American Council of the Blind, Inc.

Constitution and Bylaws


(As amended through the 2016 National Conference and Convention)

American Council of the Blind
1703 N. Beauregard St.
Suite 420
Alexandria, VA 22311
(202) 467-5081
1-800-424-8666
http://www.acb.org


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Table of Contents

Constitution
Article I Name
Article II Purpose
Article III Membership, Voting and Dues
Article IV Officers
Article V Publications Board
Article VI Powers and Duties of the Conference and Convention, the Officers, the Board of Directors and Committees
Article VII Affiliate Relations
Article VIII Advisory Board
Article IX Meetings
Article X Procedure
Article XI Amendments
Article XII Dissolution

Bylaws
Bylaw 1 Members-at-Large
Bylaw 2 Voting
Bylaw 3 Dues
Bylaw 4 Duties of the Officers
Bylaw 5 Powers and Duties of the Board of Directors
Bylaw 6 Committees
Bylaw 7 Credentials
Bylaw 8 Indemnification
Bylaw 9 Application for Affiliation

ARTICLE I Name:

The name of this organization shall be American Council of the Blind, Inc.

ARTICLE II Purpose:

In addition to the purposes stated in the Articles of Incorporation, the American Council of the Blind will strive to improve the well-being of all blind and visually impaired people.

  1. Through a representative national organization primarily of blind people.
  2. By providing a forum for the views of the blind from all corners of the nation and all walks of life.
  3. By elevating the social, economic and cultural level of the blind.
  4. By improving educational and rehabilitation facilities.
  5. By broadening vocational opportunities.
  6. By encouraging and assisting all blind people to maximize their abilities so that they might assume their rightful places in the community.
  7. By cooperating with the public and private institutions and agencies of and for the blind.
  8. By providing for the free exchange of ideas, opinions and information relative to matters of concern to blind people through publication of a braille magazine and other forms of print or electronic media.
  9. By conducting a program of public education aimed toward improving the understanding of the problems of blindness and of the capabilities of blind people.
  10. By advocating for the enactment, implementation and enforcement of civil rights protections for people who are blind.

ARTICLE III Membership, Voting and Dues:

Any person or organization of the blind is eligible to become a member of the American Council of the Blind upon complying with the provisions hereinafter contained. No persons seeking membership in this organization, whether at large or through a state or special-interest affiliate, nor any group of individuals seeking affiliation with a state or special-interest affiliate, shall be barred from membership or denied affiliation on the bases of race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, political affiliation, disability, or age (except where such is legitimately predicated on, or legally required by, failure to be of legal age); nor shall any organization which practices discrimination on any of the above bases be chartered as an affiliate of this organization.

  1. Membership: The membership of this organization shall be of two (2) classes, voting and non-voting. Voting members shall be affiliated organizations, their voting members, life members and members at large of the American Council of the Blind. Non-voting members shall be the individuals and entities holding sustaining memberships and those persons holding junior memberships at large.
  2. Affiliation:

    1. Any organization having at least twenty-five (25) voting members, the majority of whom are blind, may apply for affiliation with this organization. Such application must be approved by a majority of the Board of Directors. To remain in good standing, an affiliate shall maintain a membership of at least thirteen (13), a majority of whom are blind. Neither currently affiliated organizations nor those seeking affiliation with this organization shall exclude members based solely on their membership in another consumer organization of the blind.
    2. Any individual may apply to become a member at large provided that individual meets the qualifications set forth in the Bylaws.
  3. Voting: Each voting member attending an annual conference and convention shall be entitled to one (1) vote; provided that the person was a member prior to the record date of the conference and convention, which shall be thirty (30) days prior to the opening meeting. In addition, official delegates from affiliates shall cast the number of votes to which their organization is entitled as provided in the Bylaws. Voting on all issues at an annual conference and convention shall be conducted in one (1) of two (2) ways: voice vote, by which the presiding officer calls for the oral ayes and then for the oral nays, or record vote. A record vote shall be composed of two (2) distinct components: a secret ballot vote by which the individual votes of certified voting members are taken, to be conducted in a manner as provided for in the Bylaws, and a roll call of affiliates by which official affiliate delegates shall announce the votes of their respective organizations. Elections where there are contests of officers, directors and members of the Board of Publications must be conducted by record vote. If a voice vote on any issue, in the opinion of the presiding officer, is too close to determine the result, the presiding officer shall have the discretion to order a record vote on the issue. A record vote on any issue shall also be ordered by the presiding officer if any twenty-five (25) certified voting members and/or members at large identify themselves from the floor of the conference and convention and request a record vote.
  4. The amount and manner of payment of all dues shall be set forth in the Bylaws.
  5. Suspension and Expulsion: Any member may be expelled or suspended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the conference and convention after a hearing, as prescribed in Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised. In the proceedings to expel or suspend, the member charged shall have the right to vote.

ARTICLE IV Officers:

  1. The officers of this organization shall consist of a President, a 1st Vice President, a 2nd Vice President, a Secretary and a Treasurer, and their terms of office shall be two (2) years or until a successor has assumed the duties of the position. The officers shall be elected in each odd-numbered year at the annual conference and convention. No more than two (2) officers shall be elected from any one (1) state.
  2. In addition to the officers, this organization shall have ten (10) directors, to be elected by the conference and convention for terms of four (4) years or until a successor has assumed the duties of the position. Five (5) directors shall be elected in each even-numbered year. No more than one (1) director shall be elected from any one (1) state.
    1. A candidate for the position of officer or director shall be considered to be from the state in which the candidate maintains legal residence at the time the election is conducted, and, if elected, shall be considered to be a resident of that state until the end of that particular term.
    2. For purposes of sections A and B, state shall be defined as the fifty (50) United States, and other political subdivisions of the United States including but not limited to: the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and other United States territories.
    3. Officers and directors elected under sections A and B respectively shall assume their duties at the close of the conference and convention at which they are elected.
  3. The officers of this organization, the ten (10) directors and the Immediate Past President shall constitute the Board of Directors. A member of the Board of Publications, selected at each annual conference and convention by that Board for a term of one (1) year, shall attend all meetings of the Board of Directors, may make motions, and may participate in discussion, but shall not vote. Within thirty (30) days after each meeting, this member of the Board of Publications shall be responsible for writing a narrative summary of actions taken during each Board of Directors meeting for publication in “The ACB Braille Forum.” This narrative summary shall include a record of how each board member voted on all roll call votes with the exception of roll call votes taken during executive sessions, which shall not be included.
  4. The Board of Directors shall hold at least three (3) regular business meetings during the year. A quorum for the business meetings of the Board of Directors shall be twelve (12). All meetings of the Board of Directors of ACB shall be open to all ACB members and others invited by the president. However, the president may convene the Board in executive session to consider personnel matters, discuss sensitive litigation issues, and discuss information of a financial nature that is confidential to the parties involved provided that the general questions to be considered are announced while the board is in open session and before the executive session begins and provided further that when the Board of Directors next comes back into open session the first order of business shall be for the presiding officer to report whether or not action was taken and describe in general what such action(s) were.
  5. Meetings of the Board of Directors may be held via conference call, but individual polling of the members of the Board, either by mail or by telephone, is prohibited.
  6.  Officers who serve three (3) consecutive full two (2) year terms in the same office and Directors who serve two (2) consecutive full four (4) year terms on the Board of Directors shall not be eligible to serve in the next subsequent term in the same positions just served. Any officer or director who serves more than half of the assigned duration of a term shall have the term counted as a full term served. All members of the Board of Directors shall be legally blind.
  7. The president may call a special meeting of the Board of Directors at any time, and shall call a special meeting of the Board upon the request of at least five (5) members of the Board. Written notice of the meeting shall be forwarded to each member of the Board, postmarked at least fourteen (14) days prior to the meeting date. The time, the location, and the specific purpose of the meeting shall be included in the notice.
  8. No member of the Board of Directors shall receive compensation for services to the American Council of the Blind. Members may be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred in exercising their duties. No professional staff employee of ACB shall be eligible for election to any office in this organization.
  9. Officers and directors shall be elected by a majority vote cast at any regular national Conference and Convention.
  10. The person placing an individual's name in nomination for elective office in ACB shall announce to the conference and convention the state of residence, employer, type of gainful employment, and any volunteer or professional association memberships the nominee may hold.
  11. If a vacancy should occur between an annual conference and convention in any elected position on either the Board of Publications or the Board of Directors, except in the offices of president or 1st vice president, the Board of Directors shall, by a majority vote, elect an individual to serve in the position until the next annual conference and convention. At this conference and convention, if necessary, the membership shall elect a successor to serve for the remainder of the term. An officer, director, or member of the Board of Publications elected or succeeding to a position under the provisions of this section shall assume the duties of that position immediately upon election or succession.
  12. Should a vacancy occur in the office of the president, the 1st vice president shall automatically assume the presidency and shall serve the remainder of the term.
  13. Should a vacancy occur in the office of the 1st vice president, the 2nd vice president shall automatically assume the office of 1st vice president and shall serve the remainder of the term.
  14. Should a vacancy occur in the office of Immediate Past President, the vacancy shall not be filled. The office shall be allowed to remain vacant until such time as a successor shall be duly qualified to succeed to the office of Immediate Past President.
  15. An officer or director may be suspended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Board of Directors following an evidentiary hearing conducted by the Board of Directors. If suspended, that individual may only be removed by a two-thirds (2/3) record vote of the membership at the next ACB conference and convention. An evidentiary hearing shall be conducted upon receipt by the president of a petition signed by a minimum of seven (7) members of the Board of Directors, or a minimum of one hundred (100) members, representing a minimum of seven (7) ACB affiliates, requesting such an evidentiary hearing. Suspension from office shall require an affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the entire membership of the Board of Directors. A quorum at the meeting at which such suspension is to be considered shall be three-fourths (3/4) of the members of the Board of Directors. At least fourteen (14) days prior to the meeting at which suspension is to be considered, notice of the proposed action shall be sent to all board members at their last known addresses by any overnight method that provides for written proof of receipt. At only this meeting, the officer or director being considered for suspension may appear to present evidence and may be represented by counsel.
  16. If the president is removed from office pursuant to the provisions of Section P, the incumbent holding the position of Immediate Past President shall continue to serve until a successor is duly qualified.

ARTICLE V Publications Board:

  1. There is hereby created a Board of Publications consisting of five (5) members whose term of office shall be two (2) years. The Board shall be selected and constituted in the following manner: every odd-numbered year, the president, at the close of the annual conference and convention, shall appoint a chairperson and one (1) additional member of the Board; and every even-numbered year, the annual conference and convention shall elect, by a majority vote in accordance with voting procedures contained in the Constitution or in the Bylaws, the three (3) remaining members of the Board; provided, however, that no Board member shall serve more than three (3) consecutive terms and no more than one (1) Board member shall be either appointed or elected to the Board of Publications from any one (1) state. Any member of the Board of Publications, whether appointed or elected, who serves more than half of the assigned duration of a term shall have the term counted as a full term served
    .
    1. A candidate for, or an appointee to, the position of member of the Board of Publications shall be considered to be from the state in which the candidate or appointee maintains legal residence at the time of such election or appointment and shall be considered to be a resident of that state until the end of the term for which the candidate or appointee is either elected or appointed.
    2.  For purposes of section 1, state shall be defined as the fifty (50) United States, and other political subdivisions of the United States including but not limited to: the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and other United States territories.
  2. It shall be the duty of the Board of Publications to approve or disapprove employment by the executive director of the editor of "The ACB Braille Forum" and to establish editorial standards and policies applicable to all American Council of the Blind communication formats including, but not limited to, periodicals, the ACB conference and convention programs and ACB brochures, the ACB web site, and ACB Radio.
  3. The executive director shall have the authority to dismiss the editor of "The ACB Braille Forum," but only with the concurrence of the Board of Publications, after a hearing on the matter
  4. A majority of the Board of Publications may agree to include an editor/producer of any nationally distributed Board of Publications project as an ex officio member of the board.
  5. The board shall meet at least once each year, and more often if necessary, upon the call of the chairperson or upon the request of not less than three (3) members of the Board of Publications.

ARTICLE VI Powers and Duties of the Conference and Convention, the Officers, the Board of Directors and Committees:

  1. The annual conference and convention of this organization shall be the ultimate authority within this organization on all matters except those matters delegated herein or in the bylaws to the final authority or discretion of the officers, the Board of Directors, or standing committees. The board, upon the recommendation of the conference and convention committee, shall have the duty to set the conference and convention hotel room rates and to choose the site for all ACB conferences and conventions without the approval of the conference and convention assembled. Any voting member or member at large of this organization may make or second motions, propose or second nominations, serve on committees, and be eligible for election to office at each annual conference and convention or special membership meeting of this organization.
  2. Officers of this organization shall perform the usual functions of their offices as prescribed in Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, unless otherwise provided for herein or in the Bylaws.
  3. The Board of Directors shall be the governing body of this organization between conferences and conventions, provided that it shall make no policy decisions and take no official action in conflict with existing decisions or actions of the conference and convention. The Board of Directors is hereby authorized to establish an Executive Committee consisting of five (5) members selected and constituted in the following manner: two (2) members shall be elected by, and from among, the ten (10) Directors; two (2) members shall be elected by, and from among, the five (5) officers and the Immediate Past President; the president shall serve as chairperson. Except for the president, no Executive Committee member shall serve for more than two (2) consecutive one (1) year terms. The Executive Committee shall meet at the call of the president, or upon the written request of three (3) of its members. Such request shall be sent by any method, which provides for written proof of receipt, at least five (5) calendar days prior to the proposed meeting day. In order to expedite the conduct of business which cannot wait until a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee shall be authorized to act on behalf of the Board of Directors between regular meetings of that board, provided it shall make no policy decisions and take no official action in conflict with existing decisions or actions of the Board of Directors or the conference and convention. Minutes of each Executive Committee meeting shall be sent to each member of the Board of Directors within fifteen (15) days after the Executive Committee meeting, or at least seven (7) days prior to the next meeting of the Board of Directors, whichever occurs first.
  4. The Nominating Committee shall consist of one (1) person from each seated affiliate. The method of selection shall be determined by the affiliate, provided that:

    1. No individual shall serve on the committee on behalf of more than one (1) affiliate; and
    2. No person who is currently an officer of the American Council of the Blind, or who is actively seeking election to office in the American Council of the Blind, shall serve on this committee unless such person is the only voting member present at the conference and convention from the affiliate he or she is to represent. The president shall appoint a chairperson who shall conduct the committee meeting. The chairperson shall not have a vote. All the meetings of the Nominating Committee shall be closed with only committee members permitted to attend. All voting where there are two (2) or more candidates shall be conducted by roll call.
  5. The duty of the Nominating Committee shall be to select candidates all of whom, if elected, are eligible to serve in the positions for which the committee has nominated them.

ARTICLE VII Affiliate Relations:

  1. In interpreting the grant of authority provided for in this article, it is understood that the core principles referenced herein are fundamental to the American Council of the Blind, its affiliates, and the members of the national organization and those affiliates.  The following core principles are hereby subject to the protections afforded under this article:

    1. Freedom of expression for individual members and affiliates;
    2. Participation in fair and open national organization and affiliate elections;
    3. Freedom from retaliation for taking any position or action, except that the national organization and/or any affiliate may take reasonable steps to prevent any actions that violate the constitution or bylaws of this organization or the affiliate of which he/she is a member, or that reasonably appear to violate any state or federal statute;
    4. Respect for the autonomy of every affiliate, except that the national organization may take reasonable steps to prevent any actions that violate the constitution or bylaws of this organization or that reasonably appear to violate any state or federal statute.
  2. With respect to any chartered affiliate of the American Council of the Blind as provided for in Article III, Sec. B, of this constitution, pursuant to the conditions and procedures set forth herein, the Board of Directors of this organization shall have the authority to:

    1. Investigate the conduct of any affiliate that appears to violate the core principles of this organization as set forth above and/or the fundamental rights of any of its members or group of members;
    2. Propose appropriate remedies for such conduct; and
    3. Impose such sanctions for failure to remediate the conduct or the harm caused thereby as the board shall deem appropriate as specified in subsection D2 of this article.
  3. The protections accorded under this article may be invoked:

    1. At the written request of fifteen percent (15%) of the members of any affiliate (as determined from its most recent membership roster submitted as required by Section 2A of the bylaws), or the written request of at least one-third (1/3) of the affiliate’s board members, setting forth the particulars of the conduct at issue;
    2. By a three-fourths (3/4) record vote of the ACB Board when, in its judgment, credible grounds exist for investigating conduct coming within the purview of subsection B1 of this article.
  4.  

    1. When action is authorized pursuant to Section C above, the ACB Board shall establish a subcommittee of no less than four (4) Board members to investigate the alleged affiliate conduct and make a report of its findings to the full board, together with proposals for remedial action if appropriate. Thereafter, the board shall endeavor to work with the affiliate to resolve the situation.
    2. Should the ACB Board determine that efforts to address the affiliate conduct have failed or that there is no longer any reasonable expectation that the continuation of such efforts will be successful, the board may, by a three-fourths (3/4) record vote, impose any sanctions that it deems appropriate including, but not limited to:

      1.  reducing the number of delegate votes to which the affiliate would otherwise be entitled at a national conference and convention;
      2.  refusing to seat an affiliate at a national conference and convention; or
      3.  suspending or revoking an affiliate's charter.
    3.  Any sanction determined by the board under section D2 of this article shall be considered final unless, within thirty (30) days of such determination, the sanctioned affiliate declares in writing its intention to appeal such determination to the conference and convention, which appeal shall then be scheduled as the first order of business following acceptance of the final report of the Credentials Committee and shall be conducted in the manner applicable to disciplinary proceedings as set forth in the parliamentary authority adopted by this organization. The board's determination shall be considered ratified if supported by an affirmative two-thirds (2/3) record vote of those present and voting on the appeal, with the sanctioned affiliate having the right to cast the number of votes it would have been entitled to cast in the absence of a sanction.
    4. Nothing in this article shall affect the rights of any individual member of a sanctioned affiliate to participate in the business of the conference and convention, provided that the affiliate has tendered the required dues, if any, for such member.
  5. The provisions of this article shall only be applicable to an organization's relationship of affiliation with the American Council of the Blind; and hence, with respect to any affiliated organization incorporated in any jurisdiction as defined in Article IV, Sec. C2 of this constitution, are without prejudice to such affiliate's right to continue conducting business in the manner and to the extent authorized by the jurisdiction in which the affiliate is incorporated.

ARTICLE VIII Advisory Board:

    1.  The president, with input from the Board of Directors and the ACB Director of Development, is authorized to appoint a minimum of ten (10) persons to constitute an Advisory Board. They shall serve for life, or until their resignation or removal by the president. Those chosen shall be persons of achievement and distinction who can make significant contributions to the work of the American Council of the Blind and to its Permanent Investment Fund and endowments.
    2.  The Board of Directors shall elect one (1) of its members to serve as chairperson of the Advisory Board for a term of one (1) year, or until a successor is duly chosen. Except for the designated chairperson, no other individual shall serve simultaneously as a member of both the Board of Directors and the Advisory Board.
    3.  To carry out its work, the Advisory Board shall establish a mechanism by which to choose from among its members a Vice Chairperson for Resource Development and a Vice Chairperson for Public Relations. Each Vice Chairperson shall serve for (1) year or until a successor is chosen.
  1. The Advisory Board shall be available to offer assistance and advice to the officers, directors and employees of the American Council of the Blind on all matters concerning the mission, goals and programs of the organization. The members of the Advisory Board shall be available to assist the Board of Directors and the Director of Development on financial solicitation matters; implement fundraising strategies through personal influence with others (corporations, individuals, and foundations); and promote and participate in the dissemination to the larger community of information about the American Council of the Blind and its mission, goals and programs. According to their respective interest and expertise, members of the Advisory Board may be invited to attend meetings of the Board of Directors, or to serve on committees, as warranted by the needs of the organization. The Advisory Board shall have no power to manage the affairs of the organization or to exercise any other power or duty granted to or imposed on the officers or Board of Directors by the constitution or bylaws.
  2. The Advisory Board shall meet on an annual basis on a date and at a time and place to be determined by the Advisory Board Chairperson with input from its members. At that meeting, the ACB president or his/her designee shall advise the members of the Advisory Board as to the state of affairs of the American Council of the Blind.

ARTICLE IX Meetings:

A regular meeting of this organization shall be held once a year, to be known as the annual conference and convention. A majority of affiliate votes certified and seated at the conference and convention shall constitute a quorum to do business.

ARTICLE X Procedure:

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, unless otherwise provided for in the constitution or bylaws.

ARTICLE XI Amendments:

This constitution and bylaws may be amended at any regular conference and convention of ACB provided such proposed amendment has been presented in writing to the Constitution and Bylaws Committee before the end of the first day following the day of the roll call meeting of the conference and convention. A two-thirds (2/3) vote of those present and voting is required to adopt a constitutional amendment and a majority vote of those present and voting is required to adopt a bylaw amendment according to voting procedures contained herein. Both the original language and the proposed language shall be read to the assembly during any business meeting of the conference and convention, provided the deadline for submission has been met, and final action shall not take place until a second reading to the assembly has taken place on any subsequent business meeting day. Any such proposed amendment is not considered pending business until the amendment has been properly placed in the hands of the conference and convention assembly.

ARTICLE XII Dissolution:

This organization may be dissolved only at an annual conference and convention by a four-fifths (4/5) vote of the members present and voting. The procedure for distribution of assets is outlined in the Certificate of Incorporation.

American Council of the Blind, Inc.

Bylaws

Bylaw 1 Members-At-Large:

Any person who has reached the age of eighteen (18) may become a life member or an annual member-at-large of this organization by complying with these bylaws. A certified member of an affiliate shall not simultaneously be eligible to be an annual member-at-large. Such applications shall be accompanied by one (1) year's dues. Any person who has not reached the age of eighteen (18) years may become a junior member-at-large by completing an official application therefore accompanied by one (1) year's dues and by designating the applicant's preferred edition of "The ACB Braille Forum." A majority of the members-at-large in any one (1) state must be blind.

Bylaw 2 Voting:

Each affiliate represented at the conference and convention shall be entitled to one (1) vote for each twenty-five (25) of its voting members or a major fraction thereof, provided that an affiliate may cast not more than twenty-five (25) votes.

  1. Postmarked by January 15 of each year, the national office shall forward to each member-at-large written notice of the due date for annual membership dues. Postmarked by January 15 of each year, the  national office shall forward to each affiliate a computer print-out containing notification of the due date for mailing dues and a copy of the most recent membership list filed with the national office. The affiliate shall verify the list and make appropriate additions, deletions and/or corrections. This verification shall be noted on the print-out itself. The affiliate shall address the envelope containing the current membership information, accompanied by its annual dues, to the national office, and shall deposit it in the United States mail, postage prepaid, or any service providing certified receipts, on or before March 15. Compliance with this provision has occurred if supported by evidence satisfactory to the Credentials Committee. The number of votes which an affiliate is entitled to cast at a conference and convention shall be computed based on the March 15 membership information and dues mailed as specified above. If the March 15 membership information and dues mailed disagree as to the number of the
    affiliate's voting members, the lower number shall be used provided that the lower number reflects the inclusion of that affiliate's ACB life members. Affiliates may amend their membership rosters after March 15; however, members added after the record date are not eligible to vote at that year's conference and convention. If an affiliate fails to comply with this section, the first year of non-compliance may result in diminished voting privileges and the second consecutive year of non-compliance may result in the revocation of the affiliate's charter by a two-thirds affirmative vote of the Board of Directors.
  2. The secret ballot component of a record vote shall be conducted through the use of a paper ballot for each certified member.

Bylaw 3 Dues:

  1. Dues for annual members-at-large shall be five dollars ($5.00) a year. Dues for junior members-at-large shall be one dollar ($1.00) a year.
  2. Annual dues for affiliate organizations shall be paid on a per capita basis at the rate of five dollars ($5.00) per voting member provided that:

    1. No affiliate organization shall be required to pay annual dues of more than three thousand one hundred twenty-five dollars ($3,125.00); and
    2. Voting members of affiliate organizations who hold life membership in the American Council of the Blind may be counted in figuring the affiliate's organizational vote, but no annual dues shall be assessed or remitted to the American Council of the Blind for these members.
  3. The annual dues for sustaining members shall be divided into the following categories: fifty dollars ($50.00) or more for Supporting Memberships, one hundred dollars ($100.00) or more for Bronze, one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) or more for Silver, ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) or more for Gold, and one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) or more for Platinum.
  4. Dues for life members shall be one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) which may be paid in no more than five (5) consecutive annual installments. A life member may be a member of an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind.
  5. All annual dues shall be mailed to the national office on or before March 15. All annual dues shall cover the calendar year.

Bylaw 4 Duties of the Officers:

  1. The president, with the approval of the Board of Directors, shall employ and supervise an executive director. The executive director shall be responsible for the selection, supervision, and dismissal of all employees of this organization (except the editor of "The ACB Braille Forum") and shall also perform other duties and responsibilities prescribed in a written job description approved by the Board of Directors. The executive director, with the approval of the Board of Publications, shall employ an editor of "The ACB Braille Forum." The editor of "The ACB Braille Forum" shall perform the duties and responsibilities prescribed in a written job description prepared and approved by the Board of Publications. Not less than sixty (60) days prior to the opening of the annual conference and convention, the president shall have the responsibility to appoint a qualified individual who is familiar with and has access to a current copy of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, to serve as Parliamentarian during that annual conference and convention. The president shall send each board member an agenda fifteen (15) days prior to any board meeting except the post-conference and convention board meeting. The president may, with the advice and consent of the Board of Directors, appoint an Assistant Secretary and/or Assistant Treasurer. Such assistants may be paid for their services.
  2. The secretary of this organization, in addition to the usual duties of such office, shall furnish to each affiliate and member-at-large a summary of all official actions taken at the conference and convention or meetings of the Board of Directors, as soon as possible after the conclusion of such conference and convention and/or meetings. The secretary shall maintain a roll of the certified voting members of each affiliate and of the members-at-large.
  3. The treasurer of this organization, in addition to the usual duties of such office, shall forward to the secretary the names of all voting members as received. The treasurer shall furnish a financial report to each annual conference and convention and to each meeting of the Board of Directors.

Bylaw 5 Powers and Duties of the Board of Directors:

  1. The Board of Directors shall elect a subcommittee of three (3) which shall review and make recommendations to the board regarding the annual budget submitted by the executive director. Once a budget has been adopted by the Board of Directors, it cannot be altered except by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Board of Directors.
  2. It shall be the duty of the Board of Directors to ensure that an annual audit of the organization's financial records is conducted by an independent certified public accountant.
  3. The Board of Directors is authorized to have conference and convention resolutions which establish policy positions prepared in declarative policy statement formats according to their subject areas, and such policy statements shall become the official statement of organization policy when they are finally approved by the Board of Directors until they are changed by conference and convention action.

Bylaw 6 Committees:

In addition to the standing committees provided for below, the president, in consultation with the Board of Directors, is authorized to appoint such other standing committees and/or special committees as deemed necessary to further the objectives of the American Council of the Blind.

  1. Membership Committee: The president, at the close of each annual conference and convention, shall appoint a Membership Committee, which shall be composed of no less than five (5) members. The president shall designate one (1) of the members of the committee to be National Membership Chairperson, and insofar as practicable, the members of the committee shall reside in as many and different geographic regions of the country as possible. The Membership Committee shall have the responsibility, in conjunction with the staff of the national office and the Board of Directors, to develop, coordinate and implement the membership development efforts of this organization.
  2. Resolutions Committee: The president, within sixty (60) days after the close of each national conference and convention, shall appoint a chairperson and not less than four (4) additional members as a Resolutions Committee. This committee shall receive and prepare resolutions to be considered at its opening meeting in conjunction with the ensuing national conference and convention. All resolutions submitted to the committee shall be reported upon with or without committee recommendation, unless the resolution is withdrawn by its author or an individual representative of the author designated in writing. If a resolution is adopted by the conference and convention, and during this process, any conflicting previously adopted resolutions are not rescinded, the most recently adopted resolution on the subject shall take precedence.
  3. Credentials Committee: There shall be a committee on credentials. The committee shall consist of at least seven (7) members: the secretary, a member of the Board of Directors (not an officer), a member of the committee on constitution and bylaws and at least four (4) members appointed by the president for terms of two (2) years. One (1) of the presidential appointees shall be designated chairperson and the said appointee shall not hold elective office while serving on this committee.

    1.  The Credentials Committee shall determine the eligibility of each member and affiliate of ACB to be seated at the annual conference and convention, and shall determine the number of votes each seated affiliate may cast, as set forth in Bylaw 2.
    2.  The committee shall review the credentials information submitted by the national office. It shall notify any affiliate whose credentials are in question and shall meet in a closed meeting to hear any appeals from affiliates contesting a decision of the committee.
    3.  The committee shall report to the conference and convention the number of votes to which each affiliate shall be entitled as well as any other matters relating to credentials. Any affiliate contesting a decision of the Credentials Committee shall have the right to appeal that decision, from the floor, upon completion of the credentials report as detailed in a and b below.

      1. Any decision or ruling by the committee affecting the right of a member or of an affiliate to be admitted to an annual conference and convention or meeting of the membership shall be binding only for the duration of that conference and convention or meeting. A decision or ruling by the committee shall be final unless reversed or modified by a majority of the members present and voting.
      2. All decisions or rulings adverse to a member or to an affiliate shall be in writing and shall be included in the committee's report.
      3. A member or affiliate shall have the right to appeal an adverse decision or ruling to the conference and convention. The appellant member or appellant affiliate shall be admitted to the conference and convention floor for the purpose of arguing the appeal but shall not have the right to vote thereon. The appellant and appellee shall be entitled to no more than ten (10) minutes each to present arguments and testimony.
  4. Constitution and Bylaws Committee: At least ninety (90) days prior to the opening of each annual conference and convention, the President shall appoint a chairperson and at least four (4) additional members to a Constitution and Bylaws Committee. This committee shall have the responsibility of considering and preparing amendments to the constitution and bylaws for presentation to the conference and convention. All proposed amendments to the constitution and/or bylaws must be submitted in writing to the Constitution and Bylaws Committee on or before the end of the first day following the day of the roll call meeting of the conference and convention. Amendments, whenever possible, shall be submitted electronically in ASCII text format. The Constitution and Bylaws Committee must report all such written submissions, with or without committee recommendation.
  5. Scholarship Grant Committee: Each year within sixty (60) days after the close of the annual conference and convention, the president shall appoint a Scholarship Grant Committee consisting of a chairperson and at least four (4) additional members. The committee shall have the responsibility of reviewing and/or revising written sets of guidelines concerning submissions and subsequent evaluation of applications for all scholarships to be awarded by this organization. The committee shall also have the responsibilities, in accordance with its written guidelines, for the final screening and evaluating of scholarship grant applications and for making the selection of all scholarship grant winners. In discharging its responsibilities, the committee is authorized to enlist the support of the national office staff. The committee's selection of scholarship grant recipients shall be final. The identity of such recipients shall be announced during each annual conference and convention.
  6. Awards Committee: Each year, not less than one hundred twenty (120) days prior to the convening of the annual conference and convention, the president shall appoint a chairperson and at least two (2) additional members to an Awards Committee. The committee shall have the responsibilities of receiving written nominations, screening and evaluating such nominations, and selecting, under criteria established by the Board of Directors, the recipients of all this organization's awards except those awards for which responsibility has been delegated by the Board of Directors to other entities such as the Board of Publications. The determinations of the committee concerning recipients of awards under its jurisdiction shall be final.
  7. Conference and Convention Coordinating Committee: Each year, as soon as practical after the close of the annual conference and convention, the president shall appoint a Conference and Convention Coordinating Committee composed of at least nine (9) members. The Conference and Convention Coordinator shall serve as chairperson of the committee and the Assistant Conference and Convention Coordinator(s) shall serve as Vice Chairperson(s) of the committee. The committee shall assist the Conference and Convention Coordinator in the development of invitations or proposals for each future annual conference and convention. The committee shall, with the approval of the Board of Directors, establish conference and convention guidelines and may also recommend amendments to such guidelines for approval by the Board of Directors. The committee shall, with the approval of the Board of Directors, negotiate on behalf of the Board concerning all facilities and support services required for a successful annual conference and convention, and shall manage logistics concerning facilities and support services at the annual conference and convention. It shall be the responsibility of the Conference and Convention Coordinator to make known to the membership, by e-mail, web posting, publication in “The ACB Braille Forum,” and any other ACB forms of communication, the dates of the conference and convention and the name of the city that will host any upcoming conference and convention as soon as the contract for that conference and convention is signed.
  8. Conference and Convention Program Committee: There is hereby established a Conference and Convention Program Committee. The president shall serve on the committee and shall chair the committee or delegate the function of chairperson to another member of the committee. The 1st vice president, the 2nd vice president, the executive director, and the Conference and Convention Coordinator shall serve as members of the committee. The president may appoint at least two (2) additional members of the committee possessing specific expertise as needed. The committee shall recommend to the president appropriate topics and speakers to be included as part of the general conference and convention program. The president shall make the final decision regarding program content and speakers for the annual conference and convention.
  9. Environmental Access Committee: Each year, as soon as practical after the close of the annual conference and convention, the president shall appoint a chairperson and at least eight (8) additional members to an Environmental Access Committee. This committee shall serve as the organization's principal research and advocacy instrument to deal with all issues regarding compromised access to the environment and compromised access to information by persons who are blind or visually impaired. The members of the committee may also serve as a resource to represent ACB before code-establishing and standard-setting bodies at the federal, state, and local levels of government and in the private sector.
  10. Resource Development Committee: Within ninety (90) days after the close of the Conference and Convention, the president shall appoint at least five (5) persons to serve as a Resource Development Committee. The chairperson shall be a member of the Board of Directors, and one (1) of the members of the committee shall be a member of the Budget Committee. The purpose of this committee shall be to identify and make recommendations to the Board of Directors concerning resource development designed to further the goals of ACB.
  11. Advocacy Services Committee: There is hereby established a Committee on Advocacy Services. The president and executive director shall serve as members of the committee. The president or his/her designee shall chair the committee, and the Director of Advocacy Services shall serve as a non-voting member of the committee. Each year, no later than thirty (30) days after the close of the national conference and convention, the president shall appoint at least five (5) additional members to serve for a one (1) year term. The committee shall convene from time to time during the year and shall report at each board meeting. The committee shall set priorities concerning the provision of advocacy services to ACB members and others, as such services relate to the protection and enforcement of civil rights and entitlements. In setting its priorities, the committee shall consider the appropriateness and scope of such services as mediation of disputes, representation, litigation, education and outreach to the private Bar and other advocates, and other similar activities regarding the rights and responsibilities of people who are blind or visually impaired. The committee shall not have jurisdiction over matters relating to the enactment of legislation or the promulgation of implementing regulations.
  12. Public Relations Committee: A Public Relations Committee is hereby created which shall have the responsibility of promoting and enhancing the public image of the American Council of the Blind through the publication of press releases and the implementation of public relations campaigns on targeted issues. The committee shall consist of at least nine (9) members which shall include a chairperson appointed by the president; the chairperson of the Board of Publications; a member chosen from among the three (3) elected members of the Board of Publications, elected by that body; two (2) additional members appointed by the president; and one (1) member elected from among the Board of Directors by that body at its post-conference and convention board meeting each year. In addition, the committee shall have three (3) ex-officio members who shall not have the right to vote. These shall be the executive director of the American Council of the Blind or his/her designee; the webmaster of the American Council of the Blind; and the director of ACB Radio. The Public Relations Committee shall operate under the aegis of the Board of Publications, and the chairperson of the Public Relations Committee shall serve as an ex-officio member of the Board of Publications. Appointments to the Public Relations Committee shall be made within sixty (60) days from the end of each conference and convention of the American Council of the Blind. At meetings of the Public Relations Committee, the chairperson shall not have the right to vote unless the vote of the chairperson is necessary to break a tie.
  13. ACB Employment Committee: Each year, within sixty (60) days after the close of the annual conference and convention, the president shall appoint a chairperson and at least eight (8) additional members to an Employment Committee. This committee shall serve as the organization's primary information dissemination and advocacy resource regarding employment-related issues on behalf of blind and visually impaired persons. Such activities will be promulgated through various mechanisms including, but not limited to, conducting annual training seminars, distributing relevant materials, overseeing employment and career opportunities provided through the ACB website, and offering training and technical assistance to public and private employers. Committee members may also serve as a resource to ACB members, as well as other organizations involved in the employment process.
  14. Information Technology Resource Management Committee: Within sixty (60) days after the close of the annual conference and convention, the president shall appoint a chairperson and at least four (4) additional members to an Information Technology Resource Management Committee. This committee shall be composed of ACB members who have relevant skills in such tasks as managing the development of hardware and software projects, programming, testing and documentation. This committee shall have the responsibility to manage the ACB Information Technology infrastructure.

Bylaw 7 Credentials:

  1. Before the second meeting of each annual conference and convention, the secretary shall call the roll of affiliate organizations so that each affiliate shall have the opportunity to publicly announce to the conference and convention the identity of its official delegate and alternate delegate(s), in the order of precedence, and representative who will serve on the nominating committee. No person shall serve as official delegate and/or alternate to the conference and convention for more than one (1) affiliated organization unless such person is the only voting member at the conference and convention from each of the affiliated organizations to be represented by such person.
  2. If at the opening meeting of the annual conference and convention, an affiliate is unable to announce its official delegate, alternate delegate(s), in the order of their precedence, and its representative who will serve on the nominating committee, it shall provide this information in writing to the Credentials Committee prior to any vote by the affiliate at the annual conference and convention.
  3. The Credentials Committee during the second meeting of each annual conference and convention shall make a preliminary report which shall contain the identity of each affiliate organization's official delegate and alternate delegate(s), in the order of precedence, and the affiliate’s representative who will serve on the nominating committee, as determined from either the roll call of affiliates conducted at the first meeting or from the written submissions made to the Credentials Committee by each affiliate organization.

Bylaw 8 Indemnification:

The Board of Directors may authorize the corporation to indemnify any director, officer, employee, volunteer, or agent, or former director, officer, employee, volunteer, or agent, for expenses and costs (including attorney's fees) incurred in connection with the defense or settlement of any pending or threatened action, suit or proceeding to which he/she is made a party by reason of being or having been such director, officer, employee, volunteer, or agent, except in relation to matters as to which he/she shall be finally adjudged to have been guilty of gross negligence or misconduct in the performance of duties as such director, officer, employee, volunteer, or agent, or in relation to matters as to which he/she, in the opinion of the Board of Directors, did not act in good faith.

Bylaw 9 Application for Affiliation:

  1. Application for affiliation with the American Council of the Blind is subject to the provisions of Article III, Section B of the Constitution.
  2. An application for affiliation shall be made in writing by sending the original to ACB's president with copies to the chairperson of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, the chairperson of the Membership Committee, and the executive director. Such an application shall contain the following information: a cover letter stating the reasons for the application, a current membership list indicating those members who are legally blind, those who are voting members, and a copy of the applicant's governing documents including, as applicable, its constitution, bylaws, and articles of incorporation. An application shall be accompanied by a tender of one (1) year's affiliate dues computed under ACB's bylaws and based on the membership list submitted with the application.

This web page was last updated July 20, 2016.
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