Proposal: Citizen Involvement Bill

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Moon Adamant
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Proposal: Citizen Involvement Bill

Post by Moon Adamant »

Citizen Involvement Bill
Preamble
A bill to enhance citizen involvement in the government of the CDS; also to promote the deeper analysis of proposals in discussion and as means to aid the RA in their legislative work.

1. For any proposal in discussion, the RA can decide that a commission be formed to analyse the proposal.
2. The RA will decide the remit, responsibilities, lifespan and which powers, if any, it wants to delegate to the commission.
3. The commission must be chaired by a member of the RA.
4. The commission shall have at least three members.
5. Any citizen of the CDS may join a commission, and must indicate their availability to the chair.
6. The commission must report on progress to the RA at each subsequent RA meeting.

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Ashcroft Burnham
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Post by Ashcroft Burnham »

Ahh, the eventual presentation of the "all citizen standing committees" proposal from a few weeks ago - excellent!

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Re: Proposal: Citizen Involvement Bill

Post by Diderot Mirabeau »

[quote="Moon Adamant":ophjck9s]Citizen Involvement Bill[/quote:ophjck9s]

This is a great idea with the potential for a great positive influence in the long run on how our policy-making is shaped. I'd be willing to work toward Simplicity Party adoption of the initiative in our platform.

May I propose that an additional clause be inserted at the end along the following lines:

6. The chairman must report on the progress of the commission to the RA at each subsequent RA meeting.

7. In the event where the commission makes a formal recommendation to the RA it must include information about the extent to which it is supported by the full commission along with information about dissenting minorities and their alternative preference.

The justification for this proposed addition is to incentivise commission chairmen to working toward consensus to the extent that it is possible and in any case not to "hijack" the commission and presenting his own viewpoints as if they were supported by all.

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Post by Publius Crabgrass »

I like the idea of citizen involvement, and it would be good to get input beyond the forums since many don't participate here, but how do we prevent this from deteriorating into forum-like name calling?

Maybe a couple of legislative hearings, scheduled at different time zones, for people to come together to offer their opinions (and listen to each other)?

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Post by Diderot Mirabeau »

[quote="Publius Crabgrass":2nr37eyh]I like the idea of citizen involvement, and it would be good to get input beyond the forums since many don't participate here, but how do we prevent this from deteriorating into forum-like name calling?[/quote:2nr37eyh]

This is just an idea that came spontaneously to my mind and it may not have any merit but I am thinking that somehow establishing certain restrictions on the form of any contributions in advance with the intent of letting everyone be heard equally (i.e. limiting all participants' contributions to an equal amount and not allowing them to criticise each other's contributions directly for example) could be a way to achieve some sort of 'static, representative overview' for the commission to work with.

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Post by Moon Adamant »

[quote="Diderot Mirabeau":2sgkjpt5][quote="Publius Crabgrass":2sgkjpt5]I like the idea of citizen involvement, and it would be good to get input beyond the forums since many don't participate here, but how do we prevent this from deteriorating into forum-like name calling?[/quote:2sgkjpt5]

This is just an idea that came spontaneously to my mind and it may not have any merit but I am thinking that somehow establishing certain restrictions on the form of any contributions in advance with the intent of letting everyone be heard equally (i.e. limiting all participants' contributions to an equal amount and not allowing them to criticise each other's contributions directly for example) could be a way to achieve some sort of 'static, representative overview' for the commission to work with.[/quote:2sgkjpt5]

As first comment on that, i think that the commissions must obviously be free to define their internal procedures. A suggestion can be made though in the sense that they follow minimal procedures inspired in RA procedures (all proposals to be submitted to chair with some time in advance, publication of agenda, etc).

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Post by Ashcroft Burnham »

[quote="Diderot Mirabeau":5vof34nu]This is just an idea that came spontaneously to my mind and it may not have any merit but I am thinking that somehow establishing certain restrictions on the form of any contributions in advance with the intent of letting everyone be heard equally (i.e. limiting all participants' contributions to an equal amount and not allowing them to criticise each other's contributions directly for example) could be a way to achieve some sort of 'static, representative overview' for the commission to work with.[/quote:5vof34nu]

The first suggestion would mean that everybody would have to contribute as much as the person who contributed the least, even if that was just "hello". The second suggestion would prevent any real scrutiny of anybody's ideas at all.

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Post by Beathan »

This is scary. I hate government by committee wherever I have found it. In RL is primarily used as shield behind which politicians can hide out of shame or cowardice. Committees are necessary when the issues are too complicated or technical for policy-makers to be expected to know and understand the entire range of issues. However, committees for the sake of committees are just godawful and, such a process should be avoided at all costs.

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Post by Diderot Mirabeau »

[quote="Diderot Mirabeau":2xfnitiw]This is just an idea that came spontaneously to my mind and it may not have any merit but I am thinking that somehow establishing certain restrictions on the form of any contributions in advance with the intent of letting everyone be heard equally (i.e. limiting all participants' contributions to an equal amount and not allowing them to criticise each other's contributions directly for example) could be a way to achieve some sort of 'static, representative overview' for the commission to work with.[/quote:2xfnitiw]

[quote="Ashcroft Burnham":2xfnitiw]The first suggestion would mean that everybody would have to contribute as much as the person who contributed the least, even if that was just "hello".[/quote:2xfnitiw]

Thanks for misrepresenting my ideas into the absurd.

What I am thinking of is to let every party submit _one_ memorandum outlining his/her grievances or justification for the current approach.

[quote="Ashcroft Burnham":2xfnitiw]The second suggestion would prevent any real scrutiny of anybody's ideas at all.[/quote:2xfnitiw]

I do not see the "real scrutiny of anybody's ideas at all" as being the foremost challenge of this exercise. What you call the "real scrutiny of anybody's ideas" has been tried already in the forums and it was also this process that took place during the sessions of the RA at which the initial Judiciary Act was approved. It should be quite obvious that this order of business is quite susceptible to being dominated by people who for various reasons have the capacity to post 650+ contributions to a forum in 4 months.

The commission should be cutting through the unbelievable amounts of clutter caused by the arguing back and forth of people's positions in the forum and present crystal clear versions of the alternative approaches suggested and the extent to which each has public backing. If we allow the commission to process an open-ended amount of arguing back and forth then we have achieved nothing but creating a less efficient version of the current forum debates.

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Post by Patroklus Murakami »

[quote="Beathan":1oi60u5k]This is scary. I hate government by committee wherever I have found it. In RL is primarily used as shield behind which politicians can hide out of shame or cowardice. Committees are necessary when the issues are too complicated or technical for policy-makers to be expected to know and understand the entire range of issues. However, committees for the sake of committees are just godawful and, such a process should be avoided at all costs.

Beathan[/quote:1oi60u5k]You misunderstand the proposal. We already have 'government by committee', it's called the Representative Assembly :).

This proposal seeks to capitalise on the largely positive experience we have had with the Sim Planning Committee. The RA took a decision to set up the SPC, give it a specific remit, and then left it to get on with it while giving regular report backs to the RA. This has worked well, we think this could be a good way to involve our citizens in a more active fashion on other issues too. The RA, as the legislative body, decides when and on what topics it wants to do this and accountability is assured by the requirement to report back at each meeting.

Committees are necessary in the cases you suggest and also when the RA wants to devolve responsibility for working out all the details of a complex project (e.g. setting up a new sim) within a framework they provide and for involving more of our citizens in delivery of public goods for the CDS. Surely the RA should have the option to do this?

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Post by Beathan »

Patroklus wrote [quote:3mtllc6y]You misunderstand the proposal. We already have 'government by committee', it's called the Representative Assembly .

This proposal seeks to capitalise on the largely positive experience we have had with the Sim Planning Committee. The RA took a decision to set up the SPC, give it a specific remit, and then left it to get on with it while giving regular report backs to the RA. This has worked well, we think this could be a good way to involve our citizens in a more active fashion on other issues too. The RA, as the legislative body, decides when and on what topics it wants to do this and accountability is assured by the requirement to report back at each meeting.

Committees are necessary in the cases you suggest and also when the RA wants to devolve responsibility for working out all the details of a complex project (e.g. setting up a new sim) within a framework they provide and for involving more of our citizens in delivery of public goods for the CDS. Surely the RA should have the option to do this?[/quote:3mtllc6y]

First, I don't think that government of the RA is government by committee. The legislature, even if small enough to look like a RL committee, is still an institution of general purpose and, therefore, not a committee. Committees have a limited portfolio; legislatures do not. This is one of their principle distinctions.

I am persuaded that forming committees for certain purposes is a wise and appropriate action of the RA. However, I think that we should avoid legislation that requires us to form committees for everything. We should assess the wisdom of committee formation on a case-by-case basis -- as the RA has done, and done well, in the past. Thus, we should form ad hoc committees, rather than standing committess, when appropriate.

However, it seems that I am the lone voice of dissent here. If the will and common instinct of the citizenry of the CDS favors government by committee, so be it. Even though I find such government godawful, I have enough experience with it to know that it is not insane or unworkable, and that such citizen committees would serve Moon's laudible purpose of involving citizens in government without limiting that service to office-holders.

More generally, Moon's proposal is based on a good and well-meant desire to include the citizens in government more generally. I applaud this effort. It is a good and worthy one -- and one that the Simplicity Party is particularly committed to. Please note that my objection is to the proposed mechanism, not to the goal.

Beathan

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Re: Proposal: Citizen Involvement Bill

Post by Claude Desmoulins »

[quote="Moon Adamant":19gsvmf9]Citizen Involvement Bill
...

1. For any proposal in discussion, the RA can decide that a commission be formed to analyse the proposal.
2. The RA will decide the remit, responsibilities, lifespan and which powers, if any, it wants to delegate to the commission.
3. The commission must be chaired by a member of the RA.
4. The commission shall have at least three members.
5. Any citizen of the CDS may join a commission, and must indicate their availability to the chair.
6. The commission must report on progress to the RA at each subsequent RA meeting.[/quote:19gsvmf9]

Current RA Procedures state:

[quote:19gsvmf9]
4) Committees.
The LRA can create (or propose for creation) committees of members for the purpose of study and information gathering on proposed topics (bills, agenda items of all sorts). Committees will be formed of volunteers, and the LRA will make efforts to ensure that committees contain a balanced range of faction members and positions.

Committee members can be non-members of the RA. Each topic that a committe receives for attention must be brought back to the RA for action, even if the recommendation is to drop it.

...

Some grouping of RA members, either committee or the entire, must consider the merits of every bill.

9) Disposing of the Bill.
The committee can, by majority vote, either

(1) discard the bill, or
(2) after appropriate discussion and collection of supporting research, give the bill to the LRA for inclusion on the agenda.

[/quote:19gsvmf9]

Why do we need this again? Changing internal procedure takes as many votes as passing your bill. BTW I read your bill as allowing but not requiring committees, is this correct?

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Re: Proposal: Citizen Involvement Bill

Post by Moon Adamant »

[quote:3fucx2e8]

May I propose that an additional clause be inserted at the end along the following lines:

6. The chairman must report on the progress of the commission to the RA at each subsequent RA meeting.

7. In the event where the commission makes a formal recommendation to the RA it must include information about the extent to which it is supported by the full commission along with information about dissenting minorities and their alternative preference.

The justification for this proposed addition is to incentivise commission chairmen to working toward consensus to the extent that it is possible and in any case not to "hijack" the commission and presenting his own viewpoints as if they were supported by all.[/quote:3fucx2e8]

Sorry for the delay in answer (awfully busy).
I'll incorporate your clause for discussion as well, thanks :)

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