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Governing Documents


Sandy Deacon

3419 Polaris Dr

Ames, IA  50010




Governing Documents

(Constitution, Bylaws, Standing Rules, Policies)


Units, Counties, Districts and our Department organization all need documents to govern how we do things, when we do things, and what is expected of officers and members. These documents should be reviewed annually.  Any changes must be submitted to the Department Parliamentarian for review before they become operative.  Governing documents may not be in conflict with the National or Department Governing Documents. 


The Constitution and Bylaws are the foundation of the organization.  They contain the most essential provisions relating to the organization including the name of the Unit, purpose, membership, officers, meetings, governing (executive) board, committees and parliamentary authority.  Amending these documents requires a 2/3 majority vote and prior notice of pending changes.  Do not include information that often requires changes.


Standing Rules contain the details of administration.  They can be adopted or amended at a Unit Meeting with prior notification, by a majority vote (unless the bylaws stipulate otherwise) or without prior notification by a two-thirds vote.  They should contain:


1.     Time (day and hour) of meeting, place of meeting.

2.     Dues – Senior, Junior, Life Members, and information on dues that the Unit will pay for specific members (example: Gold Star Mothers, Active Duty Military, those in Nursing Homes, etc.)

3.     Election of Officers.  When is it held?  Which officers are elected or appointed?

4.     Installation of Officers – when, where, who is in charge.

5.     Election of Delegates to County, District and Department meetings – when and how selected.

6.     Audit – when and by whom.

7.     Finance

a.     Working funds for officers, chairmen, poppy purchases, ALA Girls State, Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation, etc.

b.     Benevolence - gifts for illness, death, etc. Funeral dinner? 

c.     Expenses for delegates to attend County, District and Department meetings (registration fee, mileage, per diem).

d.     Courtesies for visitors (Department President, District President, County President)

e.     How bills are paid and who signs the checks.

8.     Any other rules specific to your Unit.

9.     Date the Standing Rules were amended and signature of President and Committee Chairman.


Parliamentary Authority.  The most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall govern this organization in all cases that are not in conflict with state statute, the constitution, the bylaws, or any special rules of order adopted by the organization.


Resources Available:


1.     Department of Iowa Constitution, Bylaws, Standing Rules and Policies, available online at


2.     National Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules available online at


3.     Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, available from Emblem Sales, at local bookstores, and online at



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