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  Constitutional Convention (Moderators: Gustaf, Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee)
  Powers of federal govt (Senate) and of regional govts. (Debating) (search mode)
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Author Topic: Powers of federal govt (Senate) and of regional govts. (Debating)  (Read 16072 times)
Unconditional Surrender Truman
Harry S Truman
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« on: October 10, 2015, 01:11:58 pm »

The problem (which I think is continued by just changing each individual section individually) was that the constitution basically stipulated almost every important detail of atlasia so to change anything had to be done via a constitution (there is no reason, for example, that the constitution rather than legislation should stipulate the activity standard for voting in elections, say). That plus the awful quality of the writing meant the flow of amendments.

This is exactly why I've been pushing to strike the text of the current Constitution in full. We need a complete re-write, not piecemeal reform.
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
Harry S Truman
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2015, 04:26:33 pm »

I offer the following amendment:

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Unconditional Surrender Truman
Harry S Truman
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2015, 03:38:38 pm »

That's a good idea. If it's an urgent, unanimous fix it should be voted on immediately. Anything else can wait.

Another thing we need to definitely have is the SoFE administer the booth. Enough waiting on 5 different regional executives to open five different booths in five different booths or whatever. The arguments for that existing were beyond inane, and proven garbage time and time again.

Also, how about we clarify that the amendment must receive 60% support nationwide to pass? If we still mandate it to be based on the regions, you could have a situation where it fails by 1 vote with very low turnout in two regions, while passes heavily with extremely high turnout in another. Thus, something an overwhelming majority of voters support would fail to pass.

This is an excellent idea. The current amendment process is poorly constructed and ought to be replaced.
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
Harry S Truman
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« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2015, 04:11:23 pm »

     60% support nationwide is rather low, but I would accept it as a compromise if it is balanced with more stringent requirements on the Senate proposing an amendment.

67%, perhaps? That would correspond to the current requirement of 2/3 of the Regions.
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
Harry S Truman
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2015, 12:48:42 pm »

I completely agree. Less detail and high threshold is a better approach.

This. The Constitution should provide a framework, not a blueprint.
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
Harry S Truman
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2015, 04:58:58 pm »

Abstain. I'm torn on the proposal itself, but I definitely think the present text is too bulky.
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
Harry S Truman
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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2015, 07:10:05 pm »

I'd prefer to greatly condense the text of that section: as it is, the format is still quite bulky. Perhaps something like this:

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Note that this does not change the substance of PiT's amendment: rather, it simply reduces the overall length of the text by eliminating redundancies and combining similar sections into one.

- Sections 1 and 9 of PiT's amendment are combined, as both deal with the circumstances in which Regions may enter into "treaties, alliances, and confederations": rather than a complicated description of the circumstances in which inter-Regional alliances are allowable and a separate prohibition of alliances with foreign powers, the new Section one establishes the general requirement that all proposed pacts have the consent of the national legislature.
-Sections 2, 4, 7, and 8 are combined, as all are fairly succinct descriptions of powers denied to the Regions.
-Section 5 is further condensed, eliminating the bulky second clause with the more succinct "except in the manner prescribed by the Federal Legislature"
-Section 6 (now Section 3) is left intact, with some tweaks to the wording.

(To avoid confusion, I will not introduce this as an official amendment until we have decided whether or not to adopt PiT's version.)
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
Harry S Truman
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« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2015, 11:43:40 am »

In that case, I hereby propose the following amendment:

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The purpose of this amendment is to make the current text simpler and more succinct; it does not significantly alter the substance of PiT's amendment.
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
Harry S Truman
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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2015, 12:39:19 pm »

I object - for the same reason as before. Section 5 is, for me, unworkable - I feel that there should be a system in place to reduce or increase the size of the legislature based on the number of candidates.

Rejecting my amendment would not eliminate Section 5 because it was already adopted with PiT's amendment. If mine is voted down, we'll be left with a long-winded blueprint1 that does everything my amendment does in a more bulky, verbose style. A better strategy would be to adopt my amendment - which simplifies the current text significantly - and then to introduce a motion to strike Section 5.

1 No offense, PiT.
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
Harry S Truman
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« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2015, 07:22:21 pm »


My objection is not too late. So the previous motion must be put up for a vote.

If Clyde's statement didn't count as an objection, then obviously yours didn't, either. At least you learned a valuable lesson on how to properly propose amendments and levy binding criticisms!

My objection was on time and within protocol. Mind counts. Cris motion to honor my objection by opening a vote on the amendment from the 23rd. Adam was right about Clyde's but completely wrong about mine. You lose on this one Griff.

Posting "Section 5 is a nonstarter" is not a formal objection, JCL, as I'm sure you know from your service in the Senate and the Mideast Assembly. Every legislative body in this game requires members to post "I object" (or something of that nature) in order for said post to be considered an objection. Saying that you dislike the amendment is not enough; otherwise, my post would have counted as an objection as well.
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
Harry S Truman
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« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2015, 11:06:51 am »

Rather than making two long, minutely-detailed lists of powers for both sides of the federal-regional equation, I suggest we simply list the powers held by the federal government and append that list with the statement "All powers not delegated to the [National Government] by this Constitution are reserved to the Regions respectively, or to the people." That will both make the Constitution more succinct and broaden the scope of Regional authority (as the Regions will have control over all issues not granted to Nyman, rather than a finite list of duties).

Also, an idea for how the powers debate should proceed: to avoid having twenty-five separate amendments differing only in their allocation of a few powers, I propose that we give delegates 48-72 hours to discuss what powers should be vested in the federal government/the Regions. After that time, the P.O. will open a final vote. On their ballots, each delegate will list the powers they feel should belong to the federal government; all powers that are mentioned by a majority of the delegates will be included in the final draft of the Constitution.
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
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« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2015, 11:17:34 am »

Also, I object to Clyde's amendment. I am generally in favor of devolution, but some of those powers are clearly national concerns. Granting the Regions sole control over "environmental issues," for example, would be crippling at a time when a national response to climate change is a national security prerogative.

Rather than listing certain areas of policy in which the federal government has no say, I would suggest composing a concrete list of powers held by the Senate (or Congress, if we go with bicameralism) and then vest all other powers in the Regions. That way, we could specify that the federal government has control over emissions regulations (for example), but the Regions could retain the right to legislate on conservation and other areas of environmental law.

Likewise, on a stylistic note, the proposed text is very bulky. There is no reason to have 10 sections that all begin "the regional bodies shall control...": we could just as easily have one section listing all the powers held by Nyman/the Regions, which would be much more accessible and succinct. Once again, we are building a framework, not a blueprint: there is no need to cover every detail.
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
Harry S Truman
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2015, 07:33:32 pm »

I support Truman's proposal.
Delegates, what do you think? If there's enough consensus, we'll go with that option.

As no-one has objected, I move that we go ahead with this.
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
Harry S Truman
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« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2015, 05:30:56 pm »

NAY
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
Harry S Truman
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« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2015, 06:48:24 pm »

As JCL's amendment was rejected, I would like to resurrect this idea:

Also, an idea for how the powers debate should proceed: to avoid having twenty-five separate amendments differing only in their allocation of a few powers, I propose that we give delegates 48-72 hours to discuss what powers should be vested in the federal government/the Regions. After that time, the P.O. will open a final vote. On their ballots, each delegate will list the powers they feel should belong to the federal government; all powers that are mentioned by a majority of the delegates will be included in the final draft of the Constitution.
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
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« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2015, 04:36:19 pm »

I propose that the federal government be granted the following powers:

1. To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, and to distribute the revenue thus collected
2. To regulate foreign trade and interregional commerce
3. To establish uniform laws of naturalization
4. To regulate the value and coinage of the national currency
5. To establish a uniform system of weights and measures
6. To establish post offices and post roads
7. To define and punish crimes committed on the high seas
8. To declare war, issue letters of marque and reprisal, and make laws governing the capture of land and water
9. To raise, support, and regulate the national armed forces
10. To admit new states and territories to the Union
11. To set policy for energy and fuel emissions
12. To guarantee access to medical care
13. To make laws governing borrowing, lending, and the selling of stocks and bonds
14. To establish the minimum wage
15. To confirm or reject nominations for the Supreme Court and the officers of executive departments
16. To impeach members of the executive and judicial branches by a 2/3 vote
17. To establish a central national bank
18. To make all laws necessary for the enforcement of the Constitution and federal law

Numbers 1-9 are lifted from the US Constitution; the rest are powers that logically need to be executed at the national level to avoid confusion (ie: financial policy).
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
Harry S Truman
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« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2015, 07:13:12 pm »

I can understand why some people might object to the energy policy and medical care parts of my proposal; I am bemused, however, as to why anyone would oppose having a federal minimum wage, or to having a national bank.

As conservatives are so fond of point out, Regions unilaterally raising and lowering the minimum wage will cause wages and employment to plummet, as companies will inevitably move their base of operations to the Region with the lowest minimum wage. The only way to prevent that is to have a national minimum wage that is the same in every Region. (If there is anyone who thinks that we should abolish the minimum wage entirely, I would remind them of the Gilded Age as an excellent example of why this does not work).

Likewise, it is quite obvious that we need some kind of Federal Reserve to keep borrowing and lending from getting out of control. I realize that many conservatives like to lambast the Fed as an evil, job-killing cabal controlled by bankers and lobbyists, but that's not actually how it works. If we deny the federal government the right to establish some kind of national bank, I guarantee that the economy will crash before the end of the next decade.
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
Harry S Truman
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« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2015, 02:54:57 pm »

1. AYE
2. AYE
3. AYE
4. AYE
5. AYE
6. AYE
7. AYE
8. AYE
9. AYE
10. AYE
11. AYE
12. AYE
13. AYE
14. AYE
15. AYE
16. AYE
17. AYE
18. AYE
19. AYE
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
Harry S Truman
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« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2015, 04:37:24 pm »

Aye to all with the exception of 14

14.  Nay

Minimum wage should be set by the regions for their own region
That's all right in theory, but in reality this will only drive down wages. Regional politicians gunning for a short-term drop in unemployment will seek to pass lower and lower minimum wage laws, creating a cycle where other Regions have to lower their minimum wage to stay competitive. A national standard is the only way to go on this issue.
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
Harry S Truman
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« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2015, 07:32:34 pm »

If a vote it is a tie it isn't adopted correct.
There's nothing in the rules about this either way: however, I can see no reasonable argument for a tie vote representing a positive consensus. I will therefore consider Proposal 12 to have been rejected.
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