Secular Humanist Society of East Texas
“Live for today, labor for tomorrow, long for knowledge, love for humanity”
This organization exists to provide a means for members of the secular community to educate, advocate, and serve within the community. The actions of the organization should be aimed at helping remove the stigma associated with non-belief in our community.
Board of Directors
Only active members are eligible for consideration as a member of the Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors shall comprise the following board officers:
Vice President (President Elect)
New officers can be nominated by any members of the society and will be elected by a simple majority of the society members.
An officer term will be considered one year beginning on January 1st and ending on December 31st unless an officer is unable to fulfill their duties and/or are removed from their post.
Elections will occur at the last meeting of the year as necessary. Once election results are finalized by the Board of Directors, the President should announce the results to the SHSET members and the new officers should begin transitioning into their new role immediately with help from the outgoing officer.
The Vice President is elected for a two year term and will serve for one year as Vice President and then replace the President at the end of their term.
An officer may be removed from their post “for cause” by a unanimous vote of the Board of Directors not including the subject officer.
If a vacancy occurs prior to the annual election for any reason, a provisional officer may be appointed by a vote of confidence of a simple majority of the Board of Directors. That provisional officer may serve until the next annual election is held.
There will be no term limits for any officer with the exception of the President who must relinquish their responsibilities to the Vice President after one term. If no Vice President has been elected then the President may continue to serve additional terms until a Vice President is elected. The President is eligible for election as Vice President following their term as President and will follow the normal two year term, replacing the President at the end of the annual term.
Act as the primary spokesperson for the organization.
Organize and lead all meetings including meetings with the Board of Directors.
Establish and maintain relationships with strategic partners including the American Humanist Association, other regional Humanist groups and affiliate organizations.
Hold Board Members accountable to the code of conduct and core values as defined in this document.
Foster an environment of cooperation, trust, and respect amongst the Board of Directors primarily.
Vice President (President Elect)
Act as President when the President is not able.
Serve as a primary advisor to the President.
Learn the responsibilities of the President in preparation for assuming the role after the President’s term has ended.
Work toward increasing membership and overall participation in SHSET sponsored events.
Serve as primary steward of sharing information with prospective members, collecting information from new members, and welcoming new members to the SHSET.
Keep minutes for each meeting and ensure action items are communicated to the responsible party.
Keep the membership ledger including which members have paid dues and which members are also AHA members.
Keep records of attendance of members at all SHSET sponsored events
Serve as primary steward of any group measures as necessary and of an annual major accomplishments list.
Keep a detailed ledger of dues, donations, and other income as well as spending.
Maintain transparency by ensuring records are kept on all income and expenses and published for SHSET members to see.
Take ownership of the annual budget.
Ensure that the SHSET meets its obligations under the 501(c) non-profit status.
Take ownership for all SHSET social media outlets (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, SHSET website, etc.).
Ensure the proper level of screening for new members and privacy for all members of the SHSET.
Serve as primary moderator for social media groups associated with the SHSET.
Serve as facilitator for all internal and external communications including announcements and newsletters as necessary.
Work with sister and affiliate organizations as necessary to maintain a good relationship with key partners.
Bring ideas to the table for consideration regarding speakers, events, and service projects.
Serve as primary coordinator for community service projects, advocacy events, and other SHSET sponsored events as necessary.
Definition – An individual is a member of the group if they are active and in good standing as recorded in the membership ledger.
Process for becoming a member
Fill out an application either online or in person
Pay the annual membership dues. Dues will be $40 which are good through the end of the calendar year regardless of when they are paid.
Once the application and dues have been received, the Vice President (primary) or President (secondary) will review the application and screen the applicants as necessary to ensure the applicant is secular or secular friendly and approve or reject the application appropriately.
The applications will be forwarded to the Secretary who will keep record of all rejected application and the reason they were rejected as well as adding information from approved applications to the membership ledger.
The Secretary will notify the new member of their approved membership. The Secretary should also notify the Communication Chair who will get the new member added to the appropriate social media outlets as well as adding them to any distribution lists.
Maintaining membership status
In order to remain in good standing with the SHSET a member must:
Adhere to the Code of Conduct
Be current on annual dues
If by April 1st of a calendar year a member has not paid their dues for the year, their membership status will be changed to inactive.
Members who are on the inactive list may regain their active status by paying the annual membership dues.
Members may lose their membership status if they are found to be in violation of the Code of Conduct. For a member to lose their membership status, the board most hold a hearing and vote. A 2/3 majority is needed to remove a member. If this occurs, the president should notify the individual privately of their loss of membership status with the SHSET.
Members may also remove themselves from the membership ledger by verbal or written request.
Benefits of membership
Only members may serve as officers on the Board of Directors, vote in SHSET officer elections, participate in caucusing, or attend exclusive SHSET member events.
The Secretary is responsible for keeping the membership ledger up to date and at the end of each year should send an updated membership list to the American Humanist Association to meet our commitment as an affiliated organization.
Voting for officers elections will occur by secret ballot in a live meeting.
Only active members may vote in these elections.
All officers and officer candidates are allowed to vote in these elections as members.
For a member to be considered for election of an officer position, they may either accept a nomination or self-nominate.
For contested positions, each candidate should be given no more than 2 minutes to lobby for their candidacy prior to the vote. Candidates will be elected by simple majority.
For uncontested positions, the nominated candidate may be confirmed by a simple majority in a “yea or nea” vote.
The current President or Vice President will be responsible for officiating elections and the current Secretary will be responsible for tallying vote totals as well as noting the outcomes in the meeting minutes.
For issues related to official SHSET documents (core values statements, by-laws, code of conduct, etc) or financial decision voting will occur by a show of hands in a live meeting.
For an issue to come to the floor for voting there must be an official motion made and a second.
Before an issue is voted on, members should be given an opportunity to lobby their position in front of the SHSET. Each member who wants to lobby will be given no more than 2 minutes to lobby their position to the group.
The President or Vice President will be responsible for officiating issue voting and the Secretary will be responsible for tallying and recording vote totals as well as noting the outcomes in the meeting minutes.
Monthly meetings will be scheduled by the President or Vice President and should occur on the same day of the week and the same week of each month (i.e. the first Wednesday of each month). They will be scheduled at a public location in Longview. The location should be central and accessible to members and should remain as consistent as possible.
A meeting agenda should be developed by the President or Vice President and issued to the group at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. The agenda should be planned to allow enough time for all items to be covered in the time allotted for the meeting to respect the schedules of all members.
The monthly meetings may be attended by members and/or non-members.
A SHSET officer should be appointed to ensure that all attendees of the meeting are greeted and that non-members are aware of how to become a member of the group.
Occasionally it may be necessary to schedule an impromptu meeting or a members-only meeting. In this case, the President or Vice President should schedule these meetings giving at least 2 weeks’ notice if possible.
Meeting content should focus on educational or charitable activities. At no point should political parties or candidates be endorsed, ridiculed, publicized or otherwise supported verbally in these meetings by the members or the officers of the SHSET. Failure to follow this rule may result in the loss of the 501(c)(3) tax exemption.
A ledger will be kept of all income and expenses to the SHSET by the Treasurer who will report these items to the group in the monthly meetings.
Development of a budget should be led by the Treasurer at the beginning of each year to ensure that planned spending aligns generally with current and expected income. The budget once proposed should be brought before the SHSET members for vote at the first monthly meeting of the year. If the budget is not approved, the Treasurer should solicit feedback from the members before making another attempt at developing a budget.
An annual budget must be developed and approved by the SHSET membership by the end of February.
After January 1st each year the Treasurer should submit a form 990-N to the IRS to retain tax exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization.
Money may not be paid to members of the SHSET for goods or services to avoid conflicts of interest.
Receipts of all expenses should be kept and filed for at least two years. It is recommended that all expense receipts are shared electronically with the members to ensure transparency.
All donations to the SHSET as a 501(c)(3) organization are tax deductible. As such, receipts should be given to donors upon request.
Management of Governing Documents
The President and/or Vice President is responsible for maintaining all SHSET governing documents.
Changes to the SHSET documents including the Core Values Statement, Bylaws, or Code of Conduct may be proposed by any member of the SHSET. Once the change has been proposed the process for accepting the change should follow the process outlined in Section IV.b.
If any of the documents are revised, the revision number and date on the official version of the document should be updated appropriately. Changes should be noted on a separate document change ledger for record.
These Bylaws have been reviewed and approved by:
President, SHSET Date
Vice President, SHSET Date