Jim Duensing Submits Two Bylaws Amendments For 2013 Nevada LP Convention

Jim Duensing is the former Nevada LP chairman. He has an LP candidate for U.S. Congress in 2004, 2006 and 2008. He was also the presidential nominee of the small libertarian political party, the Boston Tea Party, from April 4, 2012 until the party disbanded on July, 22,  2012. The 2013 Nevada LP convention will be held on April 27, 2013. 

Bylaws Proposal #1 re: affiliates from Jim Duensing

Full Title: Ending the Central Planners for Liberty Failed Social Experiment, Guaranteeing Local Control of the Party to the Membership, and Preventing a small Cadre of Elected Representatives, who forget that the world doesn’t revolve around the All Time Chair’s Kitchen Table, from, intentionally or unintentionally, destroying a very active party again.

Short Title: Local Control of the Party Bylaw

Add Article VIII. Affiliates

A. LOCAL CONTROL OF THE PARTY

It is a right of the people to form affiliate organizations at the county level; and precinct operations at the precinct level. The state party exists to assist and foster local precinct and county level organization. As such, affiliates cannot be abolished by the state party. And control of the affiliates shall always be maintained by the LPN members who actually comprise the party, not their elected representatives.

B. RULES FOR COUNTY AFFILIATES

All county affiliates shall be governed by this section of the bylaws. No county affiliate shall need or pass bylaws separate from these.

C. COMPOSITION OF COUNTY AFFILIATES

Each county affiliate shall be composed of 5 officers and as many voting members as qualify pursuant to these bylaws.

D. COUNTY AFFILIATE OFFICERS

All county affiliates shall have the following officers, with the following duties:

1. Chair: The County Chair shall be the chief executive officer and direct the affairs of the Affiliate Executive Committee, and shall preside at meetings of this committee. The Chair shall be an ex-officio non-voting member of all standing committees and shall, by and with the advice and consent of the Executive Committee, appoint committees and positions deemed necessary to assist in the performance of the chair’s duties. Further, the Chair shall fill vacancies in the Executive Committee, by and with the consent of the Executive Committee, and shall perform all other duties as prescribed by this Constitution and the bylaws of the LPN.

2. Vice Chair: The Vice Chair shall assist the Chair in the performance of the Chair’s duties. The Vice Chair shall be first in line of succession to the Chair should the office become vacant, until a successor is elected by the rules prescribed in this section. At meetings of the Affiliate Executive Committee the Vice Chair shall preside in the absence of the Chair. The Vice Chair may chair at least one standing committee.

3. Recording Secretary: The Recording Secretary shall perform the normal duties of a committee secretary, assisting the Chair in the execution of the Chair’s duties, including recording, keeping, and reporting the minutes of the Executive Committee, safeguarding the non-financial records of the LPN, and such other duties as shall be required by the Chair. The Recording Secretary shall be next in line of succession after the Vice Chair, and may chair at least one standing committee

4. Corresponding Secretary: The Corresponding Secretary shall be responsible for reporting the affiliate elections to the state convention. The Corresponding Secretary shall be next in line of succession after the Recording Secretary.

5. Treasurer: The Affiliate Treasurer shall be custodian of all moneys and financial records of the affiliate, and shall account for, receive, and disburse funds in accordance with the by-laws. The Treasurer shall follow the Corresponding Secretary in line of succession, and may chair at least one standing committee.

E. COUNTY AFFILIATE MONTHLY MEETINGS

Each affiliate shall hold monthly meetings at a time and place of its choosing to conduct the business of the affiliate. The time and place of said meetings shall be noticed at least 30 days in advance on the websites of the state party and the affiliate, if the affiliate maintains a separate website.

F. COUNTY AFFILIATE VOTING MEMBERS

All members of the Libertarian Party of Nevada shall be voting members of their county’s affiliate at the beginning of the third consecutive affiliate business meeting they attend as a member of the Libertarian Party of Nevada such that at the beginning of and during their third consecutive meeting they shall have a vote.

G. MAINTAINING VOTING MEMBER STATUS

Voting members can only lose their status by missing two consecutive business meetings.

H. PRECINCT CAPTAINS ELECTION AND APPOINTMENT

Precinct Captains shall be selected at the affiliate’s annual convention and serve until the next convention. A majority vote of an affiliate can appoint a precinct captain to fill a vacancy.

I. 21ST CENTURY MEETINGS

Every precinct captain shall have the right to organize a meeting-place within his or her precinct for the purpose of attending the monthly meeting through video conferencing technology, provided that any Libertarian within that precinct be allowed to attend that precinct meeting. The county affiliate shall be responsible for providing video conferencing capability at its monthly business meeting for such purposes. The location of the precinct level meeting places shall be published at least 7 days before the meeting in the same section of the websites responsible for noticing the monthly meetings.

J. AFFILIATE SELECTION OF LOCAL CANDIDATES

Affiliates shall select candidates which fall completely within the boundaries of the local affiliate at a County Convention in January. It shall be the responsibility of the Corresponding Secretary of each affiliate to report those candidate nominations to the State Convention. The State Convention shall have no power to alter any nominations made at the affiliate convention. However, in the case of NOTA or a vacancy at the affiliate convention, the position can be filled by a majority vote of the state convention.

K. AFFILIATE ORGANIZING CONVENTIONS

Once five members of the Libertarian Party have signed a letter indicating their willingness to serve as officers in a county affiliate, it shall be the responsibility of the State Executive Committee to hold an organizing convention.

L. SCHEDULING OF AFFILIATE ORGANIZING CONVENTION

The organizing convention required by Article VIII Section K shall be scheduled in the county to be organized no sooner than 30 days nor later than 60 days after the State Executive Committee is presented with a letter as described in the aforementioned section.

M. NOTICE OF AFFILIATE ORGANIZING CONVENTION

Timely notice of the affiliate organizing convention shall be mailed to all members of the Libertarian Party in the county at issue giving them notice of the meeting, time and place. Notice shall also be published prominently on the state party’s website at least 30 days before the affiliate convention.

N. ELECTIONS AT THE ORGANIZING CONVENTION

At the organizing convention, the members of the Libertarian Party in the county being organized shall elect officers and precinct captains. At the conclusion of the organizing convention, the affiliate is officially formed. The organizing convention shall be chaired by the State Chair or a designee approved by the Executive Committee, should the State Chair be unable to attend an organizing convention. All members in attendance at the organizing convention shall become voting members of the new affiliate by virtue of attending the organizing convention.

O. RECALL OF ANY AFFILIATE OFFICER

A Two-Thirds vote by an affiliate’s Executive Committee shall be sufficient to recall an officer. Any member can call for the recall of any officer at any meeting, but no more than one such vote per officer shall be permitted per meeting. Upon a successful recall, the position shall be immediately filled by a vote of the affiliate.

P. FORMING OF COUNTY AFFILIATES AT THE 2013 STATE CONVENTION

Once this bylaws amendment is adopted by the 2013 State Convention, those counties with sufficient members present and willing to serve as affiliate officers shall caucus and elect officers. The newly elected Corresponding Secretary shall be responsible for reporting the election results to the 2013 State Convention. The local affiliates shall immediately be considered organized once such reporting to the State Convention has been completed. The officers of the new affiliates shall decide in the next 15 days upon a time and location for their affiliate’s first business meeting, which shall be held no later than 45 days from the convention and no sooner than 30 days after notice has been given to the Secretary of the LPN. Any member attending the first monthly business meeting of the new affiliates shall be considered a voting member of their respective affiliate by virtue of having attended the initial meeting. Precinct captains shall be elected at the first meeting.

Bylaws Proposal #2 re: membership from Jim Duensing

Full Title: Abolishing Poll Taxes and Barriers to Participation in a Political Party dedicated to Individual Liberty and Freedom oriented Solutions to encourage – not discourage – participation of the most possible Libertarians so our organization has the human resources to compete with the Establishment Parties.

Short Title: Simplifying Membership and Abolishing Barriers to Participation

Amend Article III MEMBERSHIP

III. MEMBERSHIP

Section 1. All adult residents of Nevada shall be considered members of the LPN provided
they:

A. Are and have been registered as Libertarian in Nevada for a period of not less than 30 days, and continue to be registered as Libertarian, and

B. have donated at least Fifty Dollars ($50.00) to the LPN in the past 365 days, of which sum, Twenty-Five ($25.00) will be remitted to the Libertarian Party of the United States of America, and have certified in writing that they oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals.

III. MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. All adult residents of Nevada shall be considered members of the LPN provided they are registered as Libertarian in Nevada.

26 thoughts on “Jim Duensing Submits Two Bylaws Amendments For 2013 Nevada LP Convention

  1. Richard Winger

    Was the intent to say the Boston Tea Party disbanded in 2012? The article says it disbanded in July 2013, but that is in the future. But maybe there is an auto-destruct device attached to a timer that will go off in July 2013.

  2. Freddy Got Fingered

    Counties do need to get affiliated again, but he is wrong to try to get rid of dues.

  3. Wes Wagner

    I can state that in Oregon, getting rid of dues has been a net positive.

    Net income is up. # of candidates is up. People who left the party a long time ago due to issues of hypocrisy have returned. Average age of members is down (the youth are the future of politics).

    If you keep your dues you will die a painful slow death due to old age as you will maintain baby boomers+ but will increasingly be unable to recruit gen-x and younger.

    Ignore reality at your own peril.

  4. Unedited

    What poor execution?

    They got rid of sustaining membership and much of the contributions dried up. Bad move, very stupid!

  5. Wes Wagner

    U10

    That sounds like poor execution to me. They apparently had no plan of how to encourage people to continue making regular contributions for value received.

    We did not have that problem in Oregon because we had a plan.

  6. George Phillies

    #7 Number of candidates is up? You don’t think this is related to having the party top man being a Libertarian and not a Republican consultant has some effect?

  7. Wes Wagner

    The other issue is that they did not restructure.

    Maintaining a 15000 person organization requires significant overhead. (I still argue that ~90% of the budget is overhead).

    If you drop to 3000 donors but cut your overhead by 80% you are ahead in net income and efficiency.

    The measurement of success is not # of members, it is $ spent on actual political activity.

    Overhead is waste. Administrative staff is waste.

    Lobbyists would not be waste. etc.

  8. Steve M

    Bad enough having to pay a tax as a barrier to entry. But having to pay the National Tax at the same time?

    Some years I feel the LNC has done something so obnoxious that I refuse to pay anything… If I belonged to a state party that required me to pay when I am refusing to pay the LNC dues I probably would refuse to pay the State dues as well.

    And at what cost? I don’t attend the conventions. I don’t vote in internal party elections. So the cost is that the state party has a little less money to play with.

    I like how organizations that have an attitude of anything that I give is happily accepted and that they have a recommended minimum donation. Give perks to those that make more significant donations. Perks can be as simple as a call from one of the state party officers thanking the donor.

    Simple things like this make people feel like they are valued and respected instead of being treated as a cash cow.

  9. Jim Duensing

    It is curious to me how a party formed upon the ideals of individual liberty with an understanding of basic economics has so many people that think that in order to survive, we need a mandatory membership tax.

    The R’s and D’s don’t force people to pay a membership fee. I know they get subsidies, blah blah blah, but they don’t charge to join. If we charge to join, we have just priced ourselves out of many voters markets.

    We need people more than we need all of those people to pay $50. Once members have registered with our party at the SOS office and become emotionally invested in the organization by being active at some of its events, they will donate money if they can, and time if they can’t.

    In the bigger picture, our most important scoreboard, is the amount of votes Libertarians get on election day. Those numbers increase, not with dues paying members, but with the hearts and minds of voters. Trying to collect dues for the privilege of participating in a minor political party is a task more befitting a double booking fast talking late night infomercial sports “handicapper” – not a political party aimed at increasing freedom by making it accountable to the average person. For that, we need average people who consider themselves on our side of the big questions of the day. Their ability to pay dues is immaterial.

  10. Sam Kress

    It is curious to me how a party formed upon the ideals of individual liberty with an understanding of basic economics has so many people that think that in order to survive, we need a mandatory membership tax.

    It’s not mandatory. There is a free membership in the national LP right now. You just don’t get LP News, since that costs money.

    The R’s and D’s don’t force people to pay a membership fee.

    Neither does the LP, but all those parties certainly TRY to collect membership fees.

  11. Jim Duensing

    @ Sam, I wasn’t referring to the National Party. The change to a zero dues model nationally was a huge benefit in recruiting new activists. TANSTAAFL means that political activists are giving up other activities (more pleasurable than rally’s, door-walking, and political wrangling in a minor party) in order to build the LP. Additional taxes should not also be required at any level. Requests for donations should be abundant.

  12. David Colborne

    So, here’s a nice contrast – behold, our current ExComm in action:

    Section 2.
    The LPN shall hold a Convention in Clark County, Nevada in odd numbered years for the purpose of electing Executive Committee Officers, amending these bylaws, and whatever business may be deemed necessary and proper.

    Section 4.
    A. A Quorum of any Convention shall be a majority of the registered delegates to the Convention. In order to qualify as a delegate, the person must be a paid member of the LPN in good standing for at least 180 days prior to the convention date, and have attended at least 2 LPN events during the previous 365 days from date the convention is announced.

    Section 5.
    B. Candidates for President and Vice President shall be nominated by the National Convention of the Libertarian Party. Candidates for United States Senator, all statewide offices, and any other local or county offices shall be nominated at the Convention of the Libertarian Party of Nevada. Candidates nominated for Partisan Offices shall be members of the LPN in good standing at least 90 days prior to the convention. The convention may choose none of the above as an option for any partisan office nomination, in which case the LPN shall nominate no candidate for the respective office.

  13. paulie

    The change to a zero dues model nationally was a huge benefit in recruiting new activists.

    Not in practice. There was no surge in anything whatsoever except people who stopped contributing money, the vast majority of whom never started back up.

  14. paulie

    I would agree that Nevada could benefit from the same zero dues membership option which national has had before, during and after the “zero dues” fiasco.

  15. Sam Kress

    Well, for starters, jacking the price up isn’t the question here. We were talking about dues vs. zero dues. Second, it isn’t true that noone is buying. Third, it’s not the same product when you have some money to improve it. Fourth, when people are willing to donate a small amount of money it helps when you can give them some kind of rank like sustaining member; they are then more likely to give more money as well as time.

  16. Thomas L. Knapp

    Sam,

    Good points.

    There are, however, other things to consider.

    What does an an LNC “sustaining member” get for his or her dues?

    A plastic card that says (s)he is a “member of the Libertarian Party.”

    An occasional dead tree newsletter.

    Inclusion in a count for the distribution of delegates to a biennial national convention, and a non-exclusive (you can also get it by joining a state party) presumption of eligibility to be selected as one of ~1,000 delegates to that convention.

    If the LNC converts LP News to an electronic-only publication, its costs for servicing the “sustaining member” program go way down, not up, pranging the supposition that dues must “account for inflation.” Especially since delivering that publication doesn’t rise in price per copy nearly as much as dead tree does.

    Now, think about consumer preferences 20 years ago versus today.

    How many people still subscribe to their local dead tree paper?

    Is the profit center for delivery of information more or less based on paying subscribers versus advertising revenues these days?

    Dead tree delivery is … well, pretty much dead. And newspapers that aren’t figuring out how to monetize their sites with advertising and premium content, and move themselves behind paywalls, are dropping like flies after they do so.

    To the extent that dead tree still goes, look at Wired. If it had been around 50 years ago, it would have cost the equivalent of $50 a year to subscribe to. They beg you to take it for $10 — and make money hand over fist on ad sales.

    I can’t think of a single organization I belong or have belonged to which has raised its dues in recent years. Most of the political organizations I interact with have moved mostly to a model of seeking donations, mostly project-based, while making “membership” something they not only don’t sell you, but BEG YOU TO ACCEPT FOR FREE so that you get on their mailing list and receive their fundraising appeals, paid ads from affinity groups, etc.

    And frankly, it works. I can think of a couple of issues organizations that I would never have ponied up $20/year in dues for, but that I’ve donated more than that to in response to “help us do X” email appeals — appeals that I got because I “joined” the organization by filling out a form and getting on the list they send those appeals to.

    “National LP dues” is 1980s thinking. Increasing “national LP dues” is … well, just dumb. Even at $25, there’s very little value for price.

  17. paulie

    If the LNC converts LP News to an electronic-only publication

    Discussed that on LNC. Apparently, it makes money from a number of large donors who specifically want a printed newsletter delivered through the snail mail and no other communications from the LP. I would settle for a choice of electronic, dead tree or both. I am now trying to advocate for making the electronic version available immediately, for free, to anyone who wants it, and allowing it to be posted on public websites. IMO the more people we communicate with the better.

    Most of the political organizations I interact with have moved mostly to a model of seeking donations, mostly project-based, while making “membership” something they not only don’t sell you, but BEG YOU TO ACCEPT FOR FREE so that you get on their mailing list and receive their fundraising appeals, paid ads from affinity groups, etc.

    I think the LP should be pushing the free memberships also. Right now on the join the LP link I don’t see an option to join as a non-sustaining member. That should be changed. I agree that we would be better off getting a lot of people on the list and doing a lot more project based fundraising, by which I mean hitting up the whole national list, not just allowing people to use their own lists to fundraise through the LPHQ.
    I would not get rid of sustaining membership, but every time we ask people to join we should make clear that free membership is an option, requiring only a pledge signature, and also that they can get on our list without even doing that.

    As far as states go, I advocate the same model.

  18. Thomas L. Knapp

    Paulie @ 24,

    “Apparently, it makes money from a number of large donors who specifically want a printed newsletter delivered through the snail mail and no other communications from the LP.”

    Ford could probably make money from a number of enthusiasts by building and selling them reproductions of the 1903 Model A.

    The question is whether it could make as much money doing that as it could using the same capital to make 2013 Ford Fusions.

    The answer to that question is: I don’t really know.

    I have no specific opinion as to whether or not the LP should cease publishing a dead tree version of LP News. That’s a complex question that I’m not in the position to evaluate that you (for example) are.

    But from an outsider’s perspective, I do have the opinion that a lot of other people’s opinions on how to grow the LP’s membership and revenues are formed from reliance on outdated models.

    And I think it’s a pretty basic economic assumption that if one’s sales are flagging, the solution is not to keep doing the same thing and try to charge more for it.

  19. paulie

    I actually agree with both of those – looking at newer models and not doing the same thing.

    Not everyone wants a dead tree LP News, but some people still do. I think it should remain an option. Keep in mind that for a number of years until this year http://www.lp.org/lp-news was not available electronically, that it is still not advertised or linked anywhere on the site or made available at the same time as the print version….we have a struggle on that front.

    And hopefully you know I’m not in favor of doing the same thing; I want a lot of things to be changed.

    As for charging more….again, I also want to push free membership and free subscriptions to email lists. But I also want to have a sustaining membership; we should move more of that towards monthly automatic debits rather than yearly checks for more reliable income.

    Getting back to Nevada, I noticed on facebook that the Pojunis slate has also submitted some bylaws proposals, as has the current exec comm.

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