Organic Law

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The 1997/XVIII Organic Law, also known as the OrgLaw, is the highest law of Talossa and the supreme governing document. Its twenty-one articles broadly establish the boundaries of the nation, the role of the sovereign, the functioning of the government, the nature of the Ziu, and other vital topics. The nineteenth article describes a Covenant of Rights and Freedoms modeled after the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights, which guarantees a list of rights vital to the Talossan people.

History

The Organic Law was approved by referendum and established in 1997/XVIII. It was preceded by the 1988/IX Constituziun, the 1985/VI Organic Law, and the 1979/I Declaration.

In practice

As the foundation of all law in Talossa, the Organic Law comes under a great deal of scrutiny and has been subject to repeated amendment. No law that comes into conflict with the OrgLaw is considered to be valid, and a cort may rule that the law as a whole is nullified. This has happened on several occasions. Similarly, officials of the Kingdom are expected to act according to the guidelines set forth in the Organic Law, and if they fail to do so, they may be sued or censured. An action or a law that is found to be inconsistent with the Organic Law is said to be "inorganic," and is discarded.

Contents

Article I: Declaration of Independence

Text of Org.1.1

This section consists of a single sentence, mimicking the original founding of Talossa by "proclaim[ing] the Kingdom of Talossa to be an independent unit in the master plan of World Singular Secession."

Article II: Points of State

Text of Org.2.1

This article establishes the boundaries of Talossa and its capital, Abbavilla. It also describes some of the most important symbols of the nation, including the flag, national motto, and arms of the state.

Article III: The King

Text of Org.3.1
See our main article on this subject at Crown.

The third article declares Talossa to be a "constitutional, hereditary Monarchy," and its second section grants the sovereign specified powers, such as the ability to veto bills and grant pardons. The bulk of this article, however, concerns the manner in which the monarch is replaced or succeeded. It details how the crown passes from King John to his next heir, irrespective of gender, and the implementation of a regency when this is not immediately possible.

The article also specifies how the Ziu may remove an heir from the line of succession, or remove a reigning monarch from his position. Lastly, Article III requires a new King to establish a Privy Council of esteemed elder Talossans, to advise him on "matters of grave importance."

Article IV: Election to the Senäts

Text of Org.4.1

Article IV describes the method of election for members of the Senäts, as well as the means by which a Senator can be removed from office (voluntarily, by the Cort Pü Inalt, or by impeachment by the rest of the Senäts).

Article V: Composition of the Senäts

Text of Org.5.1
See our main article on this subject at Senäts.

The main article regarding the functioning and makeup of the Senäts, this article lays out much of the scope of that body's power, as well as associated restrictions. The Senäts does not have any say in the monthly vote of confidence undertaken by the Cosa, and no bill that appropriates money may originate in the Senäts (although such bills must still acquire the assent of the Senäts to pass). Certain types of amendments to the Organic Law, on the other hand, may only pass with a 2/3 vote of the Senäts; bills pertaining to Talossan territorial claims, provincial boundaries, the amendment process, or the Senäts itself all require this strength of support.

Two of the more arcane rules of Talossan governance also are delineated in this article:

  • The sovereign is prohibited from entering the Senäts chamber unless called to testify. This has in the past combined with statutes that require royal assent to an action of the Senäts (such as the awarding of a Senatorial Medal of Honour) to necessitate a royal messenger.
  • If the Senäts twice rejects a revenue bill, the sovereign may force both houses of the Ziu to meet in a single body with him, passing the bill if a majority of that body assent to it. It is due to this provision and to the ability to veto that the Crown is considered to be a part of the Ziu.

Article VI: Political Parties

Text of Org.6.1
See our main article on this subject at Political parties.

This brief section of the OrgLaw specifies the few requirements of political parties in Talossa. To be recognized as a political party, an organization must register two things with the Secretary of State: the name of their leader and a fifty-word statement describing their "general aims and views." The Secretary of State is also empowered to require a filing fee.

Article VII: Elections to the Cosâ

Text of Org.7.1

In language mirroring that of Article IV, this article describes the method by which citizens elect representatives to the Cosa, and the procedure by which the sovereign replaces Members of Cosa who vacate their seats.

Article VIII: Composition of the Cosâ

Text of Org.8.1
See our main article on this subject at Cosa.

In many ways a continuation of the preceding article, this section of the Organic Law provides more rules by which Members of Cosa receive their seats, and how they may be lost. Frequently amended, this article represents significant change from the OrgLaw as first drafted, when the "Real Cosa" of twenty elected representatives constituted the lower house of the Ziu, rather than the current proportionally assigned 200 virtual seats that are distributed according to percentages of the popular vote.

Article IX: The Secretary of State, the Hopper, and the Clark

Text of Org.9.1
See our main article on this subject at Chancery.

Article IX describes in detail the role of the Secretary of State, arguably the most important and one of the most powerful positions in Talossa, and the process by which any proposed bill may become law.

Prospective bills must be presented by a member of the Ziu for general consideration in a "public venue" called the "Hopper." Each such bill may be endorsed by any number of legislators, but the individual who first submitted it for consideration is the official "author" (even if they did not write the text of the bill themselves). In modern practice, this is done on an internet message board dedicated to the purpose. After at least ten days, a bill can be moved from the Hopper, bound with others in a monthly legislative journal known as the "Clark," and offered for a vote by its primary sponsor. If the primary sponsor opts not to clark the bill, then after 59 days the Secretary of State may remove the bill from the Hopper anyway, and discard it.

The Secretary of State is given complete discretion to determine whether or not a bill meets certain standards of clarity or that fails to identify the laws which it is amending, and is made fully responsible for the integrity of this legislative process.

Article X: Passing Legislation

Text of Org.10.1

This section of the OrgLaw continues describing the process by which a bill becomes a law. Members of the Ziu must vote one of three ways (për, contrâ, or austanéu) on each bill. Most bills require only a simple majority of votes in each house of the Ziu to pass.

If the bill passes, it is presented for the sovereign's assent. If he signs it, it becomes law. If he vetoes it, then it is returned for further consideration by the Ziu, to be passed over the Crown's objections if 2/3 of the Cosa agree. Failure to either sign or veto a bill delays the implementation of the law until the end of the current month, at which time it is enacted with or without royal assent.

Article XI: The Seneschál

Text of Org.11.1
See our main article on this subject at Seneschal.

Article XI describes the next stage of Talossan governance: the appointment of a Seneschal by the King from the party or coalition that has a majority of Cosa seats. The duties of the Seneschal are described: he can dissolve the Cosa, remove members of the Cabinet, issues speeches, declare war, negotiate treaties (subject to the approval of the Cosa), and perhaps most importantly, issue Prime Dictates that have the force of law when countersigned by the Cosa.

The Seneschal, and thus the entire government, is subject to the majority approval of the Cosa. This is regularly polled in each Clark, but at any time during a term, the Cosa may petition the King to replace the Seneschal with another person of their choice.

Article XII: The Government (Cabinet)

Text of Org.12.1
See our main article on this subject at Government.

This section of the Organic Law lays out some of the members of the Cabinet, some of whom are mandated here and some of which are mandated in statutes (such as the Cabinet Refinishing Act). The Organic Ministers, in order of precedence, are the Foreign Minister, Defense Minister, Immigration Minister, and Minister of Stuff. The Distain, a deputy Seneschal, is also described in Article XII, as is the ceremonial head of the Cosa, the Túischac'h (Speaker).

Article XIII: Duration of the Cosâ and the Government

Text of Org.13.1

As specified in Article XIII, the Cosa is convened two weeks after the conclusion of the general election. Its term is six months, although because the Seneschal can declare an additional no-business month, in practice each Cosa endures for seven months. The month-long election process ensures, then, that a new Cosa takes their seats every eight months.

The government changes on a similar schedule, but is not dissolved, like the Cosa, during the election period. Article XIII also specifies that the King may issue a "Warrant of Prorogation," which directs the Cosa not to meet for a month out of its term. While this has never occurred, the possibility then exists that a Cosa might have only five Clarks during an eight-month period, thanks to a Warrant of Prorogation, a month of no business, and the election period.

The King may also choose to dissolve the Cosa early and call for new elections at any time, or when such action is requested by the Seneschal and a majority of the Cosa, or whenever the government fails the monthly Vote of Confidence.

Article XIV: Living Cosâ

Text of Org.14.1
See our main article on this subject at Living Cosa.

The Living Cosa is described in this article, although it is rarely implemented in a modern era that takes full advantage of electronic media. These "live parliamentary meetings" are approved by a two-thirds vote of the Cosa, with an exact time and date set by the Seneschal after consultation with any relevant persons. The Seneschal may also choose to declare a Living Cosa by the normal Prime Dictate process, subject to veto. In both cases, those Members of Cosa who are able will be in physical attendance, and the normal business and voting of the Cosa will occur "live."

Those who are unable to attend the Living Cosa, for whatever reason, are able to give other members their proxy, or may communicate their desired votes to the Secretary of State, to be announced at the meeting. New bills may not be presented at a Living Cosa, and while members of the Senäts may participate in debate, they have no vote.

Article XV: Amendments to the Organic Law

Text of Org.15.1

This article lays out the most common process by which the Organic Law may be amended. With the approval of two-thirds of both chambers of the Ziu and a plurality of the citizenry, an amendment may be made. There are some exceptions to this general rule, however: any amendment to the territory of a province or change in its representation also requires a specific majority of the citizens of that province. Further, the Covenant of Rights and Freedoms (see below) may only be amended with the agreement of two-thirds of all voters.

Another method by which the Organic Law might be amended is by popular referendum, detailed in Article XX.

Article XVI: The Courts

Text of Org.16.1
See our main article on this subject at Judiciary.

This article of the Organic Law lays out the nature and functioning of the judiciary of Talossa, most especially the Cort pü Inalt. This body of three justices hear all civil and criminal cases in the Kingdom, except those that proceed no further than the lower court of the Magistracy. Justices must be apolitical, and so cannot be either royalty nor a sitting member of a legislative office. In most other ways, the Cort functions in the manner of most other judicial bodies, ruling based on precedent and law, except that the Cort pü Inalt is required to wear official wigs while doing so.

Article XVII: Territorial Subdivisions

Text of Org.17.1
See our main article on this subject at Realm.

One of the most important parts of the OrgLaw, Article XVII defines the manner in which Talossa is subdivided (into provinces, territories, and cantons), describes the manner in which provinces govern themselves, establishes the scope of the Ziu's power to legislate, and reserves all other power to the provinces. Almost all sections of this article are relatively simple, except for the very complex Org.17.6 and Org.17.9, which respectively govern the limits of the Ziu's power and provincial governance.

Other items of particular interest in this article are the Org.17.3 rule which makes it impossible for a citizen to be "reassigned" to a different province without his consent, even if provincial boundaries change, and the ironclad language of Org.17.12, which prohibits secession of any kind.

Article XVIII: Citizenship and Rights

Text of Org.18.1

This section concerns the manner a person acquires and may lose their Talossan citizenship. The latter may occur voluntarily, through renunciation, or involuntarily, through inaction or penalty of law. It describes the methods of which native-born citizens, or Dandelions, are formally inducted into the nation.

Article XIX: Covenant of Rights and Freedoms

Text of Org.19.1
See our main article on this subject at Covenant of Rights and Freedoms.

The seventeen covenants of the Covenant of Rights and Freedoms enforce a special list of rights to which all Talossan citizens are guaranteed. This section of the Organic Law is subject to a more difficult amendment process, reflecting the essential and enduring nature of the rights of which it speaks. These rights include free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom from discrimination, and freedom of religion, as well as rights to privacy and a fair trial. Many of these rights reflect the formative influence of the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights, as well as the Declaration of the Rights of Man. More unusual, however, are the Organic guarantees to marriage equality, assisted suicide, and the right to an abortion prior to the fifth month of pregnancy. These latter covenants are extremely progressive for any country, particularly for the period in which they were enacted (1997/XVIII)).

Article XX: Referenda

Text of Org.20.1

The twentieth article consists of only a single section, declaring the method of referenda by which the citizenry may amend the OrgLaw, bypassing the legislature's approval. After the Ziu has prepared a proposed change, it takes effect upon approval by a majority of Talossans.

Article XXI: Status of the Organic Law

Text of Org.21.1

The final article of the OrgLaw establishes its supremacy as the supreme law of Talossa. All laws previously extant and any future laws are declared null and void to whatever extent they conflict with any provisions within this document. Brief but sweeping, this article makes the democratically-enacted Organic Law the ultimate authority within the nation, putting all citizens - including the King under the rule of law.

See also