Due to the increasing escalation of the coronavirus outbreak, the Libertarian Party of Michigan (LPM) postponed their March 14, 2020 state convention, which was originally scheduled to be held at the Eberhard Center at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Grand Rapids. The rescheduled convention will be held via video conference on Saturday, April 4, 2020 at noon.
We apologize to everyone for the last minute cancellation. Events unfolded very quickly on that Friday morning before the decision was made and published at about 12:30 PM. The call to postpone the LPM Convention was ultimately made by LPM Chair Greg Stempfle, upon the advice of the Convention Committee Chair Jamie Lewis. The decision was not directly based on any action taken by the Governor, President, or any government official, but by the significant number of convention delegates who said they would not attend or urged us to postpone over concerns of viral exposure.
Over the course of the morning, it was reported, among other things, that four cases of coronavirus were traced to Grand Rapids, and that both the Governor and President would be taking various emergency measures later that day. At this point, the entire banquet program would have been cancelled, and attendance might have been too low for certain business items to have been addressed. Fearing that the fallout from holding the convention, including potentially spreading the virus, would outweigh the fallout of postponing the convention, the Chair ultimately made the decision to postpone.
The Libertarian Executive Committee (LEC) held an emergency meeting on the evening of Friday, March 13 to discuss the status of the state convention. The LEC voted to hold our rescheduled national delegate selection convention on Saturday, April 4 at noon via video conference. Our bylaws require us to nominate our national delegates by April 10, and it was felt that any in-person convention would not be feasible until the coronavirus outbreak fears subside. This will be a streamlined business session only convention. We also voted to extend the deadline for affiliates to submit names of additional state convention delegates to March 28, and the 30-day membership deadline will be extended to cover those who joined the state party as a dues-paying member on or before March 5th. While the LPM has a business Zoom account, we will investigate other platforms to see which can best accommodate our agenda needs. Before the actual April 4th Zoom convention, the LEC will schedule a trial-run "mock convention" to work out technical glitches in order to ensure that our first virtual convention will run smoothly.
On Saturday morning, the day the convention was originally scheduled to be held, three members of our executive board (Jamie Lewis, Mary Buzuma, and Nathan Hewer) met outside the Eberhard Center to perform a parliamentary procedure known as "Fix the Time To Which to Adjourn". What this did is allow us to keep our original call to convention intact and enable our rescheduled convention to be in compliance with Robert 's Rules of Order.
It is our intention to provide as much of a refund as possible to those who paid for the various registration items. Jamie Lewis is meeting with GVSU officials today (Monday the 16th) to discuss our financial obligation. However, the Party will still be liable for at least a part of the cost of the banquet and luncheon food purchases. Based on their conversation, the LEC will vote on a refund policy at their next meeting on Sunday, March 22. Some have suggested that, if a significant refund is not feasible in light of the current LPM budget, those fees that persons have paid for this convention could be applied toward future membership dues or convention fees.
Many people have asked if our bylaws allow for video conferencing. The answer is yes. There are two places in our bylaws that explicitly state that electronic meetings are acceptable.
IX. ELECTRONIC MEETINGS AND PROCEDURES This [prohibition of asynchronous voting procedures] does not prohibit other synchronous forms of communication and voting, such as conference call or videoconferencing, to be used for official business. IV. LOCAL PARTY ORGANIZATIONS 3.A.1. The affiliate may hold a combined convention for all counties and districts within the affiliate region at the same place(s) and/or via a synchronous electronic meeting;
The most recent version of Robert 's Rules of Order (11th edition, published in 2011) has a new section on electronic meetings, pp. 97-99, which will be used, along with our bylaws, as a guide on to how to conduct the video conference convention. When reviewing these applicable pages of Robert 's, note that the 11th edition is the current one that you should be referencing, and that all of the free versions available online are earlier editions.
By Donna Gundle Krieg
This is a resolution of an affiliate of the Libertarian Party of Michigan, but doesn't necessarily reflect the view of the Libertarian Executive Committee or the membership as a whole.
The following resolution was approved unanimously by the Executive Committee of the Northwest Michigan Party of Michigan. This resolution was written by Ben Carr of the Libertarian Party of Michigan.
The Northwest Michigan Party of Michigan wishes to proclaim its strong condemnation of the recent actions of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in response to the spread of COVID-19, also called Coronavirus.
Governor Whitmer 's actions are a violation of the natural human rights of free movement and interaction. The recent restrictions on local businesses and public meetings will do irreparable harm to the economy of the state of Michigan, at both the personal and public level, which will be felt in the form of lost jobs, homes, and small businesses. Her abuse of state executive authority will only continue to create panic and needlessly isolate thousands of citizens who require personal and economic interactions to survive.
While we recognize the severity of Coronavirus, we do not believe such conditions grant the state additional powers. We instead advocate that the most effective method of protecting lives is reasonable restraint and self-isolation practiced by informed individuals.
The lifting of these government restraints will allow not only for the movement of needed goods and supplies-especially to the most vulnerable during such a time-but will also allow for the charitable aid and spread of needed developments for testing and medical technologies that the existing system will not be able to meet. The current measures are both oppressive and incapable of dealing with the crisis without the inclusion of aid on the part of private citizens.
We therefore call on Governor Whitmer to lift the authoritarian restrictions in place and restore the human rights of movement and interaction to the citizens of Michigan, as well as guarantee their rights to both property and bodily autonomy. We also call upon the public servants of Michigan to resist these orders and act to protect the rights of their constituents. Most importantly, we implore the citizens of Michigan to speak out against these egregious violations of human rights and demand a return to sanity and freedom.
Editors note: The Michigan Civil Liberties Coalition is a non-partisan group of civil libertarians. This was not a Libertarian Party event, but involved some of it's members.
Lansing, MI - Civil libertarians from all over Michigan converged at the state Capitol Saturday March 28th to express their dismay with Governor Whitmer 's restrictions on peaceful gatherings and the "stay-at-home" order. Individuals and organizations began the protest at 1:00 PM under the umbrella name of Michigan Civil Liberties Coalition.
WLNS reporter Brittany Flowers showed up as did a reporter from an independent news service. The protest was the lead story on the Lansing station 's 6:00 PM News.
Jeff Philips said,
I realize we are dealing with a very serious virus. These restrictions are dismissive of the many thousands of people who, over the years (over our past history), have sacrificed their lives voluntarily to fight for our freedom. If we surrender our freedom, in even this time of fear, then we may save lives now but we will be discounting the lives that were already sacrificed. In the future there are many generations yet to be born who will die from tyranny if we give up our freedom today"
"Our rights don 't take sick days." Said Scotty Boman, Michigan Director of Our America Initiative. "Certainly we should all do what we can to stay safe and look out for our neighbors, but the existence of a contagious disease should not be exploited to violate basic rights like the right to peaceably assemble or the right of innocent people to leave their homes."
Republican State Representative candidate Michelle Gregoire said, "I'm here because all tyranny needs to gain a foothold, is for people of good conscience, to remain silent. "I care about people's health and more people will die from an economic fallout than this virus."
The Michigan Civil Liberties Coalition was formed to organize people from different parts of Michigan, with varying political backgrounds, to stand together in defense of civil liberties at a time when the state is violating them to an unprecedented degree. The groups description on Facebook says,
We strive to defend everyone's rights against government encroachments - especially your rights to self expression, assembly, self defense, petition, and due process.The coalition includes Our America Initiative Michigan Grassroots, the committee to elect Michelle Gregoire, Detroit Residents Advancing Civilian Oversight and the Libertarian Party of Wayne County.
We are NON partisan and not beholden to any politician, only to The People.