CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS


CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS FOR HUMANISTS OF NORTH PUGET SOUND

ARTICLE 1:ORGANIZATION

1.1 Name.  The name of this organization is HUMANISTS OF NORTH PUGET SOUND (HNPS).

1.2 Purpose.  HNPS is organized as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit educational corporation to develop and support the secular humanist, freethinking, rationalist, agnostic, atheist, skeptic and non-theist communities; to provide opportunities for socializing and friendship among these groups; to promote and defend their views; to protect the first amendment principle of state-church separation; to oppose any discrimination based upon religious conviction, particularly when it is directed at the non-religious; to expose the dangers of supernaturalism and superstition; to promote science; and to work with other organizations in pursuit of common goals.

This organization shall operate in an open, democratic manner, without discrimination as to gender, race, age, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, nationality or disability.

The Bylaws to this Constitution are intended to further define and explain the operating procedure of this organization. Changes may be made to the Bylaws when necessary to improve the operation of this organization.  Changes to the Bylaws shall not alter the purpose of this organization as set forth in this Constitution:

1.2.1 To inform humanists and others of church-state separation and other national and international political, social, and cultural issues affecting humanists and other freethinkers, and to actively defend the separation of state and church.

1.2.2 To democratically find and recruit individual isolated or disaffected humanists and other freethinkers and enlist their support for the goals, policies, and programs of HNPS;

1.2.3 To educate the general public on the fallacies and superstitions of religion and other irrational beliefs, and their detrimental effects on culture, politics, and society in general.

1.2.4 To encourage all freethinkers to become outspoken and actively supportive of the goals of HNPS.

1.2.5 To foster friendly and productive relations with other freethought groups around the country and around the world, in order to broaden the scope, meaning, understanding, acceptance and influence of freethought.

1.2.6 To provide a sense of fellowship, community and validation for humanists and others who may feel alienated from a culture that considers religious faith a virtue.

1.2.7 To actively promote legislative measures and other government actions protecting religious freedom and particularly humanism.

1.2.8 To defend freethinkers from persecution and fight for freedom from religion.

1.3 Annual Accounting Period. The fiscal year begins on January 1 and ends on December 31.

1.4 Affiliation. HNPS is currently a CHARTERED CHAPTER of the American Humanist Association.  HNPS is currently an AFFILIATED CHAPTER of the Council for Secular Humanism.

 

ARTICLE 2:MEMBERS

2.1 Membership.  Membership in HNPS is open to anyone who supports the principles of ethical, naturalistic, democratic humanism, who seeks to promote Church-State Separation, reason, science and critical thinking, and who desires to further the education of the general public on the meaning and validity of Humanism.

2.2 Application for Membership.  Anyone seeking membership in the HNPS shall provide their name, address and pay their annual dues. The membership records of HNPS are confidential. No member’s name or address is to be made public without the express permission of that member.

2.3 Termination of Membership.  Anyone can resign his or her membership at any time for any reason. The HNPS Board of Directors may terminate an individual’s membership by letter giving the reasons and at least 30 days advance notice of the effective date of the termination. Such termination can be appealed to the HNPS Board of Directors by the affected member.  After hearing the appeal, the board shall vote on the issue of termination. That vote shall be considered final and require no less than sixty percent (60%) affirmative vote of a quorum (50% +1) of the HNPS Board of Directors.

2.4 Active Member.  An active member has paid current membership dues and is not in violation of any of the membership requirements of the Constitution.

ARTICLE 3:BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS

3.1 Composition of the Board.  The HNPS Board of Directors shall number five members (or any odd number greater than five) nominated from, and elected by active HNPS members.

3.2 Board Elections.  Board elections will be held at the bi-annual meeting of HNPS. Nominations are open to any active member and will be accepted by the Board beginning at the meeting prior to the bi-annual meeting.  Upon nomination, candidates will also be allowed to post a candidate statement in a public forum or on a web page for viewing by the group. The balloting will be by ballot at the bi-annual meeting, with provision made for absentee ballots for any active member who cannot attend the bi-annual meeting in person.

3.3 Board Term of Office.  The term of directorship shall be 2 years. The normal term of office shall extend from the end of the bi-annual meeting at which the election is held until the end of the next bi-annual meeting.

3.4 Meetings.  The bi-annual meeting shall be a regularly scheduled membership meeting held in the first quarter of the year to include elections.

Additional meetings may be held, as scheduled by the President, or at the request of any two Directors. Such meetings may be held “in person”, or by mail, or by telephone conference call, or by e mail. A quorum (50% +1) of the HNPS Board of Directors is required to conduct any appropriate business.

3.5 Election of Board Members.  At its bi-annual meeting, the Board shall elect from HNPS active membership its President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Members at Large. In the event of a vacancy the position shall be filled by appointment from active membership by the remaining board until the next bi-annual meeting.

3.6 President.  The responsibilities of the President shall be to serve as the chief executive officer of HNPS; to preside over each meeting of the Board or to designate another Board member to preside; to make appointments to Board committees after consultation with the Board.

3.7 Vice-President.  The Vice-President shall perform the duties of the President whenever the President cannot perform his or her duties by reason of physical absence at scheduled meetings, incapacity, resignation, or death. In addition, the Vice-President shall perform such continuing duties as may be mutually agreed with the other officers.

3.8 Treasurer.  The Treasurer shall receive, disburse, and account for all funds of HNPS, as required by law and by orders of the Board. The Treasurer shall deposit HNPS funds in a safe depository approved by the Board. The Treasurer shall have custody of and maintain the Articles of Incorporations, the Bylaws, and other basic records relating thereto, and prepare financial and other reports required by governmental agencies.

3.9 Secretary. The Secretary shall maintain Minutes of Board meetings, the membership roster, and other records as instructed by the President.

3.10 Members at Large. The Members at Large shall assist the officers in conducting the business of the Board and serve in positions appointed by the Board.

3.11 Powers and Responsibilities of the Board.

3.11.1 The Board shall determine what program of activities will be undertaken by HNPS.

3.11.2 The Board shall adopt a budget for each fiscal year. The budget shall describe the activity program planned for the year and estimate the required expenses to implement the program. The budget shall prescribe the membership dues required to finance the expenditure program and the schedule for required payments.

3.11.3 The Board shall review and may approve applications for membership and may terminate membership for cause.

3.11.4 Board shall appoint individuals who will serve as official spokespersons for HNPS. No person shall communicate with the media, public, or officials on behalf of HNPS who has not been authorized to do so by a majority of the Board. No person may act as a spokesperson of HNPS while using an alias.

ARTICLE 4:AMENDMENT OF CONSTITUTION OR BYLAWS

4.1 Amendments.  A “substantive amendment” is a change to the Constitution or Bylaws that affect structure, powers, duties, requirements or methods.

4.1.1 Proposing Substantive Amendments.  Any Director or active member may propose to the Board a substantive amendment of the Constitution or Bylaws. Such proposal must state the specific new language proposed, indicate the old language to be modified or replaced, and provide a full explanation of the reasons for the proposed change(s). Such proposal shall be submitted to the President (or assigned agent).

4.1.2 Publicizing Proposed Substantive Amendments.  The President (or assigned agent) shall distribute via mail, email, website or during a regular meeting, to all active members the full text of a proposal he has received, and later the analysis and comments he and other Directors wish to make.

4.1.3 Voting on Proposed Substantive Amendments.  Voting on proposed substantive amendments shall take place not later than 60 days following their initial distribution either at a regular meeting, by mail, by e mail or by a combination in order to assure participation in the vote by each active member. Proposed Constitutional amendments shall require no less than sixty percent (60%) affirmative vote of the active members voting. Proposed Bylaw amendments shall require no less than simple majority (50% +1) affirmative vote of the active members voting.

4.1.4 Scope of Changes.  Changes to the Constitution or Bylaws should improve the operation of this organization. Under no circumstances shall they alter the purpose of this organization as set forth in the Constitution.  Changes to the Constitution and Bylaws shall become effective immediately upon adoption, unless specified otherwise in the motion to adopt.

4.2 Technical Amendments.  A “technical amendment” is a change in the Constitution or Bylaws which affects only spelling, grammar, punctuation, parallel structure, consistent usage, or the numbering or titling of the various parts of the Constitution or Bylaws or cross-references thereto.

4.2.1 Titles.  The numbers and titles of the various parts of the Constitution or Bylaws are for ease of reference only and have no substance or effect.

4.2.2 Secretary’s Power.  The Secretary may initiate any technical amendment by presenting it in writing to any Board meeting.

4.2.3 Board Veto.  The Board may, by majority vote, reject any technical amendment proposed by the Secretary. Any such proposal not rejected by the Board shall take effect at the end of the meeting at which it was presented.

 

ARTICLE 5:REMOVAL FROM OFFICE AND PROVISIONS FOR ABUSE

5.1 Provisions for Abuse.

5.1.1 Unacceptable Conduct. The Board of Directors may at their discretion vote by a simple majority to charge any officer, board member, committee member, volunteer, general member or visitor associated with this organization of unacceptable conduct. The charge(s) must be accompanied by a proposal for an appropriate corrective action. Unacceptable actions may include, but are not limited to: failure to perform the duties of their office, abusive or disruptive behavior during HNPS activities, statements or actions which oppose the principles and purpose of the HNPS, unauthorized use of HNPS property or records, making false or misleading statements deemed likely to be misinterpreted as official HNPS announcements or outside activities deemed likely to expose the HNPS to financial or legal liability or public embarrassment.

5.1.2 Ratification.  Upon voting in favor of an appropriate wording for an incident of Unacceptable Conduct by a person or group, the Board of Directors must, after giving proper advanced notice, then bring the matter before a meeting of this organization’s general membership. The Board shall then and there make an explanation of the Unacceptable Conduct charge to that gathering, along with a recommendation for an appropriate penalty to be imposed. After a period of discussion not to exceed a total of one half hour of equal access time by all parties wishing to speak on the matter, a vote for Ratification shall be called. Ratification shall require no less than sixty percent (60%) affirmative vote of the active members present and voting.

5.1.3 Penalties and Enforcement. Upon Ratification, the Board of Directors may proceed with invoking whatever actions and/or penalties were approved by the ratification process. All officers, directors, volunteers, and the entire general membership will be expected to abide by those actions and penalties and help enforce them. Any member of this organization who does not abide by those penalties and/or attempts to help defeat its full enforcement, will be immediately suspended from the organization and barred from further participation of any kind. They will also themselves be subject to charges of Unacceptable Conduct by the Board of Directors. Proposed punishments may include, but are not limited to: reprimand, fine, expulsion from an elected post or committee membership or HNPS events, termination of membership, and/or the initiation of legal proceedings against the individual thus charged.

 

ARTICLE 6:MERGER, DISSOLUTION, DISTRIBUTION OF ASSETS

6.1 Authority.  The membership of this organization has sole authority to merge with another organization, or dissolve and distribute the organization’s assets, subject to the limitations in Paragraph 6.3 below.

6.2 Procedure.  Any proposal for merger or dissolution and distribution of assets must be initiated by a motion duly seconded and passed at a regularly scheduled membership meeting. The proposal must then be presented at a special meeting called for that purpose. Notice of the meeting must be mailed to all active members, at least 30 days before the date of the meeting. Following discussion, the vote will be taken using a mailed ballot. The ballot shall be sent to all active members and shall include the main pro and con arguments. Ballots must be returned within 20 calendar days. Approval shall require no less than seventy percent (70%) affirmative vote of the ballots returned within 20 calendar days.

6.3 Limitations.  Only non-theist, non-religious organizations clearly identified as such and having a purpose consistent with that of this organization shall be considered for merger or distribution of assets. All outstanding debts, obligations and claims must be satisfied before assets are distributed. No assets shall be distributed to individuals.

ARTICLE 7:BYLAWS

7.1 Funds.  HNPS’s funds shall be in accounts structured as follows:

7.1.1 General Fund.  The purpose of the general fund is to support the normal, day-to-day activities of HNPS. Normal inflows will include, but not be limited to membership dues and anonymous donations made at meetings, via mail or our website(s). The Treasurer is authorized to pay routine expenditures out of this account.

7.1.2 Building Fund.  The purpose of the building fund is to accumulate money to be eventually used toward the purchase of a building and/or land for HNPS use.  Normal inflows are to include any donation earmarked for the building fund, and any other moneys that the HNPS Board of Directors votes to deposit there. Withdrawals from the building fund may only occur with the approval of 2/3 of the board.

7.1.3 Humanitarian Fund.  The purpose of the humanitarian fund is to offer an alternative for those who wish to support humanitarian efforts but do not wish for their funds to be passed through religious organizations. Normal inflows are to include any donation earmarked for the humanitarian fund, and any other moneys that the HNPS Board of Directors votes to deposit there. Withdrawals from the humanitarian fund may only occur with the approval of 2/3 of the board. Distributions from the humanitarian fund cannot be made to individuals.

7.2 Meeting Agendas and Time Limits.  Meeting agendas should be prepared by Co-Chairs and distributed electronically one week before each Board meeting. Any active member may request an agenda item. If an additional agenda item is proposed during a Board meeting, a majority vote of the Board members present is necessary to add it to that month’s discussion. Otherwise, the agenda item will be considered at the next Board meeting.

The presiding officer may impose a 2 minute per issue time limit on each speaker when necessary to accomplish all Board business in a timely manner.

Meetings will be conducted within the framework generally suggested by Roberts Rules of Order.

7.3 Internet Websites.  HNPS retains ownership rights to the Internet domains:  www.HumanistsNPS.com and www.NWHumanist.com. The HNPS Board of Directors may solicit volunteers, non-profit and/or for profit ventures to assist with the construction, maintenance and/or hosting of these websites.  At no time will the ownership of these domains leave the control of HNPS.

7.4 Voting Proxy. Any HNPS Board member may assign his/her voting proxy to another HNPS Board member.


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