By-Laws of the Maine Green Independent Party
Adopted on June 6, 1999 at the Green Independent Party convention in Unity, Maine, and amended at conventions on May 20, 2000 in Bangor; on May 19, 2001 in Portland; on June 23, 2002 in Brunswick; on June 7,2003 in South China; on April 18th,2004 in Lewiston; on June 25th, 2005 in Augusta; on May 19th,2006 in Portland; on May 19th, 2007 in Bangor; on May 18th,2008 in Yarmouth; on May 3, 2009 in Augusta; on May 1, 2010 in Greene; on May 1, 2011 in Brunswick; on May 6, 2012 in Portland; on May 5, 2013 in Belfast; Jan. 10, 2015 in Augusta Aug. 22, 2015 in Augusta, May 7, 2016 in Belfast and March 12, 2017 in Augusta.
10 Key Values
ecological wisdom, grassroots democracy, social and economic justice, nonviolence, decentralization, community based economics, gender equity, respect for diversity, personal and social responsibility, sustainability and future focus
Article I. Purpose
The purpose of the Maine Green Independent Party is to transform public policy through the implementation of our 10 Key Values and be publicly visible as the party that stands for the common good.
The Maine Green Independent Party aims to enact laws consistent with our values, by legislating through citizen-initiated referendums, running candidates to elect lawmakers, influencing elected officials, producing activism that elevates awareness leading to policy changes, and other non-violent and legal means.
Article II. Members
Any Maine resident who is unable to register to vote and wishes to join, or voter who is enrolled in the Maine Green Independent Party (herein called “MGIP” or “the party”) is a member entitled to fully participate in all aspects of the party in accordance with these bylaws, except where prohibited by statute.
Lack of citizenship or an inability to register as a voter, whether due to age or other reasons, cannot preclude any interested person from joining the party.
The state committee secretary shall maintain an active list of voters who wish to join the party and are unable to formally enroll with the party.
Article III. Local Groups
Members of the party meeting a minimum of four times annually shall be considered a local group of the party once the group designates one person to act as a state contact person for that group. The state contact person will communicate local concerns, questions, proposals, etc. of the group to the state committee, as well as relay information from the state committee to the group. The state contact person shall be a person who has an email address that he or she regularly uses.
Article III, Section A. County Committees
By statute, county committees shall be formed at conventions on even-numbered years from nominations made at municipal caucuses and the convention floor. The size of each county committee shall be determined by the convention unless a county committee has standing bylaws which have been submitted to the state committee, in which case the size of the county committee will be defined by its own bylaws so long as those bylaws provide for any municipal committee within the county to appoint at least one member to the county committee.
If at a convention, there are no nominees, or only one nominee to a county committee, then the state committee is authorized to appoint one or two members to that county committee at a later date, after which the members will constitute a duly formed county committee.
Once formed, the county committees may expand their size, fill vacancies and establish rules and bylaws as they see fit, providing that any municipal committee within the county may appoint at least one member to the county committee.
If it is deemed that a county committee's bylaws are constructed in such a way so that quorum may not be achieved or the county committee cannot meet or function, then any convention may intervene to reconstruct the county committee.
If a statute governing party county committees changes, and these bylaws are in contradiction to the statute, then the state committee shall schedule a convention to amend these bylaws to comply with the statute.
Article III, Section B. Municipal Committees
Municipal committees are formed from caucuses convened in accordance with statute, and shall be entitled to appoint at least one member to their respective county committee in accordance with state and county party rules and bylaws.
If a statute governing party municipal committees changes, and these bylaws are in contradiction to the statute, then the state committee shall schedule a convention to amend these bylaws to comply with the statute.
Article III, Section C. Access and Notice
Any municipal or county committee or otherwise qualifying local group may propose items to the state committee for consideration of action.
The state committee shall provide notice, agenda and minutes of its meetings to any municipal or county committee or other qualifying local group that has designated a state contact person. The state committee will keep the committees and groups informed of its actions and pose questions to them.
Article IV. State Committee
The state committee is comprised of executive members, at-large members and one member from each qualifying county committee that chooses to seat a member on the state committee. An individual may hold only one of any of the county, at-large and executive seats on the state committee at any given time. The party shall aim for gender, racial, socioeconomic and geographic diversity among its leadership
Article IV, Section A. County Seats
By their own processes, county committees may choose one party member to be on the state committee, herein referred to as holding a “county seat” on the state committee. The county committee must provide to the state committee documentation verifying the election or appointment of a person to the county seat, either in minutes of a county committee meeting at which the state committee member was elected, or by written notice from an officer of the county committee that includes a citation of county committee minutes, bylaws or rules that authorize the state committee member to be appointed by other means.
Article IV, Section A, Part 1. Active Membership
State committee members holding a county seat on the state committee shall be considered active except as follows:
If three months have elapsed since a county committee met and that county committee has not submitted minutes of a subsequent meeting to the state committee, then that county's seat on the state committee shall be inactive until minutes of any subsequent meeting are submitted.
If a state committee member in a county seat is absent from a state committee meeting for three consecutive meetings, that county's seat shall be considered inactive until the member attends a meeting, or the county committee notifies the state party that another person occupies the seat and that person attends a meeting. The inactive status shall be applied at the commencement of the third consecutive meeting at which the member is not present for roll call. Inactive members will not be counted as part of the total from which quorum is determined.
Article IV, Section B. At-Large Seats
There are three at-large members of the state committee, elected at annual conventions for a term of one to two years. A year term is defined as the time between two consecutive annual conventions.
After one year, at-large members with no more than three unexcused absences are entitled to a one-year renewal of their terms, which can be done by notifying the state committee at their last meeting before the convention. Only at-large members who were elected at a convention may renew their terms. Qualifying at-large members may only renew their term once, and after completing a two-year term, must stand again for election.
If any at-large member is absent from three consecutive meetings or five meetings in a one-year term, then the state committee shall consider whether to ask for the member's resignation, organize a special convention for their removal, or excuse the absences because of special circumstances.
Article IV, Section C. Executive Seats
The executives of the party shall consist of two co-chairs serving alternating two-year terms and a secretary and treasurer, also serving alternating two-year terms. For purposes of reporting to state and federal entities, the co-chair who is serving the second year of a term shall be considered the chair, and the co-chair who is in the first year of a term shall be considered a vice-chair; for all purposes within the party, co-chairs shall have equal authority.
Each year at an annual convention, members shall elect at least two executives (a co-chair and secretary or treasurer), and if necessary, an additional executive to finish a two-year term vacated by resignation, removal or death.
Together, these officers constitute the executive committee. The state committee may designate authority to the executive committee to act on behalf of the party; the specific authority granted must be recorded as an addendum to these by-laws titled “Executive Committee Authority.” Any decisions made by the executive committee under this authority shall be reported to the state committee.
If any executive is absent from three consecutive meetings or five meetings in a one-year term, then the state committee shall consider whether to ask for the executive's resignation, organize a special convention for their removal, or excuse the absences because of special circumstances.
Article IV, Section C, Part 1. Co-Chairs
The co-chairs shall represent the party's values, platform and positions to the public and media, organize and facilitate state committee meetings, and oversee and direct the state committee's fulfillment of duties.
The state committee may designate authority to the co-chairs to act on behalf of the party; the specific authority granted must be recorded as an addendum to these by-laws titled “Co-Chair Authority.” Any decisions by the two co-chairs must be made by consensus, and all decisions made under co-chair authority shall be reported to the state committee.
Article IV, Section C, Part 2. Secretary
The secretary shall be responsible for keeping party records and archives and advising the party on communication matters. The secretary shall record vote tallies of decisions made by the state committee and executive committee, or designate another to do so.
The secretary shall be responsible for maintaining records of party officers and reporting to the secretary of state when officer changes occur.
The secretary will keep records of the active or inactive statuses of state committee members as outlined in these bylaws, and compile and archive any minutes or bylaws of other party committees that have been submitted to the state committee in accordance with these bylaws. The secretary will work to make sure that all state party documents such as bylaws, the platform and other records are accurate and up-to-date.
The secretary may nominate individuals for state party offices or subcommittees relating to communication or record-keeping, including but not limited to positions related to website development, database management, media relations, correspondence, or maintenance of party records and archives.
Article IV, Section C, Part 3. Treasurer
The treasurer shall be responsible for keeping records of party finances including expenditures and revenue sources, reporting financial disclosures to state and federal entities as necessary, and advising the party on financial matters. The treasurer shall expend party finances only as authorized by the state committee or executive committee.
The treasurer shall ensure that expenditures are made in accordance with an approved budget, will inform the state committee when budget lines are nearing their maximum expenditure levels, and advise the state committee when it is necessary to amend the budget.
The treasurer may forward nominations for any state party offices or subcommittees relating to finances, including but not limited to positions related to budget development and fundraising.
The treasurer may nominate a financial officer for appointment by the state committee, to help the treasurer fulfill the financial requirements of these bylaws.
The treasurer shall oversee the development of a budget to be proposed for approval at the annual convention. The state committee may finalize the proposed budget or authorize the treasurer or a standing subcommittee to finalize the proposed budget.
Article IV, Section D. Duties
The state committee will manage all state-level party operations and facilitate the establishment and growth of local groups to oversee party operations in their jurisdictions.
Duties of the state committee include:
Assuring the party meets its statutory obligations to hold caucuses and conventions, maintain a minimum level of party enrollment, and fulfill all other statutory requirements,
Filing state and federal reports,
Organizing conventions and working to achieve goals set at conventions,
Recruiting candidates for state and national offices and supporting local group recruitment of candidates in county, municipal and other jurisdictions,
Maintaining a visible statewide presence, acting as the official voice of the party and taking timely positions on important issues,
Communicating and engaging with local groups about state party meetings and activities,
Administering state party assets including the party's website and state voter list,
Managing state party finances and overseeing state party fundraising efforts, and
Establishing offices and subcommittees to help the state committee fulfill all duties, and oversee the fulfillment of duties by the executive officers..
Article IV, Section E. Meetings
Quorum for a state committee meeting shall be either a majority of all active state committee members or a majority of the nine state committee members that comprise the executive and at-large seats.
The state committee shall meet at its discretion, but at a minimum of once every two months, and shall provide notice to all municipal, county and local groups of its meetings as outlined in Article III, Section C.
State committee meetings shall be open to party members. For phone conference meetings, party members may notify the state committee of their interest in attending and they will be provided with the phone number and access code for the conference call.
If the co-chairs fail to organize a state committee meeting, a majority of active state committee members may schedule a meeting as long as all active state committee members have been notified and appropriate notice has been provided to local groups as outlined in Article III, Section C.
Article IV, Section F. Process
The state committee may adopt rules and procedures to meet its obligations to the party. The state committee shall develop and adopt a decision-making process that is consensus-seeking, and make it a formal part of its proceedings. The state committee may change its process at any time but only in accordance with the process in place at that time. All rules and procedures established by the state committee must be recorded as an addendum to these by-laws titled “State Committee Rules.”
Article IV, Section G. Resignation, Removal and Replacement
Any state committee member may resign at any time by giving written notice to a party co-chair.
County committees are responsible for filling vacancies in their respective county seats to the state committee and for the selection and removal of those members.
Any at-large or executive member whose term has not expired, or who has not been removed for excessive absences as outlined in these bylaws, may be removed by a vote of three-quarters of the members present at a party convention as outlined in Article V of these bylaws.
The state committee may appoint replacements for executive or at-large committee members to serve until either the term expires or a convention intervenes before the term expires, at which point the convention shall elect a replacement for the remainder of the term.
Article IV, Section H. Officers and Subcommittees
The state committee may appoint officers with specific duties to help achieve the party's goals and fulfill the state committee's duties. The state committee shall maintain job descriptions and duties of its officers in an addendum to these by-laws titled, “Officers.”
The state committee shall oversee the establishment and dissolution of state party subcommittees to help execute the goals of the party and duties of the state committee. The state committee shall define the purpose of each subcommittee. The state committee may also designate authority to its subcommittees to act on behalf of the party. All subcommittees, including their purpose, membership and the authority granted to them, shall be recorded as an addendum to these by-laws titled, “Subcommittees.” The state committee holds ultimate decision-making authority over all subcommittees.
Article V. Conventions
The party shall hold an annual convention, as specified under statute, for the purpose of:
Fulfilling the biennial statutory requirements for conventions (in even-numbered years) including passing a party platform, determining the size and method of election of the party's two congressional district committees and county committees, electing members to county committees that don't have standing bylaws allowing for county committee members to be directly elected by municipal caucuses, and nominating presidential electors during presidential election years.
Electing state committee members as outlined in these bylaws, and MGIP representatives to the Green Party of the United States, with executives being elected before at-large members (to accurately determine the total number of at-large seats available),
Setting the goals of the party, which shall be included as an addendum to these bylaws, titled, “Goals,”
Amending bylaws, and
Adopting an annual budget.
The convention will only be open to voting participation by members of the party as defined in Article II. Notice of the convention must be provided to local groups in the same manner as notice is provided for state committee meetings.
The Maine Green Independent Party shall determine at its annual convention in odd-numbered years which voters shall be allowed to vote in the party's annual even-numbered year primary. A simple majority of votes shall determine which voters shall be eligible to vote in the Green Independent Party primary.
The state committee may establish rules for conducting the convention, which must be included as an addendum to these bylaws titled, “Convention Rules,” so long as the rules don't contradict these bylaws.
Article V, Section A. Special Conventions
The state committee may call and organize special conventions as it deems necessary to accomplish specific purposes. The business of special conventions shall be restricted to agenda items of which the state committee has notified local groups as being the purpose of the convention. A special convention may be called for the purpose of holding a recall hearing to remove members of the state committee, to address statutory obligations that were overlooked at a previous convention, or to conduct any other business which requires convention action. All rules for calling a convention and the decision-making processes used at conventions also apply to special conventions.
Article VI. Platform
The party shall adopt a platform based on the 10 Key Values that clearly defines the party's position on issues facing our society and the world. The platform will be a guide for elected officials and other party members engaged in public policy making.
Near the end of each year term, the state committee shall review and compile position statements it made in the prior year, and consider submitting to the convention platform positions that reflect the positions taken by the state committee.
Any member or local group may propose amendments to the platform or a new platform by presenting such proposal in writing to a platform and policy development subcommittee at least one month prior to a statewide convention. If there is no standing subcommittee, the member may refer the proposal in writing to the state committee.
Article VII. Finances
The Party will adopt an annual budget, including anticipated expenses and sources of revenue. The budget may be amended by the state committee in response to changing financial circumstances. The party may not incur debt of any kind. The financial officer and treasurer are responsible for overseeing the finances of the party and making regular reports to the state committee, and for submitting financial reports to the appropriate state or federal agencies, including but not limited to the Maine State Ethics Commission and the Federal Elections Commission.
If the state committee authorizes expenditures that are not budgeted for, then the treasurer may require the state committee to first amend the budget to reflect where the expenditure will come from before releasing funds for said expenditure.
Article VIII. Presidential Nomination
At each officially convened caucus in presidential nomination years, attendees shall be asked to conduct a vote which will be tabulated and returned to the state committee. Existing municipal committees may organize absentee voting for their caucuses which shall conclude at the adjournment of the caucus. The result of the caucus vote must include the names of all voters who cast a vote for the presidential nomination, the total of which shall equal the number of votes cast; otherwise, the state committee will make a determination on whether to include the votes.
These votes shall be tabulated and publicized at least 30 days prior to the state convention. Attendees of the state convention shall also vote and these votes shall be tabulated. The state committee may organize absentee voting for party members who did not vote in a caucus and don't plan to attend the convention. The apportionment of delegates to the presidential nominating convention of the Green Party of the United States shall be determined by the combined votes of officially convened caucuses and the presidential year convention.
The party shall place the official presidential nominee of the Green Party of the United States on the general election ballot of the State of Maine.
Four people, one from each congressional district and two at-large, all of whom are party members, shall be elected at a convention to be presidential electors. If a statute governing how Maine designates its presidential electors changes, and these bylaws are in contradiction with the statute, then the state committee shall schedule a convention to amend these bylaws to comply with the statute.
Article IX. Bylaws
These by-laws may only be adopted or amended by a majority of members present at a statewide convention of the party. Amendments must be submitted to a bylaws subcommittee at least one month prior to the statewide convention, and may be proposed by any member or local group of the party. If there is no standing subcommittee, the proposal may be referred in writing to the state committee.
Addendum 1. Executive Committee Authority
May amend the budget to increase expenditure lines by up to $500. (approved 4/4/15 as part of finance committee charter)
Addendum 2. Co-Chair Authority
When topics arise relating to endorsements via email, cochairs may respond etc. (approved 4/4/15)
Addendum 3. State Committee Rules
A facilitator of state committee meetings will use a consensus-seeking process for decision-making, but the committee may make decisions by majority vote when consensus is not acheivable, with objections noted in the meeting's minutes. The co-chairs may call upon the state committee to make decisions online by requesting members to check in and once quorum is achieved, initiating a discussion and calling for votes to be cast by a deadline established by the co-chairs, with any decisions made online to be included in the minutes of the committee's next full meeting. (approved 6/7/16)
Addendum 4. Officers (job description, duties)
Financial Officer, Gil Harris (approved 2015)
Addendum 5. Subcommittees (purpose, membership, authority)
(Please click on ORGANIZATION-->STATE COMMITTEE-->SUBCOMMITTEES to view this addendum)
Addenda 6. Goals
Addenda 7. Convention Rules