|Parliament of New England|
The Parliament of the New England Republic, commonly simply Parliament of New England, is the sovereign legislature of New England and its citizens. It is located in the Parliament Building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Parliament possesses ultimate authority over all political bodies within the NER, including the executive and judicial branches of government. The legislature was created by the Parliament Act.
The Parliament is bicameral, thus consists of an upper- and a lower house, the House of Senate and House of Delegates respectively. The number of seats within the House of Delegates is fixed, per the Parliament Act, however the number of seats within the House of Senate is always expanding, as former (and current) presidents and cabinet members are also and remain part of the House for life. However, because of this, the power of votes from the House of Senate weigh less than that of the much stronger and democratic House of Delegates. Senators are appointed by the current President with advice from the House of Delegates, and unofficially customary advice from his current Prime Minister.
Delegates are elected every two years by the population within each county or independent city, and are able to serve for three consecutive terms (6 years), thereafter they must either wait one term (2 years) before running for office again, or retire. It's custom for delegates to request of the president to make them senators once a seat within the upper house opens, and such requests have been met regularly.
There are no political parties within New England (however, political organizations do exist), thus all delegates are assumed to follow either their own or their constituency's ideology. Parliamentary leadership has however allowed for the general classification of members into three groups: liberals (represented by red), centrists (represented by grey), and conservatives (represented by blue). Delegates and senators may change their classification at any time as it holds little significance.
Each house meets in their own chambers within the Parliament Building in Philadelphia.
House of Delegates
The House of Delegates is the stronger and lower of the two Houses of Parliament, and is considered a lot less prestigious and exclusive than the upper House of Senate, since delegates only serve for two-year terms (for three terms) and have a lower salary than senators. It is the main law-making body within Parliament, since senators are unable to propose new laws. This house is considered to be the actual representation and voice of the people of the Republic. Delegates advise the President when he is appointing senators, prime ministers, ministers and other national officers.
Delegates are elected every two years from the twelve provinces and one city-state of the Republic and can serve for a total of three terms before they are required (per the Parliament Act) to retire entirely, request a seat within the House of Senate, or retire for one term (two years) before being able to serve for three years again. The House of Senate is able to ban certain delegates from running for office again, and require a 3/4 vote only within the House of Senate. There are 192 seats within the House of Delegates.
House of Senate
The House of Senate is the weaker and the upper of the two Houses of Parliament, however, is considered to be the more exclusive and prestigious house among politicians. Concerning itself especially with government oversight, the House of Senate consists of presidentially-appointed (with the advice of the current House of Delegates) individuals, current and former presidents, prime ministers, cabinet ministers and largely former delegates.
A limiting factor within this house is that senators are unable to propose legislation, except when the proposed legislation is aimed at amending previous, already existing legislation. In addition to this, a vote from the House of Senate will weigh lesser and lesser as the House grows in size and membership. For example, if there are 500 senators and only 100 delegates (and a delegate's vote always weighs 1), it would take 5 senators' votes to achieve the same weight as that of 1 delegate. Senators serve for life, unless they retire or are incapable of further duty.
Parliament, being arguably the most important and without a doubt the most powerful component of government, has a lot of support services and departments operating under legislative rather than executive authority.
Under the Constitution Act of 2008 (note, this is not the Constitution of the NER), only the House of Delegates may propose laws to Parliament, although the House of Senate may propose amendments. The following is a simplified explanation of how legislation becomes law in New England:
- 1) Proposal: Any delegate may propose any legislation of any kind.
- 2) Committee: The proposed legislation is then reviewed by a special committee formed by the Speaker of Parliament. At least 3/4 of the committee must consist of senators. The committee then discusses the legislation, and its implications.
- 3) Author: After the committee stage, the legislation is sent back to the author along with the recommendations and transcripts from the committee. The author then decides whether or not to take the recommendations into account and modify or scrap the bill. If not, the author sends the bill to the Speaker.
- 4) Delegates vote: Every piece of legislation submitted to the Speaker after stage three must be give to the Deputy Speaker for the House of Delegates and the Deputy Speaker for the House of Senate within ten days. The Deputy Speaker for the House of Delegates then must read the bill to the House of Delegates within one month (if it is not an emergency bill) of receiving it, and a vote must take place no less than two weeks thereafter.
- 5) Senators vote: The Deputy Speaker for the House of Senate must read the bill to the House of Senate before or on the same date as the reading with the House of Delegates. Senators have more time to take a position, as they are only required to vote within two weeks after the voting in the House of Delegates.
- 6) Bill becomes law: Once all the votes have been tallied and the observers from the independent voting bodies are convinced that no foul play took place, the bill is handed back to the Speaker of Parliament. In the extremely rare case that there has been a tie, the Speaker must break it. Afterward, the Speaker must sign the bill, and then it becomes law exactly one week after signing if no date has been specified on the bill itself.