The Imperial Charter: Section Seven

…continued from part six.

SECTION VII: THE SENATE

Article I: Functions of the Senate

The functions and powers of the Imperial Senate shall comprise the following:

  • To prepare and present to the Imperial Couple for enacture detailed legislation in any and all areas of authority of the Imperial government, as defined in this Charter; and to amend or repeal such laws thus as are deemed necessary.
  • To prepare and present to the Imperial Couple for enacture such decrees as they deem necessary to handle circumstances for which no legislation provides.
  • To prepare and present to the Imperial Couple for enacture legislation to meet the Empire’s obligations under any treaty which the Senate shall choose to ratify, which shall nonetheless not be effective unless the Imperial Couple shall choose to enact it.
  • To provide to the Imperial Couple such advice and counsel as they shall deem appropriate, or that the Imperial Couple shall request from them.
  • To review, amend, and approve each budget submitted to them by the Imperial Couple, and to return it to them for enacture.
  • To adjudicate, mediate and rule upon disputes, other than disputes at law, between constituent nations of the Empire and demesnes of different nations thereof.
  • To approve the appointment of ambassadors to foreign nations nominated by the Imperial Couple.
  • To approve or repeal those treaties and agreements which governed relations between the Empire’s constituent nations prior to the founding of the Empire, or which governed relations between the Empire and a nation newly admitted to the Empire, and to codify the requirements of such treaties as shall be approved as Imperial statute law.
  • To declare a state of war, except in such cases where the state of war is required by existing Imperial law, or where invasion or imminent danger shall require such a state to be declared before the Senate may meet, in which case the power to do so shall belong to the Imperial Couple.
  • The Senate may, without the Imperial assent, enact rules governing its own behavior, censure its members for unfitting behavior; and with a substantive vote, proscribe its members from sitting.

The Senate may, additionally, discuss any other matter at any time, in order to express the sense of the Senate on a matter via a Senate Proclamation, although it may not legislate upon matters outside its Constitutional authority.

The Senate shall have two powers over the Imperial Couple: they shall have the power to declare the dissolution of the Empire, and they shall have the power to disqualify an Imperial Couple from ascending to the Imperial right and authority. However, these powers shall only be exercised for just and proper cause.

Article II: Composition of the Imperial Senate

The Imperial Senate shall be composed of three Chambers, designated and constructed as follows:

  • The Chamber of Counselors, to represent the highest knowledge and achievement of the Empire;
  • The Chamber of Demesnes, to represent the sovereignties which are joined together in the Empire; and
  • The Chamber of the People, to represent all the people of the Empire, indivisibly.

All those appointed to the Imperial Senate, regardless of Chamber, shall be entitled to the title of Senator.

No Senator shall be less than 27 years of age, and possessed of full legal capacity; shall not have completed a course of education appropriate to a daryteir; or shall have been convicted of any felony, or misdemeanor of moral turpitude; or shall not have been an Imperial citizen-shareholder for nine years, unless made a citizen-shareholder by the ratification of this Charter; or shall have failed to pay an amount in due service fees to the Empire for the six years preceding his appointment.

Article III: The Chamber of Counselors

The Chamber of Counselors shall consist of 72 delegates, nominated and selected on the basis of their personal excellence, as evidenced by unstained honor, peerless wisdom, success in the arts, philosophies, sciences, commerce, or war, or deeds of renown without peer even among the ranks of the exultant.

Senators of the Chamber of Counselors shall serve for terms of twelve years; and one-third of the Chamber shall be reselected in every fourth year. Such delegates may serve indefinitely, should no adequate peer be found to take their place; but after serving their first term, they may decline the honor of further service, if the Imperial Couple shall permit.

Candidates for the Chamber of Counselors shall be nominated by the Imperial Service according to the criteria set forth by this Charter and by such law as shall refine them, to the number of 144, and shall vote amongst themselves, none being permitted to vote for their own selection, until the Chamber of Counselors is complete.

When vacancies occur in the Chamber of Counselors for any reason, the most senior of the remaining candidates nominated at the time of the nomination of the Senator vacating his seat shall be appointed to fill such a vacancy for the remainder of that term.

Article IV: The Chamber of Demesnes

For the purpose of selecting delegates to become Senators in the Chamber of Demesnes, delegates shall be selected from the demesnes of the Empire on the following basis:

  1. Each demesne of the Empire whose citizen-shareholder population is one one-hundred-forty-fourth of the Imperial citizen-shareholder population or greater shall appoint a single delegate to the Chamber of Demesnes;
  2. The demesnes of the Empire whose citizen-shareholder population is less than one one-hundred-forty-fourth shall be grouped into Circles whose total citizen-shareholder populations shall be both:
    1. As close to equal as is practically possible;
    2. And shall not exceed one one-hundred-forty-fourth of the Imperial citizen-shareholder population;
  3. From each Circle, a single demesne shall be selected by random drawing, and that demesne shall appoint a single delegate to the Chamber of Demesnes, and that delegate shall represent all demesnes of that Circle; and the other demesnes of that Circle shall appoint advisors for his counsel.

No Senator of the Chamber of Demesnes shall not be a resident of the demesne, or of one of the demesnes within the Circle, for which he has been appointed.

Senators of the Chamber of Demesnes shall serve for terms of twelve years. Such delegates may serve for twelve successive terms only, unless their reappointment is approved by a two-thirds vote of the Chamber of Demesnes.

When vacancies occur in the Chamber of Demesnes for any reason, the government of the represented demesne shall appoint another to fill such vacancies for the remainder of that term.

Article V: The Chamber of the People

For the purpose of selecting delegates to become Senators in the Chamber of the People, the citizen-shareholders of the Empire shall be divided into 144 1,728 centuries, by random and permanent assignment. A single delegate to the Chamber of the People shall be selected from each century, from among those citizen-shareholders of that century who shall be qualified for such selection; and such selection shall take place at least one month before the first session of the year.

No runér, no magistrate of a Curial court, and no-one in the Imperial Service above executorial rank shall be eligible for the Chamber of the People.

Senators of the Chamber of the People shall serve for six-year terms, and one-third of the Chamber shall be reselected in every second year. One who has served as Senator for a particular century shall be ineligible for selection again until twelve subsequent selections have been made.

When vacancies happen in the representation in the Chamber of the People for any reason, the Imperial Couple shall issue a Writ of Selection to fill such vacancies for the remainder of that term.

(The strikeout/boldface in the above article represents the First Amendment, expanding the Chamber of the People by increasing the number of centuries from 144 to 1,728. This significantly expanded the flexibility of the Senate to represent the different bodies of opinion among the people, as the Empire expanded, at the price of additional administrative overhead. As a historical note, while additional expansions to the Chamber (and, indeed, the Chamber of Demesnes) have often been mooted, the administrative difficulties of supporting meaningful debate between such a larger number has invariably resulted in the defeat of such amendments. )

Article VI: Aisymnetes

In times of interregnum or emergency, where no legitimate Imperial power exists, the Senate may grant through the mechanism of the aisymnetes the Imperial right and authority to another, for a term not to exceed one year. At the time of such appointment, the Senate may prescribe boundaries within which the selected one is obliged to remain. At the end of his term, the actions of the selected one shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Article VII: Appointments

Approval of appointments, both those of ambassadors and diplomatic officers, and those other appointments which legislation may place in their purview, shall require a two-thirds vote of both the Chamber of the People and of the Chamber of Demesnes.

Article VIII: Citizen-Shareholder Veto

Any Senator may invoke a citizen-shareholder veto upon any legislative act currently before by the Senate, and said act is, unless addressing a present emergency or such imminent danger as not to admit of delay, then to be voted on by all of the citizen-shareholders of the Empire before its implementation. A simple majority vote of the citizenry is sufficient to veto the passage of such an act. When such a veto is invoked on an act addressing an emergency or imminent danger, it shall be implemented immediately, but the citizen-shareholder veto shall cause it to be repealed immediately should the vote be successful.

Article IX: Enabling Acts

No law shall be passed routinely exempting the Imperial Couple, the Senate, or Curia, or any other instrumentality of the Imperial government, from any provision of any Imperial law; but recognizing that extraordinary circumstances often demand extraordinary measures, the Senate may authorize, through the mechanism of the Enabling Act, a specified set of extraordinary measures to be undertaken, though they conflict with any Imperial law outside this Charter, and these measures shall be considered lawful.

Article X: Initiatives

Every citizen-shareholder of the Empire has the right to submit a legislative proposal to the Senate by written petition through the public dataweave, and such proposals shall be made available for public vote, and any legislative proposal that receives the support of one twelfth part of the population shall be brought before the Senate and there debated.

(Strikethrough and boldface in the above article are the Second Amendment, passed as part of the on-line governance reforms in the heyday of the first Empire-wide public networks, which replaced the then increasingly archaic written petition procedure for submitting citizen legislative proposals with a mechanism for such to be done electronically. )

Article XI: Legislative Unity

No bill brought before the Senate shall contain legislation touching on more than one subject, except for non-substantive bills for revision or codification of the statute law brought before the Senate by the Curia; or budgetary bills; or bills of appropriation.

Neither budgetary bills nor bills of appropriation shall contain legislative elements, or other matters outside the defined purpose of the bill; nor shall the Senate, within a bill of appropriation, seek to manage the allocation of appropriations beyond the stated purpose of the bill.

Article XII: Magnates

Should any Imperial citizen show great ability and wisdom, it shall be the right of the Imperial Couple or the Senate to nominate him for a seat in the Chamber of Counselors, and this being approved jointly by the Imperial Couple and a two-thirds vote of the full Senate, he shall be granted the right to attend meetings of the Chamber or of the full Senate and there speak, although he shall not have a vote, and the title of Magnate.

Should it prove necessary, such Magnates shall be subject to discipline and censure in the same manner as Senators.

Article XIII: Matters of Substance

On such bills for which this Charter shall require a substantive vote, and on such bills as subsequent legislation or an adopted procedure of the Senate shall require a substantive vote, and on such individual votes for which at least one-sixth of the Senators there voting shall require a substantive vote, the Senate shall require a five-sixths vote to affirm.

A bill or other vote upon which a substantive vote is required in a single Chamber shall require a substantive vote to be taken in every Chamber in which it must be voted upon; and should it have failed to achieve a substantive vote in a previous Chamber before the requirement was known, it must be returned to that Chamber, there to achieve one, before it may pass.

Article XIV: President of the Senate

At the beginning of each year’s fixed session of the Senate, the Senate as a whole shall elect from itself, by a two-thirds majority, the President of the Senate, who shall be empowered to summon the Senate into special session, to oversee the Senate’s deliberations, to appoint and to command such other officers of the Senate as it shall deem necessary to its functions, to ensure that the Senate’s Chartered duties are carried out, and to represent the Senate to the Imperial Couple, the Curia, and the people of the Empire. The President of the Senate shall hold his office until the beginning of the next year’s fixed session.

The President of the Senate may be removed at any time by a vote of no confidence in his leadership, which shall require a two-thirds majority of the Senate as a whole.

Article XV: Procedures

Any legislative measure, or other bill, save a bill for repeal, may be introduced in either the Chamber of the People or the Chamber of Demesnes, and shall become effective when passed by a two-thirds vote of both the Chamber of the People and the Chamber of Demesnes, except in those cases where a substantive vote is specified in this Charter, or by subsequent legislation or an adopted procedure of the Senate, or is called for by one-sixth of the Senators there voting.

Should a legislative measure, or other bill, fail to achieve a two-thirds vote, or substantive vote, in both Chambers, it shall be referred to the Chamber of Counselors for decision, and a two-thirds vote, or substantive vote, shall make it effective. The Senate may not, however, require less than a two-thirds vote of both Chambers to enact new legislation.

The Chamber of Counselors may initiate any legislative measure, or other bill, including a bill for repeal, by simple majority vote, which shall then be submitted to the other two Chambers for enacture.

As an advisory body, the Chamber of Counselors may introduce an opinion or motion on any measure pending before either of the other two Chambers; and either of the other Chambers may request the opinion of the Chamber of Counselors before acting upon a measure.

Each Chamber of the Senate shall adopt its own detailed rules of procedure, which shall be consistent with the procedural rules set forth in this Charter.

Article XVI: Repeal

A bill for repeal may be introduced in either the Chamber of the People or the Chamber of Demesnes, and shall become effective when passed by a one-third vote of both the Chamber of the People and the Chamber of Demesnes, except in those cases where a substantive vote is specified in this Charter, or by subsequent legislation or an adopted procedure of the Senate, or is called for by one-sixth of the Senators there voting, in which case it shall be effective when passed by a one-half vote of both the Chamber of the People and the Chamber of Demesnes.

Should a bill for repeal fail to achieve a one-third vote, or substantive vote, in both Chambers, it shall be referred to the Chamber of Counselors for decision, and a one-third vote, or substantive vote, shall make it effective. The Senate may not, however, require less than, or more than, a one-third vote of both Chambers to repeal legislation.

Article XVII: Quorum

The Senate may not convene with fewer than two-thirds of the total number of members; and shall take no substantive decisions, under any circumstances, with less than five-sixths of its total number of members present.

Article XVIII: Sacrosanctity

No Senator shall be subject to arrest, save for treason or other felony, in going to, or returning from, the Senate’s place of meeting, or during the continuance of the session, nor shall they then be subject to service of writs; their persons shall be sacrosanct at these times.

Senators shall not be liable for any of their votes, written submissions, or statements given in debate within the Senate, nor shall any such vote or statement give rise to any action in law, save only an action in respect of legislation outside the bounds of this Charter.

Article XIX: Sessions

The Senate shall assemble in full session at least once in every year, and such session shall begin at noon on the day of the spring equinox, unless they shall by law appoint a different day; and all sessions shall be held at the seat of government, unless a declared state of emergency prevents this.

After the Senate shall have adjourned, it may be called back into session by proclamation of the Imperial Couple, or by the President of the Senate, having received a petition signed by at least one-sixth of the Senators of each Chamber; and having been called back into session, shall not then adjourn again until it has given consideration to the specific matter for which it was summoned.

Article XX: Transparency

The Senate shall keep a journal of all its proceedings, in which the full debate verbatim and the vote upon every question shall be entered, and upon the end of each week’s session shall publish the same, excepting such parts as must, for the public safety, require secrecy.

Any Senator may make written protest against any act or resolution of the Senate, and the same shall be entered in the journal without delay or alteration.

…continued in parts eight and nine.

 

2 thoughts on “The Imperial Charter: Section Seven

  1. Pingback: The Imperial Charter: Section Six | The Eldraeverse

  2. Pingback: The Imperial Charter: Sections Eight and Nine | The Eldraeverse

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