 337
The initial bylaws may be adopted by the temporary board. Thereafter, except as provided in sub. (4)
, bylaws may be adopted and amended only by the members unless the members adopt a bylaw which permits the board to make and amend specified bylaws.
Any bylaw adopted or amended by the board shall be reported at the next regular member meeting. Any such bylaw shall be at any time subject to amendment or repeal by the members.
Unless the bylaws provide otherwise, any bylaw may be adopted, amended or repealed by a majority of the member votes cast at a meeting.
In this subsection, “emergency" means a catastrophic event that prevents a quorum of a cooperative's directors or members from being readily assembled.
Unless the articles provide otherwise, the board may adopt bylaws that are effective only in an emergency. Emergency bylaws are subject to amendment or repeal by the board or by the members. Emergency bylaws may provide special provisions or modify provisions as necessary for managing the cooperative during the emergency including any of the following:
Procedures for calling a meeting of the board or the members.
Procedures for the conduct of a meeting of the board or the members.
Deadlines for any action required to be taken by the cooperative, the board, or the members.
Provisions of the regular bylaws that are consistent with the emergency bylaws remain effective during the emergency. The emergency bylaws are not effective after the emergency ends.
Action taken in good faith in accordance with the emergency bylaws, and action taken in good faith under s. 185.03 (13)
for the benefit of the cooperative, binds the cooperative and may not be used to impose liability on a director, officer, member, employee, or agent. Action taken in good faith in anticipation of or during an emergency to delay or reschedule any action required to be taken by the cooperative, the board, or the members under par. (b) 4.
shall not constitute a violation of the bylaws in the event the delayed or rescheduled action occurs after the emergency ends.
History: 1985 a. 30
; 2021 a. 5
Principal office; registered agent; service of process. 185.08(1)(1)
A cooperative shall maintain in this state either its principal office or a registered agent.
The board may establish or change the location of the principal office or name and address of the registered agent by causing a statement in writing to be filed and recorded as an amendment to the articles as provided in s. 185.82
. Such statement shall set forth the name of the cooperative, and the mailing address and county of its principal office or the name and address, including the county, of the registered agent as established or changed.
If a statement under par. (a)
results from the action of a governmental agency in changing the address of the principal office or registered agent and there is no corresponding change in physical location, these facts shall be contained in the statement.
A registered agent may resign by mailing a written notice to both the department and the cooperative. The resignation becomes effective when the cooperative names a new registered agent or 60 days after the receipt of notice by the department, whichever is sooner.
Service of any process, notice or demand upon a cooperative may be made as provided in s. 180.0504
or ch. 801
Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 775 (1975); 1981 c. 337
; 1983 a. 134
; 1989 a. 303
; 1995 a. 27
Promotion expense; limitation.
No cooperative funds may be used, nor any stock issued, in payment of any promotion expenses in excess of 5 percent of the paid-up capital stock or membership fees. This section does not apply to a cooperative association organized under s. 185.981
History: 2009 a. 165
; 2011 a. 258
All cooperatives shall be organized on a membership basis with no capital stock, or shall be organized on a membership basis with capital stock.
A cooperative may have one or more classes of members. The designation, qualifications, requirements, method of acceptance, and incidents of membership of each class shall be set forth in the bylaws. Any person, including a partnership, incorporated or unincorporated association, limited liability company, corporation, or body politic, may become a member in accordance with the bylaws.
No member may transfer his or her membership except as permitted in the bylaws.
The bylaws may provide for termination of membership and the conditions and terms thereof.
History: 1985 a. 30
; 1993 a. 112
Except as permitted in this section, s. 185.52
, no person other than a member may vote at any member meeting. A person who has not fully paid for a membership may not vote except as expressly permitted in the bylaws. If the cooperative permits 2 or more persons to hold one membership, the bylaws may provide how such member vote is to be cast.
At any member meeting, each member entitled to vote shall have one vote, except that the articles may permit either or both:
A member association to cast additional votes not exceeding a number equal to its membership.
A cooperative whose member-patrons include other associations to base voting in whole or in part on a patronage basis.
Voting by proxy shall not be allowed in any cooperative.
The bylaws may provide for representation of members by delegates apportioned territorially or by other districts or units. The bylaws shall specify either that a delegate may cast only one vote or that a delegate may cast one vote for each member represented by the delegate.
The procedures set forth in this chapter for voting by members apply to voting by delegates, except as provided in all of the following:
If any delegate who may cast only one vote is permitted to vote on a matter, only delegates may vote on that matter.
If delegates may cast only one vote, in calculating the required proportion of votes on a matter, the number of delegate votes shall be used, but the number of delegates required for a quorum shall be as specified in the bylaws.
If the bylaws provide for representation of members by delegates who may cast one vote for each member represented by the delegate, in calculating the required proportion of votes on a matter and the number of delegates required for a quorum, the number of members represented by each delegate shall be used.
Members entitled to vote on a motion but absent from the meeting at which the vote is taken may vote only as follows:
If a cooperative provides ballots for the vote on the motion to the members together with notice of the meeting at which the vote will be taken and exact copies of the motion and any resolution to which it pertains, an absent member may vote on the motion by submitting a signed ballot. If a signed ballot has been submitted on a motion under this subdivision, neither the motion nor any resolution to which it pertains may be amended.
If a cooperative makes available ballots for the vote on the motion together with exact copies of the motion and any resolution to which it pertains to any member entitled to vote on the motion, but does not comply fully with the requirements of subd. 1.
, an absent member may vote on the motion by submitting a signed ballot. However, the motion and any resolution to which it pertains may be amended at the meeting, and, if the motion or resolution is amended, the ballot is void. The ballot may not be counted on any motion to amend or adopt as amended the motion or resolution.
The cooperative permits absent members to vote on the motion under subd. 1.
The cooperative is able to authenticate that it is a member who is casting a vote.
The cooperative gives a vote cast under this subdivision the same effect as it would have if it was cast under subd. 1.
, whichever is applicable.
The bylaws may provide for voting on the election or removal of directors by signed ballots or by electronic means. Signed ballots may not be used for this purpose unless the bylaws authorize and prescribe the procedure for their use. Voting by electronic means may not be used unless all of the following apply:
The bylaws provide for electronic voting on the election or removal of directors.
The cooperative is able to authenticate that it is a member who is casting a vote.
The cooperative gives a vote cast by electronic means the same effect as a vote cast by signed ballot or by a member present at a meeting.
In this subsection, “cooperative holding company” means a cooperative that owns or controls subsidiaries operating on a cooperative basis as the primary part of their business and activities.
Notwithstanding sub. (2)
, a cooperative holding company and its cooperative subsidiaries may, in its articles or bylaws, permit members to base voting power in whole or in part on members' current or recent patronage activity, or on members' patronage equity in the cooperative, or on a combination of both.
If the articles or bylaws provide for voting power as described in par. (b)
, whenever this chapter requires an action to be approved by a majority vote of members or by a vote of a greater proportion of members, approval of the action is by, respectively, a majority of the member votes cast or such greater proportion of the member votes cast.
The bylaws may set forth provisions, not inconsistent with this chapter, relating to the methods and procedures for voting.
Member meetings. 185.13(1)(1)
Unless the bylaws provide otherwise, and except for meetings held by means of remote participation under sub. (7)
, member meetings shall be held at the principal office or such other place as the board may determine.
An annual member meeting shall be held at the time fixed in or pursuant to the bylaws. In the absence of a bylaw provision, such meeting shall be held within 6 months after the close of the fiscal year at the call of the president or board.
Special member meetings may be called by the president, board, or members having one-fifth of the votes entitled to be cast at such meeting.
Written notice, stating the place, if any, and the day and hour, and in case of a special member meeting the purposes for which the meeting is called, shall be given not less than 7 nor more than 30 days before the meeting at the direction of the person calling the meeting. Notice need be given only to members entitled to vote. Notice shall be given to members having limited voting rights if they have or may have the right to vote at the meeting.
At any meeting at which members are to be represented by delegates, notice to such members may be given by notifying such delegates and their alternates. Notice may consist of a notice to all members or may be in the form of an announcement at the meeting at which such delegates or alternates were elected.
A cooperative may hold a member meeting under sub. (2)
by means of remote participation as provided in pars. (b)
If members participate in a member meeting by means of remote communication, the participating members are deemed to be present in person and to vote at the member meeting held by means of remote communication if all of the following apply:
The cooperative implements reasonable measures to verify that each person deemed present and permitted to vote at the member meeting by means of remote communication is a member.
The cooperative implements reasonable measures to provide members a reasonable opportunity to participate in the meeting and to vote on matters submitted to the members, including an opportunity to read or hear the proceedings of the meeting concurrently with the proceedings.
Members may cast votes by electronic means at a member meeting held by means of remote communication if all of the following apply: