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. His second motion addressed how membership in the LPF can be revoked. This, his third motion, deletes some language in the Constitution which affected his second motion.
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…)
Title: Deletion of wide ranging to interpretation and ambiguous statements within core document
Article: ARTICLE II Membership
Section & Subsection (if applicable): Sections 3 and 4
Text: I, Kevin O’Neill, an active member of the Hillsborough Affiliate, motion to remove the following 2 sections of the LPF Constitution. Delete:
No change in the Bylaws or Standing Rules may have the effect of disenfranchising a member.7
No change in the Bylaws or Standing Rules shall deny the autonomy of an individual member or an affiliate party, except as provided in the Constitution.8”
Additionally, re-number follow-on sections in this article of the LPF Constitution, and any references to same made elsewhere in this document.
A couple minor complaints: First, 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.) Second, the numbers at the end of certain sections of the governing documents are not part of the governing documents. They are merely footnote references to information about when the section was adopted.
Now for the actual meat of the motion.
To start with, this amendment to the Constitution directly addressed one of my concerns about Kevin’s second motion. It might have been safer to offer this motion before his second motion. If the meeting votes for the second motion but doesn’t get to this motion, there’s a strong possibility that the second one might be ruled out of order. We’re only scheduled for thirty minutes to discuss and vote on sixteen motions, which seems highly optimistic.
Let’s see what the motion is in the context of the existing text.
ARTICLE II Membership
LPF membership is open to whoever signs the pledge: “I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals,” and asks to be a member of the LPF.
No change in the Bylaws or Standing Rules may have the effect of imposing a head tax on the membership.
No change in the Bylaws or Standing Rules may have the effect of disenfranchising a member.
No change in the Bylaws or Standing Rules shall deny the autonomy of an individual member or an affiliate party, except as provided in the Constitution.
Certain rights and privileges of membership, including delegate status, committee appointments and observation of committee meetings, holding party office, exercise of voting rights in the conduct of any Libertarian Party of Florida business, and the right to bring business before the Annual Business Meeting, shall be unavailable to members and officers of any other political party registered in the state of Florida. Members and officers of other political parties registered in the state of Florida may participate in discussion on items of business brought before the membership, subject to the discretion of the Chair or majority vote of the body.
There doesn’t seem to be too much ambiguity in the proposal. It’s simple, and I don’t like it. But I’m an inclusive kind of guy. Perhaps the party isn’t.
I’m also not at all convinced that it’s legal. The Division of Elections has already removed a great many things that the party can do. The biggest item removed is that you don’t need to have the party’s blessing to run as a libertarian. So being able to pick and choose party members seems to fly in the face of the Division of Elections. Ignoring the dictates of the Division of Elections seems like a great way to increase our legal bills, and may result in disbanding the state party. Neither of these seem like a good idea.
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.)