Bylaws

BYLAWS OF THE OCEAN STATE GREEN PARTY

  1. NAME/ORGANIZATIONAL STATUS/PURPOSE
    1. The name of the organization shall be the Ocean State Green Party.
    2. The organization has been founded in January 2021 as a Political Action Committee (PAC) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
    3. The purpose of the organization shall be to serve as a formation reflecting the organizational principles and values of the Green Party of the United States (GPUS) as outlined in that body’s Four Pillars and Ten Key Values. In so doing, it will be required to uphold GPUS federation membership bylaws.
  2. MEMBERSHIP
    1. Members lie at the foundation of this organization. As such, they have the right to expect full accountability and transparency from the organization.
    2. “Membership” is herein defined as any person who states agreement with the Values outlined in these bylaws, promise of compliance with said Values, and payment of dues. This definition is in distinction from status of being a “Green voter” in a local or national election. This definition is in distinction from being a member of another state Green Party or a GPUS organization, such as an Identity Caucus, a Committee, or similar group. This definition is in distinction from being a Sustainer of the GPUS. This definition would be in distinction from voter registration status with the Rhode Island Secretary of State if/when the Ocean State Green Party becomes a ballot-qualified political party in Rhode Island elections.
    3. “Dues” is defined as monthly or yearly payments made to the Ocean State Green Party Treasury so as to finance the organizational maintenance and efforts. The dues system shall be a tiered one reflecting the socio-economic needs of a member in order to make the party welcoming and build an organization of solidarity. These tiers shall be:
      1. STANDARD DUES: $10 per month/$120 per year
      2. LENIENT DUES: $5 per month/$60 per year
      3. STUDENT DUES: $10 per year
    4. Members shall be individuals 14 years of age or older who are residents of the State of Rhode Island.
      1. Members aged 14-34 shall be encouraged to also be dues-paying members of the Young EcoSocialists, the youth caucus of the Green Party of the United States. Membership in that caucus shall not be construed as an expectation to organize a caucus branch in this state.
      2. Membership shall not be excluded on the basis of immigration status or citizenship.
    5. Membership shall not be granted to individuals who are officials or organizers within another political party or who are candidates for or elected to public office under the banner of another political party.
      1. Members shall not be allowed to organize with the campaign of a candidate who is running under the banner of another political party or is running as an independent unless said candidate is formally endorsed by the Ocean State Green Party.
    6. Members who are up-to-date and in compliance with the definition of Membership shall be accorded full rights, privileges, and expectations of said role.  These members are considered in good standing.
    7. Members facing financial hardship who are unable to make dues payments shall be accorded Exemptions in three (3) consecutive months prior to membership deactivation. Members shall be authorized to adjust their tier payment level when they see fit.
    8. Those desiring membership in the Ocean State Green Party whose legal status causes them to express concern about sharing their personal information (i.e immigration status, relation to the carceral state, etc.) shall be granted a Dues Waiver. Members with Dues Waivers shall be granted full membership without any form of discrimination.
    9. Members shall be accorded an opportunity for grievances to be processed and heard in a transparent and accountable fashion. This process shall be in a manner that is in alignment with restorative justice and police/prison abolitionist politics. Members shall be granted the opportunity to include in said process third-party advocates or mediators if said third parties align their Values with restorative justice and police/prison abolitionist politics.
  3. OFFICERS
    1. CHAIR
      1. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
        1. The Chair shall be responsible for processing membership applications.
          1. This includes contacting potential members and conducting an orientation into the party.
        2. The Chair shall be responsible for membership outreach.  This includes correspondence of official party business such as membership meetings, special committee meetings, and Ocean State Green Party events. 
        3. The Chair shall be responsible for moderating over any membership, special committee meetings, or state conventions.
        4. The Chair shall be responsible for collaborating and assisting any other officer with their duties.
    2. SECRETARY
      1. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
        1. The Secretary shall be responsible for all party-related record keeping, including recording minutes at statewide party meetings.
          1. The Secretary shall distribute minutes to party members in a timely manner.
        2. The Secretary shall be responsible for all outgoing correspondence between the party and officials of the State of Rhode Island and between the party and all media organizations within Rhode Island as well as out of state. Means of correspondence shall include phone, mail, email and online social media messaging.
        3. The Secretary shall be responsible for maintaining all Ocean State Green Party social media accounts and for utilizing these accounts to promote and reflect the values of the party, to promote public events of the party, and to promote candidates running for office as Ocean State Greens.
        4. The Secretary shall be responsible for processing the applications of Locals and for maintaining correspondence with Locals.
    3. TREASURER
      1. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
        1. The Treasurer shall be responsible for maintenance of all financial and accounting records in compliance with electoral laws mandated by the state and federal government.
          • The Treasurer shall coordinate with the Secretary to maintain records that are transparent and accessible to all Party members and applicants.
        2. The Treasurer shall create a report available to the public explaining the expenditure of dues to membership applicants.
        3. The Treasurer shall be responsible for the oversight of monetary expenditures by the Ocean State Green Party, including applicable compliance with state and federal tax laws. This shall include issuance of tax forms alongside payments for services rendered by external parties or organizations to the Ocean State Green Party.
          1. In this capacity, the Treasurer shall be authorized to engage with external parties or agencies for professional advisory in such matters. The Treasurer shall be required to report to the Secretary and Chair should such services accrue a cost of over $25 in order to gain authorization for further expenditure on said services.
        4. The Treasurer shall be required to insure that the Ocean State Green Party maintains compliance with financial reporting laws requisite of the Office of the Rhode Island Secretary of State and the Rhode Island Board of Elections.
        5. The Treasurer shall be responsible for maintenance of a Membership Roster in coordination with the Secretary. Unless so requested by an individual member due to extenuating circumstances, this roster shall be transparent and made available to other Party members. This Roster shall not be made publicly available to non-Members and should be kept confidential to the organization.
          1. This Roster shall document dues payments and maintenance of standing within the party.
          2. New Members shall require a vote of authorization from other Members to access the Roster.
        6. The Treasurer shall make the opportunity available for financial gifts or donations to be made to the organization and shall maintain compliance with all requisite financial laws governing such contributions.
        7. In order to abide by state and federal financial laws governing PACs, the Treasurer shall be required to accept donations that are in compliance with state and federal record requirements. 
    4. SELECTION/ACCOUNTABILITY/RECALL
      1. An officer may hold a position for terms equating to 6 months each.  After a 6 month term, an officer may wish to relinquish the office or the membership may convene to determine by majority vote if a new election for said office is needed.
      2. Additional Officer positions shall be added to the organization upon a one-person one-vote process made up of Members with up-to-date dues payments, Dues Waivers, and Financial Hardship Exemptions. It shall be the obligation of those seeking to develop such a new position to outline the duties, obligations, and privileges of said position in a manner that is collaborative and accountable to membership while being in alignment with the Values outlined in these bylaws.
        1. Accelerated processing of such efforts will be granted when membership deems it necessary.
      3. Officers shall be selected by a one-person one-vote process made up of Members with up-to-date dues payments, Dues Waivers, and Financial Hardship Exemption.
      4. Officers shall be obliged to be transparent and accountable to membership barring extenuating circumstances judged legitimate by other Officers.
      5. Officers shall be afforded an opportunity for a fair and open hearing of grievances in compliance with Clause 2, Subsection F.
      6. Recall votes shall be granted following a fair and opening hearing. Said vote shall be a one-person one-vote process made up of Members with up-to-date dues payments, Dues Waivers, and Financial Hardship Exemption.
  4. ACCREDITATION WITH THE GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
    1. It shall be the duty of the Party Officers to maintain compliance of the Ocean State Green Party with the Accreditation requirements of the Green Party of the United States upon attainment of national party Accreditation, which are defined in January 2021 as:
      1. Acceptance of the four pillars of the international Green Party movement [ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy, non-violence] or the Ten Key Values as guiding principles.
      2. Organized and run in accordance with these Values.
      3. A statewide organization open to, and reflective of, a statewide membership.
      4. Agrees to support national candidates selection by Green convention.
      5. Makes good faith effort, where reasonable, to achieve ballot status.
      6. Makes good faith effort to run state and local candidates.
      7. Has applied to GREEN PARTY for accreditation, and has included written by-laws, platform, and other documentation with that application.
      8. Has a history of networking with other environmental and social justice organizations.
      9. Evidence of commitment to, and good faith efforts to achieve, gender balance in party leadership and representation.
      10. Evidence of good faith efforts to empower individuals and groups from oppressed communities, through, for example, leadership responsibilities, identity caucuses and alliances with community-based organizations, and endorsements of issues and policies.
      11. When these Accreditation requirements are revised by the national party, so too at such point shall Subsections I-X be revised to align with said revisions.
  5. LOCALS
    1. Locals are the cellular basis by which the organization grows and develops a presence in communities across the State of Rhode Island. Locals enable mass participation where members and activists can be active in the party. Locals give members the grassroots organization for grassroots democracy and make possible the accountability of party officials, candidates and elected Greens. Activities, events, guest speaking engagements, and political education are conducted by and within Locals so as to build the organizational membership. The Local affords Members a certain degree of flexibility and organizational mobility absent when solely dependent upon the central organization.
    2. Each Local upon foundation will operate in a fashion that is accountable and transparent to the Officers of the Ocean State Green Party.
    3. Locals shall coordinate with and alongside the Treasurer to develop a budgetary line item in the Ocean State Green Party accounting records that is accessible and useful to the local while also being an acknowledged component of the organizational budget.
      1. The Treasurer shall be required to develop and designate devices within the budgetary infrastructure whereby Locals can have funds that are segregated from the general funding line item within the accounting records. However, the Locals shall be subordinate to the Treasurer in matters of compliance with state and federal laws.
  6. CAUCUSES
    1. Accredited Identity Caucuses within the Green Party of the United States shall be afforded opportunities to organize and build within the organization. They shall be granted opportunities to host exclusive forums and discussions that they deem limited to only those who are members of that Caucus or demographic. Organizational and Local leadership shall be required to work to facilitate such opportunities. Caucuses are not elements which are completely autonomous and independent of Locals, though Caucus members can form their own Locals in instances of geographic population concentration of a particular demographic.
  7. CANDIDATES
    1. Candidates running for office as a member of the Ocean State Green Party must be in good standing with the party.
      1. See section D of MEMBERSHIP for definition of good standing.
    2. Candidates running for office as a member of the Ocean State Green Party or who have been endorsed by the Ocean State Green Party must adhere to the core values of the party.
    3. Candidates who are running for office as a member of the Ocean State Green Party or who have been endorsed by the Ocean State Green Party must only accept contributions from individuals or groups that meet the ethical standards of the party.
    4. A candidate’s nomination or endorsement may be revoked if it is determined that they have violated the ethics or standards of the party.
  8. PRIMARY ELECTIONS
    1. To vote in a primary election, a member must be in good standing with the party.
      1. See section D of MEMBERSHIP for definition of good standing.
    2. The outcome of primary elections shall be determined by ranked choice voting, allowing for a fully democratic and representative voice in the process of electing candidates.
    3. If the membership is unsatisfied with the candidates, they may choose a “None of the Above” (NOTA) option.  If this shall occur in majority, then a new election must take place.
    4. The current Chair and the current Secretary shall be election managers as well as a general member decided on by vote.
      1. The election managers shall count the votes and determine the results of party elections.
      2. The election managers will verify with each other that they have found the same results.
    5. A culture of free, open, and vibrant debate among candidates seeking party nomination shall be encouraged.
  9. PARTY VALUES
    1. The organization shall reflect the Ten Key Values of the Green Party of the United States, so defined as:
      1. Grassroots Democracy
        • All human beings must be allowed a say in decisions that affect their lives; no one should be subject to the will of another. We work to improve public participation in every aspect of government and seek to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We also work to create new types of political organizations that expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in decision-making.
      2. Social Justice And Equal Opportunity
        • As a matter of right, all persons must have the opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, any discrimination by race, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality, religion, or physical or mental ability that denies fair treatment and equal justice under the law.
      3. Ecological Wisdom
        • Human societies must function with the understanding that we are part of nature, not separate from nature. We must maintain an ecological balance and live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our planet. We support a sustainable society that utilizes resources in such a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation. To this end we must practice agriculture that replenishes the soil, move to an energy-efficient economy, and live in ways that respect the integrity of natural systems.
      4. Non-Violence
        • It is essential that we develop effective alternatives to society’s current patterns of violence. We will work to demilitarize and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments. We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in danger. We promote non-violent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.
      5. Decentralization
        • Centralization of wealth and power contributes to social and economic injustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. We seek a restructuring of social, political and economic institutions away from a system controlled by and mostly benefiting the powerful few, to a democratic, less bureaucratic system. Decision-making should, as much as possible, remain at the individual and local level, while assuring that civil rights are protected for all.
      6. Community-Based Economics
        • We support redesigning our work structures to encourage employee ownership and workplace democracy. We support developing new economic activities and institutions that allow us to use technology in ways that are humane, freeing, ecological, and responsive and accountable to communities. We support establishing a form of basic economic security open to all. We call for moving beyond the narrow ‘job ethic’ to new definitions of ‘work,’ ‘jobs’ and ‘income’ in a cooperative and democratic economy. We support restructuring our patterns of income distribution to reflect the wealth created by those outside the formal monetary economy – those who take responsibility for parenting, housekeeping, home gardens, community volunteer work, and the like. We support restricting the size and concentrated power of corporations without discouraging superior efficiency or technological innovation.
      7. Feminism And Gender Equity
        • We have inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control with cooperative ways of interacting that respect differences of opinion and gender. Human Values such as gender equity, interpersonal responsibility, and honesty must be developed with moral conscience. We recognize that the processes for determining our decisions and actions are just as important as achieving the outcomes we want.
      8. Respect For Diversity
        • We believe it is important to value cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity, and to promote the development of respectful relationships across the human spectrum. We believe that the many diverse elements of society should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies, and we support the leadership of people who have been traditionally closed out of leadership roles. We encourage respect for all life forms, and increased attention to the preservation of biodiversity.
      9. Personal And Global Responsibility
        • We encourage individuals to act to improve their personal wellbeing and, at the same time, to enhance ecological balance and social harmony. We seek to join with people and organizations around the world to foster peace, economic justice, and the health of the planet.
      10. Future Focus And Sustainability
        • Our actions and policies should be motivated by long-term goals. We seek to protect valuable natural resources, safely disposing of or ‘unmaking’ all waste we create, while developing a sustainable economics that does not depend on continual expansion for survival. We must counterbalance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations who will inherit the results of our actions. We must make the quality of all lives, rather than open-ended economic growth, the focus of future thinking and policy.