Adopted October 30, 2022 / Updated October 30, 2022
ARTICLE I – NAME
This organization shall be known as the Louisiana High School Democrats, which may be shortened to LAHSD or LouisianaHSD.
ARTICLE II – PURPOSE
SECTION 1 – ORGANIZATIONAL FUNCTIONS
Pursuant to Section 210 of the Bylaws of the High School Democrats of America (HSDA), LAHSD shall:
- engage our fellow students to be active in the Democratic Party and the entirety of the American political system;
- actively support Democratic nominees in local, state, and national elections and conduct an active campaign in support of Democratic nominees;
- be forbidden from endorsing any candidate or office who has yet to win their respective primary election; and,
- make its principal mission the identification, training, and recruiting of Democratic activists in high schools, and the insertion of Democratic messaging into high schools.
ARTICLE III – ORGANIZATION
SECTION 1 – AT THE STATE LEVEL
The LAHSD Executive Board shall be the central governing body of this organization, together with any bodies or positions created by or at the discretion of the State Chair.
SECTION 2 – AT THE REGIONAL LEVEL
Louisiana High School Democrats shall be divided into the following three (3) regions:
- North (or Northern) Louisiana, which may be shortened to NorthLA and includes the following parishes:
- De Soto;
- East Carroll;
- Red River;
- Webster; and,
- West Carroll.
- Central Louisiana, which may be shortened to CenLA and includes the following parishes:
- Jefferson Davis;
- Pointe Coupee;
- St. Landry;
- Vernon; and,
- South (or Southern) Louisiana, which may be shortened to SouthLA and includes the following parishes;
- East Baton Rouge;
- East Feliciana;
- St. Bernard;
- St. Charles;
- St. Helena;
- St. James;
- St. John the Baptist;
- St. Martin;
- St. Mary;
- St. Tammany;
- West Baton Rouge; and,
- West Feliciana.
SECTION 3 – AT THE LOCAL LEVEL
The Louisiana High School Democrats shall organize its membership into local and regional units which will serve to perform the purposes and this organization in their respective jurisdictions. Local chapters are subjected to all applicable requirements listed in this Constitution and any subsequent Bylaws.
SECTION 4 – AS A PARENT ORGANIZATION
The Louisiana High School Democrats shall serve as a parent organization to all local chapters under the jurisdiction of LAHSD. It shall also serve as the official Louisiana state chapter of the High School Democrats of America. Rules, regulations, and codes set forth by HSDA Bylaws supersede those found in this document.
ARTICLE IV – MEMBERSHIP
SECTION 1 – GENERAL MEMBERSHIP
Any self-identifying Democrat currently enrolled in a Louisiana high school, private or public, or who is currently home schooled, shall be eligible for active membership in this organization. Members shall remain eligible for active membership until three (3) months after graduation from high school.
SECTION 2 – ELIGIBILITY TO VOTE
Members who have been active for the thirty (30) consecutive days prior to an election shall be eligible to vote in that election.
SECTION 3 – STATEMENT OF NON-DISCRIMINATION
Membership in this organization may not be denied on the basis of gender, sex, race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, language, national origin, disability, age, family or social status, or any other factor that could cause discrimination.
SECTION 4 – MEMBERSHIP TESTS AND OATHS
Members may not be forced to take a membership test or oath before becoming members of this organization.
SECTION 5 – ELIGIBILITY TO RUN FOR OFFICE
Members who have been active for ninety (90) days shall be eligible to run for state office on the LAHSD Executive Board.
ARTICLE V – LOCAL CHAPTERS
SECTION 1 – CHARTER REQUIREMENTS
Local LAHSD Chapters must have at least three (3) members, all of whom are registered (or plan to register) as members of the Louisiana High School Democrats.
SECTION 2 – TYPES OF LOCAL CHAPTERS
Local chapters may be charted as:
- a school chapter centered at a school;
- a community chapter centered within a city, town, or other community; or,
- a parish chapter affiliated with the parish’s official Democratic Party.
SECTION 3 – CHAPTER EXPECTATIONS
The following rules and regulations apply to all local LAHSD chapters:
- registered chapters must maintain close contact with the Louisiana High School Democrats;
- chapter members must be registered as members of LAHSD and HSDA;
- registered chapters must guarantee all rights owed to their members by state and national bylaws; and,
- chapters are encouraged to have democratically-elected leadership within a year of their first meeting.
SECTION 4 – CHARTER REVOCATION
Any chapter not in compliance with this Constitution and/or any subsequent Bylaws or shown to be in violation of the principles of the Louisiana High School Democrats and/or the High School Democrats of America may have its charter revoked by a supermajority (⅔) vote of the LAHSD Executive Board. Chapters whose charters have been revoked shall not be allowed to reform with similar organization as a new chapter unless granted approval by a simple majority (½) vote of the LAHSD Executive Board.
SECTION 5 – CHAPTER PRIVILEGES
Local chapters that have been chartered by LAHSD shall have the privilege of participating in both LAHSD and HSDA programs and activities. All registered members of local chapters chartered by LAHSD shall also be members of HSDA.
ARTICLE VI – EXECUTIVE BOARD
SECTION 1 – ROLE AND PURPOSE
The Executive Board and its members shall see to the functioning and growth of this organization and its programs.
SECTION 2 – OFFICERS AND THEIR DUTIES
The LAHSD Executive Board shall include the following officers:
- a Chair, who shall have the following obligations, duties, and responsibilities:
- be limited to two (2) one-year terms as Chair;
- serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the Louisiana High School Democrats;
- establish an agenda for and chair all meetings of the LAHSD Executive Board;
- serve as the official voice of LAHSD to other organizations; and,
- create and fill state positions with the consent of the LAHSD Executive Board.
- a Vice Chair, who shall have the following obligations, duties, and responsibilities:
- fulfill all duties of the State Chair in their absence;
- serve as an ex-officio member of committee(s) established for the organizational operations of LAHSD; and,
- handle and ensure the completion of all assignments and tasks delegated by the Chair.
- a Chief of Staff, who shall have the following obligations, duties, and responsibilities:
- oversee chapter and regional expansion;
- serve as the primary contact for organization expansion; and,
- oversee the regional directors.
- a Programs Director, who shall have the following obligations, duties, and responsibilities:
- plan statewide events for LAHSD, including an annual voter registration drive; and,
- coordinate between other Democratic and progessive groups wanting to work with LAHSD.
- a Political Director, who shall have the following obligations, duties, and responsibilities:
- stay up to date on court decisions, executive actions, and laws impacting high school students; and,
- coordinate between Democratic campaigns and nonprofit/grassroots initiatives wanting to work with LAHSD.
- a Communications Director, who shall have the following obligations, duties, and responsibilities:
- keep the membership updated on the status of LAHSD;
- create and execute a strategy for broadcasting the messages of LAHSD to a wider community;
- ensure publicity for all major events of the Louisiana High School Democrats; and,
- take minutes at all meetings of the LAHSD Executive Board.
- one (1) regional director for each region functioning at the convenience of the Chief of Staff.
SECTION 3 – CAUSES FOR IMPEACHMENT
Officers are subject to impeachment and possible removal from office for failure to fulfill their assigned duties or for violating any law or rule of LAHSD, HSDA, the Democratic Party, or the United States of America, or for generally inappropriate conduct.
SECTION 4 – IMPEACHMENT PROCEDURE
- The Chair and any other member of the LAHSD Executive Board or any three (3) members of the LAHSD Executive Board may vote to impeach an officer of the Louisiana High School Democrats. Notice of impeachment should be sent to the Chair immediately unless the Chair is already aware or has been impeached. In the case of the Chair’s impeachment, notice should be given to the HSDA Regional Director.
- Upon impeachment, the officer under scrutiny shall be notified and informed that at the next meeting of the LAHSD Executive Board, a removal hearing will be held. Failure to attend the hearing will result in removal from office. If the Chair was not a member who voted for impeachment, they shall preside over the hearing. If the Chair voted for impeachment or is subject to being removed as a result of their own impeachment, the HSDA Regional Director shall preside over the hearing.
- In a removal hearing, for which at least three (3) days of notice must be provided, the LAHSD Executive Board members shall be given the opportunity to present evidence and discuss the possible removal of the officer from their position. After all evidence has been presented, the officer facing removal shall be given the opportunity to appropriately defend themself regarding any and all impeachment charges.
- Upon hearing all evidence for and against removal, the officers of the LAHSD Executive Board shall submit to the officer presiding over the hearing their vote for removal from office. Upon a supermajority (⅔) vote of the LAHSD Executive Board during a removal hearing, an officer shall be immediately stripped of their position and, in turn, their representation on the LAHSD Executive Board.
- Should the vote fall short of two-thirds (⅔) of the members of the LAHSD Executive Board, the officer will still be considered impeached but new charges must be brought up to subject them to another removal hearing.
SECTION 5 – VACANCIES
If a member of the Executive Board resigns, is removed from office, or is otherwise incapable of serving, the State Chair shall have the power to fill the vacancy, or delegate that responsibility to the entire Executive Board.
SECTION 6 – ORDER OF SUCCESSION
The Chair’s position shall never be vacant. Upon the Chair’s resignation or removal from office, the Vice Chair immediately assumed the position of Chair for the remainder of the term. If there is no Vice Chair, the position of Chair shall fall to the officers in this order:
- Chief of Staff;
- Programs Director;
- Political Director;
- Communications Director; and then,
- the Regional Directors, whichever is over the most members, but not necessarily chapters, of LAHSD.
SECTION 7 – VACANCIES (VICE CHAIR)
If the position of Vice Chair is vacant, a special election by the general membership of LAHSD shall be held to fill the vacancy.
SECTION 8 – MEETINGS
The LAHSD Executive Board shall meet at a regular time to be decided by the State Chair, who reserves the right to call a special meeting of the Board for any reason. All members of the LAHSD Executive Board are to be notified of meetings at least two (2) days prior to the meeting, except under extraordinary circumstances. Business conducted at all meetings shall be recorded and made available to all LAHSD members and to the HSDA National Officers and Staff.
SECTION 9 – ATTENDANCE
If a member of the LAHSD Executive Board misses any three (3) meetings or two (2) consecutive meetings without notifying the State Chair at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance, they will, by virtue of violating this constitution, be impeached and subjected to a removal hearing at the next meeting of the LAHSD Executive Board, presided over by the LAHSD State Chair.
SECTION 10 – EXCUSED ABSENCES
Members of the LAHSD Executive Board are to be excused without consequence for the following reasons:
- religious holidays or obligations;
- family emergencies or bereavement;
- medical emergencies;
- immigration status crises; and/or,
- community emergencies.
Any other excused absences must be approved by the State Chair at least twenty-four (24) hours before a meeting.
SECTION 11 – MEETING RESTRICTIONS
An Executive Board meeting may not be held:
- simultaneously with any LAHSD or HSDA-mandated conference, rally, or other event;
- less than two (2) hours after any mass shooting or similar scale terrorist-attack; or,
- during or directly after any immediately devastating natural disaster directly affecting any member of the Executive Board such as a hurricane, flash flood, or tornado.
SECTION 12 – ENDORSEMENTS
- The Executive Board shall reserve the power to make endorsements on behalf of the Louisiana High School Democrats, provided that any such endorsements are entirely compliant with HSDA rules regarding endorsements as well as with Article II, Section 1(c) of this Constitution.
- A vote of two-thirds (⅔) of the members of the LAHSD Executive Board shall be sufficient for endorsement of a candidate.
- Before endorsements are voted on by the LAHSD Executive Board, a minimum of one (1) week must pass in which the members of the Louisiana High School Democrats are, via e-mail:
- notified about potential endorsements by the Executive Board; and,
- able to submit comments to be read and considered by the Executive Board at their meeting.
ARTICLE VII – ADULT ADVISORY BOARD
SECTION 1 – ROLE
The Adult Advisory Board shall serve as a source of guidance and long-term structure for the Louisiana High School Democrats while maintaining the integrity of a student-run organization. It shall assist the LAHSD Executive Board with the financial and legal obligations for maintaining the Louisiana High School Democrats.
SECTION 2 – COMPOSITION
The Adult Advisory Board shall be made up of at least two (2) people.
SECTION 3 – SELECTION
All Adult Advisory Board members shall be selected and voted on by the LAHSD Executive Board. Upon a confirmation vote of two-thirds (⅔) of the members of the Executive Board, Advisors shall serve until they choose to resign or are removed by impeachment.
SECTION 4 – IMPEACHMENT OF AN ADVISOR
Two-thirds (⅔) of the members of the LAHSD Executive Board may vote to impeach a member of the Adult Advisory Board. Upon impeachment, the Advisor should be notified of their impeachment and their removal hearing date and time. The removal hearing shall be facilitated by the HSDA Ethics Council. If the Ethics Council is unable to facilitate the hearing, the National Executive Board shall facilitate it or designate a body other than the LAHSD Executive Board to do so.
ARTICLE VIII – ELECTION OF OFFICERS
SECTION 1 – CHAIR AND VICE CHAIR
Nominations for Chair and Vice Chair of the Louisiana High School Democrats shall open in May for the ensuing school year. Should any two (2) or more people be nominated for the same position, LAHSD shall hold a statewide election to elect its Chair and Vice Chair via ranked-choice voting.
SECTION 2 – OTHER OFFICERS
The remaining officers of the LAHSD Executive Board shall be appointed jointly by the Chair and Vice Chair of the Louisiana High School Democrats in the fall of each year. The Chair and Vice Chair, together with the advice of any and all Adult Advisors, retain sole discretion over filling LAHSD Executive Board positions in any manner they see fit, including, but not limited to, interviews, applications, or simple appointment.
SECTION 3 – CONSTITUENCY
All members of this organization who are eligible to vote in its elections shall receive a ballot.
SECTION 4 – ELECTION COMMITTEE
The Chief of Staff and Regional Directors shall oversee all statewide elections.
SECTION 5 – CANDIDATES
All members of the Louisiana High School Democrats shall be able to apply and run for a position in the organization, granted that they are in full compliance with this Constitution and any subsequent bylaws or regulations that apply to candidacy, they meet all the requirements mentioned in this document.
SECTION 6 – BALLOTS
Ballots shall be designed in such a manner that they are easily understandable, all text is legible, and that they are fair to all candidates. Each member shall be given only one ballot to fill out their order of preference for each office, and shall not be permitted to “write in” or otherwise select a candidate that is not listed on the ballot.
SECTION 7 – VOTE CERTIFICATION
- After all votes have been tallied, the Executive Board shall hear all appeals from candidates, and choose whether to investigate appeals, or to dismiss appeals based on the facts of the candidate’s appeal. All appeals having been heard by the Executive Board, and all discrepancies, allegations, and irregularities investigated, the Executive Board may unanimously decide to certify the results. Once certified, all results shall be final.
- If the margin of victory is two (2) percent or less, all candidates shall be entitled to a recount, after which all results shall be final.
SECTION 8 – NOTICE
The membership of the Louisiana High School Democrats shall be notified of the statewide election sixty (60) days before the election is scheduled to occur, and at this time shall be informed of all positions available and all steps necessary to become a candidate. Three (3) weeks prior to the election, all members must be notified of all candidates for each position and given a copy of their written statement. Voting instructions must also be included with this notification.
SECTION 9 – DISCRETION
The Chief of Staff and Regional Directors, deeming it necessary and proper and having the consent of the Executive Board, shall reserve the right to add additional rules and regulations regarding the governance and administration of elections, but shall not reserve the right to bypass or remove any regulations listed in this Constitution. The Executive Board shall have the power to investigate any allegations of violation of electoral protocols, and with a unanimous ruling shall have the power to rescind a candidacy for such a violation.
ARTICLE IX – AMENDMENTS
SECTION 1 – BY THE EXECUTIVE BOARD
This document may be amended by a simple majority vote of the Executive Board with the consent of the Chair. Alternatively, this document may be amended with a two-thirds (⅔) majority vote of the Executive Board. Any member of the Executive Board may propose an amendment.
SECTION 2 – BY REFERENDUM
This document may be amended by a referendum passed by a two-thirds (⅔) majority of votes by LAHSD members. All referendums shall be overseen by the State Chair and Vice Chair, and all referendum options shall be granted the same rights as candidates, governed by all regulations under Article VIII.