MARYLAND NOW BYLAWS
(as amended May 16, 2009)
ARTICLE I. Name
The name of this organization shall be the National Organization for Women, Inc., Maryland; hereinafter referred to as Maryland NOW.
ARTICLE II. Purpose
This organization shall take action within the State of Maryland as a whole to further the purposes and policies of the National Organization for Women, through the coordination of chapter efforts and statewide functions and actions.
ARTICLE III. Membership
A member of Maryland NOW shall be any person whose current dues have been paid to National NOW and whose current state dues have been received by the Treasurer of Maryland NOW.
ARTICLE IV. Diversity
Maryland NOW and its member chapters shall work together in every way possible to achieve diversity throughout the organization, including both representation of diversity in our leadership and in our membership, in our outreach and coalition work, and to work in the communities of our state to end discrimination of all kinds.
No policy or action of Maryland NOW shall have the intent or effect of discriminating against any member because of race or ethnicity, economic status, sexual orientation, physical ability or age.
ARTICLE V. Structure
The structure of Maryland NOW shall be:
A. The State Conference
B. The State Council
C. The Executive Committee
D. State Task Force Chairs
ARTICLE VI. State Conference
Sec. 1. The purpose of the State Conference shall be to elect officers, establish policy, adopt program priorities, elect at-large delegates to the National NOW Conference, and transact such other business as may come before the members.
Sec. 2. The State Conference shall be held annually and at least 33 days prior to the National Conference.
Sec. 3. The Council shall determine the date, place, and agenda of the conference and shall give at least four (4) weeks notice thereof. The agenda must include the results of the financial review outlined in Article VIII. Section 6. Treasurer’s Duties.
Sec. 4. Persons who have been members of Maryland NOW for 60 days and who are duly registered and in attendance may participate in all conference activities and vote. No NOW member shall be required to pay a fee in order to participate in the business of the conference and no distinction of any kind shall be drawn between those able to pay fees and those unable to pay fees.
Sec. 5. A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of at least sixty percent (60%) of members who are registered and in attendance, including two state officers; in addition, one-third of all Maryland NOW chapters shall be represented.
Sec. 6. At‑large members of NOW residing in Maryland shall elect delegates and alternates to the National Conference at the State Conference in accordance to the ratio that applies to the member chapters as stated in the National Bylaws.
Sec. 7. Each member chapter will submit to the Maryland State Conference an annual written status report.
ARTICLE VII. State Council
Sec. 1. The Council shall manage the affairs and control the funds and property of the organization, and may adopt necessary rules and regulations to be included and updated in the Maryland NOW Policy Manual, all being subject to the instructions or decisions of the State Conference, provided that actions taken by the Council shall not be in opposition to, nor in modification of the purpose or policy of the National or State organization. The Council shall take such other action as is necessary to implement the purpose of the organization.
Sec. 2. Member chapters
A. A member chapter is a chartered chapter of the National Organization for Women within the State of Maryland or
B. A convening group of the National Organization for Women within the State of Maryland that has applied for a provisional charter.
Sec. 3. Council membership
A. Each member chapter shall be entitled to two (2) voting delegates as members of this Council.
B. A State Council delegate must be a member in good standing of a Maryland NOW member chapter who has been selected from that chapter. A chapter delegate has the responsibility of presenting chapter views to the State Council and of communicating Council decisions to her/his chapter.
C. State officers and the State Task Force and Committee Chairs shall be voting members of the State Council but shall not represent their chapters.
Sec. 4. Council meetings
A. Regular meetings of the Council shall be held at least six times per year. Notification shall be sent to Council members at least twenty-one (21) days in advance. A proposed agenda will be pre-circulated at least three (3) days prior to the meeting.
B. Special meetings of the Council may be called by the State President(s) or at least four (4) Council members representing at least two (2) member chapters with notification to all Council members.
C. Meetings of the Council shall be open to any member of the National Organization for Women, unless the Council votes to go into executive session.
D. All votes taken shall be decided by Council members present and voting.
E. A quorum shall consist of at least 30% of the Council members representing at least 30% of member chapters; in addition, two (2) state officers not representing their member chapters shall be required for a state council meeting to take place.
F. Meetings by conference call may constitute a meeting, with the same requirements of notice and pre-circulation of the agenda applying. Upon majority agreement of council members at a meeting, a motion or resolution may be voted upon by e-mail at a future date. Members present at the council meeting who have not registered a vote within twenty-four (24) hours of the positing of a motion or resolution will be contacted by phone or mail to determine their vote.
Sec. 5. State Council shall whenever possible schedule voting on substantive matters as to allow discussion at chapter level and the receipt of instructions from their chapter by delegates.
ARTICLE VIII. Officers
Sec. 1. State Officers are:
A. State President(s): one person may serve, or two persons may serve as co‑Presidents.
B. Vice President – Executive
C. Vice President – Action
Sec. 2. State President(s) shall:
A. Serve as primary spokesperson(s) for Maryland NOW.
B. Serve as liaison with the Middle Atlantic Regional Organization and with the National Organization for Women regarding Maryland NOW activities.
C. Develop the agenda and preside at the State Conference.
D. Develop and present the agenda and conduct State Council meetings.
E. Appoint, subject to Council approval, State Task Force and Committee Chairs who shall coordinate statewide task force and committee efforts.
F. Develop, with the State Council, State functions and actions.
G. Serve as Chair of the Maryland NOW Political Action Committee.
Sec. 3. Vice President – Executive shall:
A. Coordinate the administrative functions of Maryland NOW, and serve as liaison to the Committees.
B. Coordinate publicity for State functions and actions.
C. Preside at the State Conference, State Council, and Executive Committee meetings in the absence of the President; assume the position of President in the event of a vacancy in that position.
D. Serve as chair of the Maryland NOW Political Action Committee when designated by the State President(s).
Sec. 4. Vice President – Action shall:
A. Coordinate statewide action programs, including State and National legislative efforts.
B. Serve as liaison with the chapters, the State Task Forces, and other resource persons.
C. Serve as Chair of the Maryland NOW Political Action Committee when designated by the State President(s).
Sec. 5. Secretary shall:
A. Record the minutes of all State Council meetings and send copies to Council members and chapter presidents.
B. Assist the presiding officer on voting matters at meetings and conferences.
C. Assist the President(s) in preparation of correspondence.
D. Maintain a roster of State Council members and chapter presidents.
E. Serve as Chair of the Maryland NOW Political Action Committee when designated by the State President(s).
Sec. 6. Treasurer shall:
A. Receive all funds of Maryland NOW and deposit them in such banks and accounts as are approved by the Council. Two (2) Maryland NOW officers will be co-signers on all Maryland NOW accounts. No account may be closed without an affirmative vote of the council.
B. Disperse funds in accordance with the approved budget.
C. Submit tax forms to appropriate State and Federal governments as required by law, to be reviewed by the Executive Committee.
E. Submit the books and accounts for financial review at the Council meeting prior to the State Conference. This review must include the ability of Council members to examine bank statements for all Maryland NOW accounts as well as reports submitted by the Treasurer during the preceding year. The Treasurer shall distribute the results of the financial review to the chapters at the annual state conference.
F. Coordinate the development of an annual budget and submit it to the Council for adoption.
G. Act as liaison with chapter treasurers to collect dues and transact other business as required.
H. Collect dues from and maintain and make available to the Council, membership lists of non‑chapter National NOW members who have joined Maryland NOW.
I. Serve as Treasurer of the Maryland NOW Political Action Committee.
Sec. 7. Officers may delegate prescribed duties to Maryland NOW members as necessary, but may not delegate the responsibility for the performance of such duties.
ARTICLE IX. Executive Committee
Sec. 1. The Executive Committee shall be the elected Maryland NOW officers.
Sec. 2. This committee shall meet as necessary between State Council meetings.
Sec. 3. This committee will be accountable to the State Council for its actions and decisions.
ARTICLE X. State Task Forces and Committees
Sec. 1. Task Forces shall be formed to plan and direct the work necessary to realize the goals of Maryland NOW in specific issue areas. Committees shall be formed to carry out ongoing administrative functions.
Sec. 2. Task Forces and Committees shall be established by, selected by, and responsible to the State Council. One of the established Committees must be a Budget Committee. The number of Task Forces and Committees in existence at any given time shall not exceed a total of ten (10).
Sec. 3. Task Force and Committee Chairs shall be Maryland NOW members and shall be appointed by the State President(s) subject to Council approval by majority vote. Task Forces and Committees shall be composed of the Chair and other Maryland NOW members in good standing.
Sec. 4. Task Forces and Committees shall:
A. Coordinate the efforts to achieve Task Force and Committee goals, including implementation at the chapter level.
B. Submit to the State Council an annual plan and budget proposal consistent with their goals and objectives; in addition, all action proposals must be submitted for approval.
C. Present a status report at each State Council meeting and an annual report at the State Conference.
Sec. 5. Task Force and Committee Chairs shall maintain their title and the responsibility and privileges thereof until another Chair is appointed and approved by the State Council or until the Task Force or Committee is declared inactive.
ARTICLE XI. Eligibility, Elections, and Terms of Office
Sec. 1. To be eligible for office, a candidate must have been a member of Maryland NOW for a minimum of one (1) year. To serve as president or treasurer, a candidate must have attended at least three (3) state council meetings.
Sec. 2. No more than two (2) officers shall be from the same chapter. In the event that more than two persons from one chapter are nominated for separate offices, the elections of officers shall take place in the following order: President, Vice President – Executive, Vice President – Action, Secretary, and Treasurer.
Sec. 3. Officers of Maryland NOW shall be elected at each annual State Conference and shall serve from the conclusion of the annual State Conference at which they were elected until the conclusion of the next succeeding conference. All officers, at the end of their term of office, must turn over all files they were given upon taking the office they have held as well as all files and property pertaining to their activities during their term, at the State Conference or at the meeting at which a new officer is elected.
Sec. 4. In the event of a vacancy in office other than the Presidency, the office shall be filled by the State Council.
ARTICLE XII. Finances
Sec. 1. The fiscal year shall be from January 1st to December 31st.
Sec. 2. The amount of dues of each member, including at‑large members, shall be set by a two‑thirds vote of the State Council members present and voting.
Sec. 3. The Budget Committee shall prepare a proposed annual budget for the fiscal year, and distribute it to the State Council members at least thirty (30) days after the State Conference, and within sixty (60) days of the beginning of the fiscal year, giving thirty (30) days notice before the State Council meeting at which it is to be adopted. Review and revision of the budget may occur at any State Council meeting.
ARTICLE XIII. Grievance Committee
Sec. 1. It shall be the responsibility of the State Council to resolve member and chapter grievances brought to its attention, only after all other grievance remedies at the local levels have been exhausted.
Sec. 2. The State Council shall appoint, by lot, three of its disinterested members who shall arbitrate the grievance pursuant to applicable disciplinary procedures provided by the parliamentary authority designated by these bylaws and who shall recommend appropriate action o the State Council for approval.
ARTICLE XIV. Amendment of Bylaws
Sec. 1. Bylaws changes may be proposed by
a) the State Bylaws Committee,
b) the Boards of three (3) Maryland NOW member chapters, or
c) forty (40) Maryland NOW members, whose signatures must be dated, from at least four (4) member chapters.
Sec. 2. When method b) or c) is used, proposals must be submitted in writing to the State Bylaws Chair at least 45 days prior to the State Conference.
Sec. 3. Proposed bylaws changes shall be submitted by the Bylaws Committee to the membership in writing at least thirty (30) days before the State Conference.
Sec. 4. These bylaws may be amended at a Maryland NOW State Conference by a two‑thirds vote of those present and voting.
ARTICLE XV. Rules of Order
Any operating procedures of Maryland NOW not covered by these bylaws or in the Maryland NOW Policy Manual are governed by Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, where applicable.