Legislative Congress of Polaris

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Legislative Congress of Polaris
LCP.png
Seal of the Legislative Congress of Polaris
Type
Type Bicameral
Houses

Senate (Upper House)

Assembly of Representatives(Lower House)
Leadership
Leader Catherine Howebrucke (PDP) President of the Executive Council of Polaris
Speaker of
Upper House
Rhysa Sindy (PDP)
Speaker of
Lower House
Martina Pendrosa (PDP)
Chair of
Ruling Party
Asher Wilton Kellard Progressive Democratic Party
Structure
Total Members 500 members
Upper House 120 Senators
- Political groups
  •      Progressive Democratic Party (103)
  •      Socialist Party (12)
  •      Green Alliance (5)
Lower House 380 Representatives + 3 delegates
- Political groups
  •      Progressive Democratic Party (307)
  •      Socialist Party (61)
  •      Green Alliance (12)
  •      Conservative Action Party (1)
Elections
Upper House Ranked ballots(five-year terms)
Lower House Ranked ballots (five-year terms)
Last election held October 29, 2016 (Senate),October 29, 2016 (Assembly of Representatives)
Misc. info
Meeting Place Polaris Harborfront Center



The Legislative Congress of Polaris or LCP is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of Polaris, consisting of a lower house, the Assembly of Representatives, and an upper house, the Senate. The LCP meets at the Polaris Harborfront Center in Polaris City,New Westshield.

Members from either chamber are elected through ranked ballots to five-year terms as of 2013 from congressional and senatorial districts distributed by population throughout Polaris. The Assembly of Representatives is comprised of 380 representatives, while the Senate is composed of 120 senators. The Assembly of Representatives contains three non-voting delegates for Polarian territories, 2 for Amery Island and 1 for the Sanders Islands. Vacancies in the LCP are filled through special elections held two months after the vacation of the seat.

By constitutional convention, both chambers are accorded equal legislative power, though in practice, the Assembly of Representatives is the more dominant the two chambers, and is delegated superlative legislative authority on matters related to public finance and appropriations. By contrast, the Senate acts to examine and suggest amendments to legislation, confirm appointments to judicial, diplomatic, and bureaucratic positions by the Executive Administrative Council.

As of 2017, the Progressive Democratic Party maintains strong majorities in both chambers, with some representation provided to the Socialist Party, Green Alliance, and Conservative Action Party.


History[edit]

The Legislative Congress of Polaris is considered a successor to federal, state, and municipal legislatures within the United States of Antarctica that held jurisdiction over present Polarian territory. The formulation of the Legislative Congress of Polaris is contained within the Polarian Federation Act (2011) an internal constitutional document that establishes a separate, bicameral legislative branch for the Federal Republic of Polaris, delegates specific powers and responsibilities to Congress, delineates election procedures, and provides for proportional representation.

The formation of a directorial republican system over a parliamentary system was a compromise reached during the Polarian Convention on Constitutional Affairs that occurred from April 10 to 27 at Federation House in Polaris City, given that a directorial system would assign greater influence to the states on laws and hold the federal government to account, producing the Executive Administrative Council of Polaris. Although the Executive Administrative Council is a deliberative body itself, it is not considered a part of the legislative branch as often mistaken by some Polarians.

Congress was first convened following special elections that occurred five days after Polarian autonomy, producing resounding Polaris Democratic majorities in both chambers. It was in this first legislative session that significant changes would come to the procedural order of Congress, including the extension of terms from four to five years through an amendment to the Polarian Federation Act enacted in 2013, as well as internal changes to the sitting dates for Congress.

With the fall of Polaris in the Frosian War, the LCP was briefly suspended from May 1 to June 1, 2014. Most government officials were moved to Puerto Elanor during the occupation, and continued some, albeit limited legislative functions there.


Composition[edit]

Senate[edit]

The Senate is the upper chamber of the Legislative Congress of Polaris, and is composed of 120 senators, elected quinquenially through ranked ballots. Senatorial districts are distributed by population across the states. Although the Polaris Federation Act assigns both chambers of Congress equal legislative authority, in practice, the Senate's purpose has shifted to the examination of legislation, whereby the Senate occasionally introduces amendments to legislation originating in the Assembly for clarification or other statutory concerns. The Senate also serves to confirm executive, bureaucratic, judicial and diplomatic appointments made by the the Executive Administrative Council.

Senators are compensated $305,000 annually, in addition to a per diem allowance for travel and accommodations.

The Senate is presently led by Senate President Rhysa Sindy (PDP-NW), who assumed her position in 2017, replacing Michael Rockford who then assumed the position of President pro tempore.

Assembly of Representatives[edit]

The Assembly is the lower chamber of the Legislative Congress of Polaris, composed of 380 representatives, elected quinquenially through ranked ballots. Congressional districts are distributed by population across the states. The Assembly is typically the more dominant of the two chambers, with the sole authority to draft legislation pertaining to fiscal appropriations and spending, in addition to other legislative responsibilities. Like the Senate, the Assembly of Representatives has an extensive network of standing and special committees.

Representatives are compensated $255,000 annually, in addition to a per diem allowance for travel and accommodations.

Unlike most presidential democracies, the Assembly permits votes of non-confidence, with the consent of at least two-thirds of representatives, which would immediately trigger an election for all federal offices, including the Executive Administrative Council, and Senate.

The Assembly is led by the Speaker, who presides over debate and renders rulings on parliamentary procedure, currently filled by Martina Pendrosa (PDP-PE), with Darren Delunkin (PDP-EN) serving as Deputy Sepaker.


Officeholders[edit]

Senate[edit]

Position Officeholder Party State Assumed office
President of the Senate Rhysa Jacintha Sindy Progressive Democratic Party New Westshield January 20, 2017
President pro tempore of the Senate Michael Hewitt Rockford Progressive Democratic Party New Westshield October 27, 2011
Majority Leader Kendrick Lerbone Progressive Democratic Party Wilkes January 20, 2012
Majority Whip Harry Flurden Progressive Democratic Party Barrett January 20, 2012
First Minority Leader Lianna Faro Socialist Party Hampton October 27, 2011
Second Minority Leader Grantham Debrantis Green Alliance Hampton January 20, 2017

Assembly of Representatives[edit]

Position Officeholder Party State Assumed office
Speaker of the Assembly Martina Consuelo Pendrosa Progressive Democratic Party New Westshield January 20, 2017
Deputy Speaker of the Assembly Darren Delunkin Progressive Democratic Party Enderby January 20,2017
Majority Leader Ashton Shard Progressive Democratic Party New Westshield January 20, 2012
Majority Whip Theodore Carrillo Gutierrez Progressive Democratic Party Santa Cruz January 20, 2012
First Minority Leader Hailey Hainsworth Socialist Party Barrett October 27, 2011
First Minority Whip Timothy Dunton Arbor Socialist Party Hampton October 27, 2011
Second Minority Leader Christina Haricott Green Alliance Santa Cruz January 20, 2017
Second Minority Whip Marcella Stousburg Green Alliance Harnsey January 20, 2017

Current standings[edit]

As of January 20, 2017, there are a total of 500 representatives in the Legislative Congress of Polaris. The Third Legislative Congress of Polaris officially convened on January 20, 2017. The centre-left Progressive Democratic Party has 410 total representatives in the Congress, the leftist Socialist Party holds 73 seats, the Green Alliance has 16 seats, and the Conservative Action Party holds one each.


Senate[edit]

PolarianSenateDiagram.svg

Distribution by party[edit]

Party Seats
Progressive Democratic Party 103
Socialist Party 12
Green Alliance 5

Distribution by state[edit]

State Seats PDP      SA     GA     OTH
New Westshield (NW) 46 43 2 1 1
Enderby (EN) 23 20 2 1 0
Malherd (MH) 14 13 0 1 0
Harnsey (HR) 11 8 1 0 0
Hampton (HT) 10 7 3 0 0
Juno Islands (JI) 8 5 3 0 0
Barrett (BT) 3 2 1 0 0
Wilkes (WK) 3 2 1 0 0
Santa Cruz (SC) 2 2 0 0 0
Puerto Elanor (PE) 2 1 0 1 0
Amery (AM) 2 2 0 0 0

Assembly of Representatives[edit]

PolarianAssemblyDiagram.svg

Distribution by party[edit]

Party Seats
Progressive Democratic Party 307
Socialist Party 61
Green Alliance 12
Conservative Action Party 1

Distribution by state[edit]

State Seats PDP      SA     GA     OTH
New Westshield (NW) 138 122 15 0 1
Enderby (EN) 73 53 20 0 0
Malherd (MH) 40 36 2 2 0
Harnsey (HR) 39 30 7 2 0
Hampton (HT) 34 27 7 0 0
Juno Islands (JI) 16 11 0 5 0
Barrett (BT) 11 5 6 0 0
Wilkes (WK) 11 6 5 0 0
Santa Cruz (SC) 10 8 1 1 0
Puerto Elanor (PE) 8 6 1 1 0
Amery (AM) 4 3 1 0 0

Legislative functions[edit]

The Legislative Congress of Polaris is tasked with lawmaking, representing constituents, and overseeing the actions of the government, organizations and individuals. It is divided into several committees, subcommittees and parliamentary groups, which in concert help Congress to fulfill its obligations to the Polarian citizenry.

According to the Constitution, the Assembly of Representatives is the sole originator of spending legislation such as budgets and external appropriations measures. Legislation on other matters can come from either chamber, and requires the passage of both houses before it is signed by at least 6 of the members of the Executive Administrative Council. Congress, however, can override the authority of the EAC through a two-thirds majority vote.

Committees[edit]

An important aspect of the LCP are committees, which review and oversees legislation, government regulation, and private actions on various issues. Typically, every party is apportioned seating based upon the number of seats they have in a specific chamber, though every party is guaranteed one seat at minimum. Prior to the third reading of bills, most legislation will be referred to the appropriate committee for review. The LCP further retains the right to form ad hoc or special committees to address major issues, such as the Joint Reconstruction & Rebuilding Committee created following the Puffalian occupation of Polaris in the Frosian War.

Types of committees[edit]

In the LCP, committees are formed for a variety of purposes, from broad issues in Polarian society, to specific undertakings of the Polarian government. As such, the Polaris Congressional Review lists four categories of committees that may be formed from time to time.

  • Standing Committees: Permanent committees composed of twelve or more members addressing and reviewing broad issues of national importance.
  • Special Committees: Temporary committees composed of six or more members addressing specific national actions or significant policy proposals.
  • Working Committtees: Temporary committees composed of four or more members addressing specific regional actions or significant policy proposals.
  • Internal Committees: Permanent or temporary committees governing the internal appropriations, behaviour, and ethics within Congress.
  • Joint Committeee: Permanent or temporary committees composed of both senators and representatives addressing a specific or broad issue.

List of committees[edit]

The LCP currently has the following active committees, with a separate body for each chamber unless otherwise noted:

  • Committee on Internal Appropriations & Ethics
    • Committee on Procedure and Rules
  • Committee on Health and Long-Term Care
    • Subcommittee on Seniors
    • Subcommittee on Mental Health
    • Subcommittee on Public Health & Sanitation
  • Committee on Education
    • Subcommittee on Tertiary Education
  • Committee on Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness
    • Subcommittee on Flood Mitigation
    • Subcommittee on Search and Rescue
  • Committee on Public Services & Government Procurement
  • Committee on Finances
  • Committee on Justice & Personal Rights
    • Subcommittee on the Advancement of Women
  • Committee on the Environment and Climate Change
  • Committee on Continental Affairs
    • Subcommittee on International Development & Assistance'
  • Committee on Transportation & Communications
    • Subcommittee on Rail Transport
    • Subcommittee on Federal Highways
    • Subcommittee on Aviation
    • Subcommittee on Ports & Marine Transport
  • Committee on Natural Resources
  • Committee on Labour & Employment
  • Committee on Immigration & Citizenship
  • Committee on Poverty Alleviation
  • Committee on Defense
    • Special Committee on Cyber Warfare
    • Special Committee on International Defense Cooperation
    • Special Committee on Border Security
  • Committee on Families, Children, and Social Development
  • Committee on Territorial Affairs
  • Committee on Cultural Affairs & Tourism
  • Committee on Science, Research and Development
  • Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries

Caucuses[edit]

The Legislative Congress of Polaris is organized into caucuses, which consist of a group of like-minded legislators with a common affiliation or interest in a subject matter. Caucuses are categorized into partisan, non-partisan, and interparliamentary caucuses, that help to organize legislative activities pertaining to specific issues and conduct work and research into areas of public policy.

The largest caucus is the Progressive Democratic Joint National Caucus, chaired presently by Sen. Haron Shirinagan (NW-23), with 410 members from both houses of the LCP. As a partisan caucus, the primary purpose of the PDJNC is to ensure that legislators are well-informed about party policy, and is meant to instil stringent party discipline among MPs.

It is typical for caucuses to engage with the public directly on the issues of their concern, as well as with stakeholders through public caucus meetings.

Procedure[edit]

As a legislative body, the LCP is subject to a high level of formalism not common in other areas of government. This includes an emphasis on adhering to procedure, rules of decorum, and certain long-standing traditions. Internally, the LCP is governed by the Parliamentary Procedure Act (L.C.P., LS-04, 2011), that specifies the rules that legislators must adhere to with regard to behaviour in the legislature. Under this statute, the enforcement and interpretation of parliamentary procedure falls to the Speaker of the Assembly and President of the Senate.

The Parliamentary Procedure Act also lays down fixed guidelines as to the structure of daily sessions, the length of congressional sittings, and roles of the speaker. Each chamber of Congress has an Internal Committee on Parliamentary Procedure and Ethics that reviews the decisions and actions of the Speaker or President.

Meetings[edit]

The Legislative Congress of Polaris meets for 35 weeks out of the year. Sessions typically begin at 9:30 AM with a convocation and the national anthem. At 9:45 AM debate on motions and resolutions begins, and lasts until 10:50 AM. At 10:55 AM, government bills will be introduced, debated, or voted on until 2:45 PM. At 2:45 PM, Inquiry Period begins, where members of the opposition ask questions to the government and its actions until 3:45 PM. At 3:45 PM, opposition bills will be considered, until 4:45 PM. From 4:45 PM to 7:00 PM the house continues with unfinished or new business. Not all members are required to be in the chamber throughout the session. In larger parties, they are apportioned into shifts.

Non-sitting weeks, or "constituency weeks" as they are colloquially referred to, are interspersed throughout the year, particularly around the end of December and beginning of August to enable representatives and senators to visit their constituencies and interact directly with constituents.

Speakers[edit]

The Assembly is moderated by the Speaker, while the Senate is moderated by the President of the Senate. At the beginning of each legislative session, both chambers will elect speakers through secret run-off ballots. The Speaker and President ensure order is kept in the house, manage speakers' rosters, and render rulings on questions of procedure and privilege.

The Speaker and President, in their absence are replaced by the Deputy Speaker, Assistant Deputy Speaker for the Assembly, and the President pro tempore in the case of the Senate.

Voting[edit]

The Legislative Congress of Polaris conducts internal votes through an electronic method, rather than a division or voice vote to determine the result of passing legislation. The presiding officer, in this case, the President of the Senate, or the Speaker of the Assembly will put in the question. Each of the member's desks in the Senate and Assembly are fitted with a touch-screen computer. Once the question is stated, members will have three choices, Yea, Nay, or may abstain from voting. In the event that the electronic system may break down, a teller vote is held. There are usually 9 tellers in each chamber, in which members may cast their ballot by placing a green, red or yellow card into the ballot box. The green card represents a "Yea" vote, a red for "Nay" and yellow to abstain from voting.