Bylaws

ARTICLE I: NAME

The name of the corporation shall be “Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association, Inc.,” hereinafter referred to as “Corporation.”

ARTICLE II: PURPOSES

Section 2.1 PURPOSE

The Corporation shall exist and be maintained for the primary purposes of representing the interests of its members in the pursuit of their duties in reporting on the proceedings of state government and of advancing the ideals of free and responsible news media. (amendment July 2003)

Section 2.2 ETHICS

 All PLCA members should hold the highest journalism standards and should follow the Code of Ethics as established by the Society of Professional Journalists, specifically the following provisions:

- Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.

- Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.

- Refuse gifts, favors, fees, and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.

- Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage. (amendment July 2003)

SECTION 2.3 A SITE FOR BUREAUS

The PLCA and capitol newsroom is NOT, nor is it ever meant to be, an incubator space for newly formed news-gathering organizations. Organizations should have their home office elsewhere. Corporate officers and employees who carry out non-editorial business operations should not be working in the Capitol Newsroom.

(amendment July 2003)

ARTICLE III: MEMBERSHIP AND DUES

SECTION 3.1 FULL MEMBERS:

Full membership is restricted to individual print, radio, television, wire service and Internet reporters and photo journalists whose primary responsibility is coverage of state government provided that:

- such individuals report for at least one GENERAL CIRCULATION newspaper; at least one radio or television station; or any wire service or Internet news service that provides general circulation coverage to newspapers, radio stations, television stations or a dedicated Internet news Web site.

- such individuals engage in the practice of journalism, which the PLCA defines as the exercise of gathering information and disseminating it in a manner consistent with traditional and long-recognized practices of print or broadcast journalists. Journalists seek to answer the questions of who, what, when, where, how but most important, why. The products produced by journalists provide interpretation, context and analysis for a public audience.

- such individuals are assigned by their respective news organizations to work out of the Capitol Newsroom on a full-time basis with the Capitol Newsroom as their primary work location.

- such individuals do not work for or are not affiliated with any organization of legislators, lobbyists, public relations professionals or a government/government agency. Further, they do not engage in political fundraising, advocate the election or defeat of political incumbents or candidates, or advocate on behalf of the success or failure of specific legislation or causes.*

EXCLUSIONS: Owners/Employees of information-gathering organizations whose service is sold strictly as a research tool; registered lobbyists; public relations professionals; those employed as representatives of a government/government agency; political parties or newsletters funded in whole or in part by any political party or special interest advocacy organization(s), or anyone who benefits directly, financially or contractually from an affiliation with lobbyists or public relations professionals or a government agency shall not be eligible for full membership.

DUES: $100. (amended April 14, 2011 from $50)

FULL MEMBER BENEFITS: Full members are entitled to private/individual desk space in the Capitol Newsroom, a key to the newsroom, a parking space, use of all equipment under the control of the PLCA, a media credential, a designated individual mailbox, voting rights and other rights prescribed in the by-laws. (amendment July 2003)

SECTION 3.2: ASSOCIATE MEMBERS

The PLCA recognizes that some news-gathering organizations do not assign individuals to cover state government on a full-time basis and/or that some individuals whose work is integral to a news-gathering operation are not journalists as defined by the PLCA in section 3:1. Such individuals can apply for Associate Memberships. Associate memberships are restricted to:

- individuals who qualify for full membership under section 3:1, but whose primary office is NOT the Capitol Newsroom, provided such individuals do not hold membership in any organization comprised of legislators, lobbyists or public relations professionals.

- individuals who perform work that does not qualify under section 3:1, but whose jobs are essential to a news gathering operation regardless of their primary work locations. Such individuals include, but are not limited to, video camera operators, television producers, editorial assistants, television hosts, or assignment editors, provided such individuals do not work for or are not affiliated with any organization of legislators, lobbyists, public relations professionals; or a government/government agency.

EXCLUSIONS: Owners/Employees of information-gathering organizations whose service is sold strictly as a research tool; registered lobbyists; public relations professionals; those employed as representatives of a government or government, agency; political parties or newsletters funded in whole or in part by any political party or special interest advocacy organization(s), anyone who benefits directly, financially or contractually from an affiliation with lobbyists or public relations professionals or a government agency shall not be eligible for associate membership.

DUES: $75. (amended April 14, 2011 from $50)

BENEFITS: Associate members are entitled to semi-private, shared desk space if available; use of all equipment controlled by the PLCA, a media credential, a designated organization mailbox, voting rights and all other rights prescribed under the by-laws. They may petition for “loaner” parking spaces to be signed out temporarily for an unspecified period of time, then returned upon request of the secretary-treasurer. “Loaner” parking spots may be recalled by the secretary at any time. Any decision on loaner spots can be appealed to the board. (amendment July 2003)

SECTION 3.3: AFFILIATE MEMBERS

The PLCA recognizes that employees of information/news gathering organizations or teaching institutions may not qualify as either Full or Associate members under sections 3:1 or 3:2. Even so, such individuals provide a valuable resource to the field of journalism. Such individuals may apply for Affiliate memberships. Affiliate memberships are restricted to:

- individuals who do not qualify under sections 3:1 or 3:2 who are engaged in the advancement of journalism either in education or the practice of producing original content journalism.

This would include high school communication/journalism teachers or professors of communications at accredited colleges or universities, or free lance journalists, provided such individuals do not hold membership in any organization of legislators, lobbyists, or public relations professionals.

EXCLUSIONS: Owners/Employees of information-gathering organizations whose service is sold strictly as a research tool; registered lobbyists; public relations professionals; those employed as representatives of a government or government agency; any political parties or newsletters funded in whole or in part by any political party or special interest advocacy organization(s), anyone who benefits directly, financially or contractually from an affiliation with lobbyists or public relations professionals or a government agency shall not be eligible for Affiliate membership.

DUES: $75. (amended April 14, 2011 from $50)

BENEFITS: Affiliate members are entitled to restricted use of shared common work area, use of equipment controlled by the PLCA, and a designated organization mailbox. Affiliate Members shall not be given capital press credentials, or keys to the newsroom, or the right to vote on PLCA matters. Also, Affiliate Members will not be entitled to parking. (amendment July 2003).

SECTION 3.4: PROBATIONARY MEMBERS

Applicants desiring membership in the PLCA shall be on a probation period of at least 90 days, during which time the membership can assess whether the person is engaged in the practice of journalism. Probationary members may not vote on PLCA matters. The probationary period shall end with a vote by the full membership to accept or reject that member, at the first PLCA meeting 90 or more days after that member’s probationary period began. (Probationary language revision adopted by membership on 5/8/01.amendment proposed July 2003)

SECTION 3.5: MEMBERSHIP CATEGORY PLACEMENT

Membership—and status of membership—in the Corporation shall be determined by the board of directors, in accordance with provisions of the by-laws, subject to approval of the full and associate members. The board shall recommend the new status for members under the July 2003 bylaws, and the members will vote to approve or amend those recommendations. For members who apply after the July 2003 amendments are in effect, the board shall recommend which membership status a new member fits, and the membership will confirm or change that status at the next meeting of the PLCA. (amendment of July 2003).

SECTION 3.6:  DUES

Full, Associate and Affiliate members shall remit annual dues to the Corporation to maintain their membership status. The amount of such dues shall be set by the board of directors, subject to the approval of the full and associate members. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2004, the secretary shall send out dues reminder e-mails on April 1, May 1 and June 1 and post them in the newsroom. Dues are due June 30. Payments after June 30 must include a S50 penalty fee. Members who do not pay dues by Sept. 1 are subject to expulsion. Members in default may petition the board of directors for an extension of the deadline for just cause. (amendment of July 2003).

SECTION 3.7: SUSPENSION OF MEMBERSHIP

Any member of the Corporation, irrespective of the payment of dues or other qualification, may be expelled from Full or Associate or Affiliate membership by a majority vote of the members. Before a vote is taken, formal charges in writing must be filed with the secretary by three or more Full or Associate members, and the member whose membership is challenged shall be entitled to a full hearing before the board of directors. Such hearing may be open to the general membership but only with the consent of the member facing expulsion. Within 15 working days of such hearing and before a vote by the full membership on the member’s expulsion, the board of directors shall file a written report and recommendation to the full membership. The board of directors shall determine the methodology for taking the vote by the membership. In no circumstances, however, shall a vote by secret ballot be taken. Members may be subjected to the procedure herein outlined only upon charges of violating the rules of the General Assembly dealing with the activities of this Corporation or violating the by-laws of the Corporation. (July 2003 amendment)

SECTION 3.8:  DIRECTORS’ REVIEW OF MEMBERSHIP

Membership in the Association shall be reviewed annually by a three member committee appointed by the president. The committee shall not include any members of the board of directors. The committee’s review shall include determining whether each member fulfills the requirements of membership. The committee shall immediately notify the president if substantive questions are raised about a member’s membership qualifications. The president shall immediately notify the affected member of the questions raised. After its review, the committee shall make a report to the full membership.

Any member may be denied renewal of membership if a majority of the membership finds that the member is no longer qualified for membership. Before a vote is taken, formal charges in writing must be filed with the secretary by three or more members of the Corporation, and the member whose membership renewal is challenged shall be entitled to a full hearing before the board of directors. Such hearing may be open to the general membership but only with the consent of the member whose membership is challenged. Within 15 working days of such hearing and before a vote by the full membership on the membership renewal, the board of directors shall file a written report and recommendation to the full membership. The board of directors shall determine the methodology for taking the vote by the membership. In no circumstances, however, shall a vote by secret ballot be taken.

SECTION 3.9: HEARING PROCEDURE

A hearing for any member under Section Seven or Section Eight of this article must be scheduled by the president within five working days of the filing of the charges and must be held within 20 working days of the charges. At the hearing, the members who filed the charges may make an opening statement and present any evidence to support the charges. The member who is the subject of the hearing would then have the opportunity to make a statement and offer a defense. In the event that one or more board members are among those filing the charges under Section 7, that member or those members would not take part in the board’s deliberations or in the writing of the board’s report to the full membership. They shall retain their right to vote on the board’s report at the regular membership meeting. The president shall chair the hearing unless otherwise disqualified.

ARTICLE IV: BOARD OF DIRECTORS

SECTION 4.1:  COMPOSITION

The board of directors shall consist of the president, vice president and three Full or Associate members. To be eligible for election to the board, a candidate must be a Full or Associate member in good standing, and must have made application for membership at least one year prior to the date-of election. The president, who shall preside over meetings of the board of directors and the general membership; shall be ineligible to succeed himself unless he is filling the unexpired term to which another was elected. The vice president shall automatically assume the presidency if the office is vacated and the next most senior director, in terms of Full or Associate membership, shall become vice president. Then, the Full and Associate members shall elect a new director to fill the board vacancy at their next meeting. (amendment July 2003)

SECTION 4.2: POWERS OF BOARD

The board of directors shall be vested with general powers of administration of theCorporation and shall be charged with specific duties, including but not limited to the following:

a. Management of the newsroom;

b. Allocation of space in the newsroom, legislative press boxes and, when necessary, at news conferences;

c. Supervision of the Corporation funds and, in cooperation with an investment committee appointed by the president, authorization of prudent investments. If desired by the membership, such investments may be made through financial consulting firms approved by the membership; and

d. Arrangement of official functions of the Corporation.

ARTICLE V: OFFICERS

SECTION 5.1 OFFICERS

The officers of the Corporation shall consist of a president, vice president, a secretary and a treasurer.

SECTION5.2: TERMS

The officers of the Corporation shall be elected to two-year terms at the biennial meeting of the Corporation. The positions of secretary and treasurer may be invested in one person. The person or persons, if not already holding Full or Associate membership, shall automatically be granted ex-officio membership but not the privilege of voting on Corporation matters. The president shall be ineligible to succeed himself unless he is filling the unexpired term to which another was elected. The vice-president shall automatically assume the presidency.

SECTION 5.3: DUTIES

The duties and powers of the officers of the Corporation shall be as follows:

a. PRESIDENT –The president shall preside over meetings of the board of directors and the general membership. The president may appoint special committees as required by the activities and interests of the Corporation.

b. VICE PRESIDENT — In case of the death or absence of the president, or of his inability from any cause to act, the vice president shall perform the duties of the president’s office.

c. SECRETARY– The secretary shall be responsible for keeping all official records and minutes of the Corporation and the board of directors unless otherwise determined by the board or membership. The secretary shall prepare vouchers, with the approval of the membership, for Corporation expenditures in excess of S100.00. The secretary shall keep a full and complete record of the proceedings of all meetings and shall preserve all documents, reports, and communications connected with the business of the Corporation, send out all notices, and perform such other duties as usually pertain to the office.

d. TREASURER — The treasurer shall be responsible for monitoring all-Corporation disbursements as the custodian of the Corporation funds. The treasurer shall draw Corporation checks in excess of S100.00 only against the vouchers prepared by the secretary. The treasurer shall be bonded at the expense of the Corporation with surety inan amount set by the board of directors. The Corporation’s accounts shall be audited at the close of each calendar year by an independent auditor approved by the board of directors. At least annually, the treasurer shall submit a full report in writing of the financial condition of the Corporation which report is prepared by the independent auditor.

SECTION 5.4: REMOVAL OF OFFICERS

Upon petition of least ten (10) Full or Associate members in good standing, the general membership may be asked to remove one or more officers of the Corporation. A two-thirds vote of all Full and Associate members is required to remove Corporation officers. Replacement officers shall be chosen in the same manner as that which is used at the biennial meeting of the Corporation. (amended July 2003)

SECTION 5.5:  SALARIES

The officers shall receive such salary or compensation as the membership determines.

ARTICLE VI: MEETINGS

SECTION 6.1:  PROCEDURE

The meetings and business of this Corporation shall be conducted according to accepted rules of parliamentary procedure. Any decision of the chair may be overturned by a majority vote of those present.

SECTION 6.2: DATE

The biennial meeting for the election of officers to two-year terms shall be held no later than July 31 of each odd-numbered year, with the exact time and place to be-fixed by the president.

SECTION 6.3: NOTICE

Membership meetings shall be called by the president or by a majority vote of the board of directors. The secretary shall also schedule meetings on the petition of ten or more Active members of the Corporation. Notice of the meetings shall be posted in the newsroom and issued by email to the membership at Ieast 48 hours in advance of said meeting, except in the case of the biennial meeting, which notice must be given two weeks in advance. Notice of meetings shall include an agenda of items to be considered. (amendment July 2003)

SECTION 6.4: QUORUM

No business shall be transacted at any meeting of the membership or the board of directors unless a quorum of Full members is present. (Amendment July 2003)

ARTICLE VII: AMENDMENTS

SECTION 7.1: BIENNIAL BYLAW REVISION COMMITTEE

Within the first week of the biennial election of the new board the president-elect shall appoint a three-member committee to review the Association’s bylaws. The committee shall report back within 30 days from the time of its appointment with either recommendations to make changes to the bylaws, based on any issues that arose during the last two years, or to reaffirm that the bylaws sufficiently meet the Association’s needs.

SECTION 7.2: BYLAW AMENDMENTS

These bylaws may be amended, repealed or altered in whole or in part by a majority vote of the members present at any properly called meeting of the membership. The proposed change shall be posted for consideration by the membership for at least ten (10) working days prior to said meeting. (amended 6/21/89)