This year’s Local Convention will be held Sunday, October 14 12pm-5pm (location TBD). Convention Setup: Sunday, October 14, 9am-12pm. Sign up to volunteer and register to attend. Need to renew your dues? Do it now!
Please note the following deadlines:
- Bylaw Amendment & Resolution Proposals are due Sunday, September 16, 11:59pm EST:
- Amendments to submitted proposals are due Sunday, September 30, 11:59pm EST:
- Add yourself as a co-sponsor to, or submit a public statement about, any submitted proposals by Friday, October 12, 11:59pm EST:
Full calendar of events:
Please read the draft rules (pending Steering Committee approval) for the 2018 Local Convention.
The Local Convention will adhere to Robert’s Rules of Order for its parliamentary procedure. It is strongly advised that all delegates familiarize themselves with Robert’s Rules prior to the convention; in fact, all DSA members are encouraged to have at least a basic understanding of Robert’s Rules, as well as of parliamentary procedures in general. A comprehensive guide to Robert’s Rules is available at rulesonline.com, and a very abridged overview is available here.
Attend a Robert’s Rules training:
Stay tuned: coming October 1.
As the governing body of the chapter, the Steering Committee casts regular votes to ensure that the chapter is functioning properly and properly reflecting the will of the general body. Members of Steering are elected and expected to contribute a significant amount of time to this managerial and administrative body.
(a). Amending section entitled STEERING COMMITTEE AND OFFICERS; REMOVAL
- 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 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.
- Any elected officer…
- 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 term of the Steering Committee. This measure is not retroactive and will begin after the 2018 Local Convention.
- Members may petition…
The current bylaws do not authorize or provide an official mechanism to rescind an endorsement or reprimand an electoral candidate who has already been endorsed locally by the chapter. This language grants the general body that ability.
(a). Amending section entitled ELECTORAL ENDORSEMENTS
The General Body shall be empowered to officially endorse electoral candidates on behalf of MDC DSA by a two-thirds vote at a general body meeting. Members of the chapter shall not be empowered to campaign as representatives of MDC DSA or its formations on behalf of any candidate, except that such candidate has been endorsed by MDC DSA 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 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 bylaws currently allow for postal ballots as an option for Steering Committee elections. Given our chapter’s limited financial resources and for efficiency sake, this language eliminates that option and permits only email ballots as a valid option for Steering Committee elections.
In addition, this new text requires the Steering Committee to appoint an interim body (such as a temporary elections working group) to prepare for this election, instead of suggesting the Steering Committee do so under the current language.
(a). Amending section entitled STEERING COMMITTEE AND OFFICERS
Members of MDC DSA, at an annual membership meeting, shall elect members of the Steering Committee by secret ballot. Members of MDC DSA, by an email (or postal) ballot, shall elect members of the Steering Committee by secret ballot. The current steering committee should select an interim body to prepare a proposal as to how this might be implemented by March 1.
Section 1: Election Method Members of MDC DSA, at an annual membership meeting, shall elect members of the Steering Committee by secret ballot conducted through email. Section 2: Election Preparation 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.
This proposal has been rescinded by its sponsor and will not be proposed at the Convention.
There are currently over 1,600 registered chapter members. A reasonably-sized quorum is necessary to protect the interests of members who are unable to vote by ensuring that a small, disproportionate number of members cannot make decisions on behalf of the membership.
This language will supersede the current GBM standing rules which require 75 members to obtain quorum.
(a). Amending section entitled 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.
- 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.
Currently all members of the Steering Committee serve as members of the Administrative Committee, but they had to manually vote themselves into the committee. This language circumvents that extra step and allows all current Steering Committee members, who are already elected and entrusted by the membership with sensitive information, to automatically serve on the Administrative Committee and require their assistance with administrative tasks before the Chapter.
(a). Amending section entitled COMMITTEES; ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE
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.
The bylaws currently do not define how long IOC Co-Chairs must serve and when they are elected. This language requires that IOC Co-Chairs are elected annually, separate from the Steering Committee election, and allows for the current IOC Co-Chairs to serve a full year term.
(a). Amending section entitled COMMITTEES; INTERNAL ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
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 MDC DSA are encouraged to join. The IOC will be responsible for proposing budgetary needs for internal organizing to the MDC DSA membership and/or appropriate bodies.
The General Body has already approved by resolution that the Steering Committee shall consist of 9 members total (3 officers and 6 at-large members) and that at least five Steering Committee members shall be women, non-binary folks, or persons of color.
It is necessary to have a both of these requirements codified in the bylaws because it will require a higher threshold of approval to change, and prevents it from potentially being changed at any low turnout general body meeting.
In addition, this language explicitly affirms that there will only be one elected Chair, not Co-Chairs, at any given time – as already practiced and provided for in the bylaws.
(a). Amending section entitled STEERING COMMITTEE AND OFFICERS; STEERING COMMITTEE
The Steering Committee shall consist of Officers and at-large members. The officers shall consist of a Chair, a Treasurer, and a Secretary. The number of at-large members of the Steering Committee shall be determined by the general membership. 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. A majority of the duly appointed 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 set to nine members, consisting of three Officers and six 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.
- At least five Steering Committee members shall be women, non-binary folks, or persons of color.
Much of the external work of the chapter is done by working groups or caucuses devoted to carrying out specific campaigns: Stomp out Slumlords, the Electoral Caucus, the Migrant Justice Working Group, etc. Organizing these groups under the umbrella of a Campaigns Council promotes communication between campaigns and visibility across the organization. It also helps newer or unaffiliated members plug into campaigns by giving them a locus to inform themselves of the various work we do. Unlike the IOC, the Campaigns Council acts as a representational body of all external work the chapter participates in.
Working Groups and campaign-based Caucuses shall choose a Campaign Representative for the Campaigns Council; Working Groups are free to determine their Campaign Representative as they see fit. The Campaign Representative serves as the primary point of contact between their respective working group or caucus, the Campaigns Council and the General Body; if they are unresponsive in this duty, they may be voted out and the Working Group or Caucus shall choose another Representative. A Campaign Representative may be dismissed by a two-thirds vote in the affirmative by the Campaigns Council, and, should be rare and only for unresponsive or negligent Representatives.
(a). Adding section entitled CAMPAIGNS COUNCIL
- Coordinate resources to Campaign Working Groups and Caucuses;
- 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 and Caucuses 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 and Caucuses as needed;
- Coordinate the onboarding of new members to the Campaigns Council.
MDC DSA’s bylaws conflict with recent action taken by the National Political Committee to “determine procedures for the collection of dues and contributions and the sharing of same between the Local and National Organizations” pursuant to Article II, Section 6 of the DSA bylaws.
In or around June 2018, the NPC adopted the guidance, provided in section 8 of Resolution #21 (Move Towards Monthly Dues) passed at the 2017 DSA Convention, that “local chapters receive back from the national organization 20% of the amount the members in their jurisdiction contribute in the form of monthly dues, at regular intervals.” This 20/80 monthly dues split applies regardless of whether dues are paid to National or to MDC DSA.
The NPC has further indicated its intention to “consider the proportion of annual dues to be shared back to chapters and how this will be implemented” at an upcoming meeting. It is foreseeable that the annual dues split ultimately adopted will apply regardless of whether dues are paid to National or to MDC DSA.
MDC DSA’s current bylaw language conveys an intent to raise and retain funds above and beyond dues amounts determined by DSA. This intent can be preserved by modifying the language to reflect the practice permitted by Article II, Section 5 of the DSA bylaws: “Locals may set up pledge systems for their members, whereby members can pledge to make regular donations to the Local in excess of National dues on a monthly, quarterly or other basis.”
(a). Amending section entitled DUES
6. DuesThe members shall determine any Dues, which shall be separate from dues paid to national Democratic Socialists of America. All dues collected by the Chapter shall be retained by the Chapter.
If you plan to attend the local convention as a voting delegate, please fill out this form. If you have previously registered but cannot attend, or have questions regarding registration, email the Credentials team as soon as possible.
- To make an accessibility request, please create a Red Desk ticket; select Help Topic: “Event Accessibility Request” and Department: “Internal Organizing”.
- To make a childcare request, please use this form. Can you help provide childcare? Get trained Sept. 30, 1-3pm at Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library. Cis men are especially encouraged to sign up!
While we encourage all chapter members to be involved in the process, we ask that delegates consider the following guidelines prior to registering:
- Delegates must have a basic understanding of parliamentary procedure, including Robert’s Rules of Order. To learn about Robert’s Rules, please take advantage of the resources linked in the Rules + Procedures section above.
- Delegates are expected to review and agree to the Convention Standing Rules prior to registration. The draft rules are pending approval by the Metro DC DSA Steering Committee; after approval, the final rules will be binding to the convention procedures.
- Delegates are expected to review all submitted proposals prior to the convention. While deliberation and discussion is encouraged during the convention, delegates should have familiarity with the documents under consideration beforehand.
METRO DC DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA
Local Convention October 14, 2018
Organization of the Convention
- The Steering Committee is officially responsible for organizing the convention but has delegated its authority to the Local Convention Working Group (LCWG).
- The Chair of the LCWG shall serve as the Chair of the Convention and may appoint such assistants as they deem necessary. The Secretary of Metro DC DSA shall serve as Secretary to the Convention, keeping the official record of the Convention, and may appoint such assistants as they deem necessary.
- The Local Convention Working Group has created the following committees to assist with its work:
- an Administrative Committee, which is responsible for making recommendations to the Convention Chair regarding any issue that arises on the administration of the Convention. Members of this committee will be responsible for Convention logistics, planning, and scheduling. Members of this committee shall act as ombudspersons to facilitate the resolution of problems of process that delegates or delegations may face.
- a Proposals Committee, which shall receive resolutions and amendments submitted to the Convention and make recommendations to the Convention on the disposition of resolutions and amendments to the Constitution. The Proposals Committee may propose steps to facilitate consideration of resolutions and amendments, including but not limited to appointing small groups to redraft or combine resolutions, preferably in advance of the Convention, and in consultation with the authors. Where there appear to be differences of opinion, the Proposals Committee may propose alternate amendments that will allow the Convention plenary to concentrate discussion on points of substantive controversy.
- a Styles Committee, which shall have the power to rewrite any resolution or bylaws amendments passed by the Convention to make it consistent with the style of the document being amended (i.e. implementing gender neutral language, changing the order of sentences, etc.). The Styles Committee may not make any substantive changes to resolutions or amendments passed by the convention that change their final meaning or interpretation. The Styles Committee will be comprised of members appointed by the LCWG and the authors of all bylaws amendments that were passed by the Convention.
- Membership of each committee will be confirmed at the beginning of the Convention.
- All members in good standing of the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America local that have paid their dues through November 2017 shall be seated as delegates. The Administrative Committee will be tasked with moderating all credentials disputes.
- Each session of the Convention has pre-established time limits. The only exception to the established time limits would occur if there is a motion to extend the time approved by the majority of the delegates. Any such motion to extend the time must include a corresponding reduction of time for another session. At the end of each session, the document presented and amendments, if any, shall be voted up or down. Amendments shall be voted first; the document as amended will then also be voted up or down.
- Except as provided in these Rules and the Bylaws, the latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall govern the proceedings of the Convention. The Chair of each Convention plenary session shall be the sole interpreter of the Convention Rules and may appoint a parliamentarian and such other assistants as needed to conduct the session. Any delegate may appeal any ruling of the Chair to the Convention. The ruling of the Chair may be overturned by a vote in favor of the appeal by a majority of delegates present and voting.
- Procedural motions concern how to proceed with a matter such as moving to refer the matter to the Steering Committee or moving to extend or end discussion. Procedural motions may be made at the Convention. In order to be voted on, a procedural motion needs a second. If no other delegate seconds the motion, the motion fails.
- Substantive motions concern amendments to the content of Convention documents. No amendments will be allowed from the floor at this Convention as the time limits for amendments are established as part of the organization of the Convention and explained in emails regarding the Convention and on the Convention explainer on the website. Amendments received by the Convention committee at the required times will be part of the discussion of that Convention document.
- Point of Personal Privilege — a seated delegate may raise a point of personal privilege at any time. A point of personal privilege pertains only to issues of personal discomfort or needs such as not being able to hear the speaker, etc.
- Only delegates and DSA staff members may speak on questions coming before the Convention in plenary session. Speakers on all motions shall be limited to two minutes, unless the Convention accepts a different limit.
- Each delegate shall be entitled to one vote on all questions coming before the Convention. All questions before the Convention shall be decided by majority vote of the delegates present and voting. All procedural motions, including a motion to suspend the rules shall require a majority vote, except where otherwise provided in the Rules.
- Any amendment or resolution that is to be considered will first be motivated by its author. Then a certain number of speakers will be heard for and against, the number to be determined by the amount of time remaining in the session. When the time for comments for and against is exhausted, the Chair will ask for a delegate to call the question.
- Each amendment will be considered separately, one after another. In the interest of time, the Chair of the session will first ask delegates for a show of support for each amendment before it is considered. At least 20 delegates must express initial support for the amendment for it to be heard. If the amendment receives 20 delegates’ support, it will be considered. If it fails to receive 20 delegates’ support, it will not.
Resolutions and Bylaws Amendments
- All proposed amendments to the Bylaws or resolutions shall have a sponsor, who is a member in good standing of Metro DC DSA. There may be cosponsors, who are members in good standing.
- Proposed amendments or resolutions shall be submitted in electronic form to the Local Convention Working Group no later than September 23, 2017. Amendments or resolutions submitted after September 23rd shall be referred to the Proposals Committee for consideration.
- Amendments to proposals must be submitted electronically to the Local Convention Working Group no later than October 6, 2017. Amendments submitted after October 6th shall be referred to the Proposals Committee. On October 7th, the Proposals Committee shall distribute to all Convention delegates a Convention packet listing all bylaws amendments and all resolutions.
- Resolutions should consist primarily of statements of policy or outlines for organizational activity. The Proposals Committee will be empowered to remove excess “Whereas” clauses from resolutions.