POVERTY LAW SECTION
STATE BAR OF TEXAS
NAME AND PURPOSE
Section 1. Name. This Section shall be known as the Poverty Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. Section 2. Purpose. The purpose of this Section shall be to (1) promote the study of areas of law that particularly impact people living below or near the poverty level, (2) study and report on laws and decisions as they may affect the rights of low-income people, and (3) provide a forum for members of the profession interested in poverty law.
Section 1. Membership. Any member of the State Bar of Texas who desires to become a member of this Section shall, upon request to the Secretary of the Section and payment of the annual Section dues, be enrolled as a member. Members so enrolled shall constitute the membership of this Section. Non-attorneys may join the section and are entitled to all benefits of section membership except that they may not vote. Section 2. Dues. Annual Dues shall be due and payable in advance at the beginning of each fiscal year. Any member of this Section whose annual dues are more than six months delinquent shall automatically cease to be a member.
OFFICERS AND COUNCIL
Section 1. Designation of Officers. The Officers of this Section shall be the Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Secretary. Officers are ex-officio members of the Council and shall have the right to vote on all matters before the Council.
Section 2. Council. The Council of this Section shall consist of the above named officers as ex-officio, voting members, together with nine (9) other members to be elected as hereinafter provided. The Chair shall have the right to appoint additional ex-officio, nonvoting members to serve during the Chair’s term.
Section 3. Term of Office for Officers. At the Annual Section Meeting of the year in which the terms of the Officers expire, candidates for the positions of Vice-Chair, Treasurer, Secretary and, if necessary, Chair shall be nominated and the persons filling each of these offices shall be elected by majority vote of those present. The initial Officers of the Section shall serve until the Annual Section Meeting, 2007, at which time elections for Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Secretary shall be held. Thereafter, Officers of the Section shall hold office for a two (2) year term beginning at the close of the Annual Section Meeting at which they have been elected, and ending at the close of the second succeeding Annual Meeting of the Section after such election and until their successors shall have been elected and qualify. No Officer may serve more than one consecutive term in the same office.
Section 4. Term of Office for Council Members. At each annual meeting of the Section, members of the section shall elect the regular members of the Council for terms of three (3) years each to succeed the members whose terms will expire at the close of such Annual Section Meeting. The initial Council members shall serve until the first election following the creation of the Section, at which time elections for all Council positions shall be held. For the first year after thereafter, one-third of the Council members shall serve for terms of one (1) year, one-third of the Council members shall serve for terms of two (2) years and one third of the Council members shall serve for terms of three (3) years. Council members may serve two consecutive three (3) -year terms. There is no limit on the number of non-consecutive terms a member of the Council may serve. A person who is appointed to fill a vacated position of Officer or Chair and has served more than one-half (1/2) of the regular term of the vacated position shall be deemed to have served a full term in that position.
Section 5. Vacancies. An Officer or Council member shall be deemed to have vacated his or her position on the occurrence of any one of the following: a. The election or appointment of the Council member as an Officer of the Section; b. The Council member’s failure to attend two consecutive meetings of the Council; c. The Officer’s or Council member’s death or resignation from his or her position as Officer or Council member; or d. Disbarment, or resignation in lieu of disbarment, of the Officer or Council member.
Section 6. Filling Vacancies. In the event the position of Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer or Council member becomes vacant, the Council shall, by majority vote, appoint a replacement to serve the remainder of the term of the vacated position.
NOMINATION AND ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND COUNCIL MEMBERS
Section 1. Nomination. Not less than ninety (90) days prior to each Annual Section Meeting, the Chair shall appoint a nominating committee of two (2) Council members and three (3) Section members who are not Council members. Not less than sixty (60) days prior to the upcoming Annual Section Meeting, the nominating committee shall report to the Section members a slate of candidates to fill those Officer and Council positions that are up for election at that Annual Section Meeting. Other nominations for any of these positions may be made by any Section member if made in writing, signed by five (5) Section members, and filed with the Section Secretary not less than forty-five (45) days prior to that Annual Section Meeting. These additional nominations shall be reported to the Section members not less than thirty (30) days prior to the upcoming Annual Section Meeting. Only current Council members may be nominated as candidates for Officer of the Section.
Section 2. Election. Election may be held by written ballot or by voice vote as determined by resolution duly adopted by this Section at the Annual Section Meeting at which the election is held. Section members must be present at such Annual Section Meeting to be eligible to vote.
DUTIES OF OFFICERS
Section 1. Primary Duty. It is the duty of each Officer to fulfill the stated purposes of the Section.
Section 2. Chair. The Chair, or in the absence of the Chair, the Vice-Chair, shall preside at all meetings of this Section and of the Council. At each Annual Section Meeting, the Chair shall present a report of the work of the Section for the past year. The Chair shall perform such other duties and acts as usually pertain to the office.
Section 3. Vice-Chair. The Vice-Chair shall be available to consult with the Chair and the other Officers and Council members and shall perform, on behalf of the Section, such duties as the Chair may assign. Upon the death, resignation or during the disability of the Chair, or upon his/her refusal to act, the Vice-Chair shall perform the duties of the Chair until such time as a replacement is appointed by the Council.
Section 4. Secretary. The Secretary shall be custodian of the minutes, reports and records of the Section and shall keep a correct record of the proceedings of all meetings of the Section and of the Council. With the Chair, the Secretary shall prepare a summary of the proceedings of the Section at its Annual Section Meeting and shall submit the same to the State Bar Board of Directors for publication in the annual report.
Section 5. Treasurer. The Treasurer shall be responsible for the funds and accounts of this Section and shall keep an accurate account of all monies of the Section, pay all bills, and take such other action with respect to the finances of the Section as the Council may direct. In performing such duties, the Treasurer shall comply with the provisions of Section 2 of Article VI of these bylaws. Section 6. Preparation of the Section’s Budget. At the last Council meeting immediately preceding the next Annual Section Meeting, the Officers shall prepare and present to the Council as a whole a proposed budget for the next year. At such Council meeting, the Council, by majority vote, shall approve a Section budget for the fiscal year, as it may be changed or amended by the Council at such meeting.
DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE COUNCIL
Section 1. Jurisdiction. The Council shall have general supervision and control of the affairs of the Section subject to the provisions of the State Bar Act, the State Bar Rules and the Policy Manual of the State Bar Board of Directors, and the further provisions of these Bylaws. It shall specifically authorize all expenditures of money and all commitments or contracts, which entail the payment of money.
Section 2. Finances. This Section is authorized to collect membership dues and govern expenditures of dues income. Any revision in the Section’s dues must be approved by a majority of the Section members present at an Annual Section Meeting and by the State Bar Board of Directors. No later than July 15 each year the Council shall deliver to the State Bar Executive Director a complete financial report for the preceding fiscal year and a Section budget for the current fiscal year. Funds of this Section may only be invested within the parameters outlined in the State Bar of Texas Investment Policy as set forth in the State Bar Board Policy Manual. This Section shall deposit dues income into either a branch of the State Bar of Texas banking depository or an alternative banking depository meeting the requirements of the above-mentioned State Bar of Texas Investment Policy. In the event the Section selects an alternative depository, it shall instruct the depository to provide directly to the State Bar of Texas a duplicate of the bank statements, canceled checks, and deposit slips on a monthly basis. Any expense incurred in providing duplicates to the State Bar of Texas shall be borne by the Section. The Section may request the State Bar accounting department to prepare a monthly and year-to-date Section financial report. The Section may opt to have the State Bar manage Section funds, including depositing dues, managing operating expenses, issuing checks, and preparing financial reports and budgets for such fee as the State Bar shall charge.
Section 3. Committees. The Council may authorize the Chair to appoint committees from Section members to perform such duties and exercise such powers as the Council may direct, subject to the limitations of these Bylaws and the State Bar Act, the State Bar Rules and the State Bar Board Policy Manual.
Section 4. Council Meetings. Council meetings shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised. Any meeting of the Council or Section Committees may be held in person or by means of teleconference or videoconference or any combination of these. Any person participating by teleconference or videoconference shall be deemed to be present, and have the right to vote, at such meeting. Six (6) members of the Council, including Officers, must be present to constitute a quorum, provided that four (4) members are present who are not Officers. All Officers are entitled to vote on any motion before the Council. All binding actions of the Council shall be by vote of a majority of those present at a meeting at which a quorum is present.
MEETINGS OF THE SECTION
Section 1. Annual Section Meeting. The Annual Section Meeting shall be held at a time and location as determined by the Council.
Section 2. Special Meetings. Special meetings of the Section may be called by the Chair upon approval of the Council, at such time and place as the Council may determine to conduct such business as the Council, in its discretion, deems advisable. Written notice of special meetings of the Section shall be delivered to the Section members no later than ten (10) days prior to the special meeting. Such written notice may be made by mail, facsimile or direct email.
Section 3. Quorum. The members of the Section present at any meeting shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business and all binding action of this Section shall be by majority vote of the members present.
Section 4. Meeting Attendance. A member who attends a Section meeting by teleconference or video conference shall be counted as present at the meeting and shall have the right to vote at such meeting
STATE BAR ACTIONS AND POSITIONS
Section 1. Section Action Not Action of the State Bar of Texas. No action, policy determination, or recommendation of this Section or any committee thereof shall be deemed to be, or be referred to as, the action of the State Bar of Texas prior to submission of the same to, and approval by, the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors, the General Assembly of the State Bar of Texas at its Annual Meeting, or duly-authorized referendum of the State Bar of Texas. Any resolution adopted or action taken by the Section may, on request of the Section, be reported by the Chair to the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors for action thereon.
Section 2. Governmental Authority Process. The Section through such process as the State Bar requires, may seek the authority to present a position of the State Bar of Texas before a public, judicial, executive or legislative body, provided such position has been distributed in writing by mail, facsimile or direct email to all members of the Council and the Council has approved such position by majority vote.
Section 1. Fiscal Year. The fiscal year of the Section shall run from June 1 through May 31.
Section 2. Payments. Before being paid by the Treasurer, all bills incurred by the Section must be submitted to and approved by the Chair or, in the absence of the Chair, by the Past Chair. The Council may require that the payment of specific bills be approved by the Council prior to payment. In such event, the request to pay such bill may be submitted to and may be voted upon by the Council by electronic means. The result of such vote must be conveyed to all Council members in writing by mail, facsimile or direct email.
Section 3. Compensation for Service. No Council member or Officer may be paid or compensated in any way, other than reimbursement of expenses, for his or her service as a Council member or Officer.
Section 4. Reimbursement of Expenses. Reasonable expenses of Council members and Officers for attending Council meetings may be reimbursed by the Section in such amounts as may be authorized by the Section’s Reimbursement Policy adopted by the Section at its Annual Section Meeting.
Section 5. Amendment of Bylaws. These Bylaws may be amended at any Annual Section Meeting by a majority vote of the Section members present and voting, provided such proposed amendment shall first have been approved by the Council. No amendment so adopted shall become effective until it has been approved by the State Bar Board of Directors.