As amended and approved by the Harris County Democratic Party Executive Committee on August 28, 2021
RULES OF ORDER
All meetings of the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee (CEC) shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised except as it may be otherwise provided herein or as provided in the Rules of the Texas Democratic Party (TDP Rules), and applicable laws of the State of Texas (State Law), including, without limitation, the Texas Election Code.
Twenty-five percent of the members (exclusive of any vacancies) of the CEC of the Harris County Democratic Party (HCDP) being present at any meeting shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of transacting any business that might come before the CEC unless State Law or the TDP Rules specifically provide other quorum requirements. The quorum requirements for other committees of the HCDP shall be the same.
- Regular meetings of the CEC shall be held as required by State Law and the TDP Rules. Special meetings shall be held either upon a call by the County Chair, or upon the written petition of fifty-one percent of the qualified members (exclusive of vacancies) of the CEC presented to the County Chair.
- The Presiding Officer of a CEC meeting may appoint a qualified individual to serve as parliamentarian.
- Notice of all meetings, regular or special, shall be given to each member of the Committee which shall be given at least ten (10) days before the day of the meeting, and otherwise comply with the Rules of the TDP.
- CEC, Steering, Standing and Ad Hoc Committee meetings may be conducted by video or telephone conference call (Remote Meetings), in person, or a combination of any or all (Hybrid Meetings) and accessible for the public by live streaming or other means, except where TDP Rules permit the closing of portions of the meeting.
- The following additional provisions shall apply to Remote and Hybrid Meetings:
- a. Committee members who participate remotely shall count for voting and quorum purposes.
- b. The notice for Remote and Hybrid Meetings shall:
- i. state the date, time, platform(s) and contact information for the meeting.
- ii. include options for attendees who do not have electronic access.
- c. The following applies to voting at a CEC Remote or Hybrid Meeting:
- i. All votes shall be conducted and recorded by an on-line polling system indicating who voted and how they voted.
- ii. HCDP will post the result totals on their website promptly after the meeting and will give Senate District chairs the names and votes of each voting member in their respective district.
- iii. There is no proxy voting at CEC meetings. A statement shall be required from the voter certifying that the person casting the ballot is the actual precinct chair and not someone acting on their behalf.
- d. Newly appointed precinct chairs may be sworn in through audio or video technology.
All records of the CEC including but not limited to minutes of meetings, reports of committees, candidate filing forms, returns of elections, checkbooks, bank statements, accounting records, and official correspondence and contracts shall be maintained at the headquarters of the HCDP and if no such headquarters exist, then in a location agreed upon by the Chair and Secretary of the HCDP, and under their joint custody, and shall be available to the inspection of any member of the CEC.
- All money that may be received by the CEC through any of its members or officers shall be deposited to an account or accounts of the CEC with a financial institution as may be directed by the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. Two approvals (two signatures on checks) out of the three aforementioned officers shall be necessary for all expenditures in amounts of over $10,000, or such lesser amount as may be established by the CEC.
- The CEC shall have a fiscal year commencing on July 1 and ending on June 30. The CEC shall adopt a budget each June covering operations through the adoption of the next budget, to be presented by the County Chair after review by the Steering Committee. Adoption of the budget shall constitute authorization to spend up to the amount specified for each category of expenditures. The budget may be amended or supplemented by action of the CEC.
- The Steering Committee shall be composed of the following persons:
- a. County Chair
- b. Secretary
- c. Treasurer
- d. Chairs of the State Senatorial District Committees resident in Harris County
- e. Secretaries of the State Senatorial District Committees resident in Harris County
- f. Chairs of all Standing Committees and the Deputy Chair of the Primary Committee
- g. Any Democratic National Committee (DNC) members from Harris County. DNC Members shall be non-voting, ex-officio members of the Steering Committee
- h. A person designated by the County Chair as General Counsel to the HCDP, who shall be a non-voting, ex-officio member of the Steering Committee.
- i. State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) members from every Senatorial District who reside in Harris County
- j. Add-on members of the SDEC who reside in Harris County
- k. Two At-Large members of the Steering Committee appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the County Chair.
- The Steering Committee shall be an Advisory Committee to the County Chair and shall act on behalf of the CEC in between meetings of the CEC as necessary to approve expenditures, adopt resolutions on behalf of the HCDP (subject to being rescinded at the next meeting of the CEC), or other activities on behalf of the CEC, and shall serve as the Agenda Committee for the CEC. The Steering Committee members who are not CEC members may participate fully in CEC meetings except for voting.
- All Steering Committee members shall be notified of meetings of the Steering Committee at least 5 business days before the meeting. Where action can be taken by the Steering Committee, such action can be approved (or rejected) by e-mail, so long as a majority of members of the Steering Committee approve such action via e-mail, and the chair concludes that the e-mail votes appear to be legitimate.
- All standing committees shall consist of no less than eight members nominated by the Steering Committee and approved by the CEC. There shall be at least one member from each senate district on each standing committee, but no more than four voting members per senate district.
- The County Chair shall appoint the chair of each standing committee, which may in their discretion elect a deputy chair and secretary. By statute, the County Chair is the Chair of the Primary Committee and shall appoint a Deputy Chair of the Primary Committee to assist with the statutory duties.
- The term of standing committee memberships shall be for the full term of the CEC which approved them. In case of a vacancy occurring on any of the standing committees by reason of death, resignation, or legal disqualification, said vacancy shall be filled by the same manner used to select the person vacating such position. Additional members of standing committees may be selected from time to time in the same manner; however, each SD is limited to 4 voting members per senate district.
- The County Chair and the General Counsel to the HCDP shall be ex officio members, without vote, on all standing committees. However, a General Counsel who is approved by the CEC to be on a committee as a representative of its Senate District shall have in that capacity full voting rights on that committee.
- Each standing committee [except the Primary Committee] must meet a minimum of once per quarter. The meeting date, time and venue shall be posted on the HCDP online calendar and noticed by email to the standing committee members at least one week in advance, except in cases of emergencies, when as much advance notice as possible will be given. If a committee member has notified the chair of the committee that they do not have an email, they shall be notified by telephone.
- The Standing Committees shall provide a report to the Steering Committee (for inclusion in the agenda) and to the CEC.
- The Standing Committees of the CEC are as follows:
- a. RULES COMMITTEE. Subject to approval by the CEC, The Rules Committee shall prepare the rules for the conduct of all meetings of the CEC. In addition, it shall from time to time review these rules and propose changes if it deems them advisable. The Rules Committee shall also receive, investigate, and consider complaints filed against precinct chairs. If deemed warranted, the Rules Committee shall, upon written notice, conduct a hearing affording the accused precinct chairs a fair opportunity to be heard. After the completion of the hearing, the Rules Committee shall make recommendations to the CEC concerning appropriate discipline, if any, to be imposed against a precinct chair who has violated the Rules of the HCDP, the TDP, or Texas law. Disciplinary hearings will be conducted pursuant to the rules and procedures promulgated by the Rules Committee and approved by the Steering Committee.
- b. PRIMARY COMMITTEE. The Primary Committee shall carry out all those functions provided by State Law relating to the administration of the Party’s Primary. In addition, the Primary Committee shall make recommendations to the CEC regarding proposed changes to the Election Code for consideration by the CEC for action thereon.
- c. RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE. The Resolutions Committee shall study proposed policy resolutions (that is, formal expressions of the position of the HCDP on issues of public concern) to be offered to the CEC. All proposed policy resolutions (which excepts administrative resolutions such as those necessary in the regular course of the CEC’s business) shall be submitted in writing to the Resolutions Committee at least two weeks in advance of a Steering Committee meeting. If recommended by the Resolutions Committee, the resolutions shall be forwarded to the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee shall determine which policy resolutions will be included on the CEC meeting agenda. Resolutions which are not included on the agenda will be referred back to the Resolutions Committee with written guidance on why they were not included. No policy resolutions and no amendments to policy resolutions may be offered from the floor at a CEC meeting. If a matter arises at a time which makes impractical submission of a resolution to the CEC in accordance with the procedures outlined above, the proposed resolution can be submitted to the County Chair for referral to the Steering Committee for disposition pursuant to Article VI.2. All resolutions adopted by the CEC (or by the Steering Committee pursuant to Article VI.2) will be published on the HCDP website.
- d. FUNDRAISING COMMITTEE. The Fundraising Committee shall be responsible for raising the funds needed to finance the budget adopted by the CEC and any special projects performed for or on behalf of the CEC, in consultation with the County Chair and Treasurer.
- e. AUDIT COMMITTEE. The Audit Committee shall review the books and records and accounts of the HCDP at least annually and report in writing to the CEC on such review.
- AD-HOC COMMITTEES. The County Chair may establish other ad-hoc committees as he/she deems appropriate and may appoint committee members who are not members of the CEC.
- Each Senatorial District shall elect a Vacancy Committee, which shall consist of at least six (6) members unless there are fewer than six (6) precincts in a Senatorial District. The Senatorial District Chairs shall name the Chair of the Vacancy Committee. The Vacancy Committee shall nominate legally qualified persons to fill all vacancies that may occur on the CEC from the precincts in that senate district.
- Where the Vacancy Committee determines that the vacating CEC member was in good standing at the time of vacating the office, preference in the filling of vacancies shall be in the following order:
- a. A letter of recommendation from the vacating CEC member; or
- b. A letter of recommendation from the spouse of a deceased CEC member; or
- c. Failing receipt of a written recommendation of the appropriate type provided in (1) or (2) above within a reasonable time, the Vacancy Committee shall recommend a legally qualified person of like political persuasion.
- When the Vacancy Committee determines that a CEC member has vacated the office by actions disqualifying that member from further service or that a vacating CEC member was not in good standing at the time of vacating the office, the Vacancy Committee shall recommend a legally qualified replacement.
- In newly created precincts, the CEC member of the precinct from which the new precinct was created shall recommend a CEC member for that new precinct to the Vacancy Committee.
- In vacancies caused by boundary changes affecting more than one precinct, the wishes of all affected CEC members shall be considered by the Vacancy Committee in the same manner as described above.
- All nominations made by the Vacancy Committee are subject to approval of a majority of the CEC.
- A Precinct Captain is:
- a. An individual appointed by the Precinct Chair or Senate District Chair to assist in the duties of a Precinct Chair.
- b. An individual appointed by the Senate District Chair to organize a vacant precinct.
- A Precinct Chair may appoint a Precinct Captain(s) to assist with any activity related to voter education, registration, voter identification or get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort in the precinct.
- A Senate District Chair may appoint a Precinct Captain(s) if the precinct is vacant or inactive.
- A Precinct Chair or Senate District Chair may in their discretion remove an appointed Precinct Captain at any time for any or no reason.
- A Precinct Captain shall have no standing or voting authority which is a statutory duty of a Precinct Chair.
- The CEC shall elect a Secretary of the CEC at the first of the newly elected and installed CEC, who shall serve for the full two-year term of that CEC, or thereafter until a successor shall be elected. The duties of the Secretary shall be to keep the minutes of the meetings of the CEC, and such other duties as may be placed upon the Secretary herein, or by the TDP Rules, or by State Law, or that may from time to time be assigned to the Secretary by the Chair, or by the CEC.
- In the event the office of county chair becomes vacant as a result of the death, disqualification, or resignation of the county chair, or the county chair becomes unable to perform the duties of that office as a result of incapacitation, the HCDP Secretary shall perform all of the duties and responsibilities of the county chair (except to the extent otherwise provided by State Law or by the TDP Rules) until a new chair is elected by the CEC or a previously incapacitated county chair is able to resume the duties of the office of County Chair.
- The CEC shall elect from its membership a Treasurer at the first meeting of the newly elected and installed CEC who shall serve the full two-year term of that CEC, or thereafter until a successor shall be elected.
- The Treasurer shall keep or cause to be kept an accurate record of all funds received and spent by the CEC and shall present or have presented a financial report at all meetings of the CEC.
Whenever these rules or the TDP Rules require that timely notice be given (including notice in writing), such notice shall be regarded as having been given (including “in writing”) if it is published prominently on the Party’s website and either contained in an e-mail or in a written notice. However, if a member of the CEC or the Steering Committee notifies the county chair in writing that he or she does not have ready access to e-mail or the internet, e-mail and website posting of notice will not be sufficient as to that person, and other appropriate means of providing written notice to that person shall be employed (ordinarily, United States mail).
EMERGENCY RULES FOR CONDUCTING COUNTY EXECUTIVE AND
OTHER MEETINGS OF THE HARRIS COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY
Pursuant to Article X, Section 12 of the TDP Rules, the following procedures shall be adopted in order to allow participation in CEC, other official or statutory meetings of HCDP organizations when a state or national emergency declaration is in effect for any voting precinct within the territory of such committee, including voting in the meeting(s) of such committee via telephone, video conferencing, email or other digital or electronic means and all precinct chairs participating in such committee meeting by such alternative means shall be counted and included in determining the presence of a quorum.
- Notices of Meetings -- All notices of CEC, or other official or statutory meetings of HCDP organizations meetings shall:
- a. state how participants may attend, including links to any virtual method(s) of participating in the meeting and in-person participation if no internet access is available to said participant.
- b. include an e-mail address where participants may submit questions before the meeting; and,
- c. include a contact phone number where participants with disabilities or without access to the technology that will be utilized for the meeting, can obtain assistance in participating in the meeting.
- Physical Attendance:
- a. Any requirement that the voting participants be physically present at the meeting, either to vote or to be counted for quorum, is waived for the duration of the declared State of Emergency as long as their attendance can be determined as indicated above.
- b. All members at the meeting must be recognized by the Chair prior to speaking, and no more than one person shall speak at the same time.
- a. All votes shall be recorded and conducted via an on-line balloting or polling system indicating who voted and how they voted.
- b. HCDP will post the result totals on their website after the meeting has concluded and will give Senate District chairs the names and votes of each voting member in their respective district.
- c. A statement shall be required from the voter certifying that the person casting the ballot is the actual precinct chair, and not someone acting on that person's behalf.
- d. There is no proxy voting at CEC meetings held either in person, electronic or other means.
- Vacancy appointments -- Newly appointed precinct chairs are not required to be physically present to be sworn in and may be sworn in through audio or video technology.
- Public Participation -- The general public may view the virtual meeting through a live stream service of the HCDP’s choosing except where TDP Rules permit the closing of portions of the meeting to the general public.
These Rules may be amended by a majority of the CEC members attending a meeting called for such purpose, provided the proposed amendment must be mailed or emailed to the CEC members at least ten (10) days before its adoption is considered by the CEC.