Omnibus Bill

Hello.

@KrisKringle and I took some time in the last few days to draft a complete omnibus bill. This is a very slimmed down and consolidated set of laws. Some of the big changes include:

  • The Chair of the Assembly is no longer defined.
  • The Prime Minister is the sole defined figure in the executive. Any additions like Ministers, Generals, etc. is at their discretion or the discretion of the Assembly.
  • The Delegate is elected every February and August. The Prime Minister is elected every February, May, August, and November.

Our intention was to slim the government down drastically, and to hopefully clear some of the excessive professionalism that the political culture has developed. (Maybe no more Mr. Chair, eh?)

Please take a look. We are standing by for questions, comments, and suggestions. If the final adoption of this omnibus, or any other, exceeds the next Cabinet election under existing law, we may seek to change the resolution so we are not waiting another four months for a stronger Prime Minister to finally take charge.

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There’s obviously a lot to unpack here but my biggest question is: why?

Since ProfessorHenn asked on Discord for more specific question(s), here goes (to both authors, by the way):

  • Why did you choose to make the changes you made from our current system?
  • Why did you choose to make the changes you made from previous proposals in this Great Council?
  • What problems will these changes solve?
  • How will these changes solve those problems?

Frankly, asking “why?” should not be considered too broad of a question. The intention behind any legislative proposal, especially one as dramatic as this, is important. It really should not be difficult for the author(s) of a proposal to argue the ‘why’ behind it — after all, if there isn’t a reason why the proposal should be adopted, what’s the point?

I will address the question of “why not?” as well, by the way, though I’m not entirely sure what my answer will be right now. I do ask for some patience with that, as it goes without saying that (unlike the authors of this proposal) I’ve only had less than a day to think through the merits of this proposal.

Am I missing the part that includes the ideas we had for the military, or is it not included other then, the PM will do it?

The current system involves:

  • Electing 10 separate individuals to represent the various facets of the community and perform a specific task or tasks as outlined in the Charter or other laws,
  • Appointing an undetermined number of individuals to important roles for our political infrastructure, such the Legislator Committe, the Election Commissioner, and the Council on Regional Security, and clearly defining their roles in a multitude of documents,
  • Providing for specific guidelines on the execution of several duties, such as the granting of regional officer slots, specifying how legal deadlines must be formatted, providing for the formation and rights of political parties, defining how mass communications to the region must fulfill a set of broad criteria, and more.

I think it’s excessive legislation at this point in the game. We don’t need all these laws on the books, and these changes are deliberately crafted to leave most of the finer details up to the few officials identified in the Charter. The Assembly can pass additional laws if it wants, but I’m leaving that up to the body as a whole after this Great Council.

Even if we removed a lot of the unnecessary or overly verbose laws and solely stuck with rewriting the rest to accommodate, continuing on with that style of legislating is not very conducive to TSP’s future.

If a new individual joins the Assembly, and sees the wide breadth of laws that we’ve passed, where would you recommend they start to dip their toes? If a staffer or soldier wants to run for office but they see how the public side of things are run, whether it be through regular updates with an intricate design or the mannerisms with which the official is handling things, how likely are they to want to run for and feel incumbent to continue that?

There’s a very real and present sense of excessive professionalism. The existing political culture perpetuates that, not by design or even by choice, but it does nonetheless.

If your job description is a few vague words, then the world is your oyster at that point. It’s up to whomever gets elected as Prime Minister to do whatever they said they were going to do. Maybe one PM will focus more on SPSF activities, and another wants to work on more joint cultural events, and another yet really wants to jump into the foreign affairs sphere. There’s no job requirements they need to fulfill, nothing stopping them other than the voters in 3 months.

There’s no mention of the military.

How is the Assembly led if leadership of the very institution itself is not laid out within the Charter? In the existing Charter it is clearly laid out with regards to the position of the Chair and the way in which they administer the Assembly, and are elected by Legislators within the Assembly. Other than the mention of a “presiding officer”, no other text is given to define how the Assembly is lead. At least within the proposed Charter that is? Would you be able to explain how the Assembly is supposed to function correctly if it does not have any leadership roles and positions defined within the Charter?

Thanks!
BlockBuster2K43

I agree that the Assembly should have a presiding officer, but I don't think that needs to be defined in the Charter. This is easily something that could be passed as an internal regulation of the Assembly, which in turn would help in giving us enough flexibility to change things if needed without having to make that a constitutional amendment.

I can’t speak for Henn, but my own view is that the Charter should define only the very basics -those things that absolutely need to happen for the region to remain stable- and leave all other matters for voters and legislators to figure out later on. My goal with this is to encourage a reset of sorts where we figure things out without many of the preconceptions that we have nowadays and try to explore new ways of running the region.

For example:

  • Maybe we want to let legislators settle on a single nominee via a floor debate and hold a vote on that single nominee.

  • Maybe we want to keep the system where legislators run for office.

  • Maybe we want to have a challenge system where legislators can trigger an election after a minimum amount of time.

  • Maybe we want to try something entirely different.

Either way, that decision is an internal Assembly matter that would best be addressed, and with more room for flexibility and open discussion, outside the Charter.

So rules, leadership, procedures and other functions of the Assembly may be defined and laid out in another constitutional law document? Such as amending the Legislative Procedure Act for example, to include the more in-depth information and rules with regards to the Assembly?

Thanks!
BlockBuster2K43

Sure, the Assembly is still the supreme legislative authority, but I would caution against immediately jumping into writing a comprehensive bill to cover legislative procedure and other finer details of how the Assembly works.

One of the questions I kept asking during the drafting of this Charter was, “Do we need to define this, or can things work without rigidly defining how things work or should be done?” The less we have to spell out, the greater flexibility our government as a whole has in working and adapting to the needs of the community.

As an example, there is no mention of proposals needing a motion and a second before being brought to a vote. One potential way this could work is the presiding officer stating beforehand, “Hey, I’m going to introduce these regulations and operate like this. Motions do not need a second before they can be brought to vote.” If other legislators don’t like that, they can have that discussion with the presiding officer and convince them to change the regulation, or write up a law to enact their specific change. If they do like that, then it’s fine, and life goes on.

I agree with Kringle concerning this being a reset, in a sense. We clear the slate of old thoughts and ideas on how things should work, and we might get some good ideas we hadn’t considered or implemented before.

I almost wish you didn’t. This is a chance to design the Assembly from scratch and see what does and doesn’t work. You can’t do that if you codify all the procedures and preconceptions when the whole point was to let them be figured out over time.

Not so sure how that works… but ok.

What exactly do you think needs to be codified?

I would personally, this is just from a personal standpoint, state something along the lines of.

To state that the Chair of the Assembly is clearly the Presiding Officer of the Assembly, other than that, the other powers and responsibilities of the Chair are laid out within the Legislative Procedure Act. Which I’m assuming will still be valid and the law, (Not entirely sure whether or not current laws enacted will still exist after the Great Council ends, just checked, they don’t.), even after the Great Council concludes.

Another thought would be to potentially include the Great Council amended Legislative Procedure Act alongside the other acts stated within this omnibus bill.

Thanks!
BlockBuster2K43

I support including the amendment to include the position of chair.

We don’t describe the election process, or the powers they might or might not have, but merely say that we have a leader of the Assembly.

Not to throw RL in here, but even the US constitution explicitly names the speaker of the house.

I think the only thing that should come out of this proposal is the new charter and a transition resolution. Allow the Assembly to debate the fine details. The transition resolution will take care of the initial elections, so we have time to flesh out the new government.

—-
With regard to the rest of the proposed charter, I will give further comment later today.

With hindsight, I agree with Griffindor’s comments, the Assembly can always pass legislation in the future laying out the rules, procedures, functions, powers and responsibilities of the Chair and Assembly at a later date, if it’s legislative members elect to. Stating that the Assembly has a Chair, gives the Assembly a clear leader stated within the proposed Charter.

Thanks!
BlockBuster2K43

What would happen if the Charter did not codify a chair?

The Assembly wouldn’t have a Presiding Officer, as one would not have been defined in the only law that would exist at that point in time. I know that the proposed Voters Act mentions a Presiding Officer of the Assembly, however, that is not stated or defined at any point in the proposed Charter.

Other constituting documents from both RL and other NS regions state the role of the Presiding Officer within their respective legislature('s), Chair/Speaker/Provost, etc. I’ll list some examples:

  • The Constitution of the Union of Democratic States, Article II, Section 5, clearly states who the Presiding Officer of their respective Senate is, the Speaker in this case. Alongside their powers and responsibilities.

  • The same with the Constitution of the North Pacific, Article 2, Point 7 - Point 10, it also states that the Regional Assembly is lead by a Speaker, and their respective responsibilities and powers.

  • Another example, the East Pacific in their Concordat Article B, Section 4, it states that the Magisterium is lead by a Provost. Alongside their powers and responsibilities.

  • Within the region of Lazarus, the constituting document, the Mandate, Point 11 - 14 states that the Assembly Speaker is the Presiding Officer of the Lazarus Assembly and their respective powers and responsibilities.

  • One final example is with regards to the Constitution of the Communist Block, Article IV, Section 3, it states the the Speaker shall act as both the Chairperson of the Legislative Committee, and Speaker of the People’s Assembly. Alongside their powers and responsibilities.

I’m not sure how the Assembly would function correctly without a Presiding Officer, but sure.

By defining that the Assembly has a Chair as its Presiding Officer, there is at least a basic outline of who leads the Assembly. We could at least state who the leader of the Assembly is within the Charter.

It’s true that the Charter would not mention that the Assembly has a presiding officer, but why is that a problem? Why couldn’t the Assembly just elect a presiding officer and grant them all appropriate powers, pursuant to its power to self-regulate?

How would the supposed elected Presiding Officer be granted the appropriate powers and responsibilities? Would it be through a written law, or would legislative members just sorta say so?

That would be up to the Assembly.