As amended effective January 1, 2019
Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America (hereinafter “MDCDSA”) is a local chapter of the national organization Democratic Socialists of America.
Any person who pays dues to Democratic Socialists of America and who lives in, works in, or is otherwise able to attend meetings in the jurisdiction of MDCDSA as defined by the national organization, is not a member of any other chapter of DSA, and who supports the mission and values of the chapter shall be a member of the chapter. Members are entitled to participate in any campaigns, committees, and groups organized within the MDCDSA, except as otherwise set forth herein. Furthermore, any member in good standing may hold an elected or appointed position within MDCDSA.
Meetings of the Members
Public meetings of the members shall be held on a regular basis, at least once a month, and at a regularly scheduled time and place, unless determined otherwise by the members. The meeting shall be run according to the adopted parliamentary authority and other procedures approved by the members. A meeting of the members shall be defined as a General Body Meeting or a Local Convention. The General Body Membership shall convene in a meeting of the members at least once a month. In the absence of a Local Convention, the members present and assembled at a General Body Meeting represent the General Body Membership and are the highest decision-making authority in the organization. The General Body Membership shall allow for the democratic introduction of proposals through a resolution process. Resolutions can be introduced by any member at a General Body Meeting (see section, titled “Resolutions).
The Steering Committee
By majority vote of the Committee or petition of 5 percent of the Membership, may call a Special Meeting on at least seven days’ notice when an urgent and important matter requires deliberation. No matters other than those listed in the meeting notice may be brought to or raised from the floor at a Special Meeting. Voting may be conducted at a Special Meeting on those matters listed in the meeting notice.
The Steering Committee may call additional chapter-wide Informational Meetings for a variety of reasons but at which voting business will not be conducted and policies will not be set. For the purposes of these bylaws, chapter-wide Informational Meetings should not be considered General Body Meetings.
Urgent matters that would regularly require a GBM vote may be voted on by the Steering Committee and, if adopted, be put to a ratification vote by a majority or two-thirds vote as the bylaws require, at the next voting meeting.
All members shall be enfranchised and have the right to vote on all proceedings brought before the general body. Voting,” in the context of the above sections, shall refer to synchronous or asynchronous voting, in-person or remotely, pursuant to these bylaws.
MDC DSA shall offer absentee voting on any measure which is to be considered by a vote of a general body meeting of a members of MDCDSA (each such measure, a “Proposal”). For any Proposal, there shall be at least one in-person meeting of the members for oral discussion and debate of the issue. Prior to the day of the in-person meeting of the members, there shall also be an online discussion period of at least three days. Absentee voting shall open for three days immediately following the in-person meeting of the members, during which time online discussion shall be ongoing.
In order to be eligible for absentee voting, members must have joined DSA more than 30 days prior to the in-person meeting of the members or have attended the relevant in-person meeting of the members. This restriction does not apply to voting in person.
A Credentials Committee, a Sub-Committee of the Administrative Committee, shall be responsible for developing an effective, accessible, and secure method for online discussion and absentee voting. The identity of the member requesting an absentee ballot shall be securely authenticated at the time the ballot is issued. Summaries of the online and in person discussions and access to the complete records of these discussions shall be made available on the same interface as the absentee ballot. The Administrative Committee shall be responsible for the creation, administration, and collection of absentee ballots as well as informing the Secretary of the names of absentee voters and the results.
Proposals & Amendments
Proposals must be submitted and distributed no later than one day in advance of the period of online discussion. Amendments to Proposals must be submitted before absentee voting opens. Any amendment not accepted by the primary Proposal’s authors may either be withdrawn by those submitting it or added to the absentee ballot as alternative version of the primary Proposal.
Exceptional and Emergency Circumstances
In exceptional and/or emergency circumstances in which deliberation on a Proposal cannot be delayed until the required conditions are met, the Steering Committee may, by a two-thirds vote, shorten the online discussion and voting period or alternatively put the Proposal to in-person voting alone without absentee voting. If the Steering Committee votes to restrict a given vote to in-person voting only, members present at the in-person vote may, with a two-thirds majority, override the Steering Committee and allow for a three-day absentee voting period following the meeting. In consultation with the Administrative Committee, the Steering Committee may, by a two-thirds majority, postpone absentee voting should a credible security threat be discovered.
Definition and function
Resolutions may be adopted by the General Body at any scheduled general body meeting. Resolutions shall require a rationale, a statement of purpose in the form of Whereas clauses, and the action(s) to be taken by the Chapter in the form of Be It Resolved clauses.
All resolutions considered by the general body shall be put to the following process:
A resolution shall be put to a first read at any formally called meeting of the General Body, including General Body Meetings (voting meetings), Informational Meetings (non-voting meetings), Special Meetings, Strategy Forums, and Local Conventions. Any member in good standing may introduce a resolution, so long as they meet the required definitions of a resolution. Members may ask clarifying questions about the introduced resolution, but may not propose amendments, move to a final debate, or vote on the resolution at its first read.
The purpose of the second read is to provide the Steering Committee and interested members an opportunity to make any changes to the resolution before a final vote. At the Second Read, the Steering Committee shall debate the resolution and may propose amendments in an open meeting. Non-steering members present may debate and propose amendments as well. The Steering Committee is not empowered to place a resolution on hold and prevent a resolution from being sent to the Third Read. If a resolution isn’t given a Second Read between GBMs, the resolution is exempt from the Second Read and is sent to the Third Read.
Final Debate, Amendment, and Vote: The purpose of the third read is to take a final vote on any resolution. Resolutions in the third read shall be put to a formal debate and final vote. Rules regarding deliberation shall follow the standard rules of order and any special rules of order adopted by the general body.
Exceptions to the Three-Reader Process
Any resolution may bypass the first and second reading if it’s considered an Emergency Resolution. To be considered an emergency resolution, the content and purpose of the resolution must be time-sensitive and of crucial importance that warrant the skipping of a one-month consideration period for a resolution. A 2/3rd vote of the Steering Committee or 3/4th vote of a General Body is required to deem a resolution an Emergency Resolution. Emergency Resolutions will follow the regular rules of order required for adoption by the General Body: a majority vote or 2/3rd vote depending on the type of resolution.
A quorum of 5% of the local membership is required for a general body meeting to transact business. If applicable, absentee ballots or votes cast electronically shall count towards attaining quorum of the business to which it pertains to.
The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern MDCDSA in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order that MDCDSA may adopt. The parliamentary authority of MDCDSA shall be adopted by the Steering Committee and the General Body.
Code of Conduct
MDCDSA members are expected to conduct oneself with civility and respect towards all other members. Unacceptable member behavior includes: creating an intimidating, offensive, and/or abusive environment for other members; engaging in undemocratic or disruptive behavior; engaging in any actions detrimental to the purpose or values of the organization.
Suspension and Expulsion
If a member’s conduct is found to be in substantial disagreement with the principles or policies of the organization, they will be subject to disciplinary action that may include suspension and/or expulsion from MDC DSA. Members facing suspension or expulsion must receive written notice of charges against them and must be given the opportunity to be heard before the Steering Committee. For a member to be suspended or expelled from MDC DSA, a two-thirds vote of the Steering Committee shall be necessary. Decisions on expulsion by the Steering Committee may be appealed to the National Convention.
Donations and Dues
The members may set up a pledge system, whereby anyone may make regular donations, which shall be separate from dues determined by national Democratic Socialists of America. All donations collected by the Chapter shall be retained by the Chapter.
Steering Committee and Officers
Elections and Terms
Members of MDCDSA, at an annual membership meeting, shall elect members of the Steering Committee by secret ballot conducted through email. The Secretary and the Treasurer shall be elected directly by the general body and shall be voting members of the Steering Committee. No person shall hold more than one office. Each officer and at-large Steering Committee member will serve a one-year term, the beginning and ending dates to be determined by the members. All vacancies of Officers or members of the Steering Committee, whether resulting from death, resignation or otherwise, shall be filled through a special election by the general body.
The current Steering Committee should select shall appoint an interim body to prepare a proposal as to how this might be implemented by March 1 to research and propose proper implementation of the Steering Committee election.
The Steering Committee shall have three Officers and any remaining members shall be at-large members. The officers shall be Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary. There shall be only one elected Chair, not Co-Chairs, presiding over the Chapter and the Steering Committee at any given time. A majority of the Steering Committee members shall be women, non-binary folks, or persons of color.
The size of the Steering Committee shall be maintained at an approximately constant ratio to the number of chapter members in good standing, assessed at the General Body Meeting one month preceding the annual election of the Committee, with the following stipulations:
The size of the Committee including the Officers shall not be fewer than the number of Officers nor greater than fifteen.
The size of Committee shall be determined by the number of members of the chapter in good standing at a ratio of 1 Committee member per 190 members in good standing. The difference between the current size of the Committee and that fraction rounded to the nearest whole number determines the number of at-large members to be added or removed from the Committee, as appropriate.
At-large members of the Committee shall always be added or removed in even increments. If the increment would be odd, one fewer member shall be added or removed instead.
Meetings: A majority of the duly elected members of the Steering Committee shall constitute a quorum for conducting business. The Steering Committee shall meet person at least once a month at a time and place to be determined by the Steering Committee. In-person Steering Committee meetings shall be open to observation by any member of DSA in good standing, unless two-thirds of the committee votes to close the meeting.
The Steering Committee shall be authorized to meet by telephone conference or through other electronic communications media so long as all the members can simultaneously communicate with each other and participate fully during the meeting. The Steering Committee may conduct votes on matters via electronic means. Unless otherwise resolved by the general body membership, all communication required in these bylaws, including meeting notices, may be sent electronically. All minutes of the Steering Committee’s meetings shall be posted on the chapter’s website, including records of votes taken.
The Chair shall be the chief executive officer of MDCDSA, and shall ensure that all orders and resolutions of the members and the Steering Committee are carried out. The Chair shall be elected by the Steering Committee from among their members. In the event of a vacancy, whether resulting from death, resignation or otherwise, the Steering Committee shall elect a new chair. The Chair shall preside at all meetings of the Steering Committee and shall sign or countersign all certificates, contracts or other instruments of MDCDSA except where otherwise designated in these bylaws. The Chair shall perform such other duties as are incident to the office required of them by the Steering Committee.
The Treasurer shall, as directed by the Steering Committee, have care and custody of the general funds, securities, properties, and assets of the MDCDSA. The Treasurer shall ensure that the funds and securities shall be deposited in the bank(s), trust companies or depositories that the Steering Committee shall designate. At the direction of the Steering Committee, the Treasurer will ensure disbursement and disposal of the same, taking proper voucher for such disbursements. They shall ensure that accurate books of account are kept in accordance with commonly accepted accounting principles, recording therein the amount of all monies, funds, securities, properties and assets in his or her custody, wherever located, and showing the amount of disbursement made and the disposition of properties. They shall exhibit said books and records when required by the Steering Committee, Chair or Co-Chairs, or government agency of appropriate regulator jurisdiction pursuant to law. They shall prepare–in consultation with the Steering Committee–a one-year budget, to be presented and voted on at the General Body Meeting two months after the Steering Committee annual election. They shall prepare a yearly financial report for presentation at the December General Body Meeting.
The Secretary shall ensure that the minutes are kept of the meetings of the Steering Committee and of the general membership and shall ensure that the minutes are distributed. The Secretary shall see that all notices are duly given in accordance with the provisions of these Bylaws or as required by law. The Secretary shall be custodian of all MDCDSA records. The Secretary shall keep a register of the address, phone number and e-mail address of each member of the Steering Committee, which shall be furnished to the Secretary by each Steering Committee member. The Secretary shall, in general, perform the duties incident to the office of Secretary and such other duties as are from time to time assigned by the Chair, or by the Steering Committee.
Any Officer or member of the Steering Committee may be removed by a two-thirds vote of the members of the Steering Committee. Any Officer or member of the Steering Committee may resign in writing. The Chair may resign without ceding their place on the Steering Committee.
Any elected officer or member of the Steering Committee who misses three consecutive meetings or ten total meetings in a term without an acceptable reason shall be removed from the committee and their position declared vacant. Members of the Steering Committee may also be removed for malfeasance or gross incompetence.
Members of the Steering Committee must maintain at least a 50% voting participation rate online. If unable to maintain a 50% voting participation rate online, the member of the Steering Committee shall be removed for nonfeasance. The participation rate shall be calculated on a rolling basis every three calendar months, from the month of the first time of the Steering Committee.
Members may petition for the removal an elected official by collecting signatures of either 100 members or 20% of the general body membership, the greater of the two, and having two-thirds of those present at a general body meeting vote in favor of removal. Members may petition for a snap election of any elected body by having two-thirds of those present at a general body meeting vote in favor of a snap election, to be held at the time and place of the general body’s discretion. Any Officer or member of the Steering Committee may also resign in writing.
The number, duties, and functions of the committees, if any, shall be as determined by the members in accordance with these bylaws. Committee leaders shall actively encourage diversity in both committee and working group leadership and participation. This includes, but is not limited to, recognizing the contributions of women and members of underrepresented groups to the committee/working group and supporting them when considering leadership roles or general participation within the committee or working group.
The Administrative Committee shall be a Standing Committee co-chaired by the Secretary and the Treasurer. Any member of the general body may be put forth by the co-chairs of the Administrative Committee to be vetted and approved by a majority vote of the Steering Committee or General body. All members of the Steering Committee shall be ex officio members of the Administrative Committee.
The Administrative Committee shall be responsible for the following duties:
maintaining a register of all binding and non-binding policies passed by a vote of the Steering Committee, a General Body Meeting, or a Local Convention;
maintaining a full list of all members of MDCDSA (Member List) as defined by the bylaws;
assisting in the function of and maintaining minutes of all general body and steering committee meetings of MDCDSA, in a fashion accessible to the general body membership;
facilitating communications between MDCDSA and parties external to MDCDSA, subject to the discretion of the Steering Committee and the General Body; and,
the Steering Committee or General Body may direct the Administrative Committee to assume more duties on their behalf.
Internal Organizing Committee
The Internal Organizing Committee (the “IOC”) will be a standing committee responsible for dealing with the recruitment, development, and mobilization of the chapter’s membership. This includes overseeing the member mobilization efforts, driving diversity efforts, and developing skills-based trainings available to all dues paying members.
The general body membership will elect two IOC officers to oversee the Committee. IOC officers will provide monthly reports on internal organizing to the Steering Committee, or upon request. Any dues paying members in good standing who have an interest in the internal health and function of MDCDSA are encouraged to join. The IOC will be responsible for proposing budgetary needs for internal organizing to the MDCDSA membership and/or appropriate bodies. The IOC Co-Chairs shall be elected annually by secret ballot at the same annual membership meeting that the Steering Committee elections are held.
The IOC will develop the following:
- Membership recruitment and retention plans, which will be revised and updated if needed every six months
- Overseeing training and duties of Member Mobilizers, who will act as rank-and-file organizers within the chapter to ensure high participation, understanding, and respect among MDCDSA members
- Oversee new member onboarding, to ensure new members know the internal structure of MDCDSA, what resources are available to them, and who to reach out to for those resources
- Oversee MDCDSA training programs to train members in grassroots organizing and campaigning
- Be a resource for working groups and committees for when they plan events and direct actions
- Additionally, the IOC will encourage members to develop their own internal initiatives related to membership, training, and internal culture. Implementation of these membership-driven projects will be assisted by the IOC.
- To carry out these responsibilities, functional Working Groups dealing with outreach, education, or mobilization of members will be developed within the IOC, under the oversight of the IOC Officers.
The Treasurer (see “Officers”) will oversee the Finance Committee, which shall be responsible for the budget and financial organization of the chapter, including overseeing fundraising activities for the chapter, and compliance with any financial regulations the chapter is subject to. In addition, the Finance Committee shall maintain transparent and open financial reports, available to the entire membership upon request. Any MDCDSA member in good standing may participate in the Finance Committee.
At the end of each fiscal year, the Finance Committee shall present a report and analysis to the Steering Committee of expenditures and revenues, including a brief forecast for the upcoming fiscal year.
The Treasurer shall also be charged with developing a participatory budgeting training no later than December 31, 2017. The Finance Committee shall sponsor a “Participatory Budgeting Training” at least four times a year quarterly.
Under the direction of the Chair of the Steering Committee, the Treasurer shall set aside one-third of the organization’s budget on January 1, 2018 (in accordance with the organization’s fiscal year) for a pilot participatory budget process to be implemented no later than March 1, 2018. Additionally, the Finance Committee shall make a recommendation for maintaining or expanding the percentage set aside, and develop a bylaw amendment on a finalized participatory budgeting process at the next Local Convention of the MDCDSA.
The Campaigns Council shall be a sub-committee of the Internal Organizing Committee, serving as a comprehensive board and gathering space of Working Groups. The Council will be responsible for providing both visibility across MDC DSA’s various campaigns and updates on campaign progress to the broader MDC DSA membership.
Representatives of the Campaigns Council are expected to maintain frequent contact with each other and are encouraged to meet on a regular, monthly basis. Members of any Working Group may elect a representative to the council, and MDC DSA members unaffiliated with either, shall be free to and encouraged to attend meetings of the Campaigns Council, which shall always remain open to the General Body. The Representatives of the Campaigns Council are expected to maintain frequent contact with each other and are encouraged to meet on a regular, monthly basis. The Campaigns Council must also keep an up to date list of the Representatives serving on the council, including their contact information.
Meetings of the Campaigns Council shall be facilitated by the Liaison. The Liaison shall be a member of the Council determined by the Council and will serve as Liaison on a two-month rotating basis. The Campaigns Council Liaison shall serve as point of contact between the Council and the Steering Committee and provide updates to the Steering Committee on campaign progress. The Liaison shall:
Coordinate resources to Campaign Working Groups
- Resources include, but are not limited to, the allocation of the Chapter’s physical inventory and assisting the Treasurer with reimbursement requests;
- Ensure that conflicts between Campaign Working Groups regarding access to resources or scheduling are resolved amicably, paying appropriate attention to fairness and chapter goals;
- Facilitate the provision of organizing training, coaching, and logistical support to Campaign Working Groups as needed;
- Coordinate the onboarding of new members to the Campaigns Council.
- Assign, task or cause to happen regular reporting on activities by all campaigns represented on the Council, accessible to the Steering and Administrative Committees, the General Body, and MDC DSA periodicals, other publications and web content. The frequency of the reports may be set by the Liaison or by the Steering Committee on behalf of the General Body.
- Each Branch shall be allowed to select a Branch Representative who serves as a non-voting participant to the Council, with the intent of providing insight and advice for campaigns in the geographic area of that Branch.
The Endorsements Committee (EC) shall be a Standing Committee charged with all communications and processing of political candidates who seek the Chapter’s endorsement. The EC shall be an administrative body that remains neutral on ideological motivation of candidates and conducts the administrative tasks of processing all endorsement applications, regardless of political party or office sought.
The EC shall be co-chaired by members appointed annually by the Steering Committee and confirmed by the General Body. Any member in good standing may join the EC to help with its activities.
To avoid a conflict of interest, the following members shall not be permitted to co-chair this committee, but are encouraged to join as regular committee members:
- Members of the Steering Committee.
- Elected chairs of any campaign-based working group or caucus.
- Paid staff of any electoral campaigns.
- Any member in good standing may join the EC to help with its activities.
The endorsement process for each electoral cycle shall begin on November 15 of the year before elections in which the chapter endorsements are taking place. All political candidates who seek the Chapter’s endorsement shall be required to submit a request for chapter endorsement to the EC to start the endorsement process on their campaign. The endorsement request form shall be available on the Chapter’s website. The EC is required to process all endorsement requests regardless of the number of electoral campaigns the Chapter has already endorsed and timeline into the election cycle.
Questionnaires: The EC shall send candidates who submit a request for chapter endorsement a Standard Electoral Candidate Questionnaire that all candidates must fill out before further consideration. The Standard Electoral Candidate Questionnaire shall include standard and jurisdiction-specific questions to determine whether a candidate’s values align with the values and mission of DSA.
The EC shall be charged with researching and drafting three standard questionnaires — one each for jurisdictions listed in paragraph (iii)(2) — and encouraged to solicit advice and feedback from the general body.
The EC shall be charged with gathering input from members on three sets of jurisdiction-specific questions from the following state-level jurisdictions:
- District of Columbia
The Standard Electoral Candidate Questionnaires are subject to approval by the Steering Committee. Prior to submission for Steering Committee approval, the EC may consult and collaborate with relevant caucuses and working groups, including, but not limited to, the Socialist Feminist Caucus, the AfroSoc Caucus, the Service Industry Caucus, and the Reinvest Working Group, seeking advice and input for specific issue questions.
The EC is not responsible for introducing endorsement resolutions or motivating the endorsement of an electoral candidate. This responsibility falls on any campaign-based working group, caucus, or individual sponsor. All endorsement resolutions must go through the regular resolution process as determined in these bylaws.
Whenever a candidate submits an endorsement application, the EC shall notify the general body within 1 week of a candidate’s request for an endorsement proceeding. The EC shall keep the general body informed of the status of all endorsement proceedings. The EC shall publish a candidate’s standard questionnaire to the general body within 1 week of submission. Additional Vetting Outside the EC: Any campaign-based working group, caucus, branch, or individual member in good standing, in coordination with the EC, may take on the additional responsibility of research, vetting, and motivating of a candidate, including, but not limited to, race-specific questionnaires, conference call interviews, and in-person meetings. The EC cannot interfere with independent research or vetting of a candidate.
Recommendation for National Endorsement
The EC shall receive requests from members seeking to send locally endorsed candidates to national DSA for national endorsement. The EC shall present national endorsement requests to the Steering Committee for approval, at which point the EC shall designate a member, caucus, branch, or campaign-based working group as responsible for completing and submitting any required materials to national DSA for national endorsement of a locally endorsed candidate.
The Proposals Committee shall be a sub-committee of the Administrative Committee charged with assisting members in the preparation of all resolutions and bylaw amendments to be considered by the general body. The Proposals Committee is an advisory body that seeks to help members draft proposals.
The Proposals Committee shall be a nonpartisan body composed of members from varying ideological backgrounds. Co-Chairs shall be appointed by the Steering Committee. Any member can join the Proposals Committee as a regular member.
The Proposals Committee shall be responsible for:
- Assisting members with the drafting of resolutions and bylaw amendments
- Determining what proposals require and don’t require a resolution
- Making sure submitted proposal do not conflict with these bylaws
- Making resolution sponsors aware of any potential parliamentary issues and providing possible alternatives and solutions to such issues
- Informing members if a proposal has already been considered, adopted, or rejected in the past in consultation with the Secretary
- Facilitating discussion between sponsors with complementary or contradictory proposals
All proposals to be considered at a general body meeting must be submitted first to the Proposals Committee.
The Proposals Committee shall work in conjunction with the Administrative Committee and the Steering Committee when setting proposals to be considered on the GBM agenda.
The Proposals Committee shall not be empowered to halt the consideration of any proposed resolution or bylaw amendment. All submitted proposals, after review by the committee, will be placed on the agenda of the next following GBM.
Publications Editorial Board
A publications editorial board (PEB) shall be a Standing Board with at least 3 and up to 5 members, including Co-Chairs. The Co-Chairs shall be elected by the members of the Publications Working Group. At least two members of the Board shall be women, non-binary folks, or persons of color. Any current member of MDC DSA may be a member of the PEB.
The constitution of the PEB, and the structural principles outlined below, may be revisited at any time, but no more than twice in one year, by the General Body on petition of ten current MDC DSA members in good standing.
The PEB’s purview shall be oversight, management and production of MDC DSA publications, which may include print or digital periodicals, brochures or flyers, news releases, video, audio, and web content on mdcdsa.org or other platforms.
The PEB shall organize the Publications Working Group to produce content as needed for MDC DSA. They shall also meet regularly with the Publications Working Group to ensure that work is completed on a timely basis.
The PEB shall strive to solicit and produce content, including design, that meets the chapter’s needs, informs the chapter and the public about chapter initiatives and achievements, and contributes to the discussion of socialism. They may produce other content as needed.
The PEB shall ensure that all content reflects the values of Democratic Socialists of America, Metro DC DSA, and democratic socialism and represents a wide range of perspectives across all chapter publications. They shall also ensure that all publications appear on schedule and on budget if one is needed.
The PEB co-chairs are charged with organizing members of the Publications Working Group in producing content. The co-chairs are accountable for the content of the publications across all platforms and are editorially independent of other MDC DSA leadership formations of MDC except in instances in which the General Body applies constraints of time, place, and manner. The PEB co-chairs are subject to recall at any time by majority vote of the Publications Working Group or resolution of the General Body, with a special election to fill the vacated seat for the remainder of the term to follow within a timeframe to be decided by the PEB.
Platforms used to produce and publish PEB content shall be managed by the Administrative Committee (8.a) and its co-chairs, the Secretary and Treasurer. Any PEB proposals for printed material, or video, will be subject to standing budget procedures for approval by the General Body.
Committees called Working Groups shall be formed whenever five dues paying MDCDSA members come together around a shared vision of work, as long as its mission and activities do not violate our bylaws. Working groups may be issue or campaign-based, and shall be responsible for keeping the Steering Committee and the membership informed of the working groups’ projects. If the Steering Committee finds the activities of a Working Group violates the mission and/or bylaws of the chapter, they shall have the authority to halt its activities until it can be approved at the next general body meeting. Any working group may be dissolved by a majority of its members, when it fails to have five active dues paying members, been inactive for more than one year, or at a general body meeting by a vote of two-thirds of the members present.
Members may self-organize into temporary or permanent caucuses according to shared interests, affinities, and/or political goals.
All members shall have the right to form a caucus. Caucuses are independent formations of members within the Chapter established on the basis of shared interests, affinities, and/or political goals. The objectives of a caucus may include – but are not limited to – advocating for the election of its members to leading bodies, for specific campaigns or initiatives for the GBM to take up, or for a redress of grievances. Caucuses shall have the right to determine their own membership.
A caucus may choose whether or not they would like formal recognition. To gain formal status, a caucus shall submit a mission statement that includes the name and purpose of the caucus, as well as any restrictions on eligibility for membership in the Caucus, signed by no less than five members in good standing. The Secretary will be responsible for confirming the membership status of all signatories, and notifying the Steering Committee of recognition.
Access to Communications for Recognized Caucuses
Formal recognition guarantees that the caucus shall be listed on the Metro DC DSA website, along with their name, vision statement, and a point of contact. Recognized caucuses shall have the right to publish statements and proposals in public forums for the Local, subject to the moderation of the moderation team of that forum.
Structure and Relationships with Other Caucuses
The right for a caucus of the Local to establish formal or informal relationships with other caucuses composed of DSA Local or National members shall not be infringed or regulated by the Steering Committee. Caucuses shall have the right to determine their own internal structure, except where it is in violation of any bylaws or policies regarding member conduct.
Leave of Absence
Every elected position at the chapter level in Metro DC DSA (i.e., positions elected by the MDC DSA general body, including but not limited to members of the Steering Committee, Co-Chairs of the IOC, and Grievance Officers) shall have a written leave of absence policy adopted by resolution of the Steering Committee, General Body, or bylaw. Leave of absence policies for elected positions shall minimally incorporate the following elements:
Members elected to a given position may take leave of absence through notification of the Steering Committee and the body or committee(s) primarily impacted by the elected position.
Taking a leave of absence shall not jeopardize the continuance of the member in the elected position after the leave of absence has finished. The member shall be able to return to the position with all rights and responsibilities of that position restored.
Members taking a leave of absence from an elected position shall make best efforts to ensure the vital functions of that position continue to be met in their absence. Members shall not be asked to continue their responsibilities in the elected position during their leave of absence, except wherein such responsibilities are vital to chapter functioning and cannot reasonably be delegated to other members.
Other aspects related to leaves of absence, such as the length of allowable absence or appointment of members “acting” in the elected role for the duration of the absence, may be addressed in the policy specific to the position in question.
The Auditors Working Group (the “Auditors”) shall consist of three (3) MDCDSA members. Each member must have a minimum tenure of one (1) year in Metro DC DSA. Members shall be appointed by majority vote by the Steering Committee, no later than 1 week before the Audit Period. Members shall be appointed for a term of 6 months. Members shall not serve more than 2 consecutive terms.
The Auditors shall conduct the Comprehensive Chapter Audit (the “CCA”) and deliver the results of the CCA to the Steering Committee and the chapter at large within two (2) weeks of the scheduled audit date.
The CCA shall be conducted three times a year, between 120 and 130 calendar days after the last scheduled audit. The two weeks preceding the scheduled audit date shall be considered the Audit Period. The CCA shall be prepared using a template approved by the Steering Committee, and shall consist of two sections:
Chapter Health Summary, which provides raw data on the following areas and is delivered directly to the general body within two weeks of the scheduled audit date:
Chapter membership, including current membership numbers, membership increase or decrease trends, “engagement” rates using several metrics such as meeting and event attendance;
Chapter financials, including current financial status, estimated monthly expenditures, forecasted near-term expenditures, estimated recurring revenue, and a full reconciliation of MDCDSA’s bookkeeping records since the last conducted audit.
Chapter Analysis, which requires the Auditors to collect, consolidate, and assess feedback from the general body and present a summary of their concerns, suggestions, and overall opinion of the chapter. The Auditors will also conduct an evaluation of the chapter’s internal systems and practices, such as internal communications, committee activities, and security culture and practices. The Chapter Analysis will be delivered to the Steering Committee, who will then deliver the results to the chapter at large within one (1) week of their receipt.
The Steering Committee may withhold the Chapter Analysis from general distribution only if there is evidence that the audit was performed improperly or the results have been intentionally misrepresented.
During the Audit Period, the Auditors shall be granted full access to all aspects of Metro DC DSA, including the chapter membership list, bank accounts, bookkeeping records, and other sensitive information. Access to this information must be provided under the supervision of each respective responsible party, and must be promptly revoked at the end of each audit period.
The General Body shall be empowered to officially endorse electoral candidates on behalf of MDCDSA by a two-thirds vote at a general body meeting. Members of the chapter shall not be empowered to campaign as representatives of MDCDSA or its formations on behalf of any candidate, except that such candidate has been endorsed by MDCDSA, other DSA Chapters, or DSA National.
The General Body shall be empowered to rescind the endorsement of an electoral candidate, who has been endorsed locally by MDC DSA, by a two-thirds vote in the affirmative at a general body meeting, with previous notice.
The General Body can only rescind an endorsement of a candidate who has been endorsed locally by MDC DSA, not nationally by DSA National.
If a candidate’s endorsement has been rescinded, members of the chapter shall not be empowered to campaign as representatives of MDC DSA or its formations on behalf of that candidate.
The General Body shall be empowered to censure an electoral candidate, who has been endorsed by MDC DSA or DSA National, by a majority vote at a general body meeting, without previous notice.
A motion to censure expresses severe disapproval or condemnation of an electoral candidate who commits an action that goes against the shared values, purpose, or mission of DSA, without prohibiting members from campaigning as representatives of MDC DSA or in any of its formations on behalf of that candidate.
The Fiscal Year shall commence the first day of January in each year.
Changes to the Bylaws
Members shall have the power to approve changes to the Bylaws. Any proposed changes to the Bylaws shall be announced to the members one meeting in advance of any vote. Changes may be adopted by a vote of two-thirds of the members present. In order to amend the bylaws of MDCDSA in the absence of a Local Convention, language must be introduced at the monthly meeting of the members prior to the monthly meeting at which members will vote on the amendment in question.
The meeting at which the bylaws amendments are is considered must have a quorum of 100 members 10% of the local membership.
If applicable, absentee ballots or votes cast electronically shall count towards attaining quorum of the business to which it pertains to.
Any member in good standing may submit a public statement — whether in favor, in opposition, or otherwise — to any proposed resolution or bylaw amendment, which shall be published alongside such business items wherever they are distributed, to inform the general body of all points of view when considering an issue.
This includes, but not limited to, being made available on the Chapter’s website and weekly email publication.
Public statements may be submitted by non-sponsors at any time in the consideration process.
Sponsors of a resolution are required to submit a public statement to accompany their proposed resolution.
Resolutions may be adopted by the the General Body at any scheduled general body meeting. Resolutions shall require a rationale, a statement of purpose in the form of Whereas clauses, and the action(s) to be taken by the Chapter in the form of Be It Resolved clauses.
All resolutions considered by the general body shall be put to the following process:
Introduction to General Body & Solicit Feedback: The purpose of the first read is to introduce a resolution concept to the general body and respond to questions.
A resolution shall be put to a first read at a General Body Meeting. Any member in good standing may introduce a resolution.
Members may ask clarifying questions about the introduced resolution, but may not propose amendments, move to a final debate, or vote on the resolution at its first read.
Steering Review & Amendments: The purpose of the second read is to provide the Steering Committee and interested members an opportunity to make any changes to the resolution before a final vote.
At the Second Read, the Steering Committee shall debate the resolution and may propose amendments in an open meeting. Non-steering members present may debate and propose amendments as well.
The Steering Committee is not empowered to place a resolution on hold and prevent a resolution from being sent to the Third Read. If a resolution isn’t given a Second Read between GBMs, the resolution is exempt from the Second Read and is sent to the Third Read.
Final Debate, Amendment, and Vote: The purpose of the third read is to take a final vote on any resolution.
Resolutions in the third read shall be put to a formal debate and final vote. Rules regarding deliberation shall follow the standard rules of order and any special rules of order adopted by the general body.
Any resolution may bypass the first and second reading if it’s considered an Emergency Resolution. To be considered an emergency resolution, the content and purpose of the resolution must be time-sensitive and of crucial importance that warrant the skipping of a one-month consideration period for a resolution. A 2/3rd vote of the Steering Committee or 3/4th vote of a General Body is required to deem a resolution an Emergency Resolution. Emergency Resolutions will follow the regular rules of order required for adoption by the General Body: a majority vote or 2/3rd vote depending on the type of resolution. Any resolution may be rescinded or amended by a majority vote of the general body with previous notice.
The Metro DC chapter of DSA (“MDCDSA”) shall hold a Local Convention for the purpose of considering amendments to the chapter bylaws and other resolutions every other year, on alternating years from the national convention of the Democratic Socialists of America.
To be eligible to vote as a delegate in the MDCDSA Local Convention, individuals shall be members of MDCDSA in good standing as of 30 days prior to the date on which the convention is to be held, and remain such through the date of the convention. All processes for voting, introducing resolutions, and other administrative affairs pertinent to a Local Convention not specified in these bylaws shall be governed by the Convention Rules approved for that Convention.
All Resolutions and Bylaws Amendments passed at the Local Convention shall become binding requirements on MDCDSA as of 90 days following the date of the Local Convention. This language is not intended to preclude earlier implementation of these Amendments and Resolutions.
A branch is a group of members in a locality who organize to perform work in their community.
An exploratory committee for establishment of a branch may be commissioned upon a majority vote of the Steering Committee, consisting of such members as the Steering Committee shall appoint at its discretion.
An exploratory committee desiring to form a branch shall draft a charter and elect proposed officers in accordance therewith. The branch shall be established upon ratification of the charter and initial officers by a two-thirds vote of members present and voting at a meeting of the members of the MDCDSA, at which point the exploratory committee will be deemed dissolved.
Charter and Powers
The charter of a branch shall set forth, at a minimum: the powers delegated to the branch, a defined geographic territory, a list of officers and their responsibilities, and procedures for the election and removal of officers. A charter of a branch may be amended either by a two-thirds vote of members present at a meeting of the members of the MDCDSA or, alternatively, by application of the branch subject to ratification by a three-fifths vote of the Steering Committee. Neither the branch nor any officer thereof shall have the power to enter into contracts, make expenditures, or assume financial obligations on behalf of the branch or the MDCDSA except as specifically authorized in accordance with the Bylaws.
Any member of MDCDSA shall be eligible to be a member of a branch if they live or work within that branch’s territory. No member of MCDSA shall be a member of more than one branch at any time.
A meeting of the members of the MDCDSA may, on a two-thirds vote of members present and voting, dissolve a branch, dismiss an officer of a branch, or dissolve an exploratory committee.
If a Chartered Branch conducts a fundraiser for a particular purpose, they shall deposit these funds in the Chapter accounts as directed by the treasurer. The treasurer shall keep a ledger of Chartered Branch deposits and those deposits shall only be disbursed with the consent of the Chartered Branch leadership.
Electronic Meetings and Communications
The Steering Committee and all committees, councils, boards, branches, working groups, and caucuses shall be authorized to meet by telephone conference or through other electronic communications media so long as all the members can simultaneously hear each other and participate during the meeting.
Unless members indicate otherwise to the Steering Committee, all communication required in these bylaws, including meeting notices, may be sent electronically.
MDC DSA may be dissolved by motion approved by three-fifths of the Steering Committee, which is then approved by a 2/3 vote of the general membership. Any vote at the steering committee regarding dissolution must have all members of the steering committee present, and the vote total of the membership must represent at least 50% of the current members of MDCDSA. The Steering Committee shall ensure that an appropriate agent is designated to complete the dissolution of the organization. Said agent shall ensure that all financial and legal issues are properly resolved.