A Beginner’s Guide to the LP2022-11-06T16:35:07+00:00
Looking to get active with us in the Libertarian Party? The LPMC thanks you for joining and taking action! It can be frustrating and intimidating trying to find your way and to be effective if you have never been involved in politics before. This will serve as a crash course for what you need to know so you can get started.
What You Can Do Right Now
– Become a member of the National Libertarian Party. Some states require national membership in order to be selected as a delegate to the national convention.
– Become a member of your state Libertarian Party, find your state party officers (Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer). You can usually find this information on your state party website in a “about us”, “about the party” or “meet the team” page. You can also look at the attendance at each state’s last meeting in their meeting minutes. Becoming a member of your state party will give you a voice and vote in matters of your state party. From there you can build your network.
– When you make contact with a party officer, find out if there is a county affiliate in your county. If there is no county affiliate in your area, ask them how to start one! Creating new county affiliates is one of the most productive things you can do. If there is an existing county affiliate, find out who organizes it, contact them and start attending those meetings as well.
– Attend your State Libertarian Convention: Several states have conventions coming up in March. Think you got what it takes to be a party officer at the state level? Then throw your hat in the ring and start organizing support in your state. If nothing else, you will get to meet and network with the most active people in your state parties.
– Start Small: There are many ways that you contribute. You can volunteer for your state our county LP social media team, you can help with ballot access petitioning, attend the meetings for both the state and county Libertarian Parties. This will help you to learn how the party works and find your niche.
– Consider becoming a delegate for the National Convention. This is where we vote on changes to the bylaws, presidential candidates, national party officers, and other business. If you are unhappy with leadership, or the direction of the party, you are going to want to plan on getting to the convention in Washington DC in 2024. Here is the Convention Website. The dates for the convention have not been set.
– Attend your local and/or state government meetings. This will enable you to see who is active in your state or community, who your representatives are and begin networking with them. That will go a long way towards creating coalitions.
– Find out who the leadership is in your local and state Republican and Democrat parties. Doing this will enable to form issue coalitions and see what kind of lobbying or initiative efforts you may be able to make the first move on and get support for.
Basics of the Libertarian Party
The LP has three levels: The national Libertarian Party (which is governed by the Libertarian National Committee, or LNC), state affiliates, and county affiliates. You can and should become a member of all three levels. If you have not become a member of your state party, do so and contact your state chair. This caucus plans to focus mainly on local candidates, so we encourage you to find your local chapter after you become a member. If one does not exist in your area, contact us and we’ll help advise you on creating a new county affiliate.
Committees are working groups that generate reports and do the work of the party in some specific or specialized way. For example, the LP has the Blockchain Committee, and the Convention Oversight Committee. You will want to join committees if you are looking to advance your network and position in the party. You can find what National Libertarian Party Committees exist at that link.
Libertarian National Committee: If you want to contact a member of the national leadership, or your Regional Representative of the LNC, this is where you can find them and their contact information.
State Libertarian Parties: Choose your state, and it will route you to the website for your state Libertarian Party. You will be able to find our who your state LP board members are and how to contact them there. This will help you locate your county affiliates as well.
If you are going to be active in politics at any level, you are going to need to familiarize yourself with the basics of Robert’s Rules of Order which is the parliamentary procedure used at business meetings. These rules will be in place at all business meetings.
Officers: Chairman/President – Duties are generally as follows: To open the session at the time at which the assembly is to meet, by taking the chair and calling the members to order; to announce the business before the assembly in the order in which it is to be acted upon; to recognize members entitled to the floor; to state and to put to vote all questions which are regularly moved, or necessarily arise in the course of the proceedings, and to announce the result of the vote; to protect the assembly from annoyance from evidently frivolous or dilatory motions by refusing to recognize them; to assist in the expediting of business in every way compatible with the rights of the members, as by allowing brief remarks when undebatable motions are pending, if he thinks it advisable; to restrain the members when engaged in debate, within the rules of order; to enforce on all occasions the observance of order and decorum among the members, deciding all questions of order (subject to an appeal to the assembly by any two members) unless when in doubt he prefers to submit the question for the decision of the assembly; to inform the assembly, when necessary, or when referred to for the purpose, on a point of order or practice pertinent to pending business; to authenticate, by his signature, when necessary, all the acts, orders, and proceedings of the assembly declaring its will and in all things obeying its commands.
Vice Chair – Immediately subordinate to a chairman and serving as such in the latter’s absence; a person who acts for and assists a chairman
Secretary – The recording officer is variously called Clerk, or Secretary, or Recording Secretary (where there is also a Corresponding Secretary), or Recorder, or Scribe, etc. The secretary is the recording officer of the assembly and the custodian of its records except such as are specifically assigned to others, as the treasurer’s books. These records are open, however, to inspection by any member at reasonable times, and where a committee needs any records of a society for the proper performance of its duties, they should be turned over to its chairman. The same principle applies in boards and committees, their records being accessible to members of the board or committee, as the case may be, but to no others.
Treasurer – Serve as custodian of the funds of the organization, keeping careful records of all receipts and making no disbursements without the authority of the assembly (including established authorizations found in the organization’s rules), prepare financial statements and report to the board and members, and take responsibility for any and all reports required by taxing authorities.
Basic Procedure: Meetings generally follow an order of operation from opening to close. That generally goes as follows:
1. Call to Order – The meeting begins.
Roll call – The process of calling out a list of names to establish who is present.
Reading of Last Meeting’s Minutes – Minutes are the instant written record of a meeting or hearing. They typically describe the events of the meeting and may include a list of attendees, a statement of the issues considered by the participants, and related responses or decisions for the issues.
Officer’s Reports – The reports of the Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer.
Committee Reports – These reports are given by the chair of each committee.
Special Orders – Motions that are of a pressing matter or time sensitive.
Unfinished Business – Motions from a prior meeting that were not addressed before adjournment.
New Business – New motions that are added to the agenda and filed with the secretary prior to the beginning of the meeting.
Adjournment – The meeting is closed.Gaining the floor: You must be recognized by the chair before you can enter a main motion. Some motions, such as Point of Information, may be entered without prior recognition. Once recognized, you may proceed with such motions.Motions – There are 4 types of Motions: Main, Subsidiary, Privileged and Incidental. The two most common are:
1.Main Motion – A motion that brings new business before the assembly. In a meeting, each issue, or motion is handled one at a time.
2. Subsidiary Motions – These are secondary motions that can be applied to the main motion. Amendments are subsidiary motions, for example.
Most Common Motions:
Main Motion – Brings new business (the next item on the agenda) before the assembly. Each motion needs support, or a Second from another member of the body before they will be recognized by the chair.
Point of Order – Infraction of the rules, or improper decorum in speaking. Must be raised immediately after the error is made
Point of Information – Generally applies to information desired from the speaker: “I should like to ask the (speaker) a question.”
Point of Privilege – Pertains to noise, personal comfort, etc. – may interrupt only if necessary!
Amendments – Inserting or striking out words or paragraphs, or substituting whole paragraphs or resolutions. You may also amend amendments
Table the Motion – When it is necessary to suspend consideration of a main motion in order to deal with another matter that has come up unexpectedly and which must be dealt with before the pending motion can be properly addressed.
Postpone to A Certain Time – delay action on a pending question until a different day, meeting, hour or until after a certain event.
Suspend the Rules – Allows a violation of the assembly’s own rules (except Constitution); the object of the suspension must be specified
Appeal The Decision of the Chair – Appeal for the assembly to decide – must be made before other business is resumed; NOT debatable if relates to decorum, violation of rules or order of business
Call the Question/Close Debate – Closes debate if successful – may be moved to “Close Debate” if preferred
Resolutions – Motion that needs to be expressed formally in writing, to attach a special level of importance. Because of the form — beginning with the word Resolved and following with either a statement of opinion or a statement authorizing or directing some action — such a motion is called a resolution.