Revised By-Laws and Standing Rules of the
Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, Washington, D.C.
(Adopted by acclamation, April 8, 2013)
Article I - Name
The name of the organization shall be "Gertrude Stein Democratic Club" (hereinafter referred to as "the Club").
Article II - Purpose
The Club is an independent political organization and a non-connected political action committee within the meaning of 11 C.F.R. Parts 100 et seq. The Club will serve as a channel for the participation and involvement of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (hereafter "LGBTQ") people in the Democratic Party and in other political activities within the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. This includes, but is not limited to: serving as an independent citizens' lobbying group before metropolitan area officials, city administrators, neighborhood associations, and other organized groups; promoting LGBTQ involvement in the political process through voter registration and education projects; endorsing specific Democratic Party candidates, candidates in non-partisan elections, and candidates who may or may not be affiliated with other political parties but who have no Democratic Party opposition and who are seeking an elective or appointive office affecting the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area; and providing personnel and financial assistance to endorsed candidates pursuant to applicable Federal, state and local law.
Article III - Membership
Membership in the Club shall be open to all people who are interested in furthering LGBTQ involvement in the political process. There shall be seven (7) categories of members: General, Special (for senior citizens over 65 years of age, full-time students including trade apprenticeships, and limited-income members), Contributing, Sponsoring, Life, Honorary Life, and Partner (for life partner, husband, wife, spouse or significant other). All seven categories of membership shall have equal voting rights and responsibilities for the operation of the Club. Dues for each category of membership shall be set by vote of the membership, except that no dues shall be required of an Honorary Life member.
General Meetings of the Club shall take place on the second Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. unless a change is announced at the previous General Meeting. The Executive Committee shall have the power to change the meeting date and time as necessary for extraordinary reasons, provided notification by mail, electronically or otherwise, of such change is distributed to the membership at least seven (7) days in advance.
A quorum for voting purposes shall consist of ten members or ten percent of the members, whichever is less. Without a quorum, no action may be taken by the membership. No proxies shall be permitted in voting at any time. Votes on endorsements for candidates for public office may be cast only by persons who have been members for at least 30 calendar days prior to the day of the vote. Votes on amendments to the Bylaws may be cast only by persons who have been members for at least 30 calendar days prior to the day of the vote. Votes for the Club officers may be cast only by persons who have been members for at least 30 calendar days prior to the day of the vote. Votes on all other matters may be cast by all members in good standing.
Special meetings may be called by written notice of the Executive Committee, provided such notice is distributed to the membership by mail, electronic or otherwise or at a General membership meeting not less than seven (7) days before said Special Meeting is to take place. Such announcements shall give the purpose for the Special Meeting. No other business may be transacted at that meeting.
Article IV - Officers
The officers of the Club shall be the President, the Vice President for Legislative and Political Affairs, the Vice President for Administration, the Secretary, and the Treasurer.
The President shall be the chief executive officer of the Club having general charge of the Club's affairs and its agents. This officer will be authorized to sign all checks, agreements, and other legal documents of the Club. This officer shall chair all Executive Committee and membership meetings and shall perform all duties incident to the office of the President and which may be defined or modified by the bylaws. The President shall have maximum discretion in determining the activities which will further the purposes of the Club subject to review by the Executive Committee and the membership. The President will appoint all committees, coordinators and other agents of the Club, and will assign duties appropriately. The President shall act in a manner becoming of an officer of the Club.
The Vice President for Legislative and Political Affairs (hereafter VP-LPA) shall be responsible for consultation with the President for planning and implementing the legislative, electoral, and political activities of the Club. The VP-LPA shall consult with the President and the Executive Committee on the appointment of committees, task forces, and coordinators, as needed, to carry out the duties of the office. This officer shall assume the duties of the President in the absence of or disability of the President. If the President resigns, the VP-LPA shall act as President until a permanent President is elected according to the rules in Article V. The VP-LPA shall perform other duties as assigned by the President, Executive Committee, or membership. The Vice President for Legislative and Political Affairs shall act in a manner becoming of an officer of the Club.
The Vice President for Administration (hereafter VP-A) shall be responsible in consultation with the President for the Club's fundraising, planning, public relations and other administrative activities. The VP-A shall periodically review these bylaws, and shall work in concert with the Secretary and Treasurer to ensure the membership strength and financial health of the Club. This officer shall consult with the President and the Executive Committee on the appointment of committees, task forces, and coordinators, as needed, to carry out the duties of the office. The VP-A shall perform other duties as assigned by the President, Executive Committee, or membership. The Vice President for Administration shall act in a manner becoming of an officer of the Club.
The Secretary shall give, or cause to be given, notice of Special Meetings to the members. The Secretary shall keep the minutes of the General meetings, meetings of the Executive Committee, and other meetings as assigned. This officer shall keep a list of the entire membership, and such other lists as are deemed necessary for Club functions. No copy of the Club's membership list shall be distributed outside the Club. The Secretary shall also keep copies of all correspondence generated by the Club and have it available for inspection by the membership. The Secretary shall act in a manner becoming of an officer of the Club.
The Treasurer shall have custody of the Club's funds and shall properly maintain the Club's financial records. This officer shall keep an accurate account of all receipts and expenditures and shall promptly deposit all funds in such accounts as may be designated by the Executive Committee. The Treasurer shall be authorized to sign all checks and will disburse the funds of the Club as may be properly ordered by the President, Executive Committee, or membership. The Treasurer shall make a financial report, in writing, at each meeting detailing income and expenditures for the past period. The Treasurer shall be responsible for preparing and filing all financial reports as may be required by law or regulation. The Treasurer may assume other duties as may be assigned by the President or Executive Committee. In the case of a vacancy in the office of the Treasurer, the President shall appoint an Acting Treasurer until a successor is elected in accordance with Article V. The Acting Treasurer shall have all powers and duties of the Treasurer, but shall be a non-voting member of the Executive Committee. The President may appoint an existing officer as Acting Treasurer, or any active member nominated by the Executive Committee. If the President fails to make an appointment within 48 hours of the vacancy, the President him/herself shall become Acting Treasurer until such appointment is made or a Treasurer is elected. The Treasurer shall act in a manner becoming of an officer of the Club.
Article V - Terms of Office
The term of office of all officers of the Club shall be from January 1 through December 31 of one calendar year. Election of officers shall be at the November General Meeting. Nominations shall be accepted from the floor, and all voting shall be by secret ballot. A person eligible for nomination is any person who has been an active member of the Club for at least 30 days prior to the date of the election.
Removal of an officer from office before the end of the term shall be for failing to fulfill the duties described under Article IV and shall be at any General Meeting by a two-thirds vote of those present who are members in good standing, provided notification by mail, electronically or otherwise, of such pending action is distributed to the membership at least seven (7) days in advance.
In the case of the removal or resignation of any officer, notice in writing of such vacancy shall be made within twenty days of the effective date of such vacancy to the membership. At the regular membership meeting of the Club following such notification, nominations for the office shall be made and an election for the office held, except that it shall not occur at a meeting less than 30 days after such notification has been made. Notice of the special election shall be given to the membership by mail, electronically or otherwise, at least 30 days prior to the election.
Article VI - Standing Committees
With the exception of the Executive Committee and the General Board, the President shall, with the approval of the membership, appoint standing committees and their chairs as listed below.
The Executive Committee shall be comprised of the President, the Vice President for Legislative and Political Affairs, the Vice President for Administration, the Secretary, and the Treasurer. The Executive Committee will assist the President in the preparation of the agenda for each meeting, provide guidance to the membership in the deliberations of the Club, and carry out the instructions of the Club once a vote has been taken on an issue. The Executive Committee will meet prior to each General Meeting at a time and a place specified by the President, and announced to the membership.
The General Board shall be composed of the five officers of the Club; the immediate past President, LGBTQ Stein members who are Democratic Party officials, and all Honorary Life members. Its primary function shall be the consideration of recommendations for the political activities of the Club, and their ramifications.
The Membership Committee shall have as its responsibilities production and physical mailing of materials issued by the Club for its members and others, recruitment of members, and planning and execution of social functions of interest to the membership. (Where this responsibility may overlap with the responsibilities of the Finance Committee, all actions shall be taken cooperatively.)
The Finance Committee shall adopt and execute a yearly fundraising plan made in accordance with the budget developed by the Executive Committee.
Article VII - Fiscal Year
The Club's fiscal year shall be the period from January 1 through December 31 of one calendar year.
Article VIII - Expenditures
Expenditures will be made in accordance with a budget prepared by the Treasurer and approved by the membership. Non-budget expenditures of up to $500 may be approved by the Executive Committee. Non-budget expenditures of $500.01 or more must be approved by the membership.
Article IX - Standing Rules of Procedure
Standing Rules of Procedure for the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club shall be adopted to provide for the governance of the affairs of the Club in matters not provided for in these Bylaws. Standing rules of procedure or amendments may be proposed by any member or group of members. Standing Rules of Procedure may be adopted or amended by a majority vote of the Club members present and voting at any regularly scheduled meeting provided that the text of the proposed standing rule or amendment has been distributed to the membership attending the previous meeting, and distributed via electronic mail to all addressees on the Club's electronic mailing list at least 28 days in advance.
Article X - Robert's Rules
Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall govern this organization except as otherwise provided for herein.
Article XI - Amendments
Amendments to these bylaws may be made by a 2/3 vote of those members voting at a regularly scheduled meeting, provided that the text of the proposed change has been distributed to the membership at least thirty days in advance.Amendments may be proposed by any member or group of members.
Standing Rules of Procedure, as of March 2012
A. Dues for the seven categories of membership as provided by the Bylaws shall be as follows:
- General - $ 35 per year;
- Special - $ 25 per year;
- Contributing - $ 100 per year;
- Sponsoring - $500;
- Life - $5,000 and up;
- Honorary Life - No dues shall be required. Individuals may become life members upon two-thirds vote of the members present and voting at a regularly scheduled meeting;
- Partner - $50.
B. The term of membership for all categories except Life and Honorary Life shall be one calendar year starting on January 1 and ending on December 31st. Voting rights of persons who are enrolled on the membership list of the Club who are not current may be reinstated by payment of dues for the current calendar year at any meeting of the Club and will be effective immediately. New members will become full voting members of the Club 30 days after payment of their dues.
C. As provided in the Bylaws, copies of the Club's membership list shall not be distributed outside the Club. Arrangements may be made to allow other organizations to contact Club members provided:
- The organization's goals and the purpose of the mailing are in keeping with the interests of the Club;
- A majority of the members of the Executive Committee vote to allow the use of the membership list;
- Adequate provisions are made to ensure the security and integrity of the list and the information on the list can be maintained;
- Notification of the identities of the organizations making such requests shall be announced at the following General Meeting.
D. National Stonewall Democrats (NSD) - All members of the Club shall also be enrolled as members of the NSD so long as the NSD exists and shall offer a reduced rate for Club members. The Treasurer shall remit the NSD discounted dues Quarterly to NSD.
II Endorsement of Candidates
A. Election Plan
- No later than the March membership meeting, the Vice President for Legislative and Political Affairs shall recommend to the Executive Committee, an election plan specifying the timing of endorsements, a budget for campaign contributions, voter registration drives, and other related activities. Such plan shall be officially adopted by the Executive Committee. The Club may endorse candidates for any federal, state or local elected office. Endorsements of candidates seeking support for election/selection to Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, State Democratic Committees or any other commissions, boards or organizations shall not be considered endorsements subject to supermajority rules, but shall be subject to general rules governing motions.
- The Club shall request from each candidate to be considered for endorsement, a statement which shall be distributed to the Club membership in advance of the meeting where the endorsement will be voted.
B. Endorsement Voting
- A supermajority vote of more than 60.0% of the Club members present and voting shall be required to endorse candidates seeking elective or appointive office. All votes for endorsement shall be by secret ballot. All ballots will provide for the option of voting to abstain, and the option to not endorse any candidate.
- If no candidate receives a majority vote on the first ballot, a second ballot shall be conducted upon adoption of a motion by any member. In that case the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes will be considered on a second ballot except as provided by Rule III.B.4 below. In the case of a tie vote involving either of the two candidates to be considered for a second ballot, all of the qualifying tied candidates will be included.
- If, after a second ballot, a candidate has not received a supermajority vote, the Club's official position in that race will be "No Endorsement."
- In any race where more than one seat is available, the Club may endorse as many candidates as there are seats available. In cases where a second ballot is to be conducted, the number of candidates on a second ballot will be twice the number of seats to be voted on.
C. Campaign Contributions
- The vote to make a financial contribution to an endorsed candidate's campaign must be voted as a separate question from the vote to endorse.
- Contributions may be made in the form of independent expenditures paid for by the Club as well as a direct contribution to the campaign.
- In races where the Club's position is "No Endorsement," a motion to consider indicating support for more than one candidate in advertisements paid for by the Club, may be approved with a two-thirds vote of those present and voting.
- All direct, indirect or in-kind campaign donations will be made in strict conformity with federal, state, District, and other laws, as applicable.
D. Special Elections and Candidates for Federal Election.
In the case of special elections for District positions and elections held for federal candidates, the Executive Committee shall consider which provisions of section A are practical for implementation and shall submit the plan to the membership for approval. The provisions of Section B shall apply to all such candidates.