Bylaws submissions were solicited from state and local Leagues and ILOs. None were submitted. The following proposed amendments are offered by and have the support of the LWVUS Board. Amendments require a two-thirds vote of convention delegates.
Note that only specific articles and sections being amended are listed. A rationale and possible pros and cons for each amendment are provided.
The proposed changes are written using the following format:
- Brackets [ ] denote words to be deleted.
- BOLDED CAPS denote words to be added.
BYLAW PROPOSAL #1
Purposes and [Policy] POLICIES
Sec. 1. Purposes. The purposes of the LWVUS are:
- To promote political responsibility through informed and active participation in government. [and]
- To act on selected governmental issues.
Sec. 2. [Political Policy.] POLICIES. THE POLICIES OF THE LWVUS ARE:
- POLITICAL POLICY. The League shall not support or oppose any political party or any candidate.
- DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION POLICY. THE LEAGUE IS FULLY COMMITTED TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE—IN PRINCIPLE AND IN PRACTICE—WITH LWVUS' DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION POLICY.
Rationale: LWV is an organization fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in principle and in practice. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the organization’s current and future success in engaging all individuals, households, communities, and policy makers in creating a more perfect democracy. It is a fundamental value of the organization and belongs alongside our hallmark of nonpartisanship.
BYLAWS PROPOSAL #2
Sec. 2. Types of Membership.
- Voting Members. Persons at least 16 years of age who join the League shall be voting members of local Leagues, state Leagues and of the LWVUS; (1) those who live within an area of a local League may join that League or any other local League; (2) those who reside outside the area of any local League may join a local League or shall be state members-at-large; (3) those who have been members of the League for 50 years or more shall be life members excused from the payment of dues[.]; (4) THOSE WHO ARE STUDENTS ARE DEFINED AS INDIVIDUALS ENROLLED EITHER AS FULL OR PART TIME WITH AN ACCREDITED INSTITUTION.
Sec. 2. Financial Support.
[D. The per member payment for a member who is a student shall be equal to one-half the per member payment amount determined at convention. A student is defined as an individual enrolled either full or part-time in an accredited institution.]
[E.] D. The LWVUS may authorize the payment of a designated part of each per member payment to the League of Women Voters Education Fund.
[F.] E. A state and local League shall be excused from making a per member payment for life members[.] AND STUDENTS.
Rationale: This amendment covers two articles in the bylaws. A pilot program was begun following the 2018 Convention in which PMP was waived for all student members. The result has been an increase in student members across the country. Informal feedback from state leaders has shown support for making this change permanent. The financial impact on the LWVUS budget is not significant. LWVUS wants to increase and diversify its membership and this is one tool to help achieve that goal.
BYLAWS PROPOSAL #3
- [Associate Members. All others who join the League shall be associate members.]
Rationale: This is a conforming amendment. When the bylaws were previously amended to remove the citizenship requirement and lower the age requirement of voting members, this category of membership became obsolete. As an organization, we believe in universal suffrage, and therefore, we should remove this exclusionary clause. All individuals who espouse our mission or purpose should be welcomed to engage in our work.
BYLAW PROPOSAL #4
WITHDRAWAL OF RECOGNITION
Sec. 3. [Disposition of Funds. Upon Dissolution, the funds of a state League shall be paid to the LWVUS and the funds of a local League shall be paid to the state League in which it is organized.] DISSOLUTION. UPON WITHDRAWAL OF RECOGNITION, LEAGUES SHALL FOLLOW LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL LAW TO CLOSE OUT. ANY REMAINING FUNDS SHALL BE DISTRIBUTED TO THE STATE LWV, LWVUS OR LWVEF AS APPROPRIATE. Funds held by an ILO shall be prorated among the member Leagues.
Rationale: This proposal is in response to the growing number of local and state Leagues that are organized solely or predominantly as 501(c)(3) entities. If recognition is withdrawn from such an entity, by law, its funds need to be dispersed in accordance with its tax status per IRS regulations. This provision also calls attention to that fact that there is more to do to close an affiliate than disposition of funds/assets. This is a measure to help mitigate risk to the organization by explicitly outlining good governance practices.
BYLAWS PROPOSAL #5
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
SEC. 3. DUTIES. IN EXECUTING THE DUTIES OF THEIR OFFICE, BOARD MEMBERS ARE EXPECTED TO CARRY OUT APPLICABLE LAWS AND REGULATIONS AS WELL AS LEAGUE BYLAWS, MISSION, POLICIES, PRINCIPLES, POSITIONS, STANDARDS, AND PROCEDURES. BOARD MEMBERS WHO DO NOT SHALL BE COUNSELED. IF VIOLATIONS PERSIST, THEY MAY BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE BY A TWO-THIRDS VOTE OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS.
Rationale: There is no provision within the LWVUS bylaws to address conduct of Board members. In the unlikely event that it is needed, this gives authority to the Board to protect the organization’s brand and reputation if necessary. This type of provision is included in the bylaws of many state Leagues (i.e., Texas, Oregon, and Minnesota) and other organizations. It is part of standard nonprofit governance best practices to mitigate risk.
Note: If this amendment is adopted, the remaining sections will be re-lettered.
The LWVUS Bylaws and the Certificate of Incorporation are available for online reading and as a downloadable PDF.
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