RLwtP: How A Bill Becomes A Law II

So, remember back last December I made this quick post, pointing out how the baroque formality of the Imperial Senate served as an effective Schelling fence against certain kinds of bullshittery?

Well, given the fun that is the current 2,300 page-plus, two-hours-to-print omnibus spending bill, I feel the urge to point out that there’s a Schelling fence against that too, there, both the bullshittery and the micromanagement inherent in the system.

Namely, the reason that the President of the Imperial Senate has to read out all Harmonious Proposals of Unquestionable Justice and Incontrovertible Benignity in full to a quorate Senate (i.e., none of that speechifying to an empty room one sees on C-SPAN) before anyone can even open debate on them, and again – if they’ve been amended – before the final vote is taken.

Concision. Not just a virtue, it’s the only way to get anything passed at all.

 

8 thoughts on “RLwtP: How A Bill Becomes A Law II

  1. Namely, the reason that the President of the Imperial Senate has to read out all Harmonious Proposals of Unquestionable Justice and Incontrovertible Benignity in full to a quorate Senate (i.e., none of that speechifying to an empty room one sees on C-SPAN) before anyone can even open debate on them, and again – if they’ve been amended – before the final vote is taken.

    …Which could be immediately exploited by a faction that couldn’t necessarily muster enough opposition to actually defeat a given bill in a vote but that could stage a walk-out before the final reading begins, thus de facto killing the vote procedurally.

    Similar things have been tried before; c.f. the liberum veto of the Sejm of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

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    • On one hand, wouldn’t achieve anything: the number you have to pull out to render the Senate inquorate is 1/3rd for ordinary matters and 1/6th for matters of substance, per the Charter VII.XVII, and if you have that many Senators, you could defeat the measure in a vote anyway.

      On the other hand, also wouldn’t work. Doing your Senatorial job isn’t considered optional under most circumstances, and as such the President of the Senate can exercise his power to order the Guardian of the Enlightened Discourse to drag your asses back into the chamber.

      And if that isn’t enough, the Curia has power to censor the Senate (in the Roman sense of the term), per the Charter VI.VI, in the case of felonies and misdemeanors of moral turpitude, and actively trying to subvert the deliberative process qualifies with knobs on. Take things this far, you get to lose your seat, and also your head.

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        • It’s possible that other duties could have pulled enough members outsystem to render the senate inquorate. I’m not 100% familiar with how the Eldrae view things, but I get the feeling that holding office is seen as a privilege and an act of service, not, you know, their day job.

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        • What the previous commenter said, essentially. “Most circumstances” are not “all circumstances”. If you are about your Senatorial duty or performing some other important task somewhere else, that’s not the same thing at all as “eh, feel like being obstructive today”.

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    • “Similar things have been tried before; c.f. the liberum veto of the Sejm of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.”
      Yes they were tried. Costing 123 years of being partitioned between the neighbouring states… Members of the Sejm employing liberum veto were usually paid by foreign ambassadors to do so. Still – mighty stupid thing to include in your legislative system.

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