WASHINGTON COUNCIL OF THE BLIND CONSTITUTION
Revised October 28, 2023
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 (18 or over), gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, political ideology, or physical, mental or sensory disability.
All voting members of WCB affiliates who have reached the age of 18 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 they are in good standing.
Persons who are not members of an affiliate and who have reached the age of 18 may become voting members at large of this organization, provided they are in good standing.
Members in good standing are not delinquent in dues or loan repayments, have not been disqualified from applying for loans, and their WCB dues have been received by WCB or an affiliate thereof at least 30 days prior to the commencement of the annual convention or special meeting. Only members in good standing are eligible for the WCB privileges of running for elected office, receiving stipends, loans, monetary awards, and/or travel reimbursement, and representing WCB at conventions and seminars.
SECTION 2 JUNIOR MEMBERS
All members of affiliates under the age of 18 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 or loans.
SECTION 3 EXPULSION
The convention, by two-thirds vote of the members present and voting, may expel 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 is proposed between conventions, the president or majority of the board of directors shall call a special meeting in accordance with Article VIII Section 3 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 is being considered shall have the right to vote on the issue.
ARTICLE IV AFFILIATES
SECTION 1 APPLICATION FOR AFFILIATION
Any local or special interest group desiring to become an affiliate of this organization shall apply for affiliation by electronically submitting to the WCB president a copy of its constitution for review by the WCB constitution and bylaws committee, all required membership data in the WCB-approved format, their UBI number and optional Washington charities registration number, and a list of elected officers and board members. Both an existing organizational bank account and a minimum of 10 dues-paying members are required to be considered for affiliation. The WCB treasurer will calculate the total amount due and notify the applicant. The dues payment must be received by the WCB treasurer to complete the application.
Authority to approve an affiliate application rests with the WCB board of directors. Along with confirming that the requirements for affiliation have been met, the board may consider other factors surrounding the efficacy and viability of the potential new affiliate. Upon approval of the application, a certificate of acceptance shall be issued to the new affiliate.
SECTION 2 AFFILIATE RESPONSIBILITIES
Annually, on or before February 1, each affiliate shall electronically submit all required membership data in the WCB-approved format to the WCB president or designee. Based on submitted data, WCB will calculate the state and national dues owed by the affiliate and notify each president of the total amount due. Affiliates whose members’ state and national dues have not been either submitted electronically or paid via check and postmarked by March 1 shall be delinquent and members of those affiliates shall lose all rights in the organization until all arrears have been paid. The WCB 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.
Each affiliate must provide an electronic report to the chair of the WCB constitution and bylaws committee by the February 1 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.
As new members enter the affiliates, their WCB and ACB dues must be submitted to the WCB treasurer and all required membership data must be submitted electronically in the WCB-approved format to the WCB president or designee without delay.
SECTION 3 AFFILIATE COMPLIANCE PARAMETERS
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. An affiliate may provide in its constitution that junior members 16 and older may vote, serve on committees and hold positions as board directors, excluding officer positions. The affiliate must be registered as a Washington nonprofit corporation and maintain an active status. The president of this organization shall be an ex-officio member of each affiliate.
In the event that an affiliate is out of compliance in any of these requirements, the affiliate will be given a written notification by the WCB president or designee, which starts a ninety day grace period to resolve the situation. Failure to comply will cause the affiliate to be made inactive.
In the event that an affiliate has been made inactive, the affiliate will be formally notified in writing by the WCB president and given ninety days from that date to resolve the situation. Failure to comply will cause the affiliate to be placed on probation and members of the affiliate shall be designated as members at large in the organization until the affiliate resumes active status.
An affiliate on probation who remains in that status for one year will have its certificate of acceptance revoked.
SECTION 4 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
SECTION 1 ANNUAL WCB MEMBERSHIP
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 dues and submit all required membership data in the WCB-approved format on or before February 1. Dues are delinquent if not paid by March 1. Delinquent members shall lose all rights in the organization until all arrears have been paid.
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.
SECTION 2 LIFETIME WCB MEMBERSHIP
A WCB state lifetime membership may be secured for a one-time fee of $150. Members who elect this option will from that point forward continue to pay national ACB dues annually and local dues if applicable, and may choose to pay those dues through the local affiliate or directly to WCB. It is the lifetime member’s responsibility to ensure appropriate dues are paid. After 1 year of failing to pay dues, during which WCB will make a good faith effort to notify the delinquent member, the associated lifetime membership becomes dormant.
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 3 consecutive full terms in the same office. The president, first vice-president, and second vice-president must be legally blind. All candidates for officer positions must be Washington State residents at the time of election or live in a contiguous county. The terms of all officers shall begin on the first day of January following the convention at which they are elected.
SECTION 2 ELECTIONS
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.
Officers shall be elected by a majority vote of the members who are present and voting at the business meeting. 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 2 persons receiving the highest vote totals shall remain on the list of nominees and a subsequent ballot shall be taken to determine who is elected.
SECTION 3 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 4 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 5 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 3. 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 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
SECTION 1 QUALIFICATIONS AND SELECTION
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 3 consecutive full terms. A majority of the directors must be legally blind.
The 6 directors shall be elected as described in Section 2. The terms of all directors shall begin on the first day of January following the convention at which they are elected.
SECTION 2 MEETINGS
During the first session 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.
Then in the next session during the elections held at the annual business meeting, the chair will formally accept the initial nominations coming from the nominating committee. The chair will then accept other nominations from the floor.
After nominations have been closed, the chair will ask for the review of names, constituting the single ballot listing all individuals nominated for open board director positions. The number of open positions shall be announced and each voter shall vote for no more than that number. In the case of an in person ballot, each voter’s vote slips shall be submitted in a separate envelope so that it can be confirmed that they have not voted more than once for a single candidate.
Voting for more than the announced number of positions and/or voting more than once for a particular candidate will result in the ballot submission being declared invalid.
The candidates receiving the highest number of votes of the members who are present and voting at the business meeting shall be elected to the open positions. There shall be no proxy voting. Voting shall be by secret ballot unless otherwise decided by a majority of the members present and voting.
When a ballot includes both open two year positions and open one year positions, the winning candidates with the least number of votes will be awarded the one year positions. If the vote results in a tie, a run off shall be held. The candidate(s) receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected to the position(s).
SECTION 3 MEETINGS
The board of directors shall hold open board meetings no less than 3 times a year at the call of the president or by an email request by any 3 of the board members. The secretary shall post notice of scheduled board meetings on the wcb-l listserv no less than 7 days in advance of each regular meeting. At least 6 members of the board of directors must be present at any meeting to constitute a quorum to transact business.
SECTION 4 EXECUTIVE SESSIONS
In between regular board meetings or as part of such a regular meeting, the chair may convene the board in executive session to consider personnel matters, to discuss sensitive litigation or financial issues, or to discuss information of a nature that is confidential to the parties involved. Prior to the opening of an executive session, notice must be given to the membership of the general questions to be considered. When the board next comes back into open session, the first order of business shall be for the chair to report whether or not action was taken and describe in general such action.
SECTION 5 AUTHORITY
The board shall advise the president and shall have charge of the affairs of the organization between conventions. The board of directors is authorized to develop policies between business meetings. Such policies when adopted by the board shall become official statements of organizational policy unless changed by convention action. Proposed policy language must be electronically distributed to the board prior to the meeting at which a motion is brought to adopt. The secretary will maintain a master policy document, incorporate updates and post the document on the WCB general listserv within 10 days of adoption. The board shall adopt no policy in conflict with existing provisions of the WCB constitution or bylaws or in conflict with existing decisions or actions of the convention.
SECTION 6 COMPENSATION
No officer or director may receive compensation for any service rendered to WCB in their official capacity.
ARTICLE VIII MEETINGS
SECTION 1 BUSINESS MEETING
The organization’s business meeting of the general membership shall occur at WCB’s annual convention, as defined in this Article.
SECTION 2 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. A quorum as defined in this Article must be present 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 3 SPECIAL MEETINGS
The president of the organization may call a special meeting of the membership at any time they or a majority of the board of directors deems such action to be necessary, but at such special meetings, a quorum must be present to transact business, and written notice must have been sent to the membership and affiliates at least 7 days prior to the date of the meeting.
A special meeting must be convened if it is requested by no less than 25 voting members. Such requests must be sent to the WCB secretary either by postal service, texting, or email. This special meeting must be convened virtually by the president within 15 days of receipt of the 25th request.
SECTION 4 VIRTUAL MEETINGS
Whenever it is determined by the president or board of directors that circumstances justify not meeting at a physical location, any business meeting, special meeting or board meeting may be held using conference call technology and such calls may include voting. Voting may be conducted via voice vote, raising of hands, postal mail, email, texting or other electronic transmission methods.
SECTION 5 QUORUM
Fifteen percent of the membership must be present at any business or special meeting in order to conduct business. The number of voting members shall be determined 30 calendar days prior to the commencement of any such meeting. The existence of a quorum will be determined at the beginning of any business or special meeting and may be comprised of members who are present in person or virtually.
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 monetary assets of this organization shall be deposited in one or more financial institutions selected by the treasurer and approved by the WCB board of directors. Each account shall have the president, the treasurer, and the immediate past president as signatories. An agent selected by the board, such as a bookkeeper, may also be allowed as a signatory.
The normal financial obligations of this organization shall be discharged as necessary via check or electronic payment, within the limits of the current operations budget approved by the membership.
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.
WASHINGTON COUNCIL OF THE BLIND BYLAWS
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 January 31 each year with the following exception: appointments should be made to the Government Affairs Committee immediately following the state convention to provide a new committee the time to prepare for the upcoming legislative session. The president has the authority to combine, separate, or reassign the duties of committees as the need arises. Members of all committees serve on the behalf of the organization and the board, promoting WCB principles, ideals, and interests. Issues and concerns discovered by any committee shall be reported to the board in a timely manner.
Members of this committee address issues of discrimination and accessibility by investigating concerns raised by blind individuals and communicating with employers, businesses, other organizations, and individuals in order to promote advocacy and accessibility.
Members of this committee administer the WCB annual awards program and the first-timers awards to both the ACB and WCB annual conventions.
Members of this committee are tasked with managing and producing a unified, consistent message across WCB’s website, phone system, and listserv. The committee shall seek guidance from the board and obtain concurrence from the president for all contracting decisions.
- WEBSITE acts as WCB’s principal agent to maintain a website that is informative, secure, and accessible. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, domain name registration and supervision, web hosting service selection, website development direction, website content review, and frequent independently stored backup copies of the website.
- WCB PHONE SYSTEM appoints and supervises the receptionists working with the phone system, develops and maintains the receptionist handbook, and other duties as may be required.
- WCB LISTSERV moderates the WCB email list, oversees list activity to ensure that it runs smoothly, and keeps the list rules up to date and relevant.
D. CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS
Members of this committee review and consider any and all amendments to the WCB constitution and bylaws, presenting the proposed slate at the annual convention. 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. In addition, members also analyze the constitutions of proposed affiliates for consistency with the WCB constitution and bylaws.
Members of this committee make all arrangements for the annual WCB state convention.
Members of this committee administer WCB’s crisis program.
Members of this committee are responsible for developing the annual budget, analyzing all grant requests received, monitoring WCB’s financial investments, and recommending changes in investment strategy when appropriate.
- The proposed WCB annual operations budget must be presented at the preconvention board meeting for approval by the board. This approved budget is then presented to the general membership at the annual business meeting to be considered for adoption with a majority vote. Budgeted funds adopted by the convention may be adjusted by the board of directors between individual line items. Only under extraordinary circumstances may the board increase the budget and only with unanimous approval.
- All grant requests received by published deadlines will be analyzed and summarized by the finance committee, then reported to the board for action. Grant requests and required documents must be submitted within the established guidelines.
Members of this committee will identify and develop opportunities for WCB to raise funds, which may include grants, online fundraisers, or other initiatives.
I. GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
Members of this committee track and report legislative and policy issues significant to the board and members of WCB. In addition, they work with legislative bodies to advocate for laws and regulations affecting citizens who are blind or visually impaired.
Members of this committee preserve the history of WCB and that of the organizations which preceded it.
Members of this committee plan and conduct leadership programs which identify and foster potential future leaders, including but not limited to the WCB Leadership Seminar and the Leadership Institute.
Members of this committee work to increase WCB membership by assisting new affiliates in getting started and providing support and consultation to existing ones.
Members of this committee are the editorial body of the WCB newsletter, the Newsline. All submitted articles are reviewed, processed, and may be edited if appropriate prior to publication and distribution to readers. With board concurrence, the committee may also establish policy surrounding the Newsline.
Members of this committee will recruit nominees, consider applications, and recommend nominees for election to the membership at the annual convention.
The president shall appoint a 3 person nominating committee no less than 60 days before the annual convention. No person who is seeking election shall serve on the nominating committee. The nominating committee chair shall report the proposed list of candidates on the WCB email list and notify the communications committee chair so that the telephone service can be updated no less than 10 days prior to the opening session of the fall convention. The chair or another member of the nominating committee shall report at the opening meeting of the first day of the annual convention the names of the candidates nominated for each position to be filled.
Members of this committee will manage all external WCB outreach functions and will likewise assist other committees, local chapters, and special interest affiliates with regard to such efforts, including: promoting our organization’s activities, programs, and initiatives; educating and sharing blindness information with the public; and using all manner of live events, social media, and public media to increase WCB’s general visibility.
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.
Members of this committee administer the WCB scholarship program by processing applications, interviewing applicants, selecting the scholarship winners, and presenting these awards at the WCB state convention.
R. SENIOR VISION LOSS
Members of this committee work to improve the lives of senior citizens experiencing vision loss.
S. WCB CARES
Members of this committee let WCB members know that we, as an organization, are thinking of them, sharing in their joy and sorrow. Through telephone communication, personalized notes, or floral arrangements, we are never alone because WCB cares.
T. WCB FAMILIES
This committee addresses issues specific to families with blind or visually impaired members. They also oversee any activities associated with students, from pre-K through high school.
BYLAW 2 WCB DELEGATES TO AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND (ACB) CONVENTION
The president of WCB will be our delegate to the ACB convention. The president will appoint an alternate delegate to the national convention no less than 30 days prior to the opening session of the convention. The delegate will receive travel expenses as defined in the current WCB policy document. WCB may, when the budget permits, reimburse the alternate delegate up to $300 for travel expenses.
B. 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.
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.
BYLAW 3 WCB STIPENDS AND LOANS TO ATTEND THE ACB CONVENTION
A. TRAVEL STIPENDS
Each year when provided for in the budget, WCB members in good standing may request a travel stipend from WCB to attend the ACB national convention.
At or before its first board meeting of the calendar year, 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 eligibility has been confirmed by the president or their designee, the WCB treasurer will disburse the funds in accordance with Article XI.
B. WCB LOANS
Each year, the board may choose to offer loans which must be used for ACB convention-related expenses. At or before the first board meeting of the calendar year, the board shall set the maximum amount of each loan, the application deadline, and identify a point of contact. WCB members may request a loan by personally calling or emailing the point of contact with the desired amount. After eligibility has been confirmed by the president or their designee, a promissory note will be sent to the applicant. After recording a properly executed promissory note, the WCB treasurer will disburse the funds in accordance with Article XI.
C. ELIGIBILITY AND EXPECTATIONS
In order to receive either a stipend or a loan from WCB to attend the ACB convention, an individual must have been a WCB member for at least 1 year prior to the day of the opening session of the convention and must be a member in good standing. It is expected 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. They will also be required to be seated with our delegation during the principal business session dates and times as published in the ACB convention program for that year. Any stipend and/or loan recipient not meeting the requirements may be asked by action of the board to repay the stipend and/or loan within 30 days of the end of the convention.
BYLAW 4 WCB FIRST-TIMERS TO ACB CONVENTION
A. FIRST-TIMER DELEGATE SELECTION
Each year 1 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 awards committee requesting this award. After the president or their designee has confirmed the eligibility of each applicant the committee will review the applications and select the winner. The delegate will receive travel expenses as defined in the current WCB policy document.
B. ELIGIBILITY AND EXPECTATIONS
In order to be considered for this award an individual needs to have never previously attended an ACB convention in person. 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 be a member in good standing.
It is expected 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. They will also be required to be seated with our delegation during the principal business session dates and times as published in the ACB convention program for that year. Any recipient not meeting the requirements may be asked by action of the board to repay the award within 30 days of the end of the convention.
First-timers must write an article for the Newsline relating their experience at the convention.
BYLAW 5 WCB REPRESENTATIVE TO ACB AFFILIATE PRESIDENT’S MEETING
A. REPRESENTATIVE SELECTION
The president of WCB will be our representative to the annual ACB affiliate president’s meeting. The representative will receive travel expenses as defined in the current WCB policy document.
B. ALTERNATE REPRESENTATIVE
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, have attended at least 1 ACB convention, and be a member in good standing.
BYLAW 6 WCB REPRESENTATIVES TO THE ACB LEGISLATIVE SEMINAR
A. REPRESENTATIVE SELECTION
Up to 4 WCB members may be selected each year to attend the annual ACB legislative seminar. The selection committee shall include the president, a person appointed by the president and the chair of the government affairs committee or a designee of that chair. Each representative will receive travel expenses as defined in the current WCB policy document.
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 be a member in good standing. Each applicant must submit a personal letter to the president requesting this appointment.
The following eligibility criteria will be evaluated in this selection process:
- Either current or past service on the WCB government affairs committee.
- Personal experience directly contacting congress or our state legislature regarding issues affecting the lives of persons who are blind.
- Participation in congressional or legislative hearings on such issues.
- A history of writing letters to their congressional and legislative representatives regarding such issues.
- 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.
BYLAW 7 WCB SPONSORED ATTENDANCE TO STATE BOARD MEETINGS AND SEMINARS
A. BOARD MEETING TRAVEL
WCB will pay the travel and lodging costs of officers, board members and designated affiliate representatives to attend all regular and special board meetings as defined in the current WCB policy document, 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, as defined in the current WCB policy document.
B. DESIGNATED AFFILIATE REPRESENTATIVES
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 and must be a member in good standing. This requirement may be waived for charter members of new WCB affiliates. Eligibility will be confirmed by the president or their designee.
Any elected officer or board member who becomes delinquent on a WCB loan may be required to immediately repay it in full and they will not be eligible for paid board meeting or seminar travel expenses until it is repaid. At the discretion of the treasurer, reimbursable expenses paid directly by the affected member may be applied against the outstanding loan balance.
Officers and board members are required to attend regularly scheduled board meetings unless excused by the president in advance.
BYLAW 8 MEMBER INCENTIVES TO ATTEND THE WCB STATE CONVENTION
A. FIRST-TIMER SELECTION
Each year 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 awards committee requesting this award. First-timers must not have previously attended a WCB state convention in person as a registered voting member. After the president or their 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 eligibility has been confirmed by the president or their designee, the WCB treasurer will disburse the funds in accordance with Article XI.
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. WCB LOANS
Each year, the board may choose to offer loans which must be used for WCB convention-related expenses. At or before the third board meeting of the calendar year, the board shall set the maximum amount of each loan, the application deadline, and identify a point of contact. WCB members may request a loan by personally calling or emailing the point of contact with the desired amount. After eligibility has been confirmed by the president or their designee, a promissory note will be sent to the applicant. After recording a properly executed promissory note, the WCB treasurer will disburse the funds in accordance with Article XI.
F. ELIGIBILITY AND EXPECTATIONS
All recipients of the above sponsorships to the WCB state convention must have been members for at least 6 months as of the opening day of the convention and must also be members in good standing. The 6 month requirement may be waived for charter members of new WCB affiliates.
BYLAW 9 WCB EQUIPMENT LOAN PROGRAM
WCB’s equipment loan fund is managed by Northwest Access Fund. Applications will be submitted directly to NAF and NAF will confirm eligibility with the WCB president or their 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, for the life of the loan, must be a member in good standing.
BYLAW 10 WCB CRISIS AID PROGRAM
A. COMMITTEE PROCEDURE
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. CATEGORIES OF CRISIS AID
- Up to $400 for food, medicine or utilities, such as power, phone, gas and water.
- Up to $400 for emergency medical expenses for a working guide dog.
- 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. Qualified persons may be eligible to receive aid in any category once every 2 years.
BYLAW 11 WCB SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
A. COMMITTEE PROCEDURE
Scholarship applicants must submit a current, complete application packet 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
- The applicant must be legally blind.
- The applicant must be enrolled or planning to enroll in an accredited vocational school, college or university.
- 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.)
- Unless approved in advance by the scholarship chair, scholarship recipients are expected to attend the banquet at the annual WCB state convention to receive their awards.
- Scholarship awards to WCB members supersede any other state convention stipends or awards.
- Each scholarship recipient may bring a guest to the WCB state convention banquet meal at no cost. No other lodging or travel benefits apply to the recipient’s guest.
C. RECIPIENT BENEFITS
- Banquet Meal: Each scholarship recipient will be our banquet guest, receiving the state convention banquet meal at no cost.
- Convention Registration: If a scholarship recipient wishes to attend all or any part of the convention in addition to the banquet, WCB will directly pay for the convention registration cost, including a meal package if offered.
- Lodging: If a scholarship recipient has indicated the desire to attend all or part of the convention program or wishes to stay at the hotel the night of the banquet, WCB will directly pay for lodging for the scholarship recipient, as defined in the current WCB policy document regarding lodging.
- Travel: WCB will directly pay for travel for the scholarship recipient, as defined in the current WCB policy document regarding travel.
BYLAW 12 REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION
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. 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.
B. REQUEST SUBMISSION
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
Active affiliates may be eligible for WCB benefits including annual stipends and a share of funds raised, providing they meet the criteria listed below in addition to fulfilling all responsibilities detailed in Article IV Section 2. Stipends are available only if included in the annual WCB budget. Fundraisers are offered when identified by the fundraising committee.
- 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.
- 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
A. DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
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 Article VI Section 5. 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.
B. DEFINITION AND PROCESS
It is the responsibility of officers and board members to discharge their duties in good faith, in a manner reasonably believed 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, interested persons must disclose the existence of their financial interest and be given the opportunity to disclose all material facts relating to their 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.
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.
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 their 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 5.
D. MANDATORY RECUSAL
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.
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 2023 incorporating the changes summarized below. This list is not part of the constitution and is only provided here for those who appreciate some historical context.
Changes adopted at 2023 convention
Updated gender references. Articles III, VII & VIII and Bylaws 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, & 15
Plurality voting process defined to elect general board directors. Article VII
Requirements defined for receiving stipend are now also used for fundraising participation. Bylaw 13
Changes adopted at 2022 convention
Crisis aid eligibility resets every 2 years instead of 5 years. Bylaw 10
Meetings of the board require 7 days’ notice and a provision is now made for executive sessions of the board. Article VII
The quorum for general or special membership meetings decreased from 20% to 15%. Article VIII
Officers and directors can now serve up to 3 consecutive 2 year terms. Articles VI & VII
We made it clear that junior members may serve on the board of their local affiliate but not as president. Article IV
The past practice of offering members a loan to attend the state convention is codified. Bylaw 8
Disbursement of funds by the treasurer can now be performed electronically. Bylaw 3
Changes adopted at 2021 convention
Groups seeking affiliation must have UBI numbers; all affiliates must maintain active status as a Washington nonprofit corporation; the board approves applications for affiliation. Article IV
Candidates for officer positions must reside in Washington or a contiguous county at the time of their election. Article VI
Specified that the president should make appointments to Government Affairs immediately following the convention; renamed Aging and Blindness. Bylaw 1
First-timer applicants must never have attended an ACB conference and convention in person. Bylaw 4
First-timer applicants must never have attended a WCB convention in person as a registered voting member. Bylaw 8
Changes adopted at 2020 convention
Membership is conferred when dues are received by either the state or local treasurer. Article III
Only the convention can expel, but the board can now discipline. Article III
Specified that virtual meetings and virtual voting are now allowed. Article VIII
Specified that the president can modify any committee’s duties; created 2 new committees: Outreach and Fundraising. Bylaw 1
Changes adopted at 2019 convention
Specified that the normal authorized signatories on accounts shall be the president, treasurer and past president. Article XI
Gave the treasurer authority to make payments electronically and to choose a bank with board approval. Article XI
Specified that between conventions, the board may move funds between line items, but may only exceed the limit of the budget under extraordinary circumstances. Bylaw 1
Specified that all grant requests will be reviewed by finance committee with final decisions made by the board. Bylaw 1
Changes adopted at 2018 convention
Added requirement that new affiliates have an existing bank account. Article IV
Added requirement that annual affiliate data reporting be completed electronically. Article IV
Staggered due dates for data updates and dues to permit WCB to calculate amounts due prior to payment. Article IV
Made it clear that members at large are responsible for their own dues and data reporting. Article V
Created provision for dormant lifetime memberships. Article V
Removed 2 redundant affiliate stipend provisions from Bylaw 13.
Changed the deadline for committee appointments to January 31. Bylaw 1
Renamed the Families with Blind Children committee to WCB Families. Bylaw 1
Increased voting age to 18. Article III
Added that junior members are not eligible for loans. Article III
Defined “member in good standing” and specified it as a prerequisite to receive most membership privileges. Article III (definition); Bylaws 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 (requirements)
Placed additional restrictions on officers and board members who let loans default. Bylaw 7
Further restricted what expenses will be paid for a scholarship winner’s guest. Bylaw 11
Changes adopted at 2017 convention
Improved several section and bylaw titles.
Added language prohibiting financial compensation to officers and directors. Article VII
Increased the cost of a lifetime membership from $100 to $150. Article V
Added language describing authority of the board to make policy and requiring documentation and distribution of such policies. Article VII
Removed redundant travel policy language from 5 bylaws and created a new travel policy separate from the constitution. Bylaws 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7
Changes adopted at 2016 convention
Added a definition of business meeting. Article VIII
Changed affiliate membership data and dues deadline from “received by” to “submitted or postmarked on or before” February 10. Electronic methods are now standard. Bylaw 13
Changed the alternate delegate to the ACB convention from an elected position to an appointed position, limiting the amount of travel reimbursement to $300 when the budget permits. Bylaw 2
Rewrote Bylaw 1 consolidating many related committees under a communications committee.
Changes adopted at 2015 convention
Changed the eligibility for crisis assistance from once in a lifetime to once every five years. Bylaw 10
Modified first timer eligibility to must not have previously attended a WCB state convention as a registered voting member. Bylaw 8
Made it clear that members who are appointed to fill board positions serve until an elected person takes office. Article VI
Reduced the advance notification requirement placed on the nominating committee from 20 days to 10 days. Bylaw 1
Updated the stated purpose of the environmental access committee. Bylaw 1
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. Article V
Changes adopted at 2013 convention
The president may appoint any number of persons to the awards committee.
Removed requirement that the alternate delegate travel expenses be covered by WCB. Bylaw 2
Changes adopted at 2012 convention
Changed designation: rather than calling it the lifetime membership, it will be called the WCB lifetime membership. Article V
Added a provision that the president has the authority to combine the duties of any WCB standing committees as the need arises. Bylaw 1
Added a public relations committee and a resolutions committee to the list of standing committees. Bylaw 1
Made the provision to send a first timer to the national convention optional. Bylaw 14
Removed the last remnant of an old double occupancy lodging requirement, dealing with sending members to the ACB legislative seminar. Bylaw 6
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. Bylaw 1
Raised the crisis award limit for most things from $300 to $400. Bylaw 10
Changes in 2010
Added a confidentiality policy. Bylaw 14
Added a conflict of interest policy. Bylaw 15
Removed all occurrences of the phrase “face to face.”
Changed the board meeting schedule to “no less than 3 times a year.” Article VII
(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. Bylaw 1
Changes in 2008
Made membership dues due on February 10. Article V
Made the provision for free rooms at the convention optional. Bylaw 8
Increased state dues from $3 to $5. Article V
Added a bylaw to regulate the awarding of annual stipends to chapters. Bylaw 13
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. Article IV
Added an indemnification clause to protect the board from liability. Article X
Extended WCB scholarships so that scholars can attend a school out of state. Bylaw 11
Added language to clearly state that we are not required to send a representative to the ACB legislative seminar every year. Bylaw 6
Changes made in 2006
Added ACB legislative seminar procedures. Bylaw 6
Added Roberts Rules for governing procedures not otherwise defined. Article IX
Provided for the announcement of additional candidates on the first day of convention. Article VI