Saturday, 19 June 2010

Fast Forward Part 6

The previous meeting of the Representative Assembly (RA), held on 14 June 2009, culminated in a vote on a proposal for a constitutional amendment, which some held necessary to support the merger between CDS and Al Andalus. But the proposed constitutional amendment failed to obtain the required two-thirds majority, so another version was again presented at the Representative Assembly of 28 June 2009.

(Note as usual that minutes of these RA meetings can be found in the part of the CDS forum called Representative Assembly Announcements.)

Representative Assembly Meeting of 28 June 2009

The meeting began with a brief Chancellor's report. Jamie Palisades invited everyone to look out the window to admire the just-delivered Monastery sim. He noted that most of CDS was sold. However, the refurbishment of the former Emporia Romani space in Colonia Nova, which some guild members had been asked to do, was still awaiting completion. The Al Andalus merger transaction, barring any last-minute deterioration of the legal environment, was on course to take effect between 7 and 16 July. The first step would be to add the AA voter rolls to those of CDS, and for CDS to start collecting rents from their HIPPO system and paying their tier. Then there would be all the details to work out, such as memberships in land groups, which Jamie would write about on the forum.

Patroklus Murakami mentioned that in previous elections no one knew what size the RA would be until polling day, since the electoral system defines it as 10% of the number of citizens, rounded down. If 30 new citizens joined just before polling day, CDS could end up with a 10 member RA but only 70 citizens entitled to vote (since new citizens have a waiting period before they can vote). Soro Dagostino, the Leader of the Representative Assembly (LRA), thought Pat was out of order because he was speaking to an item that would be on the agenda later, but Jamie took Pat's question to be about what happens if no constitutional amendment were passed, and thus relevant to Jamie's merger report. (Jamie's modification of Pat's constitutional amendment had been voted on at the previous RA meeting. It failed to get a two-thirds majority, but this was only confirmed after counting the "seven-day votes" requested by two absent RA members, Brian Livingston and Sonja Strom.) Jamie maintained that his own version of the constitutional amendment would have resolved the problem of double votes by CDS members participating in the selection of Al Andalus representatives.

Gwyneth Llewelyn observed that Al Andalus as a non-profit was billed every six months for tier payment to Linden Lab, and asked whether the merger would require CDS to change its legislation, which required the treasury to have funds for only 3 months of payment. Jamie replied that CDS had not yet had to deal with such a question, and would have to determine whether it would front the six months of tier while billing all citizens monthly.

Discussion then began on Pat's latest version of the constitutional amendment concerning merger procedures. This version was the shortest yet, containing only three sentences, the key one running as follows: "The RA may be supplemented with interim additional representatives, freely chosen by a community joining the CDS." Pat explained that this amendment was intended to enable the merger, by ensuring that the AA reps can join the RA, and also provided a minimal framework for future expansions. The proposal was seconded, and Pat then presented his arguments for the amendment. The CDS Constitution defines the RA as a body of democratically elected factions, with involved rules about how to conduct elections, nothing of which will apply to the AA reps joining the RA. So to accommodate the merger Pat borrowed language from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), to put into the framework for any future mergers the expectation that the RA will remain a democratic body. And Gwyneth quoted the relevant passage from article 21 of the UDHR: "Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives."

Jamie Palisades asked Pat whether the selection by AA of interim representatives in accordance with the merger bill would be constitutionally attackable without his constitutional amendment. Pat answered that he did think there would be a constitutional issue without his amendment. Jamie then asked whether, once the constitutional amendment was passed, the AA selection would still be open to challenge. Pat said he thought the amendment would reduce the likelihood that the AA representatives could be successfully challenged. Gwyneth added that some people in the future could contest the merger bill as unconstitutional, since it creates a way for RA members to be appointed outside the normal election process, and that Pat's amendment would ensure that the merger bill cannot be attacked. Pip Torok observed that "freely chosen" in the merger bill means that AA is free to choose according to their whim, and that CDS cannot say how they should choose.

Jamie made a last plea for his own constitutional amendment, which would explicitly legitimate a transaction procedure in the case of mergers with large bodies such as AA, and which itself would make the AA process for selection of interim representatives constitutional. But he also stated that since the deadline had passed for constitutional challenge of the merger bill, the completion of the merger required no constitutional amendment at all. And he suggested that Pat's amendment could be interpreted as opposition to the merger. This brought protests from both Pat and Gwyneth, who insisted they had never opposed the merger. Gwyneth acknowledged that the merger bill had passed all required review and would be implemented, but stated that she and Pat wanted to introduce the possibility of RA members being freely chosen from their communities in any FUTURE mergers, and to make that part of the Constitution.

The vote was called. Patroklus Murakami, Pip Torok, Sonja Strom and Gwyneth Llewelyn voted yes. Soro Dagostino voted no, and observed that there were two senators with seven day votes. Since a Constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds majority, it required one more yes vote to pass. (As can be seen on the forum, Cindy Ecksol and Brian Livingston voted no, and the proposed amendment failed.)

There was a brief discussion of when the territorial accession of the AA sims would happen (most likely between July 7th and 16th). This was left to the discretion of the Chancellor, provided that it did not fall during the upcoming election. The meeting was adjourned.

Transition to The Register

I'm losing ground. This series of summaries of CDS Representative Assembly meetings was supposed to be a "fast forward" to the present, but the last instalment was posted three months ago. I'm going to try yet another formula: a simple register of topics discussed and decisions taken. Transition to The Register Part 1.

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