Harris County Democratic Party Official Rules and Bylaws
RULES OF ORDER
All meetings of the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee 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 Democratic Party of Texas, and applicable laws of the State of Texas, including, without limitation, the Texas Election Code.
Twenty-five percent of the members (exclusive of any vacancies) of the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee being present at any meeting of said Committee shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of transacting any business that might come before the Committee unless State Law or the Rules of the Democratic Party of Texas specifically provide other quorum requirements.
Regular meetings of the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee shall be held as required by the Laws of the State of Texas and the Rules of the Texas Democratic Party (TDP). Special meetings shall be held either upon a call by the Chair, or upon the written petition of 51% of the qualified members (exclusive of vacancies) of the Committee presented to the Chair.
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. The Presiding Officer may appoint a qualified individual to serve as parliamentarian at any meeting of the Committee.
All records of the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee 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 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 Harris County Democratic Executive Committee.
- All money that may be received by the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee through any of its members or officers shall be deposited to an account or accounts of the Committee with a financial institution as may be directed by the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. Two signatures out of three shall be necessary for all checks in amounts of over $5,000, or such lesser amount as may be established from time to time by a majority vote of the Committee.
- The Harris County Democratic Executive Committee shall have a fiscal year commencing on July 1 and ending on June 30. The Committee 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 at the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee.
- The Committee shall have a fiscal year commencing on July 1 and ending on June 30. The Committee shall adopt a budget for the HCDP 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 at the Committee.
- Each year the Audit Committee shall review the books and records of the Committee and report on such review to the full CEC.
The Steering Committee shall be composed of the following persons:
- County Chair
- Chairs of the State Senatorial District Committees resident in Harris County
- Secretaries of the State Senatorial District Committees resident in Harris County
- Chairs of all Standing Committees
- Any Democratic National Committee (DNC) members from Harris County. DNC Members shall be non-voting, ex-officio members of the Steering Committee
- A person designated by the County Chair as General Counsel to the Harris County Democratic Party, who shall be a non-voting, ex-officio member of the Steering Committee;
- State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) members from every Senatorial District who reside in Harris County
- Add-on members of the SDEC who reside in Harris County
- At-Large Member 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 Harris County Democratic Executive Committee in between meetings of the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee as necessary to approve expenditures, adopt resolutions on behalf of the HCDP (subject to being rescinded at the next meeting on the Committee), or other activities on behalf of the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee, and shall serve as the Agenda Committee for the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee. The Steering Committee members who are not Executive Committee members may participate fully in Executive Committee 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 (6) members nominated by the Steering Committee and approved by the Harris County Democratic Party Executive Committee. The Harris County Democratic Party Chair shall appoint the chair of each Standing Committee. 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 Harris County Democratic Executive Committee, which elected 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. Every effort shall be made to have at least one member from each senate district on each standing committee.
The Chair of the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee shall be an ex officio member of all standing committees without vote. The standing committees of the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee are as follows:
The Committee meeting date, time and venue shall be posted on the Harris County Democratic Party online calendar at least one week in advance except in cases of emergencies where rendering advance posting is not possible. A Standing Committee report shall be provided at each County Executive Committee meeting.
- RULES COMMITTEE. Subject to approval by the CEC, The Rules Committee shall prepare the rules for the conduct of all meeetings of the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee.
- PRIMARY COMMITTEE. The Primary Committee shall carry out all those functions provided by the Laws of the State of Texas relating to the administration of the Party’s Primary. In addition, the Primary Committee shall make recommendations to the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee regarding proposed changes to the Election Code for consideration by the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee for action thereon.
- RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE. The Resolutions Committee shall study any resolutions to be offered to the Executive Committee as a whole. All resolutions, excepting those necessary in the regular course of the Executive Committee’s business, as provided by the rules, shall be submitted in writing to the Resolutions Committee at least two weeks in advance of any meeting of the Executive Committee. The Resolutions Committee will report its actions and recommendations upon such resolutions to the Steering Committee (for inclusion in the agenda) and to the CEC if included on the agenda by the Steering Committee. The Resolutions Committee will report as a whole, at a regular meeting, provided, however, that this suggestion is not to limit or impair the right of any member of the Executive Committee to urge action of the Executive Committee by Resolutions.
- FINANCE COMMITTEE. The Finance Committee shall be responsible for raising the funds needed to finance the budget adopted by the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee and any special projects performed for or on behalf of the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee, in consultation with the County Chair and Treasurer.
- 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.
- 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 Executive Committee 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 letter of recommendation from the vacating Executive Committee member; or
- A letter of recommendation from the spouse of a deceased Executive Committee member; or
- 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 an Executive Committee member has vacated the office by actions disqualifying that member from further service or that a vacating Executive Committee member was not in good standing at the time of vacating the office, the Vacancy Committee shall recommend a legally qualified person of like political persuasion similar to that expressed by the vacating Executive Committee member at the time of that member’s selection.
- In newly created precincts, the Executive Committee member of the precinct from which the new precinct was created shall recommend to an Executive Committee 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 Executive Committee 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 Harris County Democratic Executive Committee.
The Harris County Democratic Executive Committee shall elect a Secretary of said Committee at the first meeting of the newly elected and installed Harris County Democratic Executive Committee, who shall serve for the full two-year term of that Executive Committee, or until a successor shall be elected. The duties of the Secretary shall be to keep the minutes of the meetings of the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee, and such other duties as may be placed upon the Secretary herein, or by the Rules of the Democratic Party of Texas, or by the laws of the State of Texas, or that may from time to time be assigned to the Secretary by the Chair, or by the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee.
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 Harris County Democratic Party 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 Rules of the Texas Democratic Party) until a new chair is elected by the County Executive Committee or a previously incapacitated county chair is able to resume the duties of the office of County Chair.
The Harris County Democratic Executive Committee shall elect from its membership a Treasurer of said Committee at the first meeting of the newly elected and installed Harris County Democratic Executive Committee who shall serve the full two-year term of that Committee, or 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 Executive Committee; and shall present or have presented a financial report at all meetings of the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee.
Whenever these rules or the Rules of the Texas Democratic Party 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 either published prominently on the Party’s website or contained in an e-mail sent to the person required to be notified, provided, however, that if a member of the Committee of the Steering Committee notifies the county chair in writing that he or shed does not have ready access to e-mail or the internet, e-mail or 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).
These Rules may be amended by a majority of the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee members attending a meeting called for such purpose, provided the proposed amendment must be mailed or emailed to the Committee members at least ten (10) days before its adoption is considered by the Committee.
As amended and approved by the Harris County Executive Committee on June 29, 2017.