The Bylaws of the Wisconsin Green Party
We, the active Members of the Wisconsin Green Party united for the protection of the Earth and all of her inhabitants, have come together to form a new political party based upon the principles and values of the worldwide Green movement. We subscribe to our adopted Key Values of Grassroots Democracy, Social Justice and Equal Opportunity, Ecological Wisdom, Nonviolence, Decentralization, Community-Based Economics and Economic Justice, Feminism and Gender Equity, Respect for Diversity, Personal and Global Responsibility, and Future Focus and Sustainability. In addition, we support the Platform adopted by the Members for future political activity. We join with other Green Parties and organizations in the United States of America and other countries to organize around these shared values.
Article 1. Name and Membership
Section 1. Name.
The name of the organization is the Wisconsin Green Party. The organization is founded as a not for profit, non-stock Wisconsin Corporation.
Section 2. Membership.
All Members are entitled and encouraged to participate in all of the activities and to attend any membership, committee, or council meeting of the organization.
Article 2. Meetings
Section 1. Membership Dues.
Membership dues rates shall be established by the Members in Good Standing at a Membership meeting.
Section 2. Membership Participation.
All members of the organization are entitled to participate in all of the activities of the organization and to attend any meeting of the organization or its committees and councils.
Section 3. Membership Meetings.
There shall be meetings of the Members at least biannually at locations in Wisconsin to be determined by the Coordinating Council. One of the Membership meetings shall be convened in the fall of each year and shall have as part of its agenda the election of Co-Chairs, Corresponding Secretary, Recording Secretary, Elections Treasurer and Operations Treasurer for the following year. Member meetings shall be held in different locations in Wisconsin with a view toward development of local Green groups in that area. Minutes of all Membership meetings shall be kept by the recording secretary and all policy decisions and resolutions published thereafter in the organization’s newsletter.
Section 4. Notice.
Notice of the date, place, time and agenda of all Membership meetings convened by the Coordinating Council shall be provided to all Members at least twenty (20) days prior to the meeting.
Section 5. Quorum.
Official business at a properly convened Membership meeting may be conducted if there are at least fifteen percent (15%) of the Members in Good Standing present at the meeting.
Section 6. Proxy Voting.
There shall be no voting by proxy at any membership meeting.
Section 7. Decision Making.
Decisions made at Membership meetings and Coordinating Council meetings shall be reached by a facilitated consensus process. The group will attempt in all cases to achieve consensus. In the case that consensus cannot be reached in the group, any member in good standing may request a vote. The group then decides with a simple majority of members present whether or not to go to a two-thirds majority in decision-making. In order to pass, a proposal must receive a 60% majority, not counting abstaining votes.
Elections at Membership meetings shall be conducted using Ranked Choice Voting, with members allowed to choose a “none of the above” option which is binding if it receives a majority.
Article 3. Coordinating Council
Section 1. Coordinating Council.
The WI Green Party Coordinating Council shall consist of Members of the WI Green Party in Good Standing and all efforts will be made to maintain gender-balanced and ethnic-balanced representation.
Six (6) Members are the Officers of the WI Green Party (two Co-Chairs, Elections Treasurer, Operations Treasurer, Recording Secretary, and Corresponding Secretary). The responsibilities of officers are outlined in Article 4 of the Bylaws.
Eight (8) Members in Good Standing are nominated and elected from the eight WI congressional districts. These eight (8) Members will be nominated in their district meetings at the Fall Gathering. The election will take place at the full Membership meeting. If someone would like to be nominated but cannot attend the gathering, they should send a brief written statement with another Member, who will speak on behalf of the Member.
Each accredited Local Chapter shall be entitled to nominate one (1) Member at their local meeting prior to the Fall Gathering. The election shall take place at the full membership meeting.
Each accredited Caucus shall be entitled to nominate and elect one (1) Member in Good Standing. These Members will be nominated in their caucus meetings at the Fall Gathering. The election will take place at the full Membership meeting.
Up to eight (8) at-large Members in Good Standing may be nominated and elected from the membership.
All Members of the Coordinating Council shall be elected for 1-year terms, except for the Co-Chairs, who shall serve 2-year terms.
A Member may not serve in more than one Officer position and may not have more than one vote on the Coordinating Council.
Section 2. Duties.
The Coordinating Council is charged with implementing the will of the Membership as decided at Membership meetings and otherwise supervising business of the organization. The Coordinating Council shall develop and maintain the party’s Policies and Procedures. The Council shall educate and inform the membership through publication of a newsletter. The Coordinating Council shall select the location, date, and time of Membership meetings each year. The Coordinating Council is empowered to speak in the name of the organization between Membership meetings on issues of public importance in accordance with the adopted Key Values and Platform. All decisions of the Council shall be made as described in Article 2, Section 7, above.
Section 3. Meetings.
The Coordinating Council shall meet at least monthly. Meetings of the Council may be held in conjunction with Membership meetings. Minutes of all Council meetings shall be kept by the Recording Secretary and all policy and financial decisions and resolutions shall be published in the organization’s newsletter.
Section 4. Notice of Meetings.
Notice of Coordinating Council Meetings shall be made to all current members of the Council at least seven (7) days prior to the meeting. For emergency meetings, telephone notice to all current Council Members at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the meeting shall be given.
Section 5. Quorum.
Official business at a non-emergency Coordinating Council meeting may be conducted if there are at least one third of Coordinating Council Members present at the meeting. Official business at a emergency Coordinating Council meeting may be conducted if there are at least three (3) Officers present and at least one-third of Coordinating Council Members present at the meeting.
Section 6. Proxy Voting.
There shall be no voting by proxy at any Coordinating Council meeting.
Section 7. Finances.
The Coordinating Council shall be responsible for the finances of the organization and shall supervise the activities of both the Elections Treasurer and the Operations Treasurer. The Coordinating Council shall approve all individual expenditures over $250 in advance. The Coordinating Council shall report on the organization’s financial condition at every Membership meeting.
Section 8. Removal.
Any Officer or Member of the Coordinating Council may be removed, by decision of other Members of the Council, for gross misconduct or violation of the adopted Key Values or code of conduct adopted by the Party. Officers or Members will be considered resigned from office by giving notice to other Coordinating Council Members of their resignation or after failing to perform their clearly defined duties for a period of three months. The Officer or Member in question shall receive a notice, and a hearing if requested. In addition, any Officer or Member of the Coordinating Council may be removed at a Membership meeting by decision of the Members present. Notice of such a proposed removal must be sent out prior to the meeting where the removal is to be proposed.
Section 8. Vacancies.
In the event of a vacancy, an interim replacement for any Officer or Member of the Coordinating Council may be made by decision of the Coordinating Council. Any replacement shall be confirmed at the next Membership meeting.
Article 4. Officers
Section 1. Officers.
The Officers of the organization shall be two Co-Chairs, a Recording Secretary, a Corresponding Secretary, an Operations Treasurer and an Elections Treasurer. The Officers shall be Members of the Coordinating Council and of the Wisconsin Green Party. All efforts shall be made to balance the Officers regionally and by gender. Officers will be responsible for granting access to specific internal documents such as membership records and databases. The Membership and the Coordinating Council may define specific duties of the Officers in the party’s adopted policies and procedures.
Section 2. Terms of Office.
Each Co-Chair shall serve for two years with staggered terms so that there is a senior and junior Chair. All reasonable effort shall be made to rotate the Chair role throughout the membership of the organization. All other Officers shall serve one-year terms. All Officers, except for the Co-Chairs, may be reelected for successive terms.
Section 3. Duties.
- The Co-Chairs. The Co-Chairs shall work together to coordinate the activities of the organization. The Co-Chairs are empowered to speak publicly for and in the name of the organization on issues of the day and the policies and positions of the organization between Coordinating Council meetings in accordance with our adopted Key Values and Platform. The Co-Chairs may convene Coordinating Council meetings as they deem necessary and must do so at the request of five (5) or more current Members of the Coordinating Council or at least 10% of Members in Good Standing of the organization. Co-Chairs contemplating the issuance of statements or press releases not specifically covered by the Key Values or Platform should consult with a majority of the Coordinating Council prior to making any such statement.
- Recording Secretary. The Recording Secretary shall take and prepare written minutes of all Membership and Coordinating Council meetings. The Recording Secretary shall make sure that all members of the Coordinating Council receive copies of the minutes within one (1) week after each Council meeting. The Recording Secretary shall maintain the official minutes of the organization.
- Corresponding Secretary. The Corresponding Secretary shall maintain a post office box for accepting mail for the organization at a place approved by the Coordinating Council. The Corresponding Secretary shall receive the organization’s mail and other correspondence and answer inquiries for information and literature. Correspondence received requesting answers to policy questions not readily answerable in accordance with the Key Values and Platform shall be referred to the Co-Chairs.
- Operations Treasurer. The Operations Treasurer shall maintain the operations bank account and operations funds of the organization in financial institutions designated by the Coordinating Council. The Operations Treasurer shall accept all funds paid to the organization and pay all debts incurred by the organization upon receipt and authorization of the Coordinating Council. The Operations Treasurer shall report on the organization’s financial condition at each Membership and Coordinating Council meeting.
- Elections Treasurer. The Elections Treasurer shall maintain the elections bank account and make disbursements from that account upon authorization of the Coordinating Council. The Elections Treasurer shall maintain the contributions database and shall file all campaign finance reports for the state party with the State Elections Board, the Federal Election Commission, and the Internal Revenue Service.
Article 5. Congressional District Representatives
Section 1. Definition.
A Congressional District is one of eight geographical locations within the state of Wisconsin used during elections. The purpose of a Congressional District Representative is to give representation to the members of the Wisconsin Green Party that live within that district to the Coordinating Council and to act as a liaison regarding elections, government actions, and issues.
Section 2. Representatives.
Congressional District Representatives must be Members in Good Standing of the Wisconsin Green Party and hold at least one meeting per year for the Members within that District, at which they elect one (1) Member in Good Standing to act as their Representative. Congressional District Representatives serve a one (1) year term.
Article 6. Local Party Chapters
Section 1. Definition.
A Local Party Chapter is a group of Green Party members, affiliated with the Wisconsin Green Party, who form an organization within defined geographical boundaries to advance the purpose and mission of the Wisconsin Green Party.
Section 2. Requirements.
To be affiliated, a Local Party Chapter must have at least three Wisconsin Green Party members, and submit to the Coordinating Council an affiliation application that lists: at least three (3) Wisconsin Green Party Members in Good Standing who wish to start the Local Party Chapter with their contact information; the dates, times and locations of regular public meetings; a summary of the organization’s proposed activities, projects, and goals; and any other information deemed appropriate by the Coordinating Council. Each Local Party Chapter must practice democratic decision-making, as outlined in Article 2, Section 7. All Members in Good Standing of the Wisconsin Green Party within the Local Party Chapter’s defined boundaries are entitled to participate.
Section 3. Rights.
Each chapter may develop its own platform and bylaws, run local electoral and issue campaigns, endorse local candidates, and choose its own officers, spokespersons, and representatives, as long as these actions are in accordance with these Bylaws and the Platform of the Wisconsin Green Party.
Section 4. Accreditation.
Chapters shall apply for accreditation to the Coordinating Council for approval. If the Coordinating Council declines to approve the application, the decision can be appealed to the Membership. The Membership shall approve of a list of accredited local chapters at the Fall Gathering.
Section 5. Disaccreditation.
Chapters can be disaccredited by decision of the Coordinating Council. Disaccreditation actions can be appealed to the Coordinating Council or Membership. Chapters that are disaccredited may reapply in the future in accordance with these bylaws.
Article 7. Caucuses
Section 1. Definition.
A caucus is an organization of individuals who share self-identified common experiences or characteristics. The purpose of caucuses is to give representation to groups who have been historically underrepresented, marginalized, and oppressed in order that individuals can better work together across the state to support struggles against the systemic injustice that exists in our society.
Section 2. Requirements.
Caucuses must include a minimum of 5 Members in Good Standing of the Wisconsin Green Party, and hold at least one meeting per year at which they elect one (1) Member in Good Standing as a contact person. This person may be different than the Coordinating Council representative elected at the Fall Gathering.
Section 3. Accreditation.
Caucuses shall apply for accreditation to the Coordinating Council for approval. If the Coordinating Council declines to approve the application, the decision can be appealed to the Membership. Accreditation lasts for a period of one year, after which time, the Caucus must re-apply for accreditation.
Article 8. Committees
Section 1. Definition.
The Coordinating Council shall designate standing Committees to carry out the operations of the Wisconsin Green Party. Each Committee shall be empowered to carry out its duties as defined by the Wisconsin Green Party’s policies and procedures, under the oversight of the Coordinating Council. Each member of the Coordinating Council must serve on at least one Committee. Any Member in Good Standing may serve on any Committee, subject to approval by the Coordinating Council. The Coordinating Council may also designate time-limited Teams or Ad-Hoc Committees to plan and execute specific projects or address specific issues of the day.
Section 2. Chair.
Each Committee shall have a Chair or Co-Chairs, who shall oversee regular meetings and make regular reports to the Coordinating Council. A Committee Chair or Co-Chair shall serve for a one year term, except in cases of time-limited or Ad-Hoc Teams and Committees. The Committee Chair(s) shall be decided on by the the members of the Committee. If the members can not elect a Chair, the Coordinating Council will appoint a Chair. The Chair may be replaced by the decision of the Coordinating Council in cases where the Chair is not performing their duties.
Section 3. Policies and Procedures.
Committees will approve Policies and Procedures pertaining to their function and duties at their initial meeting to submit to the Coordinating Council for approval. Policies and Procedures must be reviewed each year after a new Chair is elected or appointed. Policies and Procedures will be kept on file.
Article 9. Platform
Section 1. Platform.
The Members shall approve a Platform using a democratic, deliberative Platform process that encourages and facilitates discussion and debate among Greens at all levels within the state, as outlined in the Policies and Procedures. The Platform shall be approved at a Membership meeting.
Section 2. Candidate Endorsement.
Candidates for public office may be endorsed by decision of the Wisconsin Green Party if the candidate has publicly stated acceptance of our adopted Key Values, Platform, and other adopted policies regarding endorsement, and is a Member in Good Standing. Any endorsement shall follow the organization’s adopted Policies and Procedures. The Wisconsin Green Party shall make all efforts to involve local chapters and members in any endorsement decision affecting their district.
Section 3. Removal of Candidates and Elected Officials.
Any elected official who has run for office as a candidate with the endorsement of the Wisconsin Green Party may be removed from Membership in the organization, and any endorsement of a candidate may be revoked, for gross misconduct or violation of the adopted Key Values, Platform or code of conduct adopted by the Party, by decision of the Membership or the Coordinating Council. Notice of such a proposed removal or revocation must be sent out prior to the meeting where it is proposed. The candidate or elected official in question shall receive a notice before the meeting at which the decision is to be made, and a hearing if requested.
Article 10. Discrimination
Section 1. Conduct.
Discrimination on the basis of sex, race, age, religion, economic status, sexual orientation, ethnic identity, national origin, handicap, parenthood or color in the conduct of the affairs of the Wisconsin Green Party is prohibited.
Section 2. Removal.
Any Member of the Wisconsin Green Party who violates Article 10, Section 1, above, may be removed from Membership by decision of the Membership at a Membership meeting. Prior notice of such a proposed removal must be sent out prior to the meeting where the removal is to be proposed.
Section 3. Meetings.
No meetings of any body of the Wisconsin Green Party may be held in a facility which is owned or operated by a person or organization which violates Article 10, Section 1, above.
Article 11. Subordination to Existing Constitutions and Laws Section
The Bylaws of the Wisconsin Green Party are subordinate to the Constitutions and laws of the United States of America and the State of Wisconsin.
Section 2. Election Laws.
Laws of the United States of America and the State of Wisconsin governing the conduct of elections to public office shall be part of these Bylaws. The organization shall work to change any laws that restrict the full exercise of grassroots democracy.
Article 12. Amendments
Section 1. Amendments.
These Bylaws may be amended at any Membership meeting by decision of the Members present.
Section 2. Notice.
Notice of any proposed amendment to these Bylaws must be provided to the Membership, as specified in the Policies and Procedures, prior to the Membership meeting where the proposal is to be made.
Section 3. Revisions.
All prior versions are to be kept on file.
Revised November 12, 2006, Milwaukee, WI.
Revised April 14, 2018, Stevens Point, WI.
This is a public document.