Bylaws of Houston Stonewall Young Democrats PAC
Article I. Name
A. The name of the club shall be the HOUSTON STONEWALL YOUNG DEMOCRATS PAC and will be addressed more commonly as the HOUSTON STONEWALL YOUNG DEMOCRATS. The club will also be known by the acronyms HYSD and HSYD PAC.
Article II. Purpose
A. In recognition that the future of every society depends on its capacity for perpetual renewal, the HOUSTON STONEWALL YOUNG DEMOCRATS have formed so that every new generation of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) community will take its place as equal citizens of society and members of the Democratic Party. HOUSTON STONEWALL YOUNG DEMOCRATS is open to all Democrats who wish to learn about and become involved with their community, bringing their unique and awakening voice, their new ideas, perceptions and dreams.
B. HOUSTON STONEWALL YOUNG DEMOCRATS is dedicated to the renewal and generational change of leadership in the LGBT Community and in the Democratic Party. We respect and strive to learn from those who have come before us. We offer continuity for their visions and their values.
C. HOUSTON STONEWALL YOUNG DEMOCRATS shall act on both political issues and non-partisan issue advocacy. We recognize that our involvement in politics and the government is a powerful means to aid and improve society; but our organization can also lend a hand, helping people more directly. As important as it is for the health of society to have a perpetual debate and contest of ideas with other political parties, we shall also strive to find the commonalities that will allow us all to work together to improve the world. When our goals concur, Houston Stonewall Young Democrats will work with non-partisan groups on these issues.
D. HOUSTON STONEWALL YOUNG DEMOCRATS is chartered with the Democratic Party. We proudly celebrate that the Democratic Party has been our greatest champion and avenue for achieving political gain for the LGBT community.
We endeavor to share this legacy within the LGBT community and reinforce our mutual ties.
E. HOUSTON STONEWALL YOUNG DEMOCRATS is a legally recognized General Political Committee that reports regularly to the Texas Ethics Commission.
F. HOUSTON STONEWALL YOUNG DEMOCRATS also seeks to bring our issues and concerns to the Democratic Party and to society. Our voices must be heard if we are to be represented as equal members in each. We proudly stand against discrimination, inequality and injustice; and our citizenship will strengthen our society and our Party.
G. HOUSTON STONEWALL YOUNG DEMOCRATS are citizens of many communities. We strive to further understand the cultures, the histories, the difficulties and the dreams of each of these communities; to be representative of them and to strive for justice and prosperity.
H. Finally, HOUSTON STONEWALL YOUNG DEMOCRATS recognize that we are ourselves a unique community. The organization provides a forum and a celebration of who we are: a unique and varied people, standing together, never alone, and never forgotten.
Article III. Membership
A. Voting Membership
1. Age Requirements shall be in accordance with Texas Young Democrats bylaws.
2. Active Membership: Individuals who are of qualifying age and who have paid dues may vote at any General Membership meeting, run for any of the elected offices, participate in committees, and represent HSYD in Democratic events. An individual must be a member of good standing for a period of at least twenty-five (25) days before voting in a meeting or running for office.
3. For Active Members, dues shall be paid annually at rates established by the Executive Committee subject to ratification by the membership present at the next membership meeting for which due notice of the proposed change can be given. Upon joining Houston Stonewall Young Democrats, the rights of voice and motion shall be accorded. A grace period of sixty (60) days will be granted following expiration of membership and written noticed has been sent during which a person may exercise all privileges of membership.
4. Persons shall not be required to pay past missed dues to re-establish membership after a lapse. However, if membership is re-established after the grace period has lapsed, the individual must be a member of good standing for a period of at least twenty-five (25) days before voting in a meeting.
5. Houston Stonewall Young Democrats may opt to waive membership dues (and pay membership fees to Stonewall Democrats and the Texas Young Democratic Club or any other affiliated or associated Democratic Clubs) at the discretion of the Executive Committee.
B. Non-voting Membership
1. At-large Membership: Any person meeting age and Democratic registration requirements who wishes to be a member without paying dues shall be granted At-large membership. At-large members receive all privileges except the privileges of voting, filing and running for HSYD office, serving on committees that involve endorsements or voting, representing Houston Stonewall Young Democrats at any Democratic event, automatic membership into Stonewall Democrats of Houston Club or any other affiliated organization.
2. Honorary Membership: Individuals who have surpassed the age limit set by the bylaws of the Texas Young Democrats may hold honorary membership. Honorary members may attend meetings and events but otherwise they have no more privileges than at-large members.
3. Patron: The class of Patron is effectively an honorary membership except that it holds a distinction of honor of recognition, either for financial contributions or for recognized excellence of service to Houston Stonewall Young Democrats or to the cause or community of LGBT Youth. Patron-class membership will be approved by the Executive Committee.
C. Membership lists
1. Only the Executive Committee of the Club shall possess copies of the membership list.
2. The Club shall comply with the reporting requirements of the Democratic Party and all other affiliated organizations.
3. The Secretary and Director of Membership shall insure the confidentiality of the membership computer files. They may authorize members of the Membership Committee to update the computer files for authorized purposes only.
4. Except as provided herein, authorization for access to the membership list shall only be granted by a majority vote of the Executive Committee.
Article IV. Officers
A. Elected Officers
1. The elected officers of the Club shall be President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Director of Membership.
a. The hierarchy of succession will follow the order as listed above.
b. The term of office for elected officers shall be 1-year.
c. The term will expire at the closure of the election meeting in which a new officer is elected.
B. Appointed Officers
1. The Parliamentarian is appointed in absence of the Vice President. She or he will be appointed by the president and confirmed by a majority of the elected officers excluding the President.
2. PAC Treasurer will be the responsibility of the elected Treasurer of the organization.
a. The PAC Treasurer’s responsibility is to file all required Texas Ethics Commission reports on time on behalf of the organization. He/she will receive the information necessary to file these reports from the President.
3. Appointed Officers’ terms will expire after the election of new officers. The only exception to this is replacement elections for a vacant office.
C. A member may only hold one Officer position at a time.
D. In the event of a vacancy of the President, the Vice President will become the President. In the event of a vacancy of any other Elected Officer, the President may appoint an interim officer. In either case, a special election for a replacement will be held at the next duly noticed meeting.
E. An officer may be removed by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the general membership at a regular general membership meeting where twenty-five (25) day written notice of the vote is given to all members and the officer. Grounds for removal include:
1. Nonfeasance – missing more than two general membership meetings without a valid excuse.
2. Malfeasance – doing anything with the intent to undermine or subvert the mission of the organization.
a. Includes endorsing or publicly supporting a candidate in a race in which HSYD has endorsed another candidate.
F. The duties of the officers shall be as follows.
1. The President shall be the principal executive officer and spokesperson of the Club.
a. The President shall carry out the policies and be governed by the bylaws of the Houston Stonewall Young Democrats and shall do everything necessary to carry into effect policies of this organization as voted upon by the membership.
b. The President, in consultation with the Executive Board, shall determine the agenda for all General Membership meetings, to be amended and adopted at said meeting.
c. The President, in consultation with the Treasurer, shall develop and present a budget to the Executive Board and General Membership.
d. The President shall audit all financial records on a monthly basis.
e. The President shall be in charge of the program and location of all Executive Committee meetings of the Club.
f. If Houston Stonewall Young Democrats does not have a Treasurer as per Article IV, Section F(4), the President shall appoint a professional Treasurer who may be compensated. Any compensation for the Treasurer must be approved by the Executive Committee and the General Membership. No such contract for services shall extend beyond the end of term of the officers, unless approved by both the Executive Committee and General Membership. The Treasurer need not be a member.
g. The President shall appoint Chairs and Co-Chairs of all committees, except where those positions are explicitly held by officers as specified elsewhere in these bylaws. Appointments of committee Chairs and Co-Chairs must have consent of a majority of the Elected Officers excluding the President.
h. The President shall also appoint special committees as necessary to the functioning of the club.
i. The President shall appoint the appointed officers upon approval of a majority of the elected officers excluding the President.
j. If a vacancy of another office occurs or the duties of another office are not being fulfilled, it is within the purview of the President to assign those duties to other officers.
2. The Vice President shall do everything necessary to further the political agenda of the organization. The Vice President assists the President in the performance of his or her duties. In the event of vacancy of the office of the President or the absence or temporary disability of the President, the Vice President shall exercise all powers of the President.
a. The Vice President shall serve as Chairperson of the Screening Committee.
b. The Vice President shall preside over and organize all political activities including all Get Out the Vote (GOTV) efforts.
c. The Vice President shall be responsible for organizing all voter registration efforts.
d. The Vice President shall be responsible for engaging the organization in policy advocacy; be responsible for ensuring that enough copies of said agenda are made available at the meeting; shall ensure that all Committees are ready to report at Executive committee meetings; shall ensure that the Rules and Membership standing committees meet as necessary; and shall ensure the functioning of all ad-hoc committees unless reporting of said committee to another officer is expressly determined.
e. The Vice President shall serve as Parliamentarian and advise the Chair of the meeting in interpreting the rules and bylaws of the club and assuring the meeting follows appropriate parliamentary process. If asked, the Vice President may similarly advise any member.
4. The Director of Membership is responsible for all membership records of this organization
a. The Director of Membership shall be the sole person in charge of collecting membership forms and dues, unless the Director of Membership is not present in which the Secretary shall collect membership forms.
b. The Director of Membership shall maintain and electronically archive all membership records, providing access to these records by the membership and Executive Committee where access is permitted.
c. The Director of Membership shall serve all required notices, maintain the membership roster, with current addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses.
d. The Director of Membership shall send a twenty-five (25) day written notice to any member whose membership is about to expire.
e. The Director of Membership shall be responsible for ensuring the confidentiality and security of membership lists and all materials whose security is specified in these bylaws or the standing rules.
f. The Director of Membership shall send updated information to the organizations of which HSYD is an affiliate and meet all deadlines set by these organizations.
h. The Director of Membership shall be responsible for the preparation of a monthly membership report.
i. The Director of Membership shall be responsible for creating and maintaining the sign-in sheets from every general membership meeting. This information will be tracked within the membership database.
j. The Director of Membership shall be responsible for credentialing when required by the President.
k. The Director of Membership shall be responsible for notifying the Nominating Committee the Active Membership standing of those seeking officer positions.
l. The Director of Membership shall bring a printed copy of the Active Members to each General Membership meeting.
m. The Director of Membership shall be responsible for the expansion of HSYD membership.
n. The Director of Membership shall lead outreach efforts to diversify HSYD membership.
o. The Director of Membership shall organize social and community service events.
6. The Treasurer is responsible for maintaining all financial records and reports of the club.
a. The Treasurer shall be in possession of the official HSYD checkbook and any other payment method devices and have online access to any HSYD bank accounts.
b. The Treasurer shall report to the membership the current financial status of the club at all general membership meetings.
c. The Treasurer shall be responsible for the creation and maintenance of fundraising and expenditure reports to be delivered to the PAC Treasurer at least 7 days before each TEC filing deadline.
d. The Treasurer shall be responsible for ensuring the confidentiality of all records and membership lists.
e. All financial records shall be subject to review by any officer upon reasonable notice.
f. The Treasurer shall serve as head of the Fundraising Committee.
g. The Treasurer is required to make monthly deposits of all funds received.
h. The Treasurer is responsible for sending quarterly check to organizations of which HSYD is an affiliate.
8. The Secretary is responsible for all records of this organization, except for those records maintained by the Director of Membership and the Treasurer.
a. The Secretary shall maintain and archive all records, providing access to these records by the membership and Executive Committee where access is permitted.
b. The Secretary shall be responsible for ensuring the confidentiality and security of all materials whose security is specified in these bylaws or the standing rules.
c. The Secretary shall record and distribute the minutes of all membership and executive committee meetings.
d. The Secretary shall be responsible for ensuring that enough copies of the agenda are made available at the meeting.
e. The Secretary shall be in charge of maintaining the Bylaws.
9. In absence of the Vice President, an appointed Parliamentarian will serve as an advisor to the President or the acting Chair in any membership meeting.
a. The Parliamentarian shall advise the Chair of the meeting in interpreting the rules and bylaws of the club and assuring the meeting follows appropriate parliamentary process. If asked, the Parliamentarian may similarly advice any member.
Article V. Nominations and Elections.
A. Officers are to be elected annually at the March membership meeting with due notice of such election to all members whose dues are current.
B. Officers shall be elected in the order of hierarchy as previously described, starting with President.
C. At the January membership meeting, the President will form a Nominating Committee and appoint a chair of said committee. The chair and members of the committee may not run for any office. The committee will then start soliciting nominations for any and all offices to be elected. The committee will start reporting nominations at each subsequent General Membership meeting prior to the Election meeting.
D. All members who have made intention known prior to the March general membership meeting may submit – in writing or email – a single page, typed, candidate statement to be placed on the Club’s website.
E. At the March election, the nominating committee will report all nominations, ask for final nominations, and then close presidential nominations. Elections will then start for President.
1. Following the election of President, final nominations for Vice President will be held, and after its closing, election of Vice President will be held. This process will continue down the hierarchal line.
F. Elections will be held as follows:
1. Elections will be overseen by the Chair of the Nominating Committee.
2. The Nominating Committee will present the procedures, guidelines and agenda for the upcoming election for review and approval of the Executive Committee by the February Executive Committee meeting. Upon approval the guidelines will be presented to the membership.
3. Voting for officers shall be conducted by a show of hands, unless otherwise ordered by a two-thirds vote of the General Membership.
4. The counters will report the result to the nominating chair, which will announce a winner if a candidate receives a majority of votes cast, or a run-off of the top-two vote getters. The counters will be appointed by the President and counters cannot be running for any office.
5. In the event of a three or more person tie for top vote getter, or in the case where one person is the top vote getter but does not achieve a majority and there is a tie for second place, all persons in the tie will go on to the run-off.
6. If, after the election has been reduced to two people, and a tie cannot be broken, new nominations and election will be held at the next meeting.
Upon the election of a new President, the Nominating Committee Chair will serve as the chair of a transition team to help transfer documents, accounts, etc. between outgoing and new President.
Article VI. Membership Meetings.
A. Monthly membership meetings shall be held on the scheduled date. Due notice must be given to all members.
1. If a meeting cannot be held on the scheduled date, the executive committee will select a replacement date and due notice will be given as to the change.
B. A printed agenda shall be made available and adopted at each meeting.
C. Special membership meetings may be called at the discretion of the membership or by a majority of the Executive Committee with due notice given to all members.
Article VII. Executive Committee.
A. The Executive Committee shall be responsible for administrative, procedural, and political implementation of the club.
B. The Executive Committee shall be composed of all officers.
C. The Executive Committee will meet at least six times per year, determined by the President, with due notice to be given to all members.
D. Quorum at Executive Committee meetings will be a majority of filled positions of whom must be officers of the Club.
E. An emergency meeting of the Executive Committee may be called by
1. the president, or,
2. the majority of elected officers of the club.
3. Such meeting shall require reasonable notice to all members of the Executive Committee.
F. Each member of the Executive Committee will be afforded exactly one vote
Article VIII. Endorsements and Support
A. Endorsement is defined as a Texas Ethics Commission recognized status whereby HSYD officially supports a candidate or slate of candidates.
B. HSYD will grant no additional forms of official candidate support other than endorsement and the benefits of endorsement.
C. As HSYD is a Texas GPAC and not a Federal PAC, the organization may only legally endorse in state and local races.
D. The Screening Committee. The Screening Committee will be responsible for screening potential candidates for endorsement and making recommendations to the membership in relation to endorsements.
1. In advance of major elections, the Screening Committee will meet to discuss potential races in which to endorse. At this meeting, the committee will come up with recommendations to present to the membership. At the general meeting, the membership will vote to accept or reject the committee’s recommendations.
2. Once the general membership has decided in which races HSYD will endorse, the screening committee will make every effort to screen every willing Democrat in each race. After screenings are complete, the committee will present endorsement recommendations to the general membership and a vote will be taken.
3. All endorsement proceedings shall go through the Screening Committee process.
Article VIII. Committees.
A. Standing committees. Standing committees may be formed by amending the bylaws as per Article IX.
B. Ad-Hoc committees may be formed at any time by the Executive Committee or the General Membership. Chairs are appointed by the President and approved by a majority vote of the Executive Committee. They will report to the corresponding Executive Board Member unless otherwise noted. Ad-Hoc committee may be time bound to certain events, and expire at the end of certain events. They may also be time bound to certain dates and expire after that date. They may be disbanded at any time by a vote of the executive committee or general membership. All Ad-hoc committees disband at the election of new officers.
C. Committee reports will be presented to the Executive Committee by each committee’s Chair. Where mentioned in these bylaws, the committees may also report to a specific Executive Board Member who is responsible for facilitating the coordination, communication and consistency between similar committees.
D. The President may remove any Chairs or Co-Chairs of any committee, except where such positions are explicitly held by an Officer as specified in these bylaws. The removal may be blocked by a 2/3 vote of the elected Officers.
Article IX. Amendments.
These bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of those present and voting at a regular membership meeting provided that due notice of the text of the amendment is given to the membership.
Article X. Other Procedures.
A. Unless otherwise specified all rules, processes, procedures (including meetings) and other parliamentary issues are defined by the most recent official published version of Robert’s Rules of Order.
B. There shall be no proxy voting or absentee voting.
Article XI. Dissolution.
A. Upon dissolution of the club, all property, funds, records, etc. will be given to the Harris County Democratic Party after all outstanding debts have been paid.