VOL. C .. Num. 36,435MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2018
1 SANCTARIAN POUND
SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO FEDERALISATION PLAN TO BE ANNOUNCED TODAY
by JOEY SESSIONS, Political Editor
- The bill that would federalise Sanctaria goes back before the Joint Committee on Devolution this week after a tumultuous fortnight in both Houses of Parliament. While both Houses were overwhelmingly in favour of federalisation, in principle, a number of Senators and Deputies raised significant objections with how the government was planning to execute them. This paper can reveal that civil servants in the Department of Devolution and Government Affairs have spent the past few days and nights working non-stop to come up with a version of the bill that alleviates the very serious fears that were raised.
Firstly, the new draft of the bill outlines nine new states within the soon-to-be Divine Federation of Sanctaria; the three city-states of Sanctus, Corpus, and Haven, and the other six states of which will be: Aquitanium, Galvium, Glorionis, Novum Aeternum, Novum Limium, and Terra Monticolarum. A map of the proposed borders will also be produced and circulated to the Joint Committee this week. This reduces the amount of population in each non-city state to about 70/75 million, as opposed to the 150 million people per state under the previous division. The biggest complaint was if 500 million was unwieldy, 150 million would still be too much. 70-80 million is typical for large nation, the government was told by various Senators.
Secondly, the government will agree that having to create new laws for the new states is redundant and unnecessary. Lawyers in both Houses have argued that states won't be devoid of law, as has been suggested, as federal law still exists and, as Sanctaria has existed as a unitary democracy since 1974, there will be federal law on every subject. The government will acknowledge today this will be the case, thereby speeding up full federalisation from 2023 to 2020. Civil servants have drafted that while some topics will remain the purview of the federal government, like defence and foreign affairs, the new states will be free to amend the laws under their jurisdiction as to their own unique specifications.
It is also expected to be announced that Prime Minister Hendry, or Chancellor Hendry as she will be known from January 1st 2019, will announce the dissolution of the Senate approximately six month earlier than planned. As the Senate can sit until February 2020, it was expected that Hendry would let it continue until that date and hold state elections for the first time on the same dates. However, it is believed that Hendry will now call for the Senate and State elections to happen in about September/October 2018, so that the new Senate and the new State parliaments and governors can be in office from January 1st 2020, and full federalisation can take effect from that date. Under current plans, the Senate will be reduced now from 100 to 40 Senators; each of the nine states (six states and three city-states) will return 4 Senators each from a state-wide constituency. The remaining 4 will be filled by the Sanctarian diaspora around the world, a first for Sanctaria to have emigrant representation.
Also to be confirmed is the new size of the House of Deputies from 2023 to 2028, its first term after devolution. Hendry is also to announce that any seat in the House of Deputies that becomes vacant between January 1st 2019 and the end of the House's term in January 2023 won't be filled with a by-election, as the effort to reduce the size of the Federal Parliament will commence. The constitution will be edited to reflect this with a sunset clause, and any constituents not represented by a Deputy in this interim will still have their Senator to represent them.
It will also be confirmed that the format of each state's system of government will be enshrined in the federal constitution; city-states will have a city-council led by a Governing Mayor, which will be a combination of a head of the state and head of government. The other six states will have a Governor as a head of the state, performing similar state-level functions as the Sanctarian President, and each State Parliament, which will be bicameral, will elect a Premier, who will be the state's equivalent of a Prime Minister or First Minister. Each non-city state will have a State House and a State Council, which will be the lower and upper chambers respectively; the Premier will be elected by majority vote in the lower chamber of the state parliaments.
The Supreme Court of Sanctaria will remain the highest court in the land, and can hear appeals from the the states. The Sanctarian Court of Appeals, the second highest court, will however be split between the 9 states. It will be officially abolished and judges from the Court will be divided among the new High Courts established in each of the state, likely to be 3 per new High Court given the current makeup of the Court of Appeals. District and Circuit Courts will not be changed, bar those that cross new state lines - in these cases, the boundaries of their jurisdiction will be adjusted.
The new timetable will look something like below:
January 2019 - Federal States officially created.
The Divine Republic of Sanctaria will change its name to the Divine Federation of Sanctaria.
The Parliament of Sanctaria will change its name to the Federal Parliament of Sanctaria.
The title of Prime Minister of Sanctaria will be changed to the Federal Chancellor of Sanctaria. It's expected this will be referred to colloquially as the Chancellor.
October 2019 - Senate elections. State elections (bar non-city states, which have their own existing schedules).
January 2020 - Sanctaria fully federalised.
Sanctarian Court Service officially split up amongst the States.
Sanctarian Police Force officially split up into 10 - 9 separate police forces for each state, and the remainder becoming the Sanctarian Federal Police.
New state officials take office and begin their work.
January 2020 - February 2023 - Federal Parliament of Sanctaria will continue to assist the new states via legislative safety nets and federal oversight and control of services not yet properly transferred.
Redistricting of federal House districts.
March 2023 - Federalisation project officially completed.