What follows is the Texas Libertarian Party Platform (from the LP website):
As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their lives and no individuals are forced to sacrifice their values for the benefit of others.
We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be eliminated from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized. Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest.
The following pages set forth our basic principles and some of the policies derived from them. Our goal is a world set free in our lifetime, and it is to this end that we take these stands.
We, the members of the Libertarian Party, seek the maximum protection for the rights of all people against any violation, be it by other people, other nations, or our own government.
Every human being is born master of himself or herself, sole owner of his or her body and mind, free to live and act as he or she sees fit. It is our principle that, so long as a person does not violate the rights of others, he or she should be left free and unrestrained. Government tends to operate on the opposite principle, that the State is master and the individual the servant, to act only as directed by those in power.
We deny the right of any government to coerce peaceful citizens. Governments exist for the sole purpose of defending the freedoms of their citizens. These freedoms include the right to life; the right to liberty of thought, speech and action; and the right to property. When government violates these freedoms–by initiating force against them, by prohibiting the act and means of self-defense, by censoring thought, word and deed, or by taking property without the consent of the owner–the government must be brought to heel.
Government is, essentially, raw concentrated force, and thus, prone to abuse. It is established and tolerated only as the agent and servant of the people–not their master. The force of government must be used only in response to an attack, fraud, or other initiation of force against an individual, group or government by another individual, group or government.
Governments have no business interfering in voluntary and contractual relations amongst individuals. Only to prevent or to rectify acts of fraud should government step in–never for purposes of redistributing wealth nor providing special privilege to a few. Under no circumstances should government be allowed to prefer one set of people, or handicap another, for whatever reason. All people should be equal under the law, free to deal with one another in a free market, the only system compatible with the principle of individual rights.
The power of government must be kept to the minimum necessary to protect the rights of its citizens, and no more. Granting more power than that minimum allows the corrupt, the ambitious, and the tyrannical to run roughshod over the rights of the citizen. It is our mission to contest this trend, to stop its expansion and to reverse it, working towards the ideal society envisioned by the Founders and enshrined in the Constitution of the United States.
As Libertarians we believe that all persons are entitled to the fruits of their labor. As such, we view taxation as the forced taking of property. At most we regard it as a necessary evil, so that the vital functions of government can continue independent of undue outside influence. For this reason we advocate the reduction of taxation to the lowest feasible level, and the replacement of taxation with user fees where practicable.
Though many forms of taxation are authorized in the constitution, we feel that the following warrant specific consideration:
I.1.a. Government Spending.
We believe that smaller government is better. We seek to reduce the size and scope of government, and sunset or abolish unnecessary or unconstitutional programs and agencies. We support balancing the budgets of all levels of government by reducing government spending. We support a moratorium on state bond issuance and all other forms of government borrowing.
I.1.b. General Taxation.
We oppose any effort of the Texas Legislature to impose income taxes, for any purpose. We support a constitutional amendment that would require a two-thirds majority vote by each house of the legislature to increase the rate of any tax. We advocate the repeal of the federal income tax, the federal estate and gift tax, and the Individual Shared Responsibility Provision of the Affordable Care Act as an unconstitutional direct tax.
All taxes should be for a specific purpose, and have specific sunset dates. This will allow every legislative session to be held accountable for establishing excessive taxation and prevent perpetual funding of governmental growth.
I.1.c. Gross Margins Tax.
We oppose the Gross Margins Tax adopted by the Texas Legislature in 2006. We support the efforts by the legislature to tighten the state’s constitutional spending limits.
I.1.d. Ad Valorem Tax.
We support the elimination of the property tax which cannot be assessed in any objective manner and which operates to take property from the poor. However, until a time when an alternative means of financing can be achieved, we support efforts to restrict appraisal valuations.
We support legislative efforts which would lower the cap on annual increases in property appraisals from 10% to an amount reflecting the rate of change in the state’s Gross Domestic Product.
We support changing all Central Appraisal Districts (CAD) board of directors’ from political appointees to elected officials governed under the provisions of the Texas Election Code and limiting the office to two consecutive terms.
I.1.e. Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones.
In the interest of protecting the tax payers, Libertarians seek to abolish the establishment of Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZ) districts to previously developed municipal areas and prohibit their establishment on undeveloped “raw” land. The ability for a local government to create Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZ) was established by the legislature as a means to combat blight in our inner cities. However, this tax structure has been abused by many local governments and utilized as a means to enrich political benefactors and campaign contributors.
I.1.f. Occupational Licensing.
Libertarians believe that the exercise of an occupation or profession is a natural right not subject to regulation or taxation, except insofar as it makes use of public resources. Therefore, Libertarians support the repeal of all statutes licensing occupations or professional practices, and reversion to private certification organizations.
While “licensing” is promoted as a tool for acting against unscrupulous or incompetent providers of services, in practice it mainly serves to restrict competition and suppress new entrants into a field. Government can properly prosecute for fraud for past abuses, but should not become a gatekeeper that converts a right into a privilege.
We see Occupational Licensing as undue and unwarranted restrictions on individuals’ rights to work and earn a living in any manner they choose. Occupational licensing should only be a fee to cover the costs of licensing and never a revenue tax to the state.
I.1.g. Bond Initiatives.
Ideally, Libertarians favor a moratorium on any new debt obligations. Moreover, as a measure to protect the taxpayers we support legislation requiring bond issues only be voted at state general elections.
I.1.h. Certificates of Obligation.
The Texas Legislature bypassed voter approval for political subdivisions to borrow money by enacting the Certificate of Obligation Act of 1971 (Section 274.041 Local Government Code) as local governments viewed bond referendum requirements as “too burdensome.” Since that time, many local governmental entities have driven their communities deep into debt with no approval from the voters. Unlike bonds, a Certificate of Obligation simply requires a 30 day public notice of a corresponding ordinance to enact. Should the public oppose the measure, they have 30 days to petition, requiring 10% of all registered voters as a minimum, to prevent the ordinance from being enacted.
As such an unfair process is a clear danger to taxpayers and residents of the state, Libertarians support the repeal of the Certificate of Obligation Act of 1971.
I.2.a. General Education.
Libertarians support removing the barriers to choice and competition in education, allowing parents more flexibility in deciding where and how to educate their children. We would further seek to restore control over public schools (schooling) exclusively to the state level where it belongs, with an emphasis on local education boards. We support an amendment to the Texas Constitution which would provide for a system of education vouchers.
All excess taxes collected for public education should be returned to the people. Federal and state school funding should be block granted to school districts with no strings attached on the use of said funds.
Libertarians would seek to work on a nonpartisan education funding policy that would seek to provide the best and fairest use of our limited financial resources and eliminate waste and bureaucracy at state and local levels.
I.2.b. Standards in Education.
Libertarians would seek to repeal all federal mandates on public education. It is the responsibility of school districts to find additional funding sources and allocate federal and state funding as they see fit to meet state standards. Voters should have the right to dissolve school districts that can’t meet standards and have the district replaced or absorbed into other districts.
I.3.a. Toll Roads.
Libertarians opposed the Trans Texas Corridor Act, a costly boondoggle intended to benefit land developers through the abuse of eminent domain and cedes sovereignty to a foreign bureaucracy.
We support legislation that would forbid tolls on any highway right of way which was obtained with tax dollars, or through the use of eminent domain, or condemnation.
Libertarians uphold the right of private enterprise to construct and operate private toll roads, provided that those private toll roads were established by free market principles of private negotiation for land rights by purchase or lease.
Libertarians object to the current forms that Texas Regional Mobility Authority Boards & Metropolitan Planning Authorities have taken, because these boards are currently nonelected, are not responsive to the citizens, and don’t answer to local authority. Many of these boards are seeded with TxDot and corporate employees as pro-toll voter, slanting the votes infavor of Tolling state, county and metropolitan rights of way, and are Non-Elected Boards which can spend Tax dollars on Tolling Initiatives.
II. PERSONAL FREEDOM AND CIVIL LIBERTIES.
II.1. RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS, CHILDREN AND FAMILIES.
Libertarians uphold the ideals embodied in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; specifically, that government should not interfere in matters of personal conscience, such as religion, speech, creativity, or political activity. Nor should any majority be allowed to use government power or support to force the minority to accept their moral, religious, or political beliefs.
We call for an end to so-called “free speech zones,” which are in reality a means of isolating and silencing dissent in the public arena. Public officials have no right to be insulated from the voice of opposition to their policies.
Libertarians support the principle of separation of church and state, and that there is no freedom of religion without freedom from religion. Libertarians oppose government funding or endorsement of any religious or nonreligious position over any other. Libertarians call for strict supervision of how government payments or tax subsidies to all religious organizations are used, to insure they are not used to support indoctrination.
II.1.c. Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Libertarians support the right of citizens to keep and bear arms as codified in Article I, Section 23 of The Texas Constitution. Additionally, we advocate the legalization of “open carry” of any and all arms, without a license.
Libertarians hold that the right to keep and bear arms, like other rights, may only be disabled by due process of law, and for a fundamental right like this, by unanimous verdict of a jury of twelve, on proof beyond a reasonable doubt, either that if not disabled, said person would present a significant danger to himself or others, or that it is a statutory penalty on conviction of a crime, argued separately and made an explicit part of the final sentence.
II.1.d. Equality Under the Law.
Libertarians support the full and complete protection of all people from biased legislation that violates individual rights. Libertarians believe government does not have legitimate authority to define or restrict personal relationships or associations to any group of citizens. We believe that “Hate Crime” legislation is unconstitutional, and that our nation has prospered under the concept of “equal protection under the law.”
II.1.e. Marriage and Domestic Partnership.
We believe that marriage is a matter of private contract, and should not be defined or licensed by government. We believe that government should not treat individuals differently based on their marital status.
II.1.f. Family Values.
Libertarians seek to abolish legislation and policies that define what a family is.
II.1.g. Parental/Guardian Rights.
Libertarians hold that legal rights of parents/guardians must not be infringed by the state based upon unsubstantiated claims and not without due process.
II.1.h. Family Welfare and Government.
Libertarians see government welfare programs as unnecessary as they drive out private charity organizations and replace the role of the family and of the community. As such, we generally oppose government charity programs. These programs can be better served by the local/private sector of society in the form of private charity.
Libertarians believe there is a great amount of wasted tax dollars in government programs due to mismanagement, fraud and waste. We would seek to replace, where possible, all welfare programs by private charity organizations.
II.1.i. Property Rights – Homeowner Associations (HOA).
Libertarians support moving private homeowner associations to the current government code to protect private property owners from further violations of the constitution of this state and nation by such associations, until further remedies can be pursued. HOA’s should only be incorporated by members residing within the property affected and governed by said HOA members. No HOA assessment fee shall benacted without a simple majority of said members.
II.1.j. Eminent Domain.
Libertarians would close the exceptions and loopholes in the state prohibition against the use of eminent domain for private economic development. Under no circumstances should government have the power to force the transfer of land from a private entity to another against the will of the owner. Additionally, we believe that property owners displaced through eminent domain should be compensated 125% of the fair value of their property to compensate for their moving expenses and inconvenience. Libertarians strongly oppose state and local government’s abusive use of eminent domain laws for the creation of toll roads, transportation corridors, and semi-public or private use projects.
Libertarians support vested property rights above and below the surface, and there shall be no limitation by regulation, ordinance, or authority without just compensation.
II.2. GOVERNMENT AND HEALTH.
II.2.a. Health Care.
Government should neither provide, control, nor require health care. We do not believe that people have a right to be provided with health care at other peoples’ expense. We advocate the phasing out of Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIPS programs. Libertarians support free market based healthcare systems and health insurance. We oppose a “single payer” concept and the federal legislation known as the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Obama Care).
Libertarians oppose any and all forms of unearned tax credits, tax subsidies, and tax penalties that are directed under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obama Care.”
II.2.b. Drug Policy.
Libertarians view the federal “War on Drugs” to be a violation of the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We view drug “abuse” as solely a state matter for social or medical intervention. We, along with other groups such as the Texas Nurses Association and the American Public Health Association, support legislation which would enable seriously ill Texans to utilize cannabis prescribed by a physician.
Governmental agencies (CBP and FDA) should not protect the current pharmaceutical monopoly which forces consumers to purchase their prescription medications solely within the U.S., when alternative sources for identical medications can be found in Mexico or Canada for cheaper prices.
II.3. PRIVACY AND UNIVERSAL IDENTIFICATION.
Libertarians believe in an inherent right to privacy. As such, we oppose any legislation that permits government to become involved in our personal affairs where such authority has not been exclusively granted via a constitutional provision.
We hold that the purpose of government is to protect our rights and property, and should never become a threat to the very things it was established to protect.
II.3.b. Real ID Act.
Libertarians reject the presumption of federal authority in requiring universal identification. Given the opportunity, Libertarians would reject the federal “Real ID Act” and join the growing list of states that are safeguarding their citizen’s privacy.
II.3.c. Police Powers – Searches.
Libertarians call for the complete repeal of the USA-PATRIOT Act. We also call for the repeal of any and all laws which authorize the wiretapping or other search and seizure of private communications or property without a warrant issued in a free and independent court of law including, but not limited to, utilization of drones, NSA eavesdropping, internet data interception, etc.
Libertarians support legislation or judicial rules that forbid the execution of “no-knock” warrants unless there is substantial probable cause with supportive evidence that they are necessary to avoid death or serious injury to an innocent person. We require that all warrants be presented to the subject for examination, with an original signature and a copy of the affidavit attached, and that the subject have an immediate opportunity to contact the court that issued the warrant to verify its validity.
II.4. ELECTION REFORM.
II.4.a. Verifiable Balloting.
Libertarians support only voter verifiable paper trails in balloting systems used in elections, and oppose any systems that can be corrupted to produce fraudulent or inaccurate vote counts. We oppose any efforts to count the votes outside of public view.
II.4.b. Party Affiliation.
Libertarians oppose legislative efforts which would require an individual to affiliate with a political party (or remain independent) at the time of registration. Those not affiliated would be precluded from participating in primaries thus creating a closed primary process and preventing crossover voting. Libertarians support the current affiliation process and the people’s rights to freedom of association.
Whereas many of the Founders warned against the influence of “factions” (i.e. — political parties) and as there is no mention of political parties in the constitution, Libertarians believe that it is unconstitutional to place party affiliation beside a candidate’s name on a ballot.
II.4.c. Primary Screen-out.
Libertarians support the right of voters to decide who will be on the ballot. As such we support legislative efforts which would remove restrictions regarding eligibility to sign candidate and party petitions to appear on a ballot. All eligible voters should have the opportunity to voice their opinion. Their voice should not be silenced due to their participation in a primary election or their decision to sign an alternative candidate’s petition.
II.4.d. Initiative and Referendum.
Libertarians support the right of citizens to propose state laws or constitutional amendments through a referendum process. Qualified initiatives should be placed on the General Election Ballot in November of even numbered years, giving Voters the ability to repeal legislation enacted as a result of pressure from special interests seeking favor at the expense of the citizens is a fundamental necessity in the current political paradigm.
Libertarians believe this to be in compliance to Article I, Section 27 of The Texas Constitution which guarantees the right to seek redress of grievance “by petition, address or remonstrance” and as such, believe that this process, currently denied to Texans, become a codified process.
II.4.e. Electoral Recall.
Libertarians support the rights of the people to recall elected or publicly appointed officials from any public office statewide and become a codified process.
II.4.f. Election Reform.
The Libertarian Party supports election reform that does away with a two party duopoly and uncontrolled corporate and PAC influence that exists today. We hold that party primaries are not a function of the state, and is a process which should be borne by individual political parties, internally. We also believe that all races should be decided by 50+% majority, and that each position include a choice for None Of The Above (NOTA).
II.5. CRIME AND THE JUSTICE SYSTEM.
II.5.a. Federal Jurisdictional Limitation.
Federal authority to prosecute “crime” is limited to only a few subjects (treason, counterfeiting, piracy, offenses against the laws of nations, and violations of rights by state agents). We find no authority in the U.S. Constitution for extraterritorial criminal jurisdiction or expenditure of tax dollars to interdict drug trafficking.
II.5.b. Judicial Reform (Grand Juries).
Libertarians support reviving direct citizen access to grand juries for presentation of public complaints and for private criminal prosecutions, in which the grand jury authorizes private prosecution by issuing the indictment to the complainant. An adequate number of grand juries should be impaneled to provide sufficient time to investigate and deliberate on each complaint.
We support making grand juries independent from public prosecutors and encouraging them to exercise oversight on governmental operations within their district. We also support enabling grand juries to decide whether an official has acted within his jurisdiction, and remove immunity from suit for any who has not.
II.5.c. Judicial Reform (Informed Juries).
Libertarians support a return to the original standard of due process for jury trials. When there are mixed questions of fact and law, as there are in all criminal cases, all parties shall have the right not to have the bench make decisions on questions of law until all parties have completed making their arguments.
Furthermore, all parties may defer making those arguments until they can be made to the jury; the only exception would be for motions by the defense to exclude evidence in which the issues of law cannot be argued without disclosing evidence properly excluded.
II.5.d. Judicial Reform (quo warranto).
Libertarians support the revival of the long established but recently suppressed remedy of writs of quo warranto sought by any person in the name of the people. The challenged official, bearing the burden of proof, must prove an unbroken logical chain of derivation of authority, current or proposed, from the constitutions of the United States and/or the State of Texas, within 3-20 days. If said official fails to thus prove his or her authority, he or she must cease and desist any exercise thereof. If the challenge is to his or her holding the office, said office must be vacated.
This writ would remove the official immunity of officials so they could be civilly or criminally prosecuted for exceeding their jurisdiction or abusing their power. The writ would be decided by a trial jury of twelve randomly selected citizens if demanded by petitioner.
II.5.e. SLAPP Suits.
Libertarians support enacting SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) protections for the citizens of the State of Texas and deny corporatists the ability to bankrupt individuals for the simple act of voicing an opinion. Though sufficient anti-SLAPP protections exist for corporations, no such protection exists for the individual.
SLAPP suits are utilized primarily by corporations (and Government) to silence opposition to any given objective. It is the ultimate form of the denial of our right to free speech. The decision on whether or not a suit brought against an individual is frivolous must be decided by a jury, not a panel of judges.
II.5.f. State Bar Act.
Libertarians support the repeal or sunsetting of the State Bar Act and ending the prosecution of persons for the unauthorized practice of law. This act serves not to protect the public, but to raise the costs of legal services by creating unfair competition, protect the legal profession, and bring its members under undue control. Those who criticize judges or attempt to reform the legal system are especially affected.
II.5.g. Vice and Morality Based Laws.
The Libertarian Party supports the repeal of all Vice and Morality based laws that are against consenting adults and that do no harm to others. The State has no right to either criminalize or legalize the morality of adult individuals and their interaction with other consenting adults.
Libertarians believe the right to work or travel is an inherent personal liberty that should not be unduly impeded by the laws of governments.
The Libertarian Party of Texas encourages legal and lawful immigration regardless of country of origin. The party seeks to encourage immigration of students, workers, and business owners willing to invest in Texas.
III.1.b. Border Control.
The Libertarian Party believes in and encourages free and fair trade among nations which allows the easy exchange of currency, goods, labor, and services.
IV.1.a. Perpetuities and Monopolies.
Libertarians fully support the Texas Bill of Rights, Art. I. Sec. 26, and desire its fullest enforcement by appropriate legislation. Texas prohibits the formation of perpetuities and monopolies and finds them contrary to the genius of free government as their establishment discourages competition and free markets. We find that the state of Texas, and its political subdivisions, to be in violation of this Constitutional Right as established under this article.
Libertarians seek to have the state legislature enforce this freedom as granted in the Bill of Rights and abolish all existing government enforced monopolies, whether government or private corporations, where private sector companies or individuals wish to compete for a market share.
Subsidies, government-granted monopolies, and other forms of corporate welfare exist today as privileges granted by government to those with political access. These corrupt relationships between government authority and special interests destroy the level playing field that free markets depend on. The Libertarian party of Texas supports repeal of the Texas Enterprise Fund, The Texas Emerging Technology Fund and other slush funds and demands an independent public audit of funds spent.
Libertarians support nullification of unconstitutional federal acts by all sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America from all enemies foreign and domestic. Those who can and should engage in nullification and interposition include our Texas governor, legislature, and law enforcement officials, and especially our constitutional county sheriffs.
IV.1.c. Texas Independence.
Libertarians fully support the rights of the people to alter their form of government. As the U.S. federal government is increasingly expanding its influence well beyond its Constitutional authority and clearly violating citizens’ rights as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, the right of the people of Texas to alter their form of government, as stated in Article I Section 2 of the Texas Constitution, must be acknowledged by allowing Texans to have an honest and frank discussion on the merits of independence and being allowed to vote accordingly to reassert Texas’ Independence.
Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval or disapproval.