Heart of LA Democratic Club Constitution and Bylaws
ARTICLE I - NAME The name of this organization shall be the: Heart of L.A. Democratic Club.
ARTICLE II - PURPOSE The Heart of L.A. Democratic Club (hereinafter called the Club) shall work to advance the goals of the Democratic Party (hereinafter called the Party), through public policy and political issue analysis, education, fundraising, recruitment, coordination with other Democratic groups, and other activities to benefit the Party. We formed the Heart of L.A. Democratic Club in recognition of the growing awareness within the Democratic Party that women should be fully and equally represented in local, state, and national politics. Heart of L.A. Democratic Club is open to all Democrats who subscribe to our goals and purposes regardless of their gender identity.
The mission of the Heart of L.A. Democratic Club shall be to make the Democratic Party and its elected officials responsive to, and responsible for, the needs of all people, particularly, though not exclusively, women in our community.
We believe that we have a responsibility to ourselves and to society in general to affirm the role of women in the political arena. We are conscientious activists committed to stimulating advancement of feminist ideals through a combination of social fellowship, community involvement, and political engagement.
We seek to eliminate discrimination based upon gender, gender identity, genderexpression, sexual orientation, race, age, religion and/or disability, whether real or perceived. We promote freedom of choice and human and civil rights; and further economic and social justice for all people. We support public policy to further these goals.
We will encourage and support feminist candidates for public office who are competent and qualified, and who are registered to vote as members of the Democratic Party. We will engage and empower feminists in the Democratic Party through volunteerism, fundraising and outreach. We believe that this process will sculpt future leaders who are committed to feminist principles, thereby positively influencing our community, state and nation.
ARTICLE III ± AFFILIATION The Club is officially chartered with the Los Angeles County Democratic Party (hereinafter called the LACDP) and shall apply for re-charter every year as required by the LACDP. As a chartered and affiliated club of the LACDP, the Club shall comply with the bylaws of the LACDP and the California Democratic Party (hereinafter called CDP), as they apply to fully chartered affiliates.
ARTICLE IV ± MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS Qualifications: Any individual qualifies for Club membership if:
The individual is a registered Democrat; or
The individual is ineligible to vote (due to underage, non-residency, orother legal impediment) but pledges to register as a Democrat when eligibility is attained; and
Supports the purpose of the Club as stated in Article II, above.
Members in Good Standing: A qualified individual shall be considered an active member in good standing if the member has paid all club dues. All members in good standing agree to abide by these bylaws, and the code of conduct of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and the California Democratic Party, including each entity’s anti-harassment policies. This organization does not require or use any test of membership or oath of loyalty which has the effect of requiring prospective or current members to acquiesce in, condone or support discrimination on the grounds of race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, physical ability, mental ability, sex, age, religion, ethnic identity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, medical condition, or economic status. The membership list of this Club consists of the name, address, phone number, email address, and political and financial data (e.g. – districts, contributions, and dues status) pertaining to those persons who are, or have been members of the club. Only officers of the club shall possess copies of the membership list. Other members of the club may have access to the list with the concurrence of an Executive Board member. This Club shall comply with the reporting requirements of the Democratic Party and/or any other affiliating organization. All persons provided with access to the membership list are to make use of it for authorized purposes only.
ARTICLE V ± DUES Dues for each calendar year shall be set by the Executive Board. The Executive Board shall also have the right to establish a rate of no less than $250 for a lifetime membership. Membership is effective upon receipt of dues. Annual memberships shall be valid through December 31 of the calendar year during which the member joined and paid dues. Payment of dues by renewal shall occur by January 31 of each calendar year to remain in good standing. Dues paid in the last quarter of the calendar year shall be applied through the end of the following calendar year. Payment of dues shall not be obligatory to anyone whom it constitutes an economic hardship. After due consideration with approval of the Executive Board, waivers may be available to alleviate financial burdens for members experiencing hardship.
No more than five (5) memberships may be purchased using the same source of funds during any 12-month period. ARTICLE VI - MEETINGS Meetings
Regular meetings shall be held monthly, on such day as the Executive Board may determine from time to time.
Special meetings may be called by the President at any time, on notice as specified below. In the absence of the President, any two Executive Board members may call a special meeting, on notice as specified below.
A quorum for any official meeting of the Club shall be 10 members in good standing and a majority of the elected officers.
Unless otherwise specified in these Bylaws, the Club may adopt events and conduct regular business with a majority vote (50 percent plus one member) of the members present at any meeting.
Notice of Meetings
Notice of regular and special meetings shall be given at least 7 days in advance to all active members, by one or more of the following: (1) in writing, via U.S. mail; (2) in writing, via e-mail; (3) by telephone or text message.
Notice of the meeting shall be deemed sufficient by any manner specified above if such notice includes the date, time and place of the meeting and is calculated to be received at least seven (7) days prior to the meeting.
Rules for Meetings ± The Club shall use the 12th Edition of Robert’s Rules of OrderNewly Revised to govern parliamentary procedure at all official meetings of the organization, except as specifically noted in these By-Laws.
ARTICLE VII ± CLUB ENDORSEMENTS General Provisions
The Club shall not endorse more candidates for an office than the number to be elected for that office.
The Club shall make no form of endorsement and shall not support in any way a candidate who is not a Democrat.
Candidate Endorsement Process
The Vice President - Elections oversees the candidate endorsement process.
Candidate endorsements may take place if/when either: (1) endorsement is requested in writing by a candidate for an office (i.e. via webform), or (2) when endorsement is requested in writing by a member of the Club in good standing.
The Vice President - Elections, in consultation with the President, Vice President - Organizing, and the Political Committee, shall determine whether to consider each election where an endorsement has been requested.
Endorsement Process (Los Angeles County races):
In all elections where an endorsement procedure is instituted, the Vice President - Elections, in consultation with the President and Vice President - Organizing will determine which registered Democratic candidates for that office are viable. Said candidates shall be notified of their right to be considered for endorsement, and the date, time and place of all relevant meetings regarding endorsement recommendations and decisions.
Endorsement Recommendation Panel
In consultation with the Board, the Vice President - Elections shall appoint an Endorsement Recommendation Panel for each election in which the Club intends to make an endorsement.
Selection considerations for the Endorsement Recommendation Panel shall include, but are not limited to: impartiality in the race in question, and contributions to and involvement in the Club. Consideration will also be given to panelists’ connection to the district and the overall diversity of the Endorsement Recommendation Panel.
Each member of the Endorsement Recommendation Panel in any given election shall commit to reviewing materials provided by the candidate(s), and contributing to questions generated in advance of the interviews and post-interview discussion and deliberations.
In cases where an incumbent is running without viable Democratic competition, the Vice President - Elections may recommend endorsement without following the formal process set forth above, with consent of the majority of the Executive Board.
Candidate Endorsement Process (elections entirely outside of Los Angeles County): the Executive Board may endorse a candidate by majority vote.
Membership Voting Process
Only members in good standing and who have been members for at least 56 continuous days are eligible to vote in the endorsement process.
Any voting member may request a secret ballot at any stage in the proceedings.
“No endorsement” shall be an option on each ballot and shall be counted toward the total. A 60% majority is required for endorsement. If no candidate receives 60%, succeeding ballots shall drop the name or names of candidates receiving less than 20% of the vote. Where there is no candidate who has less than 20% of the vote, or two ballots have been taken, it shall be deemed that this organization has reached “no consensus.”
The Club shall not provide direct support to any candidate who has not received the Club’s endorsement.
Selection of Representatives to California Democratic Party (CDP) Pre-Endorsing Conferences:
1. Club representatives shall be allocated as follows: one representative, resident in the Assembly District and duly registered as a member of the California Democratic Party (CDP), for each full (not a fraction thereof) 20 members in good standing registered to vote in the Assembly District who were listed on the roster submitted to Los Angeles County Democratic Party and to the appropriate Regional Director of the CDP by the appropriate deadline as prescribed by the CDP.
2. For purposes of this Section: a. Only members in good standing as of the deadline prescribed by the CDP shall be included on the roster; b. “Member in Good Standing” shall mean a member whose dues are current, or have been waived due to economic hardship; c. The status of such members shall be certified by the Club’s President, Secretary, or Treasurer; and, d. The Club’s representatives to any particular pre-endorsing conference be from the roster described above and that the overall list of representatives to all conferences reflect the diversity of the district(s) in question, to the extent possible.
3. Said representatives shall be selected by majority vote of the Executive Board, a quorum being present. The Executive Board shall not select one of its own members unless it first determines that no other viable option is available. If such a determination is made, they shall inform the membership of their decision, and the reasons therefor, at the next General Membership meeting.
4. This Club shall inform its membership of the process for selection as a Representative to the CDP Pre-Endorsing Conferences, via both posting to the club website and email to those members who have provided email addresses for notice purposes. Members interested in being considered for Representative positions shall self-identify to the President or Vice President - Elections on or before a deadline set by the Executive Board.
5. In order for a member’s name to be submitted as one of This Club’s representatives to CDP Pre-Endorsing Conferences, the member must submit a signed written declaration of intent to the Selection Committee declaring their intent to support This Club’s endorsed candidates at the Pre-Endorsing Conferences by voting for them thereat.
ARTICLE VIII ± EXECUTIVE BOARD The Executive Board is the governing entity of the Heart of L.A. Democratic Club, comprised of the officers set forth below and duly elected pursuant to the provisions described in this section. Executive Board members shall abide by the provisions of the Commitment Statement as adopted by the Executive Board. The Executive Board shall meet, when called for by the President, for the purpose of formulating plans, policies and overall direction of the club. Quorum for all Executive Board meetings shall be a majority of the Executive Board. A Special meeting of the Executive Board can be called by any two members of the Executive Board.
The Executive Board shall consist of the President, Vice President - Programs, Vice President - Membership, Vice President - Elections, Vice President - Legislative Advocacy, Vice President - Organizing, Vice President - Community Outreach, Vice President - Communications, Secretary, Controller/Treasurer, and At-Large Members as set forth below. They shall be elected in January to serve two-year terms which run from February 1 to January 31.
Conflict of Interest: Executive Board members are the leaders and the “face” of the Heart of L.A. Democratic Club within the Democratic party, and vis-à-vis the public. As such, Executive Board members are expected to actively avoid situations in which there is an actual or apparent conflict of interest between themselves and the Club. Thus:
The President, Vice President - Elections, Vice President - Organizing, Vice President - Legislative Advocacy and Vice President - Communications may not serve on a board or other governing entity of any other LACDP-chartered Democratic Club. Should such a situation arise where one of these members is elected or appointed to such an entity, the member shall resign their position either from this Board or the other entity.
Executive Board members are discouraged from providing personal endorsements or significant financial support to Democratic candidates for political office, where (1) there is significant Democratic competition for the office in question; (2) the Club has not yet endorsed a candidate, and (3) the Club expects that it will take up the race for endorsement
Executive Board members who have personally endorsed and/or provided significant financial support to a candidate before the Club takes up the candidate’s election for endorsement shall not be eligible to participate in an Endorsement Recommendation Panel. The Executive Board member remains free to cast their vote at the general membership meeting for the candidate of their choice.
Notwithstanding the above, Executive Board members are encouraged to become dues-paying members of other LACDP-chartered Democratic clubs, and participate in their activities when they do not conflict with the activities of the Club.
Election of Officers
Any member interested in serving as an officer shall submit his/her name to the Secretary and Vice President - Membership on or before December 15, to be placed on the ballot for election.
Election of officers shall occur at the January meeting.
The Vice President - Membership for the prior calendar year shall preside over the election.
Ballots shall be distributed to all members in good standing. In uncontested races, at the option of the presider, the candidate may be elected by voice vote.
No individual may hold more than one Executive Board office simultaneously.
Candidates for President shall be a member in good standing and must have been an active member of the Club for at least one year before standing for election.
Candidates for all other offices shall be members in good standing and must have been an active member of the Club for at least 6 months before standing for election.
The Controller/Treasurer shall avail themselves of training provided by the CDP, the LACDP or other qualified entity.
Duties of Officers
Principal officer and spokesperson of the Club
Responsible for the overall direction of the Club’s activities
Sets yearly goals and projects
Presides over all general meetings as well as Executive Board meetings
Works hand-in-hand with each of the Vice Presidents of the Club to ensure that each has sufficient support and resources to ensure success in their missions
Responsible for appointing a professional Treasurer, with the consent of the Executive Board
May convene special committees as necessary to the functioning of the Club
Appoints a Parliamentarian
Ensures charter with LACDP is renewed on a yearly basis.
2. Vice President - Programs
Presides over meetings when the President is absent, and in the event of a vacancy in the office of the President or the absence or temporary disability of the President, shall exercise all powers of the President
Secures all meeting locations for the Club
Responsible for preparing an agenda for each meeting, in consultation with the President and the Chair of each Standing Committee, and ensuring sufficient copies for the meeting
Primarily responsible for securing speakers and other programming for meetings
Serves as Chair of the Programming Committee
3. Vice President - Elections
Responsible for the conduct, implementation, and execution of the Club’s candidate endorsement process
Serves as liaison to the campaigns of candidates for office
Serves as Chair of the Candidate Endorsement Committee
4. Vice President - Legislative Advocacy
Responsible for overseeing the Club’s endorsement of legislation and ballot measures, including the development of official statements and action items to engage Club members
Serves as liaison to electeds for the purpose of establishing partnerships on policy initiatives
Works with the Board to build advocacy skills and capacity among the membership
Serves as Chair of the Legislative Advocacy Committee
5. Vice President - Organizing
Responsible for the conduct, implementation, and execution of the Club’s political organizing activities (e.g. canvassing, phone banking, other activities on behalf of candidates for office and legislative initiatives supported by the Club)
Liaises with candidates and their campaigns with respect to conducting the aforementioned activities
Responsible for coordinating volunteer activities with other Democratic Clubs and organizations
Serves as Chair of the Organizing Committee
6. Vice President - Membership
Primarily responsible for maintaining and keeping current the list of members of the Club
Leads efforts to recruit new members to the Club, and handles membership inquiries
Actively seeks to engage members from communities that are historically underrepresented
Serves as Chair of the Membership Committee
7. Vice President - Community Outreach
Responsible for community outreach activities of the Club, including visibility and participation in community functions
Serves as liaison to other complementary local groups and organizations (e.g. Indivisible, Organizing For America (OFA), young and college democrats clubs, etc.)
Oversees fundraising efforts for Club operations
Serves as Chair of the Community Outreach Committee
8. Vice President - Communications
Ensures proper notice is provided to members relating to meetings and other critical Club information
Responsible for issuing press releases and other communications with non-members and other organizations
Ensures the Club website is up-to-date and operational
Oversees social media (e.g. Facebook group, Twitter account, Instagram, etc.) for the Club
Primarily responsible for managing email communications
Handles procurement of club materials - e.g. “swag” orders, signs, banners, etc.
Serves as Chair of the Communications Committee
Records minutes of Club meetings
Coordinates the logistics for membership meetings
Maintains records of the Club, including meeting minutes, notices of meetings, and formal communications
Works with the Vice President - Membership to ensure that membership list is current, including contact information for all members
Responsible for ensuring the confidentiality and security of all records and membership lists
Responsible for all Finances of the Club
Primarily responsible for managing Post Office Box
Receives and disburses all funds of the club under the direction of the Executive Board
Obtains written reports from all individuals responsible for fundraising activities within 48 hours of every reportable event
Reports to the membership the current financial status of the Club at each monthly membership meeting
Responsible for the preparation and timely filing of all financial reports as required by law in conjunction with the professional treasurer, if any.
Responsible for maintaining all financial records, and making such records available to any officer for review upon reasonable notice
11. At-Large Members
Up to five members of the Club may be elected as “At-Large” Executive Board members. The number of At-Large Executive Board members for any given term shall be set by the existing Executive Board by December 15 before the next regular January election.
At-Large Executive Board members are expected to fulfill the same general participatory requirements as the officers
Additionally, At-Large Executive Board members commit to design, lead, and oversee the execution of at least one major project or event per year
In the event of a vacancy on the Executive Board, the remaining Executive Board members shall fill the vacancy by appointment and majority vote, subject to the qualifications listed at the beginning of this section.
ARTICLE IX ± GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES AND REMOVAL OF MEMBERS Any member of the Club (or non-member, with a member co-signing) may initiate a grievance relative to another member of the Club. A grievance may be brought based upon behavior that violates the mission of the Club as set forth in these Bylaws, or violates the code of conduct of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party or the California Democratic Party, including each entity’s anti-harassment policies. The Club’s grievance procedures can be found in Appendix A.
Members who are removed from membership are not eligible to re-join the Club for a period of five years.
ARTICLE X ± FINANCES The Controller/Treasurer shall maintain all financial records of the club, be responsible for bank accounts, ensure FPPC/FEC financial reports are submitted on time, and will provide a monthly financial report at club meetings. There shall be three (3) signatories of the Executive Board required to set up a bank account. The Executive Board shall decide which bank to use. Controller/Treasurer shall not issue any check in excess of $250 without prior written approval of the Executive Board and shall not enter into any financial agreement for amounts of more than $250 without written Executive Board approval.
ARTICLE XI ± AMENDMENTS These bylaws may be amended by two-thirds (2/3) vote at a general membership meeting after the proposed amendment has been presented to the membership at a preceding meeting.
Appendix A: Grievance Procedures
A. Grievance Procedure:The Heart of LA Democratic Club seeks to initially employ the principles of Restorative Justice in handling grievances. Prior to processing a complaint, the Grievance Committee shall, if it determines the matter to be amenable to these principles, make attempts to bring the parties together in a safe space to address situations face-to-face in order to repair harm, promote healing and learning, and build community. If such efforts are determined to be inappropriate to the situation presented, or if such efforts are unsuccessful, the Grievance Procedures described below shall be undertaken. The timelines described below shall be tolled until engagement in the Restorative Justice Process is concluded or determined to be inappropriate or unsuccessful. 1. Grievance Committee: a. A Grievance Committee consisting of 5 members shall be appointed by the Executive Board of the Club within twenty-eight (28) days of the adoption of this procedure and thereafter 28 days after the semi-annual election of the Club’s officers. b. No member of the Grievance Committee can be a member of the Executive Board . Alternate members will be appointed by the Executive Board in the event a member of the Grievance Committee is no longer able to serve or has a conflict of interest. c. The Grievance Committee may meet in person,Video conference, or by telephone. d. Meetings of the Grievance Committee fall under the “Member Disciplinary and Other Proceedings Involving the Right to Privacy” exception to the “Policy Statement By the Rules Committee of the California Democratic Party on the Open Meeting Rule” and therefore need not be public. e. The Grievance Committee shall meet and elect its own chair within fourteen (14) days of the appointment of its full membership. 2. Grounds and Jurisdiction: The sole grounds for filing a grievance shall be an alleged: a. Violation of Local, State, or Federal laws or regulations having a direct impact on: 1) This Club, or, 2) the complainant b. Violation of these bylaws, including the stated mission of the Club, the Code of Conduct and/or the Policy Against Harassment and Workplace Violence attached as appendices hereto. 3. Standing: A complainant must be a member of This Club at the time of the grievance, in good standing, and be directly and adversely affected by the actions or conduct of another member of This Club, in order to file a grievance. A complainant who is not a member of the Club may also file a grievance, if they have a co-sponsor of the grievance who is a member of the Club. 4. Remedy: If a grievance is found to have merit, the Grievance Committee is empowered to determine a remedy up to and including removal from membership. : 5. Initiating a Grievance: A grievance may be initiated by filing a timely Written Statement with the Secretary of This Club (or President, if the Secretary is the accused) and the Chair of the Grievance Committee: a. Setting forth, with specificity, the text of the club bylaws, Code of Conduct, Policy Against Harassment and Workplace Violence, regulation, and/or law alleged to have been violated, b. A statement of facts supporting the allegation, and, c. The requested remedy. 6. Initial Determinations and Actions: a. Within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the Written Statement, the Grievance Committee shall make an initial determination, based solely upon the Written Statement, subject to change after rebuttal evidence is received, of standing, jurisdiction, and actionable allegations. b. If it is initially determined that standing, jurisdiction, and actionable allegations are present, the Chair of the Grievance Committee shall contact the accused within seven (7) days of the determination and advise as to the allegation(s), without disclosure of the identity of the complainant, and make an offer of the remedy requested by the complainant. c. If rejected by the accused, the Grievance Committee shall provide the accused with a copy of the complaint, and the identity of the complainant, and request a written response, after instructing the accused not to contact the complainant, during the duration of this process. d. If, in the determination of the Grievance Committee, the accusation involves a potential violation of criminal law, the complainant shall be advised to contact the appropriate Law Enforcement Agency. This process will continue parallel to any Law Enforcement action at the discretion of the Grievance Committee. e. The Grievance Committee may, by a two-thirds vote, also make an initial determination, based upon the Written Statement, that the situation warrants temporarily suspending the membership rights of the accused, pending further action. 7. Confidentiality: The identity of all persons involved in the process, and all information regarding the allegation(s), shall be treated with confidentiality, and protected to the extent possible and will, except as otherwise specified herein. 8. Hearings: a. Hearings are only required if the remedy sought is removal from office, and/or removal from membership in This Club. b. Despite the above, after review of the Written Response, any two (2) members of the Grievance Committee may determine that a hearing shall be held, regardless of the remedy sought. c. The determination of whether or not to hold a hearing shall be made within seven (7) days of receipt of the Written Response. d. If a hearing is determined to be required, it shall be held within fourteen (14) days of that determination. 9. Orders: a. Orders of the Grievance Committee shall be made within fourteen (14) days of the determination that no Hearing is required, or, fourteen (14) days of the conclusion of any Hearing. b. The Grievance Committee may, by majority vote, issue any admonishment, temporary suspension of rights, or dismissal of the Complaint. c. The Grievance Committee may by a two-thirds (2/3rds) vote, concurred in by a majority vote of the Executive Board, remove an accused from office, and/or membership in This Club. d. If the matter did not proceed to hearing, the Grievance Committee may only impose a remedy equal to, or lesser than, the remedy sought by the complainant. e. If the matter proceeded to hearing, the Grievance Committee may impose any remedy set forth herein. f. At any stage of this process the Grievance Committee may issue an Order Extending Time of any deadline within this process. g. If no remedy is imposed within fourteen (14) days of the determination that no Hearing is required, or, fourteen (14) days of the conclusion of any Hearing, the complaint shall be deemed dismissed, unless time has been extended. h. All Orders shall be sent to the accused by first class mail, and, if an email is on file with This Club, by email. i. A written decision shall be rendered at the conclusion of the Process, setting forth the allegations made, facts determined, and remedy imposed, if any, and shall be sent to the complainant, and the member who is the subject of the Written Statement. j. Proof of the date and manner of delivery of any notices required under this Article shall be maintained. 10. Appeals: a. The accused may, within fourteen (14) days of the mailing of the Order(s), appeal any Suspension of Rights, or Removal from office or membership, to the Executive Board, which shall hear the matter at its next regularly scheduled meeting for which due notice can be given. b. Admonishments and Dismissals of Complaints are not subject to appeal.