MAHSD Bylaws

 
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The Massachusetts High School Democrats abide by the following bylaws, which govern organizational functions, elections, and leadership. MAHSD leadership consists of an Chair and Vice-Chair elected annually, and an appointed Executive Board that works to conduct statewide initiatives and plan events. The State Committee also plays an important role, as representatives of each local chapter work together to maintain communication and collaboration. Each chartered chapter runs independently with its own leadership, and as MAHSD is a state chapter of the High School Democrats of America, all chapters and members operate under both organizations. The Adult Advisory Board additionally assists MAHSD, providing valuable guidance and advice.

 
 

BYLAWS

ARTICLE I

NAME

SECTION 110 Name.

This organization shall be known as Massachusetts High School Democrats and may be shortened to the abbreviated MAHSD.

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ARTICLE II

POLICY

SECTION 210 Organizational Functions.

This organization shall follow the guidelines and restrictions as set forth in Section 210 of the bylaws of the High School Democrats of America.

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ARTICLE III

ORGANIZATION

SECTION 310 State Organization.

The Massachusetts High School Democrats shall be composed of the State Committee, the Executive Board, an Adult Advisory Board, as well as other bodies and positions created at the discretion of the State Chair.

SECTION 320 Local Organization.

The Massachusetts High School Democrats shall organize its membership into local and regional units which will serve to perform the purpose of this organization in their respective jurisdictions. Local chapters will be subject to all pertaining requirement of this document.

SECTION 330 Parent Organization.

The Massachusetts High School Democrats shall:

Operate as the official Massachusetts state chapter of the High School Democrats of America. Codes set forth by the HSDA by-laws supersede those found in this document.

Maintain a relationship as a parent organization to all local chapters.

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ARTICLE IV

MEMBERSHIP


SECTION 410 General Membership.

Any self-identified Democrat in a Massachusetts High School or any Democrat who is a Massachusetts resident, being a high school student or younger or home-schooled, shall be eligible for active membership in this organization. Persons eligible shall remain eligible until two (2) months after their scheduled graduation from high school.

SECTION 415 Special Dues.

General membership must be maintained without dues at all times.

SECTION 420 Membership

All members of the Massachusetts High School Democrats shall be given the following rights for the duration of their membership:

a) All members will be allowed to vote in fair and open elections for statewide offices as long as they have been members for at least two (2) months.

b) No membership test or oath shall be given to members by any part of this organization, except that they must declare support for the Democratic Party.

c) Members will not be subject to discrimination based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, age, national origin, economic status, or physical disability.

d) All members shall have the opportunity to run for any elected state office within the Massachusetts High School Democrats provided that they will be members for the duration of the term they seek, and that they have secured the support of no less than (2) members of the State Committee, excluding members of the sitting Executive Board.

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ARTICLE V

LOCAL CHAPTERS

SECTION 510 Chartering Requirements.

In order for a chapter to be chartered with the Massachusetts High School Democrats, the State Chair must confirm that the chapter has:

  1. At least three (3) members, all of whom are registered members of the Massachusetts High School Democrats.

SECTION 520 Chapter Types.

Chapters may be chartered as either high school chapters centered at a school, community chapters centered within a community or locality, or county chapters centered within a county.

SECTION 530 Chapter Requirements.

The following regulations apply to all local chapters:

a) Registered chapters must maintain close contact with the organization as is necessary to further the mission and goals of this organization, and to ensure optimal efficiency and productivity.

b) Chapter members must be registered as members of the MAHSD.

c) Registered chapters shall be required to guarantee all rights owed to their members by state and national by-laws.

d) Each chapter must send at least one representative to over 50% of regularly-scheduled State Committee meetings, although this requirement can be overridden at the discretion of the State Chair.

e) Chapters are encouraged to have democratically-elected leadership within 6 months of first meetings.

SECTION 535 Charter Revocation.

Any chapter not in compliance with this document or shown to be violating the principles of this organization may have their chapter charter revoked by a simple majority vote of the State Committee. Chapters whose charters have been revoked shall not be allowed to reform with similar organization as a new chapter, unless accompanied by a simple majority vote of the State Committee.

SECTION 540 Chapter Privileges.

Local chapters that have been chartered shall have the privilege of participating in both the MAHSD and the High School Democrats of America. All registered members of chartered local chapters shall be considered members of this organization.

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ARTICLE VI

EXECUTIVE BOARD

SECTION 610 Role of the Executive Board.

The Executive Board shall see to the functioning and growth of this organization and its programs, and shall endeavor to make this organization an instrument for positive change in communities around the country.

SECTION 620 Composition of the Executive Board.

The Executive Board of the Massachusetts High School Democrats shall be composed of the elected offices of Chair and Vice Chair. Other positions on the Executive Board will be appointed and created at the discretion of the Chair.

SECTION 625 Tenure of Executive Board Members

Elected members of the Executive Board shall serve for a term of no more than one year after their election, at which point they shall either graduate, seek re-election, or discontinue their role. Appointed members of the Executive Board shall serve until graduation unless they are impeached or removed by the Chair.

SECTION 630 Duties of the Executive Board.

The Executive Board shall have the following responsibilities and duties:

a) The State Chair shall serve as the Chief Executive of the Massachusetts High School Democrats, set the agenda and chair all meetings of the Executive Board, and serve as the official voice of this organization. The State Chair must also execute and obey all rules and resolutions adopted by this organization.

b) The Vice Chair shall fulfill all duties of the State Chair in the absence of the officeholder, manage the staff of this organization, chair the State Committee, and cast tie-breaking votes in the State Committee.

SECTION 640 Impeachment; Cause.

The Chair and the Vice Chair are subject to impeachment and removal from office for failure to fulfill assigned duties or for violation of any law or rule of this organization, the Democratic Party, or for the commission of high crimes and misdemeanors, or for generally inappropriate conduct.

SECTION 645 Impeachment Process.

Appointed members of the Executive Board may be removed by the Chair, with the consent of the Vice-Chair, at any time.

In the case of the removal of the Chair or the Vice-Chair, one-fifth of the State Committee may petition the body to trigger the impeachment process of the Chair or the Vice-Chair. A meeting of the State Committee shall be called, in which the initial petitioners shall call upon another HSDA elected leader (to a statewide position or more) to preside, and a member of the Adult Advisory Board to oversee the proceedings. It shall be the duty of the presiding HSDA elected leader to ensure that the process of impeachment is conducted fairly and these protocols are followed.

In the impeachment meeting, for which at least five (5) days of notice must be provided, the Committee members shall be given the opportunity to present evidence and discuss the option of impeachment. Then, in a secret ballot, a ¾ majority of the State Committee may remove the Chair or the Vice-Chair.

SECTION 650 Vacancies.

If a member of the Executive Board resigns, is removed from office, or is otherwise incapable of serving, the State Chair shall have the power to fill or not fill the vacancy with any individual.

If the position of Chair is vacant, the Vice-Chair assumes the position of Chair for the remainder of their term. If the Vice-Chair is vacant, a special election, as specified in Section 1100, shall be held to replace the Vice-Chair. If the positions of Chair and Vice-Chair are simultaneously vacant, the Chair of the High School Democrats of America shall be asked to appoint an interim chair from the ranks of the State Committee, who will serve until a special election can replace both positions. The interim Chair may not declare a candidacy in the following  special election.

SECTION 660 Executive Board Meetings

Executive Board meetings shall be held at a time and in a manner specified by the State Chair. The State Chair may call special meetings for any reason. All Executive Board Members must be notified of operational meetings at least three (3) days prior to the meeting, except under extraordinary circumstances. Members must be present at three-fourths (¾) of the monthly meetings. Minutes shall be taken at all meetings of the Executive Board and shall be accessible to all members.

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ARTICLE VII

STATE COMMITTEE


SECTION 710 Role of the State Committee.

The State Committee shall endeavor to increase communication between local chapters and to promote policies that are to this organization’s benefit.

SECTION 720 Composition of the State Committee.

The State Committee shall be composed of  a Chapter Chair of each individual chapter. In the event that a chapter has more than one leader, the chapter leadership  is to decide who is to assume the position of State Committee Member. A State Committee member shall, in the event of their absence, be permitted to approve a surrogate from their local chapter to attend in their place as a voting member. Executive board members are permitted to act as their chapter’s State Committee Member, but shall not be able to sponsor their own vote or measure to the committee.

SECTION 730 Duties of the State Committee.

The State Committee shall have the following duties:

a) Ensure proper communication of successful local chapter initiatives to the state organization and other local chapters.

b) Approve or pass potential changes to these bylaws as described further in Article XI.

c) Impeach the Chair or Vice Chair if necessary according to Section 645.

d) Attend meetings of the State Committee as described in Section 740.

SECTION 740 Meetings of the State Committee.

The State Committee shall meet monthly, at a time and manner prescribed by the Vice Chair. The Vice Chair may call special meetings for any reason. At least seven (7) days notice shall be given before each meeting, except under extraordinary circumstances. Members must be present at three-fourths (¾) of the meetings. Minutes shall be taken at all meetings of the State Committee, and be made accessible to all members of MAHSD.

SECTION 745 Rules of Voting.

Each member of the State Committee shall be entitled to one vote on eligible matters. Votes shall be brought to the floor only if they are sponsored by at least one (1) member of the executive board. The Vice Chair shall preside over all votes unless otherwise specified in this document, and votes shall be conducted through a conference call voting system unless otherwise directed by the Vice Chair. The Vice Chair shall only have the ability to vote on tied matters. For all matters, a simple majority shall be needed to make any decision, unless otherwise specified in this document. The Chair may veto any decision except impeachment passed by the State Committee with less than a two-thirds (⅔) majority. No quorums shall apply to votes unless otherwise specified or deemed necessary by the Vice-Chair.  

SECTION 750 Removal of a State Committee Member.

If a member does not attend three of four monthly meetings, the Vice-Chair shall have the authority to unilaterally remove a member of the Committee at their discretion. In other scenarios, a motion of no confidence must be submitted to the Vice Chair by an existing member of the Committee to begin the process of removal of a member. The motion must be co-signed by at least three (3) other members of the Committee. A vote shall be scheduled within ten (10) days of when the motion is filed and shall be conducted by the Vice Chair in a necessary manner. At least five (5) days notice of the vote must be given. A member shall be removed by a simple majority vote of those present.

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ARTICLE VIII

ADULT ADVISORY BOARD

SECTION 810 Role of the Adult Advisory Board.

The Adult Advisory Board shall serve as a source of guidance and long-term structure for the High School Democrats of America while maintaining the integrity of a student-run organization. It shall assist the Executive Board however the Board deems necessary. The Adult Advisory Board shall have no power to make decisions or take actions on behalf of the MAHSD without the authorization of the Executive Board.

SECTION 820 Composition of the Adult Advisory Board.

The Adult Advisory Board shall be made up of Democratic leaders from across the state.

SECTION 830 Selection of the Adult Advisory Board

The Chair may appoint or remove any adult to or from the Adult Advisory Board at their discretion, with the consent of the Vice-Chair.   

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ARTICLE IX

ELECTION OF OFFICERS

SECTION 910 State Elections.

The Massachusetts High School Democrats shall conduct a statewide election each year. Measures shall be taken to ensure that each voter casts their vote once. A simple majority of votes cast shall be necessary to obtain the desired office.

SECTION 920 Constituency

All members of this organization as per Section 420(a) shall be given the right to cast one (1) vote in the state elections. All members wishing to cast their vote at the State Election must prove their status of eligibility as is deemed necessary by the Election Committee.

SECTION 930 Election Committee

The election shall be overseen by an Election Committee consisting of one graduating senior of the Massachusetts High School Democrats, one HSDA state Chair from outside of Massachusetts, and one member of the Adult Advisory Board. These three individuals shall be nominated by the Chair and confirmed by the State Committee. The Chair shall be permitted to nominate themself to the Committee if they are eligible.

SECTION 940 Candidates.

All members shall have the ability to run, regardless of their chapter affiliation, provided they meet all requirements for membership and complete candidacy forms published each year by the Election Committee. For violation of election protocols, a unanimous ruling of the Election Committee shall be empowered to rescind a candidacy.

SECTION 950 Ballots.

Voting ballots for the State Election must include all properly registered candidates for each Executive Board position. Ballots shall be designed in a fair manner, and must be readable to all voters.

SECTION 960 Certification of the Vote.

Certification of the vote shall occur with the unanimous consent of the Election Committee. Any voting irregularities, discrepancies, or allegations of improper influence shall be examined at this time, and remedied as necessary.

SECTION 970 Notice.

The membership shall be notified of the election at least forty five (45) days prior to the opening of the vote. They shall be informed of all positions available, and the process for becoming a candidate. At least twenty (20) days prior to the vote, all members shall be notified of all candidates for each position, and given a copy of their written statement. Voting instructions must be included with this notification.

SECTION 980 Election Committee Discretion.

The Election Committee shall have the right to add additional rules and regulations on to those listed above within reason, but shall not have the right to remove any rules and regulations listed in this document.

SECTION 990 Special Elections

In the case of a special election, which occurs in situations described in Section 750, the Chair or the interim Chair shall preside over the election of a new Chair and/or Vice-Chair by the State Committee. In this election, members of the MAHSD shall receive at least seven (7) days of notice before a filing deadline to submit candidacies and platforms. Platforms and candidacies shall be released to the State Committee no more than three (3) days after filing deadline, and a secure election by secret ballot shall be held no more than five (5) days after the release of the release of platforms and candidacies, in which members of the State Committee shall be able to cast votes for at least 72 hours.

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ARTICLE X

AMENDMENT OF THE BYLAWS

SECTION 1010 Amendment.

This document may be amended by the consent of the State Chair and the Vice-Chair along with a simple majority vote of the State Committee AND/OR the approval of a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the State Committee. Either the State Committee or the State Chair and the Vice-Chair may vote first for an amendment.