NST Bylaws

Amended Bylaws of

The Norwegian Society of Texas

Article I

Name and Location

The name of the corporation is THE NORWEGIAN SOCIETY OF TEXAS. The registered office of the Society shall be located at 1805 Cedar Elm Drive West, Arlington, Texas 76012-1906. The name of its registered agent at such address is Wayne A. Rohne. The registered office and registered agent of the Society may be changed by the Althing (Board of Directors).

Article II

Identity

The Norwegian Society of Texas, referred to herein as the “Society” or “Corporation”, is a non-profit corporation, organized under the laws of the State of Texas, its charter having been filed with the Secretary of State of the State of Texas on March 25, 1975, Charter No. 358002.

Article III

Membership

Any person of good character interested in the objectives of the Society and having direct or indirect ties to Norway, a defined below, shall be deemed eligible for membership, upon making the prescribed donation and completion of an application for membership and acceptance by the Local Chapter. Spouse, children and other dependents of voting members are entitled to status as Participating Social Members without making an annual donation and are entitled to all benefits and rights as members of the Society except the rights to vote and to hold office. All contributing members eighteen (18) years of age or older shall be eligible to hold office and to vote.

Categories for membership shall be:

(a) Persons born in Norway;

(b) Descendants of Norwegians;

(c) Persons married to either of the above;

(d) Persons who have shown special interest in the objectives of the Society;

(e) Honorary members approved by the Althing.

Members shall be required to communicate at least one idea in an accepted Norwegian dialect, e.g.: “Takk!”, “Velkommen!”, “Ha Det Bra!”.

Membership Defined

(1) Individuals – An Individual membership is a person who is eighteen (18) year of age or older, who desires membership in the Society.

(2) Youth – A Youth membership refers to a person who is under eighteen (18) years of age.

(3) Family – A Family membership is defined as two or more individuals living in the same household; regardless of age. A family membership shall be entitled to two (2) votes. Those under the age of eighteen (18) have no voting rights.

Article IV

Althing

The affairs of the Society shall be managed by a State governing body known as the ALTHING which shall contain an Executive Committee. The Society shall be organized geographically as Local Chapters.

Powers. The Althing shall be the legislative, executive and judicial body of this Society. It shall have the powers to determine all appeals, and its decision shall be final and binding on all members of this Society. It shall have the power to provide ways and means for the support of the Society and the exercise of all powers necessary to effectuate its and the Society’s purposes. It shall have the power to amend the Bylaws of this Society subject to ratification by the membership. It shall have the power to prescribe rules and regulations for the management of Local Chapters. Its power shall not be restricted or limited to those things herein enumerated but it shall have the power to do and perform all things necessary to carry out the objectives and purposes of the Society and to secure its welfare and proper management.

Officers. The Althing shall consist of the following officers and Local Chapter Representatives:

Elected Positions – (Voting):

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Financial Secretary
  • Chapter Representatives

Appointed Positions – (Non-voting):

  • Legal Advisor
  • Managing Editor-“Nyheter”
  • Leikarring Coordinator
  • Immediate Past President

Officers Duties. The duties of the officers and Local Chapter Representatives are:

President: To preside at all meetings of the Society and the Althing; to be the Chief Executive Officer of the Society and as such to have general supervision of the organization and enforce proper obedience to the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws of the Society, and the rules, regulations, and ceremonies, and to see that its officers perform their respective duties; to appoint all standing or special committees unless otherwise provided; to be an ex-officio member of all appointed committees except the nominating and auditing committees; to announce the results of all elections and balloting; to decide all parliamentary questions that may arise, but which decisions may be appealed to the Society; to attend to the bonding of officers and to sign all contracts issued on behalf of the Society. The President shall have no vote except when officers are elected or in case of a tie vote.

Vice President: To preside at all meetings in the absence of the President; to carry out the duties of the President and to fill his position in the event the President is unable to carry out the duties of the office of the President; to assist the President at the meetings; to promote membership and new chapters of the Society and to be Chairman of the Special Projects Committee.

Secretary: To keep an accurate and impartial record of all meetings of the Society and the Althing; to prepare correspondence as directed by the Althing and the Society; to read all official communications to the Society; to attest to all reports and documents relating to the Society’s activities; to serve as custodian of the Society’s official documents, stationery, and paraphernalia; to contact the members of the Althing concerning special meetings; to have minutes of previous meetings ready and sent to all officers and chapter representatives one month before the next meeting

Treasurer: To receive each deposit receipt and date, amount, category, and source of funds for all deposits made by the Financial Secretary; to properly classify and report to the Althing the amounts received in the accounts approved by the Althing; to disburse funds from the Society’s account(s) only upon authorization of the Althing; to make all payments by check; to insure Chapters remit promptly to the Society; prepare the financial reports of the Society, and sign same together

with the President and to submit the books of record for examination and an annual audit by the Audit Committee appointed by the President.

Financial Secretary: To receive all monies due and payable to the Society from its Chapters and other sources; to deposit said monies in the name of the Society in a bank designated by the Althing; to transmit promptly a copy of the deposit receipt and date, amount, category, source of funds to the Althing Treasurer; to indicate the amount, type and nature of the deposit by Chapter or source to be made to the various accounts of the Society, such as Nyheter, Medlemsbok, Special Projects, Folklife Festival, Scholarship Fund, etc.; to provide a list of eligible voters to the Election Committee no later than October 15

th each year; to inform the Althing of all withdrawals, suspensions, reinstatements and deaths, and in each case, give the name and address of each person by Chapter; to prepare the membership reports of the Society as to voting and non-voting members and such other reports as may be requested by the Althing; to render the records of the Financial Secretary to the Audit Committee and assist the Committee where necessary.

Chapter Representatives: The President of each Chapter, or his designee, and a representative of the Local Chapter shall represent the Local Chapter and its members at the Althing meetings; shall participate in Althing deliberations of state-wide issues, activities and plans; and provide additional information, guidance and direction in furthering the principles and aims of the Society through their work on the Althing.

Appointed Positions (non-voting)

The Althing shall appoint the following non-voting officer(s):

Legal Advisor: To advise the Althing on legal ramifications of the Althing’s and Society’s activities.

Managing Editor “Nyheter”: To procure, assemble and edit all information, pictures, memorabilia, and other data from the chapters or other sources that is deemed pertinent to the Society’s functions and activities; and cause to have printed and published this material in the Society’s official publication, the “Nyheter”, on a quarterly basis. The editor shall be responsible only to the Althing. Mailing and distribution of the “Nyheter” which should be timely, shall be the responsibility of the Publisher, his or her designated representative.

Leikarring Coordinator: The Leikarring Coordinator shall:

1. Represent the Leikarring at Althing meetings; present quarterly reports of state-wide folk dancing activities and petition the Althing for support on behalf of the Leikarring, and

2. Serve as the contact person for individuals or groups who are interested in the Leikarring; provide information about the Society and Leikarringen activities and refer prospective members to the nearest chapter, and

3. Complete applications and paperwork for any festival which might involve Chapter folkdance groups and coordinate housing, transportation and program planning for the event, and

4. Provide support and encouragement to Chapter folkdance groups, arrange workshops for learning new dances and assist in the acquisition of music and instructions for dances.

Immediate Past President: Shall assist, advise and counsel the current President in matters relating to activities of the Society.

Representation. Each Chapter shall have two representatives on the Althing. One representative shall be the Chapter President. Each Chapter shall determine the procedure for selecting its second Representative. A Chapter President may appoint an Alternative Representative

if the President or the Representative is unable to attend a meeting of the Althing. Each representative shall have one vote at Althing meetings.

Nomination-Election-Installation-Vacancies-Voting. On or before July 15th of each calendar year the President shall appoint an Election Committee to secure nominations for each elective Althing position and to supervise the election.

(a) Nominating Procedure. The Election Committee shall obtain at least one nominee for each elective Althing position to be placed on the ballot. Local Chapters shall submit any nominations they may have to the Election Committee no later than September 15th of each year.

(b) Election. The Financial Secretary of the Althing shall certify the membership list of eligible voting members to the Election Committee by October 15th of each year. An eligible voter is one who has made a membership donation in the current year or for the year next following. Ballots shall be mailed on or about October 27th of each year. Ballots shall be counted on or about November 15th or each year. Runoff ballots shall be counted on or about December 14th of each year.

The election of Althing officers shall be by mail ballot to each voting member of the Society. The Election Committee shall mail, receive and count the ballots. The ballot shall be secret.

If the election ballot contains two (2) names, the person receiving the majority of the votes cast shall be elected to office. If there is no majority for any nominee, a ballot containing the names of the nominees receiving the greater number of votes in each office shall be prepared and mailed to each voting member of the Society for voting and return to the Election Committee. In a runoff election, the nominee receiving the majority of votes cast shall be elected. In all elections, the names of the nominees shall be listed in alphabetical order. In the event of a tie the President shall determine the winner by the toss of a coin.

The Election Committee shall meet, canvass the votes, and certify the result of the election(s) to the Althing Secretary and the President before the last day of the calendar year.

(c) Installation. The new Althing shall be installed in January of the year following the election. The outgoing Althing shall serve until the new Althing has been installed. The installation shall take place during a joint session where the outgoing officers and Representatives present written annual reports on the status of the Society and turn over their offices. The time and place of this meeting shall be decided by the outgoing Althing.

(d) Vacancies. If a vacancy occurs before the completion of the term of office, the following procedures shall apply:

President – Vice President succeeds to office.

Vice President/Other Officers – Althing appoints person for position(s), excluding Chapter Representatives. Vacancies among Chapter Representatives shall be filled by appointments by the Chapter.

(e) Voting. Each individual membership shall be entitled to one ballot and one vote; a family membership shall be entitled to two (2) ballots and two (2) votes, and a youth membership shall have no voting rights.

Term of Office. All elected officers of the Althing shall be elected or appointed for a term of one (1) year. No elected officer other than the Secretary shall hold the same office for more than two (2) successive terms. The Legal Advisor, Managing Editor of the Nyheter, Leikarring Coordinator and the Immediate Past President shall serve at the pleasure of the Althing.

Althing Responsibilities. The Althing shall be responsible for providing the following services for its Chapters and members:

(a) Issue charters for Local Chapters

(b) Issue biennially a Medlemsbok (handbook for membership)

(c) Issue quarterly a newsletter – Nyheter

(d) Issue Membership Cards

(e) Issue Membership Application Forms

(f) Issue Standard format for letter stationery

(g) Determine annual statewide membership donations based upon the “annual average per capita cost” of producing the above services plus operating expenses

(h) Submit annual reports on the financial and membership status

(i) Plan and hold at least semi-annual meetings of the Althing

(j) Plan a convention at five (5) year intervals

(k) Provide plaques, certificates, medallions, membership pins on a reimbursable basis

(l) Carry out the mission and function of the Society as provided elsewhere in the Bylaws.

Althing Meetings. The Althing shall meet in regular session, at least semiannually at a time and place to be determined by the Althing. Special meetings may be called by the President or three (3) members of the Althing with at least two weeks notice to its members. A majority of the Althing shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Every act or decision done or made by a majority of the Althing present at a duly held meeting at which a quorum is present shall be regarded as an act of the Althing.

Removal of an Officer for Cause. An officer of the Althing or a Chapter may be removed from office for cause by recommendation to the Althing and presentation of a statement of facts in the particular situation.

The President shall appoint an impartial committee to investigate the particulars of the case. In case the officer to be removed is the President, the Vice President shall appoint an impartial committee to investigate the particulars of the case.

The officer shall be notified in writing in advance of the proposed action and any decision of the Committee may be appealed to the Althing.

The Althing shall conduct a hearing regarding the particular case and render a decision. The officer shall be permitted to be present at the Althing hearing and shall be advised in writing of the decision by the Althing. The decision of the Althing on such appeal shall be final.

Article V

Executive Committee

Composition: The President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Legal Advisor and Immediate Past President shall constitute an Executive Committee of the Althing, with the President of the Althing serving as chairperson.

Purpose: The Committee shall consider matters affecting the Society state-wide, such as organizational changes, issues affecting Local Chapters, affiliation, membership requirements and long-range planning. Recommendations are to be presented to the Althing for approval. The Executive Committee may meet to deliberate and present agenda items for consideration by the Althing. Each member of the Committee shall have one vote. The committee may meet more frequently when the chairperson or the majority of its members deems necessary. Communications among the Committee member and its chairperson, by mail and/or electronic communications are appropriate to further its role.

Article VI

Local Chapters

Local Chapters may be established anywhere in Texas in Cities or areas having at least 25 members of the Norwegian Society of Texas. The Althing alone is authorized to grant charters to Local Chapters.

(a) Purpose. The Local Chapter shall promote the interests of the Society within its area and shall cooperate with and assist the Althing and its officers in their work, both with respect to social activities and organization work.

(b) Organization. The affairs of a Local Chapter shall be governed by an elected Board and appointed officers as required.

(c) Officers. The number and kind of officers shall be comparable to the NST Althing. Local Chapters may, if they so decide, have fewer officers than those prescribed for the Althing. Titles of the officers may vary except that of President who shall be the presiding officer. Officers shall serve until their successors have been installed. The Vice President shall succeed the President when that position becomes vacant before the end of the term. Other vacancies shall be filled for the remainder of their terms by the President upon the advice and consent of the remaining officers.

(d) Terms of Office/Eligibility. Elected and appointed officers shall serve for the period of one calendar year. The terms of officers may be staggered to provide continuity of the affairs of the Local Chapter. The voting members of the Local chapter shall be eligible for holding Local Chapter offices. No elected officer other than the Secretary shall hold the same office for more than two (2) successive terms.

(e) Elections. Elections may be conducted by written ballots completed by mail, during regular meetings or special meetings called for that purpose. A majority of the votes cast is necessary for election. If more than two candidates have been nominated for an office, none of whom receive a majority on the first ballot, the candidate receiving the least number of votes shall be deleted from the ballot and balloting shall continue until one candidate receives a majority.

(f) Responsibilities.

1. Determine and collect donations from its members

2. Maintain a current list of members

3. Remit to the Althing Financial Secretary the Society’s portion of a members donation by name, amount, the period covered and whether an individual, family or youth membership and whether a voting or non-voting member

4. Publish a newsletter

5. Establish a calendar year budget

6. Operate and adhere to the Bylaws of The Society in all areas of activities

7. Obtain counsel and guidance from the Althing when necessary

8. Issue membership cards

9. Prepare annual reports on the financial and membership status

10. Assist the Althing in the sale of medallions, membership pins and other novelties.

Article VII

Adoption, Repeal or Amendment of Chapter Bylaws

A Local Chapter may not amend, repeal or adopt Bylaws without approval of the Althing. Any proposed change in a Chapter Bylaw shall be forwarded to the Althing for consideration and approval as being consistent for use by the Society as a whole.

Article VIII

Continuity

A Chapter shall not be dissolved or leave the Society if more than twenty (20) members vote to maintain membership and wish to continue as a Chapter in the Society. If a Chapter is dissolved, the

remaining members shall be assigned to the nearest Chapter or to a Chapter of the individual member’s choice. All assets of the dissolved Chapter, after it has paid all outstanding debts, shall be turned over to the Althing for disposition and use.

Article IX

Parliamentary Procedure

Robert’s Rules of Order Revised, latest edition, shall be used by the Althing and Chapters in all cases not specifically provided for in the Bylaws of the Society.

Article X

Membership Card

A membership card shall be issued to each member upon payment of the current or ensuing year’s donation, the same to be issued by the appropriate Chapter officer.

Article XI

Honorary Members

All nominations for honorary membership shall be submitted to the State Althing for approval, together with a letter setting forth the reasons why such recognition should be given. A two-thirds majority vote is required for approval. Nominations for persons who are not members may originate from either the Chapter or the Althing. Nominations for persons who are members shall originate only from Chapters. Honorary members shall not be required to contribute monetarily to the Society. Honorary memberships shall be for a period of time determined by the Althing and have the same rights as other members except voting rights. Honorary membership may be terminated by a majority vote of the Althing at a regular meeting.

Article XII

Acquisition of Real Estate

When the Althing or a Chapter desires to acquire real estate, title to such property shall be taken in the name of The Norwegian Society of Texas. A separate non-profit corporation shall be organized for the purpose of holding such title or the title shall be vested in such type of entity as may be appropriate. The Articles of Incorporation of such non-profit corporation must provide that the voting members, officers and directors of such non-profit corporation shall be members in good standing of the Society.

Article XIII

Chapter Meetings

Local Chapters shall meet on dates and locations proposed by the Executive Board or the Chapter membership for the purpose of observing and celebrating the following special occasions:

  • Syttende Mai (May 17)
  • Sankthansaften (Midsummer’s Eve)
  • Leif Eiriksson Day (October 9)
  • Jul (Christmas)

Local Chapters shall hold and conduct a business meeting during the months of January, September and December of each calendar year and at such other times as they deem necessary.

Special meetings of the members may be called at any time by the President or by the Althing or upon written request of one fourth (1/4) of the voting members of the Chapter.

Article XVI

Committees

All voting members of the Society shall be eligible to serve on committees. The following together with additional committees may be established:

  • Standing
  • Budget
  • Election
  • Genealogical
  • Historical
  • Scholarship
  • Special Projects
  • Special
  • Auditing
  • Editorial
  • Membership
  • Nominating
  • Program
  • Public Relations

Article XV

Donations

A donation for a twelve (12) month period shall be required of all members of the Society and shall become due on or before January 1. Membership in the Society shall be for a calendar year. The Althing shall determine the portion of each type of authorized membership in the Society which shall be remitted to the Althing as part of a member’s donation.

Article XVI

Seal

The Society shall have a seal in circular form having within its circumference the following words and figures:

The Norwegian Society of Texas

1975

and a Symbol of a Viking Ship

Article XVII

Affiliation

The Norwegian Society of Texas may affiliate with associations having similar aims and objectives as set forth in the Society Bylaws. The Althing is empowered to enter the Society into and terminate such affiliations subject to ratification by the general membership. The principles and aims of the Norwegian Society of Texas are intended to be consistent with those of other fraternal associations of Norwegians in the United States, such as Sons of Norway, and elsewhere in the world.

Article XVIII

Non-Profit and Tax Exempt Status

The Society, the Althing, the Local Chapters and all committees of the Society shall at all times conduct its and their affairs and activities in such a manner as to maintain the non-profit status of the

corporation and to assure compliance with the Internal Revenue Code of the United States and regulations and requirements governing tax exempt corporations.

Article XIX

Amendments

These Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Althing and twenty (20) percent or more of the Chapter membership voting in two successive regular meetings of the Chapters, provided written notice of the proposed amendments are published in the Nyheter. The number voting in favor and in opposition shall be verified by the Chapter President and Secretary and forwarded to the Althing Secretary.

Adopted by more than two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members of the Althing at a meeting held on September 29, 2001 in Harris County, Texas and in Tarrant County, Texas on January 26, 2002 and in two successive regular meetings of the Chapters with attendance of twenty (20) percent or more of the membership with notice of the Amended Bylaws given in the Nyheter or by other means for at least two weeks prior to the meeting of which said Amended Bylaws were considered.