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WHEREAS the 31st Cosa chose to deal with the lack of Talossan law against "murder, rape, robbery" and other serious crimes against the person by incorporating the laws of the State of Wisconsin into Talossan law, where indigenous Talossan law does not contradict them;

AND WHEREAS the 35th Cosa amended this to specify only certain sections of the Wisconsin Statutes, which currently comprise sections A.1-4 of El Lexhatx;

AND WHEREAS this means that a thorough knowledge of Talossan law necessarily requires a knowledge of Wisconsin law;

AND WHEREAS Wisconsin law has never in fact been used to punish infamous crimes committed by Talossan citizens, such as statutory rape;

AND WHEREAS the practice of Talossan law and jurisprudence should be open to all Talossans, not just those who are already professional lawyers;

AND WHEREAS the only way Wisconsin law has been used in Talossa is by trained practitioners of United States law introducing Wisconsin precedent into their Talossan legal briefs, giving those trained in United States law an unfair advantage over those who are only trained in Talossan law;

AND WHEREAS we should find a different way to achieve the original intent of the measure, which was to make infamous crimes against the person a crime under Talossan law;

AND WHEREAS the basic principles of what is moral, right and good under Talossan law are already contained in our Covenant of Rights and Freedoms;

AND WHEREAS previous versions of the Organic Law specified "generally accepted principles of Anglo-American law" as a foundation for Talossan law, but this has been removed;

AND WHEREAS it is wise to re-establish some legislative basis for Talossan juridical practice;

BE IT ENACTED by the Ziu that sections A.1-4 of El Lexhatx are replaced in their entirety by the following:

1. The basis of all Talossan law and jurisprudence are the principles contained in the Covenant of Rights and Freedoms.

2. Where Talossan statute law is silent, Talossan courts shall make decisions in accordance with Talossan juridical precedent. Judges may also use precedent from other legal systems with which they are familiar to guide their decisions, though such precedent shall not be binding.

3. Behaviour by any Talossan citizen which is repugnant to the principles contained in the Covenant of Rights and Freedoms is an offence, and Courts may apply any punishment authorised by Organic and statute law to those convicted of such behaviour, in strict proportion to the severity of the offence and the presence or absence of any mitigating circumstances.

4. For repugnant behaviour as described above which takes place outside Talossa, conviction by a credible judicial authority in another jurisdiction shall count as prima facie evidence.

The Hopper / Government Proposal on an Elected Head of State
« on: February 02, 2021, 02:28:33 PM »
Pursuant to section 4 of 55RZ12, and consequent upon the success of Option One, "an elected head of State" in the Ranked Choice Referendum, a majority of the Cabinet hereby offers the following proposal as the starting-point for debate. We hasten to emphasise that this proposal is designed to assuage the fears and doubts of Talossan monarchists as much as possible, while retaining the elective principle.

The proposal is to replace the current Organic Law II.3, namely

The King of Talossa is King John I, until his demise, abdication, or removal from the throne. Should the King at any time renounce or lose his citizenship, that renunciation or loss shall be deemed to imply his abdication of the Throne. Upon the demise, abdication, or removal from the Throne of the King, the Uppermost Cort shall be a Council of Regency.

with the following:

  • The King of Talossa shall be chosen by a National Conclave of all members of the Ziu, all members of the Cort Pü Inalt, and the heads of government of all provinces. Every member of the Conclave shall have one vote.
  • The Conclave shall be chaired by the Senior Judge of the CpI, or in their absence the next available CpI judge in order of seniority, unless it decides differently. The Conclave shall assemble upon the 6th anniversary of a King acceding to the Throne, or at any time that there is no King.
  • The candidate chosen by the conclave shall be approved by the nation in referendum, and then receive the title of "Heir Presumptive".
  • Upon the demise, abdication, or removal from the Throne of the King, the Heir Presumptive shall swear an oath promising to protect and uphold the Organic Law of Talossa and the rights of all its citizens, and thereupon become King of Talossa. If there is no Heir Presumptive, the Uppermost Cort shall be a Council of Regency until an Heir Presumptive is chosen.
  • Unless the King of Talossa is chosen as their own Heir Presumptive, they shall be deemed to have abdicated upon having served in that role for 7 years.

We aim to put this, or some other proposal to similar effect, to a vote during this Cosa.

Wittenberg / Suggestions for a John Eiffler memorial
« on: February 01, 2021, 04:01:47 PM »

Any other ideas?

Wittenberg / [FINANCE] PATRIOT POINTS programme for state fundraising
« on: January 08, 2021, 03:49:39 PM »
Estimadăs és estimäts cüncitaxhiens:

The 55th Coså budget set a target of ℓ325 ($US487.50) in voluntary fundraising to fund our programme.

I am announcing today the PATRIOT POINTS programme to encourage broad participation in the fundraising scheme. Every citizen gets one Patriot Point for every $1 of "voluntary taxation" (donations) (click the CONTRIBUTE graphic on the front page of our national website) or stamp/coins sales, as confirmed by the Burgermeister of Internal Revenue.

Whoever has the most PATRIOT POINTS on 15th April* this year will receive the Seneschál's Medal for Merit in the regularly-scheduled Investitures Ceremony (El Lexhatx F.40.2). Second prize is a fancy certificate. Third prize is you're fired a slightly less fancy certificate.

Please bear in mind that this Voluntary Taxation Programme is proof of concept. If Talossans respond to it well, we can consider removing other forms of taxation - for example, the fees to run in Cosa/Senäts elections. I'm not personally a fan of pay-to-play democracy, but we can consider abolishing them if Talossans show that they are responsible enough to fund State activities voluntarily.

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favour.

* or 15th May if we have a month of recess

The Lobby / [INTERIOR] Appointment of a Minister
« on: January 05, 2021, 02:35:34 PM »
Whereas @the Government's original choice for Interior Minister had to resign before the new Ziu even met, and whereas the Distáin has been covering the portfolio since then, and the Distáin is severely overworked, and whereas a bigger Cabinet with more voices and more capability for doing jobs is always better:

therefore I am happy to recommend to the Regent, under Organic Law VI.3, that @Adam Grigoriu be named Minister of the Interior. Note that this will mean cxhn. Grigoriu having to give up his two Permanent Secretary roles, but I'm sure we can cover for those.

Wittenberg / COVID-19 update
« on: January 01, 2021, 10:33:18 PM »
New Zealand will be coming out of lockdown starting on Thursday. We have had around 20 deaths in total; there are 100 remaining cases, mainly in nursing homes. We seem to have broken the back of this monster, and hopefully our national wealth will not suffer.

Meanwhile, Australia, the UK and the US are suffering because the growth of conspiracy theory in those countries means that the social discipline required to enforce public health measures are lacking. That's what happens when you let your population get dumbed down.

Turns out that, due to efficient and scientifically-backed action from our Government which was supported by the broad mass of the population, we not only beat COVID-19 back with only 25 deaths in total, but we actually had modest, but positive, economic growth for 2020. Only Taiwan of the developed nations can say the same.

The Hopper / Real Cosă 2021
« on: January 01, 2021, 10:09:45 PM »
The Government's Coalition Agreement specified setting up a bipartisan Senäts committee to discuss possible changes to Talossa's electoral system. That was the responsibility of the Attorney-General, who is on extended leave; the Deputy Attorney-General has not yet stepped up to announce whether he's keen to take that over or not.

With that in mind, I was just reminded of my post from last year suggesting an Electoral Reform for Cosă elections which would work well with any number of Cosă seats, whether 15 or the current 200. The tradeoff is: a "realler" Cosă means an effective "threshold", beneath which the smallest parties would get no seats. It is up to the Ziu as a whole to decide whether any threshold is appropriate.

The principles are:

  • A "circular" party list. Seats would now be allocated automatically by the SoS, one each to every candidate on the list, in order, and when the list comes to an end, it begins again from the beginning. Example: a party which has 5 members on the list but wins 8 seats would end up giving 2 seats to the first 3 people on the list, and 1 to everyone else. The effective change here is that it would no longer be up to party leaders to give a big chunk of seats to some MCs and maybe only 1 to others; all MCs, plus or minus 1 seat, would be equal.
  • The current "1/3 allocations off list" would be changed to "a party may add 1/3 extra members, rounded up, to its list after the election". If your original list had 5 people on it you could add another 2 later. If you only had 1 person on your list, you could only add 1 later.
  • Existing provisions barring MCs from individually holding more than x% of the Cosa would still exist, meaning there would be a limit to how many seats could be held by a 1-person party.
  • Seats would be allocated by a rounding system known as Largest Remainder Method with a Hare quota, which is essentially the status quo.
  • The basic idea is for a 15 seat Cosa, which would mean that - based on the votes from the last election - a party would need 6 votes to guarantee a Cosă seat, though depending on other results, they could possibly win one with 3 votes. If this threshold is considered too stringent, the model would work well with more MCs. If one or more parties were "tied" for the last seat, they would all get a seat and thus the Cosa would be slightly expanded.

Draft legislation:

Amendments to OrgLaw IV

Section 1 The Cosa is the national legislative assembly, and is composed of a number of seats apportioned among political parties based on their performance in the General Election. This number shall be twice the number of Senators, minus one, or a greater number than this designated by law, except that no change in the size of the Cosă shall take effect until the next General Election. The Coså may administer itself as it sees fit.

Section 4 Vacant seats occurring between elections shall be filled in accordance with law.

Amendment to El Lexhatx B.2.3

      2.3 The ballot must also include, for each party contesting the election, a ranked list of citizens to whom the party intends to award Cosa seats. If a party does not submit a candidate list to the Secretary of State before the election, the party leader shall be considered the only person on that party's list.

2.3.1. Pursuant to Organic Law IV.2, the Secretary of State shall apportion seats to parties on the basis of their vote totals by use of the Largest Remainder Method, using a Hare quota (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Largest_remainder_method). If one or more parties are "tied" for the last seat or several seats, then the Secretary of State shall be entitled to assign one seat to all of the said parties and therefore to temporarily expand the size of the Cosa to more than the number otherwise set by law.

        2.3.2. Up until 10 days after the opening of the First Clark, a party leader may amend their list by adding names to it, in ranked order after the original names. The maximum number of names that may be added is 50% of the number of names originally on the list, rounded up.

2.3.3. After all lists are finalised and before the conclusion of the First Clark, the Secretary of State shall announce the distribution of each parties' seats as follows: One seat will be given to each candidate on the list, in ranked order. If all members on the list have received a seat and there are still additional seats, the process in shall be repeated until no more seats are available. If any person assigned a seat as above either
- already has the maximum number of Cosă seats allowable;
- declines their seat(s);
these seats will be reallocated according to the criteria above. If a party cannot assign all of their seats under the criteria above, the additional seats are forfeited.

2.3.4. Any vacant seats occurring between elections shall be reassigned according to the procedure in 2.3.3 above.

The Hopper / The Hopper Is For The People and Other Clarifications Bill
« on: January 01, 2021, 05:45:28 PM »
WHEREAS Organic Law VII.5 sets a small list of which Talossans are entitled to "submit legislative proposals... for the consideration of the Ziu", i.e. to "clark Bills";

AND WHEREAS Organic Law VII.4 states that the Secretary of State is to maintain the Hopper as "a public venue for the inspection of legislative proposals before they become bills";

AND WHEREAS the word "public" in OrgLaw VII.4 is ambiguous as to exactly who is entitled to participate in the Hopper, outwith the specific power to turn legislative proposals into bills;

AND WHEREAS the sections of El Lexhatx governing the Hopper (H.6, 7, 13 and 21) do not resolve this ambiguity;

AND WHEREAS it is my general belief that maximising public participation in the legislative process is a good thing, and I see absolutely no reason why all Talossan citizens should not be entitled to participate fully in the Hopper, including submitting draft legislation, only excluding the power to actually "Clark bills";

AND WHEREAS the Regent has humbly offered his opinion over and over again that excluding Talossans from the legislative process depresses activity, and this measure will allow all citizens to help shape the law, while ensuring that the legislative power remains with elected officials and not beneficiaries of patronage of party bosses;

AND WHEREAS, while doing research for this bill, I found quite a few messes, missing sections, and notes by the Scribe of Abbavilla which should be cleaned up, no matter the substantive question of this bill;

AND WHEREAS the amendment to H.6.4 below removes the possibility of someone dredging up a "stale bill" which has remained un-proposed for months or even years and putting it on the Clark long after everyone's forgotten the issues involved;

AND WHEREAS H.13. is a noble sentiment, but the phrase "if at all possible" makes it inoperative and a waste of space:

BE IT ENACTED by the Ziu of the Kingdom of Talossa as follows:

1. El Lexhatx H.4. shall read in its entirety:

On each Clark, the Vote of Confidence shall read as follows: "Do you wish the current Government to continue in its term of office?"

2. El Lexhatx H.6.4 shall be amended to read as follows:

If a legislative proposal has remained in the “The Hopper” for more than 59 days, the Secretary of State may remove it it shall be considered to have been removed, though any person entitled to do so may subsequently re-publish it.

3. A new section, H.6.8, is added to El Lexhatx as follows:

All citizens of Talossa are entitled to participate fully in discussions and debates in the Hopper, within the bounds of law and of the decisions of the administering and presiding authorities of the Hopper. Any citizen may submit a draft of legislation to the Hopper, though these shall not be considered to be "legislative proposals" within the meaning of H.6 until sponsored by one or more individuals authorised to submit legislative proposals under Organic Law VII.5, under the process contained in H.8.

4. El Lexhatx H.13, currently reading:

If at all possible, bills presented for review in the Hopper should be translated into Talossan before being Clarked.

is DELETED IN ITS ENTIRETY and replaced with the following text:

All bills submitted for the Clark shall be in one of the national languages.

5. The numbering of El Lexhatx H.24 is hereby confirmed, and the Scribe's note there attached is DELETED.

The Lobby / College of Arms, and the leadership thereof
« on: December 20, 2020, 09:14:20 PM »
Estimats cüncitaxhiens, the Government in consultation with the Regent has reached a determination that the Squirrel King of Arms, Lord Hooligan, is no longer in a position to continue his duties. This is distressing to everyone concerned, given his long and stellar record of service in Talossa.

However, there is thankfully an obvious successor - the current Dean of the College of Arms, @Beneditsch Ardprestéir, who has manfully kept the flag of Talossan heraldry flying these past few years.

Therefore, as authorised by El Lexhtatx L.5, I recommend to the King of Talossa acting through his appointed Regent that Beneditsch Ardprestéir be named the Squirrel King of Arms.

Upon his appointment, I would like to schedule a meeting between the new Sq.K.A, myself and the Culture Minister, to determine whether the College should continue its current fully autonomous status, or whether it would benefit from becoming formally part of the Royal Civil Service and thus to benefit from the administrative support of the Ministry of Culture.

Grült méirçi.

Wittenberg / Free Democrats Convention 2021: MIESTRA QUITS!
« on: December 07, 2020, 04:05:13 PM »
The Free Democrats of Talossa will be holding our Convention, our supreme policy-making meeting, in February 2021. All party officials will be re-elected and the Constitution and the Platform of our Party will be up for any amendments.

It seems as good a time as any to announce that I do not intend to stand for a renewed term as Party President. The Free Democrats have reached the dangerous point that the Moderate Radicals reached a few years ago; that is, we have accomplished the majority of our historical programme, and the question becomes: "What now? What is the basis of unity of our party?" The disturbing thought has occurred to me that the de facto basis of unity is personal loyalty to me, which is good neither for Talossan democracy nor my ego.

It has gotten to the point where I feel the need to balance "competing factions" within the Party who jockey for my support, and I honestly can't be arsed about that. This Convention will have to set out a clear political vision if we want to lead the next Government for a 4th term; we need full and honest debate among the membership to let that happen; and it'll be best for me to step aside from the party's political leadership for that reason. This is also the reason why the Convention will happen after the Ranked Choice Referendum results will be made known; that will give a strong signal as to which of several alternative paths for "maximising democracy and liberty" in Talossa we should follow.

(Please note that I intend to complete my 3rd term as Seneschál and may well stand for a 4th, if the Free Democrats and I agree that that's the best way forward. This is a question only of the future of the FreeDems as a Party.)

If you want a say on the leadership, platform and very existence of Talossa's dominant political party, please let me or Party Secretary @GV know to become a member and get a vote at the Convention. Grült méirçi.

The Lobby / [JUSTICE] Acting Minister
« on: December 07, 2020, 02:57:47 PM »
The Attorney-General, Açafat dal Vàl, is on leave at the moment, so I just thought I'd announce that I'll be personally taking on his portfolio in an "Acting" capacity until he gets back. Just in case we need to sue someone at short notice, lol

Wittenberg / ANNOUNCING: the Campaign for an Elected Head of State
« on: November 27, 2020, 12:52:05 PM »
With the Regent taking the democratically-correct option of not exercising his veto, the Ranked-Choice Referendum on Talossa's Constitutional Future will take place at the time of the 3rd Clark, i.e. January (unless we go for a month of recess, which I don't think we will).

Neither the Free Democrats nor the Government will be taking an official "side" in this referendum, since there are supporters of all four options within those bodies (taken together). It is therefore appropriate to launch a stand-alone campaign for supporters of the option "the King of Talossa shall be replaced by an elected Head of State.".

Note that the details of this option will be fleshed out (by Cabinet) only if it wins. It might mean a "New Talossan Republic", at one end of the scale; at the other end, it might mean a minimalist solution, that Talossa remains a Kingdom a permanently-empty Throne and a periodically-elected Regent. But this is the campaign for you if you think Talossans should choose their Head of State - for a shorter or longer term of office, renewable or not, via popular vote, legislature or Electoral College, with sizeable powers or none, whatever their title.

This is a thread for you to post your vision of an Elected Head of State, and to make suggestions for the campaign. Thank you.

The Lobby / [FINANCE] Voluntary Donations / Coins and Stamps Campaign
« on: November 25, 2020, 10:52:06 PM »
So if you've read the upcoming Budget, you'll know that the Government proposes to raise up to 325 louise (just under $500 US currency) to fund our programmes for the coming term, either by selling Talossan coins and stamps, or simply through "voluntary taxation" (i.e. donations from citizens, given freely).

I should note that, if these campaigns are successful, they will offer evidence in favour of cutting back on other costs or fees, including the current fees for Cosa and Senäts campaigns. I've never been a great fan of these because they're "pay-to-play democracy", but an alternative has not been successfully established yet.

So my vague plans for how this will run will be to run a kind of self-reported League Table. I.e., every time a citizen buys coins/stamps or pays voluntary taxes, they pass their receipt on to the Ministry of Finance. We'll keep a running table updated, and whoever is at the top when the 55th Cosa is dissolved gets some kind of Royal or Seneschál's honour.

What do others think?

The Lobby / The 55th Cosa Budget
« on: November 22, 2020, 03:00:04 PM »
WHEREAS the Organic Law directs that each government submit a budget by the second Clark of their Cosa term,

AND WHEREAS this bill has been approved by all members of the Cabinet; so

PART A: Appropriations Request

His Majesty's Government hereby submits to the Ziu a request for the appropriation of funds from the Royal Treasury totaling 356¤46 ($535.15) for the specific purposes and subject to restrictions as outlined herein:

  • Webhosting costs for nine months with DoRoyal: 53¤26 ($80.15)
  • Promoting Talossa's social media posts,  ℓ20 ($30)

for fees for a Registered Agent to represent Talossa as an Unincorporated Association under the laws of the State of Wisconsin, to enable us to formally hold property, 66¤40 ($100)

  • Prizes for cultural contests, 66¤40 ($100)
  • Honoraria for writers of articles for a new Talossan cultural magazine,  ℓ150 ($225)

FURTHERMORE, notwithstanding the above allocations, no funds shall be disbursed without a notice of disbursement having first been transmitted to the Ziu at least fourteen days prior to the disbursement, except that disbursements solely for the purpose of postage may be made with no less than 24 hours notice. Notices shall contain details of the purchase and a cost estimate for the purchase, or the total amount paid if seeking funds for reimbursement. Copies of receipts and/or invoices will be provided upon request to Members of the Ziu.

FURTHERMORE, any funds allocated by this section shall be retained in the central fund by the Burgermeister of Inland Revenue until such time as they are disbursed. Funds not disbursed prior to the end of the government term shall remain in the central fund.

PART B. Fundraiser, Minting, and Other Authorizations

FURTHERMORE, the Minister of Finance, or her appointed deputy shall undertake to create manage and promote a voluntary fundraising campaign,  to the citizens of Talossa and other interested parties over the course of the term,. The targeted amount for the campaign shall be ℓ325 ($487.50). The proceeds of seignorage, sales of stamps, TalossaWare proceeds, and other voluntary contributions shall be included in this total except as provided elsewhere. The expected income for the term is as follows:

    Proceedings of sales (Coins/Stamps/Talossaware) + Donations to the Kingdom: ℓ325 ($487.50)
    Registration fees for Cosa election: ℓ20 ($30)
    Registration fees for Senäts election: ℓ10 ($15)
    Interest on Talossa's bank accounts: ℓ5 ($7.5)

Total: +ℓ360 (+$540)

PART C: Investment Policy

FURTHERMORE, His Majesty’s Government hereby directs the Burgermeister of Inland Revenue to invest all held funds into an interest-bearing savings account unless or until otherwise directed or advised by act of the Ziu.

The Lobby / Calling for bills for a Clark
« on: October 30, 2020, 11:44:36 PM »
I can't see anything in Organic or Statute bill mandating when the SoS calls for bills for an upcoming Clark. IMHO the 2 or 3 day period which seems to have become the norm seems too short, especially given that certain citizens might not pay any attention to a bill until they know it's going to be Clarked, at which point there might not be sufficient time for suggesting/considering amendment.

What do others think?

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