LOWER SHORE PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS BYLAWS
Last Updated: 10/2/2021
ARTICLE I MISSION STATEMENT
The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus is a political and activist organization that covers Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties. The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus is unaffiliated with any political party and is committed to empowering working people. We do that by building a Progressive Movement both locally and on a larger scale to elect progressive representatives, enact progressive legislation, and by working to solve the economic, political, social, racial, and environmental injustices we face.
ARTICLE II: MEMBERSHIP
Section 1: QUALIFICATION FOR membership to be a voting member of the LSPC, an individual must be a resident of the Lower Eastern Shore (Wicomico, Somerset, Dorchester, Worcester). However, College Students currently attending Salisbury University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Wor-Wic, or other local schools are eligible to become LSPC members.
To obtain official Caucus membership and fully earn voting rights, an individual must achieve two of the three following qualifications
- Must attend three meetings in the last eight months
- Be active in a Caucus workgroup (Chair of the workgroup must vouch)
- Have participated in a Caucus event
- The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus will not discriminate against anyone who wishes to become a member based on their race, religion, age, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, place of origin, level of abilities, or socio-economic status.
- A member of this organization is entitled to full participation in group activities, including, but not limited to, the right to join a committee, run for office, vote, and participate in debates.
- No member can be deprived of membership rights except through disciplinary proceedings. Grounds for termination of membership include but are not limited to physical aggression, verbal harassment, and any form of sexual misconduct of another member or misuse of Lower Shore Progressive Caucus' resources or name for personal gain, and or counter to the Caucus adeemed by the leadership termination requires a ⅔ majority vote of a quorum of members.
Section 2: NOTIFICATION OF MEMBERSHIP
- The Chair of this Caucus shall notify each member of this Caucus that they are a member by making sure they have a membership card.
- The Chair of the Caucus shall also make sure that the date and place of the regular meetings of this Caucus are passed to its members.
The Chair of this Caucus shall provide a link to a digital version of the Bylaws unless the member specifically requests a copy to be mailed.
Section 3: DUES AND FUNDRAISING
- Dues may not be officially established to be paid by Caucus members. However, suggested dues can be made.
Through our Political Action Committee (THE LSPC PAC), we may fundraise to help organize on the Lower Shore within the rules of Maryland's campaign finance laws.
Section 1: OFFICERS
The officers of this Caucus shall be a Chair, Vice-Chair, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and the chairs of each committee workgroup.
Addition positions may be created and appointed by the Chair with feedback from the executive committee.
- Addition positions may be created and appointed by the Chair with feedback from the executive committee.
Section 2: DUTIES OF OFFICERS
- It is a Chair's role to ensure that business is conducted in a way that follows the rules or bylaws of the group and respects and upholds the rights of all members of the group.
- The Chair oversees all meetings and is responsible for ensuring there is a quorum, providing copies of the agenda (either physical or digital) to all members present, and conducting vote counts.
- The Chair is responsible for external communications. As such, the Chair must publicly display contact information so they can be reached by individuals outside the group, and must respond to correspondence and requests for information in a timely and courteous manner.
- The Chair shall distribute the agenda three days prior to meetings or delegate this function to any appointed member of this Caucus.
- The Chair may appoint members to the Caucus to support roles after seeking input from the Executive Committee. Including the creation of new roles to help with caucus operations.
- The Chair may create new caucus committees to plan, run, or support caucus tasks or current affairs.
- The Vice-Chair is responsible for internal communication - that is, updates, and direct correspondence with members, committee members, and other officers.
- In the event that the Chair is absent or otherwise unable to fulfill the Chair's duties, the Vice-Chair will assume the Chair's role.
- The Vice-Chair will assume responsibility for any unfilled or vacated officer roles and duties therein.
- The Vice-chair shall perform other functions as delegated by the Chair.
- The Secretary is responsible for drafting clear and accurate summaries of all group meetings (or 'minutes').
- The Secretary provides copies of the most recent meeting's minutes at the following meeting.
- The Secretary shall provide copies of minutes to the Chair and/or posting them online on the leadership facebook page for review within two weeks after each meeting.
- The Secretary maintains and updates the membership database.
- The Secretary maintains an archived copy (either physical or digital) of minutes, membership databases, bylaws, and other documents relevant to the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus, which can be produced as needed.
The Secretary's duties shall include but not be limited to the following: Taking minutes at all Caucus meetings and The Secretary should also have, at each meeting, a list of any Caucus standing committees, and such special committees as are in existence at the time, as well as copies of these bylaws and minutes from prior meetings.
- The Treasurer is the custodian of all Lower Shore Progressive caucus' funds.
- The Treasurer keeps a written record of all income and expenditures of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus, as well as relevant receipts, and can produce them upon request.
- The Treasurer provides monthly written reports on the financial position of the group, forecasting any budgetary issues requiring the attention of the group and recommending actions to address any financial/budgetary issues identified.
- The Treasurer shall promptly account for all Caucus funds and prepare financial reports for each meeting.
The Treasurer of This Caucus shall submit quarterly financial reports with the affiliates of this Caucus and its membership. The Treasurer shall at the end of his/her term turn over to the properly elected successor all records and documents associated with the office of Treasurer of This Caucus.
- The Treasurer is responsible for ensuring that the LSPC PAC's financial records are up to date and that the required reporting to the Board of Elections is accurate, on time, and in compliance with all campaign finance laws.
Section 3: ELECTION OF OFFICERS
- The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus will host its leadership elections during the March monthly meeting on odd years.
- Terms for all Caucus leadership will be four years in length and after the term is served elected leadership may run for re-election or a different leadership position.
To be eligible to run for LSPC Leadership an individual must
- Fill out a caucus filing form officially declaring they are running for caucus leadership.
- Attendance of ¾ of caucus meetings in the past year
- Be a voting member of the LSPC
- The Chair, Vice-chair, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be elected by the entire Caucus voting membership. Committee workgroup members shall elect the Chair of their workgroup.
Section 4: Filling Empty Leadership Seats
If any positions have no individuals filed by the Caucus filing deadline that seat shall be appointed by the Chair and Vice-Chair after the caucus leadership elections.
ARTICLE IV Executive Committee
- The Caucus officers shall serve as the Executive Committee and will have the power to conduct any business which cannot be delayed until the next scheduled Caucus meeting. As the Executive Committee is representative of the membership, no vote may be taken by secret ballot. Any such action must be reported at the next caucus meeting for concurrence. The Executive Committee may meet and cast votes electronically, including by telephone, webchat, email, and etc.
- The Executive committee will Hold Leadership meetings once a month. The meeting will be held the same night each month unless a vote to changes it passes.
- All caucus leadership email communications involving any caucus-related activities must be sent through the caucus email for transparency and record purposes.
- All Role propositions are to be sent to the applicable committee chair, except in the case of leadership roles, which will be sent to the executive committee for a leadership vote.
- Lower Shore Progressive Caucus Leadership members are banned in any way from Lobbying the Caucus before an endorsement process. Lobbying is defined as using Caucus means to promote a preferred candidate or to attack another progressive candidate.
The Caucus Chair will be a member of our affiliates unless he or she appoints someone in their place.
ARTICLE V Committee Work Groups
- Workgroup chairs must have Agendas pre-made for each workgroup before each monthly meeting.
- Leadership will contact and hold Bi-weekly check-ins with either Chair or Vice-chair.
- Workgroup chairs are encouraged to recruit and appoint Assistants to support regional outreach. All appointments shall be given and recorded to the secretary and reported to the Chair.
- The LSPC leadership shall and must appoint someone from the Caucus to serve as a workgroup outreach member who during committee workgroups will be tasked with be but not limited to talking to new members during committee workgroups and introducing them to the Caucus as well as making sure our members participate in committee groups.
- LSPC leadership may vote by proxy or appoint a replacement for the meeting in case of an executive member missing a meeting.
- Committee Chairs are to write up updates after each meeting to be given to the Chair and Vice-Chair to keep them in the loop with committee affairs. As well as members of the committee who couldn't make the meeting or left early.
ARTICLE VI MEETINGS
Section 1: REGULAR MEETINGS
- The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus shall meet every first Thursday Of The Month from 6:00-7:30
- Committees meetings shall be scheduled at the discretion of the committee chair with feedback from its members.
All public meetings of this Caucus shall be open to all interested in building and expanding the progressive movement on the Lower Eastern Shore. Including but not limited to the Press or invited guests regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, gender, age, religion, ethnic identity, sexual orientation, persons with disabilities, or economic status.
- The Chair will first ascertain whether a quorum has been reached, then formally announce the opening of the meeting. A quorum constitutes 1/4 of all voting members and at least half of elected officers.
- Minutes of the previous meeting shall be read by the Secretary.
- Reports from the officers, Executive board, and committees.
- Address old business. If there are any motions pending from a previous meeting, they should be considered at this time.
- Address new business. Members can introduce new items of business. New business can be proposed before the start of a meeting, or during the meeting.
- Conclusion/breakout into committees.
Section 3: SPECIAL MEETINGS
This Caucus may hold special meetings if one is called by the Chair of the Caucus or a majority vote of the Executive Board.
Section 4: PLACE OF MEETINGS
Regular meetings will be held at a time and place designated by the Chair of the Caucus.
Section 5: AGENDA
The agenda for all regular meetings shall be determined by the Chair, with input from the officers of This Caucus.
B. Such agenda shall include provisions for the adoption of This Caucus's Bylaws, the election of officers, and such other matters as may be deemed in the best interest of This Caucus.
ARTICLE VII: Committees
The Standing Committees of Lower Shore Progressive Caucus shall be the Electoral, Legislative, and Communications.
- Standing Committees
- Shall be responsible for actively looking to find Progressive candidates to run for local and state office, vetting Candidates for potential endorsement via our endorsement process, conducting opposition research on opponents of our candidates, making sure candidates adhere to our process and don't violate our rules, provide training and resources to our endorsed candidates.
- Shall be responsible for designing the legislative agenda with both local and state issues with the Caucus, coordinate with our affiliates to make sure issues on the eastern shore are addressed, set up lobby day events and actions, keep on top of local issues at the local level of government across the shore.
This committee shall work with the Candidate recruitment and education to keep track of the voting records of our representatives.
- Shall be responsible for running the website and social media pages for the Caucus, writing op-eds and other forms of the press to get our message out, post videos and other forms of communication to spread the word, handle press releases, and build/maintain the progressive message.
Serving on Committees
- Committees are open to anyone who wishes to serve on them.
All members are encouraged to serve on at least one committee.
Forming New Committees
- New committees may be created or dissolved as needed through a ⅔ majority vote or by designation of the Chair of the Caucus.
- Sub-committees of any committee may be formed by the Chair of the committee to help with the function and production of the committee. All Sub-committees must be reported to the secretary of the Caucus.
- The Secretary shall record the name and description of any new committees, and include this information within the bylaws as an amendment.
Section 6: QUORUM
Ten percent (10%) of the membership of This Caucus including at least one officer shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. If at any regular or special meeting of This Caucus a quorum is not present, those present may adjourn until a time when a quorum shall be present.
ARTICLE VIII: The Caucus Endorsement Process
Section 1: Requirements to be considered for LSPC endorsement
- All candidates must answer a questionnaire for the Caucus.
- State and national candidates must be a speaker for a monthly meeting. (Unless the candidate is endorsed by our affiliate then they automatically fulfill the speaking at a meeting requirement.)
- All Candidates must agree with 75% of our platform to be eligible for endorsement.
- Members will vote on all eligible candidates at a special meeting and candidates must achieve 51% of the vote to win an endorsement.
- The Caucus may endorse candidates regardless of party affiliation.
- Endorsement by the Caucus may be rescinded at any time.
- The candidate must sign and return this form physically or digitally to be eligible for endorsement.
The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus will provide canvassing and other actions in support of endorsed candidates to the best of our ability.
Section 2: Caucus Endorsement Voting procedure
- Endorsement voting will be held at the March meeting. Unless a special vote is called by the Chair of the Caucus.
- The vote will be done by paper ballot and virtual absentee ballot at the March meeting.
- In order to appear on the ballot and be eligible for endorsement, a candidate MUST have filled out the endorsement form and agreed with 75% of our platform.
- Voting members are active participants in the Caucus with membership cards.
- Absentee Ballots may be requested but must be requested no later than one week before the March meeting and must be returned filled by the night of the endorsement vote.
ARTICLE VII: Recommending Candidates
Section 1: What Is A Recommendation?
The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus reserves the right to encourage its members and the public to vote for LSPC recommended candidates running for office in the general election who didn't receive the LSPC endorsement for one reason or another.
Section 2: How the Caucus Interacts with Recommended Candidates
Recommended candidates aren't caucus endorsed candidates therefore will be discluded from the use of caucus resources. A recommendation is only an encouragement to vote for someone because they are more in line with our platform than their opponent.
Section 3: How A Candidate Becomes Recommended
After the primary, a second caucus endorsement vote will be held and another opportunity to meet requirements for the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus endorsement will take place for those who didn't win endorsement in the primary. Candidates who don't meet the requirement of 75% of our platform but are ideologically more in line with our platform than their opponent are then eligible to be voted on to become a Caucus recommended candidate.
ARTICLE VIII: Amending Bylaws
- Proposals to amend the bylaws must be submitted to the Chair.
- Once a proposal to amend the bylaws has been received, it is the Chair's responsibility to disseminate the full text of the amendment to all voting members at least five days prior to the meeting at which the amendment will be voted on.
- Bylaws can be amended with a ⅔ majority vote of all voting members of Lower Shore Progressive Caucus.
- If turnout at a meeting is insufficient to reach a ⅔ majority, an amendment vote can be tabled for the following meeting.
- Amendments must be adopted using the exact language used during the vote. No alterations can be made to an amendment after a vote.
- Once an amendment has been approved, the Secretary shall alter all Bylaws documents accordingly, and update the date at the top to reflect when the changes were made effective immediately upon their adoption.