Revised and Approved:
April 8, 2017
April 7, 2018
May 9, 2020
We, the descendants of Soldiers, Sailors, or Marines who served in the Army, or Navy, Marine -Corps, or Revenue Cutter Service of the United States of America during the War of Rebellion of 1861 to 1865, have formed this patriotic and fraternal order, for the purpose and objects in the Constitution set forth, and in doing so, pledge ourselves to commemorate our fathers’ deeds, to render loyal services to our Country and to promote the maintenance of unqualified American citizenship with respect and honor to the Flag.
This organization shall be known as the RHODE ISLAND DEPARTMENT, SONS of UNION VETERANS of the CIVIL WAR and shall be under the supervision of the Department Encampment.
To perpetuate the memory of the Grand Army of the Republic and of the men who served the Union from 1861 to 1865, to assist in every practical way in the preservation and making available for research of documents and records pertaining to the Grand Army of the Republic and its members, to cooperate in doing honor to all those who have patriotically served our country during any war, to teach patriotism, and the duties of citizenship, the true history of our country, and to love and honor of our flag; to oppose every tendency or movement that would weaken loyalty to, or make for the destruction or impairment of our constitutional Union; and to inculcate and broadly sustain the American principles of representative government, of equal rights, and of impartial justice for all.
The Department shall be constituted and remain constituted as provided by the Constitution and Regulations (C&R) governing the National Organization, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and shall be known as the Department of Rhode Island, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and is organized as an unincorporated association under the laws of the State of Rhode Island. The organization is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, and scientific purposes under section501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future tax code.
Activities not in furtherance of exempt purposes:
No part of the net earnings, if any, of this unincorporated association, shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, trustees, officers or other private persons, except that the unincorporated association shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes described in section 501(c)3. No substantial part of the activities of the unincorporated association shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the unincorporated association shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding any other provision of these by-laws, the unincorporated association shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by an unincorporated association exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or (b)by an unincorporated association, contributions to which are deductible under section170(c)2 of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code.
Section 1: The Officers of the Department shall be the Commander, Senior Vice Department Commander, Junior Vice Department Commander, Department Secretary, Department Treasurer (or Department Secretary/Treasurer), three (3) members of the Department Council, and the Delegates and Alternates to the National Encampment, who shall be elected annually. The Department Commander shall make appointments for the following positions: Department Patriotic Instructor, Department Chief of Staff, Department Archivist/Historian, Department Chaplain, Department Counselor, Department Graves Registration Officer, Department GAR Highway Officer, Department Civil War Memorials Officer, and any other position prescribed in the Constitution & Regulations of the order or any other aides or committee chairman as the Department Commander deems necessary. In addition, the Department Commander will appoint a standing Bylaws Committee, to be chaired by the Department Counselor. Camps will nominate one Brother from each Camp; however, appointment and Committee makeup are at the discretion of the Department Commander.
Section 2: All Department officers, appointees and committee chairman shall provide regular reports as prescribed by the Department Commander in the format designed by the Department Chief of Staff and shall perform such duties as listed in the Constitution & Regulations of our order and any other duties as may be enjoined by the Department Commander.
Section 3: The Commander-in-Chief and the Department Commander shall have the power to remove any officer of the Department who is delinquent in and failing to fulfill the duties of his office.
The annual meeting of the Department shall be held in the month of April and shall be known as the Department Appomattox Day Encampment. Within 60 (Sixty) days after the Encampment, the Department Secretary, with the approval of the Department Commander, will publish the minutes of the Encampment and disseminate a copy to each Camp Commander. Special meetings of the Department may be called following the rules set forth in the Constitution & Regulations of the order.
Section 1: The Department Encampment shall approve an annual budget that will be prepared and presented to the body by the a) Department Treasurer or b) Special Annual Budget Committee appointed by the Department Commander in the instance that the Department Treasurer is unable to provide said budget to the Encampment.
Section 2: The Charter fee for a new Camp shall be twenty-five dollars ($25.00) and said shall be paid to the Department and shall accompany the application and the reinstatement fee for a suspended Camp shall be $15.00.
Section 3: Each Camp shall regulate its dues, fees for revenues, provided that the minimum dues shall be sufficient to cover the Department and National per capita tax on each member of the Camp.
Separation, Dissolution and Disposition of Assets:
Section 1: A Camp one-year or more in arrears in payment of the per capita tax, and failing to forward reports, may be disbanded, and the Charter revoked as provided in Chapter 1, Article 1, Section 5 of the Constitution and Regulations.
Section 2: In the case of surrender or forfeiture of the Camp/Department/Other Unit Charter, all Camp/Department/Other Unit property and assets shall be turned over to the Commander-in-Chief of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War via the Department Commander of the affected Camp acting as his duly authorized representative to collect and hold all such property in trust for the National Organization, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, an organization exempt from taxes undersection 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Section 3: All property of the Camp/Department/Other Unit shall be held for the National Organization, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, as a charitable trust that is held and used for the purpose for which the Order exists. Any such transfer or disposal within six months of disbandment or surrender of the Camp Charter without the written consent of the Commander-in-Chief of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War is prohibited. The property and funds of the Camp/Department/Other unit shall not be divided among its members.
Section 4: In the event the National Organization, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, no longer exists, said property and funds shall revert to the benefit of the first and any remaining organization of the Allied Orders of the Grand Army of the Republic or in their absence, to the State archives of Rhode Island.
Section 5: Notwithstanding the above language, upon the dissolution of this organization, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the federal government, or to a state or local government for a public purpose.
Past Commander’s Badge
At the expiration of the term of each Department Commander, the Department shall, upon approval of the Department membership and if finances allow, present to the past Department Commander the appropriate badge of honor.
Section 1: These by-laws may be amended or added to at the Department Encampment, providing that a copy of any proposed addition or amendment is sent to the Commander of each Camp at least thirty days in advance to such meeting.
Section 2: All other regulatory policies or rules not identified in this document are as stipulated in the National Constitution and Regulations, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
Section 3: Subject to approval by the Department Encampment these By-Laws shall go into effect immediately upon their final approval by the Commander-in-Chief.
Section 1: The Department shall, at the discretion of the Department Commander, publish a Department Newsletter which shall be the responsibility of the Department Senior Vice Commander. The publication shall be quarterly, on January 15th, April 15th, July 15th and October 15th. All material for inclusion shall be submitted to the Department Senior Vice Commander or his representative, prior to January 1st, April 1st, July 1st and October 1st. Where practical, the Department Newsletter shall be distributed to the membership by contemporary communications technology where cost efficient. The Department treasury shall cover the costs of materials and postage, when required.
Section 1: Archives; Any and all archival material in the possession of the Department of Rhode Island, Camps within the Department or any other entity authorized for the safe storage or warehousing of said archives are the property of the National Organization, as prescribed in the Policy on the Use of the Deed on Conveyance, dated June 2000. All Brothers in the Department of Rhode Island have the right to view any archival material in the possession of the Department of Rhode Island, Camps within the Department or any entity authorized for the safe storage or warehousing of said archives
Section 2: No archival material may be permanently removed from its stored location without the approval of the Department Membership at the Department Encampment, except under emergency conditions. In such an event the Department Archivist/Historian, with the approval of the Department Commander, is authorized to remove archival material to a temporary, secure location until a permanent storage location is obtained. No archival material may be permanently stored at any location other than that approved by the Department Membership at the Department Encampment, or the Department Commander at under exceptional conditions.
Section 3: Temporary removal of archival material for the purposes of research, digitizing, exhibition, or any other suitable use in the pursuit of the department’s mission is allowed. Adequate controls must be in place to ensure the accountability and security of the material to be removed. These controls must be approved by a Department Panel, consisting of the Department Commander, Department Archivist/Historian, and the Archives Committee. A written agreement will be drawn up, where the purpose for the loan, items loaned, length of loan, and storage conditions will be explicitly listed. This document will be signed by the party borrowing the materials, the Department Commander, the Department Archivist/Historian or concurred by the Department Council, when no Archives Committee has been established. The appropriate records of these events will be maintained by the Department Secretary and made available for periodic audit when requested.
Section 1: The Department recognizes the Membership Classes and Associates as established in the Constitution and Regulations of the Order.
Section 2: All Camps within the Department may amend their Camp By-Laws and establish Associates and/or Junior Associates. Camps may impose further restrictions in accordance with the provisions of the Department By-Laws and provided that the rights established by the National Regulations may not be altered, reduce, or vacated.
Section I: The following Committees shall be formed at the beginning of every term:
Chapter A) Department Encampment Committee:
Subsection 1) This committee shall consist of five Members in good standing, who shall choose a chairman from among their number.
Subsection 2) The purpose of said committee will be to coordinate, plan and promote the Annual Encampment.
Chapter B) Department Outreach Committee:
Subsection 1) This committee shall consist of the Department Patriotic Instructor, who shall chair the committee, and the Patriotic Instructor of each Camp of the Department.
Subsection 2) The committee shall be responsible for coordinating, planning and executing any presentation (G.A.R., life of a soldier, etc.) of the Department with any outside organization, school or library.
Subsection 3) The committee shall coordinate, plan, set up any displays or tables that the Department may wish to establish at any outside organization or event, provided that said presentation does not fall under the jurisdiction of any other regular or special committee.
Section II: All Committees, unless specifically stated in Section I, will meet at the discretion of the Chair, at least once per year, prior to the Department Encampment. Electronic meetings are permissible if desired by Chairman.
These Department By-Laws of the Department of Rhode Island, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War are hereby approved.
Revised and Approved at the 136th Encampment of the Department of Rhode Island at Providence May 9, 2020.