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American Legion Auxiliary
Department of Illinois

Constitution and Bylaws

Chairman Ann Flanagan

IMPORTANT READING: Constitution and Bylaws Update

It’s Spring, and I’ve reviewed and approved very few unit constitution and bylaws. You may think, “I can’t find our unit c&b, or, it’s not important for our unit. We’re so small and don’t do much.” Wrong! It is important, and it is easy to print the template from our ALA Department website. OR, contact me and I will be glad to mail you a copy to use, and will help you with questions. Committee members LaVera Davis and Pat Sienkiewicz are also available to help you.

There have been several changes in the constitution and bylaws, due to changes on the National level. So, it is im-portant for units to get their c&b’s updated.

1. Eligibility requirements now include “direct and adopted female descendants”.
2. There is new information for transferring from one unit to another, making it easier.
3. MOST IMPORTANT. There is a dues increase. The Per Capita to be sent in to cover Department and National is now $23 for Seniors, and $3.35 for Juniors. The dues information should be in unit Standing Rules. This also affects the Direct Billing form units must submit in Spring.

Ladies, our constitution and bylaws and standing rules are the basis for governing our department, division, district and unit, providing a solid foundation. Making sure they are updated is very important.

IF YOUR UNIT HAS NOT SENT ME UPDATED UNIT CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS FOR REVIEW AND APPROVAL, DO SO NOW! The Department Constitution and Bylaws Committee will help you all we can to get this important work com-pleted before Department Convention in July.


In accordance with ARTICLE VII – AMENDMENTS, Section 1, of the Department Constitution and ARTICLE X – AMENDMENTS of Department Bylaws, call is hereby issued for such proposed revisions to reach Department Headquarters NO LATER THAN APRIL 1, 2017.

As stated in ARTICLE VII and X, all suggested amendments proposed will be sent to each Unit and District, as required, sixty days before the Department Convention, JULY 12, 13, 14, 2018. Final action will be taken at the Department Convention in Springfield, Illinois.

Each proposed revision must be submitted in triplicate. Each must also be sponsored by a Unit or signed by two members in good standing in the American Legion Auxiliary, Department of Illinois.

“Follow the rules to reach the Gold”

The Merriam Webster (the old) and Wikipedia (the new) dictionaries, both state that a constitution and its bylaws give us established laws or principles for governing. These laws and principles remain structured and established, but need to be reviewed and updated regularly, to reflect changes in our world and in our organization, its’ programs and activities. So it is for the American Legion Auxiliary, from the National level all the way to the unit level.

At the National Convention in Reno, a dues increase was voted on and approved. National per capita dues for seniors will increase from $9 to $12 per annum, and national per capita dues for juniors will increase from $1.25 to $2.50 per annum. This will be effective in the 2019 ALA Membership year. The total amount to be forwarded for Department and National per capita, effective in the 2019 ALA membership year will be $23.00 for senior members, and $3.35 for junior members. There will be worry and much discussion by members regarding the increase. Here is some information that will, hopefully, help.
The National Organization has cut costs in many ways. Still, forwarding and sharing information with our members is expensive, and membership continues to drop.
Positive presentation of the dues increase will help, and here are a few ideas I have, and have heard from others, that, hopefully, will help.
• Put away 25-50 cents a month, starting now. Save up for next year.
• Give or ask to have dues paid as a birthday or Christmas gift by family or friends.
• Give up one small luxury item, that would equal the $3 increase, and save the money.
• Units could discuss and move forward with donations or fund raisers to help members who really need the help with their dues.
• Use your imagination to make this transition easier.
• Purchase a PUFL (Paid up for Life) membership before the increase. Or ask for it as a gift.
• REMEMBER, what’s your WHY? Why did you join? Through keeping our dues up to date, we help our veterans, active military and their families. And, our Auxiliary Emergency Fund (AEF) is available to apply for if needed, with two years prior and current year dues paid up to date.

Here is a suggestion for the wording for the standing rule for units. A suggestion similar to this was presented at the national convention several years ago during discussion of the last dues increase. The dues amount for the unit is set, the per capita sent in is flexible, does not have to be changed whenever there is an increase in National or Department dues for seniors. Junior dues can also be worded the same way, with the amount collected by the unit set, and the per capita for National and Department flexible. THIS IS JUST A SUGGESTION.
“The annual membership dues for senior members of this unit shall be $____ above the total amount sent in for National and Department per capita, and $____ for junior members, paid annually or for life. This standing rule requires notification of all members and must pass by a 2/3 vote.”

Changes to the Department Constitution and Bylaws voted on and approved at the Department Convention are as follows:
• Article VI – Section 5 (b) The outgoing and incoming department presidents will attend the national conventions as delegates and ‘those serving as national chairmen and vice chairmen from Illinois shall also serve as delegates’ remaining number of delegates, etc. - The addition to this article is underlined and highlighted.
Amendment to National Standing Rules, Section X, Units, 3. Paragraph 5 – adopted 2016 ALA National Convention.
“A member who is not subject to suspension or membership revocation under due process is eligible to transfer her membership to another unit if she has paid her membership dues to her current unit for either the current year or immediate past membership year. A member transferring to a new unit must pay current year dues to either her current unit or to the unit into which she wishes to transfer. Evidence of paid member includes:
1. American Legion Auxiliary card
2. Verification of membership by ALA Department or National Headquarters membership records.
3. Other documentation verifying payment of current or immediate past year membership dues, such as a cancelled check or receipt; or
4. When verifying documentation is not available, a sworn statement that the member’s membership dues payment was tendered.”

If you do not have a governing document for your unit, district, county or division, use the template provided on the website. Questions, call LaVera, Pat or me.
Points to remember, put financial decisions in your standing rules. It’s easier to change these at a meeting with those present voting. Also, very important, your governing documents CANNOT conflict with Department or National Constitution and Bylaws.

There are approximately 480 units in Illinois, 24 districts and 5 divisions. I hope you all keep my committee and me busy this year.

Send a copy of your documents to me, keeping the original in your unit, district, county or division:
Ann Flanagan OR email them to me:
409 East Oak Street
New Baden, IL 62265

WITH a cover sheet with the name, address, phone number and email address of the person submitting them, for easy contact.

Resources from National

Log into the National website to access these items

Click Here: Constitution and ByLaws

  • How to write a Resolution
  • How to write a Standing Rule
  • Basic Parliamentary Procedure
  • Unit Guide Book

Department Resources