Maryland NOW Bylaws Changes


 Maryland NOW Proposed Bylaws Changes
June 1, 2024

NOTE: Proposed changes in red with a strikethrough are text that would be eliminated; proposed changes in green in bold are text that would be added.

Article I. Name

The name of the organization shall be the Maryland Chapter, National Organization for Women, Inc., Maryland; hereinafter referred to as Maryland NOW.

Article II. Purpose

The organization shall take action within the State of Maryland to further the purposes and policies of the National Organization for Women, through the coordination of chapter efforts, the work of task forces and committees, and statewide functions and actions.

Maryland NOW works to eliminate discrimination and harassment in the workplace, schools, the justice system, and all other sectors of society; secure abortion, birth control and other reproductive rights for all women; end all forms of violence against women, eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia; and promote equality and justice in our society.

Article III. Membership

A member of Maryland NOW shall be any person whose current dues have been paid to National NOW and  whose dues have been received by the Treasurer of Maryland NOW, or whose name has come to Maryland NOW through National NOW recruiting or notification.  

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.

Maryland NOW and its member chapters are committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), access, and belonging for all people. There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, gender identity, socio-economic status, ethnicity, citizenship, race, age, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, or ability status.

 Maryland NOW will work toward becoming a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization both in membership and leadership. As an organization, Maryland NOW believes that practicing diversity and inclusion is fundamental toward achieving our goals.

In service of these goals, we commit to the following actions:

  1. We will advance equity through concerted policy and advocacy efforts on the state and local level.
  2. We will support our local chapters in prioritizing inclusion in our work and partnerships.
  3. We will actively seek out and listen to voices from underserved or marginalized populations within our community. 
  4. We will ensure that our community partners uphold DEI values that are in alignment with ours.


Article V. Structure

The structure of Maryland NOW shall be:

  1. The annual State Conference
  2. The State Council
  3. The Executive Committee/Maryland NOW state officers
  4. State Task Force and Committee Chairs

Article VI. Meetings

  1. Maryland NOW meetings, including committee, task force, state council, and the state conference, may be held in person, by electronic means, or by a hybrid of those two, so long as the meetings provide, at a minimum, conditions of opportunity for simultaneous oral communication among all participating members equivalent to those of meetings held in one room.
  2. Any meeting of Maryland NOW, whether virtual or in person, shall follow the same requirements for holding that kind of meeting involving notice and membership requirements, as are listed elsewhere in these bylaws.
  3. If a secret ballot is to be taken for voting on any matter, resolution or candidate for office, the Executive Committee will determine the most secure way to conduct that vote.

Article VII. State Conference

Sec. A.  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. B.  The State Conference shall be held annually. and at least 33 days prior to the National Conference.

Sec. C. The Executive Committee and the State 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. D. 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. E.  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. F. 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. F. No resolutions mandating the expenditure of Maryland NOW funds can be considered by the members at the Conference. Recommendations can be made for the State Council to consider such motions.

Sec. G. Each member chapter will submit to the Maryland State Conference an annual written status report.

Article VIII. State Council

Sec. A.  The State Council shall manage the month-to-month affairs and control oversee the funds and property of the organization, and may adopt necessary rules and regulations toward that end. to be included and updated in the Marland 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. All actions of the State Council will be subject to the instructions or decisions of the State Conference, and 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. B.  Member chapters

A member chapter is

  1. a chartered chapter of the National Organization for Women within the State of Maryland or
  2. a convening group of the National Organization for Women within the State of Maryland that has applied for a provisional charter is working to complete an application for a provisional charter with the National Chapter and State Development office of the National Action Center.

Sec. C.  Council membership

  1. Each member chapter shall be entitled to two (2) voting delegates as members of this Council. Convening chapters will have one vote at council meetings for a period of one year from the date of their convening status with the organization.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. D.  Council meetings

  1. Regular meetings of the Council shall be held at least six (6) times per year and can be a combination of in-person and virtual meetings as decided by the Executive Committee and the Council, the goal being to have the best representation possible by member chapters. 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.
  2. 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 Council members.
  3. 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 during some portion of that meeting. Additionally, attendance may be limited to members of Maryland NOW, or specifically the State Council members if agreed upon by the Executive Committee and/or the State Council.
  4. All votes taken shall be decided by the Council members present and voting.
  5. A quorum shall consist of at least 30% of the Council members representing member chapters and at-large members so designated; in addition, two (2) state officers not representing their member chapters shall be required for a state council meeting to take place.
  6. Meetings held virtually by conference call will constitute an official meeting, with the same requirements of notice and pre-circulation of the agenda applying. Upon majority agreement of council members not present at a meeting, a motion or resolution may be voted upon by email at a future date. Members present at the council meeting who have not registered a vote within twenty-four hours of the posting of a motion or resolution will be contacted by phone or mail to determine their vote.
  7. The State Council shall, whenever possible, schedule voting on substantive matters as to allow discussion at the chapter level. and the receipt of instructions from their chapter by delegates. Final votes on any postponed matters must take place within 72 hours of the meeting at which the question was proposed.

Article IX. Officers

Sec. A.  State Officers are:

  1. State President(s): one person may serve, or two persons may serve as co-Presidents.
  2. Vice President – Executive
  3. Vice President – Action
  4. Secretary – Records and Communications
  5. Treasurer

Sec. B.  State President(s) The responsibilities of the President shall include but not be limited to:

  1. Serve as primary spokesperson(s) for Maryland NOW.
  2. Serve as liaison with the Middle Atlantic Regional Organization regional district in which the state has been placed, and with the National Organization for Women and with groups of chapters and states working on specific concerns, and with the National officers, board and staff regarding Maryland NOW activities.
  3. Develop the agenda and preside at the State Conference. (4) Develop and present the agenda and conduct State Council meetings. proposed agendas for the state conference and state council meetings, and conduct those meetings.
  4. The State President or a member of the Executive Committee shall be an ex-officio member of all task forces and committees, and shall ensure that they function at all times in the best interests of Maryland NOW.
  5. Appoint, subject to Council approval, State Task Force and Committee Chairs who shall coordinate statewide task force and committee efforts.
  6. Develop, with the State Council, State functions and actions events that promote the best interests and presentation of our issues for the organization.
  7. Work with the Communications Committee to ensure that electronic media, email and other visibility with our members, coalition partners and the general public presents the best possible image of Maryland NOW.
  8. Serve as Chair of the Maryland NOW Political Action Committee.

Sec. C.  The responsibilities of the Vice President – Executive shall include but not be limited to:

  1. Coordinate the administrative functions of Maryland NOW, and serve as liaison to the Committees.
  2. Coordinate publicity for State functions and actions events. Work with the state president to develop and maintain Maryland NOW’s image and brand.
  3. 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.
  4. Serve as chair of the Maryland NOW Political Action Committee when designated by the State President(s).

Sec. D.  The responsibilities of the Vice President – Action shall include but not be limited to:

  1. Coordinate statewide action programs, including State and National legislative efforts, and action events held in the state and regionally to promote NOW issues. Coordinate work with the Communications Committee to prepare materials promoting our issues and action goals.
  2. Serve as liaison with the chapters, the State Task Forces, and other resource persons.
  3. Serve as Chair of the Maryland NOW Political Action Committee when designated by the State President(s).

Sec E.   The responsibilities of the Secretary – Records and Communication shall include but not be limited to:

  1. Coordinate recordings of Maryland NOW Council and Conference meetings for distribution and/or online storage, and maintain chapter and state leadership records with National NOW.
  2. Maintain files of any correspondence generated on behalf of the organization, the council, and the Executive Committee in online storage.
  3. Post information, action alerts, and notices on social media platforms designated by Maryland NOW to make the organization more visible to the general public.
  4. Maintain membership recruitment and retention programs, as well as communication with new members and individuals interested in Maryland NOW, follow up with any membership problems, and help place interested individuals in various chapters, committees, and task forces.
  5. Make membership lists available to chapters, convening chapters, and event coordinators in accordance with zip codes areas.
  6. Work with a member of the Executive Committee to send electronic mail notices to various Maryland NOW mailing lists regarding legislation, action, or news posts as well as to write content for Maryland NOW’s website.
  7. Service as the Chair of the Maryland NOW Political Action Committee when designated by the State President(s).

Sec. F.  The responsibilities of the Treasurer shall include but not be limited to:

  1. Receive all funds of Maryland NOW and deposit them in such banks and accounts as best meet our cash and investment needs. 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.
  2. Disperse funds in accordance with the approved budget.
  3. Submit tax forms to appropriate State and Federal governments agencies as required by law, to be reviewed by the Executive Committee prior to filing.
  4. Make regular financial reports to the Council and a financial statement to the State Conference.
  5. 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 a broad financial overview to the chapters at the annual state conference.
  6. Coordinate with the Finance and/or Budget Committee the development of an annual budget and submit it to the Council for adoption.
  7. Act as liaison with chapter treasurers to collect dues and transact other business as required.
  8. Collect dues from and maintain and make available to the Council, membership lists of non‑chapter National NOW members who have joined Maryland NOW.
  9. Serve as Treasurer of the Maryland NOW Political Action Committee.

Sec. G.  Officers may delegate prescribed duties to Maryland NOW members as necessary, but may not delegate the responsibility for the performance of such duties.

Article X. Executive Committee

  1. The Executive Committee shall be the elected Maryland NOW officers. Task Force and Committee Chairs may be included for input on decisions and discussion as needed.
  2. This committee shall meet as necessary between State Council Meetings.
  3. This committee will be accountable report decisions and discussions to the state council. An officer of Maryland NOW will take notes and keep records of Executive Committee meetings.

ARTICLE XI.  State Task Forces and Committees

Sec. A.  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. B.  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. C. 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 Task Force or Committee Chair and other Maryland NOW members in good standing. Task Force or Committee Chairs may be removed by the State Council for cause. 

Sec. D.  Task Forces and Committees shall:

  1. Coordinate the efforts to achieve Task Force and Committee goals, including implementation at the chapter level.
  2. 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.
  3. Present a status report at each State Council meeting and an annual report at the State Conference.

Sec. E.  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 until such a time that the Task Force or Committee decides to disband or becomes inactive.

ARTICLE XII.  Eligibility, Elections, and Terms of Office

Sec. A.  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 during a period that includes our state conference, a budget approval process, and a General Assembly Legislative Session.

Sec. B.  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. C.  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 D.  In the event of a vacancy in office other than the Presidency, the office shall be filled by a vote of the State Council.

 ARTICLE XIII.  Finances

Sec. A.  The fiscal year shall be from January 1st to December 31st.

Sec. B. 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.  Any changes in membership dues assessed by Maryland NOW must be approved by a vote of the State Council.

Sec. C.  The Budget Committee shall prepare a proposed annual budget for the fiscal year, and distribute it to the State Council members sixty (60) days prior to the end of Maryland NOW’s fiscal year, thus allowing thirty days for questions and discussions by the State Council, after which time a vote will be taken no later than fifteen (15) days prior to the end of Maryland NOW’s fiscal year to approve the proposed budget. 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.

Sec. D.  The Finance Committee will coordinate fundraising goals to supplement other financial resources used by Maryland NOW, earning income that both builds issue awareness and brings in additional income. They will assist the Treasurer as needed in making and monitoring investment decisions. The committee will work with the Executive Committee and Task Force Chairs on special project expenditures to build in fundraising components.

ARTICLE XIV.  Grievance Committee

Sec. A.  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. B.  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 to the State Council for approval.

Sec. B. The State Council shall be given by each party a person who will represent them in this resolution of conflict. Those two people shall choose a third person, and these three individuals will arbitrate the disagreement that has been brought to the council’s attention. 

Sec. C. Other than informing the Executive Committee and the parties involved, the decision of the Grievance Committee will not to be made public by the committee or the parties involved unless all agree.


ARTICLE XV.  Amendment of Bylaws

Sec. A.  Bylaws changes may be proposed by

  1. The State Bylaws Committee,
  2. The Boards of three (3) Maryland NOW member chapters, or
  3. Forty (40) Maryland NOW members, whose signatures must be dated, from at least four (4) member chapters.
  1. The State Bylaws Committee, or
  2. Representatives of three (3) Maryland NOW member chapters.

Sec. B. When method 2) or 3) is used, proposals must be submitted in writing to the State Bylaws Chair at least 45 days prior to the State Conference.

Sec. B.  Proposals must be submitted in writing to the Maryland NOW Executive Committee and the Chair of the Bylaws Committee at least 45 sixty (60) days prior to the State Conference.

Sec. C.  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. D.  These bylaws may be amended at a Maryland NOW State Conference by a two‑thirds vote of those present and voting.

ARTICLE XVI.  Rules of Order

Any operating procedures of Maryland NOW not covered by these bylaws or in the Maryland NOW Policy Manual are governed by the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, where applicable.