The «Building Democracy & the Council» plan, which helped to establish the Council, was published on 8 February 2013 when an article on the influence of Native American political methods was written on Veritum Sandus. The plan continues to develop to today since the formal ratification of the first step of building a direct democratic council in the State of Sandus, which passed unanimously by national referendum on 21 December 2014. The Council was officially promulgated on 4 January 2015.
In the unwritten constitution of the State of Sandus, the Council forms the final part of the intention to evolve the State of Sandus into a classical republic complete with three component parts reflecting rule by an individual, rule by a group of people, and rule by the people: monarchy, meritocracy, and democracy. The Council forms the democratic part of the tripartite republican system and has full legislative powers in the State of Sandus; all Sandum citizens — Cives, Socii, and Peregrini — have the right to draft motions, vote, and to stand for election for the position of facilitator. As a deliberative body, the Council tries to reach all decisions by consensus without objections, though a simple majority voting system can be used over contentious matters at the facilitator’s discretion.
Facilitator of the Council
Hatsu Ryuuhou (from 2 September 2020 to 27 February 2021)
Sessions of the Council
Each session is the time period between each full moon, where each full moon is the terminal point of the session. The election of a new facilitator ought to be called and concluded by the period of the New Moon.
To view the decisions of legislative sessions from previous Administrative Years, visit the Tabularium Sande.
Administrative Year 2021
30 December 2020 — First Session of the Administrative Year 2021
28 January 2021 — Second Session of the Administrative Year 2021
27 February 2021 — Third Session of the Administrative Year 2021
28 March 2021 — Fourth Session of the Administrative Year 2021
27 April 2021 — Fifth Session of the Administrative Year 2021
26 May 2021 — Sixth Session of the Administrative Year 2021
24 June 2021 — Seventh Session of the Administrative Year 2021
24 July 2021 — Eighth Session of the Administrative Year 2021
22 August 2021 — Ninth Session of the Administrative Year 2021
20 September 2021 — Tenth Session of the Administrative Year 2021
20 October 2021 — Eleventh Session of the Administrative Year 2021
19 November 2021 — Twelfth Session of the Administrative Year 2021
19 December 2021 — First Intercalary Session of the Administrative Year 2021
2 January 2022 — First Intercalary Session of the Administrative Year 2022
Powers & Practices of the Council
The Council has full legislative powers in the State of Sandus. The Council reaches legislative decisions by consensus, unless a legislative decision (also known as a legislative motion) is contentious enough to warrant a vote. For motions where the traditional voting method is not used, all motions must achieve a major of assents by Sandum citizens in order to become effective. All decisions made by the Council are able to be vetoed by the Sôgmô, though the Council and the Citizens’ Party are able to override the veto by an insofar unwritten procedure — a future topic for the Council to decide.
The Council is presided over by a facilitator who is elected on a unique procedure for elections. The term for the facilitator is one term of six sessions, or six lunar months, but an elected facilitator may serve indefinitely without objections and in good faith. Anyone may stand to be elected to the faciliatorship from the period between the Full Moon and the New Moon.
Rules & Procedures of the Council
The Council is made up of voting members who are citizens and who elect a Speaker, who oversees and manages the Council and represents the Council in all state affairs. The Council’s officers include the speaker and other possible positions in the future, such as an archivist and others that the Council votes to create and elect.
The Council passes two categories of decisions by voting: a motion or resolution and a law.
A motion or resolution is a simple action of the Council that does not change or alter statutory law in the State of Sandus but that may direct or authorise an officer of state to take a particular action, alter or change the rules and procedures of the Council, or that expresses the opinion of the legislature.
A law is a written statute that creates public law in the State of Sandus.
There are three options when voting normally: affirmative, negative, and abstain.
1. Citizens, Voting Members, and the Speaker
All citizens are by law entitled to be members, to debate, to deliberate, and to vote on all matters before the Council. Voting members, also simply members, are those citizens who are present in the official deliberative medium of the Council.
The speaker is the officer of the Council who oversees and manages the Council’s deliberations, represents the Council in all state affairs, and who safeguards Sandum democracy. The speaker is elected for an annual term on the Spring Equinox at an election administered by the Sôgmô.
2. Official Deliberative Medium and Other Media
The official deliberative medium of the Council is the Council’s group/forum on Facebook, and this is where voting and debate formally takes place. Members and the Speaker may share news and information regarding all matters before the Council with other citizens publicly through all other media where citizens of the State of Sandus congregate, discuss, and share information.
3. Information Security & Privacy
Efforts should be made by all members to keep the internal deliberations that are ongoing within the Council private from those who are not citizens.
Deliberations and debate in the Council must last for a period of at least one week, unless a vote shortening the period is made with a two-thirds supermajority.
All votes made before the Council must remain open for at least three days, unless the threshold whereby the vote would pass has already been met. Any member may initiate a vote, but the Speaker is responsible for ensuring that voting lasts for the appropriate amount of time. If no prior public comment has been made on a vote, motion, resolution, or law, then the vote must remain open for at least one week.
Members have three options on most votes, with the exception of elections or non-binding opinion polls: affirmative, opposition, and abstention. More than half of all voting members must affirm a vote, motion, resolution, or law for the decision to pass, and more than half of all voting members is generally the Council’s quorum.
Members have more options on electoral votes that specify particular candidates, abstention, and a vote for none of the candidates.
Before a vote concludes, members who will be unable to vote within the voting period may notify the speaker of their intention to vote within seven days after the vote would ordinarily close. If their vote would not materially affect the outcome, the speaker may conclude the vote at the normal time, but otherwise, voting must remain open until either the extranumerary seven days have elapsed or the member has voted.
6. Passing Laws
The process for passing laws in the State of Sandus must allow for one week of public input and must have three readings in the Council.
At the first reading, the speaker states the name of the bill, specifies what the purpose or scope of the bill is, and reads the text of the bill. (This may be done alone, publicly, or recorded. The speaker must have read the whole text of the bill in order to be familiar with the document and its contents.)
At the second reading, the bill is given over to public input and citizen comment that lasts at least one week and may be put before a committee or the cabinet. At this second reading the speaker and/or the author(s) of the bill may notify all citizens outside of the Council regarding the name, purpose, and content of the bill.
At the third reading, the speaker repeats the name of the bill and either the speaker or the original author of the bill opens the period of voting that lasts at least three days. Once a majority of all voting members have approved of the bill and the speaker has called the vote, i.e. reported the result of the vote, the bill becomes a law.
7. Published Proceedings & Archive
The speaker is responsible for regularly publishing a report on the Council’s deliberations and decisions. The speaker in conjunction with the Sôgmô keeps a record of all laws and decisions passed that the Council has passed. A separate archivist position may be elected to fulfill this role.
The Council’s quorum is more than half (>51%) of the voting members of the council.
9. Election & Recall
The speaker and other officers of the Council (e.g., an archivist) are elected annually on the Spring Equinox in an election administered by the Sôgmô. The speaker’s term lasts one year, unless the speaker or another officer of the Council is subject to a recall.
A recall must be initiated by no less than one-third of all members of the Council through a petition directed at the Sôgmô. The Sôgmô will then open a period of public comment for one week followed by a vote to recall and unseat the speaker or another officer of the Council. With more than half of all voting members voting in the affirmative, the speaker or another officer of the Council will be recalled and unseated.
10. Amendment of the Rules and Procedures of the Council
The Council may decide to amend the rules and procedures of the Council by a simple majority vote in a motion or resolution.
Former Rules regarding the Council
There are two different methods of voting on motions in the Council, a traditional method and an ‘assent’ method. In the traditional method of voting, there are three options a citizen has over a particular motion: to vote in support, to vote in opposition, and to abstain; these options are represented by ‘aye,’ ‘nay,’ and ‘abstention’ respectively. Most motions in the Council are not controversial enough to require the traditional method of voting, however, so a new method of voting was enacted by the Fourth Session of the Council in the Administrative Year 2015. In this method, where the traditional method would be unnecessarily dichotomous between ‘support’ and ‘opposition,’ the only option is to assent to a particular motion. All motions which are uncontroversial and do not require the traditional method of voting need at least a majority of citizens to say that they “assent” to a particular motion before it takes force at the end of the Session; however, if discussion takes place and the facilitator recognises the need for the traditional voting method to be used, the facilitator will direct the Council to vote formally on a motion. Otherwise, an assented motion will become a decision by the Council.
The Council has changed its rules to elect a facilitator for three sessions; that motions must have at least one “I assent” response; and, that the proposer of a motion is authorised to solicit support for their motion.— Decision by the Fourth Session of the Council in 2015
This decision was changed in January 2019 to extend the term to six sessions.
I therefore motion to extend the term of the facilitator from three months to six.— Sôgmô’s motion on 28 December 2018, passed 30 December 2018
Rules regarding the Election of a Facilitator
It was decided early in the history of the Council that a facilitator should be elected to manage the work of the Council, to prompt citizens to take part in the Council, and to represent the Council in the Sandum republic. The follow rules concerning the election of a facilitator are the most up-to-date rules.
The Council has decided that it will be chaired by a Facilitator who shall facilitate discussion in the Council and begin a session’s agenda; the term is for one month and there are no term limits.— Decision by the First Session of the Council in 2015
The Council has changed its rules to elect a facilitator for three sessions…— Decision by the Fourth Session of the Council in 2015
It was decided that a rule be established concerning the election of the facilitator:— Decision by the Tenth Session of the Council in 2015
– that the election of the facilitator shall remain from the period of the lunar month between the Full Moon (when the month/session begins) and the New Moon.
– that the facilitator is elected by a simple majority or a majority of assents.
– that, if no facilitator is elected for the session, the Sôgmô becomes the acting-facilitator.
– that the facilitator, if there are no other candidates or opposition during the time period specified above, shall continue to hold office in good faith.