Motion: Removal of Member

At this point, there are sixteen motions being proposed as floor motions for the 2018 Annual Convention.  I may have posted most of my motions a while ago, but there are a bunch now showing up.  I’m planning on reviewing and posting on as many of these motions as I can before the convention.  All of these blog posts will be tagged LPF2018, so if you want to look at my thoughts on the other motions, just click on the LPF2018 tag on the right side of the page or the bottom of this post.

Kevin O’Neill is a member of the Hillsborough County Libertarian Party, where he’s the Chair of the Political Action Committee and the Development Committee.  He has proposed several changes to the Governing Documents of the Libertarian Party of Florida.  His first motion consolidated the language in two separate sections of the Standing Rules.  This motion, his second, addresses how membership in the LPF can be revoked.

Kevin has created a YouTube video explaining and justifying his motions.  You should watch it to understand why he’s making the motions he’s making.  My commentary is based on the text of the motion, not the justification.  (I wish I could say that I’ve watched it, but when this is being written I haven’t had a chance to.  Drama and work have eaten more of my life than I’d like.  Hopefully this weekend…)

Type: Standing Rule
Title: Removal of Member
Article: ARTICLE II Membership
Section & Subsection (if applicable): Section 5
Text:  I, Kevin O’Neill, an active member from the Hillsborough Affiliate, motion to add the following new section to the Standing Rules.

A motion to revoke the membership of a Member of the LPF may be brought before the LPF Executive Committee only by a Voting Member of the EC claiming that the Member’s actions have been damaging to the mission of the LPF, or that the Member has violated the Non-Aggression Principle. A second shall be required to bring the motion for a vote. The motion shall pass upon at least a two-thirds roll-call vote of the Executive Committee. If the motion is passed by the Executive Committee, then the motion shall be presented to the Members of the LPF at a special Members Only Meeting. At such meeting, the Member shall have the opportunity to address orally or in writing the motion to revoke such Member’s membership. The motion shall pass upon the affirmative written vote of at least two-thirds of the cast votes.

Attendance and communication at Member’s Meeting may be made by multi-user electronic communications such as Skype/Zoom/Google Hang-Outs or other current available technology. Vote tally can be conducted in similar manner, so long as roll-call is conducted. In all cases, a physical meeting will occur too, with at least 2-weeks warning to membership through existing communications systems, not by constructive means such as US Mail.

The Member must have the opportunity to address the Executive Committee and the General Membership in person or in writing prior to the vote to revoke the membership of that Member.

If the Member’s membership is revoked, then that Member may choose to apply for reinstatement of membership in the LPF at any time after one year from the date of the vote of the General Membership to revoke such Member’s membership in the LPF. The motion to reinstate membership must be brought during an LPF EC Meeting by a Voting Member and must receive a second by another Voting Member. The motion shall pass upon by at least a two-thirds of cast votes of the LPF EC.

A minor complaint:  I don’t think you need to mention in your motion that you’re an active member, or what county you’re from.  (Although I was able to use your county information to look up a little bit about you.)

Before going into the motion, it should be noted that this motion is very different than the Ryan Ramsey’s Bylaws proposal, which I’ve already discussed.

Now for the actual meat of the motion.

To start with, this is an amendment to the Standing Rules, not the Constitution or the Bylaws.  The Standing Rules (and the Bylaws) can be used to elaborate on the Constitution, but they cannot be used to reverse the Constitution.  Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution says

No change in the Bylaws or Standing Rules may have the effect of disenfranchising a member.

There is no mention anywhere in the Constitution that gives anyone the ability to remove someone from LPF membership.  If you wish to add the capability of removing someone’s LPF membership, it probably should be in the Constitution, not the Standing Rules.  You could add to the Constitution that the LPF EC has the capability of removing someone from LPF membership, subject to the rules and procedures outlined in the Bylaws and the Standing Rules.  Without that, there’s a serious question of the legality of this amendment to the Standing Rules, or even the existing removal language in the Bylaws.  (Something for the Rules Committee to look at during the coming year.)

Now for a bit more nit-picky review of the proposal.  And I’m going to go through the motion line by line.

A motion to revoke the membership of a Member of the LPF may be brought before the LPF Executive Committee only by a Voting Member of the EC claiming that the Member’s actions have been damaging to the mission of the LPF, or that the Member has violated the  Non-Aggression Principle.

The very first part of the first sentence is unnecessary.  Any motions brought to the LPF Executive Committee must be brought by a voting member of the EC.  Adding it here is repetitive.

The Libertarian Party of Florida has not adopted a requirement that members follow the Non-Aggression Principle.  Requiring it of members without formal adoption of the principle seems high handed.  (The oath that is referenced in the documents is a much narrower statement than the NAP.  In the oath, specific motivation is required.)

One of the things I liked in Ryan’s membership motion was that membership in the LPF was opened up not narrowed down.  If the Libertarian Party of Florida is meant to be a political organization in a democratic country, then blanket exclusion of members seems counter-productive.

A second shall be required to bring the motion for a vote.

The LPF EC follows Roberts Rules of Order.  A second is required to bring any motion for a vote.

The motion shall pass upon at least a two-thirds roll-call vote of the Executive Committee.

Having some sort of super majority requirement for expulsion, assuming that kicking members out of the party is both legal and desirable, is a good idea.

 If the motion is passed by the Executive Committee, then the motion shall be presented to the Members of the LPF at a special Members Only Meeting.  At such meeting, the Member shall have the opportunity to address orally or in writing the motion to revoke such Member’s membership. The motion shall pass upon the affirmative written vote of at least two-thirds of the cast votes.

Attendance and communication at Member’s Meeting may be made by multi-user electronic communications such as Skype/Zoom/Google Hang-Outs or other current available technology. Vote tally can be conducted in similar manner, so long as roll-call is conducted. In all cases, a physical meeting will occur too, with at least 2-weeks warning to membership through existing communications systems, not by constructive means such as US Mail.

The Member must have the opportunity to address the Executive Committee and the General Membership in person or in writing prior to the vote to revoke the membership of that Member.

If the Executive Committee, through super majority, chooses to expel a member from the party, the party then holds two separate meetings of the entire membership of the Libertarian Party of Florida (an electronic Members Only Meeting followed by a physical meeting).  Here are a few thoughts:

  • The member gets to respond in writing to an electronic meeting?
  • Can Skype/Zoom/Google Hang-Outs actually handle a meeting with hundreds, if not thousands, of attendees?
  • We’ve barely gotten fifty members to register for an Annual Convention that’s been scheduled for almost a year, with a dedicated web site, and advertising.  How many people will be able to attend a meeting somewhere in Florida on two weeks notice?
  • Is “constructive” the right word to describe US Mail?  Is the objection to the ownership of US Mail by the government, or is the objection to physical delivery services such as the USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.?

I’d say just no to this entire procedure.  It’s unwieldy and unworkable.

If the Member’s membership is revoked, then that Member may choose to apply for reinstatement of membership in the LPF at any time after one year from the date of the vote of the General Membership to revoke such Member’s membership in the LPF. The motion to reinstate membership must be brought during an LPF EC Meeting by a Voting Member and must receive a second by another Voting Member. The motion shall pass upon by at least a two-thirds of cast votes of the LPF EC.

The one thing I like about this proposal is that it drops the two strikes language in the current governing documents.  In my mind, reinstatement in this proposal is too difficult, but can be done repeatedly.

Except that the proposal does not delete existing language in the Governing Documents.  So even though the two strikes language isn’t included in this proposal, it’s still in effect.

I haven’t even checked to see if this proposal can be reconciled with existing language in the Governing Documents.  I can’t support it as written, or in a better written format.  I do not think we should be in the business of removing rank and file members of the Libertarian Party of Florida.  So with my two strikes policy, I’m going to say no to this proposal.

Obviously there is room for disagreement.  Feel free to comment on why my opinion isn’t worth the photons that it’s displayed on.


I want to remind Kevin that he needs to attend the convention on Sunday in order to formally propose his motions.  As of the last list of delegates I’ve seen, he’s not registered.  (But there’s still plenty of time, and the list I saw was only of those delegates who allowed their contact information to be listed.)

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