South Dakota American Legion Auxiliary


Constitution & ByLaws

2016-2017 SD Department Program Action Plan

Theresa Maeschen

417 E 10th Ave  Mitchell SD  57301

Home Phone:  605-996-2845

Cell Phone:  605-770-7854


What is this program and why do we have it?

The Constitution & Bylaws program informs and educates members of the American Legion Auxiliary on the importance and power of properly written, reviewed and updated documents, policies, and procedures at all levels.  Constitution & Bylaws are the basis for governance of your department, district, county and unit.  Preparing and adhering to updated Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules will ensure a more successful organizational process, and provide the structures to follow at all levels of our organization.


What can your unit do?

The following is provided as a guideline to help facilitate reviews of your unit’s current Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules.  Please remember that unit Constitutions, Bylaws and Standing Rules cannot be in conflict with national governing documents.  Please send or e-mail me any changes after you review your unit documents.

Guidelines for Units  

     A.  Constitution & Bylaws

               a. are the foundation of the organization

               b. contain the most essential provisions relating to the organization, its name,                    purpose, membership, officers, meetings, governing board, committees,                        parliamentarian authority and amendments to prescribe structure changes

               c. are the law of the organization

                   - should be reviewed but not changed, every year

                   - have direct bearing on the rights of members

               d. should have a standard form and content

               e. define the primary characteristics of the organization

               f. prescribe how the organization is structured and functions

               g. include all rules that are so important that they cannot be changed without                    prior notice.

     B.  Standing Rules

               a. Relate to the details of administration for the organization

               b. May be adopted by a majority vote

                    - may be amended or rescinded at any regularly scheduled meeting:  with                       prior notification, by a majority vote, unless the bylaws stipulate                                   otherwise, without prior notification by a two thirds vote.

     C.  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 statue, the constitution, the bylaws, or any special                              rules of order adopted by the organization.

     D.  Definitions

               a. Resolution:  An elaborate, formally written motion.  A resolution may                          contain a preamble that lists the reasons for adoption.  Each reason is                            listed in a separate paragraph starting with the word “whereas.”  A                                resolution must have at least one “resolved” clause that specifies the                              action or position being proposed.

               b. Amendment:  Proposes a change to the Constitution, Bylaws, Special                            Rules of Order, or Standing Rules.  It also is used to modify a motion                             under consideration.



     - Volunteer to create a game of Constitution & Bylaws questions for members to play at unit meetings; make Constitution & Bylaws fun!

     - Volunteer to write a resolution or amendment to be brought before your unit.

     - Volunteer to help your department, district and/or unit to update governing documents to conform to the national organization’s governing documents.

     - Become familiar with the most recent edition of Robert’s rules of Order, Newly            Revised Unit

     - Update Constitution, Bylaws and Standing Rules, as well as policies and                       procedures, to conform to the national organization’s recent update.

     - Plan a parliamentary procedure seminar at a unit/district function.


Constitution & Bylaws Reporting

Mid-Year Reports

     Each Unit Constitution & Bylaws Chairman should submit a narrative report by November 15, 2016 to the Department Constitution & Bylaws Chairman, Theresa Maeschen, address located at top of page.

Year-End Reports

     Each Unit Constitution & Bylaws Chairman should submit a narrative report by April 15, 2016 to the Department Chairman, Theresa Maeschen.

As part of your Narrative report, please include answers to the following questions:

     - Have you done an annual review of your Constitution & Bylaws?

     -When was your unit Constitution & Bylaws last revised?

     - Has your unit sponsored any Constitution & Bylaws activities?  If so, what were           those activities?

     -Did your unit participate in a web based Constitution & Bylaws activity?  If so,            was it helpful?


     Additional Resources You Can Use (available through Emblem Sales             

     1.  National Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules (also available for download           at

     2.  Policies and Procedures Manuel                         

     3.  Unit Guide Book

     4.  Parliamentary Procedure                                    

     5.  Robert’s Rules of Order,                                                                                                     Newly Revised

     6.  C&B program page at