Lex Hamata

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Drafting of the Lex Hamata. Author Matthiu Hamata sits at top left.

The lex Hamata is the de facto primary constitutional document of the Republica Falcatta.

The preamble of the law passed is as follows:

"The government of the city of Sânts-Nemhora and its dominions shall be divided into many parts, controlling different provinces of government, and having powers to counter other said organs. Where possible the mos maiorum is followed except where antiquated. Forthwith, no custom is to be considered binding at law, though said custom and consequential precedence may be legislated into legal form.

Religious offices of the commonwealth have been hitherto possessive of powers against government activity and actions. Henceforth, these powers are to be abrogated. The offices of the Religious are forthwith divorced from, though may observe in official capacity, the commonwealth’s governing activities."

In recent years the Religious have been reincorporated somewhat into the structure of practical government.

Contents

Origin

Following the end of British occupation (in January of 1927) a constitutional council gathered in the city of Sânts-Nemhora to outline the city's sovereign government. The city was to be a democratic unitary republic, governed by strong magistrates with laws sourced from the people.

The "constitution" was drafted by committee based on customs, law, and precedent, and later became the document in its present form. Members of the council criticized the inclusion of clauses calling for unity with other states, and these were later struck.

Disagreements arose between the delegates over issues such as the national flag, religious education for youth, and the rights of the smaller towns and "lands" (agri) that made up the territories of the city. These disagreements were resolved by August 1935, though many delegates from these towns abstained from voting to ratify the law as was.

The Republic's first Maior, Calfino Ruberio Nesto, signed the new law on August 20, 1942.

The fundamental tenet of the constitution was that Falcatta was to be a sovereign republic on the classical model with an elected as well as democratic legislature. Universal suffrage was established, with a minimum voting age of 20.

Naming

The law was named in conventional style, recorded as lex lxiii.a Hamata, Matthaeus scriptor, indicating "63rd law promulgated, first cycle, author Matthiu Hamata".

Drafting Process

Original Form

1968 Revision

(Including the reconstitution of the democratic assemblies.)

Article I: Assemblies of the Republic

The whole citizenry, when assembled for government purposes, is called the Comitia. The Comitia can be assembled in various ways depending on purpose.

Part I. The Comitia or Assembly of the People

Section I. The Comitia Centuriata (Centuriate Assembly, or the People Assembled in Centuries)

Structure

All citizens are united into this political body in which voting power is determined by length of citizenship. In this way, experience counters the popular opinion of the People in Tribes for elections and legislation. The People are divided thus: Citizens of thirty years and over are enrolled in the First Class. They will be equally dispersed in 80 Centuries with one vote each. Citizens of 20 years and over are enrolled in the Second Class. They will be equally dispersed in 20 Centuries with one vote each. Citizens of 15 years and over are enrolled in the Third Class. They will be equally dispersed in 20 Centuries with one vote each. Citizens of ten years and over are enrolled in the Fourth Class. They will be equally dispersed in 20 Centuries with one vote each. Citizens of five years and over are enrolled in the Fifth Class. They will be equally dispersed in 15 Centuries with one vote each. Citizens below five years shall be enrolled in the Capite Censi (Counted Heads, Sixth Class). The Head Count are divided into two centuries, with one vote each.

Powers

The powers of the Centuriate Assembly are thus: (1) Election of the curule magistrates, that is the Maior, Consuls, the Praetors (when voting for Praetors, the Comitia may be called the Comitia Praetoria), Aediles (of the Curule variety) and the Censors. (2) Declarations of War may only be obtained by vote of the Comitia Centuriata, though this does not preclude military action by the Republic. (3) As a court of appeal for capital cases, the Comitia Centuriata is rendered thus: Any criminal cases which end in a sentence of death or public death (exile) are immediately brought before the Assembly and voted upon. To clarify, a retrial does not take place. The course of the trial is presented to the Comitia Centuriata, who then votes yea or nay to the sentence. If the sentence is overturned, the official presiding over the trial must issue a new sentence not capital. (4) Lastly the Comitia Centuriata may vote on legislation brought before it by the Consuls and Praetors.

Voting on legislation.

Voting procedures for legislation brought before the Comitia Centuriata are only to be initiated by a Consul or Praetor, who first must put the bill before the Senate, where he may, but is not required to, receive a Senatus Consultum. For a Praetor to convene the Comitia Centuriata, he must have a Consul’s consent, unless both Consuls are outside the pomerium. Once declared, the magistrate can then read the bill out to the assembled Comitia Centuriata and ask it to vote yea or nay to make the bill into a lex (law). Once a bill is ratified, only the Comitia Centuriata can repeal said legislation. Legislation brought before the Comitia Centuriata can either be voted upon right away as presented by the magistrate, or the presiding magistrate can institute a lex rogata, whereupon a period of nine days can be dedicated to popular discussion and alteration of the law.

Elections and Ratifications.

Voting is to be done sequentially, with the First Class voting first, and in turn by the classes according to their number in ascending order. Voting is tallied by the majority vote of each century being counted as a single vote. That is, if two thirds of a century votes nay on a measure, the vote of the century is nay. In elections, the highest polling magistrate wins the century. The total centuriate votes shall be tallied to find election/legislation results. Elections take place on December 15.

Section II. Comitia Curiata (Curiate Assembly, or the People Assembled in Curia)

Structure, Purpose and Operation of the Comitia Curiata

The Comitia Curiata was originally composed of the whole People, being free male citizens, divided into thirty curiae. Gradually the law of the Comitia Curiata fixed the curiae at thirty, represented by one Lictor each. The new standard is that the two Consuls of the year will each represent 15 curiae, the citizenry bear witness to this, and are thus part of the Comitia. The Comitia Curiata’s responsibility is to pass laws bestowing imperium upon individuals. At the moment these are passed, imperium, according to its regulations, takes affect. Such a law is called a lex curiata (curiate law). The Comitia Curiata is only convened at the instigation of a Consul on the 15th of March to bestow imperium on new magistrates. The Comitia Curiata will then vote unanimously granting imperium to the incoming magistrates.

Section III. Comitia Tributa (Tribal Assembly, or the People Assembled in Tribes)

(a) Composition. The Tribal Assembly is once more composed of all the citizens, but now assembled into tribes. Originally instituted by King Servius Tullius, these tribes were topographical. The tribes are henceforth stripped of their geographic parameters. The citizens are assigned certain tribes for ease of vote tallying, but votes are counted individually. (b) Powers of the Comitia Tributa. The Tribal Assembly is reduced to (1) electing the named inferior magistrates below, whose duties are considered more properly in the realm of caring for the citizenry than the administering of the state, and therefore rightfully elected by the citizenry in an egalitarian setting. Offices of a similar nature to these may be elected here. These officers are: the Tribuni Plebis (the Tribunes of the Plebs) in accordance with the lex Publilia of 282 A.U.C., Aediles Plebeiani (plebeian Aediles), Quaestores (Quaestors), Tribuni Militi (Military Tribunes), triumviri capitales (three men responsible for prisons), triumviri monetales (three men responsible for the printing/minting of money), curatores viarum (men who maintain specific roads), tribuni aerarii (tribunes of the treasury), praefecti annonae (prefects of the grain), septemviri viis purgandis (seven men tasked with public sanitation in and outside the city of Falcatta) and lastly, reversing the lex Domitia of 652 A.U.C., of the pontifices only the Pontifex Maximus of the Religious offices is elected by the Tribal Assembly. Any judicial roles of the Assembly are henceforth transferred to the Collegium Tribuni Plebis (College of Tribunes of the Plebs), where the President of the Tribunes will act as judge. (2) The Comitia Tributa may vote on laws brought to it by the Tribunes of the Plebs. (c) Elections. Elections take place on November 10th. They are called by the highest polling Tribunus Plebis (the President) at a place, virtual or actual, where all citizens can attend. The vote must be announced the night preceding the vote at no later than dusk. The citizenry are then expected to present themselves, with the cutoff for attendance being high noon. Then they vote with the majority of a tribal vote being counted against the similar tally of other tribes. Amongst all the tribes, the highest polling candidates are considered the elected magistrates to the limit of their college. Thus, among all the tribes, the eight highest polling candidates for the Tribunes of the Plebs are considered elected, the candidates lower not elected. (d) Legislation. When a Tribune of the Plebs wishes to promote a bill for ratification, the process is thus: The Comitia Tributa is convoked by a Tribune of the Plebeians only, no further than 1000 paces outside the pomerium (outside which he has no authority), for whatever purpose said Tribune might have. The assembly has the duty of voting yea or nay on plebiscitae (plebiscites) proposed by a Tribune, who in this case is known as a Rogator. Plebiscita have the weight of law on all citizens of the republic. For a Tribune to propose said plebiscita for ratification before the citizenry, he must have brought it before his fellow Tribunes, in this case known as Adscriptores, and obtained at least half of their signatures (including himself), permitting proposal of the bill. Once permission is obtained, a Contio (formal meeting) is called, where the Rogator will appoint a Praeco (who is not a Tribune) to read the bill out to the Assembly. The Adscriptores then, in order of their polling, will recommend with yea or nay to the people to pass the measure. Following a period of debate, wherein private individuals might ask a Tribune to speak, the measure will then be put to vote. The debate period can last no longer than nine days, and a Rogator must allow at least three days for debate. During the period of debate, the Rogator must call formal meetings of the Comitia Tributa to allow for discussion.

Section IV. Comitia Calata (Calate Assembly, or the People Assembled as the Religious)

This assembly rightfully includes the whole citizenry. Due to its nature the citizenry are only present as observers. All sacred colleges meet in this assembly to discuss and resolve religious issues. These religious edicts have no effect on the government nor are they binding at court against individuals. The assembly always meets in the Curia Calabra, on the Capitol, under the presidency of the Collegium Pontificum (College of Pontiffs).

Part II. The Elected Councils for the People

Section I. Curia Legatorum (Council of Delegates)

Composition.

This council is composed of Legati Populi (Delegates of the People). This body, like its counterpart, the Senate, is not an assembly of citizens. It is a council of elected representatives. These Legates represent citizens in areas of the proper commonwealth; that is geographic areas not administered as provinces. These areas are composed of all citizens living in specific geographic areas. Each area elects three Legates. Legates serve for ten year terms, and may be impeached by agreement between their fellow Legates from the same area. The impeachment is then brought before the entire Council, who votes on the matter. Legates are responsible for the elections in their area. If one is removed from office, his fellow Legates are required to hold elections within ten days of his removal to replace him. The Censors are put in charge of determining regions and naming them, and must obtain ratification of their decisions from the Council.

Powers.

The Council has the ability to legislate on matters proposed by any of its members. These measures, when passed, become actae (Acts). These acts are binding on all citizens of the republic.

Section II. Senatus (Senate)

Composition.

The most venerable body of the republic, composed of those citizens who have been elected to magistracies of the cursus honorum. When elected a Quaestor, one is automatically a Senator. The Censors retain the right to cull and appoint persons to this body. Another avenue into the Senate is through military prowess acknowledged by receipt of a crown, as per Sullan law. As the legal age for Quaestor is 31, the legal age for entry in the Senate is thus likewise, excluding militarily honored individuals.

Leadership.

The Senate is headed by the Princeps Senatus, which office is bestowed again by the Censors only to any whom they deem most worthy. Unless any charge was brought against his position, he is automatically re-elected during the next lustrum. His position does not afford any powers or advantages over prestige, including the ability to call or preside over meetings.

Restrictions on Senatorial practices.

Senators are permitted to engage in business ventures, though may be audited by the Censors at any time to protect against partisanship. A commission from the Council of Delegates is given oversight regarding the audits.

Meetings.

Regular meetings (senatus legitimus) of the Senate occur on the calends (1st), nones (5th or 7th) and ides (13th or 15th) of every month. Extraordinary meetings (senatus indictus) may be called on any other day excluding those on which the Comitia Centuriata meets. The Senate may only meet in inaugurated temples.

Powers of the Senate.

The Senate is stripped of any and all ability to create binding legislation. Therefore, such acts as the senatus consultum ultimum no longer have any authority without assembly approval. (1) The Senate may decree Senatus Consultum (Senate Resolutions), which may be taken by Consuls or Praetors before the Comitia Centuriata for ratification, where they become law. Only the below named resolutions may be put into administrative affect by a magistrate without assembly approval: matters pertaining to the treasury, military commands and levies, prorogation of imperium, grants of oration or triumph and lastly to the creation or dissolution of provinces. These resolutions may at any time be challenged, however, by any citizen without reason at law (if challenged, the resolution immediately goes before the Comitia Centuriata and is put to vote). (2) The Senate may be used as a final court of appeal, after all other courts have been exhausted in relation to a case. (3.1.a) The Senate is also charged with the superintendence of the state through the below named subcommittees. (3.1.b) The Senate may approve a Consul-nominated individual to serve as administrator of the superintendence offices. This official is known as the Magister Officiorum. (3.2.a) In order to achieve such superintendence, these permanent subcommittees of the Senate are created, and shall be called: the Office of the Interior, headed by the Aediles, charged with the infrastructure of the state; the Office of Justice, headed by the Praetors, charged with the administration of justice; the Office of Security, under the Consuls, charged with the safeguarding of the security of the state from threats both internal and external and headed by the Prefectus Militum; the Office of the Treasury, which is administered by a Senate-elected officer and staffed by the Quaestors, charged with care of the public purse headed by a Senate appointed Tribunus Aerarius; the Office of Public Welfare, which is the conglomeration of individuals elected by the Comitia Tributa, who are charged with the maintenance of the health of the citizenry; the Office of Letters, under the Consuls again, charged with foreign embassies and their resultant responsibilities. (3.2.b) The offices may be staffed by whomsoever their presiding magistrates deem appropriate.

Voting Procedures.

For purposes of voting, the Senate shall divide itself to either side of its housing. One side the yeas, the other nays. The majority vote wins. The quorum is half the number of enrolled Senators.

Article II: Magistrates of the Republic

Magistrates generally serve in egalitarian colleges. There is usually a senior, that is the one who polled the most votes. Magistrates come in two varieties: Senatorial and Popular. These are offices that bestow membership in the Senate and those that do not, respectively. Within the Senatorial variety are a class of magistrates known as Curule. These have the power known as imperium, while the others do not.

Part I. Imperium

Section I. General Definition of Imperium.

Imperium is the special privilege of certain magistrates derived from the authority of the ancient dukes. As a Duke could never be gainsaid, likewise the Curule magistrates within their province of control. Their executive authority within their sphere is unlimited, and only tempered by the vulnerability to trial after their terms of office for actions against citizens.

Part II. Senatorial Magistrates

All of these magistrates serve for one year unless noted otherwise.

Section I. The Maior.

The Maior is elected for life from the ex-Censors. This officer may declare no-confidence in a Consul and call for either a vote of the Senate by simple majority to remove the Consul from office, or attain the unanimous support of the Tribunes of the Plebeians. Should martial law ever be declared, the Maior can lift it accordingly with his wishes. He may be stripped of his rank by unanimous decision of the Senate.

Section II. The Censors.

The Censors, numbering two, are responsible for caring for the roll of citizens and amending it as necessary. They are placed in charge of the letting of state contracts and work with the Offices in this capacity. Before the end of their term, called a lustrum, they must produce a new Census. Censors take office on the 15th of March and serve for six months. To stand for the Censorship a candidate must have ben elected Consul.

Section III. The Consuls.

The Consuls are the supreme executive authorities in the state. The one who polls highest in the elections will be the Consul Senior, and the second highest polling candidate the Junior. These two terms are only applied when necessary, as both men are Consuls. The power of veto is granted only to the Senior Consul, though both may still legislate. The streamlining of executive authority is tempered by the ability of the Maior to call for impeachment of him. The Consul retains all powers until fully tried, should the impeachment proceed this far. If he is removed from office, the Senate shall appoint a new Consul from the highest polling candidate of the previous election that was next after the Junior Consul. To declare for a Consulship one must have attained the rank of Praetor. The Consuls take office on the Ides of March. Consuls may serve one term and may only stand for a consecutive second by plebiscite which allows them to do so.

Section IIII. The Praetors.

The Praetors, numbering four, are elected for the purpose of administering justice for one year terms. The highest polling Praetor is named the City Praetor, or Praetor Urbanus, and his court shall be that of civil cases within the pomerium of Falcatta. The next highest polling candidate shall be the Foreign Praetor, or Praetor Peregrinus, whose court shall be that of cases involving non-national persons and businesses. The two remaining Praetors are judges whose courts operate generally throughout Falcatta. The four Praetors may appoint individually iudices, or judges, below them to ease their burdens and see cases finished in their term. The Praetors are required, before they take office on March 15th to publish edicta detailing any interpretations of laws that differ from the common one, so that the public might know their justice. The Praetors must adhere to their edicta. The Senate may prorogue the Praetors should they not complete their dockets within their term of office. To declare for a Praetorship one must have attained the rank of Aedile (Curule or Plebeian) and Quaestor.

Section V. The Curule Aedile.

The Aedile is responsible for the maintenance of the infrastructure of the state. With such responsibility, he may produce edicta binding at law relative to his province. The Aedile has imperium within the pomerium of Falcatta. He may appoint assistants to aid him in his duties. State festivals are the province of the Aedile. To stand for the Aedileship, one must have attained the rank of Quaestor. The Aedile takes office on March 15th.

Section VI. Quaestors.

The Quaestors, numbering three, are responsible to their Senate appointed Tribunus Aerarius to produce individual quarterly reports detailing the budget of the state and its current cash reserves. Additionally, a final year end financial report is demanded from the college. Candidates must be 31 years of age at least 24 hours before they assume their mantle of office. Quaestors take office on March 15th.

Part III. Popular Magistrates and Officers

Section I. The Plebeian Aedile.

The Aedile is responsible for the maintenance of the infrastructure of the state. With such responsibility, he may produce edicta binding at law relative to his province. He may appoint assistants to aid him in his duties. State festivals are the province of the Aedile. The Aedile takes office on March 15th.

Section II. Tribunes of the Plebeians.

Tribunes of the Plebs, numbering four, are responsible for protecting the people against the transgressions of magistrates might abuse their imperium. Through their legislation can they achieve this end. The power of the veto is stripped, on the basis that a negative authority is destructive rather than constructive. The Tribunes may legislate other matters as well. The Tribunes have as their leader the President (the highest polling candidate) and take office on December 10th. Tribunes of the Plebeians must be at least 29 years of age.