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January 12th, 2005

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04:31 pm - Legislative reform
rayne_vandunem and I were recently discussing the future of the legislative and executive branches of the new California (/Oregon/Washington) nation. While we didn’t come to an agreement on the executive, I think we came up with a fairly good plan for the configuration of the legislature, and the decision-making process on bills, as well as the structure of the constituent units of the nation.

Essentially, there would be a unicameral Congress, which would debate and vote on bills. Once Congress approves a bill, it would be sent to the counties (there would probably be rules for determining which kinds of bills get sent to the counties, so that the counties’ agendas aren’t clogged with useless and procedural minutiae). Each county council (Board of Supervisors, if we use the California term) would then vote to approve or disapprove, without ability to amend. A simple or two-thirds majority, as appropriate, would be required to pass the bill. If it fails to get approved by the counties, it is returned to the Congress for amendment and reconsideration. Also, there’d be a deadline for counties’ decisions after which an automatic abstention is recorded, so that the counties can boycott, but not stall, a vote.

This also gives us a fairly good compromise between the state-federal complex in the US and the unitary governments of the UK, for example, which might be close enough to tradition (and give a sufficient taste of local rights and such) to bring more people on board.

It’s not perfect, in the sense that if we go based on current counties a county of 1,400 (Alpine) will have as much power as one of ten million (Los Angeles), but we can split and merge counties if necessary, or assign weighted votes based on population (or, even in addition, weight votes in each county based on the proportion of assenting supervisors).

By the way, with California, there’d be 58 counties, and with Oregon and Washington we’d total 135, before any fiddling. Also, it could be scalable to a US-wide level if secession didn’t happen; the national Congress could send the issues to state legislatures in the same fashion.

So, what are your thoughts? Do you think it could work?

(posted in cali_secede, free_arcadia, and my own journal)

(3 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:February 23rd, 2005 06:24 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... the problem with this - and I think you've actually acknowledged it - is that the counties would get bogged down in a zillion bills that the county officials simply do not have the time (or staff) to study in depth.

In the original version of many State legislatures, the upper house was to represent counties, much the way the US Senate represents the States.

If we're to have a country the size of CA+OR+WA, I think we've a small enough population that representatives of a parliament-style legislature can be pretty close to the people they represent.
[User Picture]
Date:February 27th, 2005 03:01 am (UTC)
Counties could potentially decide which ones to review - the ones that don't matter to them, they don't vote on, so that the noncontroversial procedural matters don't take up all that time.
Date:November 7th, 2006 03:11 am (UTC)

anarcho-syndicalist commune

we should pracice direct democracy, but if we succede, we should take Nevada too, that way we'll have a barrior of toxic waste, gambling, and hookers, to slow down the US army.

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