BYLAWS and OPERATING PROCEDURES of the TRAVIS COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY
ARTICLE I. Name and Mission
Section I. Name
This organization shall be named the Travis County Democratic Party (the “TCDP”).
Section II. Mission
The Texas Democratic Party (TDP) Rules state “Other executive committees acting at the County level, the District level or any other level shall discharge their duties in compliance with the law and with the Party Rules. Further, “The County Executive Committee may, by majority vote, adopt continuing rules for the conduct of its business, so long as they are not prohibited by law or are not inconsistent with these Party Rules. Such rules shall be filed with the State Chair.” To carry out the Travis County Executive Committee’s (the “CEC’s”) role in managing the party’s affairs at the county level, to manage the TCDP as a continuing organization, and to ensure continuity between terms, the TCDP, acting by and through the CEC, hereby establishes these continuing Bylaws and Operating Procedures to provide for the conduct of TCDP business.
ARTICLE II. Guiding Principles, Vision, and Membership
Section I. Guiding Principles
- TCDP hereby adopts in total the Texas Democratic Party’s Statement of Principles and General Rules as the foundation for party activities at all levels. TCDP incorporates said principles into our county level bylaws and procedures by reference.
- TCDP believes that every Travis County resident, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, physical or mental limitation, gender, religion or age is entitled to dignity, independence, and respect.
- TCDP believes that our citizens and voters deserve openness, fairness, and the highest ethical standards from their TCDP representatives at all levels.
- The TCDP shall work in partnership with lawmakers, other county entities, other counties in the state, voters, national Democratic leadership, service providers, businesses, churches, clubs, and others to continually improve the quality of our leadership and services to the community.
- The TCDP believes that Travis County voters deserve conscientious stewardship of the public trust regarding planning for and coordinating the Primary and General Election Campaigns of the Democratic party’s nominees.
- The TCDP shall not endorse or show preference to one Democratic candidate over another.
- The TCDP shall include, inform, and educate Travis County voters regarding Democratic nominees running for office in local, district, or statewide offices in order to encourage full participation in the process of democracy and advocacy.
- The TCDP shall provide leadership and direction that fosters openness, inclusiveness, transparency, accountability, and grassroots participation of voters in the county.
Section II. Vision
The TCDP shall:
- Provide countywide vision and statewide cooperation with other counties in Texas for the Democratic Party;
- Provide disciplined, principled investment of party and/or public funds wisely and efficiently;
- Operate efficiently and be completely accountable;
- Focus on critical priorities and support the creation of a strong county Democratic party for our constituents, and the Travis County community.
- Be stewards of the public trust and handle our party responsibilities (precincts, committees, chairs, task forces, etc.) in a fair, just, accountable and responsible manner;
- Have an administration that is open and honest; pursue the high road rather than the expedient course; and be accountable to party constituents, contributors and voters in general for our actions;
- TCDP precinct chairs, party officers, and officials shall recognize that all their power and authority are granted to them by the voters of Travis County, and those making decisions and wielding the power of the TCDP shall exercise their authority cautiously, transparently and fairly;
- Institute a series of checks and balances within the administration of the party activities so that accountability, transparency, and openness are evident; and
- Periodically review its activities, priorities, administration, etc. to determine what works and what does not work regarding its Bylaws and Operating Procedures.
Section III. Members of the TCDP
Any qualified Travis County voter 18 years of age or older who supports the principles of the Democratic Party may participate fully in any TCDP meetings and may be elected to any Party Office, except where specifically prohibited by law or by these Bylaws and Operating Procedures.
ARTICLE III. Process Applicable to Changing Bylaws
Section I. Adoption
- Purpose: To create the organization and/or Bylaws and Procedures
- Scope of Notice: Advance notice by at least two months to CEC members to allow time for review by the membership. The Proposed Bylaws and Procedures shall be considered section by section and voted on at the end of consideration of the entire document. Following the first consideration of the entire document, if there are any disagreements among the CEC members about any particular section(s), the entire document shall be adopted as approved. Those sections with CEC member disagreements shall then be handled by Amendment (see below) and proper notice.
- Vote Needed: Majority of the CEC members
- Frequency: Once and first time
Section II. Amendments
- Purpose: To provide a vehicle for changing the bylaws to fix a problem or problems.
- Scope of Notice: Advance notice by at least two months to CEC members. Proposed bylaw amendments shall be sent in advance to CEC members in a format which shows the current wording and the proposed wording of the Article, section and number to be changed.
- Vote Needed: Two thirds vote of CEC members
- Frequency: Most frequent type of change.
Section III. Revisions
- Purpose: Complete re-write of the bylaws and procedures, or proposed changes that are so significant that amendments would have to be made throughout the document.
- Scope of Notice: Advance notice by at least two months to CEC members, with the revision to be considered section by section and voted on at the end of consideration of the entire document.
- Vote Needed: Two thirds vote of CEC members
- Frequency: Infrequent and seldom. TCDP shall make a periodic review of the Bylaws and Procedures to ensure that the guiding principles and vision remain the basis for said Bylaws and Procedures. Periodic review of the Bylaws and Procedures may take place every two years. Said review also may be more frequent than every two years based on changes to State Democratic Rules, Election Code, Administrative Code, Ethics Code, or any other applicable State or Federal Laws.
ARTICLE IV. Organizational Structure
Section I. County Executive Committee
- Members: Travis County shall have a County Executive Committee (CEC) composed of a County Chair and of one Precinct Chair from each election precinct in the county.
- Qualifications: Democrats 18 years of age or older are eligible for the offices of Precinct Chair or County Chair, provided they meet the criteria specified in the Texas Election Code and any other legal requirements, including but not limited to, not holding elective federal, state, or county government office, as well as residency in precinct or county from which they wish to be elected.
- Selection: CEC members shall be elected by majority vote in the Party Primary Election held in even-numbered years. The County Chair shall be elected by the qualified voters of the county, and the Precinct Chairs by the qualified voters of their respective precincts.
- Term of Office: The term of office for members of the CEC shall begin on the twentieth (20th) day following the Runoff Primary and shall continue for two (2) years or until their successors are elected and certified.
- When a vacancy occurs in the office of County Chair, the outgoing County Chair or the Secretary of the County Executive Committee may call a meeting to fill the vacancy at any time after it occurs, consistent with applicable TDP Rules and TEC.
- In the absence of a Precinct Chair or when such seat becomes vacant in the midst of a term, the County Chair may solicit applicants for the vacancy from among the qualified voters in the affected precinct. A qualified Party member from the precinct may submit an application for the vacant Precinct Chair seat to the County Chair. The County Chair shall then submit the applicant’s name to the full CEC for approval. The CEC meeting that is to fill a Precinct Chair vacancy must have a quorum of a majority of the CEC membership as specified in State law. Once approved, the new Precinct Chair shall continue for the remainder of the original term.
- Swearing In
- The County Chair and the Precinct Chairs shall be sworn in at the Travis County Democratic Party Convention held on the date specified by Party Rules (or as soon as possible thereafter).
- The Swearing In shall be conducted before a quorum of a majority of the CEC membership as specified in Party Rules.
- If a Precinct Chair is not publicly sworn in by June 30th, then that chair shall be declared vacant.
- Duties and Responsibilities
- Statutory Duties: Statutory duties of the CEC include: collecting filing fees; appointing watchers; determining the order of names on the ballot; canvassing Primary results; and setting and publicizing times and places for Precinct and County Conventions. Additional responsibilities are outlined in the Texas Election Code.
- Primary Duties
- The CEC shall have primary responsibility for planning and for coordinating the General Election Campaigns of the Democratic Party’s nominees within the county.
- In the case of nominees running for office in districts which include areas outside of the county, the CEC shall work with the Senatorial District Committee.
- This responsibility shall include raising funds for conducting local campaigns, supporting the statewide effort for the entire ticket, producing materials, and coordinating local services for all Democratic campaigns.
- This responsibility shall include the approval of expenditure of funds. Such expenditure, unless otherwise specified by law, shall require the approval of at least 51% of its members present.
- Non-Statutory Duties:
- The CEC may delegate non-statutory duties to the County Chair and the Advisory Committee.
- The CEC shall establish such committees as it deems appropriate to carry out its non-statutory duties and may appoint members to such committees, including those who are or are not members of the CEC.
- The CEC shall hire such officers as it deems appropriate to carry out organizational responsibilities and duties to keep the TCDP operational.
- The CEC may hire staff and enter into contracts for services to carry out the work of the TCDP
- The CEC may delegate to the County Chair and Advisory Committee:
- the hiring authority for staff;
- the authorization to hire contractors; or
- the authorization to pay for regularly occurring expenditures that occur between CEC meetings.
Such delegation shall not replace or supersede actions or authority of the CEC as whole. These delegated actions shall be subject to the review and approval by the superior authority of the full CEC.
- The CEC shall, upon majority vote, have sole authority to determine the need, method and scope of audits described in Article VI, Section I, (K)(3)(iii).”
ARTICLE V. Officers, Staff, and Contracts
Section I. Officers and Manner of Selection
- The CEC may delegate to the County Chair the authority to hire an Executive Director and an Assistant to the Executive Director for the TCDP, subject to the approval of CEC at its next scheduled meeting. Alternately, by majority vote, at a meeting for which a two (2) week advance written notice was provided to CEC members, CEC members may choose to appoint a nominating committee on which the County Chair shall serve as chair for selection of the Executive Director and Assistant to the Executive Director. The nominating committee shall be composed of four CEC members nominated and approved by the full CEC, along with the County Chair. The County Chair shall submit the selected names of Executive Director and Assistant to the Executive Director to the CEC for approval at its next scheduled meeting.
- The CEC may nominate and elect from its membership a Secretary. The Secretary is legally authorized to receive applications for a place on the Primary Ballot for the county, and an application received by the Secretary shall be filed officially. The CEC may may authorize the Executive Director to act as Secretary.
- The CEC may elect a non-member or member of the CEC to serve as Parliamentarian for a term of office the same as County Chair. If the CEC does not elect one or if there is a vacancy, the County Chair may nominate a parliamentarian to serve for one meeting or for a term not to exceed the County Chair’s term of office, subject to approval by the CEC at its next scheduled meeting.
- The CEC may retain or engage an Attorney or attorneys for services as needed, subject to budget constraints. The CEC may also specifically delegate such authority to the County Chair, subject to approval by the CEC at its next scheduled meeting.
Section II. Duties
- Executive Director: This position shall serve as chief operating executive of the CEC for the following purposes:
- overseeing the operation of the TCDP headquarters office;
- timely and accurate completion of correspondence for the TCDP including statutory reports and the CEC agendas, materials and minutes;
- management of staff and contractors hired by the CEC;
- preparation of the proposed annual report and quarterly financial statements;
- serving as signatory for checks with the County Chair in the absence of one of the authorized signatories;
- designating one person by appointment to be available to act as Secretary, when acting in this capacity, in his or her absence. This appointment shall be reported to and is subject to approval by the CEC at its next scheduled meeting;
- receiving applications for a place on the Primary Ballot for the County;
- filing applications for places on the Primary Ballot officially with the TDP;
- keeping meeting minutes, attendance records, committee reports, candidate filing forms, election returns, official correspondence, and contracts at TCDP offices;
- making available and provide copies as requested by CEC member(s) or voter(s) of Travis County of any TCDP materials;
- providing CEC meeting minutes to CEC members within two weeks following a CEC meeting. The Secretary must submit the minutes that are believed to be true and correct from the previous meeting and will amend the minutes as changed with the majority vote during the next CEC meeting;
- assigning duties to the Assistant Executive Director with the approval of the CEC at its next meeting; and
- performing any and all other duties specified by the Party Rules or Election Code.
- Assistant Executive Director: This position reports to the Executive Director and shall serve in the Executive Director’s capacity during that person’s absence. Duties of this office shall be assigned by the Executive Director, subject to approval by the CEC at its next scheduled meeting.
Section III. Staff
- Office Staff. Assistants, specialists, and temporary project staff (“staff”) shall serve as needed so long as their positions and individual appointments are approved as described in this Section. Staff may be nominated by a nominating committee chaired by the County Chair and composed of the Executive Director or Assistant Executive Director, and three other CEC members appointed by majority vote of the CEC members at a scheduled meeting for which a two (2) week written notice was provided. The selected individuals shall be approved by the CEC in a meeting for which a two week notice was provided.
- Campaign Staff. The CEC may retain or engage such campaign staff as are needed for services, subject to budget constraints. The CEC may also specifically delegate such authority to the County Chair, consistent with applicable Party Rules.
Section IV. Contracts
The CEC may retain or engage contractors for services as needed, subject to budget constraints. The CEC may also specifically delegate such authority to the County Chair, with review by the Advisory Committee, on a case-by-case basis, consistent with applicable Party Rules.
ARTICLE VI. Committees
Section I. Standing Committees
- The TCDP CEC shall have Standing Committees named in these Bylaws and Operating Procedures, and such other committees, sub-committees, and task forces as may be approved by resolution of the CEC.
- The charter of each Standing Committee, to include rules for establishing its membership and its area of authority, shall be set by these Bylaws and Operating Procedures or by a resolution of the CEC.
- Standing Committees shall be formed and elected at the time of the Swearing In.
- All Standing Committees shall be led by a Chair. All Standing Committee chairs shall be nominated and elected by the CEC members on the committee.
- Each standing committee shall be comprised of members nominated by and elected in a manner determined by the CEC and consistent with TDP Rules. Terms will coincide with the election cycle.
- Each Standing Committee shall elect a Secretary from its membership. The Secretary shall represent the Standing Committee on the Advisory Committee in the absence of the Standing Committee Chair.
- No person shall serve as Chair or Secretary of more than one Standing Committee.
- All TCDP members are encouraged and welcome to serve on committees or task forces.
- TCDP members who are not part of the CEC may attend CEC meetings but have no voting rights. TCDP members who are not part of the CEC may attend and participate in meetings of Standing Committees as Ex-Officio (non-voting) members, with the exception of the Finance and Rules committees.
- The term of a Standing Committee shall be for the same full term of the CEC. The County Chair shall be an Ex-Officio (non-voting) member of all Standing Committees.
- The CEC hereby establishes the following Standing Committees:
- Chair’s Advisory Committee
- The Chair’s Advisory Committee meets with the County Chair on a regular basis, and ad hoc as needed, to coordinate the interaction between the Chair, the Staff and the CEC, to set policy and assist with the operation of the TCDP.
- The Chair’s Advisory Committee shall consist of six (6) members: one representative from each of the four (4) County Commissioner precinct areas, elected by the Precinct Chairs from that area; two (2) at-large representatives, elected by the CEC; and the County Chair.
- Committee Chairs may be invited to participate in Advisory Committee meetings as needed.
- Finance and Fundraising Committee
- oversees the TCDP budget and fundraising in consultation with the County Chair.
- assists the TCDP with fundraising to elect Democrats and organize Travis County, including recruitment of sustaining members and one-time donors, and coming up with potential new events or ideas.
- as directed by the CEC initiates a financial audit, whether internal or external as required by the CEC in accord with Article IV, Section I(G)(3)(vi).”
- Policy, Issues, and Legislation Committee
- responsible for preliminary review, research, education and recommending action on issues to be brought before the CEC relating to federal, state, city and county government.
- includes the Rapid Response Sub-Committee, providing rapid response in coordination with Messaging Committee and other organizations for responding to emergency issues.
- Precinct Chair Training and Support Committee
- responsible for the development of a modularized, skill-based, sustainable training program for precinct chairs, including orientation for prospective Precinct Chairs.
- develops tools for supporting Precinct Chairs once they have completed training.
- Rules and Procedures Committee
- review the most recent TDP Rules as they pertain to the County Party, and previous iterations of the TCDP Bylaws & Operating Procedures, and develop a new set of Rules to be presented to the CEC for discussion and implementation.
- periodically review the bylaws and operating procedures of the TCDP and make recommendations for improvements or modifications.
- Campaign, Convention, and Election Activities Committee
- work with the County Chair and Staff, and the CEC, to develop coordinated plans for conventions and campaign activities in advance of each election cycle.
- Community Outreach and Diversity Committee
- work to increase TCDP’s presence and involvement in all parts of our community, and increase involvement in TCDP by all parts of our community.
- includes the Recruitment Task Force, recruiting Precinct Chairs and volunteers from all parts of our community.
- includes the Spanish-Speaking Task Force, increasing Spanish-speaking volunteers for voter registration, GOTV efforts and polling locations.
- includes the Disaster Response Task Force, to assist victims of natural disasters.
- Messaging Committee
- works to prepare materials to assist Precinct Chairs, neighborhood teams and various demographic groups to communicate the Democratic message.
- includes Demographic Group Task Forces, as needed.
- Technology and Communications Committee
- research and develop ways for TCDP, the CEC and individual Precinct Chairs to use technology to streamline operations and maximize effectiveness, including TCDP and precinct websites, social media, and meeting technologies.
- includes the Newsletter Sub-Committee, to produce a TCDP newsletter, with an option for precinct chairs to add information when they distribute the newsletter within their precinct.
- includes Specific Task Forces, as needed.
- Chair’s Advisory Committee
Section II. Other Committees
- District Committee: All CEC members in an elective district shall be members of the District Committee or District sub-committee. Only the CEC members in an Elective District shall be eligible to elect and/or serve as chairs of said Elective Districts, in accordance with Texas Election Code and TDP Rules.
- House District Committees: The CEC members of each House District shall nominate and elect a chair and Secretary of that House District. House District Committee Chairs shall be voting members of the Advisory Committee.
- Other District Sub-Committees: each Congressional district; each Senatorial district; and from each County Commissioner’s Precinct District. Other District Sub-Committee members shall be elected by CEC members in the district and are non-voting members of the Advisory Committee.
Section III. Task Forces
Task Forces are limited function, and limited time activities formed and approved by the CEC. Task forces may run for the same two year period as the CEC, or shorter, as approved by the CEC. The Chair of a Task Force is appointed by the County Chair. The Members are to be Nominated by House District Chairs and approved by the Chair’s Advisory Committee. Task Force Chairs are not voting members of the Advisory Committee.
The following task forces approved by the CEC following the primary of 2008 are:
- Technology Task Force: Reviews the development and use of Audio-visual and computer-related technologies that support the activities and objectives of the TCDP and precinct chairs, including official websites, listservs, and blogs.
- Elections Processes Task Force: Reviews county and precinct Convention procedures used by the TCDP and the election Procedures used by Travis County.
- Diversity and Outreach Task Force: Reviews how the TCDP engages in outreach to minority groups and the recruitment of members of minority groups to active participation in the TCDP.
- Headquarters Relocation Task Force: Guides the search for a new TCDP headquarters; makes recommendations to the CEC for selecting a real estate firm to help procure a site, by long- term lease, or purchase; works with the realtor to select a site or sites to recommend to the CEC. Coordinates with the County Chair, Executive Director, and the Finance/Fundraising Committee Chair to bring about the desired purchase or Lease.
- Campaign Activities Task Force: Reviews the ways in which The TCDP can be maximally useful to Democratic candidates in their campaigns and to elected Democratic officials, and the ways in which the CEC should perform oversight and liaison duties with respect to each election cycle’s Coordinated Campaign. This task force shall evolve into the Coordinated Campaign Committee.
- Rules and Procedures Task Force: Reviews the bylaws and procedures of the TCDP and makes recommendations for improvements or modifications. This task force evolves into the Standing Committee for Bylaws and Procedures.
ARTICLE VII. Finances
Section I. Fiscal Year
The TCDP shall have a fiscal year commencing on January 1 and ending on December 31st..
Section II. Banking
- All monies that may be received by the CEC through any of its members or officers shall be deposited in a within two business days after receipt to an account or accounts of the CEC with a financial institution as may be directed by the Chair and Designated Staff.
- Authorized signatories on TCDP accounts shall be the Chair and Designated Staff, subject to criminal background checks.5, 6, 9
- All persons who are authorized as signatories on TCDP accounts, who have TCDP debit/credit cards, who are authorized to process and approve Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers, or who otherwise have access to TCDP’s funds, must first undergo a criminal background check supervised by the Chair of the Finance Committee. If any such person’s criminal background check results in a finding that he or she has been convicted of a crime involving dishonesty, he or she will not be allowed signatory authority on any TCDP account or access to any TCDP funds, credit or debit card. 5, 6, 9
- The Chair and Designated Staff are authorized to have TCDP debit/credit cards, but such cards may not be used for expenses in excess of $500 unless approved in writing in advance by two signatories, and any purchases made on such cards must be for TCDP business, included in the budget, and supported by receipts. All checks or withdrawals in excess of $2000 must be signed by two authorized signatories. 5, 6, 9
- All checks or withdrawals made payable to the Chair, Secretary and Designated Staff must be signed by two authorized signatories.
Section IV. Expenditure of Funds
- Expenditure of funds by the TCDP shall be approved by the CEC, unless otherwise specified by law, and shall require the approval of at least 51% of its members present. (40% quorum)
- The CEC may approve payment of regularly occurring expenditures that are projected to occur between CEC meetings.
- The Advisory Committee may approve emergency non-budget expenditures which may occur between CEC meetings. Such expenditures shall be approved by the full CEC at the next scheduled CEC meeting.
- Coordinated Campaign Expenditures: The Coordinated Campaign Committee (CCC) shall submit to the CEC a budget of fixed costs (Staff and expenses) and a budget of flexible costs. The CCC must approve emergency non-budgeted expenditures which may be deemed necessary.
- The Coordinated Campaign shall provide a written report to the CEC on a monthly basis, or at the next scheduled meeting of the CEC, including but not limited to full disclosure of all revenues, expenditures and contracts pertaining to the Coordinated Campaign.
- In order to receive reimbursement for money spent on behalf of the TCDP, all requests for reimbursement shall be in writing, signed by the person seeking reimbursement, supported by receipts, included in the budget, and approved by the TCDP Chair (unless the reimbursement is to the Chair) or Chair of the Finance Committee.
Section V. Budget
- In consultation with the Chair and Designated Staff, the Finance/Fundraising Committee shall prepare an annual operating budget, exclusive of coordinated campaign expenditures, to be presented to the CEC for approval at the first CEC meeting of each calendar year. This budget shall include a comparison to the previous year’s actual income and expenditures.
- The annual operating budget shall be prepared and available for review by the CEC a minimum of two months prior to the first CEC meeting of each calendar year.
Section VI. Finances
- The Finance/Fundraising Committee shall regularly review the expenditures and deposits and approve monthly financial reports and present them to the CEC.
- An annual financial review shall be performed by the Finance/Fundraising Committee, following an audit review checklist prepared by an outside auditor, and a report of the annual financial review shall be presented for approval by the Finance/Fundraising Committee to the CEC at the following CEC meeting after the close of each calendar year.
- The Chair may authorize a Designated Staff or contractor of the TCDP to process and approve Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers into the TCDP bank account, or the Chair may process and approve such payments him or herself.
- Any notes or other evidences of indebtedness in excess of $5000 shall be authorized by the CEC and be signed by both the Chair and Designated Staff. The CEC may authorize any person to enter into any contract or deliver any instrument in the name of and on behalf of TCDP, and such authority may be general or specific to particular circumstances.
Section VII. Financial Accountability
- The Finance/Fundraising Committee shall assist the CEC with a goal of maintaining financial transparency and accountability. In accomplishing this goal the committee and Designated Staff will maintain the following internal control guidelines;
- The Finance/Fundraising Committee meets monthly.
- Actual cash on hand reported to the CEC monthly.
- Annual budget presented and approved by the CEC.
- Systems are maintained for storage of all transactional and accounting data required to produce statements.
- Formal records retention is maintained to comply with IRS requirements
- A procedural manual has been developed for continued approved business practice.
- Key important records, checks, contracts, and other designated records are kept in a secure and locked cabinet.
- Records are also kept in NGP, QuickBooks, and the current bank (Prosperity Bank).
- Payroll: Employee roster is maintained – status (exempt/Non-exempt), pay rate, tax jurisdiction (QuickBooks)
- Payroll: Taxes (state and federal) are withheld as required for all payroll based on tax jurisdiction. (paid electronically monthly, quarterly, annually) (Quickbooks)
- Other Required Taxes: record of fixed assists with depreciation schedule is kept in a secure location.
Section VIII. Reserve Fund Account
- The TCDP shall establish a Reserve Fund Account equal to three months of non-coordinated campaign operating expenses.
- The Reserve Fund Account shall be a distinct account.
- Access to the funds in the Reserve Fund Account shall be by both approval of the Chair and a majority vote of the CEC.
- The initial funding of the Reserve Fund Account shall be $1,000 a month for 45 months or as approved by the CEC.
- A two month hold on funding the Reserve Fund Account or additional funds can be allocated by a majority vote of the CEC.
ARTICLE VIII. Parliamentary Authority
All meetings of the CEC shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order (Newly Revised) except as it may be otherwise provided herein or as in the Party Rules or applicable laws of the State of Texas, including, without limitation, the Texas Election Code.
ARTICLE IX. Records
Section I. Maintenance
All records of the CEC, including, but not limited to, minutes of meetings, attendance records, reports of committees, candidate filing forms, returns of elections, checkbooks, bank statements, accounting records, official correspondence and contracts shall be maintained by the Chair and the Secretary of the TCDP in the official offices of the TCDP, or such other place designated by the Advisory Committee of the CEC, and shall be available for inspection by any member of the CEC or the TCDP.
Section II. Physical, non-consumable Property
Property owned by the TCDP shall be marked as such. Any leased or loaned property shall also be prominently marked as such and an inventory will be maintained of all items listed.
Section III. Inventory and Records Retention
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and standards shall be applied to all physical inventory and records retention.
ARTICLE X. Meetings
Section I. Regular, Annual, Special Meetings
- All meetings of the TCDP shall be advertised and open to Travis County Democratic voters.
- Three Statutory Meetings of the CEC shall be held in even numbered years: 1) in January; 2) on or before the second Friday after the First Primary; and 3) on or before the second Friday after the Runoff Primary. The CEC shall meet at least quarterly throughout the two year term between elections. Statutory Meetings may be counted toward the quarterly meeting requirement of the CEC. CEC meetings shall not be scheduled during the week of the biennial state convention.
- The CEC may choose to meet monthly, as needed, to make decisions regarding TCDP business. The County Chair, the Advisory Committee, the Executive Director, or Secretary may request the meeting, providing a fourteen (14) day written notice and an Agenda to the CEC members.
- If a County Chair fails to issue a written call for a CEC meeting within six (6) months of the previous CEC meeting, one fourth (1/4) of the members of the CEC may call a CEC meeting by written demand. Notice of such meeting, including an agenda of the business to be considered, shall be sent by electronic mail to all members of the CEC at least fourteen (14) days prior to the date of the meeting and shall state the time, date and place of the meeting and the names of the persons issuing the call.
- CEC meetings shall be chaired by the County Chair. If the County Chair is not present, then the Executive Director/Secretary or any qualified CEC member may conduct the meeting.
Section II. Quorum for Meetings
Non-Statutory Business – At CEC meetings, the quorum for conducting non-statutory business shall consist of not less than one-fourth (1/4) of the CEC membership, excluding vacancies. If the meeting is to fill a vacancy, however, a majority of the CEC membership shall be required for a quorum, as specified by applicable State law.
Section III. Meeting Minutes
Minutes of each meeting shall be furnished to each CEC member within two weeks following a CEC meeting.
ARTICLE XI. Operating Procedures
Section I. TCDP Endorsements in Non-Partisan and Issue Elections and Actions on Agenda Items
TWO-STEP MEETING ENDORSEMENT POLICY: In all endorsements for candidates, issue actions, and resolutions, the Travis County Democratic Party shall follow a two-step endorsement process. If an item is placed on the agenda, Step One Meeting of the process will consist of an item being placed on the agenda for discussion only but not consideration.
Step Two Meeting of the process will occur at a meeting after the Step One meeting, and will consist of an item being placed on the agenda for consideration.
In order for an item to be considered at the Step One Meeting, it shall require a motion to suspend the rules and receive a positive vote of two thirds of those present. In order for an item to be endorsed at the Step One Meeting, it must receive a positive vote of 85% of those present.
NON-PARTISAN ENDORSEMENT POLICY:
- The Travis County Democratic Party may endorse candidates in non-partisan elections within Travis County under these rules, but only if the race is between one Democrat and a non-Democrat. The TCDP shall not endorse in any election or runoff where multiple Democrats are candidates.
“Democrat” in this case shall be any person who meets the Texas Election Code definition of partisan affiliation: voting in the Democratic Primary of the election year or signing an Oath of Affiliation to the Democratic Party as outlined in the Texas Election Code.
- A candidate may request endorsement by submitting information to the Chair of the Travis County Democratic Party. This information must include, at a minimum:
- The jurisdiction and office sought and date of the election;
- A statement that the person voted in the most recent Democratic Primary and/or has signed an official Oath of Affiliation to the Texas Democratic Party;
- A statement of why the candidate believes the TCDP should endorse in his or her race;
- A statement of which opponent(s) the candidate believes to be a non-Democrat and any supporting evidence of that person’s party affiliation; this evidence must be verifiable and fact based by public records; and
- A statement indicating that there are no other Democrats in the race.
- The Chair shall review the application and determine whether it meets the requirements for a candidate to be eligible for the County Executive Committee to consider endorsing him or her.
- Before the CEC shall debate or consider any endorsement of a candidate, proposition or item, there shall be a motion to proceed to consider the endorsement. This motion shall be privileged and non-debatable and require a positive vote of two thirds of those present.
- All members of the CEC shall be entitled to vote in these endorsements and actions.
ENDORSEMENT VOTING ELIGIBILITY
It is the policy of the TCDP that, in order to prohibit packing of the CEC before an endorsement, that the only precinct chairs eligible to vote will be those who were duly elected in the previous primary or those appointed by the Chair and confirmed by the CEC at the August 6, 2016 meeting or at least forty-five days prior to the endorsement vote. This date shall correspond to the date of entry of the precinct chair on the Secretary of State website for Precinct Chairs.
ENDORSEMENT OF BALLOT PROPOSITIONS, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS OR AGENDA ITEMS OF LOCAL JURISDICTIONS
- The TCDP CEC may take a position for or against any statewide or local jurisdiction’s ballot propositions, bonds, or similar items. This section shall also include taking a position on an agenda item of a city, school board, or board or commission within Travis County.
- In order for such item to be placed on the agenda for a vote, a CEC member who resides within the jurisdiction shall request such action in writing to the County Chair. This request shall spell out the ballot proposition or agenda item in full and state the motion to be presented to the CEC. Such motion shall clearly state the position the CEC is to vote upon, i.e. For or Against the proposition.
SUSPENSION OF RULES
The CEC may vote to suspend the TCDP rule for party endorsements in non-partisan, issue elections, and actions on agenda items, by a positive vote of two thirds of those present.
EFFECT OF ENDORSEMENT
A candidate or proponents or opponents of a ballot item may publicly use the action of the CEC to whatever purpose they shall wish. A vote by the CEC that has taken a specific action in these matters does not infer or require any specific action of the Travis County Democratic Party, its staff or volunteers.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST:
- Prior to making any comments or voting on a rule, endorsement, resolution, or policy to be voted upon by the CEC, any Precinct Chair/Club President who has received or will receive compensation or remuneration of any kind for advocating or opposing the adoption of such rule, endorsement, policy, or resolution, shall disclose this information to the CEC. This rule also applies when compensation or remuneration has been received or will be received by family members of Precinct Chairs/Club Presidents. Such disclosures shall be included in the CEC’s minutes of the discussion of such rule, endorsement, policy, or resolution. If this rule is violated, the Chair of the Travis County Democratic Party shall inform the CEC of the violation and, if the person’s vote changes the outcome of the decision, declare the vote of the concerned Precinct Chair/Club President to be out of order when the rule, endorsement, resolution, or policy is voted upon.
- Officers and employees of the TCDP are under a continuing obligation to avoid or make full disclosure to the Chair and/or Executive Director of all situations involving either actual or potential conflicts of interest. Conflicts or potential conflicts of interest include but are not limited to (1) entering into or proposing any transactions or financial relationship between (a) the TCDP and (b) a family member of a TCDP officer or employee or a person or entity in which a TCDP officer, TCDP employee, or a family member of a TCDP officer or employee has a financial interest, without notifying the TCDP of the relationship and/or financial interest; (2) soliciting or accepting any remuneration, compensation, or gift from those with whom the TCDP has a business or financial relationship; and (3) accepting any remuneration, compensation, or gift for advocating or opposing the adoption of a rule, endorsement, resolution, or policy voted upon by the CEC; paid staff members will avoid such conduct at all times. Potential conflicts of interest must be disclosed to the person(s) making the decision about the transaction or financial relationship, the person with the potential conflict must not participate in the decision to engage in the transaction or financial relationship, and the transaction or financial relationship must be fair to the TCDP. If the Chair or Executive Director determines that a conflict of interest exists, he or she shall disclose the situation to the CEC, and the person with the conflict of interest shall be asked to correct or remedy the situation immediately. Depending on the circumstances, an employee may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.
Section II. Debate Process Rule
- When an opposed item is placed before the CEC by motion, debate shall be conducted in an orderly manner.
- The Chair shall allow the proponents and opponents of the motion to each have an equal amount of time to speak on the motion.
- The person proposing the item may have up to three minutes to lay out and explain the issue.
- The Chair shall recognize a person in opposition to speak for up to three minutes.
- After the initial speakers, the Chair shall alternate between proponents and opponents, recognizing speakers in support of and in opposition to the motion to speak for two minutes each.
- No person shall be recognized to speak or respond a second time until all CEC members who want to speak have spoken at least once.
- No motion to move the previous question shall be in order until there have been at least five speakers for each side.
- If there are no persons remaining wishing to speak either for or against the proposition before hearing from the five allowed speakers on each side, the debate shall be closed by the Chair and the CEC shall move to a vote.
- Violation of any of these policies is an offense for which removal or termination of the person violating these policies is appropriate. Criminal violations will be referred to the appropriate authorities for prosecution. (Move to another Section)
Notice of Potential Conflict of Interest
I declare that I have received or will receive or a family member has received or will receive compensation or remuneration from the following (Persons)(Entities) for (opposing)(advocating) the following proposed rule, endorsement, policy or resolution: __________________________________________________________________.
Person or entity providing compensation or remuneration: ________________________.
Filed on this _____day of ____________________, 201__.
Chair, Precinct ___________
CCC – Coordinated Campaign Committee
CEC – County Executive Committee
CPA – certified public accountant
NAP – National Association of Parliamentarians
PAC – political action committee
PEC – Precinct Executive Committee
SDEC – State Democratic Executive Committee
TCDP – Travis County Democratic Party
TDP – Texas Democratic Party