Council of States
The Council of States (Kiravic: Kovar Ārkáya) is one of the five constitutional bodies of the Kiravian federal government. It consists of Councillors representing the governments of the member states of the Kiravian Federacy. Its sessions are held at Confederation Hall in Kartika, which also houses its permanent Secretariat.
- 1 Powers and Function
- 2 Membership
- 3 Administration and Procedure
- 4 Regional Groups
Powers and Function
The Council of States serves to represent the interests of the Federacy's member-states, acting as a national "board of directors" of sorts on long-term policy directions and major national decisions.
- Approval of amendments to the Fundamental Statute by a 3/4 majority
- Approval and rescission of declarations of war by a 2/3 majority
- Ratification of treaties by a simple majority
- Audits of both the executive branch and agencies subordinate to the Federal Stanora
- Approval by a qualified majority of legislation that imposes unfunded mandates on the states.
- Approval by a simple majority of legislation regarding customs regulation, admiralty law, and migration and nationality policy.
- Primary responsibility for governance of the Reserve Bank of Kirav and the exclusive power to appoint its President.
- Confirmation of judicial appointments (2/3 majority for Federal Consistory judges, simple majority for all others)
- Nomination of candidates for the Prime Executure.
- Impeachment of the Prime Executive, Second Executive, and Federal judges (to be tried by the Stanora)
- Subpœna powers against the Prime Executive, Second Executive, and other executive-branch officials.
- Approval of changes to the boundaries of states and territories already consented to by the legislatures of the affected states.
- Admission of new states to the Federacy
The Council of States does not have power over the federal budget. This proceeds from the fact that the Fundamental Statute prohibits the federal government from taxing the states but allows it to tax the people.
In addition to its constitutionally-enumerated powers, the Council of States exercises a great deal of "authority without power" (akrovir dhidas āra). Most of the articles the body debates and passes are nonbinding resolutions voicing the Council's (and by extension, the states') opinion on matters of national policy. These are frequently used to express objections to executive actions or legislation, which can have a significant effect on public opinion.
The Fundamental Statute requires only that Councillors must be resident citizens of the Federacy and of the states that they represent, be at least 35 years of age, and not hold any other state or federal office. Enlisted members of state guards may be Councillors, but officers may not. Councillors serve at the pleasure of their state legislatures, and can be appointed, recalled, or replaced at any time for any or no reason. The Federal Consistory case Kilkennan v. Ilfenóra determined that the states are not obligated to seat a Councillor, and may leave their seat vacant for any duration of time they wish. Long-term vacancies were very common historically, when lengthy and difficult journies between the more distant states and Kartika often resulted in Councillors spending many months in transit. Additionally, gridlock in state legislatures has been (and continues to be) a cause of long-term vacancy.
Modern Councillors usually vote according to instructions from their legislatures, especially on votes with legally binding consequences. However, the degree of control that legislatures exert over Councillors varies by state, over time, political landscape, and the individuals involved. A few states require that their Councillors vote only according to instructions voted on by the legislature or as directed by the legislative leader, forcing them to abstain if instructions are not sent. Most states, however, permit their Councillor to vote according to their own judgement in the event that the legislature does not send instructions, cannot agree on any, or is not in session. Legislatures have also been known to "punt" decisions on controversial or contentious votes to their Councillors to avoid electoral backlash. Councillors from states whose legislatures are not in session year-round, such as Kyllera and Meridia, frequently vote on their own initiative.
State legislatures typically appoint Councillors from the ranks of their state's former legislators and governors, though many continue to appoint celebrated non-politicians from their states, including prominent authors, military and law enforcement figures, and even athletes (Hanoram appointed Kiravian football quarterback Æternius Kelderin as its Councillor from 21199-21200). At the beginning of 21208, 32 Councillors were former Governors, 20 were former Delegates, 11 were former state legislators, 7 were former state executive officials, three were former federal executive officials (including one former general), and four were non-politicians, including two cosmonauts, a Gaelic bard, and a potato farmer.
Informal Roles of Councillors
Councillors have long played the role of informal "Ambassadors" from their state to the federal government. Historically, this entailed consulting with the Prime Executive and Cabinet officials on policy matters, often in conjunction with their state's Delegates. While today the Prime Executive is in direct and frequent contact with state governors through telecommunications and face-to-face meetings, many Councillors do continue to actively consult with Cabinet officials and the heads of federal agencies on matters relevant to their state or to the national interest. Overseas states with large populations, such as the Sydona Islands and Varisavia, keep their Councillors especially busy in this capacity. Councillors also sometimes act as substitutes for state governors at events that the governors are unable to attend themselves.
Administration and Procedure
The Fundamental Statute gives no prescriptions for how the Council of States is to conduct its business, so the rules and organisation of the Council are largely self-created. Leadership of the Council is vested in a President, who presides over meetings and oversees the Secretariat. The Presidency rotates among the regional groups (see section below) annually, changing hands on the day of the autumnal equinox. The regional group receiving the Presidency usually selects the President from among its number a week or so before the equinox. While a group can replace the President anytime during its turn in the rotation, this is almost never done for any reason other than death or vacancy. If the President is absent from a meeting or the presiding regional group fails to select a President, the longest-serving member of the Council becomes the acting President.
The Council is a continuous body that schedules meetings all year-round. It does not differentiate between annual sessions in its records, and it is never "dissolved".
All non-procedural votes are by roll-call. States are called for their vote in order of the date that they were admitted to the Federacy, with one exception. Serikorda and Etivéra, which happened to ratify the Fundamental Statute during the same hour on the same day and both claim the honour of being the first state, alternate voting first. The government-in exile of Wintergen Island, despite representing one of the oldest parts of the Federacy, has been called last in every vote since [YEAR]. This is because, due to the occupation of Wintergen by Burgundie, the state's Councillor is chosen by five non-elected legislators living in Kiygrava. As such, out of respect to the populated states and to ward off accusations of being a pocket borough, the Wintergen Board of Estimate instructs its Councillors to abstain from legally-binding votes unless they are relevant to the status of Wintergen or are unanimous. Voting last allows the Wintergen Councillor to confirm that support for the measure is indeed unanimous before casting his vote.
The Council of States is a non-partisan body. While many of its members belong to state-level political parties, the Council does not recognise any cadres or other political groups. Councillors are instead seated by Regional Groups corresponding (generally) to the geographic location of the state they represent. The Presidency of the Council of States rotates among the Regional Groups annually, with each group electing one of their number to the Presidency.
Western Regional Group
Northern Regional Group
Eastern Regional Group
- 30px Meridia
Southern Regional Group
Æonaran Regional Group
- Central Æonara
- North Æonara
- West Æonara
- South Æonara
- Southwest Æonara
- Other Æonara
- H Æonara