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RACSS ByLaws

 Research and Committee Staff Section (RACSS) Bylaws
  
 
Article I:  General Provisions
 
Section 1: Name
The name of this organization is the Research and Committee Staff Section (RACSS), part of the legislative staff division of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
Section 2: Purposes
The purposes of this staff section are:
A.    To improve the quality and effectiveness of services to state legislatures, including research, policy analysis, committee, and general legislative services.
B.    To promote communication and information exchange among the members of the staff section.
C.    To enhance the professionalism and skills of the members of the staff section.
D.    To promote the service of members of the staff section in the activities of NCSL.
 
Section 3: Membership
A staff member employed by a member legislature of the National Conference of State Legislatures and who provides research, policy analysis, committee, or general legislative services is a member of the staff section.
 
 
Article II:  Executive Committee
 
Section 1: Membership
The executive committee of the staff section shall consist of a chair, a vice-chair, and seven directors, one of whom shall be the immediate past chair.  In addition, the staff section secretary shall be a non-voting member of the executive committee.
 
Section 2: Officers
The officers of the staff section shall consist of a chair and vice-chair.
A.    The chair shall serve a one-year term and shall preside at meetings of the executive committee and staff section, and shall have general management and control of the affairs of the staff section, subject to the approval of the executive committee.
B.    The vice-chair, who is also the chair-elect, shall serve a one-year term and shall perform such duties as assigned by the chair.  The vice-chair shall succeed the following year to the office of chair.
C.    The chair and vice-chair, or their designee, shall serve as the representatives of the staff section on the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee (LSCC) of NCSL, and shall participate in the activities and projects of such committees of the LSCC to which they are assigned.
D.    The secretary of the staff section shall be the NCSL staff member assigned to the staff section.
 
Section 3: Directors
Directors of the staff section shall be elected from the membership of the staff section for a term of two years and may be re-elected for a second consecutive term.  Three directors shall be elected each even-numbered year and three directors shall be elected each odd-numbered year.  If a member of the staff section is appointed to fill a vacancy as a director on the executive committee and the balance of the term is one year or less, the member remains eligible to be elected to two consecutive terms.  If the balance of a term to which a member is appointed as a director is greater than one year, the member is considered to have served one full term and is eligible to be elected to serve one additional term.  The immediate past chair shall serve one one-year term, which may be in addition to the two-term limit for directors.
 
Section 4: Quorum
A quorum for transaction of business by the executive committee is a majority of the voting members of the executive committee.
 
Section 5: Meetings
The executive committee shall meet at the call of the chair during the NCSL Legislative Summit.  Other meetings of the executive committee shall be held at the discretion of chair in conjunction with other NCSL meetings, and at such other times as a majority of the voting members of the executive committee shall agree.  Meetings may be conducted by conference telephone call at the discretion of the chair.
 
Section 6: Responsibilities
The executive committee shall:
A.    Plan and execute the staff section’s program at the NCSL Legislative Summit, and at any other meetings of the staff section held in conjunction with an NCSL meeting.
B.    Keep the membership of the staff section informed of activities relating to the staff section, staff activities of NCSL, and topics of interest to members of the staff section.
C.    Develop and implement seminars and other professional development activities for members of the staff section.
D.    Recommend to the membership of the staff section at the annual business meeting such action as the executive committee deems appropriate.
 
Section 7: Committees
To assist the executive committee in the performance of its responsibilities, the chair may establish committees comprised of members of the staff section, with the approval of the executive committee.
 
 
Article III:  Election Of Executive Committee
 
Section 1: Nominating Committee
Each year no later than 90 days prior to the NCSL Legislative Summit, the chair shall appoint a three-member nominating committee comprised of the immediate past chair, vice-chair, and a member of the staff section not a candidate for election to the executive committee.  The vice-chair shall serve as chair of the nominating committee.  The nominating committee shall encourage members of the staff section to become candidates for the executive committee and place a notice in the RACSS newsletter and through other means of communication regarding forthcoming vacancies.  Such notice shall indicate the names of those serving on the nominating committee and shall solicit candidates for the executive committee.  The nominating committee shall implement an equitable process for evaluating candidates and shall explain that process in the notice of vacancies.  At the annual business meeting, the nominating committee shall present for consideration a slate of nominees for vice-chair and for vacant director positions.  Additional nominations for staff section officers and directors may be made from the floor.
 
Section 2: Vacancies and Succession
If a vacancy occurs in the office of chair or vice-chair, the executive committee shall appoint a person to fill the vacancy for the balance of the term, in one of the following manners:
 
  1. If the vacancy occurs in the office of chair, the vice-chair shall assume the office of chair and serve out the remainder of that term as acting chair.  The acting chair shall then still succeed to the office of chair the following year.  The vacancy thereby created in the office of vice-chair shall be filled by an appointment of a vice-chair by the executive committee, from among the directors, to serve as acting vice-chair for the remainder of the term.  The acting vice-chair would be eligible to run for the office of vice-chair at the next election.
 
  1. If the vacancy occurs in the office of vice-chair, the executive committee shall appoint, from among the directors, an acting vice-chair to serve out the remainder of the term.  The acting vice-chair would be eligible to run for the office of vice-chair at the next election.
 
  1. If there are vacancies in both the offices of chair and vice-chair, the executive committee, from among the current directors and the immediate past chair, shall appoint an acting chair and an acting vice-chair, who shall serve out the remainder of the terms.  The acting chair and acting vice-chair shall be eligible to run for their respective offices at the next election and shall be part of the slate presented to the membership at the next RACSS business meeting.
 
  1. If a vacancy occurs in the office of director, the chair, with the approval of the executive committee, shall appoint a member of the staff section to fill the vacancy for the balance of the term.  Former directors and officers are eligible for such appointment, even if they have served two consecutive terms, to ensure continuity of leadership for the staff section.
 
  1. If at the time of succession the vice-chair is unable to assume the office of chair, the nominating committee shall nominate the current chair to serve an additional term in the office of chair and solicit a new candidate for the office of vice-chair.  The chair and vice-chair shall be part of the slate presented to the membership at the next RACSS business meeting.
 
  1. If there is no candidate for the office of vice-chair, the nominating committee shall ask the current chair and vice-chair to each serve an additional term in the office of chair.  Both the chair and the vice-chair shall then serve two terms in their current offices, to ensure continuity of leadership for the staff section. The nomination shall be part of the slate of candidates presented for consideration at the annual business meeting.
 
 
Article IV:  Staff Section Business
 
Section 1: Annual Business Meeting
The staff section shall hold its annual business meeting in conjunction with the NCSL Legislative Summit.  The chair shall preside at the business meeting, and shall be responsible for conducting staff section business and elections.  In the absence of the chair, the vice-chair shall preside.
 
Section 2: Quorum and Voting
Legislative staff eligible for membership in the staff section shall be eligible to vote.  Business which requires approval of the staff section shall require approval of a majority of staff section members attending the RACSS annual business meeting.
 
Section 3: Amendment of Bylaws
The members of the staff section shall be notified of proposed amendments to the staff section bylaws through the RACSS Newsletter  or in RACSS home page, listserv, or email announcements to all members on the RACSS membership list.  The notification shall be at least thirty days before the annual business meeting and shall include a copy of the current bylaws and of all proposed changes.  Amendments shall be considered at the annual business meeting of the staff section.  Unless otherwise stated, approved amendments to the bylaws shall take immediate effect.
 
Section 4: Meetings and Notices
The staff section shall meet as required by the staff section bylaws and at other times as determined by the chair with the approval of the executive committee of the staff section.  Notice of the date, time, place, and purpose of meetings of the staff section shall be given in writing to legislative staff members at least 30 days in advance of the meeting, either through the staff section newsletter, or the RACSS home page, listserv, or email announcements or through a meeting brochure mailed to the members of the staff section.
 
Section 5: NCSL  Legislative Summit
The staff section shall meet annually in conjunction with the NCSL Legislative Summit.  The staff section shall present programs for its members, in the time slots designated for staff section activities by the NCSL Executive Committee and the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee.
 
Section 6: Additional Meetings
The staff section may meet in conjunction with the meetings of the NCSL Standing Committees or other meetings of NCSL, at the discretion of the chair.
 
Section 7: Professional Development Seminars and Other Professional Development Activities
The staff section may present periodic professional development seminars and other professional development activities for legislative research and committee staff.  The date, location, and agenda shall be determined by the chair, in consultation with the executive committee and staff section secretary.
 
Section 8: Staff Section Newsletter
The staff section shall publish a periodic newsletter to inform members of the staff section regarding RACSS programs, meetings, publications, nominations, elections, and news about legislatures, legislative staff and NCSL, and to provide a forum for discussion of issues of interest.  The chair shall be the editor of the newsletter and may request articles from other members of the staff section and the RACSS Executive Committee.  The RACSS secretary is responsible for preparation and distribution of the RACSS Newsletter, which shall be made available electronically on the RACSS home page and distributed through the listserv or emailed announcements to each staff section member.
 
Section 9: Staff Section Directory
The staff section may publish an online directory of members in each state.  The directory shall be made available electronically on the RACSS home page and may utilize NCSL database resources for staff sections.
 
 
Article V:  RACSS Revenue Account
 
Section 1: Professional Development Revenue Account
Net revenue from RACSS seminars shall be retained in a separate RACSS Revenue Account for the Research and Committee Staff Section.
 
Section 2: Expenditures
Net revenue from the RACSS Revenue Account shall be used solely for professional development purposes at RACSS fall seminars and other professional development activities.  Professional development activities include, but are not limited to, speaker honoraria and travel expenses; brochures, handouts and meeting materials; program-related costs, such as audio-visual charges, meeting room rental and ground transportation for site visits; and other expenses approved by the RACSS Executive Committee.
 
Section 3: Minimum Balance
A minimum amount of $1,500.00 shall be maintained in the RACSS Revenue Account, to offset losses at future RACSS seminars.
 
Section 4: Account Management
Funds in the RACSS Revenue Account shall be managed in an account maintained by NCSL.
 
Section 5: Approval of Expenditures
Expenditures from the RACSS Revenue Account must be approved by the RACSS Executive Committee, at the request of the RACSS Chair and Secretary.
 
 
History:
Adopted August 1979, San Francisco, California
Amended August 1988, Reno, Nevada
Amended July 1996, St. Louis, Missouri
Amended July 1998, Las Vegas, Nevada
Amended July 1999, Indianapolis, Indiana
Amended July 2002, Denver, Colorado
Amended, July 2004, Salt Lake City, Utah
Amended, August 2006, Nashville, Tennessee
Amended August 2007, Boston, Massachusetts
Amended July 2010, Louisville, Kentucky
Amended August 2013, Atlanta, Georgia
 
 
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