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Author Topic: LEGISLATING FIX ONE: A Two-Reading system  (Read 1392 times)

Offline Miestră Schivă, UrN

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LEGISLATING FIX ONE: A Two-Reading system
« on: April 03, 2021, 01:28:20 AM »
The effective changes in this proposal are:

1) to require a bill to get the affirmative support of half of both chambers of the Ziu, as expressed in the Hopper, to proceed to Committee.
2) the Committee phase to be compulsory but last a maximum of 30 days.
3) make it easier to set up different committees with specialist areas of interests (eg. an Organic Law committee, a Finance committee, etc.)

At the very worst, this would draw out and lengthen the legislative process, unless legislators became more active. Some might consider this a good thing, as opposed to two or three activist MZs to write every Clark by themselves and just get pushed through on the Clark by apathetic hand-raisers. I expect even the conservatives will think that a good thing as long as progressives have the legislative majority! To sweeten the deal, I would also be happy to give up OrgLaw VII.6, which enables the Seneschál to "skip" the Hopper.

To replace El Lexhatx H.6-7 and H.11-13. Questions? Comments?

Quote
6. No bill may be published in a Clark unless it has passed the Hopper, as provided in this section.

6.1.  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" until sponsored by one or more individuals authorised to submit legislative proposals under Organic Law VII.5.

6.2. After a legislative proposal has spent at least 10 days in the Hopper, its proposer may request that it “move to committee”. A bill shall be considered to have “moved to committee” after at least half of the Senators and half of the Cosă seats express their support in the Hopper for it doing so.

6.3. A Legislative Advisory Committee of Talossa (in Talossan, el Comità da Redacziun Legislatïu; and hereinafter, "the CRL") shall review or revise all legislative items from the Hopper once they have moved to committee; and may recommend acceptance or rejection, or suggest amendments in their best judgment.
6.3.1 The CRL shall conduct all its deliberations openly in the Hopper.
6.3.2 The CRL shall consist of the incumbent Mençéi, Túischac'h, and Avocat-Xheneral.
6.3.3. The CRL may create further committees to which their functions may be delegated, as concerns any bill or category of bills. Such a committee must have at least 3 members, including at least 1 MC and at least 1 Senator.

6.4. After the CRL has given its recommendation, or if it gives no recommendation within 30 days of the bill having passed to committee, the sponsor of the bill may ask for it to be Clarked, with or without amendments.
6.4.1 The same bill can not be submitted to the Clark more than once in the same Cosa, unless the original bill was vetoed, the original bill had been retired or voted down by its main sponsor during the voting period, or the bill has been substantially amended, as judged by the Secretary of State.
6.4.2. Bills must be submitted to the Secretary of State more than 24 hours before the publication of the Clark. Bills received less than 24 hours before publication of the Clark shall be published in the next Clark or postponed for one Clark, at the Secretary of State's discretion.

6.5. The Secretary of State is empowered to refuse to put a certain bill on a Clark if said bill;
6.5.1. appears to him to be obviously on its face inorganic, or to have such grave errors as would make it ineffective and/or require further legislation or a Prime Dictate to make it effective.
6.5.2. does not specify exactly the Law(s) or Article(s) which it seeks to amend, change, or repeal, if the bill seeks to amend, change, or repeal any Article of the Organic Law or any Law
6.5.3. is not clearly typed or word-processed; and/or
6.5.4. is so substantially different from its form as a legislative proposal when “passed to committee” that it constitutes a significantly different proposal.
6.5.5. Any such decision shall be subject to judicial review.

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

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

6.8. Notwithstanding the rules about a bill’s eligibility to be Clarked, if no bill was submitted to the Clark at the moment of publication, the Secretary of State shall be allowed to add to the Clark a simple bill asking for Quorum where Cosa Members and Senators can vote to confirm their presence for the Clark.
 
6.9. The Secretary of State is under no obligation to create a permanent record of legislative proposals in “The Hopper.”
« Last Edit: April 03, 2021, 02:10:54 AM by Miestră Schivă, UrN »
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Offline Antaglha Xhenerös Somelieir

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Re: LEGISLATING FIX ONE: A Two-Reading system
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2021, 04:39:54 PM »
I do overall think something like thing might be a good idea, however, what im thinking might work better, is that once the bill is ready to move from the hopper, that it then moves to the Ziu, in the respective chambers, for members of the Ziu for a set period, to further debate and scrutinise the bill, then vote to see if it moves to committee stage, and then if the bill comes back on committee with amendments, the Ziu further debates those amendments, and votes to either adopt or remove them (might be easier to have these two votes as a vote of the whole Ziu) with then the Clark then being the vote on a "third" reading and passage of the bill, and perhaps with extra steps to provide ways to break a deadlock if needed. Im not sure how workable this is, but i think it might work better, for both scrutiny purposes, and a way to ensure that Ziu members have a chance to debate these things in their chambers before it votes, and therefore would hopefully help produce more informed members of the Ziu.
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Offline Glüc da Dhi S.H.

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Re: LEGISLATING FIX ONE: A Two-Reading system
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2021, 08:45:08 AM »
Like the general idea of this bill (though I do think some of the problems with legislating are cultural and shouldn't be fixed by binding rules). Will comment on some of the details later, except:

should there be certain exceptions? For example bills that don't affect law but exclusively contain appointments, non-binding recommendations to the government/King (Sense of the Ziu), foreign policy declarations, appropriations, setting up committees, may not always need to spend 30 days in committee.

Offline Eðo Grischun

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Re: LEGISLATING FIX ONE: A Two-Reading system
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2021, 09:44:32 AM »
That's a good point, Gluc. 

There are some things that should have a fast track.
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Offline Miestră Schivă, UrN

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Re: LEGISLATING FIX ONE: A Two-Reading system
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2021, 03:28:35 PM »
Very excited to hear of any specific amendments people want to suggest.
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Offline Miestră Schivă, UrN

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Re: LEGISLATING FIX ONE: A Two-Reading system
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2021, 06:54:41 PM »
BUMP. I'm minded to Clark this unless I get any feedback on specific amendments. I've spoken to the Túischac'h and he likes it.

I should note that I'd forgotten that a fast track to avoid this process exists, and that's Organic Law VII.6: "The Seneschál shall have the right at his discretion to withdraw any legislative proposal from the Hopper and instruct the Secretary of State to treat it as a properly submitted bill."
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Offline Miestră Schivă, UrN

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The Legislative Process Improvement Bill #1
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2021, 09:41:53 PM »
WHEREAS the quality of legislation passed by the Ziu of our Kingdom has always been of questionable quality, given not only the volunteer, part-time nature of our MCs and Senators, but also of the lack of "professional" legal advisers to proofread amateurishly-written bills;

AND WHEREAS the Hopper itself was an early attempt to improve the process; but has always been hampered by the disinterest or forgetfulness of MCs and Senators in reading legislation until it is Clarked, by which stage it is too late for amendments;

AND WHEREAS the last Cosa brought in la Comità da Redacziun Lexhislatïu (CRL) to streamline this process, but this body simply did not function in the last Cosa;

AND WHEREAS even if the CRL functions as foreseen in this Cosa, it does not solve the large problem mentioned above, that MCs and Senators do not pay attention to the details of bills until after they are Clarked;

AND WHEREAS the idea of a system of "multiple readings" of legislation before they become law has been raised in the past;

AND WHEREAS the incoming Attorney-General and Túischac'h have agreed on this proposal, which will require a form of "first reading", whereby bills will need a affirmative majority of both houses (along the same lines as a Túischac'h election) to go to the CRL, and subsequently cannot go to Clark for 30 days unless the CRL gives its affirmative say-so;

AND WHEREAS at the very, very worst this bill will only mean a 30-day delay in Clarking bills;

AND WHEREAS there is still an "escape hatch" for cases of legislative urgency, in the provisions of Organic Law VII.6: "The Seneschál shall have the right at his discretion to withdraw any legislative proposal from the Hopper and instruct the Secretary of State to treat it as a properly submitted bill"; and also in the provision for Prime Dictates;

AND WHEREAS a future reform, whereby the Cosă and Senäts will vote separately on legislation to allow even more opportunity for scrutiny and debate, may be presented later in this Cosă term, whether this bill passes or not;



BE IT ENACTED by the King, Cosă and Senäts of Talossa in Ziu assembled
that

1.  El Lexhatx H.6 shall be replaced in its entirety as follows:

Quote
6. No bill may be published in a Clark unless it has passed the Hopper, as provided in this section.

6.1.  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" until sponsored by one or more individuals authorised to submit legislative proposals under Organic Law VII.5.

6.2. After a legislative proposal has spent at least 10 days in the Hopper, its proposer may request that it “move to committee”. A bill shall be considered to have “moved to committee” after at least half of the Senators and half of the Cosă seats express their support in the Hopper for it doing so.

6.3. A Legislative Advisory Committee of Talossa (in Talossan, el Comità da Redacziun Legislatïu; and hereinafter, "the CRL") shall review or revise all legislative items from the Hopper once they have moved to committee; and may recommend acceptance or rejection, or suggest amendments in their best judgment.
6.3.1 The CRL shall conduct all its deliberations openly in the Hopper.
6.3.2 The CRL shall consist of the incumbent Mençéi, Túischac'h, and Avocat-Xheneral.
6.3.3. The CRL may create further committees to which their functions may be delegated, as concerns any bill or category of bills. Such a committee must have at least 3 members, including at least 1 MC and at least 1 Senator.

6.4. After the CRL has given its recommendation, or if it gives no recommendation within 30 days of the bill having passed to committee, the sponsor of the bill may ask for it to be Clarked, with or without amendments.
6.4.1 The same bill can not be submitted to the Clark more than once in the same Cosa, unless the original bill was vetoed, the original bill had been retired or voted down by its main sponsor during the voting period, or the bill has been substantially amended, as judged by the Secretary of State.
6.4.2. Bills must be submitted to the Secretary of State more than 24 hours before the publication of the Clark. Bills received less than 24 hours before publication of the Clark shall be published in the next Clark or postponed for one Clark, at the Secretary of State's discretion.

6.5. The Secretary of State is empowered to refuse to put a certain bill on a Clark if said bill;
6.5.1. appears to him to be obviously on its face inorganic, or to have such grave errors as would make it ineffective and/or require further legislation or a Prime Dictate to make it effective.
6.5.2. does not specify exactly the Law(s) or Article(s) which it seeks to amend, change, or repeal, if the bill seeks to amend, change, or repeal any Article of the Organic Law or any Law
6.5.3. is not clearly typed or word-processed; and/or
6.5.4. is so substantially different from its form as a legislative proposal when “passed to committee” that it constitutes a significantly different proposal.
6.5.5. Any such decision shall be subject to judicial review.

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

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

6.8. Notwithstanding the rules about a bill’s eligibility to be Clarked, if no bill was submitted to the Clark at the moment of publication, the Secretary of State shall be allowed to add to the Clark a simple bill asking for Quorum where Cosa Members and Senators can vote to confirm their presence for the Clark.
 
6.9. The Secretary of State is under no obligation to create a permanent record of legislative proposals in “The Hopper.”

2. El Lexhatx H.7, H.11, H.12 and H.13 are hereby deleted in their entirety, and Title H of El Lexhatx will subsequently be renumbered.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2021, 04:20:36 PM by Miestră Schivă, UrN »
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Offline Baron Alexandreu Davinescu

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Re: LEGISLATING FIX ONE: A Two-Reading system
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2021, 01:48:33 PM »
The main thing that jumps out at me here is that the main function of this bill would be to centralize power.

-Any Opposition bill or bill from a freethinking or "rogue" member of a Government party would now take twice as long to pass, and leadership would get to see a preliminary vote first (which makes it a lot easier to kill before passage).  Plus the committee would get a full month to pick apart the bill however they want, which also makes it easier to kill the bill.  Plus the actual Government would be given more power in the legislative process, which is unusual in terms of the separation of powers (executive officials aren't typically asked for their official blessing by the legislature).

-Any Government-approved bill can still skip the system and go right to a vote.

This seems problematic.  I'd suggest either eliminating the Seneschal's free pass (which seems like a bad idea) or establishing this system on a more informal basis (which has the benefit of requiring no new laws and allowing the creation of a system that works prior to making it a legal requirement).
« Last Edit: July 26, 2021, 01:51:08 PM by Baron Alexandreu Davinescu »
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Offline Ian Plätschisch

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Re: LEGISLATING FIX ONE: A Two-Reading system
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2021, 03:20:25 PM »
The Seneschal’s free pass is actually a very useful tool for the many times when a bill needs to be passed quickly.

I’m still not really on board with the overall idea of this bill and it’s companion; I think the only consequence will be two months of no comments rather than one

Offline Miestră Schivă, UrN

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Re: LEGISLATING FIX ONE: A Two-Reading system
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2021, 05:19:16 PM »
The goal of this bill is not a Government power grab, although I'm sure AD interprets it that way. It seems to me that AD has a habit of seeing virtually anything that happens in the Talossan State as a question of "how much power the institutions of Government have, and how they can be checked" (viz. the recent agonies over the Criminal Code). I have a very different lens: I see State actions through the question of "how effectively can good things be done, and bad things be revoked".

The goal of this bill is increased scrutiny over legislation which should lead to increased quality of legislation, something that I thought we were all agreed on was a goal. AD's best previous answer to this has been to shame people for making errors in legislation that weren't picked up; an approach which he just got on the receiving end of re: translations into Talossan and didn't seem to enjoy much. So, an institutional rather than personal answer seems best to me.

If AD objects to the Seneschal's Free Pass, that's in the Organic Law and I invite him to throw repeal into the pot in the All-Party OrgLaw Committee thread. If AD objects to having a Cabinet Minister on the CRL, well, that's a different question. I see it as "the Attorney-General has State responsibility for the quality of law". AD sees it as the Government getting control over things. See above. So would a different composition of the CRL sweeten the deal?

The fact that we need this bill at all is shown by the fact that - once again - this bill was ignored until its proponent said "right, I want to Clark this". A step before Clarking - "right, I want to take this to Committee" - seems indicated.
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Offline Baron Alexandreu Davinescu

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Re: LEGISLATING FIX ONE: A Two-Reading system
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2021, 05:55:13 PM »
The goal of this bill is not a Government power grab, although I'm sure AD interprets it that way. It seems to me that AD has a habit of seeing virtually anything that happens in the Talossan State as a question of "how much power the institutions of Government have, and how they can be checked" (viz. the recent agonies over the Criminal Code). I have a very different lens: I see State actions through the question of "how effectively can good things be done, and bad things be revoked".
I'd agree with your general sentiment, but I usually think of it in terms of (a) what is the real practical effect likely to be and (b) how could this be abused?

I'm not sure your motives matter very much here, either, to that point.  (I don't think this was a "power grab;" you've been proposing these sorts of things for a long time, cf. your Scribe bill, CRL, etc.)  But that doesn't change the practical effects: this bill would put up significant new barriers to legislation not approved by the Government.  If you don't like that outcome, then change the bill.

If AD objects to the Seneschal's Free Pass, that's in the Organic Law
Getting rid of the pass in this new process was your idea.  You suggested it in the first post.

If AD objects to having a Cabinet Minister on the CRL, well, that's a different question. I see it as "the Attorney-General has State responsibility for the quality of law". AD sees it as the Government getting control over things.
Usually it's the legislature that has responsibility for the quality of the law.  But again, motivation doesn't really enter into it.  You're proposing changing the law, and even if your motivations are as pure as the driven snow, that doesn't prevent the changes from having consequences.

The fact that we need this bill at all is shown by the fact that - once again - this bill was ignored until its proponent said "right, I want to Clark this". A step before Clarking - "right, I want to take this to Committee" - seems indicated.
...but didn't you just demonstrate how the current process works fine?  You announced you wanted to Clark this and drew attention back to it, and you got more feedback on it?  I mean, beyond the people who already had objections?
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Offline Miestră Schivă, UrN

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Re: LEGISLATING FIX ONE: A Two-Reading system
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2021, 08:05:07 PM »
I no longer support removing the Seneschál's Free Pass after Senator Plätschisch pointed out that some kind of "urgency measure" for emergencies is useful; although of course an argument could be made that we have PDs for that. But once more that's an issue for the OrgLaw Reform Committee.

I simply don't agree with you on what the real practical effect is likely to be, given that the vast majority of legislation in Talossa comes from the Government in any case. What we want is a situation where opposition and cross-bench MZs get maximum time and motivation to go through every bill and point out problems. If you want to strike an anti-government pose, fine; let's say that Government-aligned MCs and Senators have less motivation to "get it right the first time" because 'we can amend it later', so delayed law = good law.

The question is how to maximise scrutiny of laws before they go on the Clark. You've deliberately ignored the question of what happens if the A-Xh is no longer on the CRL, so I'll repose that; also the question of, what if a lower threshold (eg 1/3) were required to take a bill to Committee?
« Last Edit: July 26, 2021, 08:07:40 PM by Miestră Schivă, UrN »
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Offline Baron Alexandreu Davinescu

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Re: LEGISLATING FIX ONE: A Two-Reading system
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2021, 08:38:55 PM »
I no longer support removing the Seneschál's Free Pass after Senator Plätschisch pointed out that some kind of "urgency measure" for emergencies is useful; although of course an argument could be made that we have PDs for that. But once more that's an issue for the OrgLaw Reform Committee.

Yes, PDs seem like the better way to address emergencies.  I actually hadn't thought of that, and now you make me think that eliminating the pass is the best solution!  I hadn't thought it was, but that single change would make the whole bill acceptable.

I simply don't agree with you on what the real practical effect is likely to be, given that the vast majority of legislation in Talossa comes from the Government in any case. What we want is a situation where opposition and cross-bench MZs get maximum time and motivation to go through every bill and point out problems. If you want to strike an anti-government pose, fine; let's say that Government-aligned MCs and Senators have less motivation to "get it right the first time" because 'we can amend it later', so delayed law = good law.

Sure, I'm on board with the general idea.

You've deliberately ignored the question of what happens if the A-Xh is no longer on the CRL, so I'll repose that; also the question of, what if a lower threshold (eg 1/3) were required to take a bill to Committee?
I didn't think that was actually directed at me, since there's no need to "sweeten the pot" for me.  I'm not a member of the Ziu, so I can't vote no matter what I think about it :)

But taking you at face value: to me, the main issue is clearly that it seriously sharpens the two-track system of Government vs non-Government bills.  Anything that reduces or eliminates this problem will improve the bill.  Both of those changes would make it better.  Giving the Opposition Leader the same power to skip the process would be another.  But again, eliminating the pass entirely would completely eliminate the problem in my eyes and make the whole thing completely fine.
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Offline Miestră Schivă, UrN

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Re: LEGISLATING FIX ONE: A Two-Reading system
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2021, 09:45:01 PM »
Hmmm. Well, if that's the only problem... I have no problem with introducing a bill to repeal OrgLaw VII.6, but that would probably have to wait until the end of the Cosa to go through. Maybe as part of an omnibus with other OrgLaw fixes.

However, it should be replaced - in this bill - by a means for the Ziu to "declare urgency" and skip straight to Clarking if necessary. What would give the most democratic safeguards - a 2/3 majority, or the consent of the Leader of the Opposition? (OppLeader is one of those offices I'd honestly like to "beef up". At the moment I think their own real job is to read a rebuttal to the Speech from the Throne at the State Opening of the Ziu.)
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Offline Baron Alexandreu Davinescu

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Re: LEGISLATING FIX ONE: A Two-Reading system
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2021, 10:41:47 PM »
Hmmm. Well, if that's the only problem... I have no problem with introducing a bill to repeal OrgLaw VII.6, but that would probably have to wait until the end of the Cosa to go through. Maybe as part of an omnibus with other OrgLaw fixes.

However, it should be replaced - in this bill - by a means for the Ziu to "declare urgency" and skip straight to Clarking if necessary. What would give the most democratic safeguards - a 2/3 majority, or the consent of the Leader of the Opposition? (OppLeader is one of those offices I'd honestly like to "beef up". At the moment I think their own real job is to read a rebuttal to the Speech from the Throne at the State Opening of the Ziu.)
I personally don't have any other objections, but yeah, deleting that sentence from the OrgLaw in combo with this bill seems to be the best solution.  It exacerbates the two-track system far too much the way it is, but (I think) that's purely a function of the Seneschal's pass.  Without that, it seems like a level playing field.

To your latter concern, I personally wouldn't see the need to add in a mechanism for the Ziu as a whole to act with celerity to skip the process.  It seems to me like the existing VoC and Distain mechanisms would serve just fine for that.  If the Seneschal can't do something urgent because they're absent or ill, the Distain can do it.  If the Seneschal simply refuses and it's really so urgent, then threaten their removal.
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