Document:Reference Texas County Bylaws (Gholston 2020)
Reference Bylaws for Texas Counties (Working Draft)
THIS DOCUMENT IS A WORK IN PROGRESS AND IS SUBJECT TO HEAVY REVISION. DO NOT USE THIS DOCUMENT DIRECTLY -- COPY AND EDIT IT FOR USE IN YOUR MUNICIPALITY.
BYLAWS OF __________________________________________________________________________________
Adopted in Convention 14 March 2020
The name of this organization is the Libertarian Party of ___________________________ County
but may also be referred to as _____________________________________________________________
Elsewhere in this document this will be referred to as the County Party and its executive committee will be referred to as the Executive Committee.
The purpose of the County Party is to represent the Libertarian Party and the Libertarian Party of Texas to residents within the county, to provide outreach, and to support Libertarian Party candidates, causes, and fellowship by any means consistent with those principles.
The purpose of these Bylaws is to define goals, identify organizational positions and duties and how they are filled, and to provide guidelines for Precinct, County, and District Conventions.
Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised 11th Edition will be used in meetings for matters of procedure not covered by these Bylaws.
ARTICLE: Purpose and Goals
- Note of Intent
It is the intent of these Bylaws to provide and allow for the growth of the County Party by giving active members a voice in the management thereof.
Nominate and support candidates for local, state, and national office so that they can be a voice for libertarian ideas, the Libertarian Party, and win elections.
Coordinate and promoting campaigns and enter into political information activities to disseminate libertarian information. (***** rephrase)
Help with the development of Precinct Parties and provide one or more venues for precinct conventions on the date required by statute.
Holding the biennial County Convention and, if needed, assisting adjacent counties to hold their own.
Cities and Towns
Help to organize and coordinate with Municipal Party organizations to support Libertarians seeking election or appointment to city level offices; coordinate with them in promoting policies and measures consistent with liberty.
Work with adjacent counties to hold District Conventions for those political districts that overlap into their counties.
Work with other organizations that promote liberty, as well as the state party.
The Party shall be an affiliate of the state party and accept affiliation from precinct and municipal parties.
ARTICLE: Executive Committee
Composition and Duties
The Executive Committee will consist of five primary officers (County Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and Past Chair), four regional representatives, a variable number of At-Large representatives, plus a number of optional specified offices (such as Sergeant-At-Arms, Historian, et c).
- 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 Municipal 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 Municipal 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.
- Past Chair: The Past Chair shall help the Chair and the Executive Committee maintain continuity and keep them informed of best practices. The Past Chair must be someone who has held the position of Municipal Chair of the Municipal Party within the preceding three years. If there are no eligible candidates then there will be no election for this position.
- County Liaison: If the County Party has position for a municipal representative or equivalent, the person filling this role also has a seat on the Municipal 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.
- Precinct Representative: If a precinct committee has appointed a representative or liaison to the Municipal Party, this person is automatically made a representative to the Municipal Party upon notice from the precinct's chair or committee. Alternatively, a Precinct Representative may be elected by the Executive Committee with the task of attending and observing all meetings of a given Precinct Party and speaking on behalf of the Municipal Party when appropriate and permitted. Alternatively, this person may be elected to the Executive Committee with the task of attending and observing all Precinct Party meetings and speaking on behalf of the Municipal Party when appropriate and permitted.
- Specified Offices: The Municipal 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 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.
- County Chair (Chair): The Chair shall perform all statutorily required duties, preside over meetings, oversee all activities of the County Party, perform any duties necessary to maintain legal status as a recognized political party with the State of Texas, perform other duties requested by the State Party, and coordinate with Municipal and Precinct Parties. Should the position of County Chair become vacant, the position may be filled by a 2/3 majority vote of the Executive Committee.
- Vice Chair: The Vice Chair shall assist the Chair. Should there not be a serving County Chair or should the County Chair be absent, the Vice Chair is authorized to perform all non-statutory duties of the County 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 County 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 County Party, keep an up-to-date list of Executive Committee membership and contacts, a list of affiliated party members as required by statute, a list of contacts for affiliated parties, keep all records up to date and in order, and perform other duties assigned by Committee.
- Past Chair: The Past Chair shall help the Chair and the Executive Committee maintain continuity and keep them informed of best practices. The Past Chair must be someone who has held the position of County Chair of the County Party within the preceding three years. If there are no eligible candidates then there will be no election for this position.
- One of the following:
- County Commissioner Precinct Representatives: Each County Commissioner Precinct Representative (or Regional Representative) shall coordinate with precinct chairs and committees, municipal parties, and other matters in their County Commissioner Precinct. Each County Commissioner Precinct Representative is encouraged to actively seek to help organize such affiliates. The will be one County Commissioner Precinct Representative for each of the four county commissioner districts. Each District Representative must reside in the county commissioner district being represented.
- Voter Precinct Representatives: Each Precinct Chair or Precinct Party may appoint one representative to the Executive Committee. The Voter Precinct Representative must reside in the voter precinct being represented. If there is no Precinct Chair or Precinct Committee for a given precinct, a Precinct Representative may be appointed by a simple majority vote of the Executive Committee.
- At-Large Representatives: At-Large representatives should adopt projects and seek out low-hanging fruit, as well as assist other members of the executive committee as needed. There will be a minimum of one At-Large seat, plus another for each 100,000 in population based upon the latest United States Census Bureau estimate at the time of the county convention. (***** can this be made a better fit for both large and small counties, and how do we say rounding up?)
7. Representatives-At-Large. Representatives-At-Large Members should find and perform unfulfilled tasks, represent and/or coordinate with underserved groups, and take on projects to the best of their initiative and ability.
- Specified Offices: The county 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 can take place.
Any Executive Committee member, including the County Chair, may be removed by a two-thirds vote of the Committee that does not count the vote of the targeted member.
- Automatic Removal.
- Any member of the Committee who has missed two consecutive duly called regular meetings (whether or not a quorum is present) and is absent at the start of the third is automatically removed from the Committee. The Committee may reinstate the member at its discretion. However, if the member has notified the Chair of an impending absence reasonably ahead of time, it will not count as an absence under this rule.
- 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.
- Specified Powers
The affairs of the LPBraddock will be managed between conventions by an Executive Committee.
ARTICLE: Subordinate Committees
The Executive Committee may establish such committees as it deems appropriate to assist it in carrying out its non-statutory duties and may appoint to such committees persons who are not Officers or members of the County Executive Committee.
No action of a subcommittee or of any standing committee created by the County Executive Committee shall replace or supersede the actions or authority of the County Executive Committee at its subsequent meetings.
- Standing Committees (***** Remove?)
The Executive Committee shall establish the following standing committees.
1. Operations Committee. The Operations Committee shall consist of the primary officers and shall handle all day to day operations of the executive committee. These include but are not limited to: approving expenditure of budgeted funds, complying with requests and interacting with the State Party and Governmental agencies, and all such duties that do not require a vote by the entire Executive Committee body.
2. Membership Committee. This committee shall be appointed well ahead of the County Convention and shall vet members and assist credentialing at the convention.
- Executive Committee
LPBraddock Executive Committee Meetings can be called by the Chair or two committee members with a 10 day notice to the other committee members. A scheduled recurring meeting date specified by vote of the executive committee shall meet this requirement.
A quorum consisting of a majority of the committee members constituting the Committee at that time is required to [conduct official business. (*****)]
- Emergency Meetings.
Emergency meetings of the Executive Committee may be held with a 48 hour notice to other committee members. [All actions taken during an emergency meeting are automatically suspended at the next regular, non-emergency meeting. (*****)]
- 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 committee meeting and requires a majority vote. (***** should the requirement be higher?)
- 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 session, go into recess, or to adjourn the entire meeting. (***** are any other motions needed?)
- No record is to be made in the minutes of the confidential session beyond the motion to initiate it, its subject, and its duration and/or time of conclusion.
- Only the members of the 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.
1. The LPBraddock will meet in convention once every two (2) years in accordance with the election cycle. In the event that this conflicts with changes to the Texas Election Code or LPTexas rules, the LPBraddock shall hold conventions in accordance the Texas Election Code and LPTexas rules.
2. The purposes of the county convention are to nominate persons for elective office, choose delegates for the district and state conventions, and any other appropriate business.
- Nomination of Candidates for Public Office
- Delegate Selection
- The selection of delegates to all external conventions shall be done separately.
- District Conventions
- Election of delegates to district conventions shall be voted upon by the County Convention. There will be one of these for each office whose district crosses county lines.
- State Convention
a. A person otherwise qualified need not be present at the County Convention to be elected a primary delegate or alternate to the State Conventions. When the number of primary delegates running for the state convention exceeds the number of delegates granted to the county the following process shall be used. Selection of officers for the Executive Committee will occur first. The County Chair, the Vice Chair, the Secretary, and the Treasurer shall automatically have first selection in that order to the state convention. All others shall be by vote at the county convention.
b. When alternate delegates are allowed, alternates will be assigned a numerical order of precedence for attendance to external conventions.
- Affiliate Business
(***** are we sure we don't want to just have them hold their own conventions, possibly right after the county convention at the same venue?)
- Adjournment of Convention
A motion to adjourn a county convention is out of order without the convention first voting to select party officers to the county Executive Committee and primary delegates for state and district conventions.
_For election and nomination rules, see ARTICLE: Elections and Vacancies_
ARTICLE: Elections and Vacancies
- Nominations fol Public Office
- Election of the members of the Executive Committee shall occur at the LPBraddock County Convention by a majority vote of the credentialed delegates in attendance. Their terms shall begin immediately upon the conclusion of the convention. Outgoing officers and representatives will have ten business days to turn over LPBraddock 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 county convention.
- Not all Executive Committee positions have to be filled in order for The Committee to be an acceptable and authorized body.
(***** other, typically convention-specific election go here)
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 one of the choices. In no case is there to be an election or nomination for public office without the option of selecting none of the available candidates. Any election or nomination to public office where such an option is excluded is void.
ARTICLE: Amendments These Bylaws may be permanently amended, altered, or repealed only by a two-thirds vote of a County Convention. (***** Need an emergency provision, maybe with a supermajority and the approval of a higher level chair such as the state chair or for sub-county-level the chair of the county containing most or all of this municipality or precinct)
ARTICLE: Severability If any portion of these Bylaws is held to be invalid or void by court or action of the LPTexas, the remaining portions shall remain in effect.