2017 Bylaws Committee Report

The 2017 Bylaws & Rules Committee final report is now available here. Consideration of this report will be the primary order of business at the state convention Saturday, Aug. 12 from 9:30 to noon.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a comment or suggestion. If you have additional comments or want to propose an amendment, please submit it in writing and signed (email will suffice) to the Secretary (with a copy to the chair) by the opening of the convention. 

For reference, the current bylaws are here and the current Convention Standing Rules are here.

Tim Cole
Bylaws & Rules Committee Chair


Showing 13 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Brad Hessel
    commented 2017-07-31 11:35:39 -0400
    Heartfelt thanks to the committee for dedicating so much time and energy to this commendable effort! With one exception, the proposed recommendations appear reasonable and will enjoy my support next month at Lake Lure.

    However, of course, I am constrained to address the one exception: recommendation #7, “Amend Membership.”

    Currently, a resident of North Carolina can become a member of the LPNC in any one of four ways:
    1. Register to vote as a Libertarian
    2. Be a member of the national LP
    3. Be a current dues-paying member of the LPNC
    4. Take the NIOF pledge
    The proposed change would take one of these paths—the NIOF pledge—and at once [a] promote it into being a REQUIREMENT for LPNC membership and [b] demote it to no longer be a sufficient condition for membership.

    Fundamentally, I oppose this proposed change on two grounds: philosophical and practical.

    Let me say right up front that I love the NIOF pledge! Indeed, I am one of 83 people on record with the LPNC as having committed to it. I fervently believe that if every human on Earth hewed to non-initiation of force as a guiding light in her or his life, we would be much, much better off. And it’s a great shorthand way to communicate libertarian principles, right up there with “don’t hurt people and don’t steal their stuff.” Having it as a path to membership in the party sends a wonderful meta-message, on both moral and propagandistic levels.

    Having said that, I am well aware of the shortcomings of NIOF as an absolute principle. Namely, as such, it doesn’t work. There are numberless real-world examples where a particular act would harm some folks but doing nothing—as a strict interpretation of NIOF dictates in such a circumstance—would harm more. Or actions that might save the lives of a sizable minority by minorly harming the majority—also not allowable under a strict constructionist view of NIOF. Consequently, some principled libertarians object to NIOF as inherently unviable, and would never agree to pledge to uphold it. While I do not agree with these folks that the shortcomings of NIOF as an absolute principle render it worthless, philosophically I am not prepared to kick them out of the LPNC over the matter. Which is what we will be doing if we approve this recommendation.

    Actually, approving this recommendation would kick the baby out along with the bathwater, practically speaking. Currently, we there are approximately 35,000 members of the LPNC:
    1. Registered Libertarians: 33,174 (as of 29 Jul17)
    2. Members of national LP (not registered as Libertarians): 1,433
    3. Dues paying members (not registered as Libertarians): 319
    4. NIOF pledge (not registered as Libertarians): 51
    The first number comes from the NCSBE website; the other three from the LPNC’s NationBuilder database. The total is approximate as there are undoubtedly a few dupes among the last three listed categories.

    As I mentioned, there are currently 83 individuals who have taken the NIOF pledge. However, 40 of those have not fulfilled any of the other three conditions. Therefore, if we approve this bylaws change recommendation, we would be kicking them out, along with the other 34,900+ current LPNC members who have not taken the NIOF pledge…effectively reducing the number of members of the LPNC from 35,000 to 43. If the recommendation were approved and took effect immediately, most of the delegates who voted for it would likely no longer be eligible to serve as delegates to this convention. :-)

    Doubtless dozens or even hundreds would hasten to take the pledge—you can easily do so on the LPNC website—but practically speaking, we would never get back most of the registered Libertarians in the state. Indeed, we’d be lucky to get 10% of them. With the party just now breaking the one-half-of-one-percent threshold statewide, is throwing most of those folks out really a smart move? If there are countervailing advantages to doing so, I would be most interested to learn of them.

    Furthermore, this change would degrade the value of the NIOF pledge itself. The way things are now, if you meet someone who has taken it, you know the odds are good he or she is sincere, because it’s voluntary. Creating a flood of folks who don’t really care either way but take it because it’s a mandatory box to check—or worse still, secretly disagree but check it out of expedience in order to be eligible to run for party office or impress a romantic interest or whatever—serves no beneficial LPNC interest that I can fathom.

    (BTW…venturing back to philosophy for a moment…is pressuring folks to sign the NIOF pledge consistent with the NAP?)

    And finally, there are about 700 donors in the database who have not taken the NIOF pledge. Not all of them are paid members (defined as having contributed $25 or more to the LPNC in the past twelve months) but most of them are. If we approve this recommendation, would we then contact each of those paid members and—as technically, they have been evicted from the party—offer them a pro-rated refund for the remaining portion of the membership they purchased but we have rescinded (if they refuse to take the pledge)?

    For all these philosophical and practical considerations, I urge a vote AGAINST recommendation #7.
  • Timothy Cole
    commented 2017-07-20 20:59:00 -0400
    Erik, I personally agree – originally I proposed for the EC to set the “dues”. This would allow setting time volunteering, for example. Also would allow adjustment between conventions.
    Thanks again to everyone for the suggestions!
  • Brian Irving
    commented 2017-07-18 10:52:52 -0400
    To clarify. You don’t need to make motions here. Just enter your comments and suggestions. The bylaws committee will consider them and may include them in their final report. If they do not, then you can make your motion at the convention. Please submit it in writing and signed to the Secretary before the convention, or at the latest when you introduce it. (Brian Irving, LPNC chair)
  • Susan Hogarth
    commented 2017-07-18 03:36:05 -0400
    I’m loving all the thoughtful feedback here!
  • Clark Lind
    commented 2017-07-17 21:19:04 -0400
    To piggyback on what Dave said. The sole purpose of a political party is to organize like minded people in order to win elections. The purpose of winning elections is for the purpose of influencing our government (at whatever level we can). The Ds have a platform. The Rs have a platform. And we have a platform. I have no problem with Independents who choose not to choose; but if someone has chosen D or R, then by default, they have NOT chosen L.
  • David Ulmer
    commented 2017-07-17 20:46:01 -0400
    Write it up however you think best. Voting vs. non-voting member? Bottom line for me is no registered Republican or Democrat should serve on any EC at any level OR vote on our LPNC business. We should be very proud of who we are, what we do and what we represent. If somebody can’t drop an R or D then they shouldn’t be voting on the direction and business of the LPNC. There are some good Rs and Ds out there, but they shouldn’t lead or vote on our party business. Thank you Tim!
  • Timothy Cole
    commented 2017-07-17 20:15:00 -0400
    Thanks for the comments, folks! We’ll be discussing them and updating the report as we make changes. See you in Lake Lure. -Tim
  • Kenneth Penkowski
    commented 2017-07-17 18:40:28 -0400
    +1 David Ulmer re: other party membership.
    +1 Erik Rausep re: membership dues amount flexibility.
  • Erik Raudsep
    commented 2017-07-17 16:41:28 -0400
    In the membership section I would do away with the dollar value in the bylaws this can lock us into price points that we may not want for the next two years. Also do we still accept bitcoin or any other form of payment. Leave it vague and it will cover itself. Membership values can be defined outside of the bylaws.
  • David Ulmer
    commented 2017-07-17 14:33:58 -0400
    We need to fix the membership section. You can’t be a registered Republican or registered Democrat and be a member of the LPNC. If you want, push the effective date out so people can adjust.

    I move to amend (this recommendation) to 1) insert the words “affirming they are not a registered voter affiliated with another political party” after the word “party Secretary,” 2) number the first paragraph as 1, and the subparagraphs a, b, and c, and 3) add the following paragraph 2. “This article is effective January 1, 2019.”

    1. A resident of North Carolina may become a member of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina by submitting a written or electronic affirmation to the Party Secretary that they do not advocate the initiation of force to achieve social or political goals; affirming they are not a registered voter affiliated with another political party, and; fulfilling at least one of the following criteria: a. Maintaining voter registration as a Libertarian, as long as the party is recognized by the State of North Carolina, or; b. Maintaining current membership dues with the Libertarian National Committee, or; c. Maintaining current membership dues with the Libertarian Party of North Carolina, defined as a donation of $25 in a calendar year for any purpose.
  • Clark Lind
    commented 2017-07-17 11:35:17 -0400
    Article VI. Executive Director and Staff
    Add: “5. Duties and responsibilities outlined in Article IV (”Officers") may not be delegated to the Executive Director."

    Rationale: it should be common sense, but no appointed person should ever have the authority of an elected person (or their duties and responsibilities) for which that position exists.
  • David Ulmer
    commented 2017-07-14 15:48:57 -0400
    Article III. Membership
    Add the below or something to accomplish the same:

    5. A resident registered with another political party may not be considered a member of the LPNC. An unaffiliated resident may be a member if they fulfill 2., or 3., or 4. or Article III.
  • Philip Jacobson
    commented 2017-07-07 12:34:53 -0400
    As proposed,

    Article IV, Section 2, # 5 calls for the Chair to “Select, with the advice and consent of the Executive Committee, an Executive Director…”, which might be interpreted as a requirement.

    Article V, Section 3, # 1 states “The Chair may, with the advice and consent of the Executive Committee, select an Executive Director…”, which is clearly an option rather than a requirement.

    I recommend that the language of the first citation above be modified to agree with the second citation, to make it clear that the selection of an Executive Director is an option, not a requirement.
Get Involved Volunteer Donate