Constitution & Bylaws
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND OF MISSOURI
As Amended March 24, 2019
Section A, Name:
The name of this organization shall be the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri.
Section B, Purpose:
The purpose of this organization shall be to promote the general welfare of the blind of Missouri and the nation, and to function as an integral part of the National Federation of the Blind.
Section A, Responsibilities:
The National Federation of the Blind of Missouri shall be an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind and shall furnish to the President of the National Federation of the Blind annually, on or before February 1, a list of the names and addresses of its members and elected officers. A copy of the Constitution of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri and of all amendments to the Constitution shall be sent to the President of the National Federation of the Blind without delay.
Section B, Charter requirements:
The National Federation of the Blind of Missouri shall not merely be a social organization, but shall formulate programs and actively work to promote the economic and social betterment of the blind. This organization shall comply with the provisions of the Constitution of the National Federation of the Blind and the provisions of the contract appearing on the back of the Charter of Affiliation issued to state affiliates by the National Federation of the Blind. Policy decisions of the National Federation of the Blind (whether made by the National Convention or the National Board of Directors) are binding on this organization, and this organization shall participate affirmatively in carrying out such policy decisions. As a condition of affiliation, it is agreed by this organization that the National Federation of the Blind (whether by the action of the National Convention or the National Board) has the power to expel or discipline an individual member and to expel or reorganize a state affiliate, local chapter, or division. In the event of reorganization, the assets of the affiliate and its local chapters or divisions belong to the reorganized affiliate, and the former affiliate shall dissolve and cease to exist. The name National Federation of the Blind, Federation of the Blind, or any variant thereof, is the property of the National Federation of the Blind; and this organization or any of its local chapters or divisions which cease to be a part of the National Federation of the Blind (for whatever reason) shall forfeit the right to use the name National Federation of the Blind, Federation of the Blind, or any variant thereof.
Section A, Requirements:
At least a majority of the active members of this organization must be blind. Active membership shall be of two (2) classifications: active members who are affiliated with local chapters, and active members who are not affiliated with local chapters. *To become a member, all persons shall be voted into the Federation family by a majority vote of their chapter, division, or a majority vote of the affiliate board if not affiliated with a chapter or division.
Section B, Active Chapter Members:
All active members of local chapters shall automatically become active members of this organization, with the right to vote, serve on committees, speak on the floor, and hold office.
Section C, Active Members at Large:
Any person who is not affiliated with a local chapter may become an active member of this organization by a majority vote of the active members present and voting at a convention or by action of the Board of Directors with the right to vote, serve on committees, speak on the floor, and hold office.
Section D, Associate Members:
Any person may be elected to associate membership in this organization either by the convention or the Board of Directors. Associate members shall have all the rights and privileges of active members, except that they may not vote, hold office, or serve on the Board of Directors. Associate members shall not pay dues.
Section E, Expulsion:
Any member may be expelled for violation of this Constitution or for conduct unbecoming to a member of the Federation by three fifths (3/5) majority vote of the active members present and voting at any regular business meeting of this organization, or by a two‑thirds vote of the Board of Directors between regular business meetings. The State Convention of this organization may reinstate any person who has been expelled unless such expulsion has been confirmed by the National Convention or by the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind, in which event the person may not be reinstated except by the National Convention or by the National Board. Any person who feels that he or she has been unjustly expelled from this organization may appeal to the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind, which may (in its discretion) consider the matter and make a binding decision.
Local Chapters and Divisions.
Section A, Local Chapters:
Any organized group desiring to become a local chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri, shall apply for affiliation by submitting a copy of its constitution and a list of the names and addresses of its members and elected officers to the President of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri. When the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri, either in convention assembled or by action of its Board of Directors, shall have approved the application, it shall issue to the local chapter a Certificate of Acceptance. Annually, on or before February 1, each local chapter shall provide to the Recording Secretary of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri, a current list of its members and their addresses. At the same time, each local chapter shall forward to the State Treasurer the state dues for each member of the chapter, a list of members and their addresses, and a detailed financial report of the chapter's activities for the past year. The fiscal year of this organization shall be the calendar year. As new members enter local chapters, their names and addresses shall be sent, without delay, to the Recording Secretary and the Treasurer of the state organization, and the state dues shall be sent without delay to the Treasurer of the state organization. No group shall be accredited as a chapter and no group shall remain a chapter unless a majority of its voting members are blind. The President, the Vice President (or vice presidents) and at least a majority of the Executive Committee or board of directors of the local chapters must be blind. The President of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri shall be ex-officio a member of each local chapter. In the event of the dissolution of a local chapter, or if, (for whatever reason), a local chapter ceases to be a part of this organization, its assets shall become the property of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri.
Section B, Divisions:
Any organized group of special interests wishing to become a division of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri may form a special interest group and after meeting regularly for two years may apply to become a division by applying for a charter by submitting to the President of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri a copy of its constitution and a list of the names and addresses of its members and elected officers. When the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri either in convention assembled or by action of its Board of Directors shall have approved the application, it shall issue to the division a Certificate of Charter. Annually, within fifteen days of the end of the State Affiliate Convention, each division shall provide to the Recording Secretary and to the Treasurer of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri, a current list of its members and their addresses. On or before February 1 of each year, each division shall forward to the State Treasurer a detailed financial report of its activities for the preceding fiscal year. The fiscal year of this organization shall be the calendar year. As new members enter a division, their names and addresses shall be sent, without delay, to the Recording Secretary of the state organization. The President of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri shall be an ex-officio member of each division. In the event of the dissolution of a division, or if (for whatever reason) a division ceases to be a part of this organization, its assets shall become the property of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri. Divisions shall not pay affiliate dues for their members, except in the case where a person has not already had dues paid by themselves or a local chapter. In such a case dues must be paid at our annual state convention and immediately forwarded to the State Affiliate Treasurer. The affiliate shall have the power to dissolve any division that is not regularly meeting or fails to meet at any state convention.
OFFICERS AND THEIR DUTIES
Section A, Officers:
There shall be elected at the regular annual convention during each odd numbered year, a President, a First Vice President, a Second Vice President, a Recording Secretary, a Corresponding Secretary, and a Treasurer. The terms of these officers shall begin at the close of the convention at which they are elected and qualified.
Section B, Election:
Officers shall be elected by a majority vote of the active members who are present and voting. There shall be no proxy voting. If no nominee receives a majority vote on the first ballot, the name of the person receiving the fewest votes shall be dropped from the list of nominees, and a second ballot shall be taken. This procedure shall continue until one of the nominees has received a majority vote from the active members present and voting.
Section C, Duties:
The duties of each officer shall be those ordinarily associated with that office. The President and the Vice Presidents must be blind. In the event of the absence of the Recording secretary from any board meeting the Corresponding Secretary shall take the minutes and attendance for that meeting.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Section A, Board Positions:
The Board of Directors (Board) of this organization shall consist of six constitutional officers and seven additional members, two of whom shall be elected for two year terms during odd numbered years and five of whom shall be elected for two year terms at the annual convention during even numbered years. The seven directors shall be elected in the same manner as that prescribed for the election of officers. The Board shall meet at the call of the president or on written call signed by any three of the Board members The Board shall advise the president and shall have charge of the affairs of the organization between conventions. At least a majority of the Board members must be present at any meeting to constitute a quorum on any question. A majority of the Board must be blind.
Section B, Impeachment of Officers and Board Members:
In the event that an elected officer or Board member fails to perform the duties of his or her office or Board position or performs his or her duties in such a manner as to cause harm to the organization or damage to the credibility of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri, the Board of Directors may remove him or her from office or Board position. Such removal must take place at a meeting called in the manner described in Article VI Section One, and must attain a two‑thirds vote of those board members present and voting. When calling a meeting for the purpose of impeaching, the agenda must be stated, or sent in writing, to each member of the board of directors. The next business session of the membership in convention may reinstate such an officer or Board member by a majority vote of the membership present and voting. The membership at any convention assembled may also impeach an officer or Board member by a two‑thirds vote.
Section C, Filling Vacancies:
If for any reason a vacancy should occur on the Board of Directors during the term of that elected position, the vacancy shall be filled by an election held by the remaining directors at their next board meeting, or by the next convention, whichever comes first. The election shall follow the procedures set forth in Article V. If the office of President is vacated, the Vice Presidents ascend to the next office and the office of Second Vice President shall be filled by the election. If the office of First Vice President is vacated, the Second Vice President ascends, and the office of Second Vice President shall be filled. All other positions shall be filled as vacated.
Section D, Vacated Positions:
Any officer or Board member who fails to attend three regularly scheduled meetings of the Board of Directors during his or her two-year term shall by this failure be considered to have vacated his or her position on the Board. At the conclusion of the Board meeting at which the member had missed his or her third meeting, the Board or convention shall fill the vacancy as provided for in Section 3 of this article. Regularly scheduled meetings shall not include those held by telephone or special meetings of the Board.
Section A, Annual Convention:
The organization shall hold an annual convention, the time and place of which shall be fixed by the membership or, if this is not possible, by the Board of Directors. At least fifteen (15) active members must be present to constitute a quorum to transact business at any annual convention.
Section B, Special Meetings:
The President of this organization may call a special meeting of the body at any time he or she, or a majority of the Board of Directors, deems such action to be necessary. At such special meetings at least fifteen (15) active members must be present to constitute a quorum to transact business, and written notice must have been sent to the President of each local chapter and to the members of the Board of Directors at least ten (10) days prior to the date of the meeting.
The President shall appoint such committees as he or she or the organization deems necessary.
DELEGATES TO THE NATIONAL CONVENTION
This organization shall elect each year at least one (1) delegate and at least one (1) alternate delegate to attend the Convention of the National Federation of the Blind. No person shall be elected as a delegate or alternate delegate unless he or she is an active member of this organization in good standing. To the extent of the resources of this organization, as voted by its convention or its Board of Directors, the expenses of delegates and alternate delegates to the Convention of the National Federation of the Blind shall be paid.
Section A, Amount:
The dues of this organization shall be not less than five dollars ($5) per year payable in advance. The convention, by a majority vote of members present and voting, shall set the dues for the following year. If no action is taken the dues will not change.
Section B, Payment: In accordance with Article IV of the Constitution,
Local chapters shall pay the state dues of their members. Members who are not affiliated with the local chapters shall pay their dues before or during the time of the annual convention. A lifetime membership may be secured for a fee of one hundred dollars ($100). No person may vote who is delinquent in the payment of his or her dues.
DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS
Section A, Treasurer's Responsibilities:
Funds of this organization shall be deposited in a bank to be selected by the Treasurer with the approval of the president. The treasurer shall be bonded. All financial obligations of this organization shall be discharged by check, internal bank transfers, or savings account withdrawals to conduct affiliate business. All transactions must be issued on order of the president and signed by the treasurer.
Section B, Absence of the Treasurer
In the absence of the treasurer the president shall be the acting treasurer. The president shall be bonded. The president, acting as treasurer, shall not pay any obligations without the approval of the first vice president.
In the event of the dissolution of this organization, or (for whatever reason) it ceases to be an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, its assets shall be given to the National Federation of the Blind, to be held in trust for a reorganized affiliate in the state. In the event that no affiliate is reorganized in the state for a period of two (2) years from the date this organization ceases to be an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, the assets become the property of the National Federation of the Blind.
AMENDMENTS and Bylaws
Section A, Amendments:
This Constitution may be amended at any regular meeting of this organization by an affirmative vote of two‑thirds of the active members present and voting, provided the proposed amendment has been submitted in writing and read at a previous business session and provided it is in compliance with the provisions of the Charter of Affiliation provided by the National Federation of the Blind.
Section B, Bylaws:
The organization may adopt a set of bylaws setting forth day to day policies including but not limited to financial, parliamentary, and responsibilities of officers and members. Bylaws may be enacted or amended by a majority vote of the members of the organization or board of directors at any meeting. Any action taken by the board of directors must be ratified or refused by the general membership at the next annual convention. The bylaws must be attached to this constitution so that the Constitution and Bylaws are a single document. The constitution is the supreme policy of the organization and shall override any policy enacted in the bylaws which conflicts with the constitution.
Bylaws of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri (2018)
1.00 Parliamentary and General Membership.
1.01 Except as provided herein and in the constitution, Robert's Rules of Order shall be used for the conduct of meetings. Though these will be our guidelines, parliamentary procedure will not be used to block the clear intent of the membership to discuss or decide any issue.
1.02 The chair of any committee shall only vote in case of a tie except for the nominating, tenBroek award, and resolutions committee. In these cases, each chapter gets a vote regardless of who is chair.
1.03 The membership dues are set by the membership at the annual state convention.
1.04 The board of directors shall review and approve the convention minutes at its next meeting following the convention. This does not prevent the reading of the minutes at the next convention or prevent the convention from ratifying or modifying the previous convention minutes.
1.05 When minutes are corrected, they will be reissued to replace the modified version.
1.06 The maximum amount of money allotted for the John and Rhoda Dower Scholarship depends on the authorization by the convention or the board of directors in addition to funds provided by other sources. Scholarship funds may be given entirely to one individual or divided in any manner amongst several individuals as the scholarship committee may determine.
2.00 Responsibilities of the board and individual officers.
2.01 The board of directors will hold regular quarterly meetings in June, September or October, January or February, and with one of the four being in conjunction with the annual state convention.
2.02 Action points will be distributed by the recording secretary within a week of a board meeting and the state convention. They will be re-sent monthly between meetings. The Recording Secretary shall issue minutes for all regular and special board meetings within 20 days. Minutes of the state convention shall be issued within 30 days of the end of convention. The Recording Secretary shall provide minutes upon request to any member.
2.03 The treasurer and corresponding secretary shall jointly maintain a list of members at-large and annually send renewal notices to these members.
2.04 The treasurer and the president shall issue payment for reimbursement requests within twenty days of the request received by the president. While twenty days is our guarantee, we realize that taking this long will cause problems for those paying NFB expenses out of pocket or on charge cards. The president and the treasurer each shall endeavor to turn around requests within seven days.
2.05 Checks not cashed within ninety days of the issue date are void.
2.06 Deposits shall be made by the treasurer within ten days of receipt.
2.07 All committees and members handling funds of the organization need to be mindful of our accountability. Projects of the organization can extend over a number of months, and events that bring us together as a body are spread out. All persons in possession of funds belonging to the organization shall turn them in promptly to the committee chair handling the project or directly to the treasurer. It is not necessary for a project to be completed before funds can be turned in and deposited. In no case shall the time between the receipt of money and its being turned over to the chair or the treasurer exceed two weeks. A notation of the total amount being turned in, which includes a breakdown of the source and amount for each category, [change and to is] and important, and appreciated.
2.08 When the convention votes to make a contribution or expenditure, a reimbursement request is completed by the president and the convention minutes are the supporting documentation allowing the treasurer to issue the check.
2.09 The chair of any committee making financial decisions, i.e., Scholarship Award, Rittgers, Good Works, etc., must complete a payment authorization and submit it to the president for authorization before the treasurer can issue checks on behalf of that committee. While the amount needed may be determined at the event, the completed authorization still must come before the check or checks are presented to the committee chair for distribution.
2.10 The president shall keep the bonding certificate for the affiliate in her/his possession. He/she shall also have evidence that the annual cost has been paid, and a copy of the bond shall also reside with the treasurer and first vice president.
2.11 Financial records are to be kept for at least five years.
2.12 The treasurer shall submit the financial report at least five days prior to regular quarterly board meetings.
3.00 Responsibilities of Chapters and Divisions.
3.01 The chapters shall submit appointments to the president before December 1 of each year for the resolutions committee, nominating committee, and tenBroek award committee. If they are not received by that date the president may make the appointments.
3.02 The president and treasurer will prepare a financial reporting form which will outline the financial responsibilities each chapter and division has to the state organization. This form will be presented to current chapter presidents, chapter treasurers, division presidents, and division treasurers by the end of each year. The materials required shall be provided by chapters no later than February 1 and by divisions no later than fifteen days following the state convention.
3.03 Chapters and divisions of the state will closely monitor the amount of funds held in their accounts to ensure that the total does not exceed $5,000.00 at any time. Any funds in excess of $5,000.00 shall be transferred to the state affiliate. Such funds will be granted back to the chapter upon request when needed to carry out its programs.
3.04 To be considered for the title of Grand Chapter or to win the Roy Zuvers Traveling Trophy, funds must be received by the treasurer at least fifteen days prior to the state convention.
3.05 Chapters and divisions not having a member on the state board are entitled to send a representative to all board meetings. This representative shall have the right to speak on any issue but shall not vote. The representative is entitled to reasonable reimbursement of expenses in the same manner as the board.
4.00 Reimbursement Policies.
4.01 The president has the ultimate authority to authorize any expense he/she feels reasonable given a particular situation, whether or not it would normally be approved under these guidelines. Any expenditure in excess of $5,000 must be approved by the board of directors.
4.02 Whenever possible, members are encouraged to use volunteer help and lower cost alternatives.
4.03 Mileage reimbursement, when requested, shall be paid at no more than the rate the state of Missouri reimburses its employees.
4.04 Whenever it is necessary to hire someone to drive, efforts shall be made to negotiate the lowest possible payment. Members shall endeavor to be fair both to the person they need to hire and to the limited and charitably contributed funds of the Federation.
4.05 When taking public transit of any type, the cheapest reasonable alternative shall be used and at the lowest rate available for that mode of transportation. For example, if a member is eligible for discounts because of age, student status, employment, or membership in AAA, AARP, or other groups, they should take advantage of these opportunities.
4.06 The organization will not pay for first-class or other ticket upgrades unless there are no alternatives.
4.07 If the affiliate is paying for a planned meal, reimbursement will not be provided for that meal.
4.08 Members should seek moderate to lower-priced restaurants when reimbursement is to be requested and should strive to keep the bill at or below a medium point on the menu. In no event will reimbursement for meals exceed $40 per day. Alcoholic beverages will never be reimbursed.
4.09 When lodging is required, the organization will attempt to do group bookings; however, if no group arrangement is made, consult the president for prior approval of room charges.
4.10 Sharing is caring: Members shall car pool and share lodging anytime it is feasible.
4.11 To request payment of expenses incurred on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri, the person incurring the expense shall complete a reimbursement request along with appropriate receipts and submit them to the president. Upon approval, the president will sign the expense reimbursement form and forward it to the treasurer along with the receipts which have been submitted to the president. Expense reimbursement forms may be obtained upon request from either the president or the treasurer.
4.12 Expenses must be submitted within thirty days of when the expenditure is incurred. This does not mean waiting for a credit card bill, since the credit card bill does not serve as a receipt unless the president has been given good reason why an original receipt cannot be provided.
4.13 Expense reimbursement forms with appropriate receipts must be submitted to the president since she/he must approve the expense before the treasurer can issue funds. Forms sent directly to the treasurer without appropriate authorization will be returned to the sender.
4.14 Expense reimbursement requested by the president shall be sent for approval to the first vice president along with appropriate receipts to document the expenses for which reimbursement is requested.
4.15 When advance payment is issued, the recipient must provide receipts for expenses within fifteen days of the conclusion of the event. In addition, they must be accompanied by any funds advanced but not spent on the event. Persons not providing such receipts shall not be granted advance payment in the future unless an exception is granted by the president in extraordinary circumstances. The treasurer shall maintain a list of advances made for which no receipts were provided.
5.00 George and Gwen Rittgers Stipends for state convention
5.01. The state board will allocate the maximum amount to be
used from the fund by January 31 of each year.
5.02 An individual application must be made 30 days before the
beginning of convention by the person requesting the funds, or by their
chapter president, which explains the reason for the request.
5.03 It is not intended that these funds pay the entire cost of
convention attendance, and the committee is only to allocate funds based
on need and will not use the entire allocated amount unless recipients
needs justify it.
5.04 The state president may authorize funding after the
deadline in extraordinary circumstances if funds remain in the
5.05 Whenever practical, funds will be directly paid either to
cover hotel costs or convention registration and meals.
5.06 New or perspective members will be given highest priority
in their request.
5.07 Persons who have previously attended a Missouri convention
will then be given consideration.
5.08. No person shall receive funds a second or subsequent time
unless they experience an unexpected financial crisis that would otherwise prevent their attendance.
5.09 Each chapter is encouraged to contribute at least $50 annually to the George and Gwen Rittgers Fund.
5.10 The chair of the Rittgers committee shall send out notice via Email and on the affiliate website at least 60 days prior to the annual convention.
5.20 National Convention stipends
5.21 The state convention shall determine if stipends should be allocated to help persons to attend our annual National Convention, as well as, the amount available if any to be allocated.
5.22 If funds are available, the Rittgers Committee will accept the applications and determine the individual allocations.
5.23 The application deadline shall be May 15 of each year.
5.24 Allocations shall be based on need, and first-time national convention attendees shall be given priority.
6.00 Affiliate Awards
6.01 The affiliate shall recognize persons or groups that have made a positive contribution to the lives of blind people in Missouri.
6.02 These awards shall only be presented when a worthy recipient is identified.
6.03 These awards shall include but are not limited to the Kenneth Jernigan Award, the Jacobus tenBroek Award, and the Gary L. Wunder Award.
6.05 The nomination deadline for the Jernigan award, tenBroek Award, and Gary L. Wunder Award shall be February 1.
6.10 The Kenneth Jernigan Award
6.11 The Jernigan Award is presented by the Missouri Affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind to a Federationist who has performed outstanding service to his fellow blind over a prolonged period of time. A recipient of this award shall be a resident of the State of Missouri.
6.12 The recipient of this award shall be an active member of the National Federation of the Blind's Missouri Affiliate.
6.13 The committee charged with selecting recipients of the award shall consist of the most recent three recipients of the award. If, for whatever reason, one or more of the past recipients cannot serve, the committee shall be composed of recipients from previous years with the selection proceeding in reverse chronological order until three committee members are seated.
6.14 The Jernigan Award shall be presented to one individual. Awards to families and couples shall be prohibited.
6.15 The most recent recipient of the Jernigan Award shall serve as the Chairman of the Jernigan Award Committee. If, for whatever reason, this person cannot serve on the committee, the office of chairperson shall fall to the most recent recipient available.
6.16 This award is presented only as often as the committee deems that a deserving person is available.
6.17 All nominations shall be in writing and distributed to all committee members by the chairperson.
6.18 A copy of these standards shall be forwarded by the President of the Missouri Affiliate to the chairman of the Jernigan Award Committee who shall send it to each member of the committee.
6.20 Jacobus tenBroek Award
6.21 The tenBroek award shall be presented to a sighted person who has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to improving the quality of life for the blind.
6.22 The recipient of the tenBroek Award shall be a resident of the State of Missouri.
6.23 The committee to select the recipient shall be comprised of a representative of each local chapter. This representative may be selected by the chapter president or elected by the chapter membership depending on the desires of the local chapter.
6.24 The chairperson of this committee shall be selected by the State President and shall be one of the representatives designated by the chapters.
6.25 This award is presented only so often as the committee deems that a deserving person is available.
6.26 A copy of this policy statement shall be distributed to each member of the committee by the chairperson prior to the selection of a recipient. The state president shall be responsible for providing this statement to the chairperson at the time of appointment.
6.27 All nominations shall be in writing and distributed to all committee members by the chairperson.
6.30 The Gary L. Wunder Award
6.31 The Gary L. Wunder award replaces the awards previously known as the Missouri Affiliate Award and Rittgers Award.
6.32 This award is presented at the discretion of the State president to any individual or group she/he deems worthy.
6.33 Members of the affiliate may submit nominations to the state president for consideration.