(Above: Dontae Rose *DN Chair, District 309* detained, being brought into the Chamber floor by Capitol Police, under protest. For print 27/8/2023)
The “Monarchy Oversight and Restriction Bill of 2023”, a bill which would be the greatest restriction of the Monarchy’s power since ratification of the current Doatian Constitution, in June 1790 (233 years). Minor restrictions better considered “clarifications” have consistently been passed throughout the 20th century, and once in the last two decades (took authority from the Monarchy in deciding which descendants were entitled to some of the annual allowance allotted to the institution each year through multiple properties, fees, taxes, the official annual allowance approved by the People’s Chamber, and royalties on specific entities and industries).
Reaching the Chancellor’s desk, it was vetoed yesterday morning. An override vote took place earlier today, in accordance with Chamber rules requiring the Speaker to schedule an override vote within 3 days after a veto.
Speaker Frank Levato scheduled a vote at 9am this morning. With a qourum of members present, 6 votes took place, each an attempt to override the Chancellor’s veto. Each failed. With the entire EJP and most of the PLP holding strong, along with some unruly CP members, a 2/3 majority couldn’t be reached. Most votes didn’t even surpass a simple-majority.
After the 6th round, the Speaker called for a vote to suspend an override attempt and begin an amendment process. By a simple-majority vote, the Chamber votes to move on. Members of the CP and DN began leaving in protest, despite aggressive gaveling by the Speaker, eventually gathering outside the Chamber building to speak to reporters.
Due to the protest by the CP and DN outside the Chamber building, as well as several PLP members being away on a humanitarian mission, quorum was lost, and the override vote was delayed. With the PLP absences, at least 82 DN/CP members are required to be present, along with the entire EJP and PLP members present, for quorum to be reached. After about 45 minutes, the Speaker ordered Capitol Police to detain members in the capitol city who were absent from the special session, and bring them to the floor, by force if necessary. The Speaker’s authority derives from Chamber rules, which grant the Speaker additional authority during states of emergency and special sessions of the Chamber.
Within the Speaker’s clause, is a section titled Werikl (Executive authority), which allows the Speaker, among other permissions, to bypass the Rules Committee (the body responsible for enforcing quorum; normally, when the Speaker is unable to bring a quorum within the Chamber, the Chamber is briefly adjourned, and the Rules Committee meets to discuss next measures. These could include fines, censure, removal from committee, and yes, detainment or arrest; this can occur as many times as necessary until the body is officially adjourned or a quorum is reached) and direct capitol police themself.
Members of the Chamber speaking to reporters outside, including the chairs of the CP and DN, were gradually carried into the Chamber floor, under protest, to their seat. Some in handcuffs, others in zip-ties, some with no restraints. Eventually enough DN/CP members were brought back into the Chamber for a quorum to be reached.
The last time a Speaker used this authority was during a similar CP protest in 2012, prior to a war authorization and during a state of emergency. Before that, it was invoked to remove EJP members declared unruly by the Speaker during a special session of the Chamber, in this case an address from the then-Chancellor, when they wouldn’t cease shouting and hollering, disrupting the Chancellor’s address.
Several DN and CP members are already threatening lawsuits against the Speaker for violation of civil rights, and both Dontae Rose and Rebecca Loaz are also threatening suits by their parties against the Federal Government and Speaker.
Speaker Levato spoke at the Speaker’s podium as a quorum was being reached: “It is mandated for members, without an excuse preapproved by the Rules Committee, to be in attendance during special sessions of the Chamber. You’d think our Conservative and Nationalist partners in democracy across the aisle” the Speaker spoke, despite hoots and hollers from the CP/DN, “would appreciate our grand responsibility today. Instead, the engage in a little protest to get some screen time outside with reporters. Under authority granted to me by the Rules Committee, the approved Rules of this body, during special sessions, I’ve issues a mandate for your attendance and have enforced it. May we now carry on with our important business.” Immediately after he spoke, the CP/DN members on the floor abrupted into shouting and throwing things at the podium.
Papers were flying everywhere; pens were being launched. A shoe was thrown at the Speaker before he was escorted to safety. Members on all sides were arguing. Representative Caroline Denzel (District 682-CP) and Rep. Raven Umbiqo (District 12-EJP) got into a physical altercation, after they were arguing, and Denzel slapped Umbiqo across the face. Representative Umbiqo then punched Rep. Denzel in the nose, breaking it. The two continued their tussle, eventually both falling to the ground, until they were broken up by Representative Harold Domingo (District 180-PLP). All three were escorted out by capitol police.
After several arrests were made by capitol police, and multiple other CP and DN members protesting the session were brought to the floor, quorum within the Chamber (450 members present) was reached at approximately 11:30am. The Speaker returned shortly after.
Once order was restored, the Speaker motioned for a vote to continue business. With a majority votes to move forward, the bill was then subjected to several lightning rounds of amendments, each concluded by unsuccessful votes to move the bill forward. With only 562 members present (360 – EJP, 8 – PLP, 190 – CP, 4 – DN), 282 (simple-majority) votes are required for an amendment to be approved, 375 for ultimate approval (2/3 majority).
98 CP members were arrested. 19 were absent (couldn’t be located). 4 DN members were arrested. 1 was absent. The leaders of both parties have indicated they will be bailing those is jail out soon.
Round 1: EJP proposal, remove language restricting the Monarchy’s diplomatic authority (PASSED)
284 Y/ 250 N/ 28P
CP motion to bring to a floor vote
302 N/260 Y
Round 2: DN Proposal, cut Monarchy’s annual allowance by 50% and cut their additional earning by 25% (FAIL)
352 N/ 210 Y
Round 3: CP proposal, cut Monarchy’s annual allowance by 8%, cut their additional benefits by 10%, and cut their additional earnings by 12% (PASSED)
283 Y / 279 N
Round 4: PLP proposal, create a permanent committee within the Chamber to provide oversight of the monarchy, with full powers (same as those granted to government oversight committee) (PASSED)
400 Y/ 162 N
DN motion to adjourn
400 N/ 140 Y/ 22 P
Round 5: DN proposal, prohibit Prince Ayana from ever holding royal titles, or being entitled to a royal allowance, ever again (FAIL) (most significant internal split within each party, regarding members voting for or against)
281 Y/ 281 N
EJP motion to bring to a floor vote
562 Y, unanimous
377 Y/ 185 N (PASSED)
It was sent to the Chancellor earlier today and signed immediately.
Kody James, Doatian Royal Correspondent