Revised November 2015, consistency revisions July/August 2016
ARTICLE I NAME
The name of this organization shall be Washington Council of the Blind.
ARTICLE II PURPOSE
The purpose of this organization shall be to promote opportunity, equality, and independence for legally blind people in the state of Washington and throughout the nation.
ARTICLE III MEMBERSHIP
SECTION 1 MEMBERS
At least the majority of the voting members of this organization must be legally blind. Membership in the organization shall not be denied on account of race, color, national origin, age (16 or over), gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, political ideology, or physical, mental or sensory disability. All voting members of its affiliates who have reached the age of 16 shall automatically become voting members of this organization with the right to vote, present motions, speak on the floor, serve on committees and hold office, provided that their dues have been paid to this organization at least 30 days prior to the commencement of the annual convention or special meeting. Any member under the age of 16 who is a voting member at the time of the adoption of this amendment shall continue to be eligible for membership. Any person who is not a member of an affiliate and who has reached the age of 16 may become a voting member at large of this organization, provided his/her dues have been paid at least 30 days prior to the commencement of the annual convention or special meeting. </p>
SECTION 2 JUNIOR MEMBERS<
All members of affiliates under the age of 16 shall automatically become junior members of this organization. Junior members shall pay dues and have all of the rights and privileges of membership except that they may not vote, hold office, serve on the board of directors or receive stipends.
SECTION 3 EXPULSION, SUSPENSION, OR OTHER DISCIPLINARY ACTION
The convention, by two-thirds vote of the members present and voting, may expel, suspend or otherwise discipline any member and/or affiliate for conduct inconsistent with the constitution and/or policies established by the convention provided that the member and/or affiliate named in the proposed action shall receive written notification of the action at least 10 days prior to the convention; provided notice of the proposed action shall be announced to the convention in a previous session; and provided the member and/or affiliate named in the proposed action shall receive a fair hearing with due process. If expulsion, suspension, or other disciplinary action is proposed between conventions, the president or majority of the board of directors shall call a special meeting in accordance with Article VIII Section 2 to vote on the action. The member and/or affiliate named in the proposed action shall receive a fair hearing with due process. Any member or affiliate whose expulsion or suspension or any other disciplinary action is being considered shall have the right to vote on the issue. </p>
ARTICLE IV AFFILIATES
SECTION 1 APPLICATION FOR AFFILIATION
Any local chapter or special interest group desiring to become an affiliate of this organization shall apply for affiliation by submitting to the president a copy of its constitution, a list of the names and addresses of its members and elected officers and associated dues for these members. A minimum of 5 dues-paying members is required to be considered for affiliation.
The constitution of the new affiliate will be reviewed by the constitution and bylaws committee for conflicts with the WCB state constitution prior to acceptance.
When this organization, either in convention assembled, during a special meeting, or by action of the board of directors shall have approved the application, it shall issue to the new affiliate a certificate of acceptance.
SECTION 2 AFFILIATE RESPONSIBILITIES
Annually, on or before February 10th, each affiliate shall provide a mechanism for its members to pay dues to the state organization by forwarding any dues received from those who chose to pay locally along with a list of the names and addresses of the affiliate membership. Affiliates whose members’ state dues have not been paid by March 1st of each year shall be delinquent and members of the affiliate shall lose all rights in the organization until all arrears have been paid. The president shall investigate and report to the board the causes of any delinquency and make recommendations to the board on a resolution of the problem.
As new members enter the affiliates, their names, addresses, and dues shall be sent, without delay, to the state organization. Copies of all amendments to the bylaws or constitution of an affiliate shall be sent without delay to the president of this organization.
No group shall be accepted as an affiliate and no group shall remain an affiliate unless at least a majority of its voting members are legally blind. The president, vice-president(s), and at least a majority of the elected committee or board of directors of each affiliate must be legally blind. The president of this organization shall be an ex-officio member of each affiliate.
SECTION 3 EXPULSION, SUSPENSION, OR OTHER DISCIPLINARY ACTION BY AN AFFILIATE
Each new affiliate must have a provision in its constitution or bylaws that protects the rights of its members consistent with the provision of Article III Section 3 of this constitution.
ARTICLE V DUES
Annual membership dues in this organization shall be the sum of the state (WCB) dues, $5, and the national (ACB) dues, in accordance with the American Council of the Blind constitution. The WCB treasurer will forward the appropriate national dues to ACB. In accordance with Article IV of this constitution, affiliates may pay the state dues of their members. Members at large or any member who chooses to pay their dues directly to the state must pay on or before February 10 and their dues will be delinquent after March 1. A lifetime membership in WCB may be secured for a fee of $100. No member shall be entitled to vote at the annual convention or special meeting whose dues have not been paid at least 30 days prior thereto.
ARTICLE VI OFFICERS AND THEIR DUTIES
SECTION 1 OFFICERS
On odd-numbered years, there shall be elected a president, first vice-president, and a treasurer; and on even-numbered years, there shall be elected a second vice-president and secretary each for two-year terms.
No officer shall serve for more than 2 consecutive full terms in the same office. The president, first vice-president, and second vice-president must be legally blind. The terms of all officers shall begin on the first day of January following the convention at which they are elected.
On the first day of the annual state convention immediately following the report of the nominating committee the chair shall call for other candidates to seek the floor and announce their intent to run for elected office.
SECTION 3 ELECTIONS
Officers shall be elected by a majority vote of the members who are present and voting. There shall be no proxy voting. Voting shall be by secret ballot unless otherwise decided by a majority of the members present and voting. If no nominee receives a majority vote on a given ballot, the persons receiving the 2 highest vote totals shall remain on the list of nominees and a subsequent ballot shall be taken to determine a majority.
SECTION 4 DUTIES
The duties of each officer shall be those customarily performed by such officers. In addition, the secretary and the treasurer shall be charged with the maintenance and safe keeping of the records of the organization. Each officer shall be responsible for passing on organization records to all newly elected officers within 30 days after the convention in which each officer is elected.
SECTION 5 VACANCIES
Should a vacancy occur in the office of president, the first vice-president shall function as president. At the next business meeting of this organization a new president shall be elected. Should a vacancy occur in any office other than president, the board of directors shall appoint a temporary replacement. At the next business meeting of this organization this position will be filled using the election process.
SECTION 6 REMOVAL OF OFFICERS
Except as specifically provided in the foregoing provisions, no officer or other board member may be appointed and no officer or board member may be removed other than by vote of the membership in convention assembled or duly called special meeting as provided by Article VIII Section 2. The convention may remove any officer or member of the board of directors at any meeting thereof provided that removal of an officer or member of the board shall require a two-thirds affirmative vote of the members present and voting. At least 10 days notice shall be required prior to such an action.
As in the case of removal from membership a fair hearing with due process shall be observed. If any officer or board member be so removed, a replacement may be elected upon a majority vote as in the case of regular elections.
ARTICLE VII DIRECTORS
The board of directors shall consist of 5 constitutional officers, the immediate past president, and 6 general directors. The immediate past president shall be automatically appointed to the board without seeking election unless he/she has sought and been elected to another officer position. Three of the general directors shall be elected for two-year terms at the convention during even-numbered years and 3 during odd-numbered years. No person shall serve as a general director for more than 2 consecutive full terms. A majority of the directors must be legally blind.
The 6 directors shall be elected in the same manner as that prescribed for the election of officers. The terms of all directors shall begin on the first day of January following the convention at which they are elected.
The board of directors shall hold open board meetings no less than 3 times a year at the call of the president or by written call signed by any 3 of the board members. The board shall advise the president and shall have charge of the affairs of the organization between conventions. At least 6 members of the board of directors must be present at any meeting to constitute a quorum to transact business. The board of directors may be polled by telephone or by mail ballot on any question.
ARTICLE VIII MEETINGS
SECTION 1 CONVENTION
This organization shall hold an annual convention in the fall, 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 20% of the voting members must be present to constitute a quorum to transact business at any convention.
The convention is the legislature and supreme authority of this organization. As such, it has final authority with respect to all issues of policy except where the constitution has delegated specific authority to a committee. Its decision shall be made after opportunity has been afforded for full and fair discussion. Voting or making motions by proxy is prohibited.
SECTION 2 SPECIAL MEETINGS
The president of the organization may call a special meeting of the membership at any time he/she or a majority of the board of directors deems such action to be necessary, but at such special meetings, at least 20% of the membership must be present to constitute a quorum to transact business, and written notice must have been sent to the membership and affiliates at least 10 days prior to the date of the meeting. Upon written petition of 20% of the general membership to the president and board of directors, a special meeting must be convened within 30 days of the date specified on said written petition.
ARTICLE IX PROCEDURES
In the absence of provisions contained herein or in the bylaws, all proceedings of this organization shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised.
ARTICLE X FREEDOM FROM LIABILITY
All members of the board of the Washington Council of the Blind, Inc. shall be held free from liability from legal actions brought against the corporation because of decisions made by the board in good faith for the good of the corporation.
ARTICLE XI 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 president’s signature shall be on record with the bank or banks. All financial obligations of this organization shall be discharged by check issued on order of the president, transacted by the treasurer and signed by the treasurer or an agent selected by the board.
In the event of dissolution, all assets of this organization shall be given to an organization with similar purposes which has received a Section 501(c)(3) certification by the Internal Revenue Service.
ARTICLE XII AMENDMENTS
This constitution and bylaws may be amended at any convention of this organization, constitutional amendments by a two-thirds affirmative vote and bylaw amendments by a simple majority vote of those present and voting provided that the proposed amendment to the constitution and/or bylaws has been submitted in writing to the constitution and bylaws committee on or before the first order of business at its preconvention meeting and provided that both the original language and the proposed amending language have been read on the floor of the convention at least 24 hours prior to the motion to amend.
BYLAW 1 WCB STANDING COMMITTEES
The following standing committees are established and unless otherwise specified in the constitution all appointments to them should be completed by the first board meeting each year. The president has the authority to combine the duties of 2 or more committees as the need arises.
This committee works on individual and general issues of discrimination that come to the attention of WCB throughout the year. Its members are called upon to do research and communicate on behalf of the organization with employers, businesses, other organizations and individuals in order to promote advocacy.
B. AGING AND BLINDNESS
This committee’s focus is the senior blind. It works throughout the year on ideas to improve the lives of senior citizens experiencing vision loss as well as tracks and reports on issues of concern to the board and members of WCB.
This committee administers the WCB awards program by processing nominations for specific awards, making the selections for awards as they deem appropriate, and presenting the awards at the annual banquet of WCB.
The deadline for submission of nominations is August 31.
D. CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS
The constitution and bylaws committee shall be appointed by the president no less than 60 days before the opening of the annual convention. Unless other arrangements are made by the president this committee shall meet immediately following the preconvention board meeting. The first order of business will be to report the slate of proposed amendments. Unless withdrawn by the author all proposed amendments must be passed out of committee to the floor with either a do pass, do not pass or no recommendation.
This committee is the planning group for the WCB state convention.
This committee administers the WCB crisis program.
G. ENVIRONMENTAL ACCESS
The environmental access committee addresses environmental access issues specific to blindness and vision loss in the built environment. The committee also makes recommendations when WCB finds common cause with other communities affected by a specific issue. The committee concentrates on issues related to transportation, including public transit funding, street design, walkability and accessible pedestrian signals. It promotes the implementation of universal design methodology. The committee provides information to individual members and chapters, promoting efforts to resolve issues in local jurisdictions.
H. FAMILIES WITH BLIND CHILDREN
This committee addresses issues specific to children who are blind and addresses the associated concerns of family members.
1. This committee develops the WCB annual budget which is presented at the preconvention board meeting and voted on at the general membership business meeting. Budget line items approved by the convention may be adjusted by the board of directors between conventions.
2. This committee processes all grant requests received by WCB and reports them to the board for action with a do pass, do not pass or no recommendation. Grant requests must be submitted in writing using the WCB grant application form and will be awarded primarily to 501(c)(3) organizations and governmental entities. Grants or parts of grants will not be awarded by the WCB to fund salaries or to supplant other funding.
3. Any motion coming before the WCB board to allocate award or grant funds without going through the finance committee processes provided for in parts 1 and 2 of this bylaw shall require a unanimous affirmative vote of all board members present and voting to pass.
This committee administers the WCB first-timer awards programs for both the state and national conventions by processing applications and selecting the award winners.
This committee is responsible for preserving the history of the WCB and that of the organizations which preceded it.
This committee tracks the financial investments of the WCB and recommends changes in our investment strategy to the board.
This committee plans the WCB state leadership and training seminars.
This committee tracks and reports legislative issues to the board and members of WCB.
O. LIST SERVE
This committee works as moderators of the WCB email list, overseeing the list activity, ensuring that the list runs smoothly and keeping list rules up to date and relevant.
This committee works to increase membership in the WCB, assists new chapters to get started and provides support and consultation to existing chapters.
This committee is the editorial body for the state newsletter, the Newsline. It reviews and processes all submitted articles and makes other editorial decisions regarding the next issue. With board concurrence it may also establish policy surrounding this publication.
The president shall appoint a nominating committee of 3 persons not less than 60 days before the annual convention. No person who is seeking election shall serve on the nominating committee. The nominating committee shall report the proposed list of candidates on the WCB email list and notify the president so that the telephone service can be updated no less than 10 days prior to the opening session of the fall convention.
The nominating committee shall report at the opening meeting of the first day of the annual convention the name of the candidate nominated for each position to be filled.
S. PUBLIC RELATIONS COMMITTEE
This committee will oversee press releases, social networking and other ways of promoting WCB and its affiliates.
T. RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE
The chair of the resolutions committee shall be appointed by the president no less than 60 days before the opening of the annual convention. Unless other arrangements are made by the president this committee shall meet immediately following the preconvention board meeting. It will be the responsibility of this committee to draft new resolutions and to review resolutions submitted by members.
Unless withdrawn by the author, all proposed resolutions must be passed out of committee to the floor with either a do pass, do not pass or no recommendation.
This committee administers the WCB scholarship program by processing applications, interviewing applicants, selecting the scholarship winners and presenting these awards at the WCB state convention.
V. WEBSITE OVERSIGHT
This committee will act as the WCB’s principal agent for maintaining a website that is informative, secure and accessible. Responsibilities shall include but not be limited to supervising our domain name registration, selecting the web hosting service, directing a website developer, reviewing all website content and maintaining frequent independently stored backup copies of the site. The committee shall seek guidance from the board and obtain concurrence from the president for all contracting decisions.
BYLAW 2 WCB DELEGATES TO AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND (ACB) CONVENTION
The president of WCB will be our delegate to the ACB convention. If, at the time of the WCB fall convention, it is known that the president will not be able to serve as delegate, a separate election will be held to fill that position
At the fall convention an alternate delegate and substitute will be elected from the general membership in a single election, the person getting the greatest number of votes becoming the alternate and the person getting the second most votes becoming the substitute. If the delegate or alternate is later unable to attend the convention, the alternate will replace the delegate and the substitute will replace the alternate. The president or his/her designee will determine the eligibility of a candidate to run for these positions.
C. NOMINATING COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVE
It is expected that the WCB delegate or the alternate delegate to the ACB Convention shall serve as WCB’s representative to the ACB nominating committee. However, if neither of them is able to attend the nominating committee meeting, the delegate will select another member to serve.
D. ELIGIBILITY AND EXPECTATIONS
All persons elected specifically to serve in any of the above delegate positions must have attended at least one ACB convention and no one may serve as alternate for two consecutive conventions. No one may serve who has outstanding WCB loan payments in default. It is anticipated that the delegate and alternate will be seated with the WCB delegation during business meetings of the general assembly.
While absence from the delegation may be necessary, it is expected that one or the other must be present at all general sessions in case there is a standing vote.
The alternate will assist the delegate with convention duties, and will also be responsible for providing guidance to WCB members attending their first ACB convention.
Unless other arrangements are approved in advance by the WCB president, WCB will directly purchase round trip coach fare airline tickets for the delegate and will directly pay lodging expenses. In lieu of air transport, mileage will be reimbursed at the current Office of Financial Management (OFM) mileage rate up to a limit not to exceed the cost of coach airfare.
Expenses essential to the transaction of WCB business are reimbursable.
These expenses may include taxi fares, parking fees, bridge and ferry tolls and the cost of ground transportation. Per diem will be calculated and paid in accordance with the per diem rates published by OFM. All filings for reimbursement must include the WCB reimbursement form and associated receipts. WCB may, when the budget permits, pay some or all of the travel expenses of the alternate delegate.
BYLAW 3 WCB STIPENDS AND LOANS TO ATTEND THE ACB CONVENTION
Each year when provided for in the budget WCB members may request a travel stipend from WCB to attend the ACB national convention.
Each year, on or before its first board meeting, the board shall set the amount of this stipend, the application deadline and identify a point of contact. Each applicant must personally either call or write the designated point of contact and request a stipend after confirmation of eligibility by the president or his/her designee the state treasurer will write a check to each individual for the stipend amount within one month of the application deadline.
Each year WCB members may request a no interest loan from WCB to attend the ACB national convention. Each year, on or before its first board meeting, the board shall set the maximum limit of this loan and set the application deadline. All applicants must personally either call or email the president or his/her designee and request such a loan. After confirmation of eligibility by the president or his/her designee a promissory note will be sent to the applicant. A check will be sent to the applicant when WCB receives the signed promissory note.
C. ELIGIBILITY AND EXPECTATIONS
In order to receive either a stipend or a loan from WCB to attend the ACB convention, an individual needs to have been a WCB member for at least 1 year prior to the day of the opening session of the convention and must have no outstanding WCB loan payments in default. It is anticipated that both stipend and loan recipients will participate in the convention in general, including plenary sessions and meetings of special interest affiliates.
Unless other arrangements are approved in advance by the WCB president, these individuals will be required to attend WCB caucus meetings and be seated with our delegation during the principal business session dates and times as published in the ACB convention program for that year. In addition loan recipients must sign a promissory note which stipulates that the loan will be paid back in 10 consecutive payments of 10% of the total loan.
BYLAW 4 WCB FIRST-TIMERS TO ACB CONVENTION
Each year one WCB member may be selected to be WCB’S first-timer delegate to the ACB national convention. This person will have their expenses to attend the convention covered by WCB. Prospective applicants must send a personal application letter to the chair of the first-timers committee requesting this award. After the president or his/her designee has confirmed the eligibility of each applicant the committee will review the applications and select the winner.
B. ELIGIBILITY AND EXPECTATIONS
In order to be considered for this award an individual needs to have never previously attended an ACB convention.
The applicant must have been a WCB member for at least 1 year prior to the day of the opening session of the convention and must have no outstanding WCB loan payments in default.
It is anticipated that first-timer recipients will participate in the convention in general, including plenary sessions and meetings of special interest affiliates. Unless other arrangements are approved in advance by the WCB president, these individuals will be required to attend WCB caucus meetings and be seated with our delegation during the principal business session dates and times as published in the ACB convention program for that year.
First-timers must write an article for the Newsline relating their experience at the convention.
Unless other arrangements are approved in advance by the WCB president, WCB will directly purchase round trip coach fare airline tickets for first-timers and will directly pay lodging expenses. In lieu of air transport, mileage will be reimbursed at the current OFM mileage rate up to a limit not to exceed the cost of coach airfare.
Expenses essential to the transaction of WCB business are reimbursable. These expenses may include taxi fares, parking fees, bridge and ferry tolls and the cost of ground transportation. Per diem will be calculated and paid in accordance with the per diem rates published by OFM. All filings for reimbursement must include the WCB reimbursement form and associated receipts.
BYLAW 5 WCB REPRESENTATIVE TO ACB AFFILIATE PRESIDENT’S MEETING
The president of WCB will be our representative to the annual ACB affiliate president’s meeting.
In the event that the president cannot attend this president’s meeting the first or second vice-president shall be the representative, or if necessary, an alternative member may be selected by the board from among its members.
C. ELIGIBILITY AND EXPECTATIONS
A member selected to serve as alternate representative to the ACB annual president’s meeting must have been a member for 1 year prior to the date of the annual president’s meeting and have attended at least one ACB convention.
No one may serve who has outstanding WCB loan payments in default.
Unless other arrangements are approved in advance by the WCB president, WCB will directly purchase round trip coach fare airline tickets for the representative to attend the annual president’s meeting and will directly pay lodging expenses. In lieu of air transport, mileage will be reimbursed at the current OFM mileage rate up to a limit not to exceed the cost of coach airfare.
Expenses essential to the transaction of WCB business are reimbursable. These expenses may include taxi fares, parking fees, bridge and ferry tolls and the cost of ground transportation. Per diem will be calculated and paid in accordance with the per diem rates published by OFM. All filings for reimbursement must include the WCB reimbursement form and associated receipts.
BYLAW 6 WCB REPRESENTATIVES TO THE ACB LEGISLATIVE SEMINAR
Up to 4 WCB members may be selected each year to attend the annual ACB legislative seminar. The selection committee shall include 1. the president, 2. a person appointed by the president and 3. the chair of the legislative committee or a designee of that chair.
B. ELIGIBILITY AND EXPECTATIONS
Applicants must have been a WCB member for at least 1 year prior to the date of the seminar and must have no outstanding WCB loan payments in default. Each applicant must submit a personal letter to the president requesting this appointment. The following eligibility criteria will be evaluated in this selection process:
1. Either current or past service on the WCB legislative committee
2. Personal experience directly contacting congress or our state legislature regarding issues affecting the lives of persons who are blind.
3. Participation in congressional or legislative hearings on such issues.
4. A history of writing letters to their congressional and legislative representatives regarding such issues.
5. A personal strong and convincing commitment to engage in one or more of activities 1-4 after they return from the seminar.
As soon as possible after their return attendees must submit an article to the Newsline on their seminar experience.
C. TRAVEL EXPENSES
Unless other arrangements are approved in advance by the WCB president, WCB will directly purchase round trip coach fare airline tickets and will directly pay lodging expenses. In lieu of air transport, mileage will be reimbursed at the current OFM mileage rate up to a limit not to exceed the cost of coach airfare. Expenses essential to the transaction of WCB business are reimbursable. These expenses may include taxi fares, parking fees, bridge and ferry tolls and the cost of ground transportation. Per diem will be calculated and paid in accordance with the per diem rates published by OFM.
All filings for reimbursement must include the WCB reimbursement form and associated receipts.
BYLAW 7 WCB SPONSORED ATTENDANCE TO STATE BOARD MEETINGS AND SEMINARS
WCB will pay the travel and lodging costs of officers, board members and designated affiliate representatives to attend all regular and special board meetings with the exception of the preconvention board meeting. Other special training seminars may be approved by the board and members may be selected from the general membership to attend such seminars. All members selected to attend such seminars will also qualify to have travel and lodging costs covered by WCB.
Each affiliate who does not already have a member on the board may designate a member to attend board meetings as their representative. These members may not make motions or vote but otherwise can participate fully in meetings of the board.
C. ELIGIBILITY AND EXPECTATIONS
In order to qualify for WCB sponsorship to attend a board meeting or seminar an individual must have been a WCB member for at least 3 months prior to the date of the specific event. This requirement may be waived for charter members of new WCB affiliates. No member will qualify for sponsorship to a special seminar if they have outstanding WCB loan payments in default. Eligibility will be confirmed by the president or his/her designee. If an elected officer or board member falls behind in a loan payment they must immediately contact the WCB president and make arrangements to pay off the loan in a lump sum or reschedule the payments to make it possible to pay it off by the deadline before services will be resumed.
Officers, board members and affiliate representatives are required to attend regularly scheduled board meetings and board members are expected to also participate in the less formal monthly board telephone conference calls.
Board members and affiliate representatives must make reports of the regularly scheduled board meetings that they attend at their respective local affiliate meetings.
D. TRAVEL EXPENSES
Unless other arrangements are approved in advance by the WCB president, WCB will directly purchase round trip coach fare airline tickets for board members and other attendees qualifying for WCB sponsorship and will directly pay lodging expenses. In lieu of air transport, mileage will be reimbursed at the current OFM mileage rate up to a limit not to exceed the cost of coach airfare. Expenses essential to the transaction of WCB business are reimbursable. These expenses may include taxi fares, parking fees, bridge and ferry tolls and the cost of ground transportation.
Per diem will be calculated and paid in accordance with the per diem rates published by OFM. All filings for reimbursement must include the WCB reimbursement form and associated receipts.
BYLAW 8 FIRST-TIMERS AND THEIR SPONSORSHIP TO THE WCB STATE CONVENTION
Each year the WCB will select 1 or more members to attend the state convention as first-timers. Application procedures and the application deadline date will be determined by the board and announced on or before the second board meeting of the year. Each first-timer applicant must submit a personal letter to the chair of the first-timer committee requesting this award. First-timers must not have previously attended a WCB state convention as a registered voting member. After the president or his/her designee has confirmed eligibility the committee will review the applications and select the award winners.
B. FIRST-TIMER BENEFITS
First-timers will have all or most of their state convention expenses covered by WCB. First-timers will be encouraged to utilize a WCB sponsored convention bus, if one is available to them. If not, they will be provided the travel stipend amount allocated to WCB members that year. Convention registration will be directly paid for the first-timers, as will lodging.
C. TRAVEL STIPENDS TO STATE CONVENTION
Each year, at its discretion, the board will provide for a travel stipend which will be available to all members who do not have access to the WCB sponsored bus and who do not otherwise have convenient access to transportation to the convention. When the stipend is provided the board will determine the amount of the stipend, what parts of the state will qualify for this benefit and will designate a point of contact and the contact deadline for making this request. Each applicant must personally either call or write the designated point of contact and request a stipend. After confirmation of eligibility by the president or his/her designee the state treasurer will write a check to each individual for the stipend amount within one month of the application deadline.
D. FREE ROOMS AT WCB STATE CONVENTION
Each year 2 free rooms may be provided at the state convention, one for 2 men and one for 2 women. Those applying must call the WCB 800 phone number individually during the time specified in the WCB convention bulletin. The selection process is performed by the president. Priority will be given to applicants who have never previously utilized the WCB convention free room and for these first time applicants the space will be allocated on a first call first serve basis. When there are not 2 first time applicants for either room then a drawing will be held among the prior use applicants for the remaining space.
E. ELIGIBILITY AND EXPECTATIONS
All recipients of the above sponsorships to the WCB state convention must have been a member for 6 months as of the opening day of the convention. The 6 month requirement may be waived for charter members of new WCB affiliates. No member will be selected as a first-timer nor qualify for a travel stipend or free room who has an outstanding WCB loan in default.
BYLAW 9 WCB EQUIPMENT LOAN PROGRAM
WCB’S equipment loan fund is managed by the Washington Assistive Technology Foundation Access Fund. Applications will be submitted directly to WATF and WATF will confirm eligibility with the WCB president or his/her designee.
In order to qualify for a WCB equipment loan an individual must have been a member for 6 months prior to the date of the application and must not have any outstanding WCB loans in default.
BYLAW 10 WCB CRISIS AID PROGRAM
All potential crisis aid situations that come to our attention will be forwarded to the chair of the crisis aid committee. The 3 committee members who can be contacted in the shortest period of time will convene a meeting to judge the merits of each situation and make a decision based on established criteria. The decision of this committee to grant assistance shall be final and not appealable. Crisis aid recipients will never receive cash from WCB. After the committee has confirmed eligibility the WCB treasurer will write a check directly to the associated service or agency best suited to address the crisis.
B. GUIDELINES FOR PROVIDING CRISIS AID
1. Up to $400 for food, medicine or utilities, such as power, phone, gas and water.
2. Up to $400 for emergency medical expenses for a working guide dog.
3. Up to $1,000 for disaster relief, such as fire and flood.
All legally blind persons in the State of Washington qualify for crisis aid including those who are not members of WCB. Applicants may be required to provide documentation of legal blindness. Persons who are not legally blind or who have received crisis aid in the previous 5 years are not eligible to apply.
BYLAW 11 WCB SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
Scholarship applicants must complete and submit an application and be interviewed by the WCB scholarship committee.
Decisions of the scholarship committee to award scholarships shall be final and not appealable. All legally blind persons admitted to academic and vocational training programs for the current application year are encouraged to apply. Confirmation of eligibility will be at the discretion of the scholarship chair.
B. ELIGIBILITY AND EXPECTATIONS
1. The applicant must be legally blind.
2. The applicant must be enrolled or planning to enroll in an accredited vocational school, college or university.
3. The applicant must be a resident of Washington state. (A resident of Washington state is defined as an individual whose physical residence has been in Washington state for a period of 12 consecutive months at the time of application.)
4. Unless other arrangements are approved in advance by the scholarship chair, recipients must attend the banquet at the WCB fall state convention to receive their awards.
C. CONVENTION EXPENSES
1. The scholarship recipient, along with 1 other person of their choice, will be our guests at the state convention banquet. If they wish to stay at the hotel that night, WCB will directly pay for lodging for them both for 1 night.
2. If the scholarship recipient wishes to attend all or any part of the convention, WCB will directly pay for lodging for both persons for these additional nights. WCB will also directly pay all associated convention preregistration costs but only for the scholarship recipient.
In the event that meals are not included in the student’s preregistration, per diem will be calculated and paid in accordance with the per diem rates published by OFM.
Reasonable travel costs, including bus, train, or mileage, may also be covered. Mileage will be reimbursed at the current OFM mileage rate. Unless approved in advance by the scholarship chair, airfare will not be covered.
3. Scholarship awards to WCB members supersede any other state convention stipends or awards.
BYLAW 12 REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION
The Washington Council of the Blind provides certain accommodations to persons with disabilities attending WCB events in an effort to facilitate their participation in such events. The WCB, however, does not provide services of a personal nature, such as assistance in eating, toileting, dressing or provision/administering of medications. While persons requiring such assistance are welcome to attend WCB events, they are responsible for providing any such assistance that they may need.
All travel related requests for reasonable accommodation, whether to attend WCB board meetings or to transact other WCB business, must be submitted in writing and be approved in advance by the WCB president.
Only 1 request needs to be made and approved for the same ongoing accommodation. However, the WCB president reserves the right to review and/or modify ongoing accommodations on a periodic basis.
BYLAW 13 AFFILIATE STIPENDS
WCB may, when the budget permits, issue to each affiliate an annual stipend providing affiliates meet the following criteria:
1. Each affiliate will ensure that dues and requested contact information for all affiliate members, including a list of the current year’s elected officers and board members, is received by the designated representatives of WCB by February 10 of the given year.
2. Each local affiliate agrees to hold at least 8 business meetings per year. Each special interest affiliate agrees to hold at least 1 business meeting per year.
3. Each affiliate president or designee must provide an electronic report to the chair of the WCB constitution and bylaws committee by the February 10 deadline. If no changes have been made to the affiliate’s constitution and bylaws, the report need only indicate that the document remains as previously submitted. If any changes have been made, a summary of those changes should be provided along with the complete document as revised.
4. Each affiliate must have had representation at a majority of the previous year’s WCB scheduled board meetings.
BYLAW 14 WASHINGTON COUNCIL OF THE BLIND CONFIDENTIALITY POLICY
Most information about the activities and operations of WCB is available to the public. However, officers, directors and hired service personnel of WCB will, in the course of their service or employment, have access to information that is not readily available to the public, or to members not acting in an official or service capacity. It is the policy of WCB that officers, directors and service personnel may not disclose, divulge, or make accessible confidential information belonging to, or obtained through their affiliation with WCB, to any person, including relatives, friends, and business and professional associates, unless such persons have a legitimate need for such information, and WCB has authorized disclosure. Board members and service personnel shall use confidential information solely for the purpose of performing the services associated with their positions in WCB. Obligation to keep information confidential continues after a board member, or other individual leaves office or service within WCB.
Any board member or other individual who purposely, or through a failure to exercise reasonable care, causes confidential information to be disclosed may be subject to disciplinary action, including termination, or removal as described in C. The definition of confidential information shall be that used by the American Council of the Blind bylaw.
BYLAW 15 WASHINGTON COUNCIL OF THE BLIND CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY
The purpose of this policy is to protect the interest of the WCB when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of an officer or board member of WCB.
This policy is intended to supplement, but not replace any applicable state laws governing conflicts of interest applicable to nonprofit and charitable corporations.
It is the responsibility of each officer and board member to discharge his or her duties in good faith, in a manner the person reasonably believes to be in the best interest of the organization, and with the care an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would exercise under similar circumstances.
In connection with any actual or possible conflict of interest, an Interested Person must disclose the existence of his or her Financial Interest and be given the opportunity to disclose all material facts relating to his or her Financial Interest to the officers and board members considering the proposed transaction or arrangement.
After disclosure of the Financial Interest and all material facts, and after any discussion with the Interested Person, the Interested Person must leave the board meeting while the Financial Interest is discussed and voted upon. The remaining board members shall decide if a conflict of interest exists.
If the board has reasonable cause to believe that a person subject to this policy has failed to disclose actual or possible conflicts of interest it shall inform the person of the basis for such belief and afford the person an opportunity to explain the alleged failure.
If, after hearing the response of the person and making such further investigation as may be warranted in the circumstances, the board determines that the person has, in fact, failed to discharge his or her duties in accordance with this policy or to disclose an actual or possible conflict of interest, it shall take appropriate disciplinary and corrective action including removal or expulsion as covered in Article VI Section 6.
A voting member of the board of directors who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from WCB for services rendered in conjunction with a transaction or other business arrangement is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that member’s compensation.
The definitions of all terms associated with conflict of interest shall be those stated in the associated policy of the American Council of the Blind.
FIRST DRAFT: 12-2-89
Revised and Adopted 3-3-90
Amended November 1992
Amended October 23, 1993
Amended November 13, 1999
Amended November 11, 2000
Amended October 26, 2002
Amended and added bylaws October 29, 2005
And amended every year from 2006 to 2015 incorporating the following changes:
Changes adopted at 2015 convention
Changed the eligibility for crisis assistance from once in a lifetime to once every five years. Modified first timer eligibility to must not have previously attended a WCB state convention as a registered voting member.
Made it clear that members who are appointed to fill board positions serve until an elected person takes office.
Reduced the advance notification requirement placed on the nominating committee from 20 days to 10 days.
Updated the stated purpose of the environmental access committee.
Changes adopted at 2014 convention
Removed the obsolete clause in Article III that grandfathered in members under 16.
Changed first occurrence of “sex” in Article III to “gender”
Added language that makes it clear that WCB state lifetime members must still pay local and national dues.
Changes adopted at 2013 convention
The president may appoint any number of persons to the awards committee.
Removing requirement that the alternate delegate travel expenses be covered by WCB.
Changes adopted at 2012 convention
Changed designation: rather than calling it the lifetime membership, it will be called the WCB lifetime membership.
Added a provision that the president has the authority to combine the duties of any WCB
standing committees as the need arises.
Added a public relations committee and a resolutions committee to the list of standing
committees listed in Bylaw 1.
Made the provision to send a first timer to the national convention optional.
Removed the last remnant of an old double occupancy lodging requirement from Bylaw 6
dealing with sending members to the ACB legislative seminar.
Changes adopted at 2011 convention
Corrected outdated mid-year terminology.
Simplified Bylaw 13 by reducing the number of monthly meetings required to qualify for the
affiliate stipend from 10 to 8 and removing the requirement that each affiliate report all
meeting dates to the state president.
Simplified Bylaw 13 by stipulating that affiliates only need to submit their entire
constitution to the state if it has been changed and if it has not been changed they simply
need to notify the state that it is unchanged.
Authorized the committee to change the chapter terminology in Bylaw 13 to affiliate
Added the provision that the nominating committee shall report its slate of proposed
candidates to the membership via the WCB email list and the WCB telephone service 20
days before the convention.
Raised the crisis award limit for most things from $300 to $400.
Changes in 2010
Added a confidentiality policy.
Added a conflict of interest policy.
Removed all occurrences of the phrase “face to face.”
Changed the board meeting schedule to “no less than 3 times a year.”
(note: in accordance with the motion that was passed I found 2 occurrences in the bylaws of quarterly board meetings which I replaced with regularly scheduled board meetings)
Change in 2009
Created a new standing committee for website oversight.
Changes in 2008
Made membership dues due on February 10.
Made the provision for free rooms at the convention optional
Increased state dues from $3 to $5
Added a bylaw to regulate the awarding of annual stipends to chapters
Decreased the membership requirement for seminar and board meeting.
Sponsored attendance from 6 months to 3 months.
Changes in 2007
Tightened up the approval process for new affiliates.
Added an indemnification clause to protect the board from liability.
Extended WCB scholarships so that scholars can attend a school out of state.
Added language to clearly state that we are not required to send a representative to the ACB legislative seminar every year.
Changes made in 2006
Added ACB legislative seminar procedures.
Added Roberts Rules and provided for the announcement of additional candidates on the first day of convention.