Unit Bylaw Guidelines and Other Useful Information

Committee on Constitution and Bylaws (C&B)


Here are links to bylaws for Divisions, Local Sections, and International Chemical Sciences Chapters.

Unit Bylaws – Status

This report includes the status of Division and Local Section bylaws in progress or with certification dates of 2003-present.

Guidelines and Information

C&B has developed language that is legal and consistent with the ACS Governing Documents (Bulletin 5): www.acs.org/bulletin5. A NEW BYLAWS Template has been created for Local Sections and this will be posted soon. Similar templates for Divisions and International Chemical Sciences Chapters will be available by spring 2015.

Standard bylaws review process - brief overview

The unit’s Executive Committee usually appoints one person to be in charge of proposed bylaw changes and to work with C&B. Either get the BYLAWS Template for Local Sections from this website or request this from bylaws@acs.org. You may amend any text in GREEN font and add bylaw sections as necessary; please refer to the introductory paragraph in the template. Text in black font is required and consistent with the ACS Governing Documents (www.acs.org/bulletin5). After you have made choices as presented and other changes to suit your Section’s needs (you might consider referring to your current bylaws to see if there's any language that you wish to maintain), please rename the document with your Section’s name and return the bylaws document to bylaws@acs.org for a quick review.

If only minor changes have been made, we will contact you within one to three weeks and let you know that the bylaws may be voted by your members, to be conducted in accordance with the Section’s current bylaws, which are available at the above link or you can contact C&B at bylaws@acs.org. The vote results and other required information must be returned to C&B to complete the certification process and issue newly certified bylaws on behalf of Council.

If the Section suggested proposed changes other than the choices presented, a C&B Subcommittee will be assigned to review the changes; this review might take two to three months, after which the Section will receive C&B’s Preliminary Report of required and recommended changes, if any. The Section members will then need to vote in accordance with its current bylaws, and the results sent back to bylaws@acs.org for C&B to complete the certification process and issue newly certified bylaws on behalf of Council.

We would appreciate your feedback on this new procedure: did you find the process easy? What would you change? Other comments?

The entire process can take as little as a few months or up to a year or more, depending mostly on how long it takes the Division or Local Section to prepare the bylaws based on C&B's input, and then for the members to vote  and the results sent back to C&B.

Expedited bylaws review process - brief overview

C&B recently approved an EXPEDITED bylaw review process, which is not available to units that are incorporated. For eligible units, they must agree to adopt the expedited MODEL BYLAWS as is, and give responses posed on the questions document; C&B then prepares a bylaws document based on the unit’s responses; the unit’s members would still have to VOTE on the proposed bylaw changes in accordance with the CURRENT bylaws. The unit would send the vote results and other required information back to C&B. If all is in order, C&B would certify the bylaws on behalf of Council.

C&B stands ready to review bylaw proposals before they are voted on. Time and expense for additional elections are thus conserved in those cases where the changes that are sought cannot be approved.

Contact us

If you have any questions or if you need the current version of your unit’s bylaws, contact us at

  • bylaws@acs.org for the Committee’s Staff Liaison, Barbara Polansky
  • 202-872-4071 or 800-227-5558, ext. 4071