Another month, more business to conduct.

Chair Report

 

Confirm Appointment of Membership Committee - Aye

Text: Motion to confirm Membership Committee to be comprised of the following members:  Angela Kunz (chair), Mike Avi, Giovanna da Silva, Salvador Perez, and Spenser Garber.

Analysis: This replaces Chase Baldwin, of Okaloosa County, with Spenser Garber, of Santa Rosa county. As I understand it, Chase is no longer active with the party, whereas Spenser has already been doing voter data analysis and student outreach efforts in line with the duties of the committee. This should obviously make sense. Although Spenser is an EC member, none of the other committee members are, so the 50% non-EC rule is met.

Confirm Appointment of Deputy Treasurer - Aye

Text: Confirm James Morris as the Deputy Treasurer.

Analysis: James Morris is the previous LPF Treasurer and the Libertarian Party of Bay County Treasurer. I appreciate his willingness to serve yet again and have the utmost respect for James. The Deputy Treasurer's role is defined by LPF rules and by Florida Statute as the assistant to the Treasurer who is able to perform the duties of the Treasurer when the Treasurer is unavailable or incapacitated. This seems prudent in light of some of the recent concerns and issues.

New Business

Motion 585 - Aye

Title: Motion to authorize budget for Tom Woods/Alex Merced fundraising event

Mover: Marcos Miralles

Text: I motion to authorize a budget of up to $2,000 to organize a fundraising dinner with Tom Woods and Alex Merced on Saturday October 13th for the purpose of attracting and entertaining large donors and major volunteers in the state.

Description: Discussions with Alex Merced and Tom Woods made it possible to have a fundraising opportunity in Orlando on October 13th. This would be a great opportunity to raise some funds and bring some volunteers in for elections in the area.

Analysis: The prior fundraiser with Bill Weld was a huge success both financially and otherwise. Tom Woods is an extremely well known libertarian historian and podcast personality whose recent public entrance into the party has spurred membership growth via many other libertarians who were skeptical of the party but respect him. And, of course, Alex Merced is the LNC Vice-Chair and generally widely respected for his positive messaging. Supporting this event should be a no-brainer on all fronts. 

Motion 586 - Aye

Title:  Motion to authorize treasurer to refund candidate filing fee in advance

Mover: Marcos Miralles

Text: I motion to authorize the treasurer of the LPF to give candidates the difference of their qualification fees, which is given normally to the LPF by the State of Florida, before the checks arrive.

Description: Paperwork needed to receive those funds has been filed late. Since we are in the middle of election season, giving these funds in advanced so candidates can use it to promote themselves, and then receiving reimbursement from the State, would be the most efficient way of handling this situation.

Analysis: I would like an explanation from Treasurer Coulter as to why this was not filed on time. However, that can't be changed retroactively. We owe all partisan candidates this reimbursement due to the LPF Bylaws Article IV Section 6(G) - there was even a lawsuit about this once regarding a candidate who was not so reimbursed. Those funds are only useful to the candidates now, and we will be unable to pay them at all starting five days before the November election. Our partisan candidates expected these funds and we owe it to them to make this right.

Motion 587 - Aye

Title: Motion to create an Affiliate Support Committee

Mover: Greg Peele

Text: I move to create a special committee named the Affiliate Support Committee:

A.) The committee shall report monthly to the LPF Executive Committee and submit its final report at the 2019 LPF Annual Business Meeting

B.) The committee shall have the following duties:

  1. Assist the Secretary with reviewing new affiliation requests to verify to the LPF Executive Committee that the new affiliate meets all requirements of Florida Statute and the LPF governing documents prior to formal approval, including but not limited to credentialing officers and reviewing the proposed affiliate's governing documents for compliance
  2. Assist the Secretary with processing annual reaffiliation requests to verify that the county affiliates meet all requirements of Florida Statute and the LPF Constitution and Bylaws prior to Secretary approval, including but not limited to credentialing officers, reviewing the affiliate annual audits, and reviewing affiliate governing documents for compliance if amended since affiliation or last reaffiliation
  3. Advise and assist Region Representatives and county affiliates on compliance with Florida Statute and LPF Constitution and Bylaws (in coordination with the Rules Committee) and on best practices for organizing, growing, and maintaining affiliates
  4. Maintain the County Affiliate Guide and supporting documentation describing affiliate organization and duties, legal requirements, and best practices as a resource for Region Representatives and county affiliates
  5. Organize and conduct county affiliate training classes upon request by a county affiliate
  6. Recommend proposals to the Rules Committee for changes to the LPF Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules regarding county affiliate requirements and procedures

C.) The committee shall consist of Greg Peele as Chair, Suzanne Gilmore, Jordan Bosserman, Julia Hall, and Philippe Cadorette. The LPF Vice-Chair and LPF Secretary shall also serve as ex-oficio members.

Analysis: As many of you know, I have been operating as an affiliate support specialist to the Region Representatives via my position as Director At-Large for the past year. There have been some successful new affiliates, and some not so successful. In the process, I've learned some key things that might not be too surprising to people who've been at this longer:

1.) We need to do a better job of training Region Representatives on how to do their jobs and providing them resources they need to succeed. Region Representative is a one year term that frequently rotates in and out of the Executive Committee. Expecting each Region Representative to learn all lessons over again by self-discovery is both wasteful and ineffective. We need to ensure institutional continuity and consistency so that new Region Representatives can be easily trained and deployed, and to in turn help them train new affiliate officers and activists. Furthermore, in my experience, simply supplying training texts is not enough - many people learn far more effectively through interactive in-person sessions.

2.) The County Affiliate Guide is an excellent resource, but it is out of date, missing useful material, and not always accurate since not every Supervisor of Elections actually understands the law properly. The biggest problem with it is that it is no one's responsible to maintain, update, or research questions posed by affiliates to add material to it. If it is no one's job, it gets done irregularly and seldom, if at all. We should have a core group of people tasked with properly maintaining this critical documentation and tailoring it for each position we want to train.

3.) I can't cover the entire state for affiliate shepherding by myself. While my fellow Directors have stepped up to assist, I believe an ideal solution is to create trained coordinators in our hot spot and unaffiliated regions - the Panhandle, North Central Florida, the Suncoast, and South Florida (Lake Okeechobee and Treasure Coast) - who do not have the burden of EC duties to distract them. My recommended committee members reflect this idea, although I am still seeking qualified volunteers for Suncoast and South Florida to add - should these volunteers step up, we can amend at the meeting, or in a future meeting amend something previously adopted.

4.) The Secretary is asked to process 27+ reaffiliations within a one month period each year, typically right as Convention delegation credentialing for either the LPF or the LNC is also ramping up. That's a lot to handle when it includes credentialing officers, reviewing the annual audits, and (where applicable) verifying bylaws. Whether it's done by committee staff or just ad-hoc, it would be a good idea for the Secretary to have assistance and a checklist to follow. Even for regular affiliations during the year, we've missed important details like noncompliant bylaws, so let's make this process more rigorous.

Since we can't formally change elected EC member duties without a Constitution amendment, I propose trying this committee as a temporary experiment to conduct until next Convention. If it works, the full delegation can choose to make it a permanent standing committee, or defer the decision to the next EC to reauthorize it as a special committee. Or if the full delegation wants to assign these duties to specific EC members or otherwise slice it up, that's a decision that can be made next May too. But let's at least get the job done until then somehow. I'd also like this committee to review existing LPF bylaws regarding affiliates to suggest improvements based on actual experience to the Rules Committee.

Motion 588 - Aye

Title: Motion to accept LAC recommendation for Amendment 11

Mover: J Mark Barfield

Text: I move to accept the Legislative Affairs Committee Recommendation of YES for Ballot Amendment 11, as submitted Sept. 12.

Analysis: While this amendment bundles three unrelated things, which is extremely poor form, it happens that all three things are good from a Libertarian Platform perspective since they all repeal existing bad things that shouldn't be in the Constitution. The prohibition of aliens not eligible for citizenship on ownership of property is total crap and it's not even enforced, so repealing that is obvious. The high-speed rail amendment was blatantly ignored by the legislature and should never have passed in the first place, so repealing that makes sense. The last item, which is repealing a prohibition on the legislature retroactively reducing criminal sentences if the relevant law changes, has obvious applications in the context of changing cannabis laws, and Florida is one of very few states to outright forbid retroactively reducing sentences like this. Note that it doesn't mandate the legislature to retroactively reduce sentences by repealing it, it only gives them that option of whether to do so.

Motion 589 - Nay

Title: Motion to accept LAC recommendation for Amendment 12
Mover: J Mark Barfield

Text: I move to accept the Legislative Affairs Committee Recommendation of YES for Ballot Amendment 12, as submitted Sept. 12.

Analysis: This one initially seemed like a "good governance" fix, but debate within my own county affiliate pointed out some serious flaws in this amendment that I didn't see at first, so I will have to vote against endorsing it.

The portion about prohibiting paid lobbying while serving as an elected official is obviously a good governance thing, since that would be a flagrant conflict of interest involving public power and money.

However, the portion prohibiting lobbying for six years after exiting an elected position is a problem. From the perspective of individual rights, becoming an elected official is not waiving your rights. Once an elected official leaves office, they should have exactly the same rights as any other citizen, including the right to freedom of speech, the freedom to enter voluntary contracts, and the freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances - aka the three parts of lobbying. And from a purely pragmatic perspective, imagine when we finally elect a Libertarian Florida House member. Do we really want to prohibit them from lobbying after their term ends? I think not.

Finally, the kicker is that this amendment is totally toothless. Per the language, the legislature "may" (but is not obligated to!) define penalties for violating it. Do you really think the legislature is going to prioritize defining penalties for this? Or if they do, it will be a meaningless slap on the wrist. Without any meaningful way to ensure violations are penalized, the amendment is just a feel-good measure that accomplishes nothing anyways.

Motion 590 - Aye

Title: Motion to accept LAC recommendation for Amendment 13
Mover: J Mark Barfield

Text: I move to accept the Legislative Affairs Committee Recommendation of NO for Ballot Amendment 13, as submitted Sept. 12.

Analysis: Let's start out by stipulating I'm not a fan of greyhound racing. I've heard some pretty negative things about it, I'm generally very sympathetic to animal welfare issues, and I've never attended a race myself. But the Florida Constitution is the wrong place to solve the problems people have with it. Singling out one currently legal industry to target and ban by the Constitution is a bad and dangerous precedent that subjects all industries in the state to mob rule. The real problem is well known - the legislature has passed laws that only allow pari-mutuel gambling if greyhound racing is present. Most of the dog tracks care about the gambling, far more so than the racing. Greyhound racing is not particularly popular anymore, and I have every reason to believe the free market would solve this problem in the absence of the artificial government requirements keeping it alive. Repealing that legislature provision - or better yet, legalizing all gambling in Florida - would remove the perverse incentive to keep the greyhound racing alive without the Constitutional flaws and risks of this approach. The legislature not doing its job properly isn't a reason to bastardize the Constitution.

Motion 591 - Aye

Title: Motion to take a “no” stance on Florida Constitutional Amendment 3
Mover: Chris Rose II

Text: I move the LPF EC take a formal "no" stance on the proposed Florida State Constitution Amendment 3.

At our last meeting, the EC rejected the LAC recommendation of a "yes" position, but did not vote to take a formal position of our own.

As it stands currently, the LPF EC does not have a formal position on this proposed Amendment.

Please see the link below for the LAC report:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/12Eb3A8hT1DjscmE667vHeBhkB-yzuwS-/view?usp=drivesdk

Analysis: I agree with Director Rose on this motion. While I respect that the Legislative Action Committee had similar goals in mind - finding a way around the legislature's stubborn refusal to allow gambling - I disagreed with their conclusion that this amendment is at all helpful in achieving that. To the contrary, it would likely further entrench anti-gambling restrictions since it would require all gambling to be decided by a statewide initiative in which the general voting public would decide, for every county and municipality statewide, whether gambling should be allowed. This also further encourages mob rule via initiative and erodes home rule. Right now, in theory, the legislature could delegate the decision whether to permit gambling to each county. They won't, but they could. They could even change their mind after a major shift in representatives. This amendment would remove both of those options and subject the gambling industry to statewide mob rule.

I note in particular that the major supporters of this amendment are the folks - such as Disney and the existing Seminole gambling interests - who most fervently do not want to legalize gambling in Florida since it would be competition. I have every reason to believe they know what they are doing.