2021 Bylaws Proposals

LPEPC Bylaws Committee Report, 2021

 

Note for future amendments: In 2021, LPCO is considering merging their Constitution and Bylaws into one governing document referred to as Bylaws.  If and when that occurs, LPEPC bylaws ought to be amended to no longer refer to LPCO’s Constitution.

 

Proposal 1. Voting authorization

Problem: An inconsistency exists between:

4.3. All Members shall be entitled to receive LPEPC newsletters, be a Libertarian candidate, and vote at all Meetings and Conventions.

and

6.3.2.1 In case of permanent vacancy by the Chair, the Vice-Chair assumes duties as Acting Chair until the next regular or Special Meeting of the Voting Members of the Board where the new Chair will be elected or appointed.

To wit: “Voting Members of the Board” implies that there might be board members who are not voting members.  This is not the case, as board members must be Contributing Members as defined in Article IV, all of whom may vote at all meetings.

Solution: revise 6.3.2.1 to eliminate the misleading implication.

Proposed Amendment:

6.3.2.1 In case of permanent vacancy by the Chair, the Vice-Chair assumes duties as Acting Chair until the next regular or Special Meeting of the Voting Members of the  Board where the new Chair will be elected or appointed.

Proposal 2. Grace period for dues

Problem: 7.6 grants a dues grace period to Members but Regular Members have not paid dues.

Solution: Specify Members benefiting from the grace period as “Contributing.”

Proposed Amendment:

7.6. Contributing Members are granted a 30-day grace period from year end until annual convention.

Proposal 3: Special Convention

Problem: It is inconceivable that 1/3 of the registered Libertarians in El Paso County could be organized to write anything, let alone a request for a Special Convention.

Solution: Replace the impossible standard for calling a Special Convention by the Membership with an arbitrary but attainable number that is commensurate with the number of active Members.

Proposed Amendment:

8.1.2.    Special Conventions may be called at any time by the Chair, or by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the sitting Board of Directors, or upon written request of one-third(1/3) of the twelve (12) Contributing and/or Regular Members.

Proposal 4: Wording that is artificial and designed to impress

Problem: Superfluous wording is sometimes used for emphasis but can be taken to be affectatious.  Affectation is not a desired quality in LPEPC documents.

Solution: Delete superfluous or affectatious wording.  The amendment parts of this proposal are to be taken as separate and voted on individually.

Proposed Amendment Part 1:

7.3. If there is a change in the dues amount, the change shall take effect for each person upon renewal of membership or upon paying for a new membership, and not before.

Proposed Amendment Part 2:

10.2.     The LPEPC shall not engage in the borrowing of money at interest, from any source whatsoever.

Proposed Amendment Part 3:

Article XII.  Parliamentary Authority

The rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised 11th Edition shall guide the LPEPC in all cases to which where they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the State Party Constitution, State Party or these Bylaws, and any standing rules and any special rules of order LPEPC or its Board of Directors may adopt.

Proposed Amendment Part 4:

11.1.     These Bylaws may be amended by passage of a resolution at a Convention (if specified) by a two thirds (2/3) vote of the Members.

 

Proposal 5: Bylaws amending

Problem: The unqualified term “Members” could be taken to mean membership, which is all registered Libertarians in the county.  This is clearly not the intention.

Solution: Clarify that bylaws amendments are effected by attending members at convention.

Proposed Amendment:

Note that “(if specified)” below is deleted only if proposal 4, Part 4 is approved.

11.1.     These Bylaws may be amended by passage of a resolution at a Convention (if specified) by a two thirds (2/3) vote of the attending Members.

Proposal 6: Parliamentary Authority

Problem: Roberts Rules of Order, Newly Revised, 11th edition is 716 pages of complex rules, most of which are unnecessary to deliberative bodies of moderate size, and much of which requires a parliamentarian to clarify and setlle.

Solution: Change the Libertarian Party of El Paso County’s parliamentary authority to “Simplified Rules of Order (Slightly Modified Martha’s Rules)” which is five pages in length.  See Addendum.

Proposed Amendment:

Note that “to which where ”, “in which they are not in”, and “any” below are deleted/inserted only if proposal 4, Part 3 is approved.

Article XII.  Parliamentary Authority Model

The rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised 11th Edition “Simplified Rules of Order (Slightly Modified Martha’s Rules)” shall guide the LPEPC in all cases where they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the State Party Constitution, State Party or these Bylaws, and any standing rules and any special rules of order that LPEPC or its Board of Directors may adopt.

 

Proposal 7: Parliamentary Authority Alternative Proposal

Note: This proposal is to be considered only if Proposal 6 fails.

Problem: Specifying a particular edition/version of a parliamentary authority builds obsolescence into LPEPC’s bylaws.

Solution: Specify the “current edition” so that the bylaws never need to be changed to accommodate the publisher.  Changes from edition to edition are unlikely to have any significant impact on meeting conduct, so if a new edition is published near convention date, proceedings need not grind to a halt for lack of a copy.

Proposed Amendment:

Note that “to which where ”, “in which they are not in”, and “any” below are deleted/inserted only if proposal 4, Part 3 is approved.

Article XII.  Parliamentary Authority Model

The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised 11th Edition shall guide the LPEPC in all cases to which where they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the State Party Constitution, State Party or these Bylaws, and any standing rules and any special rules of order that LPEPC or its Board of Directors may adopt.

Proposal 8: Ex-officio Board Members

Problem: LPEPC bylaws are slightly in conflict with LPCO bylaws.

LPCO Bylaws Article II. Section 13: Each Officer shall be an ex-officio member of each Party affiliate Board of Directors for the purposes of: upholding the spirit and letter of the Statement of Principles of the national Party; enforcing the Party Constitution, Bylaws, and the Rules and Resolutions adopted by the Convention or the State Board; and providing relief in times of distress. Officers shall not be counted in determining the number required for a quorum at an affiliate’s Annual or Board Meetings but may be counted in determining that a quorum is present. Each Officer shall actively participate in a meeting of at least one (1) Party affiliate or development group each calendar year.

Solution: Bring our bylaws into compliance with LPCO bylaws to preserve our affiliation.

Proposed Amendment:

8.2.4.    At all Meetings, a the number for quorum shall be a majority of the sitting Board of Directors, not including ex-officio Board membersEx-officio board members may be counted in determining that a quorum is present.

 

 

ADDENDUM

Simplified Rules of Order
(Slightly modified Martha’s Rules)

I. PREAMBLE

With the recognition that we are rarely arguing contentious positions, and never need the complexity of Robert’s 700 pages of rules; this is a proposal to switch from Robert’s to this slightly modified version of Martha’s Rules of Order. Because we strive for a consensus; rather than a “majority rules” approach to parliamentary procedure, which can result in disenfranchising a minority view. There is also a concern that Robert’s linear model of parliamentary control can lead be an impediment to moving forward with action. We anticipate that Martha’s rules will speed-up meetings, as the consensus check may frequently simplify discussion.

As with any decision made under these rules, the rules themselves are open to discussion and revision but the revision of them would occur from within the existing rules.

The proposed rules share with the basic Martha’s Rules, a few assumptions or requirements of its participants:

  1. The participants must be willing and able to listen carefully to what others are saying. That is, everyone must make a good faith effort to understand each other.
  2. The participants must be trusting and brave enough to speak their minds; the expectation is that every effort will be made to be clear but that there is no requirement or expectation that participants will present well‐formed arguments on the spot.
  3. The participants must prioritize the group’s welfare over their own preferences and agendas.

II. GENERAL OPERATING GUIDELINES

  1. Meetings:

Meetings, either in person, electronically, or via teleconference, shall be moderated by the designated officer. In most cases this will be the Chair, but may be taken up by another member if there is an agreement to do so. As the meeting business occurs through consensus the membership/board has a shared responsibility to ensure that the standing rules are being followed.

The facilitator of the meeting will provide a prepared agenda of the topics anticipated to be discussed. This agenda will include any reports from committees or officers, pending business, or proposals for new action. As the meeting continues, the paramount concern is for consensus to be reached on an issue, not coverage of all planned agenda items.

  1. Reports:

Reports of officers or committees are not only a recounting of information, but the opening for a discussion and/or questions to occur. Proposals for action will often originate from reports, but the proposals themselves can be adopted or not independent of the “receipt” of the report.

  1. Proposals:

A proposal is a recommendation that a specific action be taken. (E.g., “We ought to purchase stock in Lunar Outpost Company.”)

It is natural, normal, and expected that there will be multiple proposals related to a specific topic to be on the table at any time in a discussion. Every effort should be made to ensure that all participants understand which proposal is being focused on at each point in the conversation. It is not permissible to insist that discussion remain on one proposal prior to moving to another proposal on the same topic. (Discussions will not be linear.) However, proposals on one topic should be settled before proposals on another topic are considered.

Once a proposal is made, it belongs to the group. As such the person who proposed it no longer “owns” the proposal and cannot withdraw it. There is no need to second a proposal.

  1. Amendments:

In the midst of discussing proposals it is likely that they will be amended. The amendment(s) will be adopted by a consensus model which mirrors that of adopting proposals more broadly. As the proposal belongs to the group, not the person who proposed it, there are no “friendly” amendments.

III. ADOPTION OF A PROPOSAL

A proposal that is adopted is to be specific in wording and specific in actions to follow from its adoption. If the group merely wishes to have an issue explored and brought back for further discussion the proposal to be adopted should be to refer the issue to a committee – either existing or newly created.

As decisions are made by consensus, the vast bulk of all proposals will be unanimously approved. There are instances in which that does not occur, which are covered below in the discussion of voting.

IV. VOTING

Voting occurs in two potential stages in this model, the consensus check and the vote. Moving to a consensus check or a vote should not occur until it is clear that all voices on a proposal have been heard. (This is not to say all members/officers, but rather all opinions.)

As detailed below in IV.1.c.iii, a proposal may be adopted at the consensus check stage without moving to the vote stage.

  1. The consensus check
  2. Purpose of the consensus check: to discover how the group feels about the proposal.
  3. Procedure for the consensus check:
  4. The facilitator states the specific proposal being considered.
  5. The facilitator takes count of the following:

‐Who likes the proposal?

‐Who can live with the proposal?

‐Who is uncomfortable with the proposal?

‐Who is uncertain about the proposal?

iii. This is repeated with all the proposals on the particular topic. The facilitator tracks the results of the consensus check.

  1. Interpretation of the consensus check:

Interpretation of the results includes looking for a balance:

  1. If most are “uncomfortable” the proposal should be scratched.
  2. If most are “uncertain” the proposal should be clarified, or more information gathered, prior to checking for consensus again.

iii. If the totality of the group ”likes” or “can live with” the proposal, then the proposal is considered to have consensus and is adopted.

  1. If there remain any members of the meeting who are “uncomfortable” or “uncertain” then discussion should continue (as detailed below) until consensus is reached, or if it is determined that consensus is not possible then a vote should occur.
  2. Following the consensus check:
  3. Find out what the “uncomfortables” are uncomfortable about and what the “uncertains” are uncertain about, and see if the group is willing to decide by majority rule.

1) Those who are uncomfortable are asked to explain what makes them uncomfortable with the proposal (i.e. what they believe is wrong with the proposal).

2) Those who are uncertain explain what makes them uncertain (i.e. what additional information is needed).

3) The entire group is invited to offer explanations, thoughts, or information to help resolve the discomfort and uncertainty and move the group toward consensus.

  1. It is possible that after the clarification of these issues members might have changed their minds. For that reason it is helpful to repeat consensus checks occasionally to see if consensus has been reached.

iii. If it becomes clear that some members will not be able to be satisfied with the proposal, but it is still desired to have clarity on the issue rather than reconsidering it at a later time, then a vote occurs. (The clarity of the need to move to a vote could occur in multiple ways, perhaps the most common would be that there is no movement toward consensus following a discussion post‐ consensus check or any number of “uncomfortables” or “uncertains” state that they do not see themselves being moved to at least a “can live with it” during the meeting.)

  1. The vote
  2. The question at hand for every vote is: “Should we implement this decision over the stated concerns of the minority, when a majority of us think that it is workable?”
  3. “Yes” means one favors majority rule.
  4. “No” means postponing the decision.

iii. These are the only two options allowed under the vote. No abstentions are permitted.

  1. If the “yes” votes win, the proposal passes.
  2. If the “no” votes win, the proposal is defeated, and the group is faced with a few options:
  3. Generate a new proposal, taking into account the concerns of the “uncomfortables”/”uncertains”
  4. Accept that the issue can’t be decided at this time. This provides two options:
  5. Returning to the proposal at a later time with the group as a whole.
  6. Refer the proposal and the concerns about it to a committee which contains at least one person who was in favor of the proposal and one person who was either uncertain about or uncomfortable with the proposal among its members. That committee would work to revise the proposal such that a later discussion on the issue could occur.

 

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