Amendment Proposal – 4th revision – legislative branch
In this section, I will use the same technique as I did on the 4th revision page regarding the executive branch. I will begin with the current text of Article I of the U.S. Constitution in italics, and I will add my suggested edits and additions in bold.
Article. I. – The Legislative Branch
Section 1 – The Legislature
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Section 2 – The House
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States.
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
No person who is currently serving, or has served any elected or appointed government office, or as a delegate to an elected Citizens’ Assembly, in the two year period preceding the beginning of the term for which the election is being held shall be eligible. No person shall serve in such office for consecutive terms, nor more than two terms in any ten year period.
The actual Enumeration shall be made every Term of ten Years, according to the United States Census. The Number of Representative Districts for each state shall be determined by multiplying the state’s percentage of the whole population of all the states and the District of Columbia by seventy-four. Fractions below 1/2 will be rounded down, except that no state nor the District of Columbia shall have less than one District.
Each District shall elect five Representatives according to Single Transferable Vote. Each Representative shall carry in the House one proxy vote for every ten thousand votes received in the election, but no Representative shall have less than one proxy vote.
The presiding officer of the House of Representatives shall be The Speaker of the House, who shall be chosen from its membership by the other members at the beginning of each session.
Section 3 – The Senate
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of four Senators from each State, elected for four Years in a single statewide election by Single Transferable Vote; and each Senator shall have one Vote for each percent of the total vote received from the state in the election, so that each state shall have one hundred votes.
No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.
No person who is currently serving, or has served any elected or appointed government office, or as a delegate to an elected Citizens’ Assembly, in the two year period preceding the beginning of the term for which the election is being held shall be eligible. No person shall serve in such office for consecutive terms, nor more than one term in any fifteen year period.
The Senate shall elect a President of the Senate and a Senate Minority Leader (maybe we can come up with a better title for this office), who shall be of a different political party than the President of the Senate.
Section 4 – Sessions
The Congress shall convene for four sessions every year. The first shall convene on January 3rd, and remain in session until the first day of March. The second session shall begin on the first day of Spring and adjourn on the first day of June. The third session shall begin on the first day of Summer and adjourn on the first day of September. The fourth session shall begin on the first day of Autumn and adjourn on the ninth day of December.
In the recesses between sessions, Representatives shall meet with their District Councils, and Senators shall meet with their State Councils.
Section 5 – Membership, Rules, Journals, Adjournment
Two-thirds of each House shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, except those rules that are outlined in this Constitution or elsewhere by Law.
Each House, and all committees thereof, shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and publish the same; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.
Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.
Section 6 – Compensation
The members of Congress shall receive compensation for their services at a salary equal to the median household income for all the United States, according to the most recent Census.
No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
Section 7 – Presidential Veto and Legislative Process
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States where it shall be subject to a veto process, as outlined hereafter.
Upon a veto of a bill, each House shall reconsider the bill. A vetoed bill that cannot attain at least 3/5 of each House shall be considered failed. If it shall be approved by at least 3/5 but less than 2/3 of either House, the presiding officer of that House must assign an ad hoc committee to amend the bill in attempt to gain the necessary 2/3 for passage. The sponsor of the bill and one other member, chosen by those members voting in favor, and two other members elected by those members voting against, shall convene to deliberate on how to amend the bill to achieve a 2/3 vote. Once amended, another vote shall be taken, and this same rule shall apply until it either shall fail, be passed, or be withdrawn.
Section 8 – Removal From Office and Citizens’ Assemblies
When electing members of Congress, each voter shall be able to choose either a public or private ballot. Those choosing private ballots shall have their votes counted, but shall not be eligible to participate in Recalls of any member of Congress, or in Citizens’ Assemblies. Those who choose a public ballot shall be entitled to participate in both Recalls and Citizens’ Assemblies.
Within 60 days after the announcement of election results in each precinct, the clerk thereof shall deliver, by U.S. Mail, to each voter who selected a public ballot, an invitation to a Precinct Assembly. This invitation shall also designate the Representative and Senator for which that person’s vote was counted. Until the next election for each office, that person shall be considered a Constituent of that Representative and/or Senator. If a person who chose a public ballot cannot be considered a Constituent of any Representative, then he or she shall be considered a Constituent of all the Representative in the District. In like fashion, if any person who selected a public ballot is not considered a Constituent of any particular Senator, then he or she shall be considered a Constituent of all the Senators in that State.
A. Citizens’ Assemblies
Precinct Assemblies shall convene on the 90th day after the election of Congress. This day shall hereafter be a national holiday, and shall be called Precinct Day.
The Precinct Assemblies may designate committees. elect officers, determine or adjust rules, except those defined hereafter or elsewhere by law, set an agenda, and determine any future assembly dates.
The legislature of each state may determine the number of levels of citizens assemblies above the Precinct level as needed for greatest efficiency in that state, provided that:
1. All assemblies shall elect four delegates to the next level of assembly, and all such elections shall be according to Single Transferable Vote.
2. If any Precinct Assembly should have more than three hundred participants, it shall immediately divide itself into a number of separate assemblies such that each shall have fewer than three hundred members. Prior to the next election, the state legislature, or some delegated authority thereof, must then reapportion that precinct, or any number of precincts, so that no precinct will have more than that number of members.
3. No elected assembly shall have more than two hundred delegates.
4. There shall be an Assembly for each legislative district of the state, each federal Representative District, and for the whole state. In states with bicameral legislatures, there should be an assembly for each district of each house.
5. No person serving as an elected or appointed officer in any level of government may serve as a delegate to any elected assembly, but may participate in the Precinct Assembly of residence.
6. Once any elected assembly convenes, the delegates thereof shall cease to be members of the assembly from which they were elected.
7. All delegates at all higher level assemblies shall be compensated for their service for each day of travel and each day in session at a rate of one-fourth the average monthly rental rate of a single-person dwelling in that state per day. They shall not be paid for days the assembly is not in session, or on which the delegate is not in attendance, except for travel days.
8. After the election of delegates to a higher level assembly, a lower assembly shall not meet in excess of two days per month, unless authorized by the state legislature, or called to special session by a higher level assembly, except that Federal District Assemblies shall meet one additional session each quarter, during the recesses of Congress, to advise the District’s Representatives concerning the will of the people. These quarterly sessions shall consist of at least two days of open public testimony, at least one day of deliberation, at least one day of joint session with the Representatives, and not more than ten days total.
9. Attending Citizens Assemblies shall be considered a civic duty. No person attending any Citizens Assembly shall be terminated, demoted, suffer a reduction of pay, except in not being paid for those specific days in attendance of the Assemblies, or in any other way reprimanded by his or her employer for participating in these Assemblies.
10. District Councils shall convene no later than the last Monday of June in odd numbered years, and Statewide Citizens’ Assemblies shall convene no later than the last Monday of September in odd numbered years.
11. Delegates to any elected assembly shall remain members of that assembly until the next assembly is elected two years later, except those elected to higher assemblies.
Each level of Citizens’ Assembly shall have Committees for the Constituents of every Senator and Representative.
Recalls of any member of Congress may only be proposed or voted on in the Committees of his or her Constituents. If the Constituents of a Representative pass a recall measure in the Constituent Committee of District Council, there shall be a thirty day filing period for new candidates to register for a special election. The current Representative shall automatically be registered as a candidate, unless he or she withdraws from the election. Thereafter, all Constituents of that Representative in the District shall be entitled to vote in a special election, using an Instant Runoff Vote to determine who shall serve that constituency for the remainder of the term.
No member of Congress shall be subject to more than one recall measure in a single term.
In case of removal from office for any other reason, including resignation, illness, incapacity, incarceration or death, a similar special election of designated constituents shall elect a replacement.
Section 9 – Powers of Congress
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the people of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years, and no army but reserves or reserve state militias may be kept in times of peace, except the necessary personnel to train and maintain those reserves, and those necessary to protect the nation’s borders and air space;
To provide and maintain a Navy, but only a Navy sufficient to protect the nation’s territorial waters, guard the coastlines, and train and maintain a Naval reserve shall be kept in time of peace;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Section 10 – Limits on Congress
Congress may not borrow money on the credit of the United States, unless authorized by 2/3 of the Precinct Assemblies and 2/3 of the State Legislatures.
The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended.
No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.
No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.
No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published every year.
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.
Section 11 – Powers prohibited of States
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility. and
No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress. inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.