Constitution of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland

ADOPTED BY THE 1979 CONVENTION OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND OF MARYLAND ON OCTOBER 28, 1979
AS AMENDED (NEW ARTICLE 6) BY THE 1982 CONVENTION ON AUGUST 28, 1982

 

ARTICLE I: NAME

The name of this organization shall be the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland.

 

ARTICLE II: PURPOSE

The purpose of this organization shall be to promote the general welfare of the blind of Maryland and the nation, and to function as an integral part of the National Federation of the Blind.

 

ARTICLE III: MEMBERSHIP

Section One: ACTIVE MEMBERS

At least a majority of the active members of this organization must be blind. Active membership shall be of two (2) classifications: active members who are affiliated with local chapters and active members who are not affiliated with local chapters.

 

  1. All active members of local chapters shall automatically become members of this organization, with the right to vote, serve on committees, speak on the floor and hold office.
  2. Any person who is not affiliated with a local chapter may become an active member of this organization by a majority vote of the active members present and voting at a convention or by action of the Board of Directors.

 

Section Two: ASSOCIATE MEMBERS

Any person may be elected to associate membership in this organization either by the convention or the Board of Directors. Associate members shall have all the rights and privileges of active members, except that they may not vote, hold office, or serve on the Board of Directors. Associate members shall not pay dues.

 

Section Three: EXPULSION

Any member may be expelled for misconduct, or for violation of this Constitution, by a two-thirds vote of the active members present and voting at any regular business session of this organization, or by a two-thirds volt of the Board of Directors.

 

The state convention of this organization may reinstate any person who has been expelled unless such expulsion has been confirmed by the National Convention or by the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind, in which event the person may not be reinstated except by the National Convention of by the National Board. Any person who feels that he/she has been unjustly expelled from this organization may appeal to the Board of  Directors of the National Federation of the Blind, which may (in its discretion) consider the matter and make a binding decision.

 

ARTICLE IV: LOCAL CHAPTERS

Any organized group desiring to become a local chapter of the of the National Federation of Maryland shall apply for affiliation by submitting to the President of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland, a copy of its Constitution and a list of the names and addresses of its members and elected officers. When the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland, either in Convention assembled or by action of its Board of Directors shall approve the application, it shall issue to the local chapter a Certificate of Acceptance. Annually, on or before February 1, each local chapter shall provide to the Secretary of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland a current list of its members and their addresses. At the same time, each local Treasurer shall forward to the State Treasurer the state dues for each member in the chapter, and a detailed financial report of the chapter for the last year. The fiscal year of this organization shall be the calendar year. As new members enter local chapters, their names and addresses shall be sent without delay to the Secretary of the state organization and their state dues shall be sent without delay to the Treasurer of the state organization. No group shall be accepted as a chapter and no group shall remain a chapter unless a majority of its voting members are blind. The President, Vice President, (or Vice Presidents) and at least a majority of the Executive Committee or Board of Directors of the local chapter must be blind. The President of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland shall be an ex officio member of each local chapter. In the event of dissolution of a local chapter, or if (for whatever reason) the local chapter ceases to be a part of this organization, its assets shall become property of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland. Each local chapter is required to contribute at least twenty-five percent of its net annual income to the state organization. Any chapter which fails to meet this requirement may be suspended by action of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland.

 

ARTICLE V: OFFICERS AND THEIR DUTIES

There shall be elected at the regular annual convention during each even numbered year a President, a First Vice President, a Second Vice President, a Secretary and a Treasurer. The terms of these officers shall begin at the close of the convention at which they are elected and qualified. Officers shall be elected by a majority vote of the active members who are present and voting. There shall be no proxy voting. If no nominee receives a majority vote on the first ballot, the name of the person receiving the fewest votes shall be dropped from the list of nominees, and a second ballot shall be taken. This procedure shall continue until one of the nominees has received a majority vote from the active members present and voting. The officers must be blind. The duties of each officer shall be those ordinarily associated with that office.

 

ARTICLE VI: BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The Board of Directors of this organization shall consist of five (5) constitutional officers and six (6) members at large. Three (3) of the Board members at large shall be elected for two (2) year terms at the annual convention during odd numbered years; except that, at the annual convention during which this provision is adopted, four (4) members at large shall be elected, three (3) members for two (2) year terms and one (1) member for a one (1) year term. The six (6) members at large shall be elected in the same manner as that prescribed for the election of officers. The Board shall advise the President and shall have charge of the affairs of the organization between conventions. At least six (6) members of the Board must be present at any meeting to constitute a quorum to transact business. The Board may be polled by telephone or mail ballot on any question.

 

ARTICLE VII: MEETINGS

Section One: ANNUAL CONVENTION

This organization shall hold an annual convention, the time and place of which shall be fixed by the membership or, if this is not possible, by the Board of Directors. At least fifteen (15) active members must be present to constitute a quorum to transact business at any annual convention.

 

Section Two: SPECIAL MEETINGS

The President of the organization may call a special meeting of the body at any time he/she, or a majority of the Board of Directors, deems such action of the necessary, but at such special meetings at least fifteen (15) active members must be present to constitute a quorum to transact business, and written notice must have been sent to the President of each local chapter at least ten (10) days prior to the date of the meeting.

 

ARTICLE VIII: COMMITTEES

The President may appoint such committees as he/she or the organization deems necessary.

 

ARTICLE IX: AFFILIATION

The National Federation of the Blind of Maryland shall be an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind and shall furnish to the President of the National Federation of the Blind annually, on or before January 1, the list of the names and addresses of its members and elected officers. A copy of the Constitution of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland and of all amendments to the Constitution shall also be sent to the President of the National Federation of the Blind.

 

The National Federation of the Blind of Maryland shall not merely be a social organization but shall formulate programs and actively work to promote the economic and social betterment of the blind. The organization shall comply with the provisions of the Constitution of the National Federation of the Blind. Policy decisions of the National Federation of the Blind (whether made by the National Convention or the National Board of Directors) are binding on this organization, and this organization must participate affirmatively in carrying out such policy decisions. As a condition of affiliation, it is agreed by this organization that the National Federation of the Blind (whether by action of the National Convention or National Board) has the power to expel or discipline a member, local chapter, or affiliates. In the event of reorganization, the assets of the affiliate and its local chapters belong to the reorganized affiliate, and the former affiliate shall dissolve and cease to exist. The name National Federation of the Blind, Federation of the Blind, or any variant thereof is the property of the National Federation of the Blind and this organization or any of its local chapters which cease to be a part of the National Federation of the Blind (for whatever reason) shall forfeit the right to use the name National Federation of the Blind, Federation of the Blind, or any variant thereof.

 

ARTICLE X: DELEGATES TO THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND CONVENTION

The organization shall elect each year at least one (1) delegate and at least one (1) alternate delegate to attend the convention of the National Federation of the Blind. No person shall be elected delegate unless he/she is an active member in good standing. To the extent of the resources of the organization, the expenses of delegates and alternate delegates to the convention of the National Federation of the Blind shall be paid.

 

ARTICLE XI: DUES

The dues of the organization shall be $1.00 per year payable in advance. In accordance with Article IV of the Constitution, local chapters shall pay the state dues of their members. Members who are not affiliated with local chapters shall pay their dues before or during the time of the annual convention. A life-time membership may be secured for a fee of $100. No person may vote who is delinquent in the payment of his/her dues.

 

ARTICLE XII: DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS

The funds of this organization shall be deposited in a bank to be selected by the Treasurer with the approval of the President. The Treasurer shall be bonded. All financial obligations of the organization shall be discharged by check issued on order of the President, and signed by the Treasurer.

 

ARTICLE XIII: DISSOLUTION

In the event of the dissolution of this organization, or (for whatever reason) it ceases to be an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, its assets shall be given to the National Federation of the Blind, to be held in trust for a reorganized affiliate in the state. In the event that no affiliate is reorganized in the state for a period of two (2) years from the date this organization ceases to be an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, the assets become the property of the National Federation of the Blind.

 

ARTICLE XIV: AMENDMENTS

This Constitution may be amended at any regular meeting of this organization by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the active members present and voting, provided the proposed amendment has been submitted in writing and read at a previous business session.