Charter and Bylaws of the California Democratic Socialists of America

Article I. Name, Affiliation, and Jurisdiction

Section 1. Name

The name of this organization shall be California Democratic Socialists of America (hereinafter “CA-DSA”).

Section 2. Affiliation

CA-DSA is a state organization of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and shall maintain affiliation with DSA in accordance with the constitution and bylaws of that organization.

Section 3. Jurisdiction

The jurisdiction of CA-DSA shall include that of the U.S. State of California, as well the geographic jurisdiction of any affiliated locals.

Article II. Purpose

The objective of California DSA is to promote the cause of democratic socialism and the interests of the Democratic Socialists of America in the U.S. State of California. It is organized to unite and in unity strengthen the power and influence of its affiliated locals in our struggle to build a new human social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic distribution, feminism, racial equality, and the principles of democratic socialism.

Article III. Membership

Section 1. Definition

Each Local organization of the Democratic Socialists of America with a geographic jurisdiction that includes the state of California shall be a member of CA-DSA.

Section 2. Donations and Dues

CA-DSA shall have the power to collect dues from member Local organizations on behalf of DSA, as determined by the State Council, and as approved by the National Political Committee of DSA. The State Council may also implement a voluntary donation system to solicit funds on behalf of DSA from individual members of Local organizations. Any such dues and funds received by DSA will be held in a designated fund within DSA (the “CA-DSA Fund”) and used by DSA for projects that further the purposes of CA-DSA as determined by the State Council, subject to oversight by the National Political Committee of DSA.

Article IV. State Council

Section 1. Duties

The State Council shall be the standing delegate body of CA-DSA and the highest decision making body of the State Organization. It shall:

adopt the general objectives of CA-DSA in the form of resolutions; coordinate state-wide political activity and campaigns among Locals; host state-wide or regional meetings of DSA members within its jurisdiction for the purposes of political education, coordination, organizing trainings, and open forums or any other such gatherings as may be necessary; Form committees and commissions as may be necessary in the pursuit of its duties; provide at-large members of DSA in California support in the process of chartering new locals and organizing committees; provide organizing committees of DSA in California support in the process of chartering as locals with the National Political Committee of DSA; work with California YDSA chapters on statewide campaigns elect a State Committee from among its delegate-members; adopt rules governing its meetings and operations; adopt a proposed annual budget for spending from the CA-DSA Fund; amend the bylaws in accordance with Section XXII; enact such other measures as may be necessary to achieve the objectives of CA-DSA.

Section 2. Composition

The State Council shall be composed of eighty-five delegates. All DSA locals affiliated with CA-DSA shall be entitled to delegates to the State Council. Every Local shall be entitled to at least one delegate. Additional delegates will be apportioned to Locals based on the size of each Local’s dues-paying membership, as determined by the National Political Committee of DSA as of March 1st of each year. Upon recognition of a new local by the National Political Committee of DSA, that local shall be entitled to immediately send as many delegates to the State Council as they would have been eligible to send had they been recognized on the date of apportionment, without reduction in the delegation of any other Local. Delegates shall be elected by the general membership of their locals.

Section 3. Qualifications

Delegates shall be members in good standing of Democratic Socialists of America and maintain their membership during their term. Delegates must be members of the Local which they represent.

Section 4. Meetings

The State Council shall ordinarily meet at least four times per year. An emergency meeting of the State Council may be called by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the State Committee or a majority of the delegates to the State Council from a minimum of three (3) different local affiliates.

Notice of any non-emergency meeting of the State Council and the agenda shall be distributed not less than ten (10) days in advance of the meeting.

The State Council may meet both in person and virtually as they deem necessary. Voting may take place in person or electronically.

Any DSA member may attend and observe meetings.

Section 5. Quorum

One or more delegates representing 50% plus one (1) of the local affiliates shall constitute a quorum, provided there be a minimum of one-third (1/3) of the registered delegates present at the meeting.

Any action of the State Council must be supported by at least one delegate representing each of at least one-third of the local affiliates.

Article V. State Committee

Section 1. Composition

The State Committee shall be composed of nine (9) at-large members, directly elected by the State Council from among its delegate-members to one year terms. Members of the State Council shall be elected using a proportional voting method.

Cisgender white men may not comprise more than half of the State Committee. Delegates representing a single affiliate local may not comprise more than one-third of the State Committee, unless the enforcement of this requirement results in the uncontested election of a majority (5) or more of State Committee members..

If the result of an election would result in a violation of these rules, the highest-ranking individuals who fulfill one of these criteria will be elected instead of the lowest-ranking individuals who fulfill none of the criteria, until the Committee is no longer in violation, before the results of the election may be certified.

Section 2. Duties

The State Council shall elect from among its delegate-members a State Committee to manage the general affairs of the state organization. It shall:

  1. implement the objectives set by the State Council;
  2. provide for interim direction in the absence of existing policies between meetings of the State Council;
  3. elect officers for the state organization from among its members;
  4. prepare annually a budget proposal for spending from the CA-DSA Fund which shall be presented to the State Council for adoption;
  5. form committees and commissions as may be necessary in the pursuit of its duties;
  6. report on the work of the state organization to the general DSA membership within its jurisdiction;
  7. maintain relationships with official bodies of the Democratic Socialists of America;
  8. administer the California DSA Political Action Committee;
  9. ensure the state organization is in compliance with any and all state and federal regulations related to its activity; and
  10. any other duties as assigned to it by the State Council or as necessary to carry out its enumerated duties.

Section 3. Meetings

The State Committee shall meet according to a schedule determined by the Committee.

The State Committee may meet both in person and virtually as they deem necessary. Voting may take place in person or electronically.

Any member of the State Council has the right to observe any meeting of the State Committee. Meetings of the State Committee shall be noticed to all members of the State Council at least seventy-two (72) hours in advance. Observers may be excluded from executive sessions as necessary to protect confidential information.

Minutes from every State Committee meeting shall be distributed to all members of the State Council no more than one (1) week after the meeting in question has occurred.

Section 4. Quorum

50% plus one or more members of the State Committee shall constitute a quorum.

Section 5. Vacancies

In the event of a vacancy in the Committee, the State Council shall elect additional members to the State Committee. The State Committee may appoint temporary members of the Committee until the State Council is able to elect replacements.

Article VI. Officers

Section 1. Officers

The Officers of the state organization shall be the co-Chairs, the Secretary, and the Treasurer, and such other officers as the State Committee may designate by a ⅔ vote. They shall be elected by the State Committee from among its members at the start of their term as a State Committee.

Section 2. Co-Chairs

There shall be two Co-Chairs who shall be the chief officers of CA-DSA, and shall ensure that all orders and resolutions of the State Council and the State Committee are carried out.

The Chairs shall perform such other duties as are incident to the office required of them by the State Committee. The Co-Chairs may not both be cisgendered white men.

Section 3. Treasurer

The Treasurer shall, as directed by the State Committee, have care and custody of the general funds, securities, properties, and assets of the CA-DSA, if any. To the extent authorized by DSA, the Treasurer shall make disbursements from the CA-DSA Fund in accordance with the annual budget adopted by the State Council.

They shall prepare–in consultation with the State Committee–a one-year budget, to be presented and voted on by the State Council. They shall prepare a yearly financial report for presentation to the State Council.

Section 4. Secretary

The Secretary shall ensure that the minutes are kept of the meetings of the State Committee and of the State Council and shall ensure that the minutes are distributed. The Secretary shall see that all notices are duly given in accordance with the provisions of these Bylaws or as required by law. The Secretary shall be custodian of all CA-DSA records. The Secretary shall keep a register of the address, phone number and e-mail address of each member of the State Committee, which shall be furnished to the Secretary by each State Committee member. The Secretary shall, in general, perform the duties incident to the office of Secretary and such other duties as are from time to time assigned by the Chair, or by the State Committee. All funds in the CA-DSA Fund shall be subject to ultimate oversight by the National Political Committee of DSA.

Section 5. Vacancies

In the event of a vacancy in one of the Officer positions, the State Committee shall elect new Officers from among its members to fill the role.

Article VII. Removal

Section 1. Reasons for Removal

An Officer or member of the State Committee shall be subject to removal for alleged malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance in office, including the failure to act in a manner consistent with the position’s enumerated duties or to promote the stated purpose of the State Organization.

Any officer or member of the State Committee who misses three consecutive meetings or six total meetings in a term without an acceptable reason shall be removed from the committee and their position declared vacant.

Section 2. Removal Procedure

Any Officer or member of the State Committee may be removed by a two-thirds vote of the members of the State Committee, confirmed by a majority vote of the State Council. Any officer or member of the State Committee may resign in writing. Officers may resign without ceding their place on the State Committee.

Removal may be initiated by a petition that states with specificity the basis for seeking recall of the Officer or member of the State Committee. Such a petition must be signed by no less than 20% of the delegate-membership of the State Council.

Within forty-five (45) days of receipt of valid petitions, the State Council shall hold a vote on recall of the member or members in question. Such a vote may be held by electronic ballot. If a majority of votes cast are in support of recall, the office shall be declared vacant upon certification of the recall results to the State Committee. If less than a majority of the valid ballots cast are in support of recall, the Review Board shall certify such results to the State Committee.

Section 3. State Council

If a delegate-member of the State Council is recalled by their affiliate local or resigns, their seat shall be vacated until such time as their affiliate local elects or appoints a replacement. The seat of any delegate-member who is suspended or expelled from DSA or from their affiliate Local shall be considered vacant.

A delegate-member shall be subject to removal by the State Council if they are found to be in substantial disagreement with the principles or policies of the organization or if they consistently engage in undemocratic, disruptive behavior or violate any Codes of Conduct adopted by the National Political Committee. A delegate-member may be removed by a 2/3rds vote of the State Council. So removed they shall not be eligible for re-election for one calendar year.

Section 4. Appeals

Any delegates so removed by the procedures enumerated in Article VII may appeal such decisions to the National Political Committee, which shall decide whether to reinstate such delegates according to its own rules and procedures.

Article VIII. Affiliates

Section 1. Locals

CA-DSA shall be composed of all locals of the Democratic Socialists of America with geographic jurisdictions wholly or primarily in the U.S. State of California.

Formations which exist within the structure of a local such as a working group or branch may not seek affiliation. Organizing Committees that have not yet become Locals must first become recognized DSA locals in order to be eligible for affiliation.

Section 2. Delegations

Locals shall be entitled to delegates to the State Council of California DSA in accordance with Article IV, Section 2 of these bylaws and any other such rules decided on by the State Council or the bylaws of Democratic Socialists of America.

Delegates must be democratically selected by their representative locals, either by direct election by the general membership of the local or by appointment by that local’s duly democratically elected executive body. Locals must maintain rules for the selection of delegations to California DSA. Such rules must include terms for the election of delegates which shall not exceed two (2) years.

Section 3. Powers Reserved to the Locals

CA-DSA will have no power to require any Local to affirmatively participate in any campaign.

Article IX. Bylaws Changes

Only the State Council shall have the power to approve changes to the Bylaws. Changes may be adopted by a vote of two-thirds of the delegates present provided that written notice of such amendments has been given to members one month prior to the State Council meeting, except that changes may be adopted by a simple majority of the delegates present, subject to the rules of Article IV, section 5, at the first meeting of the State Council.

Article X. Fiscal Year

The Fiscal Year shall commence the first day of January in each year.

Article XI. Dissolution

CA-DSA may be dissolved by motion approved by three-fifths of the State Council, which is then approved by at least two-thirds of the Locals and Locals representing at least two-thirds of individual DSA members in California. Any vote at the State Council regarding dissolution must have 80% of the members of the State Council present, and the vote total of the membership must represent at least 50% of the current members of CA-DSA. The State Committee shall ensure that an appropriate agent is designated to complete the dissolution of the organization. Said agent shall ensure that all financial and legal issues are properly resolved. CA-DSA shall be dissolved automatically upon the withdrawal or revocation of CA-DSA’s charter by DSA.

Article XII. Rules of Order

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 in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws or standing rules of CA-DSA.