By Mary McCune, Fem Dems President
Dear Fellow Fem Dems Members & Sacramento Feminists,
Each year the Fem Dems Executive Board reviews the organization's bylaws as required per Article 4, Section 2 (1)(C). This year's bylaws review has taken the board several months to complete to address dramatic changes within our organization during the past year. For example, at the beginning of our term, we had less than 60 dues paying members, and now, the Fem Dems are more than 200 dues paying members strong!
With this rapid growth within our organization, the Fem Dems Executive Board has taken a thoughtful approach by ensuring each proposed bylaws change promotes inclusion, transparency, and increased leadership development within our membership. We believe that the six substantive bylaws changes below will ensure success for our incoming leadership and the organization as a whole (view proposed bylaws here):
1. Affiliation - Addition of California Young Democrats (Article 1, Section 1 (3)): The organization is currently in the process of officially chartering with the California Young Democrats (CYD). This will allow the Fem Dems to bring our feminist ideals and priorities to another platform and create coalitions with other young democrat organizations across the state. While CYD defines a young democrat as a registered democrat under 36 years of age, the Fem Dems still welcomes and encourages all feminists regardless of ages to join our organization. Only members under 36 will be counted towards our CYD charter which affects our CYD delegate representation only. No changes will be made to our programming or member eligibility requirements as a result of this charter.
2. Voting Eligibility (Article 2, Section 1 (3)): In order to be able to vote on any Fem Dems business put forth to membership, members must be current on their annual dues and attend at least 2 Fem Dems events. Previously, the requirement was to attend 1 general meeting. However, in an effort to make participation in our organization more accessible to all working schedules, we are allowing members to count any Fem Dems event towards their voting eligibility (including happy hours, fundraisers, and other events outside of the monthly general meetings).
3. Board Member Positions (Article 3, Section 1): Due to the increase in membership we have seen in the past year, our Board has found it necessary to increase the capacity of our Executive Board in order to adequately and successfully provide services, events, and other programming to our community. As such, we have developed two ways for membership to take leadership roles in our organization: through elected executive board positions and through committee positions. We have renamed a few board positions in order to adhere to a specific naming convention (directors, as opposed to coordinators), and added two new board positions (Public Relations Director and Program Director). We also expanded the roles of several committees to allow members with limited availabilities to develop their leadership skills and provide necessary support to the growing roles of the executive board members (see: fundraising committee, communications and outreach committee, political affairs committee).
4. Development of Fem Dem's Political Capital via Political Affairs Committee (Article 2, Section 2 (4), Article 4, Section 1 (1): We have further developed the Fem Dems endorsement process, including how endorsements are taken up by the organization, methods of reaching out to candidates, and the Executive Board recommendation process for endorsements before they are put forth to the general membership. Before our organization's dramatic increase in membership, these processes were usually done at the Executive Board level. Now, as we have an increasingly active membership become engaged in the state and local political processes, we thought it was best to make the endorsement process as transparent and efficient as possible by inviting a committee to help prescreen races for endorsement and help organize grassroots efforts once candidates and campaigns have earned a Fem Dems endorsement.
5. Election of Officers (Article 2, Section 3 (1): In order to make the election of the Fem Dems Executive Board as transparent and inclusive as possible, we have proposed a new election format: (1) Announcement of annual elections in January, (2) Opening of formal filing period for positions (January General Meeting through the day after February General Meeting) for candidates to complete an "intent to run" form furnished by the board; (3) Election of officers at March general meeting; (4) For positions where no one has declared to run, nominations can be taken from the floor the day of the election.
This new process was designed to give eligible voting members time to research and meet with candidates prior to the annual election meeting. It also gives interested candidates an opportunity to meet with the current board to find out more information about the positions and get a sense of what positions would be the best fit for their expertise and passions.
6. Process for Bylaws Revisions (Article 4, Section 2 (1): Going forward, bylaws revisions must be taken to the general membership for approval. Previously, bylaws revisions could be approved with Executive Board approval only if adequate notice was provided to the general membership after the fact.
Please feel free to review the proposed bylaws changes in their entirety here. For easy reference, you can view our current bylaws here. If you have any concerns, questions, or additional feedback, please email firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, January 20th. We plan on going over this bylaws changes summary at our next general meeting next Monday January 23 and will put it to a vote for ratification.
To find out more about our general meeting (we will be talking about wills and trusts!), check out our Facebook event here!
The Fem Dems Executive Board
P.S.: Have you been thinking about joining Fem Dems and just haven't got around to it? Joining is easy and only $20/year, simply click here!
Or did you pay your dues before November 2016? It's time to renew so you are eligible to run/vote in the March elections! Click here to renew, it only takes 2 minutes!