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BYLAWS OF THE MICHIGAN DEMOCRATIC JEWISH CAUCUS

ARTICLE I.  NAME AND PURPOSE

 

This organization shall be known as the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus, a/k/a MDJC a/k/a Michigan Jewish Democrats a/k/a MI Jewish Dems.

 

The Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus is dedicated to advancing the interests of Michigan’s Jewish community at all levels of government, countering antisemitism in the political arena, and electing Democrats to local, state, and federal office. The Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus shall consist of leaders, activists, and members of the Michigan Democratic Party who are Jewish or of Jewish heritage, friends and allies of the Michigan’s Jewish community, and all others concerned about the State of Michigan, the Democratic Party, and the Jewish community in our state.

 

The purpose of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus is to elevate the voices of Jewish Michiganders within the Michigan Democratic Party and ensure they are heard; to advocate for the values and interests of the Jewish community in Michigan, the United States, and globally; to combat antisemitism and educate the public on its various manifestations; to increase the number of Jewish Democratic elected officials in the State of Michigan; as well to support the election of Democrats who share our community’s values.

 

The Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus shall be a tax-exempt, non-profit organization registered as an independent political action committee (PAC) with the State of Michigan and the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Upon its dissolution, all assets and real or personal property of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus, its constituent PACs, its committees, and working groups shall revert to the benefit of the Michigan Democratic Party. No part of the income or assets of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus shall transfer to any of its members or non-members, except for the reimbursement of actual expenses or reasonable compensation for services rendered as approved by a majority of the Executive Board members pursuant to Article IV, Section 13.

 

 

ARTICLE II.  MEMBERSHIP

 

Section 1. Membership Overview. An individual wishing to become a member of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus must remit payment of dues on an annual basis. Any member of the Michigan Democratic Party who holds voting rights and who joins the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus may participate and vote at Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus general meetings, or in electronic ballots. Membership applications for the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus and the Michigan Democratic Party will be available at Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus activities and on the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus website. A dues schedule for the following categories of membership will be promulgated on the Caucus’ website.

 

Section 2. Membership Schedule. The three types of membership for the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus are: (1) Regular membership (2) Associate membership and (3) student membership.

 

  1. Regular Membership: In addition to satisfying the criteria set forth in Article II, Section 1, a person must be a member of the MDP and have paid regular membership dues defined in Article II, Section 1.

  2. Associate Membership: In addition to satisfying the criteria set forth in Article II, Section 1, a person who is not a member of the MDP and has paid associate membership dues defined in Article II, Section 1.

  3. Student Membership: In addition to satisfying the criteria set forth in Article II, Section 1, a person must be a full time high school or university student, a member of the MDP and have paid student membership dues.

 

 

ARTICLE III.  FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES

 

Section 1. Openness. In order to promote transparency and participation, general meetings of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus shall be open to any member of the public regardless of actual or perceived race, color, creed, sex, age, national or geographic origin, economic status, religion, ethnic identity, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, physical appearance or disability.

 

Section 2. Oaths of Loyalty. No tests for membership of, nor any oaths of loyalty to the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus, which have the effect of requiring prospective or current Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus members to acquiesce in, condone or support discrimination on the grounds of actual or perceived race, color, creed, sex, age, national origin, economic status, religion, ethnic identity, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, physical appearance or disability, shall be administered or required for any purpose.

 

Section 3. Accessibility. The time and place for all general membership meetings of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus shall be announced in such manner as to assure timely notice to all interested persons.  Such meetings will be accessible to all Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus members and large enough to accommodate all interested persons.

 

Section 4. Announcement of Election Procedures. The Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus shall announce in such a manner as to assure notice to all interested parties a full description of the legal and practical procedures and qualifications for selection of Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus officers, representatives, and Executive Board members. Announcement of these procedures shall be executed in a manner such that all prospective and current members of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus will be fully and adequately informed of the pertinent procedures in time to participate in elections for the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus and such that all prospective candidates or applicants for any elected or appointed position within the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus will have a full and adequate opportunity to compete for office.

 

Section 5. MDP Bylaws. All rules and bylaws of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus shall be consistent with the Rules of the Michigan Democratic Party and shall be available by request electronically or in writing to any member of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus.

 

Section 6. Rule Prohibition. No rule shall be adopted at any level of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus which would require a person to cast a vote or be recorded as voting contrary to that person’s judgment.

 

Section 7. Prohibition of Voter Intimidation. Voter intimidation or coercion will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

 

 

ARTICLE IV.  OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE BOARD

 

Section 1. Officers. The Officers of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus shall be a Chairperson, Treasurer, and Secretary. They shall each have two-year terms and will be elected by a simple majority vote at a full membership meeting of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus at the Michigan Democratic Party’s Spring Convention in odd years.

 

Section 2. Vice Chairs and Constitution of the Executive Board. The Executive Board shall consist of the three Officers and the four Vice Chairs, one each for: Membership and Outreach, Political Affairs, Finance, Events & Programming; as well as several non-voting regional Chairs.

 

Section 3. Regional Chairs. Regional chairs shall represent the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus and be responsible for conducting recruitment and outreach in the regions of: Grand Rapids, Greater Flint, Kalamazoo, Greater Lansing, Macomb County, Northern Michigan, Oakland County, Washtenaw County, Wayne County, and any other regional designations as constituted by the Chair. Regional Chairs will serve two-year terms and will be elected by a majority vote at a full membership meeting of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus at the Michigan Democratic Party’s Spring Convention in odd years.

 

Section 3. Ad-hoc Appointments. The Chair may at his or her discretion appoint special advisors, members-at-large, and regional chairs without voting rights to the Executive Board, all of whom may undertake to fulfill a portfolio of the Chair’s devising. Ad-hoc appointments with voting rights shall be subject to confirmation by a majority of the Executive Board.

 

Section 4. Vacancies. Vacancies in the Executive Board shall be filled on a temporary basis at the Chair’s discretion, subject to confirmation by the Executive Board, and subject to election by a majority vote at the next statewide meeting of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus.

 

Section 5. Role of the Chair. The Chair shall preside at all Executive Board meetings, membership meetings, and Conventions, and have such other duties as are usual to the office of Chair, or that may be required by this organization, including, but not limited to: setting the strategic vision and political approach of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus during his or her term; spearheading fundraising and political programming; overseeing communications with elected officials, candidates, and party staff; planning the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus’ calendar of events; acting as the public face and representative of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus for official, media, political, and all other purposes. Immediate past chairs may serve as ex-officio, non-voting, advisory members of the Executive Board at their personal discretion.

 

Section 6. Role of the Treasurer. The Treasurer shall be responsible for recording and reporting financial receipts and disbursements of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus subject to the approval of the Executive Board. The Treasurer shall be responsible for ensuring the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus’ compliance with Michigan Campaign Finance Law (MCFL) and federal campaign finance law, including managing campaign finance reporting procedures at requisite filing deadlines. The funds of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus shall be deposited in credit unions and/or banks, and shall be drawn upon by checks signed by the Chair or by any two of the following officers: Treasurer, Secretary. A debit card in the Chair’s name may be used for Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus expenditures, so long as each expenditure is documented with a receipt. The Treasurer may make a full annual and brief quarterly financial reports to the Executive Board. When a new Treasurer is elected, the outgoing Treasurer shall deliver the funds, all books, and records to the new Treasurer, and help train him or her in the role.

 

Section 7. Role of the Secretary. The Secretary of this organization shall keep an accurate record and minutes of the proceedings of all meetings. The Secretary shall keep and preserve all the books, documents, correspondence, records, minutes, effects, and any other property of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus. The Secretary will be responsible for keeping record of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus’ procedures and best practices in all areas of its activities, including, but not limited to: internal and external communications, social media, technological and media platforms, event planning, fundraising, political organizing, and more. The Secretary will preside over transitions between outgoing and incoming Executive Boards, oversee onboarding for new officers and board members, and serve as primary point-of-contact to capture and disburse institutional knowledge, to ensure continuity between terms. When a new secretary is elected, the past secretary shall deliver all the aforesaid items preserved during his/her tenure to the newly elected secretary within 30 days of the election. The Secretary shall see that proper notification is given of Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus meetings.

 

Section 8. Role of the Membership Vice Chair. The Membership Vice Chair shall be responsible for recruiting members for and leading meetings of the Membership and Outreach Committee, which will develop and implement strategies to grow the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus’ dues-paying membership base. The Membership Vice Chair shall also be tasked with conducting outreach and relationship-building with Jewish communal organizations and institutions in Michigan, as well as forming partnerships with other progressive groups.

 

Section 9. Role of the Political Vice Chair. With the assistance of the Chair, the Political Vice Chair shall recruit members for and lead meetings of the Political Committee, the frequency of which are up to the discretion of the Political Vice Chair. The Political Committee shall facilitate the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus’ endorsement process with local, state, and federal Democratic campaigns and candidates during election cycles. The Political Vice Chair shall guide the Committee’s work in drafting questions for the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus’ endorsement questionnaire and submitting it to candidates, as well as performing research on the records, stances, and priorities of candidates seeking endorsement. The Political Vice Chair shall also be tasked with fostering relationships with endorsed candidates and campaign staff to determine where the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus’ resources can be most helpful. With the assistance and advice of the Executive Board, the Political Committee shall also administer the caucus’ internal elections at the biennial spring Michigan Democratic Party convention.

 

Section 10. Role of the Finance Vice Chair. The Finance Vice Chair shall be responsible for assisting the Chair in ensuring the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus meets its fundraising goals. The Finance Vice Chair shall have a wide social and political network, significant knowledge of Democratic donor community, as well as the local Jewish community, and must be comfortable assisting the Chair in soliciting donations from local community members. The Finance Vice Chair shall be available to assist the Chair with call time to donors and members, and assist in writing fundraising emails, and managing the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus’ donor list on NGP/VAN. The Finance Vice Chair shall lead meetings and recruit members for the Finance Committee, which shall be called at his or her discretion, as well as help recruit host committee members for Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus fundraisers.

 

Section 11. Role of the Events Vice Chair. The Events Vice Chair shall be tasked with assisting the Executive Board in planning and staging events, fundraisers, and caucus meetings. The Events Vice Chair shall recruit and preside over meetings of the Events Committee, and guide members in the planning and staffing of Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus monthly meetings and stand-alone events and fundraisers, including identifying suitable and cost-effective vendors and venues, facilitating RSVP/ticketing and check-in processes, recruiting event volunteers and other support as necessary. The Events Vice Chair shall also recruit willing members of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus to represent the Caucus at community events, political rallies, protests, meetings, and other activities not sponsored by the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus to ensure maximum public visibility and representation.

 

Section 12. Executive Board Meetings. In-person, telephonic, or virtual meetings of the Executive Board shall be held when major activities of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus at the State Level are proposed, discussed and decisions made in the name of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus. Major activities include:

  1. expenditures over $500;

  2. endorsements by the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus for Democratic candidates for partisan and nonpartisan positions;

  3. negotiations and agreements for the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus to formally work with other Democratic Party caucuses or external organizations regarding Democratic Party candidate campaigns, petition drives and other political efforts; and

  4. other activities, which would involve large amounts of time, energy and funding by Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus and its members.

Section 13. Paid Staff. The Executive Board may hire any number of full-time or part-time paid staff of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus to manage day-to-day operations, communications, fundraising, organizing, and event planning activities for a negotiated salary, or provide a stipend for members of the Executive Board working in a full-time capacity.

 

Section 14. External Partnerships and Vendors. The Executive Board of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus has sole discretion over, and may vote by a simple majority to, engage in partnerships with other Democratic constituency organizations, non-profit groups, charities, agencies, institutions, or consulting and legal firms, vendors, and the like.

ARTICLE V.  EXECUTIVE BOARD & STATEWIDE CAUCUS MEETINGS

 

Section 1. Regular Meetings of the Executive Board. Regular meetings of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus Executive Board shall be on the date and at the location and time set forth in the meeting notice. The Executive Board shall meet at least monthly by, with at least one meeting per quarter called in-person. At least 7 (seven) days notice shall be given of the date, time, and place of the meeting. Notice may be given by mail, email, phone, text message, and/or Facebook. A quorum shall consist of 30% of voting members of the Executive Board.

 

Section 2. Notification of Caucus Meetings. At least once per calendar year, there shall be a full membership meeting of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus where the Officers and Executive Board shall report on Caucus activities. At least 30 (thirty) days notice shall be given of the date, place, time, and purpose of the meeting. Notice may be given by mail, email, phone, text message and/or Facebook.

 

Section 3. Extraordinary Meetings. Extraordinary meetings of the Executive Board or full membership may be called by the Chair, or a majority of the Executive Board. At least five (5) days notice shall be given of the date, place, time, and purpose of the special meeting. Notice may be given by mail, email, phone, text message and/or Facebook.

 

Section 4. Conventions. The full Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus shall meet in conjunction with County, Congressional District, State Central Committee, and State Conventions at the date, time and place established by the Executive Board.

 

Section 5. Executive Board Voting Procedure. Any issue before the Executive Board may be put to a formal vote, subject to the agreement of a majority of voting members of the Executive Board. A tied vote in the Executive Board is broken by the Chair.

ARTICLE VI.  STANDING COMMITTEES

 

Section 1. Designation of Standing Committees. Standing Committees of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus shall include:

  1. Political Committee, chaired by the Political Vice Chair

  2. Finance Committee, chaired by the Finance Vice Chair

  3. Membership and Outreach Committee, chaired by the Membership Vice Chair

  4. Events and Programming Committee, chaired by the Events Vice Chair

Section 2. Select Committees. At his or her discretion, the Chair may at any time inaugurate select committees to perform functions not covered by the remits of the four standing committees, as well as appoint any Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus members to chair the select committees. Dissolution of a select committee shall similarly be at the sole discretion of the Chair.

 

Section 3. Ex-officio Committee Members. The Chair of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus shall be an ex-officio member of all standing committees; while the Treasurer of the Caucus shall be an ex-officio member of the Finance Committee; and the Secretary of the Caucus shall be an ex-officio member of the Membership Committee.

ARTICLE VII:  ELECTION PROCEDURES

 

Section 1. Election Procedure. The General Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus meeting conducted at the Michigan Democratic Party Spring Convention of each odd-numbered year shall elect all voting members of the Executive Board, including: Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, Vice Chair of Political Affairs, Vice Chair of Membership and Outreach, Vice Chair of Events & Programming, Vice Chair of Finance. The elected members shall take office after a two-month transition period following the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus election.

 

Section 2. Election Administrator. At least four months prior to an election, the Executive Board shall designate one of its members to serve as Election Administrator.

 

Section 3. Notification of Election. The Election Administrator will notify all regular members of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus of an upcoming election. The Election Administrator will be required to send out notification at least four (4) weeks prior to the election. The Political Committee will conduct and oversee the election process. The election date shall be within thirty (30) days from the initial election notification.

 

Section 4. Candidate Qualifications. Individuals seeking election to an Officer position must identify as Jewish and must have been regular dues-paying members of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus for at least one year prior to the Michigan Democratic Party Spring Convention to be eligible for election.

 

Section 5. Election Process. Ranked-choice, instant-runoff balloting will be held for each office to which more than two candidates seek election. A candidate running uncontested for any office shall be declared elected.

 

Section 6. Role of Election Administrator. The Election Administrator will oversee the conduct of the election on the date, time and place specified in the initial notification. The Political Committee will supply the necessary ballots, tabulate the results and declare the results of the election. Each regular and student member of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus will be allowed to vote only once for each of the contested position. In the event there is only one candidate for a particular position, an election is not necessary.

 

Section 7. Disputed Elections. In case of disputes over election results, the Political Committee shall seek the advice of the MDP.

 

ARTICLE VIII: REMOVAL OF OFFICERS OR EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS

 

Section 1. Removal by Executive Board. Any Officer or Executive Board Member of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus may be removed from office with cause by a two-thirds supermajority vote of the total voting members of the Executive Board. This vote shall be taken at an Executive Board meeting specially called for such purpose. Any meeting for the removal of Officers or Board members must be called by the Chair or at the request of one-third of the Executive Board.

 

Section 2. Notice of Extraordinary Executive Board Meeting. The notice of such an Executive Board meeting must indicate the specific time and place of the meeting and basis for the cause upon which action is founded; and the notice of such meeting shall be served to the members of the Executive Board at least ten (10) days prior to such meeting.

 

Section 3. Removal by General Membership. Any Officer or Executive Board member of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus may be removed from office for a cause by a two-thirds majority vote of the general membership. This vote shall be taken at a general membership meeting specifically called for such purpose. Any meeting for the removal of Officers or Executive Board members must be called by the Chair at the request of at least one-third of the general membership.

 

Section 4. Notice of Extraordinary General Caucus Meeting. The notice of such a general membership meeting must indicate the specific time and place of the meeting and basis for the cause upon which action is founded; and the notice of such meeting shall be served through mail or email or fax to the members of the Executive Board at least ten (10) days prior to such meeting.

 

Section 5. Removal of Presiding Officer. At any such meeting for the purpose of removing an incumbent Officer or Executive Board member, if a motion is made for removal of any presiding Officer who is presiding, said Officer shall immediately relinquish the chair. If there is no other regularly elected presiding Officer present to preside, the members present may elect an acting Chair to do so. The acting Chair shall preside until consideration and disposition of the motion for removal is concluded. If the motion for the removal carries by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Executive Board or the general membership present, the temporary Chair shall continue to preside and immediately conduct an election of a successor as per the process described in Article V. If the motion for removal does not carry, the temporary Chair shall immediately relinquish the Chair to the regular presiding Officer.

 

Section 6. Conflict Resolution. Before any motion for removal of an Officer or an Executive Board member can be lodged, a good faith effort to resolve the conflict shall be made by the parties involved.

ARTICLE IX.  IHRA WORKING DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM

Section 1. For the purposes of guiding the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus’ approach to crafting its internal and external communications and policy instruments, the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition on antisemitism (hereafter referred to as “IHRA definition”), restated below:

 

Section 2. “On 26 May 2016, the IHRA Plenary in Bucharest decided to adopt the following non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism:

 

‘Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.’

 

Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.

Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

  1. Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.

 

  1. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.

 

  1. Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.

 

  1. Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).

 

  1. Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.

 

  1. Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

 

  1. Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

 

  1. Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

 

  1. Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.

 

  1.  Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

 

  1.  Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel.

 

Antisemitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (for example, denial of the Holocaust or distribution of antisemitic materials in some countries).

 

Criminal acts are antisemitic when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property – such as buildings, schools, places of worship and cemeteries – are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews.

 

Antisemitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.”

 

 

ARTICLE X.  AMENDMENTS

 

Section 1. Proposals for Amendments. Proposals for changes or amendments to these bylaws shall first be referred to the Executive Board for consideration. If taken up, proposed amendments will be returned to the membership for ratification.

 

Section 2. These bylaws may be amended by a simple majority vote of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus members present at a meeting, provided that notice setting forth the proposed amendment(s) has been sent by mail, email, and/or Facebook to all Caucus members at least two (2) weeks prior to the date of the meeting. Appendices to these bylaws may be amended by a simple majority vote of the Executive Board.

 

Section 3. These bylaws shall be in full effect upon their adoption and shall supersede all bylaws, rules, motions, and policies of a contrary nature with the exception of the Rules of the Michigan Democratic Party.

 

Section 4. These bylaws were approved by the members of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus on January 14, 2020.

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