Libertarians Redefine Membership

The Libertarian Party of North Carolina made major changes to the bylaws during the annual convention last month at Lake Lure. The party redefined membership, revised and expanded the duties and responsibilities of officers.

Redefining membership is perhaps the most significant change. The convention overwhelmingly approved the membership amendment after a spirited and passionate debate. David Ulmer of Wake proposed the change to Article III as an amendment to the bylaws committee report.

There are now two categories of membership: member and associate. The primary difference between members and associates is that only members can serve on local affiliate or state party executive committees, as delegates to county and state conventions, or as NC delegates to the national Libertarian Party convention.

Members must be North Carolina residents who are not registered with another political party, but they may be registered unaffiliated. Members must also fulfill one of these criteria: 1) register Libertarian; 2) pay dues to the LPNC or an affiliate; 3) pay dues to the LP, or; 4) submit a written or electronic affirmation to the secretary that they do not advocate the initiation of force to achieve social or political goals (the NIOF statement).

These are the same criteria in the old bylaws.

NC residents registered with another political party can become LPNC associates if they: 1) pay dues to the LPNC or an affiliate; 2) pay dues to the LP, or; 3) submit a NIOF statement.

The LPNC still has a more open membership policy than the old North Carolina parties. Neither allows unaffiliated voters or anyone registered in another party to be members at all or participate in party affairs.

Go here to join the LPNC.

The convention also approved new duties and responsibilities for party officers. The state chair now has authority to appoint, with the “advice and consent” of the executive committee, members of all committees. The state chair can also appoint staff, including an executive director, again with the approval of the EC.

These changes were made as an amendment to Article IV Officers. Also, a new Article V was added to the bylaws to replace Section 3 of Article IV Executive Committee. This new article authorizes the executive committee to create a party staff positions, including an executive director. The state chair will appoint staff members, including an executive director. The executive director will be the principal administrative assistant to the chair and supervise all staff.

The bylaws committee presented these proposals as next step in the evolution of the LPNC organization and as a compliment to the goals and objections to the party’s 2020 Strategic Plan.

In addition to developing and adopting the strategic plan over the past two years, the executive committee has been developing and adopting job descriptions for staff departments and positions. Part of the work of the strategic planning committee has been to draft proposed organization structures.

The convention also approved changes to the Convention Rules. Most notably, they approved electing party officers and executive committee, and nominating candidates by majority vote, rather than using the multiple and single transferable voting systems. This action required deleting rules 9 and 10 and revising rules 7 and 8.

The 2017 Bylaws and Convention Rules Committee Report is here.

Text of Changes

Here is the text of the revised and new and revised bylaws articles as best I can recall them from my convention notes. The secretary has until October 13 to complete the official record of the convention, including revised copies of the bylaws and convention rules. Then the LPNC executive committee has until November 13 to “submit them to the membership for review.”

Revised Article III Membership

1. Member

a. A resident of North Carolina may become a member of the LPNC provided they are not a registered voter affiliated with another political party, and by fulfilling at least one of the following criteria:

1) Maintaining voter registration as a Libertarian, as long as the party is recognized by the State of North Carolina, or;

2) Maintaining current membership dues with the Libertarian National Committee, or;

3) Maintaining current membership dues with the LPNC established by the state Executive Committee, or;

4) Submitting a written or electronic affirmation to the Party Secretary that they do not advocate the initiation of force to achieve social or political goals.

b. Only LPNC members may serve on state or local affiliate executive committees and delegates to the
state and national Libertarian party conventions.

2. Associate

a. A resident of North Carolina who is a registered voter affiliated with another political party may become an associate of the LPNC by fulfilling one of following criteria:

1) Maintaining current membership dues with the Libertarian National Committee, or;

2) Maintaining current membership dues with the LPNC established by the state Executive Committee, or;

3) Submitting a written or electronic affirmation to the Party Secretary that they do not advocate the initiation of force to achieve social or political goals.

b. Associate members may not serve on state or local affiliate executive committees and may not serve as delegates to state or national conventions.

Revised Article IV Officers

Section 1. Officers

The officers of the Party shall be a Chair, a Vice Chair, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. Election will take place at the State Convention of the Party by the attending delegates. Officers shall take office immediately upon the close of the Convention. No State offices shall be combined.
Section 2. Chair

The Chair shall be Chief Executive Officer of the Party and shall have general supervision of the affairs of the Party. The Chair shall:

1. Preside at meetings of the Executive Committee and the State Convention;

2. Convene the Executive Committee as needed, but for at least six (6) meetings per calendar year;

3. Set the date for the Annual State Convention and appoint convention officials, including the credentials committee.

4. Appoint, with the advice and consent of the Executive Committee, the Chair and members of all adjunct committees, and the Chair and members of working committees established by the Executive Committee;

5. Select, as deemed necessary, an Executive Director, with the advice and consent of the Executive Committee, to supervise any LPNC staff.

6. Appoint an Assistant Treasurer or Assistant Secretary, as deemed necessary, to assist said officers in carrying out their duties;

7. Serve as a spokesperson for the Party;

8. Raise funds necessary for the state party to meet its goals.

Section 3. Vice Chair

The Vice Chair shall act as assistant to the Chair and preside in his or her absence. The Vice Chair shall perform duties as directed by the Chair or Executive Committee. In the event of a vacancy in the Chair position, the Vice Chair shall become Chair.

Section 4. Secretary

The Secretary shall:

1. Keep and maintain all minutes of Executive Committee meetings and the State Convention;

2, Issue all meeting notices for the Executive Committee and annual State Convention;

3. Distribute Executive Committee meeting minutes to all members of the Executive Committee no later than fourteen (14) days after said meeting is held.

4. Transmit all records pertaining to the office to their successor within ten (10) days of vacating office.

Section 5. Treasurer

The Treasurer shall receive, disburse, and account for the funds of the Party under the supervision and direction of the Chair. The Treasurer shall:

1. Maintain the state executive committee treasury at an insured commercial bank;

2. Maintain all records of contributions received and disbursements made required by law or by the Executive Committee;

3. Prepare and file any reports as may be required by law or by the Executive Committee;

4. Distribute a summary of the general finances of the Party as well as a summary of the funds received and disbursed by the Party for each calendar quarter to all Executive Committee members within thirty (30) days of the end of each calendar quarter;

5. Transmit all records pertaining to the office to their successor within ten (10) days of vacating office.

New Article VI Executive Director and Staff
(replaces Article V Section 3)

1. The Chair may, with the advice and consent of the Executive Committee, select an Executive Director to serve at the pleasure of the Chair. The Executive Director:

a) Shall served as principal administrative assistant to the Chair.

b) May be a full-time or part-time paid or volunteer position, as deemed appropriate by the Executive Committee.

2. The Executive Director duties and responsibilities shall be outlined in a job description approved by the Executive Committee. These duties and responsibilities shall include:

a) Administering the day-to-day affairs of the Party;

b) Assisting Party officers and committee chairs in the execution of their duties;

c) Implementing the strategic plan approved by the Executive Committee.

3. The Executive Director shall supervise staff members, including volunteers, appointed or hired by the Executive Committee or Chair.

4. The Executive Director’s performance shall be subject to annual review by the Chair and the Executive Committee.

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