Bylaws of the Boulder Local Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America

Article I. Name.

The name of the Local Chapter shall be the Boulder Local Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (National DSA). National DSA is a not-for-profit corporation.

Article II. Purpose.

The Boulder Local Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America is organized exclusively to promote social welfare. It seeks to facilitate the transition to a truly democratic and socialist society, one in which the means/resources of production are democratically and socially controlled.

DSA rejects capitalism, an economic order whose hallmarks are oppression, private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power, discrimination based on race, gender, disability or sexual orientation, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo.

DSA envisions a humane social order based on popular control of resources, production, and economic planning, equitable distribution, gender and racial equality, and non-oppressive relationships.

Article III. Membership.

Section 1. Membership.

Members of the Boulder Local Chapter of DSA will be those individuals who are in good standing with National DSA, and who who reside and/or work in the Boulder and Broomfield County area (defined by the following ZIP codes: 80025, 80026, 80027, 80028, 80301, 80302, 80303, 80304, 80305, 80306, 80307, 80308, 80309, 80310, 80314, 80321, 80322, 80323, 80328, 80329, 80455, 80466, 80471, 80481, 80501, 80502, 80503, 80510, 80516, 80533, 80540, 80544, 80020, 80021); if they do not, individuals may join the Local Chapter by sending an email or letter to the Steering Committee. Individuals who are already members or become members of another chapter of National DSA may not also be members of this Local Chapter. It will be the responsibility of members to approve and carry out policies, actions, and guidelines for the operation of the Local Chapter, to elect the Local Chapter’s Steering Committee, to elect delegates to the national convention, to vote on matters related to local and national policy, to make recommendations on issues, policies, activities, and ongoing efforts pursuant to local or national political goals, and to contribute toward the Local Chapter’s goals as described in Article II.

Section 2. Resignation and Expulsion.

Any member may resign from National DSA by submitting an email or letter of resignation to the National Director of National DSA. Any member may resign from the Local Chapter and become an at-large member of National DSA by sending an email or letter of resignation to both the Communications Facilitator of the Local Chapter and the National Director. Furthermore, if a member in good standing is found to be consistently engaging in undemocratic, disruptive behavior, if they are found to have violated the Local Chapter’s Code of Conduct, if they are found to be a law enforcement officer, or are found to be under the discipline of any self-defined democratic centralist organization, the Local Chapter may vote to suspend (as defined in the Code of Conduct) or expel them from the Local Chapter. In order for such a finding to be made, another DSA member must formally proffer written charges against the member in question to the Local Chapter Steering Committee, which shall set the date of a Local Chapter meeting for deliberations on the charges. The member in question must receive a copy of the written charges and notice of the meeting a minimum of two weeks before that meeting takes place, as well as an opportunity to speak before members prior to a determining vote. Suspension or expulsion of a member shall require a two-thirds vote at a Meeting. A suspended or expelled member may appeal to the National Political Committee of DSA.

Section 3. Voluntary Donations.

As mandated by the national Bylaws, the Local Chapter may establish a Local Chapter pledge system of voluntary donations for its members. The payment or nonpayment of a Local Chapter donation may not deny membership or the privileges or the powers of membership to any individual that is in good standing of National DSA, including voting or for holding Local Chapter office. Members may not face retaliatory action for the nonpayment of donations or preferential treatment for paying local donations (see the Code of Conduct). Donations shall be kept anonymous to the greatest practical extent.

Section 4. Privacy concerns.

Care will be taken to protect the privacy of each member’s contact information. Protected information includes all contact information of non-Steering Committee members, the personal contact information of Steering Committee members, and any other information which members request not be disclosed.

Section 5. Disclosure.

Any member must disclose their employment or political affiliation with law enforcement or any organization that seeks to uphold or defend the carceral state. The general membership should be informed if any person currently employed as a law enforcement officer is in attendance at any meeting of the general membership, committees, working groups, Steering Committee, or any other officially recognized group within the local.

Article IV. Local Chapter Meetings.

Section 1. Annual Meeting.

The Local Chapter will hold a minimum of one Annual Meeting annually, at a date, time, and location agreed upon by the Steering Committee within 12 months of the anniversary of the prior Annual Meeting. At least 14 days before the Annual Meeting, all members of the Local Chapter will be sent notice of the meeting along with a proposed agenda. Notice will be sent to all members via email or to the contact information provided to the Local Chapter by the membership. The Annual Meeting will elect chapter officers, receive reports of the activities of the chapter, set the political direction and policies of the chapter and its programming for the coming year, and may adopt an annual budget. The Annual Meeting shall be considered the “Annual Meeting” where local or state law may require such and may coincide with a Regular Meeting.

Section 2. Regular Meetings.

The Local Chapter will hold Regular Meetings at least monthly, the time and place of which shall be set in a schedule published and distributed by the Local Chapter Steering Committee. The Regular Meetings will conduct business, set Local Chapter policy and work priorities, and may include political discussion or education sessions. The Local Chapter Steering Committee will propose the agenda for Regular Meetings.

Section 3. Special Meetings.

The Local Chapter Steering Committee or 15% of the membership may call a Special Meeting of the Local Chapter on at least seven days’ notice when an urgent and important matter requires deliberation. No matters other than those listed in the meeting notice may be brought to or raised from the floor at a Special Meeting.

Section 4. Quorum.

A quorum of 10% of the members, or 66% of the average attendance of the last three Meetings, whichever is higher, (but not fewer than six persons) is required for Annual, Regular, or Special Meetings (each, when they meet quorum, is a Meeting) to transact business. Should a meeting fail to meet quorum in two consecutive occasions, the Steering Committee shall be permitted to modify this formulation, subject to a majority vote of the members present at the next planned Regular Meeting.

Section 5. Accessibility.

Members may participate in Meetings by, or through the use of, any means of communication allowing all participants to simultaneously or sequentially communicate with one other, such as teleconference, video-conference, or other available technology; these accommodations will be made available upon request. This includes voice votes. Any participant in a Meeting by such means shall be deemed present in person at such meeting.

A Member in good standing (Proxy) who is present at a Meeting may hold up to two signed proxy cards from other non-present Members in good standing. The Proxy must vote in line with each non-present Member’s directions as written on their proxy card. Any member who requests an accessibility accommodation and is not present at a Meeting shall not be counted toward the two proxy-vote limit. Despite being deemed present by attending electronically, non-physically present members may avail themselves of proxies for purposes of voting by secret ballot. Members voting via proxy must also affirm their votes via email with the Steering Committee prior to the Meeting.

Section 6. Decision-Making Authority.

The membership, meeting in an Annual, Regular or Special Meeting, shall constitute the highest decision-making body of the Local Chapter. All decisions, policies, agendas, statements, and other items of business decided at these Meetings are binding over any other body of the Local Chapter. Meetings may overturn the decisions of prior Meetings, but no other body may.

Article V. Local Chapter Officers: Powers and Duties.

Section 1. Officers and Terms.

The officers of the Local Chapter will be Co-Chairs, Communications Facilitator, Treasurer and a number of Organizers between 1 and 4. The term of office will be one year, and shall run from June 1st to May 31st. The period from elections through May 31st will be a training period for newly elected officers before they fully take on responsibilities. Officers are eligible for re-election for up to 2 consecutive terms unless no other candidate is nominated.

Section 2. Vacancies.

In the event of a vacancy in any Local Chapter office excluding any positions left vacant in accordance with Article V Section 6, a special election for the remainder of the vacant member’s term shall be triggered within 30 days after the opening of the vacancy if regular elections are not to be held within 60 days of the vacancy. Special elections may coincide with a Regular Meeting.

Section 3. Co-Chairs.

The Co-Chairs will preside over Local Chapter and Steering Committee meetings or will appoint a substitute to assume the powers and duties of the presiding officer as specified in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised. The Co-Chairs will be the official public spokespersons for the Local Chapter and will facilitate such actions and policies as the Local Chapter’s general welfare may demand.

The Co-Chairs will also be responsible for coordinating the day-to-day operations and political work of the Local Chapter’s branches and committees.

The Co-Chairs will report to Local Chapter Regular Meetings on the business of the Steering Committee Meetings, at which time a copy of the minutes of those meetings will be available for inspection.

If possible, the Co-Chairs must not both be cisgender men. Should only cisgender men be nominated for Co-Chair, the membership will choose from among the nominated candidates. If at least one person who is not a cisgender man is running, the membership will vote to select one Co-Chair from among those candidates prior to voting to select the other Co-Chair.

Section 4. Communications Facilitator.

The Communications Facilitator will be ultimately responsible for completing or ensuring the completion of the following duties: answering all correspondence and queries of the Local Chapter, for maintaining an up-to-date membership list of the Local Chapter, managing the Local Chapter’s social media, including accounts, event postings and calendar updates, and distributing copies of minutes and agendas to all members. They will ensure effective communication with national DSA, including the filing of any amendment to these bylaws.

The Communications Facilitator will be directly responsible for the taking of minutes of all Local Chapter and Steering Committee Meetings, the collection and maintenance of Committee charters, notes, and meeting minutes, and making copies available to members promptly. They shall have custody of these documents, and of the resolutions, reports and other official records of the Local Chapter, and shall transfer official records in good condition to their successor. Official records shall include the documents necessary for continued functioning of the Local Chapter, such as member lists, and all documentation necessary to provide, to the general membership, transparent accountability of Local Chapter actions and decisions to the greatest reasonable extent.

When Robert’s Rules of Order is used, the Communications Facilitator will have the same powers as a Secretary.

Section 5. Treasurer.

The Treasurer will be responsible for the funds and financial records of the Local Chapter and for assuring that corporate records are maintained for legal status. All funds collected by the Local Chapter will be turned over to the Treasurer, who shall deposit them in a bank account under the name of the Local Chapter. In cooperation with the Communications Facilitator, the Treasurer will be responsible for ensuring that membership dues are paid up-to-date. The Treasurer will chair a Finance Committee if one is established; will prepare the annual Local Chapter budget and deliver the Local Chapter financial report to the Annual Meeting of the Local Chapter, as well as periodic progress reports as requested by the Steering Committee of the Local Chapter; will provide basic information to National DSA related to the operations and finances of the Local Chapter.

Section 6. Organizers.

Organizers will be responsible for facilitating communication within the chapter, or between the chapter and local communities. Organizers will participate in Steering Committee decision-making, and are responsible for attending all relevant meetings and reading all relevant documents. Organizers are also tasked with carrying out the duties delegated to them by the Co-Chairs, Treasurer, and Communications Facilitator. They are beholden to representing the views of the membership that elected them as well as helping to advance the goals of the Local Chapter generally. If diversity requirements as enumerated in Article V Section 8 for the Steering Committee are not met after elections, one or two Organizer positions will be kept vacant until a member who fulfills one or both of the unfulfilled Article V Section 8 requirements is nominated for the position. A Special Election to confirm the nominee will be held immediately.

Section 7. Delegation of Duties.

The Local Chapter Steering Committee may delegate temporary duties to an officer, Branch, or Committee of the Local Chapter.

Section 8. Diversity.

If possible, at least one of the non-Chair officers must not be a cisgender man; and at least one must be a person of color. The number of officers whom are not cisgender men and whom are people of color must be reviewed every annual election to ensure that the diversity of the officers is an adequate representation of diversity of the membership. For the purpose of determining eligibility for any office or other position within the Local Chapter, self-identification shall be the only acceptable means of determining a member’s gender or race.

Article VI. Steering Committee.

Section 1. Composition.

The Local Chapter Steering Committee will be composed of the officers of the Local Chapter, and the chair(s) of any Local Chapter branches.

Section 2. Duties.

The Steering Committee shall administer the affairs of the Local Chapter and coordinate the implementation of the decisions of any Meetings and shall prepare an agenda proposal for each Meeting. It shall have the power to receive reports of any committee or Branch and advise thereon, to call Special Meetings of the Local Chapter, and to act on any matter that requires immediate and urgent action. The Steering Committee is the highest decision-making body of the Local Chapter between Meetings, and is subordinate to the general membership.

The Local Chapter Steering Committee will be responsible for establishing program activities for the Local Chapter, for proposing guidelines and policies that will subsequently be voted on by the Local Chapter’s members, and for acting on the organization’s behalf between Local Chapter meetings.

Section 3. Meetings.

The meetings of the Steering Committee will be held at such intervals as may be determined by a prior Steering Committee Meeting or by consultation between at least 4 members of the Steering Committee and at least 1 Co-Chair. All members of the Steering Committee must (ordinarily) be given 2 days oral, written, or electronic notice of regular Steering Committee Meetings; a 24-hour notice may be given under special emergency circumstances. Notice requirements may be waived only by unanimous approval of the Local Chapter Officers. Steering Committee Meetings may be held electronically by any means acceptable to all the members of the Steering Committee. Any member of the Local Chapter in good standing may observe meetings of the Steering Committee and the Steering Committee shall allow for a question and answer period and a comment period. However, the Steering Committee may hold closed executive sessions if 60% of its members vote to do so in order to discuss member discipline or security matters.

The Steering Committee may govern itself through any reasonable decision-making process, including development of meeting rules and norms or decisions by consensus. When there is a dispute over how decisions shall be made, Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised​ shall govern.

Section 4. Quorum.

There is no quorum for Steering Committee decisions. However, no Steering Committee decision shall be valid without half of the total number of Steering Committee members voting in assent, and notice as specified in Section 3.

Section 5. Board of Directors

For the purposes of meeting the requirements of local and state incorporation laws, the Chapter shall have a “Board of Directors” consisting of members of the Steering Committee assigned for the purpose as logical and required by law. (For example, if the law requires a “Secretary” then the Chapter’s Communications Facilitator is a logical fit.) Officers of the Steering Committee so appointed do not gain any new or additional powers or responsibilities except those strictly required by law.

Article VII. Branches.

Section 1. Definition.

A Branch is a subgroup of the Chapter formed to facilitate participation in the Local Chapter in a logistically convenient way. Branches may be defined by political purpose, geography, membership in an institution, or language. Unless otherwise specified, Working Groups are Branches. It is expected that Branches be able to carry out as much of as many of the pillar functions of the Chapter for their members as necessary for their logistical purposes. The chair of each Branch shall hold membership on the Steering Committee. Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) chapters within the geographic area defined by a DSA Chapter may affiliate as a Branch of that Chapter, in which case the local YDSA chapter may send a representative to the Chapter Steering Committee.

Section 2. Formation.

Any group of at least 5 members of the Local Chapter, in good standing, may request to be recognized as a Branch. They must apply to the Steering Committee in writing. Their application must include the names of its initial members; a description of purposes, functions, and membership criteria; and any other information deemed necessary by the Steering Committee. A majority vote of the general membership present at a Meeting shall be required to establish a Branch. YDSA chapters need only show proof of being an officially recognized chapter of YDSA as part of a generic request to be recognized as a Branch of the Local Chapter, subject to approval by a majority vote of the general membership at a Meeting. Sections 3 and 4 below shall not be required of YDSA chapter-Branches.

Section 3. Structure, Membership, and Elections

Each Branch shall have its own bylaws explicitly defining its purpose, functions, and membership criteria in detail. Such bylaws may establish the Branch’s methods and structures as long as they do not violate these bylaws. Each Branch shall be responsible for electing its leadership and Steering Committee representation. Every Local Chapter member may vote in only 3 Branch elections for Steering Committee representatives per calendar year, although they may be a member of as many Branches as they wish. Branch leaders shall be responsible for scheduling and organizing meetings and actions of their Branch. In the event of a vacancy of a Branch leader or Steering Committee representative, the Branch may vote to elect new leadership or Steering Committee representation. Each Branch shall maintain an official membership list.

Section 4. Dissolution

A Branch may have its status revoked by a majority vote of the membership at a Meeting. A Branch may also choose to dissolve itself by means specified in its Branch Bylaws. In the event that a Branch chooses to split into several new Branches, each new Branch must apply for membership through the same method as creating any Branch, although the Steering Committee may choose to waive requirements for certain documentation if it is identical to the prior or parent Branch.

Section 5. Restrictions

If you are an elected Local Chapter officer, you cannot hold the position of Chair/Co-Chair of a Local Chapter Branch. If you are Chair/Co-Chair of a Branch you cannot be Chair/Co-Chair of any other Branches within the Local Chapter.

Article VIII. Committees.

Section 1. Committee Formation.

The Chapter may establish committees to organize around specific support functions for the chapter or external campaigns. Committees may be formed through appointment by Steering Committee or through proposal by members. Members who wish to form a committee must submit a proposed written charter to the Steering Committee that includes a group name and purpose; a list of at least 3 prospective members signed or affirmed by those members; a statement of whether the proposed committee is to be a standing committee of indefinite duration or a temporary committee to expire at a certain time or upon the occurrence of a specified event; whether membership in the committee is to be open to all members in good standing or limited, and if membership is to be limited, the number of members the committee shall have and the means by which members will be selected. A proposed committee shall be chartered and created with the approval of a majority of the votes cast at an Annual, Regular, or Special Meeting. Charters for proposed committees may not conflict with these Bylaws or with the charters of other active committees or Branches of the Local Chapter

Section 2. Membership and Election of Committee Leadership.

Membership in a committee shall be open to all Local Chapter members in good standing unless the committee’s charter limits membership, in which case the terms of the charter shall control. Committees shall elect a chair to assume leadership and responsibility and shall maintain an official membership list. Committees shall hold elections on an annual basis.

Section 3. Duties and Responsibilities.

The members of a committee are responsible for executing their respective body’s strategy in fulfillment of its objectives. The Chair is responsible for organizing their respective body’s members, running meetings, acting as liaisons to the Steering Committee, and serving as the committee’s points of contact to the membership. Committees must keep official records of meeting dates, attendance, and meeting notes, which must be made available to the membership.

When a committee’s proposed activities relate to the mission of another committee, the Chair of that committee shall be notified. Should a dispute arise between two or more committees that cannot be resolved between them, it shall be resolved at a Meeting.

Meeting minutes and other committee documentation, shall be kept up to date with the Local Chapter’s Communications Facilitator. Committees shall report on their activities to the membership at the Annual Meeting or more frequently at Regular or Special Meetings as necessary.

Section 4. Modification and Dissolution.

Committees may be dissolved or may amend their charters, including changes to the committee’s budget, with the approval of a majority of the votes cast at an Annual, Regular, or Special Meeting.

Additionally, committees that are chartered as temporary committees for a limited time or particular purpose shall dissolve automatically upon the expiration of the certain time or the occurrence of the particular event specified in their charter.

Upon dissolution, the member(s) maintaining custody of the committee’s records shall provide copies of those records to the Communications Facilitator.

Article IX. Caucuses

Any group of 3 or more members may form a caucus by submitting a proposal to the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee must recognize all such groups as caucuses as long as they align with the Chapter’s purpose (see Article II). Such recognition shall not be construed as having authority to officially act on behalf of the Chapter. Caucuses must be permitted to announce their meetings using the communication channels the chapter uses to announce Meetings of the chapter. Caucuses may dissolve themselves by notifying the Steering Committee.

Article X. Delegates and Nominees to National, Regional, and State Bodies.

Section 1. Convention.

Local Chapter delegates and alternates to the National Convention will be elected by members in good standing of the Local Chapter of DSA. Elections for the National Convention delegation shall be held on the schedule announced by the national organization.

Section 2. National Committees.

In the event that a national committee is being formed and the national DSA asks local chapters for nominees to serve on that committee, the Local Chapter Steering Committee shall notify all members in good standing and request volunteers. The names of all those who volunteer shall be forwarded to the national DSA for consideration, or if a limited number of nominees are requested, an election shall be held.

Article XI. Elections, Nominations and Recalls.

Section 1. Nominations Committee.

A three-person Nominations Committee shall be established at least one month prior to every election by vote of a Regular Meeting. It shall solicit and receive nominations for the positions to be elected.

Section 2. Nominations Process.

Nominations for Local Chapter officers and delegates to the National Convention shall be opened at least 10 days before an election. The call for nominations shall be announced to all Chapter members in good standing as soon as nominations are open. A member must receive at least 2 nominations in order to run for office.

Section 3. Elections Process.

Elections shall be held in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised.

Section 4. Recall.

Members may petition in writing to the general membership for the removal an elected official by collecting signatures of 10% of the membership, and having a majority of those members present at a Meeting vote in favor of removal. Membership must be given at least two weeks’ notice of any upcoming removal vote.

Article XI. Code of Conduct & Grievances

Section 1. Code of Conduct

The Local Chapter will establish, by vote of a Meeting, a code of conduct (Code of Conduct) that outlines the boundaries of acceptable behavior by members of the Local Chapter and describes options for censure of members, including suspension or expulsion. The Code of Conduct shall be made available to all members of the Local Chapter. Amendments to the Code of Conduct must be approved at a Meeting.

Section 2. Harassment Grievance Officers

At any such time as the Local Chapter has more than 100 members, the Local Chapter Steering Committee will be required to vet and appoint at least 2 member volunteers to operate as the Boulder Local Chapter’s Harassment Grievance Officers (HGO’s) in accordance with Resolution 33 of the National Democratic Socialists of America’s constitution. HGO’s will serve a 1 year term and may be reappointed for indefinite consecutive terms. HGO’s may be removed from their position by a two-thirds vote of the Steering Committee if deemed unfit to carry out the responsibilities of the position in any way. In accordance with Resolution 33, the HGO’s will be required to: read, maintain, and archive all relevant documents; attend any required trainings or meetings; maintain extreme privacy, security, and discretion in regards to member’s sensitive information; establish an email address only accessible by HGO’s to serve as a confidential reporting hotline; develop template forms for reports, responses, and appeals as detailed in Resolution 33; follow the response procedure and timeline detailed in Resolution 33; conduct any necessary investigation; and compile a yearly report to the Steering Committee as detailed in Resolution 33 that maintains anonymity of the members and/or instances discussed. HGO’s will have the power to decide and maintain that a member who files a report and the accused member remain separated and out of contact with each other throughout the duration of an investigation. At any such time as the Local Chapter does not have 100 members, it shall report harassment through National DSA’s HGO. 

Article XII. Amendments.

Proposed amendments to these Bylaws must be made by written resolution, endorsed by 5 members of the Local Chapter, and submitted to the Steering Committee 2 weeks in advance of an Annual or Regular Meeting. The Steering Committee shall take at most one week to process the amendment and must then provide the Local Chapter membership written or electronic notice of the proposed amendments. The amendment must be approved by a 2/3 supermajority vote at an Annual or Regular Meeting.

Article XIII. Rules of the Local Chapter.

Section 1. Rules.

The Rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall govern this Local Chapter in cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws or rules of order/codes of conduct created by the Local Chapter.

Section 2. Action Out of Order.

Any action taken by an officer or member of the Local Chapter in contravention of these Bylaws is null and void.

Article XIV. Dissolution.

In the event of the dissolution of this Local Chapter, all remaining funds and assets are to be released to National DSA or a neighboring DSA chapter. If both this Chapter and National DSA are being dissolved, then all remaining funds and assets are to be released to such other organizations that are organized exclusively for the promotion of social welfare and that will operate to further the common good and general welfare of the community included in this Chapter’s stated boundaries.

Article XV. Prohibited Activity

The Boulder Local Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America shall not engage in activity prohibited by the IRS guidelines established for 501 (c) 4 organizations or similar rules or laws established by the state of Colorado. Nor shall the Local Chapter engage in any activity prohibited by resolutions adopted by DSA’s National Convention or DSA’s National Political Committee.

Certification

These bylaws were approved by a majority of the Boulder Local Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America’s membership on April 26th, 2018 and May 3rd, 2018 .

Signature of Communications Facilitator                     Date

Printed Name of Communications Facilitator