Bylaws of the Las Vegas Local Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America
ARTICLE I. Name.
Las Vegas Democratic Socialists of America (hereinafter “LV DSA”) is a local chapter of the national organization Democratic Socialists of America.
ARTICLE II. Purpose.
LV DSA 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.
LV DSA rejects capitalism, a brutal economic order enforced through violence, which is based solely on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power, brutality and violence in defense of the status quo, and discrimination based on religion, national origin, race, color, sex, gender, age, occupation, citizenship status, ability, class and socio-economic status, or sexual orientation.
LV DSA envisions a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, gender and racial equality, and non-oppressive relationships.
Our conception of socialism is a profoundly democratic one. It is rooted in the belief that human beings should be free to develop to their fullest potential, that public policies should be determined not by wealth but by popular participation, and that individual liberties should be carefully safeguarded. It is committed to a freedom of speech that does not recoil from dissent, to a freedom to organize independent trade unions, women’s groups, political parties, and other formations — recognizing these as essential bulwarks against the dangers of an intrusive state. It is committed to a freedom of religion that acknowledges the rights of those for whom spiritual concerns are central.
We are socialists because we are developing a concrete strategy for achieving that vision. In the present, we are building a visible socialist presence within the broad democratic left. In the long run, we hope to build a majority movement capable of making democratic socialism a reality in the United States. Our strategy acknowledges the class structure of the U.S. society. This class structure means that there is a basic conflict of interest between those sectors with enormous social, economic, and political power and the vast majority of the population.
ARTICLE III. Membership.
Section 1. Membership
Members of LV DSA will be those individuals whose dues to national DSA are paid in full, and who reside and/or work in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Area. The area shall be coextensive with Clark County and includes, but is not limited to, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City and all unincorporated townships within Clark County. It will be the responsibility of members to approve policies and guidelines for the operation of the local chapter, to elect delegates to the national convention, to vote on matters related to national policy, and to make recommendations on issues and other matters to the National Political Committee of DSA. Only full members may vote on chapter business or for officers.
Section 2. Removal of Members
If a full member is found to be in substantial disagreement with the principles or policies of national DSA, or if a full member is found to be consistently engaging in undemocratic, disruptive behavior, LV DSA may vote to expel the full member from DSA. In order for such a finding to be made, another LV DSA member must formally prefer written charges against the member in question to any member of the LV DSA Executive Committee, upon receipt of which that member shall inform the other members of the LVDSA Executive Committee.
A date shall then be set for the LV DSA meeting to deliberate 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. Expulsion of a member or affiliate member requires a two-thirds vote of the Members in attendance at the LV DSA meeting. An expelled full member may appeal to the National Political Committee of DSA.
Section 3. Recall of Officers
The Local may at any time remove an officer of the Executive Committee. Removal from office requires a two-thirds majority vote by members present at a Regular Meeting of the Local.
Section 4. Local Dues.
LV DSA may establish a system of voluntary local dues for its members.
ARTICLE IV. Local Meetings.
Section 1. General Meetings.
LV DSA will hold a minimum of one General Meeting annually, and all members of LV DSA will receive two weeks written (or electronic mail) notice and an agenda of the General Meeting. The General Meeting will elect LV DSA officers and may adopt an annual budget.
Section 2. Regular Meetings.
LV DSA will hold Regular Meetings at least four times annually, the time and place of which shall be set in a schedule published and distributed by the LV DSA Executive Committee, pursuant to Nevada Open Meeting Law. The Regular Meetings will set LV DSA policy and work priorities, and will include political education sessions.
The LV DSA Executive Committee will set the agenda for Regular Meetings. In general, the Regular Meeting is the operating legislative body of LV DSA.
Section 3. Emergency Meetings.
The LV DSA Executive Committee may call an Emergency Meeting of LV DSA on five days
notice when an urgent and important matter requires deliberation.
Section 4. Quorum.
A quorum of 10 percent of the Members (but not fewer than six persons) is required for General, Regular, or Emergency Meetings to transact business. Quorum is affirmed by the Secretary prior to any vote.
ARTICLE V. Local Officers: Powers and Duties.
Section 1. Officers and Terms
The Executive Committee of LV DSA will be consist of two (2) Co-Chairs, Secretary, Treasurer, Chair of Communications, Chair of Education, any Chair or Co-Chairs of local Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA), any LV DSA Branch Chair(s) (limited to one representative per Branch), and any active LV DSA Ad-hoc Committee Chair(s). The term of office shall be one year, and shall run from June 1 to May 31 or until their successors are elected.
Section 2. Vacancies.
In the event of a vacancy in the office of Co-Chair, the Secretary will assume that office. In the event of a vacancy in any other LV DSA office, the Local Executive Committee will appoint a replacement for the remainder of the term.
Section 3. Co-Chair
- The Co-Chairs will be the chief executive officers of LV DSA. The Co-Chairs will preside over LV DSA and Local Executive 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. The Co-Chairs will be the official public spokespersons for LV DSA and will initiate such actions and policies as LV DSA’s general welfare may demand.
- The Co-Chairs will be responsible for coordinating the day-to-day operations and political work of LV DSA’s branches and committees.The Co-Chairs may delegate these duties at its discretion.
Section 4. Secretary.
- The Secretary will be responsible for maintaining an up-to-date membership list of LV DSA. They will temporarily assume the responsibilities of the Co-Chair, if the Co-Chair is not able to do so.
- The Secretary will also be responsible for the taking of minutes of all LV DSA Regular and General Meetings, and shall have custody of these minutes, the resolutions, reports and other official records of LV DSA. The Secretary shall transfer official records in good condition to their successor. Official records shall include meeting minutes and member lists.
Section 5. Treasurer.
The Treasurer will be responsible for the funds and financial records of LV DSA. All funds collected by LV DSA will be turned over to the Treasurer, who shall deposit them in a credit union under the name of LV DSA. In cooperation with the Secretary, the Treasurer will be responsible for ensuring that membership dues are paid up-to-date. The Treasurer will prepare the semi-annualLocal budget, and deliver the LV DSA financial report to the General Meeting of LV DSA, as well as periodic progress reports as requested by the Local Executive Committee of LV DSA.
Section 6. Chair of Communications.
- The Chair of Communications will be the chief executive officer of the Communications Committee of LV DSA. The Chair of Communications will preside over Communications 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. See Article VIII, Section 1(a) for description of duties of the Communications Committee.
- The Chair of Communications will be responsible for coordinating responses to all correspondence of the Local, and will ensure effective communication with the national DSA.
Section 7. Chair of Education.
- The Chair of Education will be the chief executive officer of the Education Committee of LV DSA. The Chair of Education will preside over Education 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. See Article VIII, Section 1(b) for description of duties of the Education Committee.
- The Chair of Education will be responsible for coordinating political education material with the national DSA, and for coordinating and implementing all internal educational programs for the local leadership.
Section 8. Additional Duties.
- Each officer will report on their office during LV DSA Regular Meetings.
- The Local Executive Committee may assign additional temporary duties to an officer, so long as such assignments do not conflict with the designation of responsibilities outlined in these Bylaws.
Section 9. Grievance Officer
One or more Grievance Officers will be appointed by the Executive Committee at the beginning of its term, and will serve a term concurrent with the Executive Committee. The Grievance Officers are independent of the Executive Committee, and are responsible for handling formal complaints of harassment or other prohibited behavior.
ARTICLE VI. Executive Committee.
Section 1. Composition.
The Local Executive Committee will be composed of the six officers of LV DSA, the chair(s) of Local Young Democratic Socialist Chapters, the chair(s) of any Local Branches, and the chairs of Ad Hoc Committees. No member may at any time hold more than one position on the Local Executive Committee.
Section 2. Duties.
- The Local Executive Committee administers the affairs of LV DSA and oversees the implementation of the decisions of the General and Regular Meetings; it may also propose policy to the General and Regular Meetings. It shall have the power to receive reports of any Committee or Branch, and advise thereon, to call emergency meetings of LV DSA, and to act on any matter that requires immediate and urgent action. The Local Executive Committee is the regular executive body of LV DSA, and thus subject to legislative action by Member votes at General and Regular meetings.
- The Local Executive Committee will be responsible for establishing program activities for the LV DSA, for proposing guidelines and policies that will subsequently be voted on by full members of LV DSA, and for acting on the organization’s behalf between LV DSA meetings.
Section 3. Meetings.
The meetings of the Local Executive Committee will be held at the call of the Chair at such intervals as may be determined by a prior Local Executive Committee Meeting or by consultation with any four members of the Local Executive Committee. All members of the Local Executive Committee must (ordinarily) be given four days oral or written notice of regular Local Executive Committee Meetings; a 24-hour notice may be given under special emergency circumstances. Meetings of the Executive Committee will be open to full members. Time will be allotted at the end of the Executive Committee meetings for comments and questions from members. Executive Committee meetings must be announced at least four days prior. The Executive Committee may also call a closed meeting under special emergency circumstances.
Section 4. Quorum.
A quorum of two-thirds of the members of the Local Executive Committee is required for the transaction of Executive Committee business.
ARTICLE VII. Branches.
Section 1. Definition.
A branch is a subgroup of LV DSA consisting of at least five full members in good standing with national DSA. Branches are defined by geography. The chairs of branches will hold membership on the Local Executive Committee.
ARTICLE VIII. Committees.
Section 1. Communications Committee.
- LV DSA will have a permanent Communications Committee. The Chair of Communications will serve as an officer of the Local and will be elected during the General Meeting. The term of office will be one year, and shall run from June 1 to May 31 or until their successors are elected. See Article V, Section 1.
- The Communications Committee will be responsible for establishing and coordinating internal communications protocols for LV DSA.
- The Communications Committee will be responsible for developing and implementing a social media strategy for LV DSA, and for maintaining all social media accounts. The Committee will also be responsible for all public relations for LV DSA.
- The Communications Committee will develop messaging strategies for LV DSA in coordination with the Education Committee.
- The Local Executive Committee may assign additional temporary duties to Communications Committee, so long as such assignments do not conflict with the designation of responsibilities outlined in these Bylaws.
Section 2. Education Committee.
- LV DSA will have a permanent Education Committee. The Chair of Education will serve as an officer of the Local and will be elected during the General Meeting. The term of office will be one year, and shall run from June 1 to May 31 or until their successors are elected. See Article V, Section 1.
- The Education Committee will be responsible for developing all internal political education programs for the leadership of LV DSA, and for implementing political education programs for the membership of LV DSA.
- The Education Committee will be responsible for organizing an ongoing reading group for LV DSA, and will be responsible for coordinating any additional committee-specific reading group(s) with the chair(s) of any ad hoc committee(s).
- The Education Committee will develop messaging strategies for LV DSA in coordination with the Communications Committee.
- The Local Executive Committee may assign additional temporary duties to Education Committee, so long as such assignments do not conflict with the designation of responsibilities outlined in these Bylaws.
Section 3. Ad Hoc Committees.
- LV DSA may have Ad Hoc Committees, which will exist for a limited and explicit duration not to exceed one year. A Committee may propose that its duration be extended for terms of no more than one year.
- Ad Hoc Committees must contain no less than four Members and may be established or renewed by a vote of full members at a Regular Meeting of LV DSA.
- Chairs of Ad Hoc Committees will automatically be included as members of the Executive Committee and will keep the Executive Committee and the Regular Meetings of LV DSA informed on the activities of the committee, including records of any financial expenditures.
- Each Committee must elect an official chair. No Member may serve as chair of more than one committee at any given time.
- Committees are only authorized to act within the purview of their creation.
- In order to Ad Hoc Committees to remain in good standing within LV DSA, they must hold at least one event or meeting every three months. Failing to do so will automatically prompt a Member vote for dissolution of the Committee to occur at the next Regular Meeting. There will exist a two-thirds (2/3) majority of Members present in order to be dissolved.
Section 4. Sub-Committees
- Sub-Committees may be created within and under the purview of the Communications Committee, the Education Committee, or Ad Hoc Committees.
- Sub-Committees must contain no less than two active members of the corresponding Committee.
- Sub-Committees must elect an official Chair, who will report the Committee Chair on the activities of the sub-committee, including records of any financial expenditures.
ARTICLE IX. Delegates to National, Regional, and State Bodies.
Section 1. Convention.
LV DSA delegates and alternates to the National Convention will be elected by full members of LV DSA. Elections for the National Convention delegation shall be held on the schedule announced by the national organization. Delegates to the Regional DSA events shall be appointed by the board and approved by a Member vote at the next Regular Meeting.
ARTICLE X. Prohibited Activity
LV DSA shall not engage in activity prohibited by the IRS guidelines established for 501 (c) 4 organizations or similar rules established by the state of Nevada. Nor shall LV DSA engage in any activity prohibited by resolutions adopted by DSA’s National Convention or DSA’s National Political Committee.
ARTICLE XI. Nominations
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 LV DSA officers and delegates to the National Convention shall be opened 10 days before and closed 24 hours prior to the General Meeting. The call for nominations shall be announced to full members of LV DSA in advance of the General Meetingvia email and public posting.
Section 3. Uncontested Positions.
If a position is uncontested, the nominee will be declared elected by acclamation.
ARTICLE XII. Amendments.
Proposed amendments to these Bylaws must be made by written resolution, endorsed by five members of the LV DSA, and submitted to the Local Executive Committee a month in advance of a General or Regular Meeting. The Local Executive Committee is required to provide the LV DSA membership with two weeks’ written notice of the proposed amendments. The amendment must be approved by a majority vote of two consecutive Regular or General Meetings.
ARTICLE XIII. Rules of the Local.
Section 1. Rules.
The Rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall govern LV DSA in cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws. Consensus decision-making is desirable where feasible, but meetings must submit to Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised upon the request of a member.
Section 2. Action Out of Order.
Any action taken by an officer or member of LV DSA in contravention of these Bylaws is null and void.