Proposal: Electoral Roll Bill

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Patroklus Murakami
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Proposal: Electoral Roll Bill

Post by Patroklus Murakami »

[b:1393f93l]Electoral Roll Bill, an amendment to NL 5-15 (Citizen Information Act)[/b:1393f93l]

[b:1393f93l]Purpose[/b:1393f93l]
This aim of this bill is to ensure that the CDS maintains an up-to-date list of all citizens that is transparent and accessible to all.

[b:1393f93l]Rationale[/b:1393f93l]
The CDS has long held the principle that all CDS citizens must become citizens by purchasing land in one of the CDS sims and fulfilling any other citizenship requirements (such as being a citizen for 30 days) before voting. Our rules have been modified (by NL 5-9) to accomodate CDS citizens who wish to form partnerships or groups and hold land in common. Subsequently, it has become more difficult to ascertain who is and who is not a citizen of the CDS by examining the tables of monthly land fees and lists of parcels and owners as these now record which group owns the land and not which citizen(s). There is, therefore, no straightforward way of checking who is a current citizen of the CDS. This bill aims to remedy the situation by requiring the Estate Owner (EO) to maintain and publish an up-to-date list of all CDS citizens on a monthly basis.

[b:1393f93l]Amendment to NL 5-15[/b:1393f93l]
NL 5-15 (Citizen Information Act) shall read:

"1. The avatar names of CDS citizens shall be considered public information. The Estate Owner shall make this information available both in world and via the world wide web. [i:1393f93l]This information will be updated at least once per calendar month.[/i:1393f93l]" (new text in italics)

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Post by Salzie Sachertorte »

I don't see any need to legislatively mandate clerical functions.

Records maintenance, which includes citizenship rolls, resides within the administrative branch of the government. Thus, the Chancellor would establish a policy regarding keeping of such lists and then develop a procedure on how to go about doing so.

This was done by the PIO in the past - when an avatar bought land, the EO informed the PIO, who then added the new citizen to the email list, the website list and ensured that the deed was filed in the Rathaus. I'm sure our new PIO can do the same.

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Ditto

Post by Pelanor Eldrich »

While not exactly sexy I think good transparent internal policies and procedures are essential to a smooth running civil service. Pat is right, that we need a citizen roll, it's a no brainer. Salzie is right that the Chancellor/Treasurer can come up with a process without legislation.

We can save legislation for the meatier issues like citizenship eligibilty, electoral reform (alts), republic vs. federation and the new judiciary.

Just my .02 $L. :)

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Post by Claude Desmoulins »

I think the impetus is that the public roll of citizens is already supposed to exist. The bill is, I believe, a reaction and attempt to address that it (the public citizen list) in fact doesn't seem to exist. If you read the March 20 transcript you'll find that the Chancellor's inability to find out who was and wasn't a citizen contributed to an unfortunate situation.

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Post by Patroklus Murakami »

I'm glad that posting this proposal has generated some discussion. I think our aims are all pretty much in line - we want to see transparent procedures in place so that we know who our citizens are. This is a vital aim, given that we are a democratic, self-governing community and citizenship is at the heart of this.

Salzie - I take your point about legislation v. clerical functions. This is an area where the Executive Branch could establish a policy and implement it. The problem is that it hasn't, possibly because it has become a difficult thing to do!

[url=http://www.aliasi.us/nburgwiki/tiki-ind ... 9:26pwb83h]The Group Land Ownership Act (NL5-9)[/url:26pwb83h] was entirely the right thing to do; we needed to provide a way for couples or groups to own CDS land in common. But it did put in place an additional layer of complication. Sudane, as Estate Owner, has admitted that she didn't realise that this did *not* mean that people could become CDS citizens by joining pre-existing groups (the law says you must be a citizen first before joining land holdings in this way). So we have a situation where it is difficult to identify who, in all of the groups owning land in the CDS, is a citizen and who is not.

The first step in finding our way out of this slightly messy situation is to assess where we currently are; hence the need to update our list of citizens.

I'd be happy with a clear administrative policy statement from either the Chancellor or EO but, in the absence of that, I think the RA is entitled to legislate.

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Post by Sleazy_Writer »

Hello legislators! What about this interesting case:

name: Blingo Vale
citizen? Yes, marked as such in EO's list and apparently dutifully pays his fee
So what's the big deal? His account cannot (no longer) be found in the SL/LL systems when you search for people!

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Errr...

Post by Salzie Sachertorte »

That's cause the peasant responsible for updating the website list, who shall remain nameless, made a mistake. :oops: After consultation with the EO as to the correct name, the peasant has fixed it.

Should be Blingo Flare - not Vale - so apologies to Blingo.

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Post by Sleazy_Writer »

[quote="Patroklus Murakami":394v7bsp]we want to see transparent procedures (...) citizenship is at the heart of this. (...)
[b:394v7bsp]The first step[/b:394v7bsp] in finding our way out of this slightly messy situation is to assess where we currently are; hence the need to update our list of citizens.[/quote:394v7bsp]
Done. Thank you Salzie and Sudane. So what is [b:394v7bsp]the second step?[/b:394v7bsp] The second step is:

[quote="Patroklus Murakami":394v7bsp][url=http://208.101.22.58/~aliasi4/nburgwiki ... 9:394v7bsp]The Group Land Ownership Act (NL5-9)[/url:394v7bsp] (...) did put in place an additional layer of complication. Sudane, as Estate Owner, has admitted that she didn't realise that this did *not* mean that people could become CDS citizens by joining pre-existing groups (the law says you must be a citizen first before joining land holdings in this way). So we have a situation where it is difficult to identify who, in all of the groups owning land in the CDS, is a citizen and who is not.[/quote:394v7bsp]
From my own conversation with our EO, I came to a slightly different conclusion: namely that there are practical things prohibiting the EO to *exactly* execute this law. Sudane, can you tell us what currently withholds you from exactly executing this law as it is written?

If I understand the current situation correctly, and please correct me if I'm wrong, anyone could just invite extra members to his land owning group (1 per 128 sqm.) for *whatever* reason, with *whatever* intent, and they would become citizens, without the new people having to take the initiative on their own. Does the RA realize that this loophole, in a hypothetical 'evil landowner' situation, allows our current largest landholder (10400+ sqm.) to invite 80 "fun" or "fake" citizens. Yes you heard that right 80, 80: We currently have 71 citizens. I'm not not accusing anyone of bad intent, but my emotions certainly get heated when law professionals allow such a loophole, from here to the moon, to exist! I would like to write this in bold, italic, red and blinking, but I'm not going to. Let's see if we get a timely reaction to this from our '1 hour regents'.

Last edited by Sleazy_Writer on Tue Apr 03, 2007 2:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
Ranma Tardis

Post by Ranma Tardis »

I am not sure if there is a "cure" to the problems of the CDS. I still think of it as Phase 3 of the Neualtenburg Project.
At this time the RA is trying to fix something that is broken. I have tried and looked over the material but it is not easy to figure out the changes. I agree with Rudy that a Constitution convention is required and a new constitution needs to be written but before that happens the following questions and more need to be answered.
What is the role of government? What is the role of its citizens? How much power should the state exercise? Who should exercise this power? Who should benefit from government?
I have decided to step aside. There is nothing I can do to influence the government of the CDS, nothing. Being a quiet citizen is giving my approval to the process and I do not agree or approve.
The CDS is not a democracy and not even a Represential republic. The laws and rules have become more important than what is right. For a community of less than 100 people the government is large and uncertain about it functions. More and more of the landowners are simply "renters". The last election turnout will support me on this. The "power" of the citizens to "influence" the government is a sick joke. Being able to cast a vote in the RA election and that is the power to vote for a faction but not a candidate is not working. There are no checks and balances and the government is out of balance. Too much is the workings of this government are done in private. I could go on and on but it is pointless.
Well good luck with your experiment!

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Post by Sudane Erato »

[quote="TOPGenosse":11stnzas] Sudane, can you tell us what currently withholds you from exactly executing this law as it is written?

If I understand the current situation correctly, and please correct me if I'm wrong, anyone could just invite extra members to his land owning group (1 per 128 sqm.) for *whatever* reason, with *whatever* intent, and they would become citizens, without the new people having to take the initiative on their own. Does the RA realize that this loophole, in a hypothetical 'evil landowner' situation, allows our current largest landholder (10400+ sqm.) to invite 80 "fun" or "fake" citizens. Yes you heard that right 80, 80: We currently have 71 citizens. I'm not not accusing anyone of bad intent, but my emotions certainly get heated when law professionals allow such a loophole, from here to the moon, to exist! I would like to write this in bold, italic, red and blinking, but I'm not going to. Let's see if we get a timely reaction to this from our '1 hour regents'.[/quote:11stnzas]
What is a "1 hour regent"?

TOP, please... I do indeed understand that you are upset about this matter, as am I. But it has been substantially identified that the issue at the core of this problem is our definition of citizenship. That topic was a significant part of the discussion accompanying the passage of the Election Roll Bill.

You say:
[quote:11stnzas] anyone could just invite extra members to his land owning group (1 per 128 sqm.) for *whatever* reason, with *whatever* intent, and they would become citizens, without the new people having to take the initiative on their own. [/quote:11stnzas]
Well, the current requirement for citizenship is that a person own land in one of our sims... "for *whatever* reason, with *whatever* intent". There is no requirement to my knowledge that the new citizen be queried regarding their "reason" or "intent". Only that they own land. And the Group Land Ownership Act perhaps confusingly codified into law the concept that people could own land as members of a group.

We have previously pleaded for contributions to address this problem. In this thread: [url:11stnzas]http://forums.neufreistadt.info/viewtopic.php?t=990[/url:11stnzas] I made the following post on March 17:
[quote="Sudane Erato":11stnzas][quote="Patroklus Murakami":11stnzas] My understanding is the same, but with one crucial additional condition - no-one can [b:11stnzas]become[/b:11stnzas] a CDS citizen simply by joining a group which owns land in the CDS. Group ownership of land is for citizens who want to form partnerships or groups which will own land in common but they must be citizens in their own right [b:11stnzas]before[/b:11stnzas] they contribute land to a group or merge their holdings with another citizen.

The law [url=http://www.aliasi.us/nburgwiki/tiki-ind ... 9:11stnzas](NL 5-9 Group Land Ownership Act)[/url:11stnzas] was drafted this way to prevent the situation where someone would be able to effectively buy votes by buying up lots of land in the CDS and then inviting their friends and supporters into the CDS through group membership.

[quote="Group Land Ownership Act":11stnzas]1. Plots of land in Neufreistadt may be owned by couples or groups of citizens. All members must be citizens before joining the group. [/quote:11stnzas][/quote:11stnzas]
Yes, I see that that is indeed the way it is worded. And, through oversight, I have not enforced that.

TOP pointed this out to me a week or so ago, and I realized then that this clause presents a significant problem. While the purpose of it is not only admirable, it is also essential. However, it presents problems in administration, and, clearly my brain must have consigned this clause to "filed away" status, and ignored it completely.

To understand the problem, let's go back to "before", before citizens could buy parcels on private sims. At that time, *everyone* wishing to join NFS was required to form a group and purchase the land by having it transferred to their group. So, at that time, the *only* way you could join our community was as a member of a group; thus, the law was exactly the opposite of the designated clause.

Of course, it was made very clear to every new member that the group procedure was *only* in place because of the LL restriction... we in the community paid no attention to the groups, and considered you an individual. Every individual had to have a group which owned land. It was considered personal ownership... the *fact* of the group was ignored.

Almost at the beginning, the issue came up of two people in one group. Satchmo Prototype was one of the very first citizen landowners in NFS. Shortly after he joined, by buying a parcel, his wife Digi Vox also bought a parcel, using the same group. It was administratively confusing, but perfectly legit, since they each had a parcel.

Jump ahead now to last year. LL changed the rules, opening up parcel ownership on private sims to individuals. Obviously, we began immediately selling parcels to individuals, so that perhaps now half of all parcels in the 2 sims have individual owners.

So, many of us have never owned a parcel in our own name. We were here before the change, and never had a reason to transfer to personal ownership. But, lets look at some actual, post-LL-rule-change transactions. Some months ago, Jeremy Utarid and Rose Springvale approached me to purchase a parcel in CN. They have a law firm in RL, and wanted to establish one in SL. This made more than perfect sense. Even if I had remembered the rule, it would have seemed utterly foolish to require them to buy separate lots, then sell one of them, in order to establish their office in CN.

So, that problem is simple inconvenience. A second case illustrates a more significant problem.

There is a bug in the SL software which can prevent a qualified citizen from purchasing a parcel: http://forums.neufreistadt.info/viewtopic.php?t=993. As indicated in that post, ThePrincess Parisi was prevented from buying a parcel on CN because of her financial status with LL, which is a known bug. The only way that she could buy the land was via group transfer.

Everyone, to my knowledge, who has bought land in NFS and CN as a group has been sincerely interested in participating in our community. Surely, their interest is no different than any other sampling of citizens buying land. While this is *NO* excuse for not administering the law in this matter, it might call into question whether we are accomplishing out intended purpose with the clause as it stands.

Sudane.....[/quote:11stnzas]

TOP, you point out a significant problem in our definition of citizenship as it now stands, and the qualifying mechanism by which one becomes a citizen. May I ask that we set aside the "emotions" [quote:11stnzas]I'm not not accusing anyone of bad intent, but my emotions certainly get heated when law professionals allow such a loophole, from here to the moon, to exist! I would like to write this in bold, italic, red and blinking, but I'm not going to. Let's see if we get a timely reaction to this from our '1 hour regents'.[/quote:11stnzas] cease blaming this on the "law professionals" and the "1 hour regents" (whatever they are) and get down to some serious proposals on how the qualifications and procedures for citizenship might be more suitably configured.

Sudane.....

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Post by Sleazy_Writer »

Thanks for that rapid response.

I am right though, to point out that this discussion isn't finished with passage of the Election Roll Bill.

[quote="Sudane Erato":10d4w7v4]We have previously pleaded for contributions to address this problem. In this thread: [url:10d4w7v4]http://forums.neufreistadt.info/viewtopic.php?t=990[/url:10d4w7v4] I made the following post on March 17 (...)[/quote:10d4w7v4]I'm sorry, I missed that one. Thank you for pointing me to this post, it does indeed explain the practical problems for the EO to enforce that clause from the Group Land Ownership Act.

[quote="Sudane Erato":10d4w7v4]Well, the current requirement for citizenship is that a person own land in one of our sims... "for *whatever* reason, with *whatever* intent". There is no requirement to my knowledge that the new citizen be queried regarding their "reason" or "intent".[/quote:10d4w7v4] You are right, but when that clause from the Group Land Ownership Act isn't enforced for practical reasons, then this makes the 'potential bad intent' much easier.

[quote="Sudane Erato":10d4w7v4]But it has been substantially identified that the issue at the core of this problem is our definition of citizenship.[/quote:10d4w7v4] Right. I just keep on being surprised how much of a loophole or 'leak' the current situation is.

[quote="Sudane Erato":10d4w7v4]you point out a significant problem in our definition of citizenship as it now stands (...)

cease blaming this on the "law professionals" (...)
[/quote:10d4w7v4]Well, [i:10d4w7v4]they[/i:10d4w7v4] are supposed to be the experts, aren't they?

[quote="Sudane Erato":10d4w7v4]What is a "1 hour regent"?[/quote:10d4w7v4]thefreeDictionary.com: 'regent' - One acting as a ruler or governor. In my language it also has the additional meaning of a person who is [i:10d4w7v4]in it for the governing only.[/i:10d4w7v4]

Let me first say that I respect our representatives for the commitment they made to do the job and their dedication to it, I appreciate that.

However, that doesn't make me less concerned about those representatives who read a couple of forum posts on Saturday, pop in on Sunday at 11.58am, govern a bit, and leave 45 minutes later, bye bye 'till next week. Of course I cannot expect everyone to spend massive amounts of time in SL but I'm still concerned. People like that, I fear, have a very very thin connection to the community. And that is *exactly* what many people iRL blame their politicians for. Do we really want to move in that direction? Have these politicians ever talked with (relatively) new citizens like Arria Perreault, Biscuit Carrol, Draxtor Despres, Leon Ash, Nikki Maertens, Richie Deschanel, Samantha Fuller or ThePrincess Parisi? Further more I don't think they ever chat like a human being with other residents. I fear these representatives are very disconnected from the virtual community and find that worrying.

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Direct democracy

Post by Arria Perreault »

What I read on this topic confirms a thought that I have since the beginning of my citizen's life: for so few poeple, representative democracy is the wrong model. We should move to the model of direct democracy like in Switzerland or in the antic Athens. We have a theater where we can debate and vote.
If we have more sims, i think that we could have an assembly for each sim, to discuss internal questions. The RA would become a true federal institution, whose duty is to assure links between sims and relationship with outside (other virtual states as well as Linden Lab).
I know that it is not the good place to develop these considerations, but it was an opportunity for me to show my opinion about our institutions.

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Post by Sleazy_Writer »

Sudane, can I safely assume that you, right now, are upholding the Group Land Ownership Act literally and rigidly like it is written?

Disallowing:
- obtaining citizenship through (combined) buying as land owning group
- obtaining citizenship by joining a pre-existing land owning group (what I worry about)

(Because, if not, we have an Estate Owner who is, technically, "breaking the law", and that would be "interesting" :) )

It seems logical to me that upholding this right now for new citizens/buyers/joiners, does [i:17guy186]not[/i:17guy186] judge or affect anything that went before. What went before is something for the SC or perhaps RA.

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Post by Sudane Erato »

[quote="TOPGenosse":4yqmioz3]Sudane, can I safely assume that you, right now, are upholding the Group Land Ownership Act literally and rigidly like it is written?

Disallowing:
- obtaining citizenship through (combined) buying as land owning group
- obtaining citizenship by joining a pre-existing land owning group (what I worry about)[/quote:4yqmioz3]
Is this hearing? :) Might there not be better procedures for that?

I must point that that:[quote:4yqmioz3]
... Group Land Ownership Act literally and rigidly like it is written?

Disallowing:
- obtaining citizenship through (combined) buying as land owning group
- obtaining citizenship by joining a pre-existing land owning group (what I worry about)[/quote:4yqmioz3]
is quite not the case. The law, as repeatedly stated, says:

[quote:4yqmioz3]1. Plots of land in Neufreistadt may be owned by couples or groups of citizens. All members must be citizens before joining the group. [/quote:4yqmioz3]

It seems to me that this prohibits a person from obtaining citizenship even through the "solitary" buying of land as a land owning group. In other words, an individul wishing to become a citizen, and deciding to purchase a parcel of land under the name of her/his group, with no other citizen in any way involved, is prohibited.

This is *clearly* not the intent of the drafters. I participated in the sessions which led to the passage of this bill (and I must say that even then I was reluctant to support it for administrative reasons), and I can say for a fact that no one intended the result that I describe.

Shall we face the fact? The clause is flawed, and should be removed. We are in the business of welcoming new citizens, not creating obstacles which, though addressing a valid concern, have cause to prevent the admittance of sincere new members.

We have known for a *very* long time that our definition of citizenship is flawed. Shall we not focus our minds and energies on a resolution which simply and clearly states the terms of citizenship in our community? Might we possibly convert this obsessive concern to exclude certain members of the community because of a technical non-compliance with a flawed clause in our body of law ( through *no* fault of their own), into a positive effort to formulate an inclusive and welcoming statement of citizenship?

Sudane.....

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Re: Direct democracy

Post by Claude Desmoulins »

[quote="Arria Perreault":5gexaskk]What I read on this topic confirms a thought that I have since the beginning of my citizen's life: for so few poeple, representative democracy is the wrong model. We should move to the model of direct democracy like in Switzerland or in the antic Athens. We have a theater where we can debate and vote.
If we have more sims, i think that we could have an assembly for each sim, to discuss internal questions. The RA would become a true federal institution, whose duty is to assure links between sims and relationship with outside (other virtual states as well as Linden Lab).
I know that it is not the good place to develop these considerations, but it was an opportunity for me to show my opinion about our institutions.[/quote:5gexaskk]

An interesting thought. I think the primary problem with such a model would be participation. In antic Athens, they had to drag a painted rope through the streets to get citizens to come to assemblies. In the CDS, we have no painted rope. As TOP pointed out, we have problem finding enough politically interested people to keep our representative institutions vibrant. How would you create the level of civic involvement necessary for direct democracy to work?

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