Official Bylaws of the Kentucky Green Party
As Approved By the Green Party Members at the Founding Statewide Convention in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky on July 23, 2011 and Revised by the Steering Committee in Lexington, Kentucky on August 8, 2015.
The purpose of the Kentucky Green Party (Party) is to transform Kentucky’s political and economic systems in ways that move the Commonwealth closer to the realization of our ten key values, which are as follows:
1.1 Grassroots Democracy
Every human being deserves a say in the decisions that affect their life and should not be subject to control by arbitrary or illegitimate political or economic powers. We will work to increase public participation at every level of government and to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We will work to create new types of political organizations which expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in the decision-making process.
1.2 Social Justice and Equal Opportunity
All persons should have the rights and opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, barriers such as racism, class oppression, sexism, homophobia, ageism, disability, and other forms of discrimination, which deny people fair treatment and equal justice under the law.
1.3 Ecological Wisdom
Human societies should operate with the understanding that we are part of nature, not separate from nature. We must maintain an ecological balance and live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our planet. We support a sustainable society which utilizes resources in such a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation. To this end we must practice agriculture which replenishes the soil, develop an energy-efficient economy, and live in ways that respect the integrity of natural systems.
It is essential that we develop effective alternatives to society’s current patterns of violence. We will work to demilitarize and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments. We recognize the need for self-defense, but we promote effective, non-violent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree. We will act to build lasting personal, community, national, and global peace.
Centralization of wealth and power contributes to social and economic injustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. We support a restructuring of social, political, and economic institutions away from a system which is controlled by, and mostly benefits, the powerful few, towards a democratic, less bureaucratic system. Decision-making should remain at the individual and local level as much as possible, while assuring that civil rights are protected for all citizens.
1.6 Community-Based Economics and Economic Justice
We recognize it is essential to create a vibrant and sustainable economic system, one that can create jobs and provide a decent standard of living for all people while maintaining a healthy ecological balance. A successful economic system will offer meaningful work with dignity, while paying a living wage which reflects the real value of each person’s work.
Local communities and all levels of government should promote economic development that assures protection of the environment and workers’ rights, broad citizen participation in planning, and enhancement of our quality of life. We support independently owned and operated companies which are socially responsible, as well as cooperatives and public enterprises that distribute resources and control to more people through democratic participation.)
1.7 Feminism and Gender Equity
We have inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control with more cooperative ways of interacting that respect differences of opinion and gender. Human values such as equity among genders, interpersonal responsibility, and honesty should pervade our public life.
1.8 Respect for Diversity
We believe it is essential to value cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious, and spiritual diversity, and to promote the development of respectful relationships between different groups of people. We believe the many diverse elements of society should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies, and we support the leadership of people who have been traditionally closed out of leadership roles. We acknowledge and encourage respect for life forms other than our own and the preservation of biodiversity.
1.9 Personal and Global Responsibility
We encourage individuals to act to improve their personal well-being and, at the same time, to enhance ecological balance and social harmony. We seek to join with people and organizations around the world to foster peace, economic justice, and the health of the planet.
1.10 Focus on Sustainability and the Future
Our actions and policies should grow out of our long-term goals. We seek to protect valuable natural resources, safely disposing of or “unmaking” all waste we create, while developing a sustainable economic system that does not depend on continual growth in resource consumption. We must counterbalance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations who will have to live with the results of our actions.
The Party will act to promote our key values by means of all legal and non-violent methods which include but are not limited to the following:
2.1 Promoting the formation of and assisting local Green Party groups so as to provide a real alternative in all of Kentucky’s counties;
2.2 Recruiting and assisting Green candidates for office;
2.3 Ensuring all Green activities, including the raising and spending of funds, are carried out in a lawful manner;
2.4 Communicating in an open, respectful, and responsive way at all levels within the party; and
2.5 Handling internal disagreements in a forthright, open, and democratic manner.
3.1 Any person who lives in Kentucky, is registered to vote in the Green Party of the United States, and has not been expelled pursuant to section 3.3 is a member of the Kentucky Green Party (Party).
3.2 Only members may run for public office under the Green Party banner, hold office in the Party, or speak as an official representative of the Party to the media.
3.3 A member may be expelled for cause by a two-thirds vote of the delegates at a Statewide Convention or by a two-thirds vote of the Steering Committee. The member shall be given the opportunity to present their side of the story before any vote on expulsion is taken. If the member holds an elected public office, they shall not be expelled by the Steering Committee but only by the Statewide Convention.
4.0 STATEWIDE CONVENTION
The Statewide Convention is the highest decision-making body of the Kentucky Green Party. Any member of the Kentucky Green Party may register for and attend it.
4.1 Each accredited local group may designate and send a number of voting delegates to the Statewide Convention proportional to the number of members attending local group meetings and participating in local group activities. Not more than five (5) days before each Statewide Convention, the Steering Committee shall calculate the number of voting delegates each local group in good standing may send, and shall so inform the local groups at least thirty (30) days before the Convention.
4.2 In addition to the voting delegates designated by local groups, members attending the Statewide Convention who are unaffiliated with any accredited local group may meet and designate a number of voting delegates whose number shall not exceed 20% of the total number of voting delegates.
4.3 The date, time, and location of the Statewide Convention shall be set by the Steering Committee and publicized to the members at least sixty (60) days before the Convention.
4.4 The founding Statewide Convention shall be held in July, 2011, and all members who are present shall be eligible to vote in decisions, which shall include approval of the bylaws and the election of the first Steering Committee.
4.5 A Statewide Convention shall be held in odd numbered year beginning in 2015 and may be held more often if the Steering Committee deems it advisable. The Steering Committee shall arrange for facilitation of the Statewide Convention and shall make all other necessary arrangements for the Convention or delegate those tasks to an ad-hoc committee.
4.6 Any member or local group may propose agenda items for the Statewide Convention, and the Steering Committee shall determine the agenda, keeping in mind the goals of fostering grassroots democracy and addressing the most important items of business without requiring members to invest excessive amounts of their time. The Statewide Convention should not last more than one day unless extraordinary circumstances otherwise require. The voting delegates may modify the agenda by a two-thirds vote.
4.7 All decisions shall be made by a simple majority vote of the voting delegates except where a higher percentage is specified by these bylaws. Robert’s Rules of Order shall be used to help ensure that democratic procedures are followed.
5.0 STEERING COMMITTEE
5.1 The Steering Committee is established to coordinate the efforts and oversee the management of the Party during all times when the Statewide Convention is not in session.
5.2 The Steering Committee shall consist of seven members elected at large by the members and shall serve terms of two years. Elections shall be by the members present at a Statewide Convention. Allowances may be made for electronic absentee voting. Vacancies on the Steering Committee may be filled at any Steering Committee meeting. Steering Committee candidates shall inform the members of their qualifications and reasons for wanting to serve.
5.3 The members of the Steering Committee shall elect one of its members to serve as Chairperson, another as Vice-Chair, another as Treasurer, and a fourth as Secretary. The Steering Committee may establish other standing or ad-hoc committees and positions as necessary and may fill these positions either from the members of the Steering Committee or the Party at large. In keeping with the Party’s commitment to diversity, the Steering Committee shall attempt to support the leadership of people who have traditionally been excluded from leadership roles. Any Steering Committee member may resign by giving written notice to the Chair of the Steering Committee.
5.4 The Steering Committee shall meet at its discretion, in person or by electronic means. Timely notice of Steering Committee meetings and meeting minutes shall be sent to all local groups, posted on the Party’s web site, and advertised in any way the Steering Committee deems necessary. All Steering Committee meetings shall be open to members of the Party, but only Steering Committee members shall have a vote. In the case of meetings held by telephone conference call, video chat, or other electronic means, any interested member shall be allowed to participate in a nonvoting capacity by notifying the Steering Committee of their interest, after which the Steering Committee shall provide them access to participate.
5.5 A simple majority of the Steering Committee shall constitute a quorum.
6.0 LOCAL GROUPS
Members of the Party living in the same part of Kentucky may form an accredited local group by applying to the Steering Committee for accreditation. The Steering Committee shall use criteria for accrediting local groups that reflect the criteria the Green Party of the United States uses to accredit state chapters. These criteria shall include but not be limited to the following:
6.1 Acceptance of the four pillars of the international Green Party movement [ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy, non-violence] and the ten key values [see Section 1 of these bylaws] as guiding principles.
6.2 Organized and run in accordance with these values.
6.3 Agrees to support national candidates selected by the Green Party of the United States.
6.4 Makes a good-faith effort to run state and local candidates when the group is ready.
6.5 Has a history of networking with other environmental and social justice organizations.
6.6 Shows a commitment to, and good-faith efforts to achieve gender balance in local party leadership and representation.
6.7 Shows good faith efforts to attract and empower individuals and groups from oppressed communities, through, for example, leadership responsibilities, alliances with community-based organizations, and endorsements of appropriate actions, issues, and policies.
6.8 All local group meetings shall be open to the public, but only party members may vote.
7.0 ENDORSEMENT OF CANDIDATES
7.1 Only candidates who have been endorsed by the Statewide Convention, the Steering Committee, or both shall be considered to be official candidates of the Kentucky Green Party. It is the candidate’s responsibility to request endorsement and provide supporting information in a timely manner, and such endorsement shall not be unreasonably withheld. The Party shall attempt to prevent unauthorized individuals from using the Green Party name in their campaigns.
7.2 In cases where more than one member wishes to run for the same office, the local group or Steering Committee may adopt a democratic procedure to select the official candidate. If it is feasible and the Steering Committee deems it advisable, the Party may hold primary elections at the same time and in the same manner that other Kentucky political parties hold their primaries.
8.0 PARTY PLATFORM AND POSITIONS ON ISSUES
8.1 Unless the Kentucky Green Party has adopted a platform or positions on issues that differ from those of the Green Party of the United States, the latter shall be considered to reflect the Party’s platform and positions. The platform shall serve as a guide for elected officials, other Party members engaged in public policy making, and the Steering Committee.
8.2 The platform of the Kentucky Green Party should be consistent with the Ten Key Values.
8.3 Any member may propose amendments to the platform or a new platform, or a policy resolution, by presenting such proposal in writing to the Steering Committee or a committee responsible for considering the platform and positions on issues.
8.4 Amendments may be approved by the Statewide Convention, or, if the Convention is not in session, by the Steering Committee.
9.1 The Steering Committee shall adopt an annual budget for the Party, including anticipated expenses and sources of revenue. The budget may be revised from time to time by the Steering Committee in response to changing financial circumstances. The treasurer is responsible for overseeing the finances of the Party and making regular reports to the Steering Committee, submitting timely financial reports to the appropriate State and Federal agencies, and ensuring that the Party follows all applicable laws.
9.2 All spending or commitment of funds shall be at the sole discretion of the Steering Committee, and no subcommittee, committee member, or member shall have the right to commit Party funds without the express permission of the Steering Committee.
Adoption and Amendment of Bylaws
These bylaws or amendments thereto may only be adopted by a 60% majority vote of the voting delegates at a Statewide Convention. Any member or group of members may propose bylaw amendments. To be considered by a Statewide Convention other than the founding Statewide Convention, proposed amendments must be submitted to the Steering Committee at least 30 days before the Convention. The Steering Committee shall then publicize the proposed amendments to the members.