Bylaws

Article I: Name and Location

The name of the organization shall be the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms

(NCPCF). It shall be incorporated as a 501 (c) (4), a not-for-profit educational and public

advocacy organization, in Washington DC, USA.

 

Article II: Mission

The NCPCF is a coalition of national and local organizations as well as prominent

individuals, whose mission is to educate the public about the erosion of civil and political

freedoms in the society, and the abuses of prisoners within the US criminal justice system

especially after 9/11, and to advocate for the preservation of those freedoms and to

defend those rights according to the US Constitution, the Universal Declaration of

Human Rights and its related UN Conventions, and the Geneva Conventions.

 

Article III: Membership

1) There are two types of membership: Voting and Non-voting, as follows:

A) Voting Membership: Three types shall be included in this category. Two types shall

constitute Institutional Members, while one type shall constitute Fellow Members, as

follows:

i) Institutional Members: National or Local organizations, whose mission and goals

are compatible with the NCPCF’s mission, fill out the membership application

form, are sponsored by three NCPCF institutional member organizations or

fellows, and approved by the NCPCF Board of Directors.

ii) Fellow Members: Any prominent individual, who has contributed substantially to

the fairness of the American justice system or advocated for prisoners’ rights, is

sponsored by three NCPCF member organizations or fellows, and approved by

the NCPCF Board of Directors.  The total number of fellow members shall not

exceed fifty percent of the total voting membership of the General Assembly.

B) Members: Other organizations or individuals can have associate or observer only

status upon invitation by the NCPCF Board of Directors, or through a request by the

respective organization or individual followed by the approval of the Steering Committee

of the NCPCF. Associate members pay no dues and have no voting rights.

 

2) Voting members shall remain active within the NCPCF upon remaining in good

standing and paying the annual dues as determined by the Board of Directors, as follows:

i) National Organizations: $1,000-$5,000 depending on their ability.

ii) Local Organizations: $250-1,000 depending on their ability.

iii) Fellow Members: $100-250 depending on their ability.

 

3) The membership of any organization or individual shall be withdrawn by a vote of two

thirds of the NCPCF Board of Directors upon just cause.

 

4) All decisions in the organization shall be taken by majority vote unless otherwise

specified in these bylaws.

 

Article IV: Structure

1) There are three bodies for the NCPCF: The General Assembly, The Board of

Directors, and the Steering Committee.

 

2) The General Assembly (GA): The GA shall comprise all voting member

organizations and fellows. Each national organization in good standing shall be

represented by up to two voting members, while each local organization in good

standing shall be represented by one voting member. The GA shall meet at least

once every two years. It shall elect the Board of Directors. All decisions by the

General Assembly shall be binding on the Board.

 

3) The Board of Directors (BOD): The BOD shall comprise 15-25 members to be

elected by the GA for a period of two years, as follows:

i) At least 6 members representing National Organizations.

ii) At least 6 members representing Local Organizations.

iii) At least 3 members representing Fellow Members.

 

4) The total number of the board membership shall be set by the BOD according to

the limit set in Article IV (3). The total number can exceed that limit only upon a

recommendation by the BOD and a vote by the GA.

 

5) The BOD shall elect a chairperson to chair and direct its meetings and to follow

up with its members and the steering committee. The BOD shall also elect a vice

chairperson to assist the chair, and a secretary to record the minutes and notify the

members of its meetings and decisions.

 

6) The BOD shall set policies to the organization, approve its strategic plan, raise its

funds, and provide supervision and evaluation of the work of the Steering

Committee. All decisions by the BOD shall be binding on the Steering

Committee. The BOD chair, vice chair, and secretary shall not serve on the

Steering Committee.

 

7) The BOD shall convene its regular meetings, which can be held by conference

calls, at least 4 times a year. It can also hold other meetings at the request of the

chairperson, the Steering Committee, or any seven voting BOD members. The

quorum for its meetings shall be at least fifty percent plus one of its voting

members. The BOD shall also have the right to invite to its meetings, without

voting rights, any non-board member of the coalition.

 

8) The Steering Committee (SC): The SC shall run the daily affairs of the NCPCF. It

shall comprise 9 officers, chaired by the Executive Director, to be elected by the

BOD as follows:

i) Executive Director

ii) Secretary

iii) Treasurer

iv) Director of Development and Organizational Outreach

v) Director of Legal Affairs

vi) Director of Policy and Planning

vii) Director of Education and Community Outreach

viii) Director of Media and Public Relations

ix) Director of Prisoners and Families

 

9) Each director (Policy, Legal, Education, Media, Prisoners) shall chair a committee

of 3-9 members as selected by the SC or the BOD. Each member of the respective

committees may be a fellow or a non-voting member of the NCPCF or any of its

affiliated national or local organizations. Each committee may have a co-chair but

only the director shall represent it before the BOD and the SC.

 

10) The SC shall submit an annual plan and budget to the BOD for approval and shall

be responsible for its implementation.

 

11) The BOD shall appoint a 3-5 member committee to supervise its elections every

two years.

 

12) Any member of the BOD shall automatically lose board membership if that

member misses 3 regular meetings in a row, unless the BOD votes with a two-

third majority to retain that membership.

 

13) In the absence of the GA, the BOD shall have the right to fill any vacancy in the

board according to Article IV (3) with any active member provided that:

i) The vacancy is announced in advance of the meeting to allow for nominations,

and ii) such nomination is confirmed by the BOD with a two-third majority vote.

The term of this member shall expire at the same time as all other members.

 

Article V: Miscellaneous

1) The BOD may waive annual dues on any active member upon proof of hardship.

 

2) All financial transactions shall be completely transparent. All budgets, as well as

any compensation to the officers of the organization, shall be approved by the

BOD.

 

3) The SC shall submit an annual financial report to the BOD detailing its revenues

and expenses. Upon approval of the financial report the BOD shall submit

annually a summary of the report to all members of the GA.

 

4) The SC shall submit its annual report detailing its activities to the BOD. The BOD

shall submit the NCPCF activities report or its summary to the GA.

 

5) The NCPCF shall conduct its meetings using the Standard Code of Parliamentary

Procedure.

 

6) Any amendments to these bylaws shall be submitted first to the BOD for

approval. Any amendment shall then be presented to the GA and considered

passed upon receiving a two-third-majority vote in the GA.

 

Article VI: Dissolution

The organization shall be dissolved upon recommendation by the BOD with at least a

three-fourth super majority vote, followed by at least a two-third super majority vote by

the GA. All assets of the organization shall then be distributed by the BOD to other not-

for-profit organizations in the US with a similar mission to the NCPCF.