Louisiana Professional Chapter
Society of Professional Journalists
ARTICLE I—NAME OF THE CHAPTER
“Chapter” as used herein shall refer to the Louisiana Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
ARTICLE II—QUALIFICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP
Section 1 — All members of the chapter must be members in good standing of the national Society. Professional members will be assigned to the chapter by the national headquarters based on geographic boundaries established by the national Society (“the entire State of Louisiana”). A member of the Society in any membership category, located outside the chapter’s boundaries may join the chapter by filing a membership form and complying with all chapter membership requirements, [such as payment of chapter dues and initiation fees].
Section 2 — Only members in good standing of the chapter shall be eligible to vote in chapter elections.
Section 3 — Student members of the national Society may join the Chapter by filing a membership form and complying with all chapter membership requirements. The Chapter has chosen to admit students who are members of the national Society, a choice driven by the absence of a student chapter at a college or university within the chapter’s boundaries. The Chapter hopes (and actively seeks) to provide mentoring and networking opportunities for students.
Section 1 — The amount of local dues to be paid by each member of the chapter shall be fixed by the Officers/Board of Directors subject to ratification by the professional membership when the Officers/Board of Directors proposes to increase or decrease the annual dues. This section also permits the Chapter Dues to be $0.00.
Section 2 — The Chapter extends membership at special rates to retired members and members enrolled as full-time students. In either case, a member must notify the [Secretary-Treasurer/Treasurer] in writing of his or her retirement or enrollment in school to qualify for the special rate, which is 1/2 of the current regular chapter dues. Dues for recent graduates who become members of the Chapter are 1/2 of the current regular rate for the first year of membership.
Section 3 — Members in good standing with Student Chapters within the State of Louisiana may hold concurrent membership in the Chapter at no additional cost to the student.
ARTICLE IV—MEETINGS & PROGRAMS
Section 1 — “Meetings” as used herein shall mean regularly scheduled or special meetings that are publicized or announced and approved by the Officers/Board of Directors.
Section 2 — The Officers/Board of Directors shall give notice when chapter business is to be conducted at a regularly scheduled membership meeting or program at least seven days in advance by e-mail to members who have provided e-mail addresses and by U.S. Mail to all other members. In addition, notice of all meetings of the Officers, Board of Directors and membership shall be posted on the website of the Chapter.
Section 3 — At a Chapter membership meeting or program, a vote of a majority of the members in good standing who are present and voting shall be sufficient to approve any measure that requires a vote, except amendments to these Bylaws.
Section 4 — At a meeting of the Officers/Board of Directors, a quorum consisting of a majority of the members of that body must be present to conduct any business.
Section 5 — Any action of the Officers/Board of Directors may be rescinded by a majority vote of the members in good standing present at a meeting of the Chapter membership if notice has been given in accordance with Section 2 above that the action previously taken by the Officers/Board of Directors shall be put to a vote of the membership at the meeting.
Section 6 — ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER shall be the parliamentary authority for all matters of procedure not specifically covered by these Bylaws.
Section 7 — All membership meetings and programs of the Chapter shall be on the record and open to coverage by any or all communications media on an equal basis. Coverage of programs of the Chapter shall be encouraged in order to acquaint the profession and public at large with the issues discussed by and before the Chapter membership. Individual guest speakers shall be apprised in advance that this is a Chapter policy.
Section 8 — All meetings of the Officers/Board of Directors shall be open to all members of the national Society, except that when action is required between regular meetings the Officers/Board of Directors may vote by electronic or other means. When the Officers/Board of Directors [have/has] taken action outside a regular meeting, that body must ratify the action by a vote at the next regular meeting.
Section 9 — The financial records of the chapter and minutes of all meetings shall be open for inspection to members in good standing. Requests for inspection shall be made to the custodian(s) of such records and shall be made available, if practical, at the next meeting of the membership or the Officers/Board of Directors.
Section 9 — A “report” of each meeting/program of the Chapter, including meetings of the Officers/Board of Directors shall be posted on the Chapter website as soon after the close of the meeting/program as is possible/practical. “Minutes” of meetings may be abridged and revised to facilitate the creation of “reports.” When available and practical, videos of Chapter programs shall be posted on the Chapter’s website.
Section 1 — The officers of the chapter shall be:
PRESIDENT — The President shall be the chief executive officer and shall supervise and direct the business and affairs of the chapter. The President shall see to it that the chapter conforms to the requirements of the national Society. The President shall have the power to delegate such functions to other officers as necessary. The President shall have the power to create committees of officers, directors, members, or any combination thereof, to further the business and affairs of the chapter. The President shall perform other functions customarily associated with such a title. The Office of President shall be reserved for a Professional member in good standing with the Chapter.
VICE PRESIDENT — The Vice President shall exercise the functions of the President in the absence or inability of the President, either temporarily or for the duration of the President’s term. The Vice President shall also serve as chair and/or supervisor for any committees attached to the Office by the Officers/Board of Directors/Membership. The Office of Vice President shall be reserved for a Professional member in good standing with the Chapter.
SECRETARY-TREASURER — The Secretary-Treasurer shall maintain the chapter’s records and its finances, file an annual report to the national Society, and otherwise maintain contact with the national Society. The Secretary-Treasurer shall take minutes of all meetings of the Officers/Board of Directors and the membership. The Secretary-Treasurer shall also maintain regular contact with the chapter membership. The Secretary-Treasurer will perform other functions customarily associated with such a title.
OR, if the Board of Directors/Membership deem it necessary
SECRETARY —The Secretary shall record the minutes of meetings of the chapter membership and the Officers/Board of Directors, be custodian of chapter records, maintain chapter membership rolls, and maintain contact with the national Society. The Secretary shall perform such other duties as may be assigned by the President or Board, and provide all notices required by these Bylaws.
TREASURER —The Treasurer shall be the principal accounting and financial officer of the chapter. The Treasurer shall be responsible for the financial books of account for the chapter, will have custody of all chapter funds and securities, and will make disbursements of funds in accordance with chapter policies and at the direction of the Officers/Board of Directors. The Treasurer will perform all the duties incidental to the office.
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT — The Immediate Past President shall serve as an ex officio officer of the chapter.
Section 2 — If the President and Vice President are both unable to carry out their duties, executive power shall flow to the following officers, in order: the Secretary (or Secretary-Treasurer), the Treasurer, the Immediate Past President.
Section 3 — Officers shall serve for one year or until their successors have been selected and qualified. There shall be no limit to the number of consecutive terms an Officer may serve.
ARTICLE VI — BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Section 1 — The Board of Directors is the decision-making body of the Chapter. It shall meet at least quarterly in the first month of each calendar quarter to conduct the Chapter’s business. The Board shall comprise the President, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer/Secretary, Treasurer, Immediate Past President and a number of Directors deemed practicable by the membership. All Directors shall serve three-year terms, which shall be staggered. There is no limit to the number of terms a Director may serve.
Section 2 — Upon adoption of these Bylaws, the Officers/Board of Directors shall agree on a method for apportioning the lengths of terms of Directors on the Board at the time so that one-third (1/3) of the directors’ terms expire each year.
Section 3 — The Board of Directors shall have at least one Student member. Such Student may be a member in good standing of a Student Chapter within the boundaries of the State of Louisiana, or a Student member in good standing of the national Society. The Chapter president shall make a reasonable effort to identify and appoint such Student member(s) to the Board of Directors. The Student(s) shall be voting member(s) of the Board of Directors. The three-year term for Board members shall not apply to the Student member(s).
ARTICLE VII — COMMITTEES
Section 1 — The President shall appoint a Chapter member in good standing as Committee Chair(s) and submit such appointments to the Executive Committee for ratification.
Section 2 — Standing Committees of the Chapter should be (but not limited to):
A. Freedom of Information and Ethics Committee
B. Professional Development Committee
C. Membership Committee
D. Communication Committee
E. Nominating Committee
ARTICLE VIII — EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Section 1 — The Executive Committee shall be made up of the President, the Vice President, the Secretary-Treasurer/the Secretary, the Treasurer, the Immediate Past President and the Chairs of Standing Committees the Board of Directors deems necessary. Student member(s) of the Board of Directors shall be invited by the president to serve on the Executive Committee.
Section 2 — The Executive Committee shall possess and may exercise all of the power of the Officers/Board of Directors while the Board is not in session, except to the extent, if any, that such authority shall be limited by action of the Board.
ARTICLE IX — ELECTIONS
Section 1 — There shall be an election annually in [month TBD] to elect at least one-third (1/3) of the Directors of the Chapter, and to elect a President, Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer/Secretary, Treasurer.
Section 2 — Two months prior to an election, the Chair of the Nominating Committee shall submit to the Executive Committee for verification of eligibility a slate of candidates for each Director and Officer position to be filled. The Nominating Committee may nominate multiple eligible candidates for any position to be elected.
Section 3 — Upon verification of eligibility by the Executive Committee, but no later than one month prior to the election, the Chair of the Nominating Committee shall communicate to the membership directly or through the President or Communication Committee the slate of Directors and Officers being nominated.
Section 4 — Any chapter member in good standing may nominate a candidate or candidates to run against the proposed slate. Nominations must be received by the Nominating Committee Chair no later than 14 days before the scheduled election, and must include a statement of the candidate’s qualifications to hold the office for which s/he has been nominated. Upon verification that a candidate nominated in this way is eligible (as outlined in Sections 2 and 3 of this Article), the Committee Chair shall, no later than seven (7) days before the scheduled election publish the names of candidates and their qualifications by the same method used to publish the official slate.
Section 5 — The Nominating Committee shall conduct the election:
A. By secret ballot of all chapter members in attendance at the chapter meeting in which the election is scheduled. A Quorum for a secret-ballot election shall be the number of members in attendance either in person or by written proxy.
B. By electronic means using e-mail, Survey Monkey, or other electronic means. The dates for opening and closing voting by electronic means must be communicated to the membership at least seven (7) days in advance of the opening. A Quorum for an election conducted electronically shall be a simple majority of the membership.
Section 6 — All chapter members in good standing are eligible to vote.
Section 7 — The Nominating Committee is responsible for all aspects of an election including, but not limited to preparing ballots, conducting the election and counting ballots.
Section 8 — If there are more candidates for Director positions than the number of seats to be filled, the first seat will be filled by the candidate who receives the largest number of votes, the second seat will be filled by the candidate who received the second largest number of votes, and so on until all seats have been filled. If there are multiple candidates for any Office, the candidate receiving a plurality of the votes cast is elected.
ARTICLE X — REMOVAL FROM OFFICE
Section 1 — Grounds for removal from office include, but are not limited to:
A. Egregious violation of the Society’s Code of Ethics.
B. Arrest or indictment for a crime or crimes that would damage the honor and integrity of the chapter.
C. Unexcused failure to attend three consecutive regularly scheduled meetings.
D. Unexcused failure to attend five regularly scheduled meetings in a 12-month period.
Section 2 — Upon recommendation of the President or Vice President, and after giving at least seven (7) days’ notice to the Officer/Director, upon a vote of two-thirds of the remaining Officers/Directors at the next regular or specially called meeting of the Board of Directors, the Officer/Director shall be removed from office. Under extreme circumstances, such a vote with proper notice may be conducted electronically.
ARTICLE XI — FILLING UNEXPIRED TERMS
Vacancies among Officers/Directors, other than the President, due to death, resignation or other cause (as outlined in Article X, Section 1) shall be filled by a majority vote of the Directors present at any meeting at which a quorum of the Directors is present. Officers appointed under this section shall serve until the next chapter election. Directors appointed under this section shall serve the unexpired term of the person being replaced.
ARTICLE XII —AUDITS
The Chapter shall conduct a review of its finances at least once a year. The Secretary-Treasurer/Treasurer shall present all relevant financial records to a President-appointed ad hoc committee of three chapter members, who ideally are not Directors, for this review.
ARTICLE XIII — AMENDMENTS
Section 1 — Amendments to these Bylaws may be proposed by the Officers/Board of Directors at a regular meeting of the Officers/Board of Directors, or by no fewer than five (5) Chapter members in good standing. Regardless of whether the Officers/Board of Directors agree with the proposal, they must present the proposal to the Chapter membership for a vote no later than the next annual election of officers. The Officers/Board of Directors must provide members the text of the proposed amendment(s) at least 60 days before [the next annual election/balloting is to begin]. If the Officers/Board of Directors oppose the proposed amendment(s) they may issue a statement explaining their reasons for opposition and/or alternative amendments, and circulate their report at least 30 days before the next annual election/balloting is to begin.
Section 2 — To become effective, proposed amendments must receive at least a 2/3 vote of the Chapter members in good standing voting in accordance with procedures set out in ARTICLE IX — ELECTIONS above.
Section 3 — Amendments become effect immediately, unless otherwise specified.
ARTICLE XIV — DISBANDING THE CHAPTER
Upon the decision to terminate the chapter, whether by dissolution, disbandment, revocation pursuant to the national Bylaws, or otherwise, any remaining chapter funds shall be distributed to an adjoining active Society chapter then in good standing, to the Society or to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, as directed by the chapter’s governing body, or, in the absence of action within 60 days of termination by the local governing body, by the Officers/Board of Directors of the national Society. (This language is taken from Art. V, Sec. 14 of the national Bylaws.)