Monday, May 07, 2018

Libertarian National Convention Bylaws Proposals (w/ My Recommendations), Part 1


[This post is part 1 of a multi-part series. Click here for part 2. I'm going over the 2018 bylaws committee's proposals for consideration by the Libertarian National Convention in New Orleans at the end of June.]

The Libertarian Party's Bylaws Committee has released its recommendations for this year's national convention to consider.  Here's a direct link to a PDF of those recommendations, and here's a link to an Independent Political Report article (with comments from several people, including me) on the topic.

Since Chuck Moulton asks for my opinion on all of the proposals (we don't always agree but tend to respect each others' opinions), I'm going to give it the old college try. BUT! I take off on Thursday for this weekend's Platform Committee meeting in Columbus, so I may be pressed for time. I'll do what I can, when I can.

PROPOSAL #1: Allow Debate on Proposals to Delete Platform Planks

This proposal is exactly what it sounds like. Each national convention delegate receives "tokens" which they place in boxes representing platform planks that they would like to see deleted. Any plank which gets tokens representing 20% of credentialed delegates gets an up or down deletion vote. Currently, "Such votes shall be cast without amendment or debate." Under this proposal, there would be ten minutes of debate before the vote.

I oppose this proposal, but it's not a major issue to me. Why do I oppose it? If 20% or more of delegates want the plank deleted, chances are it's a controversial enough plank that the delegates are aware that it's controversial and already have firm opinions on it that won't be changed by 10 minutes of debate. So it's basically a proposal to waste 10 minutes times however many planks are at issue. And the national convention is always pressed for time anyway.

PROPOSAL #2: Clarify Method of Electing Judicial Committee

If I'm understanding this proposal correctly, all it does is make it clear that Judicial Committee members are elected by ballot rather than by a voice or rising vote. Which makes sense, and is something I'd obviously support. If I'm misunderstanding it, hopefully someone will explain what I'm misunderstanding so I can modify my opinion as needed.

PROPOSAL #3: Appoint Credentials Committee Members Earlier

Right now, state affiliates which are entitled to appoint members of the credentials committee must do so no later than 30 days prior to the convention. This would change that deadline to six months before the convention.

I don't have a strong opinion here.

On one hand, a deadline of one month before the convention would give state affiliates more time to appoint such members at their state conventions, which are usually less than six months prior to the convention.

On the other hand, a six month deadline would give LPHQ more time to attend to other things than bugging the affiliates about their appointments, and the committee more time to do anything it might need to do prior to the convention.

But on the third hand, a six-months-ahead deadline does offer more opportunities for arm-twisting and subversion, and the credentials committee has been a source of problems in recent years, as for example when, two conventions running, it recommended approving credentials for a fake state affiliate from Oregon rather than for the real one (that was corrected in 2016, over the vocal protests of a supporter of the fake Oregon affiliate who, with accomplices, is on this year's bylaws committee). So I'm a bit suspicious. Anyone else have an opinion?

And that's all I have time for at this moment. More -- and more controversial -- later as time allows.

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