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Conflicting convention rules


Caryn Ann Harlos
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Hello everyone I am the Chair of the Platform Committee for the Libertarian Party convention coming up in a week.

We have adopted convention standing rules for dealing with the committee report and any minority reports as follows:

==4. Recommendations for which there is a minority report shall be debated and voted upon in the following manner:
a. Spokespersons for both the majority and minority positions shall each have two minutes to present their views.
b. The Chair shall then open consideration of both positions for five minutes during which time any delegates may express their views without offering amendments. After five
minutes, there will be a vote on which of the two reports shall be considered for purposes of adopting a recommendation. The report receiving the greater number of votes shall then be discussed and voted upon in the manner described in Section 3b.===

This presumes only one minority report for any plank  by use of the word "both" and the designator "a"--- however, this is a twenty-person committee and the rules also provide this:

==b. Four or more members of the Platform Committee may join together to issue a minority report regarding any plank reported to the floor of the Convention.==

It is not limited to one group of our or more members.  And what if multiple groups of four or more members submit reports.  How do we decide which one is heard?  The one with the most signers?  Doesn't that mean we have abrogated the fact that four people have that right?

Since it is a convention rule, it is not a right like it would be in bylaws, but it certainly seems to defeat the purpose when the majority can simply make a tactical minority report to always silence the minority.

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6 hours ago, Caryn Ann Harlos said:

Hello everyone I am the Chair of the Platform Committee for the Libertarian Party convention coming up in a week.

We have adopted convention standing rules for dealing with the committee report and any minority reports as follows:

==4. Recommendations for which there is a minority report shall be debated and voted upon in the following manner:
a. Spokespersons for both the majority and minority positions shall each have two minutes to present their views.
b. The Chair shall then open consideration of both positions for five minutes during which time any delegates may express their views without offering amendments. After five
minutes, there will be a vote on which of the two reports shall be considered for purposes of adopting a recommendation. The report receiving the greater number of votes shall then be discussed and voted upon in the manner described in Section 3b.===

This presumes only one minority report for any plank  by use of the word "both" and the designator "a"--- however, this is a twenty-person committee and the rules also provide this:

==b. Four or more members of the Platform Committee may join together to issue a minority report regarding any plank reported to the floor of the Convention.== 

It is not limited to one group of our or more members.  And what if multiple groups of four or more members submit reports.  How do we decide which one is heard?  The one with the most signers?  Doesn't that mean we have abrogated the fact that four people have that right?

Since it is a convention rule, it is not a right like it would be in bylaws, but it certainly seems to defeat the purpose when the majority can simply make a tactical minority report to always silence the minority.

Why is this something which is of concern to you as Chair of the Platform Committee?

Isn't the question as to how multiple minority reports are to be handled during the convention one which the convention's assembly will have to decide for itself? I would think so. 

 

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9 hours ago, Caryn Ann Harlos said:

Hello everyone I am the Chair of the Platform Committee for the Libertarian Party convention coming up in a week.

We have adopted convention standing rules . . .

Are you sure? The adoption of "The Standing Rules of the Convention" is part of the formal organization procedure at the convention. See RONR (11th ed.), p. 609, l. 34 - p. 610, l. 3. And the rules apply to only the convention at which they are adopted. See RONR (11th ed.), p. 618, ll. 3-6.

Many conventions use the same set of rules, year after year, but adopt that set of rules anew at each convention. If this is the case with your convention, you may want to take your concern to the Committee on Standing Rules.  

It's not clear to me that anything you've posted would have the effect of "silencing the minority". It appears that the delegates' right to debate is intact. Also, your organization goes farther* than RONR in allowing minority reports. RONR allows the objection of a single member to prevent the presentation of a minority report, unless it is then allowed by a majority vote. See RONR (11th ed.), p. 528, l. 27 - p. 529, l. 2. Personally, I'm not a fan of minority reports.   

*farther than it ought, in my opinion

  

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

"Spokespersons for both the majority and minority positions…"

Your out is that while positions is in the plural, it is not limited to a value of two. In other words, this phrase could be read as

"Spokespersons for the majority position and minority positions…"

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8 hours ago, Tim Wynn said:

Are you sure? The adoption of "The Standing Rules of the Convention" is part of the formal organization procedure at the convention. See RONR (11th ed.), p. 609, l. 34 - p. 610, l. 3. And the rules apply to only the convention at which they are adopted. See RONR (11th ed.), p. 618, ll. 3-6.

Many conventions use the same set of rules, year after year, but adopt that set of rules anew at each convention. If this is the case with your convention, you may want to take your concern to the Committee on Standing Rules.  

It's not clear to me that anything you've posted would have the effect of "silencing the minority". It appears that the delegates' right to debate is intact. Also, your organization goes farther* than RONR in allowing minority reports. RONR allows the objection of a single member to prevent the presentation of a minority report, unless it is then allowed by a majority vote. See RONR (11th ed.), p. 528, l. 27 - p. 529, l. 2. Personally, I'm not a fan of minority reports.   

*farther than it ought, in my opinion

  

We have rules that govern each convention and it is not on the agenda to adopt them each time.  This issue was discovered after the Bylaws and Rules committee made its proposals for revisions.  

I happen to love minority reports.  Even when I am in the majority.  Particularly for governing documents in which many convention delegates are not immersed in the inevitable background politicking and not so obvious consequences of a seemingly innocuous change.  A printed minority report with the report let's them see it ahead of time.  I don't think verbal debate is the best way to get to the best result, but a combination of written items well in advance and verbal debate.  Not many people are good debaters, and often what gets passed is the thing that has the person with the silver-tongue advocating for it.  People are usually good at one or there other and written minority reports levels the playing field.  That's just my opinion obviously.  Of course we are Libertarians which is at its heart a radically individualistic philosophy so there is an extreme bias to bending over backwards to give the minority a voice.

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6 hours ago, Guest Who's Coming to Dinner said:

"Spokespersons for both the majority and minority positions…"

Your out is that while positions is in the plural, it is not limited to a value of two. In other words, this phrase could be read as

"Spokespersons for the majority position and minority positions…"

YOU ARE A GENIUS.  THANK YOU.

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11 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Why is this something which is of concern to you as Chair of the Platform Committee?

Isn't the question as to how multiple minority reports are to be handled during the convention one which the convention's assembly will have to decide for itself? I would think so. 

 

Most certainly but it is my job to advise the committee on potential issues in case perhaps they decide to compromise more and produce one minority report rather than two which has a higher risk.  Just because I don't have to decide something doesn't mean I should not be concerned about it.  

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If there are more than one minority reports, you may want to consider using the method of filling blanks to decide which report to accept. You may not, if your group is completely unfamiliar with it, but as long as you are trying to anticipate potential problems, one of them will be how you decide which of many options you will choose.

If there are only two minority reports, then the other option is to move to Amend by Substituting Minority Report A for the committee (majority) report and then a secondary amendment to Substitute Minority Report B for Minority Report A. 

Filling in the Blanks may be easier in the case where there are more than two minority reports, then

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6 hours ago, Guest Student said:

If there are more than one minority reports, you may want to consider using the method of filling blanks to decide which report to accept. You may not, if your group is completely unfamiliar with it, but as long as you are trying to anticipate potential problems, one of them will be how you decide which of many options you will choose.

If there are only two minority reports, then the other option is to move to Amend by Substituting Minority Report A for the committee (majority) report and then a secondary amendment to Substitute Minority Report B for Minority Report A. 

Filling in the Blanks may be easier in the case where there are more than two minority reports, then

That is helpful... and I think there were be two.  Though in one case there will be three.  Filling blanks is not something that is typical  in the organization and this is a large assembly.

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I will refine the suggestion I made in my (Student's) earlier post. If you know that there will be three minority reports, then you should figure out ahead of time how the assembly will decide among them.

So I suggest you write up a simple explanation of Filling Blanks. You can circulate this to members at the meeting (or even ahead of time), have the chair explain it to the assembly, or both.

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23 hours ago, Guest Who's Coming to Dinner said:

"Spokespersons for both the majority and minority positions…"

Your out is that while positions is in the plural, it is not limited to a value of two. In other words, this phrase could be read as

"Spokespersons for the majority position and minority positions…"

Oh, I don't think this interpretation of the meaning of 4a will fly when read in conjunction with what is said in 4b.

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17 hours ago, Caryn Ann Harlos said:

Most certainly but it is my job to advise the committee on potential issues in case perhaps they decide to compromise more and produce one minority report rather than two which has a higher risk.  Just because I don't have to decide something doesn't mean I should not be concerned about it.  

Well, your committee itself should be involved only in the production of its own report, and not in the production of minority reports.

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