About the League of Women Voters

History of the League of Women Voters

 The League of Women Voters of Tyler/Smith County was founded in 1952 as a chapter of the national organization League of Women Voters of the United States, which was created after the 75-year struggle to gain the vote for women ended with passage of the 19th amendment to the U. S. Constitution in 1919.

What Does the League Stand For?

The League Principles are concepts of government to which all Leagues subscribe. They are the beliefs shared by League members everywhere. Principles are the basis upon which national, state, and local program is adopted. The Principles themselves may be used to take action at any level of government. However, because they are broad statements, such action is usually taken in conjunction with current League positions. Additional information on their usage is found in the LWVUS publication Impact on Issues.

What Does the League Do?

Provides information to voters, works to involve residents in community issues, and studies and advocates on important topics related to government, the administration of justice, the environment, and social policy. Member of the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce.

Who Joins the League?

Voting membership in the League is open to men and women of voting age. Non-citizens and under 18 are urged to join as associate or non-voting members.

  

 

BYLAWS

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BYLAWS of the  League of Women Voters of Tyler/Smith County

(Revised and Adopted May 11, 2019) 

ARTICLE I 

NAME

The name of this organization shall be the League of Women Voters of Tyler/Smith County, hereinafter referred to in these Bylaws as LWV-Tyler/Smith County, LWV-TSC, or as the League. This local League is an integral part of the League of Women Voters of the United States, hereinafter referred to in these Bylaws as LWVUS, and of the League of Women Voters of Texas, hereinafter referred to in these Bylaws as LWV-Texas. 

ARTICLE II

PURPOSES AND POLICY

Sec. 1 Purposes:

  1. The purposes of the LWV-TSC are to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation in government and to act on selected governmental issues.
  2. The LWV-TSC is organized and operated as an association, exclusively for charitable and educational purposes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code. Notwithstanding any other provision of these Bylaws, the League shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on by an association exempt from federal income tax under such provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. No substantial part of the activities of the association shall be attempting to influence legislation.

Sec. 2 Political Policy: The League shall not support or oppose any political party or candidate.  

ARTICLE III

MEMBERSHIP

Sec. 1 Eligibility:  Any person who subscribes to the purposes and policy of the League shall be eligible for membership.

Sec. 2 Types of Membership:

  1. Voting members: Persons at least 16 years of age who join LWV-TSC shall be voting members of LWV-Tyler/Smith Co., LWV-Texas and LWVUS.
  2. Those who reside within the LWV-Tyler/Smith Co. area may join this or any other eligible local League;  
  3. those who reside outside the LWV-Tyler/Smith Co. area may join this League or be members at large;  
  4. those who have been League members for 50 years or more shall be life members, excused from the payment of dues.  
  5. Associate Members: All others who join the LWV-TSC shall be associate members.   

Sec. 3 Dues:  Dues amounts for all levels of membership shall be set in the budget adopted at annual meeting and stated in Board Policy adopted annually.  

 ARTICLE IV

OFFICERS  

Sec. 1 Enumeration, Election, and Term of Officers: Generally, the officers of LWV-Tyler/Smith Co. shall be a president, four vice-presidents, a secretary, and a treasurer. The president, two vice-presidents, and the secretary shall be elected in odd-numbered years. Two vice-presidents and the treasurer shall be elected in even-numbered years.  In the event that an office is not filled or becomes vacant, the board of directors may, at its discretion, provide that the duties of that office be performed by the board of directors as a whole, or by a committee appointed by the board of directors, until the office can be filled as provided in these Bylaws.

 Sec. 2 The President [or Co-Presidents]: The president shall have such powers of supervision and management as customarily pertain to the office; shall preside at all meetings of the organization and the board of directors, or designate another person to do so; and shall be, ex officio, a member of all committees except the nominating committee. The president may, in addition to and in coordination with the treasurer, sign or endorse checks, drafts, and notes. Whenever the LWV-Tyler/Smith Co. does not have an individual elected or designated as acting president by the board of directors, the board shall apportion the duties of the office of president clearly and responsibly, in order to manage and conduct the business of the organization properly, subject to the instructions of the general membership. The president shall not assume the duties of the secretary.

 Sec. 3 The Vice-Presidents: The vice-presidents shall perform such duties as the president and board shall direct.   When there is an elected president, the new board of directors shall, at the first board meeting, designate one vice-president, who shall possess all powers and perform all duties of president in the event of the absence, disability, resignation or death of the president. Should that vice-president become unable to serve, the board shall appoint another of its elected members to fill the vacancy.

 Sec. 4 The Secretary: The secretary shall record, prepare, and retain written minutes of annual meetings of the League and of all meetings of the board of directors, shall sign with the president all contracts and other instruments when so authorized by the board, and shall perform such other duties as directed.

 Sec. 5 The Treasurer: The treasurer shall collect and receive all monies, shall be custodian of these monies, shall deposit them in a bank designated by the board of directors, shall disburse the same only upon order of the board of directors; and shall be responsible for preparation of all financial reports.

 ARTICLE V

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Sec. 1 Number, Manner of Selection, and Term of Office: The board of directors shall consist of the officers of the League, five elected directors and not more than five directors appointed by the board. 

  1. The officers and the el  ected directors shall be elected by the general membership at annual meeting and shall serve two-year terms, unless otherwise stipulated.   New terms shall begin the first day of the next fiscal year after election. 
  2. Three directors shall be elected in odd-numbered years and two directors shall be elected in even-numbered years. 
  3. The terms of office of the appointed directors shall be for only the fiscal year of their appointment.

Sec. 2 Qualifications: All members of the board shall be voting members of the LWV-Tyler/Smith Co. If for any reason a board member is dropped from the membership rolls, the tenure of that member on the board automatically shall terminate. If the member subsequently rejoins the League, reinstatement on the board of directors shall be at the discretion of the board.

 Sec. 3 Vacancies: Any vacancy occurring in the board of directors may be filled, until the next annual meeting, by appointment by the president and approval by vote of a majority of the board of directors. 

 Sec. 4 Powers and Duties: The board of directors shall have full charge of the property and business of the organization, with full power and authority to manage and conduct same, subject to the instructions of the general membership. It shall select delegates to state convention and council and to national convention. It shall plan and direct the work necessary to carry out the program as adopted by the national convention, the state convention, and the LWV-TSC annual meeting. The board shall create and designate such special committees as it deems necessary.

 Sec. 5 Board Meetings:

  1. Conventional Meetings: There shall be at least six scheduled meetings of the board of directors, meeting together in person during a fiscal year, for reporting, planning, discussion and decision making.  When circumstances require a board decision between regular scheduled meetings, the president may call special meetings of the board,and shall do so upon written request of five members of the board.
  2. Board Decision by Electronic Means:   When circumstances require a board decision between regular scheduled meetings, the president or whomever the president designates may initiate presentation and seek a decision regarding the matter by non-simultaneous poll of the board by electronic means such as telephone conferencing, video conferencing and/or E-mail, hereafter referred to as “electronic meetings.”  For an electronic meeting to be valid, the following is required.
  • All board members shall be timely notified and have access to the electronic media that will be used for the meeting.
  • All board members shall possess a written explanation of the discussion and/or debate procedures for non-simultaneous exchange of e-mail and/or telephone calls prior to the meeting. 
  • The secretary shall record, at a minimum: the names of board members participating, and any votes taken during the electronic meeting.  Provisions of these Bylaws regarding quorum shall apply.
  • The secretary shall report about the electronic meeting at the next meeting of the board members in person, for inclusion in the Minutes of that meeting.  

Sec. 6 Absences: Three unexcused absences from regularly scheduled board meetings by any member of the board of directors shall be deemed a resignation from the board and the member’s office shall be considered vacant.

Sec. 7 Quorum: A majority of the members of the board of directors shall constitute a quorum. Members of the board may attend and participate in a board meeting and be recorded as “present” for purposes of determining a quorum, either by physical presence at the meeting or by effective simultaneous telephonic or electronic presence at the meeting. Telephonic or electronic presence is “effective presence” if each member in attendance can simultaneously communicate with all other members in attendance.

 Sec. 8  Indemnification & Limitation of Liability: All officers, directors and/or other appointed representatives of the League of Women Voters of Tyler/Smith Co. shall be indemnified and their liability shall be limited to the fullest extent authorized by the Texas Non-Profit Corporation Act, Article 1396-2.22A, Vernon’s Annotated Civil Statues, as it now exists or hereafter may be amended, and by the Charitable Immunity and Liability Act, Chapter 84 of the Civil Practices and Remedies Code.

ARTICLE VI 

FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION

 Sec. 1 Fiscal Year: The fiscal year of LWV-Tyler/Smith Co. shall commence on the first day of June each year.

 Sec. 2 Annual Dues: The amount of annual dues shall be determined at annual meeting by adoption of the annual budget, and shall be payable on the first day of the anniversary month in which the member last joined the League. Anniversary dates do not change unless a member is dropped from the membership rolls.

  1. Those who have been members of the League for 50 years or more shall be designated as honorary life members, and shall be excused from the payment of annual dues.
  2. Any member who fails to pay dues within two months after they become payable shall be dropped from the membership rolls.
  3. Two members residing at the same address in a common household may pay dues equal to one and one-half times the determined annual dues.
  4. At the discretion of the board, reduced membership rates may be available in special cases.

Sec. 3 Budget Committee: The board of directors shall organize a budget committee including at least two board members and one non-board member, each year at least three months prior to annual meeting. The budget committee shall prepare a budget for the ensuing fiscal year and present the proposed budget to the board of directors at least two months prior to annual meeting. The treasurer shall not be eligible to serve as chair of the budget committee but shall serve, ex officio, as a member.

 Sec. 4 Budget: The board of directors shall consider the proposed budget submitted by the Budget Committee and make whatever adjustments it considers appropriate. The board of directors shall present the proposed budget to the members in writing at least one month prior to annual meeting. The budget adopted by annual meeting shall include support for work of the League as a whole.

 Sec. 5 Financial Review: The president shall appoint a person to review the treasurer’s accounts at the close of the fiscal year. The president shall appoint the chair and members of the Financial Review committee at the annual meeting, which shall include the treasurer and two League members. The treasurer shall not serve as chair of the committee. The treasure's reports for the year shall be reviewed following the end of the fiscal year and shall be completed by September 30th. Upon completion, the committee shall submit their report to the board of directors.   

Sec 6. Distribution of Funds on Dissolution:  In the event of the dissolution of the LWV- Tyler/Smith Co., after paying or making provision for the payment of all the liabilities of the LWV- Tyler/Smith County, all assets of the LWV- Tyler/Smith County shall be distributed to the League of Women Voters of Texas or its successor that is recognized as exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3), or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code. Should the state League no longer be in existence, then all assets should be distributed to an equivalent organization that is part of the League of Women Voters national organization. If no such organization is then in existence, after paying or making provision for the payment of all the liabilities, then the LWV-TYLER/SMITH CO. assets shall be distributed for one or more of the LWV-TYLER/SMITH CO. exempt purposes within the meaning of Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3), or shall be distributed to the federal government, or to a state or local government, for a public purpose.   The manner of distribution and recipient(s) of the LWV-TYLER/SMITH CO. assets shall be determined by the board or such other persons as shall be charged by law with the liquidation or winding up of the LWV-TYLER/SMITH CO. and its affairs.

Sec. 7 Conflict of Interest:  The board of directors shall adopt a Conflict of Interest Policy and an annual disclosure process that applies to all officers and directors of LWV-TYLER/SMITH CO.  The Conflict of Interest forms shall be retained for five years. 

ARTICLE VII

MEETINGS

Sec. 1 Membership Meetings: There shall be at least four general meetings of the membership each year.

The board of directors shall determine the time and place of the membership meetings. 

 Sec. 2 Annual meeting: An annual meeting shall be held between April 1and June 1of each year, the exact date to be determined by the board. During annual meeting the members shall:

  1. adopt a local program for the ensuing year;
  2. elect officers, directors, and the chair and two members of the nominating committee;
  3. adopt an adequate budget;
  4. approve amended bylaws, if applicable, and
  5. transact such other business as may properly come before them.

 Sec. 3 Quorum: Twenty percent of the current number of voting members shall constitute a quorum at all meetings of LWV-Tyler/Smith Co., except meetings of the board of directors.

 Sec. 4 Absentee Voting: Absentee or proxy voting shall not be permitted at any meeting of the League.

ARTICLE VIII

PROGRAM AND PRINCIPLES

Sec. 1 Principles: The Principles are concepts of Government adopted by the national convention, and supported by the League as a whole. They are the authorization for the adoption of national, state, and local program.

Sec. 2 Program: The program of LWV-Tyler/Smith Co. shall consist of action to implement the Principles of LWVUS and those local governmental issues chosen for concerted study and action.

 Sec. 3 Action by the annual meeting:  At annual meeting the members shall act upon the program, using the following procedures:

  1. Voting members may make recommendations to the board of directors at least two months before the annual meeting.
  2. The board of directors shall consider these recommendations and formulate a proposed program that shall be presented to the members at least one month before the annual meeting.
  3. A majority of the voting members present and voting at the annual meeting shall be required for adoption of the proposed program as recommended to the annual meeting by the board of directors.
  4. Program recommendations submitted by voting members two months prior to the annual meeting, but not included in the proposed program recommended by the board of directors, may be considered by the annual meeting, provided that:
  • the annual meeting shall order consideration by a majority vote; and
  • the annual meeting shall adopt the item by a 2/3 vote.

 Sec. 4 Emergency Program Changes:   In extraordinary circumstances, changes in the program may be made at times other than at annual meeting, provided that:

  1.  information concerning the proposed changes is presented to all members at least two weeks prior to a general membership meeting at which the change is to be discussed; and 
  2. final action by the membership is taken at a succeeding meeting, for which all members are provided at least two weeks prior notice.

Sec. 5 Program Action: Local members may act in the name of the League of Women Voters only when authorized to do so by the board of directors. Action on state or national issues must have prior approval from LWV-Texas or LWVUS. Members may act only in conformity with, and not contrary to, a position taken by LWV-Tyler/Smith Co., LWV-Texas, and LWVUS, when acting in the name of the League.

ARTICLE IX 

NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS

Sec. 1 Nominating Committee: The nominating committee shall consist of five members. The members at annual meeting elect the chair of the nominating committee and two other members who are not board members. Their names are submitted as part of the report of the previous nominating committee. The board of directors appoints two board members to the nominating committee promptly following the annual meeting. The board of directors also shall fill any vacancy that may occur on the nominating committee by appointment, ensuring that no more than two members of the committee are current board members.

 Sec. 2 Work and Report of the Nominating Committee and Nominations from the Floor: The nominating committee ensures strong leadership for LWV-Tyler/Smith Co. and serves as talent scouts year-round. Any member of the LWV-Tyler Smith Co. may suggest nominations for officers and directors to the nominating committee at any time.

The nominating committee shall present its report of nominations of officers, directors, and the succeeding nominating committee to the LWV-Tyler/Smith Co. membership at least 30 days prior to the annual meeting. The recommended method for informing members is by timely publication of the proposed slate of officers, directors and nominating committee chair and members in the local VOTER. The committee also may provide a courtesy report to the board of directors.

 Immediately following the presentation of the nominating committee’s report at annual meeting, any voting member may nominate another member to serve as an officer or director, if the nominee has consented.

 Sec. 3 Election: The election shall be by ballot, except that if there is only one nominee for an office it shall be by voice vote. The candidate winning election shall be the one receiving a majority of votes from members qualified to vote and voting. 

               ARTICLE X

PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY

The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall govern the organization in all cases to which they are applicable and not inconsistent with these Bylaws.

ARTICLE XI

AMENDMENTS

LWV-TSC Bylaws shall be amended as follows:

  1. Proposed revisions of the local Bylaws shall be submitted to the LWV-TSC Board and the state Governance Committee chair for review prior to submission to the general membership.
  2. Amendments must be submitted to members in (writing) and delivered either electronically or mailed at least 30 days prior to the annual meeting.
  3. Approval of any and all proposed revisions or amendments to adopted LWV-Tyler/Smith Co. Bylaws requires a favorable vote of 2/3 of the voting members present and voting at the annual meeting. Bylaws changes take effect immediately, unless otherwise specified.

 

 The League Principles

 The League of Women Voters believes

  • √ in representative government and in the individual liberties established in the Constitution of the United States.
  • √  that democratic government depends upon the informed and active participation of its citizens and requires that governmental bodies protect the citizen’s right to know by giving adequate notice of proposed actions, holding open meetings and making public records accessible.
  • √ that every citizen should be protected in the right to vote; that every person should have access to free public education that provides equal opportunity for all; and that no person or group should suffer legal, economic or administrative discrimination.
  • √ that efficient and economical government requires competent personnel, the clear assignment of responsibility, adequate financing, and coordination among the different agencies and levels of government.
  • √ that responsible government should be responsive to the will of the people; that government should maintain an equitable and flexible system of taxation, promote the conservation and development of natural resources in the public interest, share in the solution of economic and social problems that affect the general welfare, promote a sound economy and adopt domestic policies that facilitate the solution of international problems. 
  • √  that cooperation with other nations is essential in the search for solutions to world problems and that development of international organization and international law is imperative in the promotion of world peace.
  • √  that all powers of the U. S. Government should be exercised within the constitutional framework of a balance among the three branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial.