Friday, 23 January 2009

Constitution of the Confederation of Democratic Simulators; An Experiment in Virtual Democracy



Constitution of the Confederation of Democratic Simulators

Ed. note: this version of the Constitution reflects all amendments to 3 August 2008 (Amendment 25)


Preamble

All branches of the government are bound to serve the public before themselves and to uphold the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, Founding Philosophy, Constitution, local laws, the SL ToS, and Community Standards without exception.


Article I - The Representative Branch


Section 1 - The Representative Assembly

The Representative Assembly (RA) is a body of democratically elected factions which represent different ideological views of its citizens. Its governmental role is to pass laws and its service role is to promote the city and perform long-term planning.


Section 2 - The Representative Assembly Body

Representative seats are chosen by means of the Sainte-Laguë? method using scores generated by Borda-count ranked votes cast by citizens. The last place rank in the Borda-count shall have a score of 0; and each successively higher rank shall have a score of 1 more than the next lower rank. The citizens will also rank the list of candidates from their first pick faction to serve on the RA.

The number of representative seats in the RA is equal to the odd whole number nearest to 10% of the population, rounded down, with a minimum of five seats and a maximum of forty seats.

Each faction controls their seats and may replace members or fill seats due to vacancies as they see fit. Each seat receives a single vote.

The Representative Assembly shall serve for a term of six months. New RAs shall take office on 1 February and 1 August. Elections shall be held over a 168 hour period beginning at noon SLT on the Saturday before the 16th of the month prior to the new RAs taking office. In the event of a server outage which prevents citizens from casting ballots and which lasts more than 12 hours, the Dean of the SC has the authority to adjust or extend the election schedule.


Section 3 - The Representative Assembly Leader

The Leader of the RA is the head of the faction which receives the highest Borda Count score. In the event of a Borda count tie between two or more factions, the tie will be broken by one (in the event of a two way tie) or more (in the case of a three or more way tie) best of three games of Rock,Paper, Scissors among the faction heads/founders. The games shall be overseen by the dean of the SC, who shall be the custodian of the official city RPS device.


Section 4 - Proceedings

The RA will convene at least once per fortnight. The RA may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior and with the concurrence of two-thirds expel a disruptive member from a session.


Section 5 - Journal

The RA shall keep and publish a journal of its proceedings. The individual votes of RA members shall be entered in the journal. Parts of the journal that are deemed secret by a 2/3 majority and with concurrence of the Philosophic branch will not be published. Secret journal entries may only be deemed secret if they prevent the exploitation of the city and citizens from external threats. All secret journal entries will have an expiration date at which time they will be voted upon again by the RA and verified as constitutional by the Philosophic branch.


Section 6 - Legislative Process and Veto

A vote in the RA is a simple majority vote of representative seats. Constitutional amendments require a 2/3 vote.

Final ratification of law is performed by the Philosophic branch, which can veto a bill or resubmit a modified bill for vote, if it conflicts with the Constitution. The Scientific Council may veto a revenue bill or resubmit a modified revenue bill for vote.


Section 7 - Powers of the RA

In regards to the Philosophic branch:

The RA provides a vote of confidence on candidates to the Philosophic branch. This vote is in regards to their perceived likelihood to uphold the constitution.

The RA can amend the constitution with a 2/3 vote.

The RA can seek impeachment of members of the Philosophic branch by initiating an impeachment hearing.


Section 8 - Limits on the RA

No member of the RA may engage in what might be considered a conflict of interest such as accepting money or favors from individuals or special-interest groups.

All changes to the rate of compensation for the RA, SC, Chancellor or Guildmaster shall take effect at the start of the term of the Assembly subsequent to the term in which the determination is made.


Article II - The Executive


Section 1 - The Chancellor

The Chancellor will serve as the executive of CDS, working to coordinate and plan community projects.


Section 2 - Powers of the Chancellor

The Chancellor of CDS shall, subject to the laws of CDS, have the power:

(a) to determine the use to which any and all land in CDS shall be put;

(b) to expend monies held by the Office of the Chancellor of CDS for the administration and management of public facilities (including, but not limited to, roadways, signage, public buildings, public events and similar), and to discharge any other duties or powers of the Office of the Chancellor conferred by this Act or any other Act of the Representative Assembly;

(c) to publicise CDS;

(d) to appoint and pay deputies or other staff to hold office in the Office of the Chancellor of CDS to facilitate the discharge of any function of the Office of the Chancellor conferred by this Act or any other Act of the Representative Assembly;

(e) subject to the payment of adequate compensation to any citizen or citizens thereby affected, reclaim or swap any land held by any citizen of CDS for the purposes of discharging any function of the Office of the Chancellor conferred by this Act or any other Act of the Representative Assembly, provided always that no citizen of CDS shall not be caused to have no holding in Neufriestadt at all thereby;

(f) to make regulations pursuant to the above; and

(g) to enforce such regulations in accordance with law.


Section 3 - Public Oversight

The Chancellor must provide for regular and active citizen participation and public review of any decision concerning land use or the aesthetic or functional environment.


Section 4 - Themes

Nothing in this Act shall give the Chancellor of CDS any power to change the overall theme of Neufriestadt or any other sim or administered component of the CDS.


Section 5 - Chancellor Selection Process

The Chancellor of the CDS shall be selected by the Representative Assembly from among any CDS citizen who shall make application to the RA.

The application period shall begin when the membership of a new RA is named and end the first day of the new RA term. This provision shall come into force with the next RA election following passage and ratification of this amendment. (ed. note: the Seventh RA)

The chancellor will serve a term ending with the election of the next chancellor by the incoming RA.

The Chancellor may not be elected to or serve on the Representative Assembly, nor serve on the Scientific Council. The Chancellor may hold a position in the Artisanal Collective but may not vote therein.


Section 6 - The Chancellor's Veto

The Chancellor shall have the power to veto any act of the Representative Assembly, except any bill to remove the Chancellor from office. The Representative Assembly may override a veto with a vote by at least a two-thirds majority. In order to exercise the power of veto, the Chancellor shall post a public declaration of her or his intention to exercise that power, together with the name of the the Act in respect of which he or she seeks so to exercise, and the reasons for exercising it in respect of that Act, on the Confederation of Democratic Simulators web forums or wiki within seven days of the posting to the wiki of the Act in respect of which he or she seeks to exercise that power.


Section 7 - Removal from Office

The Chancellor may be removed from office prior to the expiration of the term of office by at least a two thirds vote of the Representative Assembly.


Section 8 - RA Oversight

Each month the Chancellor shall attend a meeting of the Representative Assembly, and fully and truthfully answer there any questions posed by any citizen about any aspect of the affairs of the CDS or of the Office of the Chancellor. The Chancellor will also attend upon three days notice at the written request from any member of the Representative Assembly.


Section 9 - AC Overlap

Any power or responsibility assigned to the Artisan's Collective by the constitution and precedent that overlaps those provided to the Chancellor in this amendment will be assigned to the Chancellor.


Article III - The Philosophic Branch


Section 1 - The Scientific Council

The Scientific Council (SC) is a self-selected meritocracy. Its governmental role is to interpret and enforce the constitution. Its service roll (ed. note: sic) is to resolve citizen disputes and moderate user forums and events.


Section 2 - The Scientific Council Body

The SC is comprised of Professors, Chairs, and a single SC Dean. Professors are chosen at the recommendation of current members based on demonstrated skill and desire to uphold the constitution without bias. Chairs are nominated by the Dean and approved by a simple majority vote. There are a maximum of nine Chairs available, with the Dean receiving one. Members of the SC can be voted out with a 2/3 majority.


Section 3 - The Scientific Council Leader

The Dean is elected by a simple majority vote of all members.


Section 4 - Proceedings

The SC will convene at least once per month. The SC may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior and with the concurrence of two-thirds expel a member from a session.


Section 5 - Journal

The SC shall keep and publish a journal of its proceedings. All individual votes of the members of the SC on any question shall always be entered in the journal, along with a statement regarding their personal philosophy on a given vote.


Section 6 - Ratification of bills passed by the Representative Assembly

Chairs of the SC will ratify bills passed by the Representative Assembly by simple majority vote and may resubmit the bill with modifications for vote.

The SC shall act as the Court of Common Jurisdiction, with the Dean of the SC appointing Chairs of the SC to hear specific trials, under the Code of Procedure previously passed by the RA, with any appeals heard by the full SC.


Section 7 - Hearings and Trials

Hearings and trials not involving government officials will be overseen by a single Professor. All impeachment hearings will be performed in the Philosophic branch by the Chairs without a jury. If a Chair is accused, that Chair will be excused for the duration of the hearing. A member of the branch which is not calling for the impeachment hearing will serve as Leader of the Philosophic branch during the hearing.


Section 8 - Powers of the SC

In regards to the Representative branch:

The Philosophic branch may veto or rewrite and resubmit a bill or constitutional amendment if it is in violation of any of the founding documents.

The SC can seek impeachment of members of the Representative branch for violating the constitution or acting illegally.

Impeachment proceedings

1. Impeachment is an order that a holder of public office cease to hold such public office, or is suspended from such office for any time with or without pay, and/or is disqualified either permanently or for a term certain from holding any or all public office or offices.

2. A person may only be impeached by the Scientific Council, sitting as a court, following a trial in accordance with law.

3. Only persons (or persons acting on behalf of bodies) specified in the text of the Constitution shall have the power to commence impeachment proceedings.

4. Subject to Article VI, Sections 2 and 7 of this Constitution, nothing in this Constitution shall prevent a Court of Common Jurisdiction from banishing any person, even where that person is a holder of public office in the Confederation of Democratic Simulators, and banishment would preclude that person from continuing to hold such public office.

5. When a member of the Scientific Council brings impeachment proceedings, that person shall not sit as a judge of the Court of Scientific Council hearing those proceedings at any stage thereof.


Section 9 - Limitations of the SC

Any member can be voted out with a 2/3 majority.


Article IV - Factions


Section 1 - Requirements

All factions must provide platforms which state their general philosophy and list of goals for the current and next term. Factions exist to promote the discussion of issues. Faction platforms cannot violate or seek to violate the Constitution. Proposed Constitutional amendments may be listed.


Section 2 - The Faction Body

All faction members must be citizens of the Confederation of the Democratic Simulators and must join a special SL group created for the sole purpose of running for seats in the RA. No citizen is required to be part of a faction and cannot be a member of more than one faction at the same time.

The minimum size requirement for a party to participate in RA elections shall be 10% of the total CDS population, rounded down.

The minimum faction size is equal to three. No later than 15 days prior to the opening of the polls, faction members will report to the SC Dean their willingness or unwillingness to serve in the RA. If there are no declared candidates fifteen (15) days before and election, that faction will be considered a non-election faction and not be placed on the ballot for that term. Based on the ranking form the general election, the faction members to be elected to the RA will selected based on the descending order of the number of points received based on the Borda-count of the rankings. The members will be selected until all available seats for the party are filled. If a member retires from the RA, a member with the next highest ranking in the same faction is takes a seat on the RA.

In the event that a faction, via resignation or impeachment, exhausts its list of eligible RA members drawn up at the previous general election during the course of an RA term:

1) If the faction no longer meets the constitutional requirements or if no members of the faction are willing to serve, there shall be a special election to fill, for the remainder of the term, the seats left vacant.

2) If the faction the list of which is exhausted still meets constitutional requirements as spelled out in Article V and there are members of that faction, who did not stand in the previous general election, willing to fill the vacated seats, members of the affected faction shall rank those candidates to fill the vacated seats as they do in the general election.


Section 3 - The Faction Leader

Factions are lead by the faction leader (SL group officer) who vouches for all members in public proceedings and is responsible for their proper ethical conduct. Faction leaders are those who receive the highest ranking in the faction.


Section 4 - Campaigning

Campaigning for factions can be done in-world only by means of unscripted items that are placed in a predetermined central location or by discourse between two avatars directly. No spamming of any kind is allowed, including the dropping of items on avatars without permission, sending messages by group IM, or by shouting messages to large groups. Only two emails are allowed in a given election by any faction or representative of a faction.


Article V - Election, Term, and Office


Section 1 - Voting Frequency

Officials in the Government are elected for a period of time according to the general principles of democratic rotativity to ensure proper representativity in a changing society, whose duration will be fixed by the RA by passing appropriate laws. Elections for branches and factions are staggered equally throughout the term and held in the following order: Philosophic branch, factions, and Representative branch.


Section 2 - Exclusivity

Citizens may not serve simultaneously in the Representative and Philosophic branch.


Section 3

No citizen shall be eligible to vote in any election for public office in the Confederation of Democratic Simulators unless he or she has been a citizen for not less than 28 consecutive days immediately before any such election.


Article VI - Citizenship

1. A citizen of the Confederation of Democratic Simulators is a resident of SecondLife? who has been granted title to any land by the Confederation of Democratic Simulators, and who holds title under the Confederation of Democratic Simulators, for as long as he or she holds such title.

2. Without prejudice to any rule of law entitling any institution of government to substitute, or empower another person or body to substitute any land held by any citizen for any other land the holding of which would continue to entitle the person whose land has been substituted to be a citizen of the Confederation of Democratic Simulators, no citizen shall be deprived of citizenship in the Confederation of Democratic Simulators, nor shall any person, whether a citizen or not, be banished from any public land in the Confederation of Democratic Simulators, without trial in accordance with law, or consent not to be so tried.

3. Section 2 above is subject to any rule of law whereby a person is deemed to have consented not to be tried by having failed within reasonable time to respond or respond fully to any notice sent to that person in respect of any such prospective trial, nor any rule that specifies what shall constitute a reasonable time.

4. Section 2 above shall be without prejudice to any rule of law whereby a person may summarily be banished by any citizen of the Confederation of Democratic Simulators appointed for such a purpose by any duly ratified Act of the Representative Assembly (or by any person or body deriving her his or its power to do so from any such Act), for up to fourteen consecutive days (but without revocation of citizenship or forfeiture of any asset).

5. Section 2 above shall be without prejudice to any rule of law whereby a person may be banished temporarily by Order of a Court of Common Jurisdiction pending such a trial as is mentioned therein (but without revocation of citizenship or forfeiture of any asset).

6. Any citizen may cease to become a citizen by submitting a notice in a form that may be prescribed by any duly ratified Act of the Representative Assembly (or, if no such form is specified, by notifying the Chancellor in writing) seven days in advance of the date on which that person is to cease to be a citizen.


Article VII - The Judiciary (repealed)

(Ed. note: Amendment 19 repealed Article VII.)


Created by: Publius Crabgrass last modification: Monday 04 of August, 2008 [09:28:41] by publius



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