by Brian Irving
Chair, 2023 Bylaws & Rules Committee
The Bylaws and Rules Committee has completed its final report, available here. The report is the most ambitious report I’ve seen in my 25-plus years with the Libertarian Party of North Carolina. There are 20 recommendations.
The committee will hold a final open forum to hear comments and answer questions about our recommendations report on Friday, February 24, at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Go to the link. Consider taking this poll as well.
Debate on this report will be one of the two major business items of the Convention. The other is the election of a new Executive Committee.
While we don’t expect the Convention to have time to consider them all, let alone adopt them, the committee believes all these recommendations will be good for the party. We urge all LPNC members, particularly those attending the Convention, to read the report and come prepared to offer meaningful suggestions on how to improve them.
Debating and Voting
Delegates also want to brush up on the LPNC Bylaws and the Convention Rules, especially Rule 5, which covers debating and voting on Adjunct Committee Reports. Here’s a recap of the process:
1. Bylaws amendments are effective immediately unless the amendment includes an effective date. Rules changes are effective at the close of the Convention. (Rule 5.1)
2. The bylaws committee recommendation are considered as a whole, not in parts. Each recommendation is presented to the Convention individually by the committee chair or member.
3. The Convention may immediately adopt any recommendation, or the entire report, in a single vote without debate (Rule 5.3)
4. For recommendations without a minority report, the Committee chair or a committee member presents the rationale, and the Convention can debate the recommendation for 15 minutes, plus extensions.
5. Delegates can offer amendments to the recommendations, with two restrictions: the Convention first votes immediately to consider the amendment, and debate on the amendment itself is limited to five minutes. (Rule 5.4.2)
6. There are two processes for voting on adopting a recommendation, a one-step and a two-step. If debate ceases, and there is no motion to extend debate, the Convention goes straight to a vote on the recommendation. (Rule 5.4.3). If time expires (Rule 5.4.5), the Convention first votes to consider the recommendation, and if the vote is favorable, it then votes immediately to a vote on adopting the recommendation. If the vote to consider fails, the recommendation is tabled and can be brought up again later in the Convention.
7. For recommendations with a minority recommendation (two in this report), someone from each side gets two minutes each to present their rationale (Rule 5.5). Both positions are open for consideration for five minutes but without amendment, after which the Convention votes on which position to consider and then debates whichever proposal it decides to consider as per Rule 5.4.
8. Finally, after the Committee report is complete, any delegate can propose a bylaws or rules amendment from the floor. The delegate will have up to two minutes to state and explain the proposal, with debating and voting to proceed as described in Rule 5.4.
Here’s a summary of the recommendations:
Removes all gender-specific pronouns in the bylaws and rules. Corrects language and references in several sections of the bylaws and rules.
Electronic Executive Committee Meetings
Clarifies and updates language to allow the Executive Committee to conduct meetings by electronic means.
Specifies that Party members may attend all Party committee and administrative meetings.
State Convention Quorum
Defines a State Convention quorum as a percentage of State Convention registered delegates.
Executive Committee Resignation
Establishes that Executive committee members who miss a set number of meetings have automatically resigned rather than tendered resignation and requires the Executive Committee to vote to accept or reject the resignation immediately.
Voting for NOTA
The majority recommendation is to eliminate the ability to vote for none of the above in all party elections. The minority recommendation is to consolidate all the references to NOTA in both the bylaws and rules into one section in the bylaws.
Voting and Elections of Officers & Executive Committee
Changes the voting for Party offices to use Instant Runoff Voting for officers and approval voting for Libertarian National Convention delegates. Clarifies language regarding the election of at-large Executive Committee members.
Judicial Committee Quorum
Redefines the Judicial Committee quorum as a majority of the filled positions.
Selection of State Convention Delegates
County State Convention delegates will be determined by the county’s proportion of the number of registered Libertarians in the state. The majority and majority positions outline two methods for determining that number.
Organizing and Recognition of Affiliates
Require an Executive Committee vote to recognize or withdraw recognition of a local affiliate. Require a local affiliate to have bylaws or a plan of organization and a convention to elect officers at least every two years. Allows the State Executive Committee to remove local officers if their Party membership lapses or if they fail to comply with the requirements of the state or local bylaws, plan of organization, or state election statutes.
Nominating LNC Delegates
Simplifies and clarifies the wording of Bylaws Article XII. Section 8, and amends Rule 7 to allow members to nominate themselves for national delegate positions before the State Convention.
LNC Delegates Decide Region
Lets the delegates to the Libertarian National Convention decide what LP region the LPNC joins.
Requires the State Chair to appoint someone to provide a monthly volunteer labor report to the Executive Committee.
Convention Actions Bind on Executive Committee
Clarifies that all actions taken by the State Convention, including motions, are binding on the Executive Committee.
Review of Executive Committee Decisions
Allows a single Party member to appeal any decision by the Executive Committee that affects them to the Judicial Committee.
Revert to Robert's Rules as Parliamentary Authority
Reverts to using the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order as LPNC parliamentary authority and deletes references to suspending the rule, as this is covered in Robert’s.
Debating and Voting on Adjunct Comm Reports
Creates a single process for debating and voting on adjunct committee reports. Limits the number of times for extending debate.
Clarifies that the Executive Director and staff members are appointed by the chair, with the advice and consent of the Executive Committee, and may be removed by the same process.
The majority recommendation is to simplify the definition of member to require residents to meet three conditions to be a member of the party rather than one of several. These are not being a registered voter in any other political party, paying dues to the state party, and agreeing to the NIOF principle. It also eliminates the associate category. The minority recommendation is just to remove the associate category.
Ex-official State Convention Delegates
Eliminates all ex officio State Convention delegates.
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