(3) Procedure for entities organized in other states.
A business entity organized under the laws of another state that elects to make a conversion as provided under sub. (1)
shall amend its organizational documents in the manner provided under the other state's laws that govern the business entity. The business entity shall file with the department amended articles of organization that comply with s. 193.215
. Upon the filing of the amended articles of organization, the business entity is converted to a cooperative and is governed by the applicable provisions of this chapter.
(4) Conversion of cooperatives organized under chapter 185.
A cooperative that is organized under ch. 185
may not convert to a cooperative organized under this chapter regardless of whether the conversion is accomplished directly within Wisconsin or indirectly through or with any out-of-state entity.
History: 2005 a. 441
If the department determines that a cooperative has made an erroneous filing under this chapter, the department may revoke and expunge the erroneous filing and authorize a curative document to be filed. The department shall charge the cooperative a filing fee of $500 for any such revocation, expungement, and subsequent curative filing.
History: 2005 a. 441
A cooperative shall have bylaws governing the cooperative's business affairs and structure, the qualifications, classification, rights, and obligations of members, and the classifications, allocations, and distributions of membership interests which are not otherwise provided in the articles or by this chapter.
The bylaws may contain any provision relating to the management or regulation of the affairs of the cooperative that is not inconsistent with applicable law or the articles and, if not stated in the articles, the bylaws shall include all of the following:
A description of the capital structure of the cooperative, including a statement of the classes and relative rights, preferences, and restrictions granted to or imposed upon each class of member interests, the rights to share in profits or distributions of the cooperative, and the authority to issue member interests and, if applicable, a statement that the board may establish a class or series of member interests, set forth the designation of the class or series, and fix the relative rights and preferences of the class or series.
A provision designating voting and governance rights, including which membership interests have voting power and any limitations or restrictions on the voting power, which shall be in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
A statement that patron membership interests with voting power are restricted to one vote for each member regardless of the amount of patron membership interests held in the affairs of the cooperative or a statement describing the allocation of voting power as prescribed in this chapter.
A statement that membership interests held by a member are transferable only with the approval of the board or a statement otherwise describing the manner in which membership interests may be transferred consistent with this chapter.
If nonpatron membership interests are authorized, a statement as to how profits and losses will be allocated and cash will be distributed between patron membership interests collectively and nonpatron membership interests collectively, a statement that net income allocated to patron membership interests as determined by the board in excess of dividends and additions to reserves shall be distributed on the basis of patronage, and a statement that the records of the cooperative shall include the interests of patron membership interests and, if authorized, nonpatron membership interests in any classes of interests and in the reserves.
A statement of the number of directors; the qualifications, manner of election, powers, and duties of directors; and the manner in which any compensation of directors is determined. Provisions included in the bylaws under this paragraph shall be consistent with subch. IV
A statement of the qualifications of members and any limitations on their number.
A description of the methods of admission, withdrawal, suspension, and expulsion of members.
A general description of members' governance rights and financial rights, assignability of governance and financial rights, and other rights, privileges, and obligations of members and their membership interests, which may be further described in member control agreements.
Any provisions required by the articles to be in the bylaws.
Bylaws shall be adopted prior to any distributions to members, but if the articles provide that rights of contributors to a class of membership interest will be determined in the bylaws, then the bylaws shall be adopted prior to the acceptance of any contributions to that class.
Subject to subs. (4)
, and (6)
, the bylaws may be adopted or amended by the board or, if all of the following apply, the members may adopt or amend bylaws at a regular or special members' meeting:
The notice of the meeting contains a statement that the bylaws or amendments will be voted upon, a statement summarizing the proposed bylaws or amendments, and either copies of the bylaws or amendments or a statement that copies of the bylaws or amendments are available from the cooperative upon request.
A quorum of the members is registered as being present or represented by alternative vote at the meeting.
The bylaws or amendments are approved by the following means, as applicable:
For a cooperative with articles or bylaws requiring more than majority approval or other conditions for approval, by a sufficient vote as required under the articles or bylaws or by satisfying the other conditions for approval.
The members may amend the bylaws even though the bylaws may also be amended by the board. The board may amend the bylaws even though the bylaws may also be amended by the members.
The board shall distribute to the members any amendment to the bylaws adopted by the board no later than the 10th day after adoption and the notice of the next regular members' meeting occurring after adoption shall contain a notice and summary of, or a copy of, the amendment.
(4) Limitation on board's amendment authority.
The board may not amend the bylaws if any of the following apply:
This chapter, the articles, or the bylaws reserve the power exclusively to the members.
The articles or bylaws expressly prohibit the board from doing so.
The amendment would fix a greater quorum or voting requirement for members or voting groups of members or would amend a provision adopted by amendment under sub. (5)
(5) Amendment to change quorum or voting requirements for members.
The members may amend the bylaws to specify a greater quorum requirement for members, or voting groups of members, or a greater number of votes or members participating required for approval than is otherwise required by this chapter. An amendment to the bylaws to add, change, or delete such a quorum or voting requirement shall meet the same quorum requirement and be adopted by the same vote and voting groups required to take action under the quorum and voting requirements then in effect or proposed to be adopted, whichever are more stringent.
(6) Amendment to change quorum or voting requirements for directors. 193.241(6)(a)
A bylaw that specifies a greater quorum requirement for the board or a greater number of votes or directors participating required for approval than is otherwise required by this chapter may be amended as follows:
If the bylaw was originally adopted by the members, only by the members.
If the bylaw was originally adopted by the board, by the members or by the board.
A bylaw, or amendment to the bylaws, adopted by the members that specifies a greater quorum or voting requirement for the board as described in par. (a)
may provide that it may be subsequently amended only by a specified vote of either the members or the board, but if the bylaw or amendment so provides, the bylaw or amendment shall be originally adopted by the specified vote of the members proposed in the bylaw or amendment.
Action by the board under par. (a) 2.
shall meet the same quorum requirement and be adopted by the same vote required to take action under the quorum and voting requirement then in effect or proposed to be adopted, whichever is more stringent.
Unless otherwise provided in the articles or bylaws, the board may adopt emergency bylaws which take effect only during an emergency as defined in par. (d)
. The emergency bylaws, which are subject to amendment or repeal by the members, may include all provisions necessary for managing the cooperative during an emergency, including any of the following:
All provisions of the regular bylaws consistent with the emergency bylaws remain in effect during any emergency.
Action taken in good faith in accordance with the emergency bylaws:
May not be the basis for imposition of liability on any director, officer, employee, or agent of the cooperative on the ground that the action was not authorized cooperative action.
An emergency exists for the purposes of this section if a quorum of the directors cannot readily be obtained because of a catastrophic event.
History: 2005 a. 441
Cooperative records. 193.245(1)(1)
A cooperative shall keep as permanent records minutes of all meetings of its members and of the board, a record of all actions taken by the members or the board without a meeting by a written unanimous consent in lieu of a meeting, and a record of all waivers of notices of meetings of the members and of the board.
A cooperative shall maintain appropriate accounting records.
A cooperative shall keep a copy of each of the following records at its principal office:
Its articles, bylaws, and other governing instruments.
A record of the names and addresses of its members, in a form that allows preparation of a list of members that is alphabetical and that shows each member's address.
The minutes of members' meetings and records of all actions taken by members without a meeting by unanimous written consent in lieu of a meeting, for the past 3 years.
All written communications within the past 3 years to members as a group or to any class of members as a group.
A list of the names and business addresses of its current directors and officers.
All financial statements prepared for periods ending during the last fiscal year.
A cooperative shall maintain its records in written form or in another form capable of conversion into written form within a reasonable time.
Except as otherwise provided under this section, the board may determine what records are appropriate for the purposes of the cooperative, the length of time records are to be retained, and, subject to s. 193.501 (4)
, policies relating to the confidentiality, disclosure, inspection and copying of the records of the cooperative. This subsection does not permit the board to withhold documents that are otherwise required to be disclosed by law.
History: 2005 a. 441
Cooperative powers. 193.301(1)(1)
In addition to other powers, a cooperative may perform every act necessary or proper to the conduct of the cooperative's business or the accomplishment of the purposes of the cooperative. A cooperative has all rights, powers, and privileges granted to entities organized under ch. 185
, except those that are inconsistent with an express provision of this chapter.
(2) Dealing in products.
A cooperative may buy, sell, or deal in its own products or the products of any other person and may negotiate the sales price of any product the cooperative sells.
(3) Contracts with members.
A cooperative may enter into or become a party to a contract for the cooperative or for the cooperative's individual members or patrons or between the cooperative and its members.
(4) Acts concerning real and personal property. 193.301(4)(a)(a)
A cooperative may acquire and hold, lease, mortgage, encumber, sell, exchange and convey real and personal property as the business of the cooperative may require.
A cooperative may act as trustee or in any fiduciary capacity for any purpose not inconsistent with the purposes of the cooperative, subject to any applicable requirements of s. 223.105
(6) Debt instruments, borrowing, security, and investing.
A cooperative may do any of the following:
Issue bonds, debentures, or other evidence of indebtedness.
Borrow money to finance the business of the cooperative.
Secure any of its obligations by mortgage of, creation of a security interest in, or other encumbrance or assignment of all or any of its property, franchises, or income.
Form special purpose business entities to secure assets of the cooperative.
Acquire, hold, and dispose of evidences of indebtedness of any business entity.
(7) Advances to patrons.
A cooperative may make advances to the cooperative's members or patrons on products delivered by the members or patrons to the cooperative.
A cooperative may accept donations of money and donations of real or personal property from its members.
(9) Lending to and borrowing from members.
A cooperative may loan money to its members with security that it considers sufficient, whether or not any property taken as security is of the kind dealt in by the cooperative, and may borrow money from its members.
A cooperative may pay pensions, retirement benefits, and compensation for past services to or for the benefit of the cooperative.
A cooperative may establish and carry out employee benefit plans and provisions for the benefit of any or all of its and its affiliates, officers, managers, directors, governors, employees, and agents. In the case of an affiliate that is a cooperative, a cooperative may establish and carry out provisions for the benefit of the affiliate's members who provide services to the cooperative, and the families, dependents, and beneficiaries of any of them. A cooperative may indemnify a fiduciary of any employee benefit plan or provisions established under this paragraph and purchase insurance for or on behalf of such a fiduciary.
A cooperative may purchase for its benefit life insurance and other insurance with respect to the services of any of its members, managers, directors, employees, and agents, and may purchase insurance on the life of a member for the purpose of facilitating the cooperative's acquisition of any of the member's membership interests in the cooperative at the death of the member.
(12) Ownership interests in other entities. 193.301(12)(a)(a)
A cooperative may acquire, hold, or dispose of ownership interests in another business entity and, if a cooperative acquires ownership interests under this paragraph, assume all rights, interests, privileges, responsibilities, and obligations arising out of the ownership interests. A cooperative that holds an ownership interest in another business entity may, by direction of the board, elect or appoint an individual to represent the cooperative at a meeting of the business entity. The representative may represent the cooperative at such a meeting and may cast any vote the cooperative is entitled to cast at the meeting.