The Parliament of Cascadia, officially the Parliament of the United Republic of Cascadia, but commonly referred to as the Federal Parliament, is the legislative branch of the federal government of the United Republic of Cascadia. It meets in Portland in the federal legislative buildings, LegiPlex.
The Parliament is bicameral, being composed of the 72-seat House of Representatives and the 72-seat Senate. The chambers have identical powers. Members of both houses represent the states, but, whereas each state has 36 seats in the Senate, seats in the House of Representatives are distributed in proportion to population, currently 44 for Washington and 28 for Oregon. Both chambers are elected in full once every four years, with the most recent election being held in February 2015.
The Parliament possesses the federal government's legislative power. For most ordinary laws to pass, they must be passed by both chambers, to include at least one-quarter of the senators from each state. Certain laws require a so-called "special majority," which increases the requirement to two-fifths of the senators from each state. The Parliament may exercise legislative competences only in matters reserved to it by the federal constitution; all other matters are reserved to the state legislatures. The Parliament's other powers include the election and supervision of the Presidential Council, adoption of a federal budget, and the referring to the Supreme Court of allegations of impeachment of certain federal officeholders. The federal Parliament also acts as an intermediary between the state legislatures, assisting them in harmonizing their laws in areas of national interest.
The current Parliament, the first, began its term on March 1, 2015, and was convoked the following day. Over a dozen parties are represented in the Parliament, with seats in both chambers are roughly evenly divided between Cascadia's three major political groups: Communitarians, Libertarians, and Greens. Parties not affiliated with any of the groups hold four of the 72 seats in each chamber.
The federal constitution requires a high level of cooperation and negotiation amongst political groups in order for the legislature to function. The current governing coalition comprises five parties across all three major political groups. The coalition comprises 45 of the 72 seats in the Senate, and 46 of the 72 seats in the House.
The Parliament is made up of two chambers:
- the Senate, with 72 members called senators;
- the House of Representatives, with 72 members called representatives.
Seats in the House of Representatives are allocated to the constituent states proportionally, based on population, provided neither state can be allocated fewer than one-fourth of the seats. In the Senate, each state has 36 seats.
Each chamber is led by a Speaker and two Deputy Speakers. The federal constitution requires that the two Deputy Speakers in each chamber must be from different states, as must be the Speakers of each chamber. Furthermore, no two consecutive Speakers in the same chamber can be from the same state.
Parties in the Parliament can cooperate in parliamentary groups, allowing smaller parties access to rights as part of a caucus. These groups must have at least eight total members across both chambers. Being a member of a formal parliamentary group gives members the right to sit on committees, and members without a formal group are not permitted to speak in most debates.
There are currently four parliamentary groups, three of which take in parties from each of Cascadia's three major political divisions: Greens, Communitarians, and Libertarians. The Republican Party was officially affiliated with the libertarian group, but chose to form a parliamentary group with the Pro-Union Party, which seeks to re-admit Cascadia to the United States as a state in its own right, thus creating a fourth group. The only party without a group is the Students Party, which holds a single seat in the House of Representatives.
|Green Group||Greens of Oregon||11||9||47|
|Cascadia Ecological Alliance||8||7|
|Libertarian Group||United Cascadia Party||9||9||43|
|Independence Party of Cascadia||7||8|
|Today: The Libertarian Party||4||3|
|Conservative Democratic Party||1||1|
|Liberal Party of Cascadia||0||1|
|Communitarian Group||Cascadian Democratic Party||12||14||42|
|Cascadian Labor Party||3||3|
|USA Group||Pro-Union Party||4||3||11|
|without group||Students Party||0||1||1|