Document:Reference Texas Municipal Bylaws (Gholston 2020)

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Reference Bylaws for Texas Municipalities (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.

This version assumes that the municipality is wholly contained within a single county.

BYLAWS OF __________________________________________________________________________________

Adopted in Convention __________________________

____________, Texas


ARTICLE: GENERAL

Name

The name of this organization is ___________________________________________________________
but may also be referred to as _____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________________.

Elsewhere in this document this will be referred to as the Municipal Party and its executive committee will be referred to as the Executive Committee.

Purposes

The purpose of the Municipal Party is to represent the Libertarian Party and the Libertarian Party of Texas to residents within the municipality of __________________ to provide the Libertarian Party an on-the-ground presence for municipal elections, appointments, and issues.

Membership

The membership of the Executive Committee of the Municipal Party (Executive Committee) is elected by all [*****], plus additions made to the Executive Committee at its discretion in accordance with these Bylaws. In the event that the Executive Committee becomes empty, [*****].

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 precinct, municipal, district, and state parties.

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: PURPOSE AND GOALS

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 the municipality of ______________.

Campaigns and Elections

The Municipal Party shall recruit and support candidates for elected and appointed municipal offices. It may also assist the State Party and County Party in finding candidates for partisan office.

Precincts

Reach out to and when necessary help establish Precinct Parties to provide a door-to-door presence for the Municipal Party and the Libertarian Party in general.

Municipal

Promote policies and measures consistent with liberty; recruit Libertarian Party and generally libertarian candidates for elected and appointed municipal positions.

County

Coordinate with the County Party organization for county-connected activities.


ARTICLE: AFFILIATIONS

The Municipal Party shall be an affiliate of the State Party and accept affiliation from the County and precinct parties within its boundaries while maintaining its status as an independent entity.


ARTICLE: EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Composition and Duties

The Executive Committee will consist of up to five primary officers (County Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, and Past Chair), applicable liaisons, and a number of optional specified offices (such as Sergeant-At-Arms, Publicist, et c).

  1. Municipal Chair (Chair): The Chair shall perform all statutorily required duties, preside over meetings, oversee all activities of the Municipal Party, perform any duties necessary to maintain legal status with the State of Texas, perform other duties requested by the State Party and the County Party, and coordinate with Precinct Parties. Should the position of Municipal 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 Municipal Chair may be appointed by [*****].
  2. Vice Chair: The Vice Chair shall assist the Chair. Should there not be a serving Municipal Chair or should the Municipal Chair be absent, the Vice Chair is authorized to perform all duties of the Municipal Chair.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Removal

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 a county or precinct committee, notice must be given to that body.

Automatic Removal

  1. 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 a county or precinct committee, notice must be given to that body.
  2. 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 Municipal Party will be managed between biennial conventions by the Executive Committee.


ARTICLE: SUBORDINATE COMMITTEES

Establishment

The Executive Committee may establish Subordinate Committees as it deems appropriate to assist it in carrying out its duties and objectives and may appoint to such committees persons who are not members of the Executive Committee.

Scope

No action of a Subordinate Committee shall replace or supersede the actions or authority of the Executive Committee.


ARTICLE: MEETINGS

Notice

Executive Committee meetings can be called by the Chair or two committee members with a 7 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 optionally, if available, the most prominent and commonly checked location for flyers and notices within the municipality, if such a location exists.

Minutes

Minutes are to include attendance, especially of members of the Executive Committee.

Quorum

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.

Venue

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.

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.

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.

  1. The Confidential Session will occur in the context of a validly called Executive Committee meeting with quorum and requires a majority vote.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. (***** are any other motions needed?)
  4. No record is to be made of what is said or revealed during the Confidential Session itself.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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: CONVENTIONS

  1. The Municipal Party will meet in convention once every two (2) years [*****]
  2. The purposes of the Municipal Convention are to 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: ELECTIONS AND VACANCIES

Elections

Election of the members of the Executive Committee shall occur at the Municipal 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 Municipal 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 Municipal 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.


NOTA

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: AMENDMENTS

These Bylaws may be permanently amended, altered, or repealed only by a two-thirds vote of a Municipal 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 Municipal Convention, it must be presented for a vote at the subsequent Municipal Convention to become a permanent part of these Bylaws. If no vote is taken, the temporary amendment is automatically dropped from the bylaws.


ARTICLE: 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.


DEFINITIONS

  • 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)