I.                Columbus DSA Bylaws

II.              As passed by the General Membership on October 10th, 2019.

III.       Bylaws of the Columbus Democratic Socialists of America

IV.        Name

A.             The name of this organization will be Columbus Democratic Socialists of America, hereinafter “Columbus DSA”, a Local Chapter of Democratic Socialists of America.

V.            Purpose

A.             Columbus DSA is working for the transition to a truly democratic society and is committed to building the institutions necessary to realize democratic socialism in our lifetimes.

1.               To accomplish its work towards a truly democratic society, Columbus DSA will vote on a set of goals & priorities at the April General meeting.

a)               Goals & Priorities will always be held for a vote at the April general meeting. Once agreed upon, their implementation will coincide with the terms of the new coordinating committee.

b)              All business the Columbus DSA endorses, commits to, or otherwise support must directly work towards at least one of the goals & priorities identified by the chapter.

c)               The goals & priorities of the chapter can be amended using the amendment process outlined in Article IX of this document.

d)               The Engagement Committee Chair will lead the Coordinating Committee to compose a consensus-driven process to come to these Goals & Priorities as a chapter. Competing proposals will also be permitted.

VI.        Membership

A.             Definition

1.               Members of Columbus DSA will be those persons who are members in good standing of Democratic Socialists of America and who reside and/or work within the geographic area designated by the national organization to comprise this chapter.

B.              Rights

1.               Members may elect the Officers of Columbus DSA.

2.               Members may elect delegates, alternates, or representatives to governing bodies of Democratic Socialists of America.

a)               “Governing bodies of Democratic Socialists of America” is defined as any body that votes on official DSA business or represents the chapter in any official manner.

3.               Members may deliberate on and approve priorities and policies, goals and priorities for Columbus DSA.

C.              Voluntary Donations

1.               Columbus DSA may establish a system of voluntary monthly or annual donations for its members.

2.               Donations to Columbus DSA will not be a requirement for voting or for holding office.

D.             Privacy

1.               Reasonable care will be taken to protect the privacy of members’ records.

E.              Suspension and Removal of Members

1.               A policy for the suspension and/or removal of members found to be in substantial disagreement with the principles, bylaws or policies of Columbus DSA, or that consistently engage in disruptive and/or undemocratic behavior, will be established by the Coordinating Committee.

F.              Harassment & Grievance

1.               A Harassment & Grievance policy will be established by the Coordinating Committee and be made reasonably accessible to the general membership.

2.               Harassment & Grievance Officers will be appointed by the Coordinating Committee as prescribed by that policy.

3.               A Member Code of Conduct will be established by the Coordinating Committee and be made reasonably accessible to the general membership.

4.               Any changes to the harassment policy, grievance policy, or code of conduct must follow the amendment procedure as laid out in Article IX of this document.

VII.     Meetings

A.             General Meetings.

1.               The General Meeting of the members will constitute the highest decision-making body of Columbus DSA.

2.               Columbus DSA will hold General Meetings at least once every three months.

3.               The Coordinating Committee will set the agenda for General Meetings in consultation with the general membership.

4.               The agenda for General Meetings will be sent to members in advance of the meeting. Notice may be sent by electronic means, but members that have not provided an email address may be contacted via phone or mail.

5.               General Meetings may coincide with Regular Meetings.

6.               A quorum of at least sixty percent of the average attendance of the last three General Meetings will be required to convene the General Meeting.

B.              Regular Meetings

1.               Columbus DSA will hold Regular Meetings. The date, time, and location of these meetings will be set in a schedule by the Coordinating Committee.

2.               The agenda of the Regular Meetings may include, but is not limited to, announcements and reports, discussion on chapter priorities and policies, and education in democratic socialist theory and practice.

3.               The Coordinating Committee will set the schedule and agenda for Regular Meetings in consultation with the members. All schedules and agendas for Regular Meetings must also have mechanisms for input from the general membership.

C.              Special Meetings

1.               The Coordinating Committee may call a Special Meeting with advance notice of seven days when an urgent matter requires deliberation.

2.               At special meetings, members may introduce motions to suspend various sections and/or subsections of the bylaws. For any such motion to proceed, it must carry a two-thirds vote.

VIII.  Officers

A.             Definitions

1.               The Officers of Columbus DSA will consist of two Co- Chairs, a Secretary, a Treasurer, Chairs of Standing Committees, and two at-large representatives of the members.

B.              Responsibilities

1.               Every officer of Columbus DSA has the following responsibilities:

a)               Adhere to the purpose of Columbus DSA laid out in Article II of the Columbus DSA bylaws. This includes both in executing the goals & priorities and preserving the democratic nature of Columbus DSA in their appropriate capacity.

b)              Engage all members of Columbus DSA in good faith.

c)               Ensure a smooth transition of power, resources, and assets between incoming and outgoing officers.

d)               Represent their committees (if applicable) and general membership in all official business.

e)               Provide reports to the general membership regarding all official business they have been involved in at both general and regular meetings.

(1)             Officers reserve the right to withhold business that they deem to be too sensitive at a general meeting (ex. A labor action that is not ready to be made public, a harassment claim against a member, etc).

f)                Review expenditures presented to them by standing committees and working groups if they are under $100. If they are approved, a report must be made to the coordinating committee.

C.              Term of Office

1.               The term of office for all Officers will be one year from the date and time of their election or the general elections described in Article VIII of the Columbus DSA bylaws, whichever occurs first.

D.             Vacancies

1.               In the event of a vacancy in any office, the Coordinating Committee will appoint a replacement until a Special Election for that office can be held at the next General Meeting.

E.              Recall of Officers

1.               At least seven members may petition the Coordinating Committee for the recall of an Officer.

2.               The Coordinating Committee will be required to notify the officer in question.

3.               Recall will require a two-thirds vote of the next General Meeting.

4.               If requested by the petition, the Coordinating Committee must investigate the grounds alleged to remove the officer.

F.              Duties of Officers

1.               Co-Chairs

a)               The Co-Chairs commit to guiding the chapter in accomplishing the goals & priorities as defined in Article II, Section A of the Columbus DSA bylaws.

b)              The Co-Chairs commit to facilitating General Meetings, Regular Meetings, Coordinating Committee Meetings, and Special Meetings.

c)               The Co-Chairs commit to making reports to the general membership regarding Coordinating Committee business. These reports must be made at least once per quarter at the General Meetings described in Article IV, Section A of the Columbus DSA bylaws.

d)               The Co-Chairs commit to being the chairs of the Coordinating Committee, as required of all standing committees in Article VII of this document.

2.               Secretary

a)               The Secretary commits to facilitating communication and keeping records within Columbus DSA.

b)              The Secretary commits to maintaining access to all Official Accounts and all Official Correspondence.

(1)             Official Accounts include any tool Columbus DSA uses for internal and external communication. Official Accounts only include those that are either used by or used to represent Columbus DSA.
(2)             Official Correspondence includes any message (both ingoing and outgoing) that can be reasonably accessed by the public. Official Correspondence only includes messages either made to Columbus DSA as a whole or those made by a member representing Columbus DSA as a whole.

c)               The Secretary commits to taking, maintaining and distributing minutes for General Meetings, Coordinating Committee Meetings, Regular Meetings, and Special Meetings.

d)               The Secretary commits to temporarily assuming the responsibilities of the Co-Chairs as laid out in Article V Section (F)(1) of the Columbus DSA bylaws in times of absence or incapacity.

3.               Treasurer

a)               The Treasurer commits to maintaining the funds and financial records of Columbus DSA.

b)              The Treasurer commits to ensuring all Columbus DSA accounts, bookkeeping, and disclosure (if applicable) are in compliance with local, state, and federal law.

c)               The Treasurer commits to ensuring all funds as a result of Columbus DSA business are placed in the appropriate Columbus DSA bank account.

d)               The Treasurer commits to preparing an annual report outlining the cash flows of Columbus DSA and making this report available to the general membership.

e)               The Treasurer commits to preparing periodic financial reports upon request of the Coordinating Committee.

f)                The Treasurer commits to ensuring any expenditure above $100 is approved in advance by a majority vote of the Coordinating Committee before withdrawal.

(1)             Any expenditure under $100 will be approved by officers as laid out in Article V Section (B)(1) of the Columbus DSA bylaws.

4.               At-Large Representatives

a)               At-Large Representatives commit to representing the general membership at Columbus DSA Coordinating Committee Meetings.

5.               Standing Committee Chairs

a)               Standing Committee Chairs commit to guiding all standing committees under their authority and ensuring all committee business works towards the goals & priorities as defined in Article II of the Columbus DSA bylaws.

b)              Standing Committee Chairs commit to upholding the democratic ideals of Columbus DSA and act as a representative for their committees and working groups in all Coordinating Committee business.

c)               Standing Committee Chairs commit to providing reports on committee work in addition to the reports required of all officers in Article V Section (B)(1) in this document.

d)               Standing Committee Chairs commit to providing any committee-specific information requested of them by the Coordinating Committee.

G.             Additional Duties

1.               The Coordinating Committee reserves the right to assign additional duties to any of the aforementioned officers so long as the officer consents, said duty does not overlap with another office, and said duty do not conflict with any goal, priority, policy, or bylaw of Columbus DSA.

IX.        Coordinating Committee

A.             Composition 

1.               The Coordinating Committee will be composed of the Officers of Columbus DSA pursuant to Article V Section A of this document.

B.              Duties 

1.               The Coordinating Committee will:

a)               Coordinate the activities of Columbus DSA to ensure all projects work toward the goals & priorities of the chapter as defined in Article IIof the Columbus DSA bylaws.

b)              Receive reports from the Officers, Standing Committees, Working Groups, Study Groups, or Caucuses, and advise thereon. 

c)               Act on behalf of the members of Columbus DSA between General Meetings.

d)               Notify the general membership of all proposed items that will be voted upon at any general meeting. 

e)               Review any expenditure over $100 of any member, working group, caucus, or committee.

f)                Be charged with drafting any policies that seek to detail any procedure necessary to enact any section of the bylaws (ex. How a member should draft a proposal to create a standing committee, how to request a reimbursement for an official expense, etc).

(1)             Any policy drafted in this fashion must be made reasonably accessible to the general membership.
(2)             Any policy drafted in this fashion may be appealed by the general membership in the manner pursuant to Article IX Section C of the Columbus DSA bylaws.

C.              Meetings 

1.               Meetings of the Coordinating Committee will be held at the call of either of the Co-Chairs and may be conducted in person, via teleconference, or other electronic means.

2.               The Coordinating Committee is required to convene no less than once every three months, as defined in Article IV Section (A)(2)(a).

3.               Members of Columbus DSA will be given reasonable advance notice of Coordinating Committee Meetings.

4.               Coordinating Committee meetings will be open for general membership to attend.

a)               The Coordinating Committee reserves the right to hold an executive session closed to the public. If this is to occur, a notice must be provided to the general membership with a reasoning as to why.

D.             Voting

1.               Coordinating Committee members are the only chapter members that can vote on Coordinating Committee business.

2.               A quorum of at least fifty percent plus one of the Coordinating Committee will be required to hold any vote at a Coordinating Committee meeting.

3.               Voting will only occur at coordinating committee meetings with quorum. The Coordinating Committee reserves the right to waive this rule in the following scenarios:

a)               Motions that require consideration before the next meeting due to the timing of other events.

b)              Motions that are part of a rapid response.

c)               Motions that are in response to any event that can be reasonably described as an “emergency” (ex. Injury of a DSA member, act of god, etc.).

4.               If the Coordinating Committee moves to waive Article VI Section (D)(3), record of the vote must be stated in the minutes of the next Coordinating Committee Meeting .

X.            Committees, Groups, and Caucuses

A.              General Statement

1.               To accomplish the goals & priorities stated by the chapter, all work will either be delegated to or developed in various committees and working groups.

B.              Standing Committees

1.                Definition

a)               Standing Committees are tasked with work fundamental to Columbus DSA and are subject to review by the Coordinating Committee..

b)              There are six standing committees:

(1)             Communications
(2)             Community
(3)             Coordinating
(4)             Education
(5)             Engagement
(6)             Housing

2.               Creation

a)               All Standing Committees must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the membership at a general meeting .

b)               To request a vote, a proposal must be filed with the Secretary in the same manner as an amendment to the bylaws, which can be found in Article IX of the Columbus DSA bylaws. The only exception is that a standing committee requires seven members to support the proposal.

c)               The six Standing Committees listed at the original drafting of this document (Communications, Community, Coordinating, Education, Engagement, and Housing) are not required to adhere to this section, as they have already been approved before the drafting of Article VII. However, they will be requested to provide a proposal within 30 days of the acceptance of these bylaws.

3.               Representation

a)               All Standing Committees will have a Committee Chair. The exception is the Coordinating Committee, which has two (the two co-Chairs).

b)              All Standing Committee Chairs are officers as described in Article V of this document. The Standing Committee Chairs’ duties are described in Article V Sections B and (F)(5) of this document.

c)               For a new Standing Committee chair, the proposal will state the chair who will represent the committee until the next general election.

d)               Standing Committees may not organize or operate in a way that brings them in conflict with the National Bylaws, Columbus DSA Bylaws or Columbus DSA Code of Conduct.

4.               Termination

a)               The procedure to terminate a Standing Committee is identical to the creation of one as identified in Article VII Sections (B)(2)(a) and (B)(2)(b).

b)              Although exempt from the creation section of the Columbus DSA bylaws, any of the six committees identified in Article VII Section (B)(1)(b) may be terminated.

(1)             In the event that the Coordinating Committee is dissolved, elections for all positions must immediately be called.

C.              Working Groups

1.               Definition

a)               Working Groups organize around specific issues or projects and are subject to review by the Coordinating Committee..

2.               Creation

a)               Working Groups must be approved by a majority vote at a Coordinating Committee meeting

b)              To request a vote, a proposal must be filed with the Secretary. Any proposal must be supported by five members and be filed seven days before the next Coordinating Committee Meeting.

3.               Representation

a)               Working Groups are free to organize and operate in any way that they see fit provided they do not do so in conflict with the National Bylaws, Columbus DSA Bylaws or Columbus DSA Code of Conduct

b)              The organizational structure of a Working Group will be included in the proposal filed with the Secretary.

4.               Termination

a)               A Working Group may either be terminated by the group itself or the Coordinating Committee.

b)              If called by the Working Group, the motion can be introduced and passed at a Working Group meeting. The motion must carry with a two-thirds vote of all Working Group members. If passed, the Secretary must be notified.

(1)             Any Working Group reserves the right to reclassify itself as a Standing Committee. If it chooses to do so, it may follow the procedure laid out in Article VII Section (B)(2). 
(2)             If approved by the general membership, the working group is automatically disbanded and reformed into a standing committee. If the motion fails, the working group remains a working group.

c)               If called by the Coordinating Committee, the motion must be held at a Coordinating Committee Meeting.  

(1)             Once called, the motion only passes with a two-thirds vote of the Coordinating Committee.
(2)             Once passed, the motion may be appealed at the next General Meeting. The Coordinating Committee will be required to include the appeal in the meeting agenda. Any appeal voted upon by the general membership passes with a simple majority.

D.             Study Groups & Caucuses

1.               Definitions

a)               Study Groups are groups developed to research projects that fall outside of the confines of any established standing committee or working group and are subject to review by the Coordinating Committee.

b)              Caucuses are informal groups developed around shared cultural signifiers or identities (ex. Region, race, religion, ideology,  etc.) and are subject to review by the Coordinating Committee.

2.               Creation

a)               Study Groups & Caucuses must be approved by a majority vote at a Coordinating Committee meeting.

b)              To request a vote, a proposal must be filed with the Secretary. Any proposal must be supported by three members and be filed 7 days before the next Coordinating Committee Meeting.

3.               Representation

a)               Study Groups & Caucuses are free to organize and operate in any way that they see fit, provided they do not do so in conflict with the National Bylaws, Columbus DSA Bylaws, or Columbus DSA Code of Conduct.

b)              The organizational structure of Study Groups & Caucuses will be included in the proposal filed with the Secretary.

4.               Termination

a)               A Study Group or Caucus may be terminated in one of three ways: by the group itself, by the Coordinating Committee, or automatically.

(1)             A Motion to Terminate may be introduced and passed at a Study Group or Caucus meeting. The motion must carry with a two-thirds vote of all members. If passed, the Secretary must be notified.
(2)             A Motion to Terminate may be introduced and passed at a Coordinating Committee Meeting. The motion must carry with a majority vote of Coordinating Committee Members.
(3)             A Study Group or Caucus may be temporary in nature and automatically terminate once its objectives are accomplished. To terminate automatically, the Study Group or Caucus must state clearly the conditions for termination in its initial proposal. Upon termination, notification must be filed with the Secretary.

b)              b) If the study group or caucus wishes to take on responsibilities that need support from the entire chapter, they can move to terminate and reform as a working group. The creation of a working group is outlined in Article VII Subsection (C)(2) of the Columbus DSA bylaws.

XI.          Elections

A.             Annual Chapter Elections

1.               Definition

a)               The annual chapter elections are scheduled for the April general meeting every year.

b)              At the annual chapter elections, all Officer positions described in Article V of this document will be elected.

2.               Structure

a)               The Coordinating Committee is charged with creating the process for both accepting nominations and the process to administer annual elections as referenced in Article VI Section (B)(1)(f) of the Columbus DSA bylaws.

B.              Special Elections

1.               Definition 

a)               Special Elections may be called whenever there is a vacancy on the Coordinating Committee caused by resignation or recall.

b)              Special Elections are automatically triggered if a Coordinating Committee member has two consecutive unexcused absences to Coordinating Committee meetings.

2.               Structure

a)               The Coordinating Committee is charged with creating for process for both accepting nominations and administering special elections as referenced in Article VI Section (B)(1)(f) of the Columbus DSA bylaws.

C.              Delegate Elections

1.               Definition

a)               A delegate election will be held preceding each DSA National Convention’s delegate registration deadline by a period of no less than 30 days.

b)              A fixed number of delegates will be elected as apportioned by the NPC.

2.               Structure

a)               The Coordinating Committee is charged with creating the process for both accepting nominations for and administering delegate elections as referenced in Article VI Section (B)(1)(f) of the Columbus DSA bylaws.

D.             Voting

1.               All elections will take place at a General Meeting.

2.               Each member of Columbus DSA in good standing will have one vote.

3.               Any member that cannot attend an election in person may submit an absentee ballot via electronic means.

4.               Absentee ballots will not be accepted after 12:00 PM on the scheduled day of the election.

XII.     Amendments, Resolutions & Policy Changes

A.             Definitions

1.               An Amendment is any change to either the Columbus DSA Bylaws or the Goals & Priorities of the chapter.

2.               A Resolution is any written motion proposed by the membership that does not change the Columbus DSA Bylaws or Goals & Priorities of the chapter.

3.               A Policy Change is any practice established by the Coordinating Committee as described under Article V1 Section (B)(1)(f) of the Columbus DSA Bylaws.

4.               An Amendment or Resolution is “in order” if:

a)               It does not violate any local, state, or federal law.

b)              It does not violate the Columbus DSA Bylaws or any National DSA Bylaws or Passed Resolutions.

B.              Amendments & Resolutions

1.               Members may propose Amendments or Resolutions by petition, endorsed no less than seven members, and submitted to the Secretary no less than seven days in advance of the next Coordinating Committee Meeting

a)               The Coordinating Committee is charged with ensuring the Amendment or Resolution is “in order”.

2.               If the Amendment or Resolution is “in order”, the Co-Chairs will open the floor to discuss the item.

3.               If the Amendment or Resolution is not “in order”, the Coordinating Committee will table the item with instruction as to how the item can be brought “in order”.

4.               The Secretary will provide the members a report on any Amendments and Resolutions brought before the Coordinating Committee immediately after the Coordinating Committee Meeting adjourns

5.               The Coordinating Committee will be required to include the proposed Amendments and Resolutions in the agenda of the next General Meeting, and will advise the petitioners in good faith.

6.               Approval of any Amendment or Resolution will require a two-thirds vote of the next General Meeting.

C.              Policy Changes

1.               Policy Changes must be passed with a simple majority vote of the Coordinating Committee.

2.               Policy Changes may be appealed by the general membership. If a member wishes to contest a Policy Change, they must use the amendment procedure as laid out in Article IX Section B of the Columbus DSA bylaws.

XIII. Rules

A.             Action Out of Order

1.               Any action taken by an officer or member of Columbus DSA in contravention of these Bylaws is null and void.

B.              Prohibited Activity

1.               Columbus DSA will not engage in any activity prohibited by Resolutions adopted by the Democratic Socialists of America National Convention or the National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America.

 

Please note that the information listed on this page is listed for general reference only and may, at times, be outdated. Official Bylaws may be obtained by contacting the chapter Secretary.