Category Archives: Clark

Opinion: When changing the OrgLaw, check it twice

The frankly confusing twin proposals clarked by the Secretary of State relating to the term of office of the Cosa, coupled with the unfortunate last-minute discovery of a drafting error in the OLSC’s latest hunt for OrgLaw deadwood, highlight the need for a more detailed scrutiny of OrgLaw changes by the Ziu.

Firstly, the well-intenioned privilege given to the Chancery, that allows a non-MZ direct access to the legislative Clark, should be withdrawn.

A non-member of the legislature can have the right to suggest action, by placing bills in the Hopper. They should not however be permitted to dictate the agenda for elected representatives. This is particularly true when he or she is unsure of the appropriate course of action themselves. That two mutually contradictory amendments proposed by the same person can land on the desks of MZs demonstrates that the current system is broken.

Secondly, no change to the Organic Law should appear on the Clark without the sponsorship of at least two MZs.

By obliging proposals to seek the approval of at least one other MZ before they can be Clarked, MZs will at least have to allow one other individual to scrutinise their text. This may make for improved bills in the Hopper, and better quality law overall.

Thirdly, no change to the Organic Law should be presented at referendum without having been considered twice by the Ziu. This might take the form of two “readings” on two separate Clarks, or by separate consecutive consideration by both houses of the Ziu- the latter would itself be an actualisation of our otherwise fictional bicameralism.

Even the most conscientous among our MZs can make mistakes, and extended scrutiny seems to ferret out these errors, as has been demonstrated by the abandonment of the OLSC amendments.

Either way, since amendments cannot take force until they have been approved by voters, at the next election, the Ziu has the opportunity to take more time to study in detail the consequences of each amendment. It should take it.

Opinion: When changing the OrgLaw, check it twice

The frankly confusing twin proposals clarked by the Secretary of State relating to the term of office of the Cosa, coupled with the unfortunate last-minute discovery of a drafting error in the OLSC’s latest hunt for OrgLaw deadwood, highlight the need for a more detailed scrutiny of OrgLaw changes by the Ziu.

Firstly, the well-intentioned privilege given to the Chancery, that allows a non-MZ direct access to the legislative Clark, should be withdrawn.

A non-member of the legislature can have the right to suggest action, by placing bills in the Hopper. They should not however be permitted to dictate the agenda for elected representatives. This is particularly true when he or she is unsure of the appropriate course of action themselves. That two mutually contradictory amendments proposed by the same person can land on the desks of MZs demonstrates that the current system is broken.

Secondly, no change to the Organic Law should appear on the Clark without the sponsorship of at least two MZs.

By obliging proposals to seek the approval of at least one other MZ before they can be Clarked, MZs will at least have to allow one other individual to scrutinise their text. This may make for improved bills in the Hopper, and better quality law overall.

Thirdly, no change to the Organic Law should be presented at referendum without having been considered twice by the Ziu. This might take the form of two “readings” on two separate Clarks, or by separate consecutive consideration by both houses of the Ziu- the latter would itself be an actualisation of our otherwise fictional bicameralism.

Even the most conscientous among our MZs can make mistakes, and extended scrutiny seems to ferret out these errors, as has been demonstrated by the abandonment of the OLSC amendments.

Either way, since amendments cannot take force until they have been approved by voters, at the next election, the Ziu has the opportunity to take more time to study in detail the consequences of each amendment. It should take it.

October Clark: One for the road…

The results of the final Clark of the 49th Cosa were published by the Chancery this week.

Without surprise,the government easily survived the last VoC of the term, 94 votes Për to 18 Contrâ. However due to absent coalition MCs the government did so without achieving an absolute majority of seats.

RUMP leader Sir Alexandreu Davinescu unexpectedly failed to vote on the Clark, a first for him in a number of years. Sir Alexandreu was among 5 MCs, representing 50 of the 200 seats in the Cosa, who failed to vote on the Clark.

It was a disappointing Clark for Secretary of State Marti-Pair Furxheir, who saw both of his attempts to reform the term of office of the Cosa fail. The head of the Chancery is not an MZ but may in principle Clark bills relating to electoral matters.

The twin proposals would ended the need for the King to formally dissolve the Cosa at the end of its term . They would also have closed the possibity of early dissolution by fixing the term of office of the lower house, but in the case of the first would have extended that term of office to a year, and the second would have limited the usual six-month term to five Clarks. 

A related measure that would have granted the Seneschal the authority to recess the Ziu for both July and August, proposed by ModRad Senator Epic da Lhiun, was also defeated, this time due to Senäts opposition.

It was also an unfortunate Clark for the Organic Law Standing Committee, whose second set of Organic Law amendments proposed by ModRad MC Ian Plätschisch were abandoned due to the last-minute discovery of a drafting error in the bill. The OLSC is a working group of interested MZs from different parties who seek to remove redundancies and inappropriate clauses from the constitution. 

By contrast, the Ziu looked more favourably upon reform proposals made bySeneschal Sir Cresti Siervicül and FreeDem leader Senator Dien Tresplet.

Sir Cresti successfully called on the Ziu to close the door on elections for the Túischac’h of the Cosa, a reform first introduced in 2014 and which has remained controversial in practice since. Sir Cresti’s bill, if approved by referendum, will return to the previous system of appointment by the Crown on the nomination of the Seneschal, but with the Seneschal now legally required to consult other party leaders beforehand. 

Senator Tresplet’s bill would remove an historical reference to the punishment of “anti-Talossan activities” in the Organic Law. The Senator claimed that the use of the term was reminiscent of “McCarthyism” and inappropriate in modern Talossa, with which the Ziu apparently agreed, sending the amendment to referendum.

October Clark: One for the road…

The results of the final Clark of the 49th Cosa were published by the Chancery this week.

Without surprise,the government easily survived the last VoC of the term, 94 votes Për to 18 Contrâ. However due to absent coalition MCs the government did so without achieving an absolute majority of seats.

RUMP leader Sir Alexandreu Davinescu unexpectedly failed to vote on the Clark, a first for him in a number of years. Sir Alexandreu was among 5 MCs, representing 50 of the 200 seats in the Cosa, who failed to vote on the Clark.

It was a disappointing Clark for Secretary of State Marti-Pair Furxheir, who saw both of his attempts to reform the term of office of the Cosa fail. The head of the Chancery is not an MZ but may in principle Clark bills relating to electoral matters.

The twin proposals would ended the need for the King to formally dissolve the Cosa at the end of its term . They would also have closed the possibity of early dissolution by fixing the term of office of the lower house, but in the case of the first would have extended that term of office to a year, and the second would have limited the usual six-month term to five Clarks. 

A related measure that would have granted the Seneschal the authority to recess the Ziu for both July and August, proposed by ModRad Senator Epic da Lhiun, was also defeated, this time due to Senäts opposition.

It was also an unfortunate Clark for the Organic Law Standing Committee, whose second set of Organic Law amendments proposed by ModRad MC Ian Plätschisch were abandoned due to the last-minute discovery of a drafting error in the bill. The OLSC is a working group of interested MZs from different parties who seek to remove redundancies and inappropriate clauses from the constitution. 

By contrast, the Ziu looked more favourably upon reform proposals made bySeneschal Sir Cresti Siervicül and FreeDem leader Senator Dien Tresplet.

Sir Cresti successfully called on the Ziu to close the door on elections for the Túischac’h of the Cosa, a reform first introduced in 2014 and which has remained controversial in practice since. Sir Cresti’s bill, if approved by referendum, will return to the previous system of appointment by the Crown on the nomination of the Seneschal, but with the Seneschal now legally required to consult other party leaders beforehand. 

Senator Tresplet’s bill would remove an historical reference to the punishment of “anti-Talossan activities” in the Organic Law. The Senator claimed that the use of the term was reminiscent of “McCarthyism” and inappropriate in modern Talossa, with which the Ziu apparently agreed, sending the amendment to referendum.

MZs to vote on RCOR deadline extension

Seneschal Sir Cresti Siervicül has proposed a bill to amend the deadline of the Royal Commission on Organic Law Reform. The RCOR Extension Bill allows for the report to be published “no later than 1st August 2016, with the expectation that the Commission will continue to endeavour to complete its report by the 1st of July”.

The RCOR, a cross-party review of the entire constitution chaired by Justice Txec dal Nordselvă, is currently due to deliver its final report on 1 July, following two extensions of its original statuatory deadline by Prime Dictate. The pace of the RCOR’s work, and the reasons for its repeated breach if its deadline, have been the subject of controversy in the Ziu in recent weeks.

The original legislation establishing the RCOR, which was proposed by then Senator Miestrâ Schivâ in October 2015, foresaw that all members would be appointed by November 1 2015, and that the Commission would complete its review of the Organic Law on 1 February. The Royal representative was not in the end appointed until 29 November, and the report deadline was later extended twice by Prime Dictate, firstly to 1 April 2016, and then later to 1 July 2016.

This latest extension has raised disquiet among MZs, particularly as the FreeDems have publicly stated that they will oppose any constitutional anendments proposed until the Commission has completed its report. The opposition claim that this is in order to avoid contradictory or confusing changes to the existing Law that would cut across the RCOR’s eventual recommendations. As a united FreeDem caucus has a blocking minority in the Cosa this renders any proposed amendments moot.

According to FreeDem leader Miestrâ Schivâ, the responsibility for the delays falls squarely on the conservative party. The leader of the opposition has accused the RUMP, and its leader Sir Alexandreu Davinescu, of engaging in a pattern of “sabotage” in collusion with the King in order to frustrate efforts for reform. Speaking to ETT, Dama Schivâ claimed that she had expected the RUMP leader to “make a good faith effort to make it work…I was wrong”. The Chief of Staff had criticised the composition and remit of the RCOR, and had proposed a parallel, perpetual “Organic Law Standing Committee” of the Ziu to examine similar issues, and declined to become a member.

Sir Alexandreu told ETT that in his view the original conception of the RCOR was “flawed”, and that “I’m not sure that nine years would be enough for them, at this rate”, based on the “gargantuan” size of the task and the method adopted to work through the text. He claimed that despite the “radical nature” of some of the proposals that have emerged “there’s barely been any serious discussion or attempt to work through different ideas”. He stated that he did not understand how he could be held responsible for the delays in the RCOR’s work.

Speaking to ETT, ModRad MC Glüc da Dhi claimed that “if the parties can agree now [on amendments] I don’t think it’s necessary to wait for the commission report”. He also claimed that the Commission was “rushed through” and was “flawed from the beginning”, pointing to the composition of the membership and the requirement of a simple majority, rather than a 2/3 supermajority, to publish a report. The ModRad MC is the author of an as yet unClarked Sense of the Ziu calling on the Seneschal to refuse further extensions to the deadline. He claimed that criticism of RUMP “sandbagging”, with respect to the work of Sir Cresti on the RCOR, “hurts my brain”‘.

The Seneschal himself, who is a member of the RCOR and was proposed as chair until he had to decline due to other commitments, told ETT that he was sceptical a different remit or composition would have made much difference. He rejected Dama Schivâ’s claims of RUMP “sabotage”, arguing that the delay in the appointment of the Royal representative was a fraction of the extra time allowed by the extensions. He also claimed that the OLSC did not distract RCOR members from their work, and indeed may have helped owing to common members incorporating their work for the former into their submissions to the latter.

May Clark: Budget and VoC pass, Prince Patrick loses Cosa seats

Secretary of State Marti-Pair Furxheir has announced the results of the 2nd Clark of the 49th Cosa. As expected, the coalition won both the Vote of Confidence and passed its Budget Bill, with only FreeDems opposing the government for the second Clark in a row. S:reu Furxheir also confirmed that the heir to the throne, Prince Patrick, has lost the RUMP Cosa seats he was granted, after failing to vote in two consecutive Clarks.

The Budget, the first by Finance Minister Sir Alexandreu Davinescu, provided funding for the long-awaited coin issue, as well as a new chain of office for the Seneschal and a legislative grant to BHAID [ETT: Inxheneu Crovâ is Administrator of BHAID]. While FreeDem leader Miestrâ Schivâ insisted that her party would vote against the Budget on principle, as in her view the duty of the opposition being to oppose, this was a point disputed by Senator Tresplet, who claimed to have judged the Bill “on its merits”.

Asked by ETT for his reaction to Senator Tresplet’s stand, FreeDem deputy leader Dr Txec dal Nordselvă stated that “Dien is our most conservative, pro-monarchist member, so he tends to blaze his own trail sometimes. I’m not concerned as our vote against it was never going to stop it”.

FreeDem entreaties to the centrist parties to end what they claim is the “farce” of the coalition would seem have had little effect. In the recent controversy over FreeDems claims that Seneschal Sir Crest Siervicül was a “puppet” of the Finance Minister, senior ModRad figures forcefully denied the charges, insisting that Sir Cresti was firmly in charge, and that the coalition was achieving its aims. In the Clark the coalition parties appear to have maintained their cohesion.

Among other bills on the Clark, the 2nd BHAID Disbursement Bill also passed with token opposition. The Bill donated the residual funds of TalossaAid as well as the proceeds of an election prediction competition to develoment in East Africa and to an international election monitoring organisation, respectively. Senator Lüc da Schir’s ambitious and long-gestating reform of provincial catchment areas also passed by substantial margins, despite reservations in certain provinces about the consequences for their future numbers.

Less fortunate was Senator da Lhiun’s bill condemning Turkish President Erdogan’s recent authoritarian turn, reflecting unease in the Ziu at “topical” legislation. Also going down to defeat was the sole Organic Law amendment on the Clark, FreeDem MC Chirbi Scherpa-Carreido’s “Resident Cunstaval” Bill which would have restricted the King’s power to appoint  a Crown representative to a province t residents of that province only. The bill fell victim both to conservative reticence but also the official FreeDem policy of waiting for the conclusion of the RCOR before voting in favour of any further constitutional reform.

49th Cosa: May Clark published

Secretary of State Marti-Pair Furxheir has published the second Clark of the 49th Cosa. MZs have until 21st May to vote on the five bills in the Clark.

In Government business, Minister for Finance Sir Alexandreu Davinescu MC presents his budget (49RZ4, the Omnibus Finance and Budget Bill).

The budget reveals plans to purchase a new chain of office for the Seneschal, funding for the design of the proposed issue of coinage during the term, as well as and for the production of ID cards. The budget also allocates funds for promotion of the Kingdom in the Greater Talossan Area and internationally.

For the first time since its establishment a budget has been allocated to BHAID, the Kingdom’s overseas development and emergency relief agency. Prior to this the organisation has relied exclusively on private donations. [ETTInxheneu Crovâ is Administrator of BHAID] The bill would also authorise the government to hold a national fundraising drive for general purposes, capped at $60.

In other government business, Foreign Minister Breneir Itravilatx MC has proposed 49RZ7, the BHAID Disbursement (II) Bill. This would authorize the support of the GiveDirectly project in East Africa with the funds received in 2015 from TalossaAID, as well as a small grant to IFES, which promotes free and fair elections globally. The bill is co-sponsored by Minister of STUFF Ian Plätschisch MC and FreeDem Senator C. Carlüs Xheraltescú.

Three other bills feature on the Clark. The sole constitutional amendement on the Clark, 49RZ6 the Resident Cunstavals Bill, has been proposed by FreeDem MC Chirbi Scherpa-Carriedo. This would require the Crown’s personal representative in each province to be a resident of that province.

ModRad Senator Epic da Lhiun has proposed 49RZ5 Making the Bosphorous Great Again Bill, which would officially condemn what the Bill claims is the illiberal and authoritarian turn in Turkish politics under President Erdogan. The bill is co-sponsored by FreeDem MCs Dr Txec dal Nordselvã and Chirbi Scherpa-Carriedo.

Finally Distain and ModRad leader Senator Lüc da Schir has proposed the long-gestating 49RZ8 Provincial Catchment Area Reform Bill. The bill would reallocate the territories om.which the citizenry of each Talossan province  is recruited in order to provide a more contiguous area, as well as encourage local cooperation between citizens. The Bill has been vociferously and at times profanely criticised by a number of leading Benitian citizens for its treatment of that province, and indeed Senator da Schir has offered to abstain on his own Bill in response to the disquiet. The bill has been co-sponsored by Seneschal Sir Cresti Siervicül MC, Senator Xheraltescú, Dr dal Nordselvã, and Senator da Schir’s party colleague Glüc da Dhi MC.

Schivâ calls for “Website Responsibility” in First Clark

FreeDem leader Miestrâ Schivâ, now an MC after leaving the Other House following the election, has proposed the “Website Responsibility Bill” in the 1st Clark of the 49th Cosa.

Dama Schivâ claims that the current system, which places responsibility for official Talossan websites in the hands of the Scribery, has led to “neglect” and a “conflict of responsibility” with the Government. She therefore proposes to move responsibility for the nation’s internet presence to the Ministry of Stuff, leaving the Scribery responsible for the publication of the Organic Law and legal codes of the Kingdom.

The Bill as published in the Clark is an amended version of the initial project, which would have also made the Scribe responsible for maintaining a list of public officials, and would have made the Chancery responsible for the technical infrastructure of the web presence. Dama Schivâ stated that in her view the Scribery should be absorbed into the Chancery, and the latter should assume responsibility for the technical infrastructure in the interests of efficiency.

Commenting on the earlier version of the bill in the Hopper,  RUMP leader Sir Alexandreu Davinescu praised the desire to “clarify responsibility”, but felt that the initial version went too far in placing “onerous” tasks in the hands of the Scribe. He also questioned increasing the responsibilities of the Chancery, asking if “you are at all concerned about centralizing so much power?” As head of the Chancery S:reu Furxheir himself stated he was open to a number of possibilities for reform, but that his concern was “not [to] control people but to ensure results”.

After expressing some doubt as to whether her measure would receive support from the government parties in any form, Dama Schivâ appears to have accepted some of the suggestions received by deleting the most controversial elements of the bill. Indeed the amended measure has in fact received support from within the coalition and from the Chancery, with Seneschal Sir Cresti Siervicül, Sir Alexandreu and ModRad MC Glüc da Dhi expressing their satisfaction. S:reu Furxheir declared that it was a “major piece of legislation”.

Aside from Dama Schivâ’s bill the Clark contains two others proposed by S:reu Furxheir himself on election dates and on the organisation of the Chancery.

July Clark: Democratic Amendment fails, three out of four bills defeated

As predicted by ETT, 48RZ2 (the Democratic Amendment) failed to overcome determined RUMP opposition in the Cosa. The Amendment was supported by 123 seats, with the coalition parties and the Socialists voting për. The 67 seats held by the RUMP voted contrâ. This meant that the Amendment failed to reach the required two-thirds majority in the Cosa. No MCs abstained, but neither Nicholas Hayes nor Béneditsch Ardpresteir participated in the vote, and thus would seem to have exited the Ziu. As reported by ETT, since since neither has completed the formalities necessary to claim their seats, according to the Chancery, the seats they won the general election will be re-allocated. In the Senäts, the Amendment actually passed, with a majority of 6 Senators voting për, and two abstaining.

In fact three of the four bills clarked failed to pass the Ziu. As well as the Democratic Amendment, two other bills, an Organic Law amendement and an ordinary statute, were defeated.

48RZ1, the Automatic Votes Validation Amendment, clarked by the Secretary of State Marti-Pair Furxheir, would have revised the electoral provisions of the Organic Law. It would have moved the point at which election were validated from the level of each individual vote cast to a verification of the electronic voting system itself. The Amendment failed in the Cosa, as it was unable to reach a two-thirds majority. In the Cosa 100 seats voted për, 79 contrâ, with 11 abstentions. In the Senäts, 4 Senators voted për, 3 contrâ, with 1 abstention.

48RZ4, the Easy Conversions Bill was a statute proposed by Ian Plätschisch MC and would have changed the official system of measurement of the Kingdom to the metric system. In the Cosa, the bill received majority support, but the Senäts deadlocked, leading to its defeat. In the Cosa, 111 seats voted për, 56 contrâ, with 23 abstentions. In the Senäts 4 Senators voted për, 4 contrâ.

The fourth and only successful measure in the July Clark was 48RZ3, the We Had a Short Amendment Buried in a Larger One Act. This Organic Law amendement was proposed by Senator Munditenens Tresplet. Its corrects an anomaly that had been created by a previous constitutional reform relating to the right of Members of the Cosa to declare themselves the nominal representative of a particular geographic constituency, despite MCs actually being elected from one national constituency. The amendment received the required majorities in each house of the Ziu. In the Cosa, 152 seats voted për, 11 seats contrâ, with 27 abstentions. In the Senäts, 7 Senators voted për, with one Senator voting contrâ.

Busy Fifth Clark

legislation

The 47th Cosa may be coming to a swift end with one remaining Clark next month, but that hasn’t stopped Talossan Legislators from proposing a large number of bills for the Fifth Clark.

Among those bills are two proposing changes to the way we run our General Elections. Both bills, proposed by Secretar d’Estat Marti-Pair Furxheir specifically address, among other things, the ballot itself. Perhaps the biggest change proposed is found in 47RZ19 – The Election Ballot Act, Strike 2. In this legislative proposal, Secretar’ d Estat Furxheir proposes adding a 50-word essay from each Cosa party explaining the party’s respective position on referendums.

Another big piece of the legislative puzzle this Clark are the three bills proposed by Distain Miestrâ Schivâ aimed at provincial reforms. Two of the bills, which almost missed the Clark deadline due to wording issues that made the Cantzeleria refuse to clark them, are aimed at prohibiting a Cunstaval from being the leader of another provincial government and allowing provinces to self-select their Cunstaval.

Voting has not yet concluded on the Clark. Stay tuned to ETT for updates.