Bylaws

Bylaws of the Philadelphia Local of the Democratic Socialists of America

Article I. Name.

The name of the organization will be the Philadelphia Local of the Democratic Socialists of America, a not-for-profit organization incorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, also known as Philadelphia DSA, also known as Philly DSA (hereinafter, “the Local”).

Article II. Purpose.

The purpose of the Local will be to advance the aims and purposes of the Democratic Socialists of America (hereinafter, “DSA”) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as these are stated in the Constitution of DSA. The Local will develop concrete strategies for building a majority movement that is capable of (a) displacing, the capitalist political economic order and  hierarchical class structure of society in the United States that protects the interests of millionaires and billionaires at the expense of everyone else; and (b) of establishing in its place a democratic and socialist political order.

Against efforts to naturalize or minimize the brutal, illegitimate and unnecessary exploitation of the working class, gross inequality, and myriad forms of oppressive discrimination and hierarchy that are structural features of society in the United States, the Local will engage in strategic activities and campaigns that are intended to systematically reverse the continued concentration of wealth, resources, and services among the tiny fraction of people who make up the ruling class. The Local will advance, instead, the prospect for establishing a humane, egalitarian, and democratic society.

The only democratic and socialist political order the Local will seek to establish will be one which determines public policy by public participation and in which personal wellbeing, individual civil liberties, and access to the highest quality of goods and services will belong to all by right without exception and in which the economy is governed by and for the equal benefit of all.

Article III. Membership.

Section 1. Requirements.

Members of the Local will be those individuals whose (a) dues to DSA are paid in full; and who (b) reside or work in the City of Philadelphia or a nearby geographical area that is not within the boundaries of another local chapter of DSA; and (c) who adhere to the political principles, aims and values as they are stated in the governing standards and rules of the Local. In the absence of precise geographical boundaries determined by DSA, the geographical boundaries of the Local will be stated in the in the standing rules of the Local. No member of the Local may hold membership in another DSA area local chapter.

Section 2. Duties.

It will be the responsibility of the members (a) to appoint officers of the Local and delegates to national conventions of DSA; (b) to approve policies, guidelines and recommendations for the effective operation of DSA and the Local; (c) to make recommendations on issues and other matters important to DSA and the Local; and (d) to fund and otherwise contribute to the effective operations and campaigns of DSA and the Local.

Section. 3. Dues.

The Local reserves the right to collect dues from its members, in addition to the dues paid by members to DSA. All local dues proposals must be proposed at the time at which a financial report is delivered at a convention of the Local, and must include a budget, and must be approved by 2/3 of the registered voting members at a convention.

Article IV. Officers.

Section 1. Types of officers.

The officers of the Local will be a chair, a vice-chair, a treasurer and a secretary.

Section 2. Election, tenure, removal and vacancies.

Officers of the Local will be appointed by a counted ballot election at a convention of the Local except when filling a vacancy. The term for holding office will be 24 months and will begin on the first day of October following the election. No member may serve more than two consecutive terms in office. No more than two of the four officers may self-identify as men. At least two of the four officers must self-identify as people of color.

An officer may only be removed from office (a) at a special convention called for such a purpose; or (b) as the result of disciplinary action.

Vacancies in an office of the Local will be filled in one of the following ways: (a) if more than six  months remain to fulfil a term the steering committee of the Local will call for a special election by counted ballot at an assembly of the Local; (b) if less than six months remain in the term of the vacated office the steering committee may (i) appoint a qualified member to the office for the remainder of the term or (ii) allow the office to remain vacant.

The nomination period for special elections to a vacated office must be no shorter than 14 days. A special election to fill a vacant office must be held no later than 60 days from the time an office is vacated.

Section 3. Duties.

The officers will be the fiduciary members of the Local and ex-officio members of all deliberative bodies of the Local. The chair, vice-chair, secretary and treasurer of the Local will also be the chair, vice-chair, secretary and treasurer of the steering committee, respectively. The officers will be responsible for the supervision of all property, funds, activities, affairs and records of the Local. They will be responsible to ensure adherence of the Local to its legislative and governing standards.

The officers will coordinate the day-to-day operations and political work of the Local and its subsidiary bodies in the periods between Local legislative assemblies and the meetings of the steering committee. The officers will deliver a report at will, and whenever requested, on any of their activities, the current state of the Local, and their recommendations, to an assembly of the Local, the steering committee of the Local, and to the NPC of DSA (hereafter, “NPC”).

At the time of their appointment, and throughout their tenure, the officers will demonstrate financial, managerial, administrative, diplomatic and any other competencies necessary to perform their respective duties. Failure to perform these duties will be grounds for removal from office.

Section 4. Duties of the chairs.

The chair and vice-chair will be the primary and secondary executive officers of the Local, respectively. They should act as equals in office whenever consensus is possible.

One of the chairs will preside over general and special meetings of the Local and over meetings of the steering committee or they will appoint a substitute to assume these powers and duties as specified in the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.

One of the chairs will be the chair of Philadelphia Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee (hereafter “the PAC”).

The chairs will be the spokespersons for the Local and the steering committee and initiate such actions and policies as the general welfare of the Local may demand.

The chairs will report to general meetings of the Local on the business of the steering committee, at which time a copy of the minutes of steering committee meetings will be available for review and approval.

Section 5. Duties of the secretary.

The secretary will be responsible to ensure that accurate records of the actions, decisions and correspondence of the Local are kept, including the minutes of meetings, election results, officer and committee reports, standing policies and rules, these bylaws and any documents important to the Local. The secretary will also keep an up-to-date membership roll.

Section 6. Duties of the treasurer.

The treasurer will be responsible for the funds and financial records of the Local. All funds collected by the Local will be turned over to the treasurer, who will deposit them in a bank account under the name of the Local. In cooperation with the secretary, the treasurer will be responsible  to ensure that membership dues are paid up-to-date. The treasurer will prepare an annual budget, and deliver a financial report at each general meeting of the Local, as well as periodic progress reports when requested by the steering committee.

The treasurer of the Local will be the treasurer of the PAC. The treasurer will file campaign finance reports on behalf of the PAC with the relevant city, state, and federal election authorities on the schedules required by election law and include the income and expenditures of the PAC in reports to the Local and to the steering committee.

Article V. Assemblies.

Section 1. Types of assemblies

The members of the Local will assemble for deliberation at conventions and general meetings to determine and review its own activities and policies and to appoint members to committees, commissions, offices and other important functions or roles within the Local.

Other types of meetings or events commonly held by the Local, such as those for political education, open forums, organizational training, member engagement, and open hearings, will not constitute legislative bodies or make decisions that are binding upon the Local.

Section 2. Conventions.

The highest deliberative body of the Local will be the local convention. All decisions of other deliberative bodies of the Local may be appealed to the local convention. Appeals of the actions of a local convention must be submitted to the NPC of DSA.

The Local will hold at least one convention every two years in order to (a) elect officers, permanent committee chairs, and at-large steering committee members; (b) adopt a political platform; (c) determine long-term strategic priorities; and (d) receive a financial report.

The steering committee may establish temporary committees and commissions of the Local to for the purpose of effectively carrying out the necessary administrative preparations related to the convention.

These will include at least one member of the steering committee in addition to the officers of the organization who will be ex officio members. These may include a pre-convention planning committee, a credentials committee, a rules committee, a resolutions committee and a nominating committee.

Members of the Local will receive at least 21 days prior written notice of a convention with the agenda.

The Local may call special conventions for the purpose of deciding matters of the highest importance. Special conventions may be called either (a) by 3/4 approval of the full membership of the steering committee; or (b) by filing a petition with the secretary that includes (i) the date set for the meeting; (ii) the reason for the convention; and that is (iii) signed by at least 25%, but not fewer than 200, of the members in good standing of the Local. The date set for the special convention called for in the petition must not be fewer than 30 or greater than 60 days from the day the petition is filed.,

Section 3. General meetings.

The Local will hold general meetings between conventions. The purpose of general meetings will be to, (a) to determine the immediate priorities, policies, strategies, campaigns and tasks of the Local; (b) receive and deliberate the recommendations and reports of its officers, committees and commissions; and (c) engage in educational activities such as lectures, speeches and reports of international, national, regional and local political activity occurring internationally, nationally, regionally and locally.

The Local will hold no fewer than four general meetings each year. General meetings should ordinarily be held quarterly and at times and locations that are capable of accommodating the maximum feasible number of members.

The steering committee will set the agenda of general meetings which will be published to the members of the Local no fewer than five days prior to the date set for the meeting.

The order of business for general meetings will be as follows: (a) reading and approval of minutes; (b) reports of officers, the steering committee, and permanent committees; (c) reports of temporary committees; (d) special orders; (e) unfinished business; (f) general orders; (g) new business.

Section 4. Special meetings.

Special meetings of the Local may be called (a) when important matters call for the deliberation of a large assembly need to be dealt with before the next scheduled general meeting; or (b) in order to dedicate an entire meeting to a matter that cannot be adequately dealt with at a general meeting.

To call a special meeting will require (a) approval by by 3/4 of the full steering committee; or (b) a petition signed by at least 25% of the members in good standing of the Local filed with the secretary, provided that the date set for the special meeting in the petition is not less than 30 or greater than 60, days from its filing.

At least 5 days written notice of the date, time, location and reason(s) for which a special meeting is called must be given to the members of the Local. The members assembled at a special meeting may not consider any business not included in the notice.

A quorum of 20%, but not fewer than 100, of the members is required for general and special meetings to make decisions for the Local. In the absence of quorum, a meeting may proceed if at least 10% of the members of the Local in good standing are present, but the deliberations of such an assembly must be ratified at the next scheduled general meeting before they can be considered official actions of the Local.

Section 5. Minutes.

An approved record (the minutes) of the actions of all assemblies will be submitted to DSA annually and on request.

Article VI. The steering committee.

Section 1. Duties.

The steering committee will be the regular steering body of the Local. It will be responsible for oversight of the affairs of the Local, ensuring that the campaigns, priorities and strategies approved at assemblies are effectively carried out by the officers, permanent committees, geographical branches, temporary committees, commissions and commissioners in accordance with the rules of the Local.

The steering committee will receive reports from the officers and deliberative bodies of the Local as it deems necessary, investigate and decide disputes, and report its actions, findings, decisions and recommendations to assemblies.

The steering committee will be responsible to recommend guidelines and policies that address significant challenges and opportunities for the effective carrying out of the purpose for which the Local is organized. The steering committee will be subordinate to the NPC of DSA, the national convention of DSA, and to the assembled Local. Steering committee actions, decisions and recommendations are subject to approval by the Local except in cases stipulated in the rules of the Local.  

Section 2. Composition.

The steering committee will consist of the chair of each permanent committee, up to six at-large steering committee members, and the officers.

Grievance commissioners, chairs of temporary committees, chairs of geographical branches, and chairs of connected Young Democratic Socialists of America chapters, may serve an advisory (non-voting) role to the steering committee.

The only members eligible to be nominated to any position that entails a seat on the steering committee will be those members who prior to the date on which nominations are opened, have (a) retained membership in good standing in the Local for at least six consecutive months; and (b) participated in at least one assembly of the Local during the last six months.

Section 3. At-Large steering committee members.

At-Large steering committee members will be responsible for duties and responsibilities as the steering committee  determines and may be appointed as ex-officio members to any subsidiary body of the Local.

Section 4. Removal of steering committee members.

When a member of the steering committee who is not an officer is unable or unwilling to perform their duties the steering committee may vote to remove the member. The grounds for removal will be more than two consecutive unexcused absences at a regular steering committee meeting, failure to participate in at least one additional deliberative body of the Local, the mismanagement of funds, or a credible charge of prohibited views or behavior. The steering committee must notify such a member in writing of the removal. The removed member may request to appeal the decision to an assembly of the Local only on one or more of these grounds: (a) the failure or violation of the removed member did not meet the standards for removal as defined by the governing standards of the Local; (b) procedural errors, misconduct, or conflicts of interest affected the fairness of the steering committee’s decision to remove the member; or (c) the removal was disproportionate to the failure or violation of the removed member. Approval of an appeal of a removal will require 2/3 of the members present and voting at the assembly.

Section 5. Meetings.

Regular meetings of the steering committee will be held at least six times annually. Members of the steering committee must be given oral or written notice of regular steering committee meetings at least 10 days in advance. Special meetings of the steering committee may be called by the chair or by a 2/3 majority of the full members of the steering committee in order to handle business that must be dealt with before the next regular steering committee meeting. The notice of a special meeting must be provided to each member of the steering committee at least 48 hours in advance and must include the items that will be deliberated. No business except that which is included in the notice for a special meeting of the steering committee may be considered at the special meeting.

Section 6. Vacancies.

In the event of a vacancy in any seat on the steering committee, the chairs may appoint an interim until the the vacancy can be filled. Vacancies will be filled in one of the following ways: (a) if more than six  months remain to fulfil the term, the steering committee of the Local will call for a special election by counted ballot to be held at an assembly of the Local; (b) if less than six months remain in the term of the vacated seat, the steering committee may (i) choose to appoint a qualified member to the office for the remainder of the term, or (ii) choose to allow the seat to remain vacant.

Article VII. Committees, commissions and geographical branches.

Section 1. Types of deliberative bodies.

The Local will have subsidiary deliberative bodies to carry out specific tasks that either (a) do not require the deliberation of an entire assembly of the Local; (b) require specialized attention; or (c) require sustained attention. These bodies will be committees, commissions and geographical branches. The appointment and operation of committees, commissions and geographical branches will be determined by the governing standards of the Local and in cases not specified in the Rules, by Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised. Committees, commissions and Geographical Branches will be held responsible by the Local to carry out the duties committed to them by the Local effectively and collaboratively in coordination with other committees, commissions and Geographical Branches of the Local and with respect to prescribed duties, functions and powers of each.

Section 2. Committees.

A. Composition, responsibilities and types.

Committees and commissions will (a) consist of a definite number of members in good standing of the Local not fewer than three in number; who are (b) appointed to a task or tasks specified by either (i) the Local, (ii) a resolution of a convention of DSA, or (iii) the NPC of DSA.

Committees will be subsidiary bodies ordinarily appointed to investigate, deliberate, or operate on behalf of the Local and to report back with recommendations for final approval.

Commissions of the Local will be subsidiary bodies empowered to carry out a particular task or tasks or to deliberate and decide a matter on behalf of the appointing body and report back when the matter has been finally dealt with.

Committees and commissions will deliver written reports of their progress, or actions for review and approval by the body of origin at each regular meeting, and, upon request, to special meetings, conventions, and to the steering committee. The reports of committees and commissions may put recommendations pertinent to the scope of their work before the Local for approval. Committees and commissions may appoint sub-committees or commissions for convenience or the equitable division of labor. Sub-committees and commissions of committees will report only to their body of origin.

The types of committees will be permanent committees and temporary committees.

B. Permanent committees.

Permanent committees of the Local will be appointed to oversee administrative and political functions that are essential to the ongoing effectiveness of the Local in pursuing the realization of its purposes as they are defined in the governing standards.

The chair of each permanent committee will be elected at the convention except when filling a vacancy. They will sit on the steering committee for the same term as the officers and elected at-large steering committee members. The other members of permanent committees will be nominated by the chair and approved by a majority of the steering committee except when an appointment is made to fill a vacancy for a term less than 6 months in duration.

C. Temporary committees.

Temporary committees will be appointed when an assembly of the Local desires recommendations regarding important questions or concerns that call for specialized attention, sustained study before moving to a vote.

The exact terms for appointing temporary committees, including responsibilities, a budget, the required number of appointees, required appointee qualifications, the method of selecting appointees, and the necessity of the committee for the effectiveness of a political objective or campaign of the Local, must be stated at the time of approval.

Committees must report actions and recommendations to the body of origin for review and approval and to the steering committee when requested. Temporary committees will be dissolved when the duties for which it is appointed are fulfilled, or by a majority vote of the Local members present and voting at a general or special meeting, or upon the delivery and approval of a final report, but not later than the date set for a newly elected steering committee to assume its duties after election at a convention.

D. Commissions.

Commissions will be appointed by the Local and given powers in order to carry out a function or task that (a) does not ordinarily fall upon an officer, the steering committee, a permanent committee or a geographical branch, but which (b) would be inconvenient or impossible for the assembly or body to handle as a whole.

The terms, responsibilities and limits of a commission’s powers, including the number and method of appointees and its necessity for the administrative effectiveness of the Local or one of its political objectives or campaigns, must be stipulated at the time of approval. The actions of a commission will be the action of the body of origin and must be appealed or repealed as such. Commissions must report their actions at regular meetings of the body of origin. Commissions will dissolve whenever the terms approved for the commission are fulfilled, or by a majority approval of the body of origin, but not later than the date set for a newly elected steering committee to assume its duties after election at a convention.

E. Meetings.

The meetings of any committee or commission of the Local may take place in part or in full via the aid of electronic communication in lieu of physical attendance as long as the use of electronic conference does not impede democratic deliberation for any participant.

Section 3. Geographical branches.

The Local may establish geographical branches for the purpose of effectively carrying out the purposes of the organization in regions or areas within the boundaries of the Local that feature political and social conditions that are distinct from those that characterize the areas in which the majority of the members of the Local reside. Geographical branches may be established by the steering committee or upon approval by the majority of the members present and voting at an assembly of the Local of a petition signed by at least 30%, but not fewer than 15, members of the Local currently residing in the area or region of the proposed branch and further approval of a geographical branch charter.

Further requirements, including the process for submitting geographical branch petitions and charters for approval, as well as the relation of geographical branches and their activities to the committees and campaigns of the Local, will be determined, if necessary, by the standing rules.

Geographical branches will deliver an annual written report of activities for review and approval to the general meeting of the Local and to conventions, special meetings and the steering committee on request.

Geographical branches may be dissolved by a majority of those present and voting at an Assembly of the Local. Geographical branches seeking to form a Local of DSA must file a petition in accordance with the rules of DSA.

Section 4. Non-deliberative and auxiliary groups.

The Local may formally recognize non-deliberative and auxiliary groups that are aligned with the purposes of the organization but which are not subsidiary bodies of the Local. These may include (but will not be limited to) (a) affiliations and coalitions of organizations similar to the Local; (b) political campaigns that align with the purposes of the Local; (c) political and policy interest groups; (d) labor unions and groups; (e) Young Democratic Socialists of America chapters; (f) DSA working groups; and (g) caucuses in the Local.

Because the composition, structure, activities and objectives of non-deliberative and auxiliary groups are not subject to the ordinary review and approval of the Local they may not (a) exercise legislative or deliberative functions within or on behalf of the Local or any of its subsidiary bodies; or (b) represent themselves in any way as official bodies of the Local; or © enjoy the rights and privileges granted to subsidiary bodies of the Local.

Further terms, criteria and procedures for granting privileges or recognition to non-deliberative and auxiliary groups, including speaking time at meetings, exhibition space at meetings, written or online promotion or endorsement, financial support and other types of formal recognition, will be determined the standing rules of the Local and will be subject to these bylaws.

Article VIII. Permanent committees.

Section 1. Communications.

The communications committee will work with the secretary to oversee (a) the internal and external communications of the Local; (b) all official publications and notices of the Local including (i) public online media accounts, (ii) websites, (iii) membership bulletins, (iv) phone-banking communications; and (c) the promotion of campaigns and events of the Local. The communications committee will also work in conjunction with the officers as needed to ensure the secure management of online membership data.

Section 2. Political education.

The political education committee will organize education campaigns and events including discussions, reading groups, and public events that explore the strategy, history and theory of socialism and support the political campaigns and initiatives of the local.

Section 3. Member engagement.

The member engagement committee will be responsible for overseeing new member orientation and membership retention. The committee will conduct regular new member orientation events with the purpose of educating members about the structure and campaigns of the Local and directing them toward active participation. The committee will also plan regular social events for the purpose of encouraging active participation and support of the work of the Local. Fundraising events of the member engagement committee will be planned in coordination with the officers and any other deliberative bodies of the Local committed to the effort for which the fundraising effort is intended to support.

Section 4. Electoral.

The electoral committee will be responsible to oversee the process for endorsing candidates for elected public office. It will develop a questionnaire designed to help the Local evaluate the likelihood that endorsing the candidate will advance the purposes of the the Local. It will receive and review completed questionnaires, interview all candidates seeking the endorsement of the Local and report recommendations for endorsement to the members of the Local at its assemblies for deliberation. When a candidate appears before the members of the Local at an assembly seeking endorsement, the chair of the electoral committee (or their appointment) will conduct a candidate forum that will allow members to interview the candidate before deliberation. The electoral committee will will work with and advise the steering committee and the communications committee on electoral campaign strategies and messaging.

Article IX. Campaigns.

Section 1. Purpose.

The Local will develop, approve and carry out campaigns that are (a) strategic; (b) public; and (c) advance the purposes for which it is organized as defined in the governing standards.

Campaigns will be (a) aimed at organizing the members and resources of the Local in order to accomplish particular, concrete, social and political interventions and goals that are external to the organization; and (b) whenever feasible, provide opportunities for participation, input, and the engagement of the full membership of the Local.

Campaign proposals must specify (a) the aim and scope of the campaign; (b) the structures for coordinating and managing the campaign; (c) the method for becoming involved in the campaign; and (d) a preliminary assessment of the budget and organizational resources required to effectively run the campaign.

The power to adopt a campaign will belong to a majority of the members present and voting at an assembly of the Local. The steering committee may temporarily approve a campaign, however, such a decision must be ratified at the next assembly of the Local in order to continue beyond that assembly.

Article X. Electoral endorsements.

The power to endorse a candidate for elected public office will belong to the electoral committee and the majority of members present and voting at an assembly of the Local. In the absence of a recommendation from the electoral committee the power to endorse will belong to 2/3 of the members present and voting at an assembly of the Local.

Candidates seeking the endorsement of the Local must submit a completed candidate questionnaire to the electoral committee and agree to follow up interviews with the committee and with the membership at an assembly of the Local when an endorsement vote is scheduled to take place.

Electoral endorsements will require the approval of a recommendation of the electoral committee by a majority of the members present and voting at an assembly of the Local or, in the absence of an electoral committee recommendation, 2/3 of the members present and voting at an assembly of the Local. Further requirements for acquiring an electoral endorsement will be determined by the standing rules.

Article XI. Nominations and elections.

Section 1. Nominations committee.

The steering committee will appoint a three-person nominations committee at least 30 days prior to any election of an officer, permanent committee chair, at-large steering committee member, delegate to an affiliated organization, or any other position for which election by counted ballot at an assembly of the Local is the required method of appointment.

The nominations committee will be responsible for (a) soliciting, receiving, and approving nominations from members for elected positions; and (b) presenting nominated members to the Local for election. The nominating committee will be responsible to develop an application form for members seeking nomination. Application forms must be published on-time, easily accessible, clearly state any required qualifications for nomination and election, and a method and deadline by which applications must be submitted for consideration.

Section 2. Nominations process.

A 25 day period for receiving nominations to the offices of the Local, the chair of a standing committee and at-large steering committee seats will be opened by written or electronic announcement to the members 35 days prior to the date set for the opening of the convention at which the election will be conducted. The nominations committee must present the slate of approved nominations to the secretary no later than seven days prior to the date set for the opening of the convention at which the election will be conducted.

Section 3. Uncontested positions.

If a position is uncontested, the nominee will be declared elected by acclamation. In the event that an elected position vacant due to lack of a qualified nominee the steering committee will assume the responsibilities of the position until a nominee vacancy can be secured.

Section 4. Delegates.

Delegates and alternates to any delegated convention or assembly of DSA or of the Local will be appointed by a counted ballot election. Elections for the national convention delegation will be held in accordance with the directions announced by DSA.

Article XII. Standards and rules.

Section 1. Governing standards.

The governing standards of the Local will be (a) the constitution and bylaws of DSA; (b) the resolutions of the conventions of DSA; (c) the rules and directives of the NPC of DSA; and (d) these bylaws. Any action taken by an officer or member of the Local in contravention of these governing standards will be null and void.

Section 2. Standing rules.

In addition to the governing standards, the Local will adopt rules, policies and procedures in order to effectively carry out the purposes of the organization. These will constitute the standing rules, policies and procedures of the Local (the “standing rules”). The standing rules will include, but will not be limited to, the following: (a) a code of member conduct defining prohibited behavior including harassment; (b) a policy for filing and processing member grievances; (c) a membership data privacy and security policy; (d) rules for officers including any requirements for officer (i) reporting, (ii) expenditure limits, (iii) publication and notice timelines, (iv) record-keeping, (v) correspondence and official communication; (e) rules, procedures, requirements and forms pertaining to the finances of the Local including those related to (i) budgeting, (ii) contribution, expenditure and liability limits, (iii) recording and reporting expenditures, (iv) legal compliance, (v) expense reimbursements, (vi) banking, (vii) investing, (viii) donations, and (ix) fundraising; (f) rules for committee deliberation, coordination, and reporting; (g) policies for understanding and observing the governing standards in cases of ambiguity or flexibility; (h) the resolutions approved at assemblies of the Local. The power to adopt standing rules will belong to the majority of the members present and voting at an assembly.

The rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, will govern the Local when they do not conflict with the governing standards or the standing rules.

Section 3. Prohibited activity.

The Local will not engage in activity prohibited by the IRS guidelines established for 501 (c) 4 organizations or similar rules established by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Article XIII. Discipline.

The Local may impose disciplinary restrictions on a member’s freedom to participate in its operations. The types and grounds of discipline will be limited to those set forth and defined in the governing standards and the standing rules of the Local.

Section 1. Types.

The types of discipline will be (a) censure; (b) suspension; and (c) expulsion.

Censure will be the formal expression of disapproval of an action or view of a member of the Local. Censure will be the only disciplinary action that can be imposed upon a group or viewpoint without reference to a particular member or members of the Local.

Suspension will be the withholding for a specified length of time of one or more of the following privileges ordinarily belonging to each member in good standing of the Local: (a) attending assemblies; (b) participation in an assembly or other deliberative body; (c) appointment to deliberative bodies; (d) appointment to office; (e) appointment as a delegate.

The local may impose (a) immediate, and (b) regular, forms of suspension. Immediate suspension will be the imposition of suspension for the remainder of a single assembly or meeting of a subsidiary deliberative body of the Local. Regular suspension will be the imposition of suspension for a length of time that is greater than the duration of a single meeting but not longer than two years in duration.

Expulsion will be the permanent removal of a member from the rolls of DSA.

Section 2. Grounds.

Any decision, ruling, or motion to impose any form of discipline must be made solely and explicitly on the basis of the grounds stated in the governing standards.

The grounds for censure will be (a) the expression of a view, (b) the exhibition of behavior, or (c) any action taken by a member or group of members that flagrantly or intentionally violates the governing standards.  

The grounds for immediate suspension will be limited to behavior or actions which (a) either, (i) intentionally obstruct or disrupt the fair conduction of the business at hand, or (ii) violate any approved code of conduct of the Local; and which (b) took place during the meeting for which the immediate suspension is to be imposed. Behavior exhibited, actions taken and views expressed outside of the context of the meeting in question may not be the grounds for immediate suspension.  

The grounds for regular suspension and for expulsion will be the following: (a) egregious undemocratic behavior; (b) behavior that is unethical, criminal or prohibited by the Local; (c) acts of sabotage or malfeasance that cause irreparable damage to the progress of a campaign or strategy of the Local; (d) holding political views that are not compatible with the governing standards; (e) the refusal or the failure of a member to respond to a credible disciplinary charge filed by another member.  

A credible charge filed against a member that results in a disciplinary restriction must be established with explicit reference to how the view, group or member has violated the governing standards or the standing rules of the Local.

Section 3. Process.

The Local will appoint at least one, but not more than three, grievance commissioners. Grievance commissioners will be responsible to ensure the fair processing of disciplinary charges and harassment claims in accordance with the governing standards. They will be the Harassment Grievance Officers required by the governing standards or any other applicable rules or policies of DSA or the Local.

Grievance commissioners will have the responsibility to investigate charges of prohibited behavior or views in the Local and determine whether the charges are credible, not credible, or not substantiated. Grievance commissioners will be required to deliver their determination in a full report of the investigation to the steering committee that will include a rationale for the decision. The following recommendations must accompany any grievance commissioner report in which a charge is determined to be credible: (a) a recommendation on the appropriate form and terms of discipline to be imposed; and (b) whether final approval of the report’s findings and recommendations may be appropriately decided by the steering committee or should, instead, be referred either to (i) an assembly of the Local, (ii) a special committee or commission of the Local, (iii) a special committee or commission of the steering committee appointed for such a purpose, or (iv) the NPC of DSA. Further recommendations aimed at improving the disciplinary policies or processes of the Local may also be included in the report.

Grievance commissioners should take confidentiality concerns and the expression of interest by either party to agree to non-punitive or restorative reconciliation into account when formulating their recommendations whenever they find charges of prohibited behavior to be credible. These may not, however, be the basis for failing to find a charge credible or unsubstantiated nor may they be made conditions for failing to recommend an appropriate form of discipline.

Whenever charges of prohibited behavior or views are filed against another member, grievance commissioners and any other body of the Local reviewing the case will respect the dignity and particular concerns of both aggrieved and accused members, especially when charges describe criminal, unethical, harassing or abusive behavior.

Immediate suspension may be imposed by a majority of the members present and voting at the meeting or assembly. Formal charges must be read and the individual facing suspension must have an opportunity for rebuttal before a vote is taken.

Censure may be imposed by 2/3 of the members present and voting at a meeting of the steering committee or by the majority of members present and voting at an assembly of the Local.

When charges of criminal, unethical or harassing behavior are under consideration, the power to impose regular suspension or expulsion will belong to either (a) 2/3 of the those present and voting at a meeting of the steering committee or (b) to the majority of the members present and voting at an assembly of the Local.

When charges of holding prohibited views are filed the power to expel or suspend a member will require the approval of 2/3 of the members present and voting at a meeting of the steering committee and the subsequent ratification of that decision by 2/3 of the members present and voting at an assembly of the Local. The charges will be read as filed and the individual will have an opportunity for rebuttal including the calling of other members in good standing to speak in their support.

Section 4. Appeals.

Disciplinary rulings are subject to appeal to any higher legislative body or assembly of the Local or to the NPC of DSA by any party in an adjudicated case. Appeals submitted to any deliberative body of the Local must be filed in accordance with the governing standards and standing rules of the Local.

The grounds for appeal will be limited to the following: (a) the behavior of the disciplined member did not meet the standards required in the governing standards or stated rules; (b) the fairness of the outcome of the decision to discipline the member was affected by any of the following: (i) procedural errors, (ii) misconduct, conflicts of interest; (c) the penalty was disproportionate to the violation.

Appeals to the Local must be filed in writing with the secretary within 30 days of receiving written notice of a ruling. Appeals must include reference to the grounds for consideration. Appeals must be heard and adjudicated within 90 days from the date the appeal is filed. The written grounds of the appeal will be presented at the meeting scheduled for deliberation of the appeal. A rebuttal from the body that delivered the ruling is also permitted before moving to a vote. Appeals may not be debated.

Overturning a suspension or any of its terms will require approval by a 2/3 majority of the members present and voting at an assembly. In the event that the terms of a ruling are overturned by appeal to the Local the original body adjudicating the case must determine more appropriate terms within 30 days of the approval of the appeal. The new term(s) will be subject to appeal in the same manner as the original terms except for appeals that result in expulsion which must be deliberated by the NPC of DSA.

Article XIV. Dissolution.

In the event of the dissolution of the Local, after satisfying all liabilities and following local, state, and federal procedures, all remaining funds and assets are to be released to DSA, or, if necessary, 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.

Article XV. Amendments.

Proposed amendments to these bylaws must be made by written resolution, endorsed by at least 30 members in good standing of the Local, and filed with the secretary at least 30 days in advance of a general meeting. The steering committee is required to provide the members with two weeks written notice of any proposed bylaws amendment. Amendments to the bylaws must be approved by a 2/3 vote of a general meeting. Bylaws amendments may not be approved at a special meeting.

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