Rules of the Democratic Party of Arkansas
The Democratic Party of Arkansas holds to these principles:
That the Democratic Party with its great diversity of members, its flexibility of organization, its historic adaptability to fruitful change, and its instinctive responsiveness to human needs and aspirations, can thus provide the leadership which we must have in these challenging times. We must join together with a renewed faith in our country, our state, and our Party to provide our people with responsive and responsible government.
That government functions best when it is closest to the people.
That government is of laws and not of persons. We condemn any resolution of conflicts save through legal processes. The Democratic Party of Arkansas stands for law and order with justice.
That every citizen, no matter what religion or race, or how humble or exalted one’s origin, owes the duty to participate fully at every level of government and is entitled to an equal voice and equal treatment at its hands; that all Democrats are bound to defend, protect and honor our nation, our state and our Party; that when they are right, it is our privilege to sustain them; that when they err, it is our duty to correct them.
That as Democrats, we are proud and upright citizens of the United States; that we are determined not only to serve the United States but also to stand shoulder to shoulder with citizens of our sister states in giving meaningful, responsible and constructive leadership such as benefits a great nation.
Article I - Membership
Section 1.01. Democratic Party Open to All.
(a) All meetings of the Democratic Party are open to all members of the Democratic Party regardless of race, ethnicity, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, military status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or economic status.
(b) No test for membership in, nor any oaths of loyalty to, the Democratic Party will be required or used which has the effect of requiring prospective or current members of the Democratic Party to acquiesce in, condone or support discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, military status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or economic status.
(c) The time and place for all meetings of the Democratic Party shall be publicized fully and in such a matter as to assure timely notice to all interested persons. Such meetings shall be held in places accessible to all Party members and large enough to accommodate all interested persons.
(d) The Democratic Party shall support the broadest possible registration and voter participation without discrimination on grounds of race, ethnicity, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, military status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or economic status.
(e) The Democratic Party shall publicize fully and in such a manner as to assure notice to all interested parties a full description of the legal and practical procedures for selection of Democratic Party officers and representatives on all levels. Publication of these procedures should be done in such a fashion that all prospective and current members of the Democratic Party will be fully and adequately informed of the pertinent procedures in time to participate in each selection procedure at all levels of the Democratic Party organization.
Section 1.02. Party Membership.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas shall consist of those who have openly declared their allegiance to, and are in good faith and sympathy with the fundamental principles, purposes, objectives, platforms and practices of the Party.
Section 1.03. Party Organization.
(a) The organization of the Democratic Party of Arkansas shall be divided into state, regional, and county organizations. The state and counties shall be represented bay committee elected according to these rules.
(b) The Democratic Party of Arkansas recognizes chartered auxiliary organizations which shall be entitled to representation as provided by these Rules.
Article II - County Committees
Section 2.01. General Provisions.
- State County committees are affiliates of the Democratic Party of County committees shall be called the “Democratic Party of [Name of County] County.”
- Upon election each county officer shall follow state party policies on ethics training and finance
- The minimum quorum for a County Committee shall be twenty percent (20%) unless membership in County Committee is 100 or more in which case ten percent (10%) will constitute a quorum.
- Proxy voting shall be permitted at meetings of the county committee only by a vote of the county committee to allow proxy If proxy voting is allowed the following rules shall apply: (1) no member shall vote the proxy of more than one other member; (2) proxies shall be granted only when printed, dated, signed and filed with the Secretary by the commencement of a meeting; (3) no proxy shall be valid for more than one meeting; (4) the Secretary shall preserve said proxies for no less than one year past the term of the Committee, at the Democratic Party headquarters as part of the records of the State Committee.
- County committees may develop their own Bylaws developed by a county committee shall not be in conflict with the bylaws of the Democratic Party of Arkansas.
Section 2.02. Composition of a County Committee.
- The County Committee shall be composed of members registered to vote in the county in which they reside and are paid members in good standing and who file to join the committee during the primary election filing
- The County Committee may extend membership to county registered voters seeking membership outside the filing Aside from votes taken at the County Convention, in order to vote one must be a member 30 days prior to any votes taken by the county committee.
- Each Committee shall make it a goal to have at least twenty (20) members
- There shall be no limit to the number of county committees
- County Committee members shall take office at the commencement of the biennial County Convention and serve until the convening of the next biennial Convention
Section 2.03. The County Convention.
- Biennial County Conventions shall be held for the purpose of confirming delegates to the State Convention and electing county representatives to the State Committee, and for any other such purpose as may be required by state law or party
- On the first Monday following the general primary election,e. the primary runoff election, County Committees will hold their County Convention. Adequate notice shall be given by the Secretary of County Committee notifying County Convention delegates and candidates by mail no later than one week in advance of said County Convention and by news release in the local news media of each county no later than one week in advance of said County Convention.
- The delegates of the County Convention shall be all county committee memb
- The County Convention shall be called to order by the Chair of the County If the Chair or Vice Chair of the County Committee is not present, or is present and refuses to act, then any delegate to the County Convention may serve as Temporary Chair.
- The County Convention delegates shall elect the county’s representatives to the State Article IV presents the process through which the number of representatives from a given county is identified.
- The County Convention shall also identify the county’s delegates to the State All members of the county committee at the time of the County Convention shall be eligible to attend the State Convention as a voting delegate.
- The Chair and Secretary of the County Convention shall certify the names of the county’s State Committee representatives and State Convention delegates to the Secretary of the State Committee within seven (7) days of the biennial convention
Section 2.04. Organization of a County Committee.
(a) ) Certification. In order for a County Committee to use the name Democratic Party in the State of Arkansas and solicit funds in the name of the Democratic Party, each County Committee shall be certified by the Democratic Party of Arkansas.
(b) Biennial requirements for certification are:
1. Election of Officers. County Committees shall convene in January, immediately after the General Election for the purpose of electing a Chair, Vice Chair, who shall be of the opposite sex of the Chair, a Secretary and a Treasurer. Each office shall not be combined or held by more than one person at a time. Other officer positions may be created by majority vote of those present and voting. Officers and members serve for two (2) year terms until the convening of the next officer election in January after the next general election.
2. Election of Election Commissioner. A county election commissioner(s) shall be elected in January after the General Election following the election of County Officers. The office of Election Commissioner shall not be combined with any other offices.
3. Timely payment of any fees or dues established by the State Democratic Party of Arkansas along with the completed required forms shall be sent to the Democratic Party of Arkansas immediately following the primary election and quarterly thereafter.
4. Meet a minimum of quarterly (4) times during the course of a non-election years and no less than six (6) times during the course of an election year.
5. County Committees shall record the minutes of each meeting. Within ten (10) days after the minutes are approved, copies of the minutes shall be sent to the Democratic Party of Arkansas headquarters. Minutes shall include, at a minimum, those present, the agenda covered, and actions taken by the County Committee. The minutes may be sent in any form to the DPA, including electronically, by fax, or mail.
6. Within ten (10) days after organization of the new County Committee in January following the general election, the Secretary of the County Committee shall forward a form provided by the Democratic Party of Arkansas with the county committee list to the Secretary of the Democratic Party of Arkansas showing the names and mailing addresses, email address, landline and cell telephone numbers of its officers and members. Updates to the membership and officers list shall be made quarterly to the Secretary of the Democratic Party of Arkansas.
7. Within ten (10) days of the date of electing the Election Commissioner, the Chair or the Secretary of each county committee shall notify the county clerk in writing the names and addresses of those selected to serve on the county board of election commissioners in accordance with state law.
8. Submission of required financial information to the Democratic Party of Arkansas.
a. County Committees required to file financial information to the Arkansas Secretary of State shall also send a copy of the filing to the DPA by the filing deadline.
b. County Committees that are not required to file financial information with the Arkansas Secretary of State shall file financial information of the type and at intervals required by the County Committee Review Committee.
9. Submit a copy of the County Committee bylaws to the Democratic Party of Arkansas. If a county committee chooses to use the State Party bylaws as their governing document a statement to that effect shall be sent to the Democratic Party of Arkansas. Such bylaws must include a provision that officers of the county committee must avoid public expressions of support, including campaign contributions, for candidates opposing Democratic nominees.
10. Each County Committee shall submit a plan for actively supporting candidates running for office.
11. Each County Committee shall submit a plan for community outreach to promote the Democratic Party in the county which may include the recognition of chapters of the county committee or partnering with affiliated groups.
(c) ) Review by Committee.
A five (5) member review committee with at least one member from each Congressional District shall be appointed by the Chair of the Democratic Party of Arkansas in January following a general election. The County Committee Review Committee, chaired by the Vice-Chair for County Committees, shall review County Committee information submitted
to the Democratic Party of Arkansas by June 30 each year. The Committee is also responsible for development of all pertinent forms required of County Committees along with facilitating training of County Committee officers about the certification process.
County Committees not in compliance with certification requirements will be considered in default of their certification.
The Review Committee shall meet with each noncompliant County Committee fora consultation to identify actions necessary to continue their County Certification. A County Committee in default shall have 30 days after consultation to bring their County into compliance.
(d). Decertification. A County Committee in noncompliance with Certification Requirements (b) above and fails to be certified after consultation (c) above shall be recommended by the County Committee Review Committee for decertification. The Executive Committee of the Democratic Party of Arkansas after verifying the County Committee Review Committee recommendation shall declare the county decertified and notify the County of decertification by registered mail. The elected officers of the Democratic Party of Arkansas have the power to:
1. Remove current officers from their positions.
2. Dissolve the County Committee.
3. Reconstitute the County Committee by appointing an interim chair.
4. Property. Property includes but shall not be limited to bank accounts, cash, checks, receipts and accounting documents, governing documents, membership lists, volunteer lists, donor lists, meeting minutes, graphic and logo files, communications, party paraphernalia, rental, lease and storage details, keys, security codes, and political signs. All property including monetary funds remaining in the possession of a decertified county committee shall be frozen on the date of decertification. The elected officers of the Democratic Party of Arkansas shall determine if the funds and property are to remain with the County Committee until the county reconstitutes itself or be placed in escrow under the custody of a local attorney or the legal counsel of the Democratic Party of Arkansas. If all funds and property are to be turned over to the interim Chair or held in escrow, then the transfer shall occur within ten (10) days of notice of decertification but shall revert to the county upon reconstitution.
Section 2.05. Meetings of the County Committee.
(a) ) Statutory Meetings. The County Committee shall meet as required by state law for the purpose of conducting primary elections and shall comply with statutory requirements and these Rules regarding notice of such meetings. Ten (10) days written notice of such meetings shall be given by the Secretary to the Committee members. The news media within the County shall also be informed thereof at the time of the calling of such meeting.
(b) Notice. The County Committee shall meet at the call of the Chair at such time and place as is designated in the call. Notice of calls for meetings of the County Committee shall be mailed or emailed by the Secretary to each member of the Committee at least five (5) days before the dates of the meetings, provided that in case of an emergency, the Committee may be convened on two (2) days’ notice. The news media within the County shall be informed thereof at the time of the calling of such a meeting. Following such notice, a county committee meeting may be canceled at the last minute by the officers solely due to unforeseen circumstances.
(c) ) Special Meetings. Special meetings of the County Committee shall be called by the Chair upon request of one-fifth (1/5) of the membership of the full Committee. Upon failure or refusal of the Chair to call a requested meeting, the call may be issued by those members requesting the same. Notice of calls of special meetings shall be mailed by the Secretary to each member of the Committee at least five (5) days before the date of the meeting, provided that in case of an emergency, the Committee may be convened onto
(2) days’ notice. In the event the Secretary shall fail or refuse to act, those making the call may give such notice.
(d) Attendance. A County Committee member who misses three (3) or more consecutive county committee meetings shall be required upon notice to show good cause or maybe dismissed from the Committee by its vote.
Section 2.06. Jurisdiction for Grievances.
County Committees shall have original jurisdiction of contests or protests involving actions of respective county committees.
Section 2.07. Grievance Procedure.
(a) Notice of a contest, protest, appeal or grievance shall be in writing and shall be served by mail, proof of mailing supplied by the U.S. Postal Service shall be deemed as date of service, or hand delivered to the Chair of the County Committee within ten (10) days of the act or omission complained of by the aggrieved person(s). The day on which the act or omission occurred shall be counted as the first day in determining the ten (10) day period. Failure to provide timely notice may be grounds for dismissal of the grievance. However, a grievance, otherwise timely made to the State Committee may not be dismissed as untimely if the State Committee or Chair refers the grievance to a County Committee because jurisdiction lies there. The notice shall clearly set forth the facts giving rise to the grievance and shall describe the relief sought. The Chair may require the aggrieved person(s) to elaborate and/or clarify in writing any point raised in the notice.
(b) The County Chair shall give notice to all committee members and the aggrieved party of a hearing that shall be held as soon as reasonable but no more than twenty-one (21) days from the date the County Chair received the notice of the grievance, unless otherwise agreed by the aggrieved party and the County Chair. The County Committee shall, by majority vote of those present and voting, adopt such rules of procedure which are consistent with these Rules and as are necessary to assist in the orderly conduct of the hearing.
(c) The County Committee, after learning the evidence and affording all parties a full opportunity to be heard, shall deliberate and render judgment in the matter by a majority vote of those present and voting. At the request of the party to the proceeding, the Secretary of the County Committee shall provide a letter certifying the action of the committee.
(d) Nothing in this section limits a party’s right to file a new grievance under the provisions of Article IV.
Article III - State Convention
A State Convention shall be held within a reasonable time after the general primary, i.e. runoff, election, but in no event later than forty-five (45) days prior to the general election, at a time and place to be fixed by the State Committee. The State Convention shall be composed of the delegates chosen by the various county conventions, as herein provided in Article II.
Section 3.02. State Convention Arrangements Committee.
(a) ) A standing State Convention Arrangements Committee, comprised of nine (9) persons appointed by the Chair of the State Committee, shall plan the convention.
(b) The temporary officers of the convention shall be chosen by the Arrangements Committee at a meeting to be held at least ten days prior to the State Convention. The Arrangements Committee also shall establish the order of Business of the Convention.
(c) No later than three months before the Convention, the Arrangements Committee shall appoint from the members of county committees the Credentials, the Convention Rules, and the Platform and Resolutions Committees, consisting of at least nine (9) members each, one of whom shall be Chair thereof.
1) The committee of Credentials shall prepare a list of delegates entitled to participate in the preliminary organization of the State Convention, according to the certificates from the several County Conventions forwarded to the Secretary of the Party. The Credentials Committee shall not include in its list of prepared delegates any delegate who was not properly chosen.
2) The committee on Convention Rules shall recommend permanent rules governing the Convention and recommend revisions in the Rules of the Party.
3) The committee on Platform and Resolutions shall write and recommend to the convention a Party platform for the November General Election. The draft platform shall be made available in electronic or written form no later than 30 days before the state convention.
(d) Such committees shall meet in advance of the convention at a time and place designated by the Chair of the State Committee, to consider all matters properly coming before such committees, and each after holding such public hearings, shall make a reporting writing to the convention. The Chair of the State Committee shall give such publicity of the times and places of the committee meetings as shall be necessary to advise the public and press.
Section 3.03. State Convention Officers.
On the date and at the hour fixed, the convention shall be called to order by the Chair of the State Committee, who shall announce the temporary officers of the convention, including Chair, Secretary, parliamentarian, and such other officers as shall have been designated.
Section 3.04. State Convention Duties.
The duties of the State Convention shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
The delegates shall convene at the State Convention for the purpose of receiving, canvassing, and declaring the election results for United States, State and District offices and shall declare as the nominees those candidates who were unopposed or who received the majority of votes for each respective office, fill any vacancy in nomination as authorized by law and shall furnish to each successful nominee a certificate of nomination.
Section 3.05. Quadrennial Delegates.
The selection of delegates and alternate delegates shall be in conformity with the delegate selection plan, as approved by the Democratic National Committee, or its designee, and as adopted by the State Committee.
Section 3.06. Selection of Presidential Electors.
The nominees for Presidential Electors shall be selected in presidential election years as required by law and the rules of the Democratic National Committee. One elector shall be selected from each Congressional District and two electors shall be selected at-large. The Chair and Secretary shall certify the list of each elector chosen to the Secretary of State.
Such certification of electors of President and Vice President shall be made to the Secretary of State within two (2) days after such State Convention. Should a vacancy occur in the choice of an elector, the vacancy may be filled by the State Executive Committee. Section 3.07. State Convention Records.
The Secretary of the State Convention, upon completing the minutes of the convention,
shall immediately turn over to the State Committee the minutes and all other records of the convention.
Article IV - State Committee
Section 4.01. Purpose.
The State Committee shall carry out all duties required by state law, Democratic National Committee rules, and these rules. The State Committee may also hear reports from the Executive Committee, standing and special committees, and auxiliaries of the State Party. The State Committee shall also take additional any action on Democratic Party of Arkansas policies not proscribed by statute or these rules. Finally, State Committee meetings shall regularly be used as an opportunity for the training of the state’s party leaders to become more effective in carrying out the work of the party.
Section 4.02. Membership.
The State Committee shall be composed of:
(a) ) County Representatives. County Committee representation on the State Committee will consist of two hundred (200) members. Each County Committee will automatically receive one (1) male and one (1) female position who may or may not be the Chair and/or Vice-Chair of the County Committee. Any other County Committee members may participate in State Committee meetings as emphasized in Section 1.01 of these rules. The remaining fifty (50) positions will be apportioned to County Committees based on their county’s contribution to the statewide performance of the Democratic nominee for Governor in the preceding two (2) gubernatorial general elections. The method for apportionment is as follows:
For each county, the number of votes for the Democratic candidate in the last two gubernatorial elections shall be totaled. That number of votes will be divided by the total statewide Democratic gubernatorial vote in the two elections, multiplied by 50 (fifty), and then rounded to the nearest whole number (a fractional part of 0.5 or higher shall be rounded up, anything less than 0.5 shall be rounded down). This whole number is the number of extra representatives each county shall be apportioned, beyond the two members automatically apportioned to each county. There shall be gender balance for every two additional members apportioned to a county.
Reapportionment will occur every four years, following a gubernatorial general election. That most recent electoral data will be factored in to the formula and utilized for the next election of State Committee members, set to occur in the next even-numbered year.
(b) Auxiliary Organizations. Auxiliary Organizations. Once an auxiliary successfully completes the chartering process, the organization is awarded four (4) State Committee members: the Chair/President, the First Vice Chair/First Vice President and two at-large members, gender balanced when appropriate or possible. No more than two of the four auxiliary representatives may come from the same county. The Chair/President and First Vice Chair/First Vice President’s length of terms on the State Committee lasts as long as their tenure as the leaders in said auxiliary. At-large members must be elected at least every two years. If the organization’s charter is revoked, its representatives are removed from the State Committee.
(c) ) Chair’s Appointees. The Chair of the State Committee may appoint ten (10) individuals to the State Committee for the purposes of ensuring gender balance and further enhancing diversity on the State Committee. Terms will run concurrent with the DPA State Committee terms – two (2) years. Appointees may be reappointed when their term is over. If the Chair resigns or when the State Committee elects a new Chair, all previous appointees by the outgoing Chair are removed from the State Committee.
(d) State Elected Officials. All current Democratic legislators, statewide elected officials, and members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives will automatically be members of the State Committee and be entitled to full privileges of committee membership if they are present at committee meetings. No proxies will be accepted from such members of the State Committee.
(e) Former Chairs. All former chairs of the State Committee shall automatically be recommended as members of the State Committee entitled to full privileges of committee membership if they are present at committee meetings. No proxies will be accepted from former Chairs.
Section 4.03. Terms of State Committee Members.
Terms of office for members of the State Committee shall commence at the conclusion of the regular State Convention and run two years until the beginning of the next regular State Convention
Section 4.04. Vacancies in State Committee Membership.
All vacancies arising in the membership of the State Committee shall be filled in regular or special meetings by the county committee or auxiliary in which the vacancy occurs.
Section 4.05. State Committee Meetings.
(a) ) Regular Meetings. The full State Committee shall convene no less than three times per year with meetings held across the state to the greatest degree possible.
(b) Regional Meetings. Additional meeting(s) of the State Committee may take the form of regional meetings. The initial regions shall be established by the County Committee Review Committee with future districts established following each reapportionment. Such meetings shall be chaired by a party officer or another state committee member from the region named by the Chair. The purpose of such meetings will be to focus on the distinctive issues facing the Democratic Party of Arkansas in the region, to carryout additional training of party leaders, and to provide opportunities for elected officials and party leaders from the region to network.
(c) Special Meetings. Special meetings of the State Committee shall be called by the Chair at his or her discretion or upon the request of ten percent (10%) of the members.
(d) Notice. Notice of calls for meetings of the State Committee shall be sent via mail or electronically by the Secretary to each member of the State Committee at least ten (10) days before the dates of the meetings provided that in case of emergency, the Committee may be convened on three (3) days’ notice. The news media shall be informed thereof at the time of the calling of each meeting.
(e) Quorum. A quorum shall be twenty percent (20%) of the existing membership of the State Committee.
(f) ) Proxies. Proxy votes shall be permitted at meetings of the State Committee only as follows: (1) no member shall vote the proxy of more than one other member; (2) proxies shall be granted only when printed, dated, signed and filed with the Secretary by the commencement of a meeting; (3) no proxy shall be valid for more than one meeting; (4) the Secretary shall preserve said proxies for no less than one year past the term of the Committee, as part of the records of the State Committee.
(g) Attendance. A State Committee member elected or appointed pursuant to sections 4.01(a), (b), or (c) above who misses three (3) or more meetings shall be required upon notice to show good cause therefore or may be dismissed from the Committee by its vote.
Section 4.06. State Headquarters
To facilitate the work of the Democratic Organizations and so that Democratic records may be preserved for future reference, the State Committee shall maintain a Democratic State Office with such personnel as the Committee shall, from time to time, deem necessary. The office personnel shall perform such duties as shall be assigned by the State Committee or by the officers thereof. The compensation of personnel shall be prescribed by the Chairman and State Officers with the advice and consent of the Executive Committee.
Section 4.07. Notice of Grievances.
Notice of a contest, protest, appeal or grievance to the State Committee shall be inwriting and shall be served by mail, proof of mailing supplied by the U.S. Postal Service shall be deemed as date of service or hand delivery to the Chair of the State Committee at the office of the Democratic Party of Arkansas within ten (10) days of the act or omission complained of by the aggrieved person(s). The State Chair shall send a copy of the notice of grievance to the chief officer of the body against/from which the grievance has been taken and to the members of the Executive Committee. Said chief officer may respond in writing to the notice of grievance. The day on which the act or omission occurred shall be counted as the first day in determining the ten (10) day period. Failure to provide timely notice may be grounds for dismissal of the grievance. However, a grievance, otherwise timely made to a County Committee, may not be dismissed as untimely if the County Committee refers the grievance to the State Committee because jurisdiction lies there. The notice shall clearly set forth the facts giving rise to the grievance and shall describe the relief sought. The Chair may require the aggrieved person(s) to elaborate and/or clarifying writing any point raised in the notice.
Section 4.08. Procedure.
Unless the State Chair determines that the State Committee does not have jurisdiction, the Chief of the State Committee shall give notice to all Executive Committee members, the aggrieved party and the chief officer of the body against/from which the grievance has been taken of a hearing that shall be held as expeditiously as reasonable but no more than twenty-one (21) days from the date the State Chair received the notice of the grievance, unless otherwise agreed by the aggrieved party and the State Chair. Hearings on grievances concerning elections and election procedures or related matters should be expedited. In the event that the State Chair has determined that the State Committee does not have jurisdiction over a grievance, the State Chair shall refer the grievance to the appropriate County Committee for its consideration, if jurisdiction lies with a County Committee. The State Executive Committee shall, by majority vote of those present and voting, adopt such rules of procedure which are consistent with these Rules and as are necessary to assist in the orderly conduct of the hearing. Any such adopted rules shall be provided to parties involved in the grievance. Twenty percent (20%) of the members of the Executive Committee shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of acting on such grievance.
The State Executive Committee, after hearing the evidence and affording all parties a full opportunity to be heard, shall deliberate and render judgment in the matter by a majority vote of those present and voting. Voting will be by hand. However, at the request of a single member, it shall be by secret ballot. At the request of a party to the proceeding, the Secretary of the State Committee shall provide a letter certifying the action of the Committee.
Section 4.09. Decision.
The Executive Committee shall, after hearing all evidence and affording all parties a full opportunity to be heard, deliberate and render judgment in the matter by a majority vote. At the request of a party to the proceeding, the Committee shall issue a written decision. A copy of the Committee’s decision shall be furnished to the parties to the proceeding.
Article V - Executive Committee
Section 5.01. Purpose.
The Executive Committee shall have all the authority and powers of the State Committee between meetings of the State Committee, except as to amendments to these Rules. In addition, the Executive Committee shall be tasked with all aspects of strategic planning for carrying out the successful work of the party including candidate recruitment strategies, fundraising strategies, and strategies related to organizational structure. It shall report on its work to the State Committee at each State Committee meeting.
Section 5.02. Membership.
The officers of the Democratic Party of Arkansas, the party leaders in both the State House and State Senate, up to four individuals appointed by the Chair because of their special talents or the diversity they bring to the body, along with two women and two men per congressional district shall serve as the Executive Committee of the Democratic Party of Arkansas.
Section 5.03. Elections.
Congressional district representatives on the Executive Committee shall be elected to two- year terms at the first State Committee meeting following a general election. From a slate of candidates established in advance of the meeting, voting for these Executive Committee members shall take place through secret ballot either through paper ballot or electronic device. Each representative to the Executive Committee shall be elected sequentially by plurality vote. More than one county must be represented among the representatives for a given congressional district.
Section 5.04. Vacancies.
After notice to the office holder, a vacancy in the Executive Committee may be declared by the Chair (or Vice Chair if the vacancy is in the office of the Chair) whenever an Executive Committee member is unable to perform his or her duties because of death, resignation, mental or physical incapacity, conviction of a felony, or no residency. In the event of a vacancy in a congressional district representative position, the position shall be filled at the next regular or special State Committee meeting.
Section 5.05. Meetings.
The Executive Committee shall meet at least quarterly upon the call of the Chair.
Meetings may take place in person or telephonically. While meetings shall be open to State Committee members, the Executive Committee may go into executive session upon proper motion for purposes of discussing personnel issues and other sensitive matters.
Section 5.06. Notice.
Notice of calls for all meetings of the Executive Committee shall be sent via mail or electronically by the Secretary to each member of the State Committee at least ten (10) days before the dates of the meetings provided that in case of emergency, the Committee may be convened on three (3) days’ notice. The news media shall be informed thereof at the time of the calling of each meeting.
Section 5.07. Quorum.
A quorum shall be twenty percent (20%) of the existing membership of the Executive Committee.
Section 5.08. No Proxies.
Proxy votes shall not be permitted at meetings of the Executive Committee. Section 5.09. Attendance.
An Executive Committee member who misses three (3) consecutive meetings shall be dismissed from the Committee.
Section 5.10. Jurisdiction.
The State Executive Committee shall have original jurisdiction of all contests or protests involving the election and qualifications of members of the Democratic State Committee. The State Executive Committee shall hear and determine appeals of any aggrieved person or persons arising from appeals from a County Committee or arising from other acts or omissions of the Democratic Party or any of its subsidiary bodies, resulting from the application or enforcement of the Rules. When the Democratic Party is not in Convention, the State Executive Committee shall adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation or application of the Rules or policies of the Democratic Party of Arkansas. Contests of elections and qualifications shall be determined by Arkansas Code Annotated 7-5-801 et. sec.
Article VI - Other Committees
Section 6.01. Standing Committees.
The State Committee shall provide for division of its work to be carried on by the following standing committees: The Finance Committee, the Rules Committee, the Affirmative Action Committee, the County Committee Review Committee, the Committee on Auxiliary Organizations, the Committee on State Convention Arrangements, and the Personnel Committee. Unless otherwise noted, the chairs and membership of the committees shall be appointed by the Chair with approval of the Executive Committee.
Section 6.02. Finance Committee.
The Finance Committee shall be responsible for preparing a budget for the operations of Party affairs to be approved by the State Committee; activating an audit for the two-year period ending immediately before the State Convention; and submitting an annual statement of operations to the State Committee. The audit shall be filed with and become a part of the permanent confidential records of the State Committee. At the discretion of the Chair, this committee shall also engage in carrying out aspects of a fundraising plan for the DPA. The Finance Committee shall be chaired by the Treasurer.
Section 6.03. Rules Committee.
The Rules Committee shall consider suggested changes in these Rules and make recommendations thereupon to the State Committee; if requested by the Chair and, shall issue advisory opinions on interpretations of any disputes arising out of these Rules, and perform such other duties as may be assigned to it.
Section 6.04. Affirmative Action Committee.
The Affirmative Action Committee shall be responsible for the preparation and implementation of an affirmative action plan in accordance with the Rules of the Democratic National Committee as required to ensure that all segments of society are allowed to fully participate in the affairs of the Democratic Party of Arkansas.
Section 6.05. County Committee Review Committee.
The Second Vice-Chair for County Committees shall chair this five-person committee. The primary duties and processes of this committee are outlined in Article II. Additionally, this committee also has duties related to the establishment of regional organizations outlined in Article IV.
Section 6.06. Committee on Auxiliary Organizations.
This five-person committee, chaired by the Second Vice-Chair for Auxiliaries, shall carry out all oversight over auxiliary organizations as laid out in Article VIII.
Section 6.07. Personnel Committee.
This committee shall be advisory to the Chair on key staff hiring decisions and shall also establish and review the Democratic Party of Arkansas’s personnel policies.
Section 6.08. State Convention Arrangements Committee.
This nine-member committee shall carry out the duties laid out in Article III. Section 6.09. Special Committees.
The Chair, with the approval of the Executive Committee, shall have the authority from time to time to name special committees as needed. These committees shall exist only for the limited period of time that their purpose requires.
Article VII - Officers
Section 7.01. List of Officers.
The following individuals shall be officers of the Democratic Party of Arkansas: Chair, a First Vice-Chair (who shall be of the opposite sex from the chair), a Vice-Chair for County Committees, a Vice-Chair for Auxiliaries, a Treasurer, a Secretary, the National Committeeman, and the National Committeewoman. The Chair shall serve as chief spokesperson for the Democratic Party, though s/he may designate others to speak on behalf of the Party. The Chair and First Vice-Chair shall coordinate in the candidate recruitment and fundraising work of the Democratic Party. All other officers should carry out their duties outlined elsewhere in these Rules.
Section 7.02. Term.
All officers shall serve four-year terms. Section 7.03. Elections.
The positions of National Committeeman and National Committeewoman shall be elected at the first State Committee meeting following the State Convention held in a presidential election year. All other officers shall be elected at the first State Committee meeting following a gubernatorial election. If either the Chair and/or the Secretary has opposition in his or election, a Temporary Chair and/or Temporary Secretary shall be elected at the beginning of the election process to carry out duties related to those offices during the election process. Voting shall take place through secret ballot either through paper ballot or electronic device.
Section 7.04. Duties.
Other than the election of officers, the following procedures shall be followed: The Chair shall preside at all meetings of the State Committee and the Executive Committee and shall see that all orders and resolutions of the State Committee are carried into effect. In the absence or disability of the Chair, the First Vice Chair shall exercise all of his functions. In the event neither the Chair nor the First Vice Chair can serve, the Vice Chair for County Committees shall exercise the functions of the Chair. In the event of the death, resignation, permanent disability or removal from office of the chair, the First Vice Chair shall be responsible for calling a meeting of the State Committee within sixty (60) days after the office of Chair is vacated for the purpose of electing a new Chair. A new Chair will be elected by majority vote of a quorum of the State committee called for the purpose of such election. The Secretary shall keep the minutes of all meetings of the State Committee and Executive Committee and in general perform all of the duties incident to this office. The Treasurer shall have custody of the funds and securities of the State Committee; shall perform all other duties as are incident to the office of the treasurer of an organization; and shall also have the duties and responsibilities assigned to that position under the Federal Elections Campaign Act and regulations promulgated thereunder.
Section 7.05. Vacancies.
After notice to the office holder, a vacancy may be declared by the Chair (or Vice Chair if the vacancy is in the office of the Chair) whenever an officer is unable to perform his duties because of death, resignation, mental or physical incapacity, conviction of a felony, or no residency status. In the event of a vacancy in the office of the Chair, the Vicechair shall call a meeting of the State committee within sixty (60) days after the office of Chair is vacated for the purpose of electing a new Chair. Until the next meeting of the State Committee, a vacancy in any other office may be filled on an interim basis by the Executive Committee. Also, after notice to the officeholder, an officer shall be suspended during the pendency of a felony charge, during which time the duties of such officer shall be performed by an interim officer appointed by the Executive Committee.
Section 7.06. National Committee Members.
The positions of National Committeeman and National Committeewoman shall be elected at the first State Committee meeting following the State Convention held in a presidential election year. The persons so elected shall qualify by filing with the Secretary of the State Committee within ten (10) days after election a Candidate Eligibility Application, in form hereafter prescribed, and having so qualified shall assume office immediately following the Democratic National Convention, to serve until the adjournment of the Democratic National Convention following the next presidential election or as provided by the Rules of the Democratic National Committee. The members so selected shall be from different Congressional Districts.
Section 7.07. Removal from Office.
A party officer may be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of all State Committee members in attendance at a properly called regular or special meeting of the State Committee.
Section 7.08. Officer Loyalty.
Public expressions of support, including campaign contributions, for candidates opposing nominees of the Democratic Party of Arkansas shall be the basis for censure or removal from office of any officer.
Section 7.09. Legal Counsel.
With the consent of the Executive Committee, the Chair shall retain legal counsel to advise and represent the Democratic Party of Arkansas.
Article VIII - Auxiliaries
Section 8.01. Purpose.
Auxiliary organizations of the DPA are hereby established and recognized to promote the Party’s principles, platforms, and nominees and to increase representation, participation, and leadership development among historically underrepresented communities within the Party.
Section 8.02. Use of Party Name.
Outside of the Democratic Party of Arkansas, Democratic candidates, legislative caucuses, affiliated campaign committees, or duly certified county committees, no person, group of persons, committee, or organization may use the words “Democrat,” “Democrats,” or “Democratic” in their name, or purport to represent the Democratic Party of Arkansas in any capacity, unless they have been duly chartered by the procedures established in this article.
Section 8.03. Charter Issuance.
(a) A group wishing to establish an auxiliary shall submit a Statement of Intent to the Committee on Auxiliary Organizations and shall have six months to complete the application process in collaboration with the Vice Chair for Auxiliaries (the Vice Chair shall have the power to extend the deadline for 90 days if progress is being made towards a complete application). Charters shall be issued by vote of the Executive Committee upon recommendation from the Committee on Auxiliary Organizations once the criteria established below have been met.
(b) Charter applications shall require information pertaining to the official name of the auxiliary, contact information for auxiliary officers, a full and current membership roster, a full and complete copy of the auxiliary’s governing documents, and the minutes of the auxiliary’s organizing meeting (or most recent convention).
(c) In order to be eligible for a charter, auxiliary organizations shall:
(1) represent a discrete community of interest within the Party that is not geographically defined;
(2) have at least twenty-five (25) members, including at least five (5) from each congressional district;
(3) have held an organizing meeting at which officers were selected;
(4) adopt draft governing documents (including a mission statement and bylaws) which do not conflict with these rules, describing auxiliary membership eligibility and (if appropriate) chapter chartering procedure, as well as the date, place, and procedure of the auxiliary Convention.
(d) Auxiliary bylaws must bar officers of the auxiliary from public support, including campaign contributions, for candidates opposing Democratic Party nominees on the Arkansas state ballot.
(e) Adopt a mission for the charter as well as a strategic plan for promoting the electoral goals of the Democratic Party of Arkansas.
Section 8.04. Annual Reporting.
(a) On an annual basis, each chartered auxiliary shall provide the following to the Committee on Auxiliary Organizations:
(1) The governing documents for the auxiliary;
(2) The minutes of the most recent Convention of the auxiliary;
(3) The list of officers of the auxiliary;
(4) A strategic plan for the coming year that includes the auxiliary’s distinctive strategy of active support for Democrats candidates running for office and community outreach to promote the Democratic Party of Arkansas.
(b) On a quarterly basis, each chartered auxiliary shall provide the following to the Committee on Auxiliary Organizations:
(1) A roster of members of the auxiliary, numbering at least 20 and with membership from each of the state’s congressional districts;
(2) A financial report presenting the deposits and expenditures on behalf of the auxiliary in the previous year.
Section 8.05. Local Chapters.
Auxiliary organizations shall be composed of their duly chartered chapters, the members thereof, and at-large members if provided for in their governing documents.
Section 8.06. Charter Revocation.
(a) Auxiliary organization charters may be revoked for inactivity or non-compliance with these rules.
(b) Revocation of a charter may proceed through the following process:
1. After efforts to work with the auxiliary by the Second Vice-Chair for Auxiliary Organizations, a revocation of an auxiliary organization charter maybe considered at a meeting of the Committee on Auxiliary Organizations.
2. All elected officers of an auxiliary organization whose charter is to be considered for revocation shall be notified not fewer than 15 (15) days prior to the relevant meeting.
3. Said notice shall include the cause for revocation, and the date, time, and location of the meeting.
(c) Final revocation of an auxiliary charter may only occur through an action of the Executive Committee at a regular or special meeting. All elected officers of an auxiliary organization whose charter is to be considered for revocation shall be notified not fewer than fifteen (15) days prior to the relevant meeting. Said notice shall include the cause for revocation, and the date, time, and location of the meeting.
Article IX - Selection of Party Nominees
Section 9.01. Notice of Primary Election.
On or before ninety (90) days prior to the first biennial primary election, either the State Committee or the Executive Committee shall meet for the purpose of calling such elections and establishing filing fees in accordance with state law and Democratic National Committee rules.
Section 9.02. Certification of Nominees.
In accordance with deadlines found in state law, following the general primary election, either the State Committee or the Executive Committee shall meet for the purpose of declaring as nominees of the Democratic Party of Arkansas those candidates for the Democratic nomination for United States Senator, Congressman and State and District Offices who were unopposed in the primaries and those who have received a majority of the votes in the primary elections as shown by the report of the State Committee from the returns sent by the various County Committees. The Chairman and Secretary of the State Party shall certify such nominations and the Secretary of the State Party shall be charged with the responsibility of filing the certificates of nomination of all nominees so declared and certified, with the Secretary of State, within the time required by law.
Section 9.03. Announcement of Ballot Access Requirements.
The County Committee shall convene in an open public meeting to be held no later than thirty (30) days prior to the opening of the filing period to conduct the following business:
(1) fix and announce the ballot access requirements (fees/petitions) to be assessed against the candidates in such elections, and (2) fix and announce the apportionment by township, ward, precinct, district, or some other political subdivision of Committee members to constitute the next County Committee. Ten (10) days written notice of the time and place of such meeting shall be given each member of the committee by the Chair, Vice Chair, or Secretary.
Section 9.04. Ballot Access Fees.
During the period prescribed by law, before the preferential primary election, candidates for the following nominations shall be charged and shall pay to the Secretary of the State Committee assessments as prescribed by the State Committee:
- President of the United States
- United States Senator
- United States Representative
- Lieutenant Governor
- Attorney General
- State Treasurer
- State Auditor
- Secretary of State
- State Land Commissioner
- State Representative
- State Senator
No other assessments shall be charged such candidates for placing their names on the ballot in each county.
Section 9.05. Ballot Access Fee Alternatives.
The State Committee and each County Committee must allow all candidates for any office in a Democratic Primary Election a non-monetary method to appear on the ballot as an alternate to paying ballot access fees. Said alternative method shall be as follows:
(a) ) A non-fee-paying candidate shall execute an affidavit, under oath, requesting qualification by petition, swearing that to pay the appropriate ballot fee would constitute a financial hardship on said candidate. Such an affidavit involving a county, municipal or township office shall be filed with the secretary of the County Committee, and such an affidavit involving any other office shall be filed with the secretary of the State Committee. A challenge to the declaration of financial hardship involving a county, municipal or township office must be made in writing and submitted to the County Committee within five (5) days after the filing of such an affidavit, and such a challenge involving any other office must be made in writing and submitted to the State Executive Committee within five
(5) days after the filing of such an affidavit. After proper notice to all involved parties, the Committee with whom the challenge is filed will meet as expeditiously as reasonable but no more than ten (10) days after the filing of the challenge, and review said challenge. After hearing all evidence and affording all parties an opportunity to be heard, the Committee shall decide of the sufficiency of the challenge. An appeal from the ruling of a County Committee may be made to the State Executive Committee in accordance with these Rules.
(b) A non-fee-paying candidate shall file with the appropriate committee a nominating petition consisting of a number of signatures of registered voters as set forth below. No signature shall be counted unless it is from a person who voted in the last Democratic Preferential Primary or has marked Democrat as party preference on his or her voter registration form. Candidates may begin circulating petitions not earlier than sixty (60) days prior to the filing deadline.
1. In the case of county, municipal and township candidates, the number of required signatures shall be equal to eight percent (8%) of the total votes cast for the office of Governor in the last Democratic Preferential Primary. If votes were not cast in the last Democratic Preferential Primary, then for such other office as the State Executive Committee may reasonably determine. In any event, the minimum number of required signatures shall be 100 unless there are less than 100 registered voters in the political subdivision, in which case the number shall be 20. The maximum number of signatures which will be allowed on a petition shall be 120% of the required signatures.
2. In the case of candidates in a statewide or congressional district race, the number of required signatures shall be equal to eight percent (8%) of the votes cast for the office for which nomination is sought in the last contested Democratic Preferential Primary. If votes were not cast in the last Democratic Preferential Primary for the office sought, then for such other office as the State Executive Committee may reasonably determine
3. In the case of district office candidates, the number of required signatures shall be equal to eight percent (8%) of the votes cast for the office for which nomination is sought in the last contested Democratic Preferential Primary. If votes were not cast in the last Democratic Preferential Primary for the office sought or if the boundaries of the district have changed, then for such other similar office as the State Executive Committee may reasonable determine, provided the State Executive Committee may use the average vote for two or more similar offices in lieu of a single other similar office.
(c) ) A non-fee paying candidate shall execute an affidavit that said candidate has personally checked and verified, or caused to be checked and verified by named persons under the candidate’s direct control and for whom the candidate personally assumes responsibility, that all names on said petition are of valid and currently qualified registered voters and entitled to be a signer under Paragraph (b) above, and that all of the information on said petition is true and correct to the best of the candidate’s knowledge and belief.
(d) Said affidavits and petitions shall be filed with the respective committee beginning at 12:00 noon forty-six (46) days before the closing of filing period and ending at 12:00 noon thirty-two (32) days before the closing of filing period.
(e) The secretary of the appropriate Party committee shall issue a receipt for submitted nominating petitions, and, if the petitions are sufficient and comply with this rule, shall notify the Office of the Secretary of State and/or County Election Commission in the same manner as the issuance of receipts and notification of the payment of filing fee.
(f) ) Candidate nominating petitions shall be accepted only if submitted on the forms approved by the State Executive Committee.
(g) The secretary of the appropriate Party committee shall notify each candidate submitting nominating petitions, in writing, not later than ten (10) days after the close of the filing period, if such petitions are not sufficient to qualify such person for the Party Primary Election ballot.
Section 9.06. Candidate Eligibility Application.
(a) Each candidate for nomination in the Democratic Primary shall file a Candidate Eligibility Application with the appropriate Party committee. The application shall read as follows:
As a candidate in the Democratic Primary Elections to be held on day of , 20 ., I agree to abide by the results of said Primary Elections and support the Principles of the Democratic Party. I am eligible and legally qualified to file for this office under Arkansas law. This day of , 20 .
(b) Each County, State and National Committee member and each Party official shall file a Candidate of Eligibility Application with the appropriate Party committee. The application shall read as follows:
As a member/officer in the ________________ Democratic Committee, I agree to abide by the results of all Democratic Primary Elections and to support the principles of the Democratic Party. I am eligible and legally qualified to file for this officeunder Arkansas law and Party rules.
(c) No Person having resigned from public office as a provision to a plea agreement to avoid felony prosecution shall be certified by the Democratic Party of Arkansas to bea candidate and/or its nominee. This day of , 20 .
Section 9.07. Time for Filing Candidate Eligibility Application.
All candidates for nomination for United State Senator, Representative in Congress, and State and District office shall file the prescribed application with the Secretary of the State Committee, and all candidates for County, Township, and Municipal offices(including candidates for County Committee members) shall file the prescribed application withthe Secretary of the County Committee during the period prescribed by law for qualifying asa candidate in the primary elections.
Section 9.08. Filing as a Candidate in Primary of Another Party Prohibited.
One who has filed as a candidate for nomination in the primary election of another partyor has filed a notice of intent to run as an independent may not be a candidate inthe Democratic primaries to be held contemporaneously therewith, and any assessment paidby any such person, regardless of whether he/she shall have filed in the Democraticprimary before or after his/her filing in the primary of another party, shall be forfeited.
Section 9.09. Resignation of Candidacy.
A candidate who wishes to resign his candidacy shall, prior to the certification of theballot for the preferential primary or subsequent to the preferential primary but prior to the certification of the ballot for the general primary election, file written legal notice thereof in the offices of the Secretary of the Party committee with which he filed his Candidate Eligibility Application. That committee shall then immediately notify the county or state Board of Election Commissioners, whichever the case may be, of the name of theperson and his or her name shall not be printed on the preferential primary ballot or thegeneral primary ballot, as the case may be. In no event shall any Party committee be requiredto refund a ballot access fee to a candidate who resigns.
Section 9.10. Vacancies in Candidacies.
(a) ) When any unopposed candidate for any office in a Democratic primary electionshall, after the time for filing has expired, die or resign his candidacy, the StateCommittee, if the office be that of United States Senator, Congressman, or a State District office orthe County Committee, if the office be a county, township, or municipal office, may, upon ascertaining such vacancy, and provided same does not occur later than thirty (30) days prior to the preferential primary election, permit other candidates to qualify, at such time and in such manner as the appropriate committee may determine and upon such notice as such committee may determine and upon such notice as such be deemed to haveregularly qualified as a candidate thereof.
(b) A vacancy in nomination shall occur if nomination to an office is to be determined bya general primary (runoff) election and there is a tie vote between candidates receiving the second highest number of votes in the preferential primary election. Such a vacancyin candidacy for the Runoff Primary shall be filled by a convention of delegates to be convened as soon as reasonably possible by the temporary chair designated by the State Chair. In the case of a United States Senator or a State Office, the State Committeeshall select the runner-up candidate for the Runoff Primary. In the case of a Congressional or district office, the members of the State Committee from that district shall select the
runner-up candidate for the Run-off Primary. In the case of a county, township or municipal office, the county committee shall select the runner-up candidate for theRunoff Primary.
Section 9.11. Committee and Officer Endorsement Prohibited.
The State Committee, its Auxiliaries or any County Committee and its Auxiliaries shallnot endorse the candidacy of any person seeking the nomination of the Party in a race where more than one candidate has announced in a primary election. As an individual, State, Auxiliary or County officers may support the candidacy of a person seeking the nomination of the Party in a primary election; however, a State or County officer shallnot use his or her office to support the candidacy of any person seeking the nomination of the Party in a primary election. Any contributor lists compiled by the Party shall be for Party use only and shall not be released to any candidate for use during the Primaries.
Section 9.12. Prohibition of Party Staff Working on Behalf of Candidates for Public Office.
It is essential that all Arkansas Democrats have faith in the loyalty and integrity oftheir paid staff. Accordingly, the staff of the Democratic Party of Arkansas is expressly prohibited from working on behalf of any candidate seeking election for a party office or for public office in a Democratic Party primary in Arkansas. This prohibition extendsto both working and non-working hours. However, staff may provide trainings to candidates on an equal basis during a contested primary.
Further, all candidates for election for public office in a Democratic Party primaryin Arkansas are expressly prohibited from using the Party Headquarters and/or equipment to benefit his or her campaign. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, postage machines, telephones, folding machines, copiers, facsimile machines, andelectronic equipment.
Article X - Vacancies
Section 10.01. Vacancy in Office.
In the event of a vacancy in office, and if a special general election shall have been called, or the Governor shall have indicated that one will be called to fill such vacancy, the State Committee, if the special general election is to elect a Congressman, or a state or district official, shall call a special primary election to nominate a candidate, unless it finds that the holding of a special primary election is impractical by reasons of limitations of time, expense, or any other cause, in which event the State Committee shall call a convention to select the Party’s nominee, subject to the laws of the State of Arkansas. If the nominee is to be chosen by convention, a state convention shall be called to select a nominee for a state office; a congressional district convention shall be called to select a nominee for Members of Congress; and a district convention shall be called to select a nominee for a district office.
Section 10.02. Vacancy in Nomination.
(a) If a vacancy occurs in a nomination because of death, resignation, tie vote, disqualification, or for any other cause, a nominee to fill such vacancy in nomination shall be selected by a convention of delegates. In the case of United State Senator or a state office, the State Committee shall call a state convention to select the nominee, unless the vacancy occurs prior to the adjournment of the biennial State Convention, in which event the biennial State Convention shall select the nominee. In the case of a congressman, the State Committee shall call a congressional convention, unless the vacancy occurs prior to adjournment of the biennial State Convention, in which event the delegates to said convention from the appropriate Congressional District shall caucus as a congressional convention at the close of said convention to select said nominee. In the case of a district office, the State Committee shall call a district convention. In the case of a county office, the County Committee shall convene as a County Convention to select the nominee. In the case of township or municipal office, the County Committee shall convene as a County Convention to select the nominee.
(b) If, within fifteen (15) days of the occurrence of the vacancy in nomination for a district, county, township, or municipal office, all County Committee(s) affected have approved the holding of a special primary and certified that approval to the Secretary of the State Committee, no convention shall be held to fill the vacancy. Such special primary shall be called, if for a district office, by the State Committee, otherwise by the County Committee, and shall be held in accordance with the call for the special primary, if said election would be held at least sixty (60) days prior to the general election.
Section 10.03. Vacancies – Time and Place for Nominating Conventions.
Conventions to select nominees for vacancies in office or for vacancies in nomination shall be held at the time and place stated in the call, of which notice, reasonable under the circumstances, shall have been given.
Section 10.04. Delegates to Convention to Select Nominees.
(a) The delegates to a State Convention to select the nominee to fill a vacancy in the nomination for or in the office of United States Senator or any state office shall be the delegates to the most recent State Convention, and the officers who served at such convention shall be the officers of the called convention.
(b) The delegates to a congressional district convention to select the nominee in a special election to fill a vacancy in the office of Representative in the Congress of the United States, shall be the delegates to the most recent State Convention from the county or counties comprising the congressional district. The State Chair shall call Congressional Conventions and appoint a temporary chair thereof.
(c) The delegates to a district convention s hall be selected at a special meeting of the County Committee in the counties contained within the district, each committee to select one (1) delegate for each 400 votes or major fraction thereof, cast within the portion of the county contained within the district for Democratic nominee for Governor in the last preceding General Election, provided, each delegate shall be a resident of the district. The State Chair shall call district conventions and appoint a Temporary Chair thereof.
(d) Vacancies in the delegation of a county selected for attendance at the most recent State Convention shall be filled by the County Committee, and the names of those persons selected to fill such vacancies in the delegation shall be certified to the Secretary of the State Committee by the Secretary of the County Committee immediately.
(e) The Chair and Secretary of the convention shall immediately certify the nomination made by the convention, and the Secretary of the Committee calling such convention shall file the certificate of nominations with the proper officials.
Section 10.05. Special Primary Election Rules.
Whenever a special primary election shall be called, the committee calling it shall establish such special rules as necessary, e.g. filing period dates, ballot access fees, primary and run- off election dates, and related matters applicable to said primary election.
Section 10.06. Cancellation of Special Primary Election.
In the event special primary elections shall be called and only one candidate qualifies within the time specified, the Chair and Secretary of the Committee calling such elections shall, by proclamation, cancel the holding thereof, and the committees, acting as a convention, shall certify as the nominee of the Party the name of the unopposed candidate. The secretary of the proper committee shall be charged with the responsibility of filing the certificate of nomination with the proper authority.
Article XI - Procedure and Amendment
Section 11.01. Parliamentary Procedure.
These Rules shall govern the proceedings of all Democratic meetings. Where these Rules do not speak or there is no provision or established custom, Robert’s Rules of Order Revised shall govern.
Section 11.02. Penalty for Violation of Rules by Committees.
Should any Party organization, by order, rule, regulation, or in any other manner attempt to alter or set aside the rules herein prescribed, any such action shall be null and void and shall not be entitled to recognition by any Democratic voter or by the Democratic Party of Arkansas. Furthermore, upon majority vote of the State Committee or its Executive Committee, the State Committee voting privileges of the members of a Party organization that refuses to comply with the Rules herein or the directives of the State Committee may be suspended.
Section 11.03. Amendment of These Rules.
(a) These Rules constitute the official Rules of the Democratic Party of Arkansas. These Rules may be amended by two-thirds (2/3) vote of the membership of the State Committee, provided that the Secretary of the State Committee shall include a summary of any proposed amendment in the notice of the meeting at which it is to be voted on, and no amendment shall be voted on without such notice. Any proposed revisions to the Rules shall be presented to the Rules Committee for its consideration.
(b) Rules governing selection of delegates to Democratic National Convention maybe enacted by a majority vote the membership of the State Committee.
Platform of the Democratic Party of Arkansas
The fundamental principles of the Democratic Party of Arkansas are the promotion of individual freedom, equality of opportunity, community empowerment, a healthy environment, and a vibrant democracy. All are essential if Arkansas is to reach its full potential.
A spirit of individualism is at the root of the unmatched success of the American experiment and has been a defining characteristic of Arkansas since the state's founding! 180 years ago. That individual initiative generally works for the benefit of society as a whole. True individual freedom requires a community where all can flourish, achieve, and work toward success. Our party celebrates individual initiative and entrepreneurialism and balances those principles with the good of the community. We believe that society is healthiest when all are contributing to a project larger than themselves. The Democratic Party of Arkansas believes that the community has the greatest responsibility to step in to take care of those who are most vulnerable in our society.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas is also committed to equality of opportunity for all Arkansans. First and foremost, this involves the Party's commitment to work to remove legal structures that treat individuals inequitably based on their socioeconomic status or group membership.
Removing legal barriers alone does not rectify patterns of social inequality; the Party is therefore committed to working proactively to ensure all Arkansans have a fair shot. This means offering an excellent and affordable education to all. It means providing every Arkansan with access to high-quality health care and ensuring access to affordable housing. Only with these basic rights will we see all Arkansans able to flourish in the economic and social arenas.
Arkansans have a responsibility to participate fully in their democracy in the voting booth and through using their constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and association to make their views on controversial issues known to their fellow citizens and their elected officials.
Government has a responsibility to serve the people of the state in an ethical, responsible manner through using their tax dollars wisely, valuing the input of all citizens, respecting citizens' civil liberties, and operating ethically. This combination of an engaged citizenry and a decent and dignified government will ensure the promotion of the common good.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas respects the diversity of opinions its members hold. While recognizing that there are some within our party who, for reasons of personal conscience, may disagree on some of the specific issues as stated within this platform, we recommend the following guided by these principles.
We expect and demand the highest ethical standards in government and support full and fair discussion of issues. We support the goals of the Ethics Commission and the Democratic Party's longtime commitment to good government and responsible stewardship of the citizens' trust. We reaffirm our belief in transparency, accountability, public accessibility to government, and citizen participation.
Because public servants enter into a sacred trust with citizens, government has a responsibility to serve the people of the state in an ethical, responsible manner, valuing the input of all citizens, respecting those citizens' civil liberties, and operating ethically. State government has a responsibility to use citizens' tax dollars wisely, always recognizing that the buildings and lands of the state are owned by the people rather than those who happen to be in power at a given moment. The combination of an engaged citizenry and a responsive, fair-minded government will ensure the promotion of the common good.
In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United, there is urgent need for campaign finance reform. Arkansas Democrats led efforts to make our elections more accountable to the people by passing a constitutional amendment prohibiting corporations from making campaign contributions. Arkansas Democrats will continue to develop and support transparency laws that will let Arkansans know the forces behind attempts to buy our elections. We are committed to further action to ensure that elections are funded in a fair and equitable manner, and we call for an end to the campaign finance system currency at work that causes so many Arkansans to doubt the health of our democracy.
Education is central to the sustainability of our nation's democracy and lies the foundation upon which the success of Arkansas depends. Democrats believe that all Arkansas children have the right to a high-quality education, regardless of race, economic status, gender, religion, disability, national origin, immigration status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Building upon our investment in the education of our students, the Democratic Party believes that we must be committed to putting policies in place that will result in our graduates making their lives in Arkansas rather than choosing to live elsewhere.
The future of Arkansas demands that we hold education as our most important civic and economic development initiative. A world-class educational system-one that moves seamlessly from pre-kindergarten through adulthood-will make our democracy stronger and help develop jobs to make Arkansas competitive with other states, as well as on the world stage. Democrats are committed to making Arkansas a knowledge and educational hub for the 21st Century.
Therefore, the Democratic Party believes it should be a priority to provide a universally accessible, high quality pre-kindergarten program. In order to ensure a strong finish, children must have the opportunity to begin their education early, laying the basic foundation for a better educated citizenry and workforce. The DPA recognizes that quality pre-kindergarten has a positive ripple effect throughout our education system as a whole and the academic life of any single student. We are committed to making sure no four-year old will ever be placed on a waiting list for pre-K in Arkansas. Our party recognizes that failing to ensure our children are ready to learn when they start school substantially increases the risk of them failing in school or not finishing school at all.
The Democratic Party celebrates progress toward an adequate and equitable K-12 education system over the past few years, but we must be diligent in not allowing Arkansas's education system to fall behind. The Democratic Party believes that true commitment to high-quality education requires serious dedication, expectations, and funding.
The success of our educational system hinges on our teachers. Teachers work hard to fulfill a most sacred and vital role of helping our children learn the skills and values needed to become effective citizens. To make Arkansas an educational powerhouse, then we must recruit the best and brightest to the teaching profession, raise teacher pay, and demand quality instruction. We believe that a continued commitment is essential to recruiting the most talented individuals to enter the teaching profession. Democrats believe teacher pay must be competitive with neighboring states, and Arkansas must employ expanded mentoring programs to enhance retention of our best teachers. While we recognize that teachers need to be evaluated fairly and held accountable, we support giving educators the support and professional development they need to be successful. The Democratic Party also recognizes the vital role education support professionals play in educating our children, and we must provide salaries and make sure benefits are available that recognize their worth.
The availability of high-quality teaching must be available ensured to students in all parts of the state, including the use of new technology that prepares students for the careers of the future and programs to assist with this goal in rural and underserved areas of our state.
Arkansas Democrats believe that forcing school districts to rely solely on property tax revenue leads to gross disparities in rural and underserved communities. All our children, regardless of zip code, deserve a high-quality education and funding levels that make this a reality.
Using the established state educational standards as the basis for such evaluation, we believe that it is vital that we know that our schools are producing desired results. We believe that Arkansans are best served by schools that inspire students to pursue the full range of academic inquiry that values and encourages creativity and critical thinking, a vibrant and vigorous curriculum, and practices not based solely on "teaching to the test."
High quality afterschool and summer programs can be powerful tools in helping to close the achievement gaps that we too often see in our state by enhancing the learning that happens during the school year, keeping our young people safe, and aiding working families, including low-income families, in the care of their children.
We believe that public funds should be used only for public schools. Therefore, the Democratic Party opposes the use of vouchers, as we believe this would undermine the public education system in Arkansas. In addition, we believe that public schools in the form of charter schools must not be handed over to unaccountable corporations.
Parental involvement is a crucial determinant of an individual children's success in school. Therefore, we advocate measures that will empower parents with the tools and the opportunity to be active, respected participants in the education of their children.
The Democratic Party is committed to creating and maintaining a safe, welcoming school environment, a necessity for successful teaching and learning. Such an environment must be free of bullying of any kind. Therefore, we also believe that our education system must ensure respect, discipline, and order in the schools.
Democrats are presently leading efforts to establish statewide best practices for students with disabilities, and the Democratic Party is committed to providing high-quality special education.
Finally, so that they may learn to their full potential, it is crucial that students come to school healthy and ready to learn. Therefore, we advocate the implementation of an integrated school health system so that the health coverage of our youth, especially those eligible for the AR Kids program, can be increased. In addition, we recognize that food insecurity has a negative impact on students' health, well-being, and success in school. Thus, the Democratic Party supports continued funding for comprehensive school nutrition programs. Finally, we support accessibility of public school students to comprehensive, accurate, age-appropriate sex education, including information to help stem the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and to prevent teen pregnancy. Through these and other programs, we believe that future generations of Arkansans will see an improved academic performance and decrease in dropout rates.
In addition to our commitment to traditional public education at the elementary and secondary levels, we believe access to college, career-technical education, and other postsecondary educational opportunities must be more accessible and affordable. Every student who wants to attend college or participate in other postsecondary training opportunities should be able to do so regardless of zip code or economic status. Our party is fully committed to maintaining and expanding scholarship programs that provide students with opportunities to pursue college and/or careers after high school and encourage talented Arkansans to make their lives in Arkansas.
Democrats believe that no student in Arkansas should have to incur massive debt in exchange for an education. Our party is committed to student debt relief. Students should have the ability to refinance their student loans, and students who dedicate their working lives to public service should have their debt forgiven.
The Democratic Party supports the Arkansas DREAM Act. We recognize it is not fair to force young people who have lived in our state for years and graduated from our high schools to pay out-of-state tuition rates simply because of their legal status. The Arkansas DREAM Act would allow these students to pay in-state tuition prices at our public colleges and universities.
An educated and well-trained populace is essential for the state to compete for higher paying jobs. It has been estimated that 14 percent of Arkansas adults lack basic literacy skills and 19 percent do not have a high school diploma or GED. A significant number of adults in our community’s desire to learn English as a second language. There are twice as many English language learners in our public schools as a decade ago, and the need for adult English literacy programs has correspondingly increased. Adults with low reading or English literacy skills often cannot effectively negotiate the health care system, fill out job applications, support the educational development of their children, manage their finances, or participate fully in the democratic process. They experience greater difficulty both in finding and retaining employment and face significant obstacles that can prevent them from being engaged members of their community. Adult literacy services are provided by a network of county-level literacy councils.
These organizations offer free instructional tutoring to adults who want to learn to read, write or speak English better. Libraries offer children and adults opportunities to learn to read via tutoring and other programs.
In addition to supporting literacy, libraries allow others to learn technology! Y and information skills. Whether developing skills to succeed in school, looking for a job, exploring possible careers, having a baby, or planning retirement, our citizens turn to libraries to help them lead better lives. Libraries serve people of every age, education level, income level, ethnicity and physical ability, and are essential to a democratic society. For many, libraries provide resources they could not otherwise afford.
Community colleges attract students from all backgrounds and educational levels. The open access and affordability offered by these institutions appeals to student populations who have been characterized as low-income, first-generation, minority or working adults. Sixty-five percent of all American jobs by 2020 will require some form of post-secondary degree or credential, but the current rate at which colleges and universities are awarding them falls short. Increasingly, businesses and policymakers are turning to community colleges to help fill these workforces gaps and educate the growing student body.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas supports adequate funding of adult literacy programs, public and school libraries, education and life skills for adults with developmental disabilities, and community colleges towards the goal of increasing literacy, educational advancement, job training, and community and civic participation.
Economic Development, Ownership, and Opportunity
Gainful and productive employment is the cornerstone of the Arkansas economic system, and the Democratic Party of Arkansas honors the hard work of workers and responsible actions of businesses, especially small businesses, that together create jobs and row our economy. Key to a healthy economy is a healthy, educated, and financially secure workforce, which creates an environment where business can thrive and produce those jobs that secure a strong middle class.
The Democratic Party is committed to policies that promote and reward responsible business growth and which also benefit workers and their families throughout the state with well-paying jobs. We do not believe in corporate welfare. We oppose Republican efforts to take our hard earned dollars and give them to the richest corporations. We do not support rewarding companies that ship American jobs overseas with special tax breaks and loopholes. We encourage companies to create jobs here in Arkansas and supporting policies that promote job growth in Arkansas and that promote American-made products.
Each region of our great state should benefit from Arkansas’s business friendly climate and should be supported in accordance with its specific needs for economic development, job creation, and an enhanced personal and familial quality of life. We are especially concerned about the persistent economic challenges facing certain regions of our state, especially the Arkansas Delta, and support a focus on providing sustainable opportunities for the residents of those areas.
Responsible business growth will require expanding entrepreneurship, developing our existing businesses, recruiting new business, funding the state's infrastructure and increasing higher education and other postsecondary opportunities and programs for adult learners.
Arkansas Democrats believe that severe economic and income inequality is hurting Arkansas families and our country. We strongly advocate that workers and their families be supported by fair compensation through a living wage and provision of benefits. The Party believes that Arkansas workers deserve a raise. Consistent with our values, the Democratic Party successfully led efforts in 2014 to raise our minimum wage from $6.25 to $8.50. Working families in Arkansas deserve a minimum wage that more adequately helps them raise a family and live a life with dignity. Therefore, Democrats believe it is time to raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour and tie any raise to inflation to ensure that all Arkansas workers are fairly compensated in the years ahead.
The Democratic Party supports policies that create equal opportunities for all Arkansans. Women have the right to the same pay as men when performing the same work. The Party, therefore, adamantly supports equal pay for equal work for all. Moreover, we think it is crucial that the families of our state have access to paid parental leave upon the birth or adoption of a child. In addition, we will not tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace. We also support the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively without fear of intimidation. Our party advocates that the state meet or exceed its present goal of increased business opportunities for women, minorities, and veterans. The Party further calls for an end to discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity in employment and business.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas recognizes the importance of a vibrant farm economy to the citizens of Arkansas and understands that supporting farming families is vital to supporting our state's economy. Agriculture makes up 25 percent of Arkansas's economy and provides one of every five jobs in our state. Additionally, the Party agrees that our state and our nation are best served when the agriculture sector is based on a family-farm system. A federal Farm Bill is a key part of ensuring Arkansas's farming families receive the support they need. We, therefore, firmly believe our congressional delegation must fight for a Farm Bill that works for all Arkansas farmers.
We recognize that farmers, as long-time stewards of the land, enhance the stability and entrepreneurial vitality of our rural economy. We strongly support the development and implementation of federal farm and fair trade policy that benefit all farmers.
We support a farm policy that embodies a safety net concept. This net serves as a tool that will allow our efficient, productive farmers to weather the financial hardship caused by economic and natural disasters. The Democratic Party of Arkansas acknowledges that a healthy farm economy will result in cultural, environmental, and economic benefits important to our entire state.
Furthermore, we recognize the need for a coherent and strong national and international farm policy that encourages the expansion of exports of Arkansas agricultural products in the global market. In a world in which the need for renewable energy sources is growing each day, biofuels derived from natural products like those grown in the fields of Arkansas have great potential for enlarging Arkansas's agricultural economy. The Democratic Party encourages our state and federal political leaders to support efforts toward these goals.
Transportation and Infrastructure
The proactive development of a strong system of transportation infrastructure-in the form of ports, bridges, highways, airports, and light rail-is crucial to prepare us for the economic challenges of the 21st Century. Good roads improve interstate and intrastate commerce, build tourism, shorten the distance between families and friends, strengthen public safety and enhance our overall quality of life. We must look to responsible and prudent highway financing programs to meet the ever-changing needs of our state and take into account local communities' thoughts and wishes. The Democratic Party believes the state government should be aggressive in developing plans for infrastructure projects that will benefit the rural and underserved communities as well as the urban and suburban centers of the state.
In an era of increasing fuel costs and environmental threats from climate change, creativity in the development of transportation programs, including mass transit, that do not rely solely on the fossil fuels and traditional passenger automobiles should be encouraged within state government.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas supports the development of high speed wired and wireless networks to all homes and businesses so that everyone, especially rural and underserved areas, can access, upload, and download content at high speeds and fully participate in e commerce. We support increased consumer choice through the encouragement of expanded competition in areas that are served by a single Internet service provider.
Environment and Energy
Arkansas is the Natural State, and it must remain that way. In all environmental matters, we must consider ourselves caretakers of the land. The Democratic Party of Arkansas believes that we should look for balance in allowing commerce to fairly and sustainably reap the benefits of our natural resources while preserving and restoring the condition of those resources.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas accepts the scientific evidence that 9lobal climate change is caused by carbon pollution and linked to more chaotic and extreme weather phenomena. Global climate change poses a danger for the entire planet and human race, causing rising sea levels and the potential for dramatic upheaval. Climate change threatens our way of life in Arkansas, holding the potential to devastate our agricultural sector, drive up costs for the basic necessities of life, and fundamentally alter our state's treasured, scenic wilderness and plentiful hunting and fishing opportunities. Arkansas Democrats are committed to solutions that combat global climate change.
Our state faces many other environmental challenges such as wetlands conservation, forestry management, protection of public waters, management of commercial animal waste, solid waste disposal, recycling procedures, sustainable agricultural methods, the overuse of fossil fuels, and other conditions which cause noise, air, and water pollution. As we develop commercial waterways and permit industrial facilities, we must protect and sustain the hunting, fishing, and recreational areas that are wonders and economic drivers for our state.
Arkansas can benefit from developing a green economy. This new industry can simultaneously provide jobs in every area of the state that cannot be outsourced and w ill allow us to leave the · Natural State in a better condition than we received it, a legacy to future generations.
The Democratic Party believes that the exploration of independent, renewable energy sources- especially cleaner biodiesel fuels, wood waste, solar, wind, and other fuels--should be encouraged and promoted. In particular, a shift to increased usage of clean energy presents a unique opportunity for Arkansas. Arkansas Democrats support policies that will put our colleges and universities at the forefront of developing safe, profitable, clean energy. It will have beneficial effects on our environment and a favorable impact on agriculture, jobs and the economy of Arkansas.
Energy efficiency and weatherization programs are critical steps in energy conservation and lessening dependence on foreign oil. Expanding recycling programs and adding new programs supporting new sources of energy are important steps in preserving the beauty of the Natural State. A robust Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality is essential to protecting our state and ensuring our health.
The Democratic Party is dedicated to guaranteeing health security for all Arkansans and to containing health care costs for families and businesses.
Arkansas Democrats seek to improve the quality of health care in our state. We support policies that lower health care costs for all Arkansas, guarantee access to health care for all, improve our hospitals, and ensure that the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is a world leader in delivering health care and in research.
The unparalleled success of Arkansas' Medicaid Expansion implementation, "The Private Option", estimated to save over 1,000 lives a year, has made it possible for over 200 ,000 Arkansans to gain private insurance coverage, many receiving coverage for the first time. The Private Option further advances health care security by relieving our already struggling hospitals of the burden of uncompensated care, often provided through emergency room visits, the most expensive kind of care.
The Democratic Party supports the continued funding of the Private Option because it is critical for individuals and families and the economy of our state, particularly in rural communities. In addition to saving rural hospitals, it will continue to lower health care costs, save jobs, keep health centers close to communities, encourage competition in the insurance marketplace, and prevent a tax increase on Arkansas business.
Working families must be able to continue to receive health insurance when they change jobs or when someone in their family gets sick. Our party believes that all Arkansans should have the security of accessible and affordable health care, including mental and dental health care, as well as a choice of health care providers. We are dedicated to expanding health coverage for those that without access to high quality, affordable health care. We believe in providing encouragement and assistance to small business owners to provide health insurance to their workers at a reasonable price. health care must be made more affordable and accessible to all Arkansans.
There also must be improved access to quality health care in Arkansas. The Democratic Party supports programs to expand and improve rural and underserved care systems. We acknowledge and are committed to vastly decreasing the disparities in our health care system, especially in rural and underserved areas of our state.
Patients suffering with a variety of severe health issues, including HIV/AIDS and cancer, find that medical cannabis relieves their symptoms-often when nothing else provides them relief. Therefore, the Democratic Party of Arkansas supports the development of a responsible medical marijuana program that will receive patients in need of such relief the freedom to access this remedy.
We support the creation of paid family leave programs to help Arkansas families. The Democratic Party believes workers should not have to leave a seriously ill family member or a newborn baby behind because they cannot afford to miss a paycheck. Paid parental leave is linked to lower infant mortality rates and better health for both infants and mothers. Family friendly policies such as paid leave result in economic benefits to employers, including improved recruitment, retention, and morale of employees. Providing paid family leave will undoubtedly make Arkansas a more attractive place to work and raise a family.
Our party supports providing pregnant workers with an unmistakable rig1ht to reasonable accommodations. Although many women can continue working safely throughout their pregnancies without the need for any modification to their jobs, some women find that at some point during pregnancy particular job activities -- such as lifting, bending, or standing for long periods -- may begin to pose a challenge. Many women could continue to work without risk to themselves or their pregnancies with slight job modifications. In the absence of such accommodations, they may face an impossible choice between the health of their pregnancies and their jobs. We believe that no woman should have to choose between the health of her pregnancy and her paycheck.
Health education and an emphasis on living well are vital to the future of better care in Arkansas. We support furthering existing health literacy campaigns designed to meet people where they are and are focused on preventive care, aimed at reducing overall health care costs in Arkansas. The Democratic Party also supports creating new health literacy campaigns and research aimed at preventing future problems in public health.
Arkansas Democrats are committed to eradicating the scourge of lead poisoning and other pollutants that have a detrimental effect on the health of Arkansans and can lead to rises in disease, crime, and other ills.
The Democratic Party recognizes the necessity of growing our overall health care workforce, especially among those that are a part of general health care teams. We, therefore, support the creation of programs that will help address current shortages, prevent any future shortages and create jobs.
The Democratic Party supports programs that recognize the right of Arkansans with disabilities to obtain health care that allows them to be as integrated as possible into their communities and jobs. Arkansas must enact the Community First Choice Option, which will provide people with disabilities greater access to being served in their communities and reduce the waitlist for such services, help balance the budget, and will not raise taxes.
Arkansas Democrats believe we must treat mental health issues with the same care and seriousness that we treat issues of physical health and support a robust mental health workforce. Recognizing that maintaining good mental health is critical to all people, including young people's health and development, we will work with health professionals to ensure that all children have access to mental health care. We must also expand community-based treatment for substance abuse disorders and mental health conditions.
We must confront the epidemic of drug and alcohol addiction, specifically the opioid crisis, by vastly expanding access to prevention and treatment, supporting recovery, and helping community organizations. The Democratic Party is committed to assisting the thousands of people struggling with addiction in our state to find and sustain healthy lives by encouraging full recovery and integration into society and working to remove common barriers to gainful employment, housing, and education. Those individuals, as well as the economy of Arkansas's communities, will benefit from such efforts. We will continue to fight to expand access to care for addiction services, and ensure that insurance coverage is equal to that for any other health conditions.
Our ultimate goal is to ensure that all Arkansans have the opportunity to access high quality, affordable, and confidential health care, regardless of their location or economic status and without requiring guardian, judicial, parental, or spousal consent or notification.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are all Democratic creations. The Democratic Party of Arkansas continues its longtime support for all of these programs that have meant so much to us as a people. For a very large population of Arkansans, these programs are life-sustaining and central to a decent quality of life.
A promise of Medicare is to ensure that all beneficiaries, even those in rural and underserved communities, have reliable access to dependable health care. Democrats believe the same should hold true for prescription drug benefits. No Arkansan should have to choose between medically necessary drugs and food or other necessities.
Medicare and Social Security are promises made by one generation to the next. Seniors who have worked their whole lives and paid into Medicare and Social Security deserve the retirement security these earned benefits provide. We oppose any steps to turn Medicare over to insurance companies and/or Social Security over to Wall Street and oppose raising the retirement eligibility to age 70. The DPA considers such steps a breach of the promises of Medicare and Social Security.
We oppose cuts in state and federal programs for public health and well=being, especially to provide tax cuts to America's wealthiest citizens. We urge that state and federal budgets be prioritized to avoid detrimental cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans' programs. In particular, we recognize that Medicaid provides life-sustaining coverage for many who are seriously disabled and in need of costly, ongoing care. We urge that our state to continue funding safety net Medicaid programs.
Arkansans deserve fairer taxes. For the same tax rate to apply to a worker making $34,000 and a person making $340,000 is inconsistent with our Arkansas values. We must give careful consideration to tax policy that is fair to working families and one that maintains a balanced state budget, while protecting essential state services such as education, Medicaid, and public safety.
Moreover, we believe that the recent flurry of tax cuts benefiting the wealthiest Arkansans threatens our commitment to the basic services of this state, including a1n adequate educational system mandated by the state Constitution. We therefore are concerned about additional revenue decreases in the immediate future, with the exception of the creation of a state Earned Income Tax Credit and a further reduction of the state sales tax on groceries, efforts which promise to create a fairer Arkansas tax system.
Because we must adequately balance revenues and essential state services, the Democratic Party of Arkansas believes such fair tax cuts can be matched to economic growth so that they do not threaten the continuance of vitally important state services.
In the face of very challenging times, Arkansas Democrats have, across the decades, responsibly balanced the state budget and continued to provide services necessary to for the people of our state. With the prosperity of Arkansas uppermost in our policy positions, Democrats will continue to be good stewards of our tax dollars as we respond to the needs of our state and promote the middle class.
Our Military, Our Veterans, and Our Nation's Security
We believe that the peace and prosperity of our nation is assured by the maintenance of a powerful and capable military. We believe the single most important element in our military is the individual soldier, sailor, marine or airman, and that it is absolutely critical that we keep faith with those who defend us.
Since 9/11, many veterans, including those in National Guard and and those who are Reservists, have served multiple deployments. To honor the men and women who serve our country, state and federal policy should demonstrate respect for the sacrifices made by military veterans and their families by ensuring a smooth transition from military to civilian life and providing benefits to honor their service. Therefore, the Democratic Party of Arkansas believes our state officials and congressional delegation should support funding to make sure our stated commitments to veterans are honored by our actions, not merely by our words.
We support the continuation and enhancement of veterans benefits, including post-military training, medical, with increased access to mental health services, and disability. The Democratic Party supports continued placement of outpatient clinics in rural and underserved areas as a means of providing increased access to health and wellness programs for veterans and their families. We call for stringent enforcement of State and Federal laws guaranteeing returning service members the right to return to their previous jobs without delay or loss of seniority. We demand interstate cooperation to enable the successful transition of families forced to move from one locale to another, including changes involving public education, job searches, and health care continuity.
Arkansas should demonstrate its support for veterans and military families and communities. We support policies that require accountability for the fiscal and physical oversight of federal and state sponsored homes for veterans, and we demand that in the event of closure of such facilities, all due respect must be given to honoring the wishes of the veterans affected. We insist that our military members on active duty and in the Reserve receive fair pay and allowances. They must be the best organized, trained, and equipped fighting force possible. We encourage city, county, state, and federal elected officials to review present benefits and determine how they can be enhanced.
Homelessness among veterans is an issue that must be addressed. Veterans have sacrificed to make sure we are secure in our homeland. They deserve not to be homeless in the land they have served. Therefore, the Democratic Party will work to put in place and implement policies to address homelessness among our veterans and to make sure no veteran has to live a life of homelessness.
We believe that in maintaining a strong military. In a complex world, our Nation's security depends on the wise and deliberate use of diplomacy and adherence to a foreign policy that rightly views war as the very last resort of civilized nations.
Our party believes that lifting people out of poverty with opportunity, education, and jobs is the long-term strategy for deterring crime.
Citizens must be allowed to live, work, and play safely. The Democratic Party of Arkansas supports a justice system that is fair, timely, and properly punishes those convicted of crimes. We respect the daily sacrifices made by those who protect us and provide order. While those who commit crimes must be held responsible for those offenses, we also advocate restorative justice programs dedicated to rehabilitation and alternative sentencing and effective reentry policies so that anyone convicted of a crime many have the opportunity to become or return to being fully productive contributors to society with the economic benefits that arise from that.
The Democratic Party believes in effective, smart responses to crime. To that end, Democrats support evidence-based policies that save taxpayers' money while punishing but rehabilitating some nonviolent offenders in a manner that has a proven track of success. We pledge to continue to uphold the laws and hold offenders accountable.
Our party believes our communities are undoubtedly safer when law enforcement and the people they serve work together. Building and maintaining community trust is the cornerstone of effective policing. We believe it is on all of us to speak out about disparities in our criminal justice system -- just as it is on all of us to stand up for those who put themselves in harm's way to protect our communities.
Our party will always act in the best interest of victims, communities, taxpayers, and especially on behalf of women, children and families. Domestic violence affects women, children, and families in a particularly egregious manner. We support policies and practices that stop domestic violence and make our homes safer places. We wholeheartedly support the Violence Against Women Act as a key component for making Arkansas a safer place for women, and we steadfastly oppose any effort to water down or repeal the Violence Against Women Act.
We support steps to protect women against domestic violence, and we support steps to empower victims. We do so by supporting the state's Domestic Peace Fund and by providing law enforcement better training, more tools, and adequate resources.
In addition, we believe in supporting our law enforcement and pooling Arkansas's safety resources in a collaborative effort to protect children by keeping online! Predators off the Internet and educating children, parents and teachers about online abuse and the value of online safety.
Our party steadfastly opposes the scourge of human trafficking. We support strengthening and making more fair and comprehensive the laws that punish the perpetrators and that empower victims to be a part of the fight against human trafficking.
Our Arkansas Constitution provides that "Every person is entitled to a certain remedy in the laws for all injuries or wrongs he may receive in his person, property or character; he ought to obtain justice freely, and without purchase; completely, and without denial; promptly and without delay; conformably to the laws." The Democratic party of Arkansas opposes any and all limits on complete justice, and reject attempts to protect certain wrongdoers at the expense of those injured by their wrongs.
Rights and Liberties
The Democratic Party of Arkansas has been prominent in the evolving process of empowering all Arkansans. The Party recognizes that simply removing legal barriers to inequitable treatment does not rectify time-hardened patterns of social inequality and inequitable institutional practices. In keeping with the progress and expansion of civil rights and liberties in our state and across the nation, we pledge to continue our fight against discrimination or deprivation of rights on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, gender identity, disability, or any other characteristic unrelated to ability. Arkansas Democrats support the movement to add prohibitions on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity to our state Civil Rights Act. Our party supports marriage equality.
We reaffirm the constitutionally established right of privacy and choice. We also recognize that freedom and protection from violence or abuse, domestic and otherwise, is a fundamental human right.
At the vanguard of civil rights is the right to vote. Generations of Arkansans fought to expand this most basic right of our democracy. As such, the Democratic Party is unalterably committed to preserving voting rights. The Democratic Party adamantly opposes the Arkansas Voter ID law. Supported by no evidence of fact, this law needlessly and egregiously disenfranchises Arkansans, including veterans, the poor, the elderly, students, and people of color. The law imposes unreasonable limitations on the right to vote, limitations that have an unjustifiable discriminatory impact.
Arkansas Democrats support efforts to make voting more accessible to our citizens. Automatic and universal voter registration, voting by mail, recognizing Election Day as a state holiday, the presence of voting centers on college and university campuses, and other measures that increase turnout and strengthen our democracy are needed in our state and in our country.
The Democratic Party fully supports equal pay for men and women. We also reject institutional barriers, be they corporate or governmental, which do not allow full access to job opportunities based on race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or socioeconomic status.
Arkansans are known for their welcoming nature and hospitality, and Arkansas Democrats believe that we must welcome the stranger. Our nation is a country of immigrants, enriched and made whole by diversity. Immigration reform that recognizes the strength that immigrants bring to our country while maintaining manageable levels of immigration is needed. We advocate for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level that restores the rule of law and enhances the security for America and which is practical and humane in its approach toward undocumented individuals already in the United States.
Far too many African-Americans face a daily struggle for respect, recognition, and safety. The Arkansas Democratic Party commits to lead the charge in promoting policies and fostering a culture that make our country safe for all Americans.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas also recognizes that the freedom to exercise one's religion is a vital component of the liberties held by Americans. In particular, we recognize that individual and group prayer in schools is legal, while upholding the Constitution. However, we strongly feel that laws couched as promoting religious liberty not be used as a tool to allow and encourage discrimination against other Arkansans.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas believes in and supports the right to bear arms as set forth in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We promote strict enforcement of the law while ensuring the rights and responsibilities of gun ownership.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas supports the fundamental principles of the Equal Rights Amendment and supports the ratification of the federal Equal Rights Amendment by the Arkansas Legislature. We believe all citizens, women as well as men, deserve to be included in their country's constitution with all its legal rights and protections.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas believes that individual involvement is vital to the health of our democracy. Arkansans have a responsibility to participate fully in their democracy in the voting booth and through using their constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and association. We encourage all Arkansans to take an active role in civic and social affairs through any combination of military service, public service, political participation, community engagement and volunteerism.