Document:Reference Texas Precinct Bylaws (Gholston 2020)
Reference Precinct Bylaws for Texas Precincts
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BYLAWS OF __________________________________________________________________________________
Adopted in Convention 10 March 2020
ARTICLE I: GENERAL
The name of this organization is the ______ Libertarian Precinct Party of ______________ County
but may also be referred to as ________________________________________________________________
Elsewhere in this document this will be referred to as the Precinct Party and its executive committee will be referred to as the Executive Committee.
The purpose of the Precinct Party is to represent the Libertarian Party and the Libertarian Party of Texas to residents within the _____ Precinct of the County of ____________ to provide the Libertarian Party an on-the-ground presence within this and surrounding precincts.
The membership of the Executive Committee of the Precinct Party (Executive Committee) is elected by all affiliated party members who are recognized by statute as delegates to the biennial Precinct Convention, plus additions made to the Executive Committee at its discretion in accordance with these Bylaws. In the event that the Executive Committee becomes empty, the County Executive Committee may appoint a replacement Precinct Chair who will serve until the next Precinct Convention and may operate under these Bylaws.
D. These Bylaws
The purpose of these Bylaws is to define goals, identify organizational positions and duties and how they are filled, and to provide rules for interaction with county, municipal, district, and state parties.
E. Parliamentary Authority
Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised 11th Edition will be used in meetings for matters of procedure not covered by these Bylaws.
ARTICLE II: PURPOSE AND GOALS
A. Note of Intent
It is the intent of these Bylaws to define the Executive Committee to help it facilitate a direct local presence of the Libertarian Party and its candidates in this precinct and neighboring precincts.
B. Campaigns and Elections
Support and disseminate information promoting Libertarian Party candidates for local, state, and national office so that they can be a voice for libertarian ideas, earn votes, and win elections.
Engage in political information activities to disseminate libertarian ideas and information about the Libertarian Party.
Holding the biennial Precinct Convention during the statutorily defined date for Precinct Conventions at the venue and time specified by the County Party, assist other precincts in the county organize with an ongoing basis, and support all Libertarian Party candidates whose districts include this or neighboring precincts.
Help to organize and coordinate with the Municipal Party organization that includes this precinct to support Libertarians seeking election or appointment to city level offices; coordinate with them in promoting policies and measures consistent with liberty; assist in recruiting candidates for elected and appointed municipal positions.
Coordinate with the County Party organization for county-connected activities.
ARTICLE III: AFFILIATIONS
The Precinct Party shall be an affiliate of the State Party and accept affiliation from the County and Municipal parties while maintaining its status as an independent entity.
ARTICLE IV: EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
A. Composition and Duties
The Executive Committee will consist of up to four primary officers (County Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary), applicable liaisons, and a number of optional specified offices (such as Sergeant-At-Arms, Publicist, et c).
- Precinct Chair (Chair): The Chair shall perform all statutorily required duties, preside over meetings, oversee all activities of the Precinct Party, perform any duties necessary to maintain legal status with the State of Texas, and perform other duties requested by the State Party, the County Party, and if extant the Municipal Party. Should the position of Precinct Chair become vacant, the position may be filled by a 2/3 majority vote of the Executive Committee. Should the Executive Committee become completely vacant, a new Precinct Chair may be appointed by the County Executive Committee.
- Vice Chair: The Vice Chair shall assist the Chair. Should there not be a serving Precinct Chair or should the Precinct Chair be absent, the Vice Chair is authorized to perform all non-statutory duties of the Precinct Chair.
- Treasurer: The Treasurer shall file any required filings with the Texas "Ethics" Commission and/or Federal Elections Commission. The Treasurer, or Treasurer's designated agent, shall receive, hold, disburse, and account for Precinct Party funds under the direction of the Executive Committee. The Treasurer shall keep these records up to date and in order on a monthly basis in a master file and perform other duties assigned by the Committee. Checks can be signed by the Treasurer, or Chair in the event the Treasurer is not available, to make authorized payments.
- Secretary: The Secretary shall keep an accurate record (minutes) of the proceedings of all official meetings of the Precinct Party, keep an up-to-date list of Executive Committee membership and contacts, keep all records up to date and in order, and perform other duties assigned by Committee.
- County Liaison: If the County Party has position for a precinct representative or equivalent, the person filling this role also has a seat on the Precinct Party's Executive Committee, without regard for which body made the appointment. Alternatively, a County Liaison may be elected by the Executive Committee with the task of attending and observing all County Party meetings and speaking on behalf of the Precinct Party when appropriate and permitted.
- Municipal Liaison: If a Municipal Party that includes this precinct exists and has position for a precinct representative or equivalent, the person filling this role also has a seat on this Precinct Party's Executive Committee. Alternatively, a Municipal Liaison may be elected by the Executive Committee with the task of attending and observing all Municipal Party meetings and speaking on behalf of the Precinct Party when appropriate and permitted.
- Specified Offices: The Precinct Convention and the Executive Committee may create up to five additional Specified Offices. The titles and the responsibilities of these positions must be clearly stated and documented before voting may take place and be indicated in the minutes.
While any one may be elected or appointed more than one office, one will count as only one person on the committee for quorum purposes and have only one vote.
Any Executive Committee member, including the Chair, may be removed by a two-thirds vote of the Executive Committee that does not count the vote of the targeted member. If the removed member was appointed by an external body such as a liaison or representative from the county or municipal committees, notice must be given to that body.
C. Automatic Removal
- Any member of the Executive Committee who has missed two consecutive duly called regular meetings (whether or not a quorum is present) and is absent five minutes after the start of the third is automatically removed from the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee may reinstate the member at its discretion. However, if the member has notified the Chair or other designated committee member of an impending absence prior to the meeting, it will not count as an absence under this rule. If the removed member was appointed by an external body such as a liaison or representative from the county or municipal committees, notice must be given to that body.
- For purposes of this automatic removal rule, an absence from an Emergency Meeting does not count. However, the member’s presence at an Emergency Meeting does count as present at a duly called regular meeting.
D. Specified Powers
The affairs of the Precinct Party will be managed between biennial conventions by the Executive Committee.
ARTICLE V: MEETINGS
Executive Committee meetings can be called by the Chair or two committee members with a 5 day notice to the other committee members. A scheduled recurring meeting date specified by vote of the Executive Committee shall meet this requirement. All meetings must be posted online and/or, if available, a prominent location for flyers and notices within the precinct.
Minutes are to include attendance, especially of members of the Executive Committee, as well as all motions, reports, and items of discussion.
A quorum consisting of a majority of the Executive Committee's members is required to conduct normal business. If quorum is not present, the meeting is still to be called to order with minutes and attendance taken. Until such time as the meeting gains quorum, the Executive Committee is limited to discussion of topics, recess, adjournment, and other actions specifically permitted by the parliamentary reference. The meeting may be recessed to reconvene another day in an attempt to gain quorum if seen as appropriate.
Meetings may be held in any appropriate physical location, as an online video/audio conference, text chat, email list, or online forum. The selected location or environment must allow access for the public to attend. If a Confidential Session is held during the meeting, the Confidential Session may be held in a separate physical or online location that is not open to the general public.
E. Emergency Meetings
Emergency meetings of the Executive Committee may be held with 48 hours advance notice to other members of the Executive Committee by the chair or two members of the Executive Committee.
F. Confidential Sessions
Also known as an executive session, a Confidential Session is for situations where confidentiality is required, such as a review of personal information, frank discussion of a potential legal situation, or to follow up on confidential matters from a previous Confidential Session. It is only to be used when personal confidentiality, civil or criminal liability, sensitive strategic political planning, or similar subjects are to be discussed.
- The Confidential Session will occur in the context of a validly called Executive Committee meeting with quorum and requires a majority vote.
- The purpose of the Confidential Session must be declared in the motion to call it and be recorded in the minutes. No undisclosed topics are to be covered before exiting the Confidential Session.
- No motions are allowed during the Confidential Session apart from a motion to end the Confidential Session, go into recess, or to adjourn the entire meeting.
- No record is to be made of what is said or revealed during the Confidential Session itself.
- Only the members of the Executive Committee, relevant staff, and those directly connected to the matter at hand (such as an applicant for a staff position or an attorney) are to be present for the duration of the Confidential Session.
- No discussion by anyone of details deemed confidential is to occur outside of Confidential Session except as what may be directed by motion of the committee.
- Any motions made after the Confidential Session that pertain to its topic must be clearly documented in the minutes and be understandable without any knowledge of the Confidential Session's discussion.
ARTICLE VI: PRECINCT CAPTAINS
Precinct Captains may be appointed as needed by the Precinct Chair or by simple majority vote of the Executive Committee to assist in its duties. These are separate from any precinct captains appointed by separate organizations, such as a candidate's campaign.
Precinct Captains may be removed at any time by the Precinct Chair or simple majority vote of the Executive Committee for any reason or none whatsoever.
ARTICLE VII: CONVENTIONS
- The Precinct Party will meet in convention once every two (2) years in accordance with the election cycle, applicable statutes, and LPTexas rules. While the Precinct Convention venue is set by the County Party, the Precinct Convention is an event that is separate and independent from the County Party. The County Party has no authority to prohibit the election of officers, the creation or amendment of bylaws, or other actions of the Precinct Convention.
- The purposes of the Precinct Convention are to select County Convention delegates, elect an Executive Committee, amend these Bylaws (if desired or necessary), make resolutions (if desired), and create or amend a Precinct Platform (if desired).
For election and nomination rules, see ARTICLE: Elections and Vacancies
ARTICLE VIII: ELECTIONS AND VACANCIES
Election of the members of the Executive Committee shall occur at the Precinct Convention by a majority vote. Their terms shall begin immediately upon the conclusion of the convention. Outgoing officers will have ten business days to turn over Precinct Party records to the new officers.
Specified Offices require a two-thirds majority vote to be filled by vote of The Executive Committee; a simple majority is sufficient for the Precinct Convention.
Not all Executive Committee positions need to be filled in order for The Executive Committee to be an acceptable and authorized body. The Executive Committee can consist of a single person holding a single position.
In ALL votes, in convention or committee, to elect, appoint, or nominate for public office, None of The Above (NOTA) or a functional equivalent will be available as a choice of equal standing as the candidates that persists across all rounds of voting. In no case is there to be an election or nomination for public office without the option of selecting none of the available candidates. If approval voting or similar is used, it must be permitted to select both one or more candidates and NOTA as acceptable choices on the same ballot. Any election or nomination to public office where such an option is excluded or hampered is void.
ARTICLE IX: AMENDMENTS
These Bylaws may be permanently amended, altered, or repealed only by a two-thirds vote of a Precinct Convention. In the event that these bylaws become broken or another emergency situation arises, a temporary amendment may be made to these bylaws by a seven-tenths majority of all members of the Executive Committee plus the approval of either the County Party chair or the State Party Chair. If the amendment is relevant after the election cycle of the previous Precinct Convention, it must be presented for a vote at the subsequent Precinct Convention to become a permanent part of these Bylaws. If no vote is taken, the temporary amendment is automatically dropped from the bylaws.
ARTICLE X: SEVERABILITY
If any portion of these Bylaws is held to be invalid or void by court or action of the state party, the remaining portions shall remain in effect.
- Bylaws -- this legal document
- County Chair -- the Libertarian Party county chair of the county that this precinct is in
- Municipal Chair -- the Libertarian Party city, town, or similar chair of the city, town, or equivalent that this precinct is in, if it is is fully or partially included inside the city limits or equivalent.
- Precinct Convention -- an event specified in Sections 174 and 181 of the Texas Election Code
- Precinct Party -- the political presence of the Libertarian Party in this precinct
- Precinct Party Executive Committee -- the executive committee that acts on behalf of the Precinct Party
- State Party -- the Libertarian Party of Texas (LPTexas)