Senate Reform and Ecclesia Empowerment Act 2024

Chapter I. Ecclesia Confirmation of Senators

  1. Article 3.2 of the Constitution is amended to read as follows.

The Senate may admit citizens in good standing, who have continuously held their citizenship for six months, as senators by a two-thirds majority vote. No Senator will take office who has not been confirmed by the Ecclesia by two-thirds majority vote. Should a senator forfeit their citizenship, they shall forfeit the office of senator.

Chapter II. Transfer of Confirmation Powers

  1. Article 5.6.a of the Constitution is amended to read as follows.

Appoint judges and magistrates with the advice and consent of the Senate Ecclesia, by two-thirds majority vote;

  1. Article 5.6.c of the Constitution is amended to read as follows.

Negotiate and conclude treaties with foreign regions with the advice and consent of the Senate Ecclesia, by two-thirds majority vote and the Monarch;

  1. Chapter II.1 of the Electoral Code is amended to read as follows.

The Minister-President shall appoint up to three election commissioners with the advice and consent of the Senate subject to confirmation by two-thirds majority vote of the Ecclesia.

Chapter III. Limitation of Senate Function as Appeals Court

  1. Article 3.7 of the Constitution is amended as follows.

The Senate shall hear appeals of criminal trials and shall determine the constitutionality of both decrees of the Monarch and laws of the Ecclesia, except where a statute reserves this power, in whole or in part, to another entity.

Chapter IV. Removal of Senate Veto over Constitutional Amendments

  1. Article 6.2 of the Constitution is repealed.

We absolutely should not force the Ecclesia to vote on who becomes a Senator.

May I ask what your reason for opposing this idea is?

The position of Senator is one which both requires a high degree of trust, and confers a high degree of political and in-game mechanical power over the region. For a body of such high power over the region, it does not make sense for the Senate to be entirely self-selecting. It should be noted that I am not proposing to allow the Ecclesia to force the Senate to accept anyone as a member; I am only proposing that the Ecclesia be required to confirm anyone whose membership the Senate has already accepted.

The Ecclesia is less experienced and could accept untrustworthy Senate candidates/campaign for them, even if we added the Senate as another requirement. And, if we did make it work, it’d slow down the already painfully long process of applying. Senators have no extra legislative power and aren’t representing the citizens, so why should the citizens vote them in? What if the citizens decline a perfectly good candidate when the more experienced Senate recognizes their skills? So many what ifs, none I like.

I find it difficult to believe that the Ecclesia would be able to force into the Senate any particular candidate, especially an unqualified one. Senate membership in this bill is still at the initiation of the Senate. This provision does not grant the Ecclesia any additional political powers that it could use to attempt to cow the Senate into accepting any particular person as a Senator that it does not currently have.

When the position of senator is one that already requires such a high degree of trust, there is no reason to believe that a speedy process is valuable. Quite the opposite; the process ought to be extended to allow for the highest possible degree of scrutiny on the candidate in question.

I have already explained this in my previous reply to you, although you have not addressed it. Senators possess a high degree of political and mechanical power over the region, which is only exceeded in the political realm by the highest officials of the Government and in the mechanical realm by the Monarch as WA delegate, who they are responsible for selecting. Given this, it does not make sense, in the context of a democratic constitutional monarchy, for the Senate to become an entirely self-selecting body. Additional oversight ought to be involved in the process. To use an admittedly flawed real-life analogue, the United States, federal judges do not represent the people either, but they are still subject confirmation by the U.S. Senate, because their positions are tenured for life and they have the power to make significant decisions affecting American law.

I think this hypothetical scenario is not likely. However, one thing that I would note is that, just because the Senate possesses a higher degree of seniority over the rest of the region, it is not necessarily the best arbiter of who belongs as a senator. You are concerned about the Senate admitting a qualified candidate who is rejected by the Ecclesia. I would assert that in such a scenario, the candidate could, in all likelihood, be a highly divisive figure. On that basis, they may not be able to effectively serve in a position of political mediator, or of leader in a time of crisis, that form important parts of their constitutional responsibilities.

More broadly, we cannot engineer political institutions to produce the outcomes that we consider to be the most desirable. The most we can do is design ones that allow for effective, accountable, and democratic government in the context of a constitutional monarchy that the Constitution establishes.

@Comfed I think this bill may be interesting, but I would find it easier to assess if you included markup or other representation of how you are proposing to change the constitution.

I’m also not sure that making this all one big omnibus is the best way to go. Each change is significant and may deserve debate on its merits.

Yours in friendship,

I’m inclined to agree that it would be better to split up the discussion on each part.

I’m not against involving the Ecclesia on treaties, missed feelings about involving them on new senators. I prefer that the Senate still sign off on constitutional amendments which affect the Senate and Monarchy.

I concur with the desire expressed by my colleagues to split this bill up. Some of these, such as reassigning responsibility for treaty ratification to the Ecclesia, I agree with. Others I am split on, such as the addition of an Ecclesiastical approval process for new Senators (though I think it’s a promising idea).

In large part, this bill would greatly focus the Senate’s responsibilities on regional security. I am not opposed to the Senate filling that role only, but if it does, it is already approaching realistic “carrying capacity”. Six is a large security council for a region with 100 endorsements on its Delegate.

This is done.

As to the concerns that this should be split into multiple different bills, I am amenable to that. To me, it seems like each chapter in the current bill would be appropriate as a separate bill, and potentially the provision to ratify treaties should also be separate.

So, going chapter by chapter of your bill:

Chapter I: I’m open to supporting it, but I think it deserves discussion in its own topic.

Chapter II: I’m think I’m against it. It’s not entirely wrong in principle, but I think it takes away from our regional uniqueness and loses the, I hope, benefit of the Senate’s restrained wisdom on those matters. Remember that all of these are powers of the Minister-President who is elected by and serves at the pleasure of the Ecclesia. They should be assumed to enjoy the support of the majority Ecclesia, unless it expresses its will otherwise.

Chapter III: I’m definitely against it. If we want to take that appeals function away, we should decide where we’re putting it!

Chapter IV: I’m definitely against it. The Senate veto applies to changes to the Senate’s role, and is part of a contract between the Senate and the People: to change the contract, both parties should agree.

I will be imminently splitting this bill into a number of smaller amendments, except for c. III, which I intend to address in a larger bill regarding judicature, and c. IV, for which there appears to be a lack of support.