The planned constitutional Amendment adopts these Opening Rules for the IQA (i.e., Initiatives Qualifying Assembly of the United States). However, the rules are not incorporated into the Amendment so that they can be changed by the People’s Initiatives without amending the constitution. In this way, any non-constitutional defects in the IQA and the Initiative process can be addressed by the People and changed by Initiative to meet their requirements.
The planned constitutional Amendment gives the IQA broad authority and responsibility to evolve, improve, and meet changing circumstances. To balance this broad authority and responsibility, the IQA is limited by key rules that can only be changed by Direct Initiative of the People (Part 1), or super-majorities of the IQA (Part 2). To ensure that the IQA chooses an appropriate Part for a new or changed rule whose level of approval has not been approved by Direct Initiative, the Supreme Court can intervene to apply a lower or higher level of approval.
These Opening Rules must be sufficient to keep the IQA in reasonable order when it first convenes. However, they are incomplete and the IQA will undoubtedly make changes through Direct Initiatives and its own areas of authority. The experiences of each IQA will accumulate, providing continuity and knowledge for the benefit of future Assemblies.
The United States Constitution and any amendment thereof is the supreme authority over this IQA. The IQA shall conduct its business in accordance with these Rules. The Part 1 Rules constitute the IQA Charter. Only the People using Direct Initiatives can change this Charter. In this way, the People alone control the IQA under the overriding sanction of the Constitution-government is not involved. Therefore, the quality of Part 1 Rules is by far the most critical, since to change them will take substantial effort for the Voters to pass an Initiative. On the other hand, changing Part 2 and 3 rules can be accomplished purely by and within the IQA.
Part 1: IQA Charter Rules Changeable only by Nationwide Direct Initiative
Explanation of IQA Charter
The IQA shall use its powers to advance Proposed Candidate Initiatives in order to repair any deficiencies in its initial convocation by the Government and to assure thereafter that it functions in accordance with the intent of the Constitutional Amendment that established it. The IQA shall advance Candidate Initiatives that enable the People to accept or reject part or all of Governments’ completion of their implementation of the Initiatives Amendment and, when satisfied, to stop any further Government actions in this regard.
Explanation of Repair Deficiencies and Confirm Completions
Anticipating inaction and opposition from Government is the best way to minimize it. It would be naïve to hope otherwise.
- The IQA is the Initiatives Qualifying Assembly of the United States.
- Full Complement of Members: The maximum authorized membership (i.e., it includes absent Members and unfilled seats).
- Whole IQA: The IQA of all Members at the current session (i.e., it excludes absent Members and unfilled seats).
- A Majority is one vote more than fifty percent
- A Supermajority is a two-thirds vote
- Simple means that only the votes cast, not the total membership, shall be considered. A voting requirement is presumed Simple unless otherwise stated.
- Simple Majority or Simple Supermajority: Shall be based on the number of votes cast and is the default method of determining the success or failure of a vote unless otherwise specified.
- Absolute Majority or Absolute Supermajority: Shall be based on the Full Complement of Members.
Explanation of Definitions
Clarification of terms to avoid confusion.
Precedence of IQA Rules:
- Part 1 (Initiative) rules can be changed only by a Direct Initiative passed by double majority vote of the Electorate and shall prevail over Part B and C rules.
- Part 2 (supermajority) rules can be changed only by a two-thirds simple supermajority IQA vote, and prevail over Part C rules.
- Part 3 (majority) rules can be changed only by an absolute majority IQA vote.
Explanation of Precedence of IQA Rules
Defines the authority, limitations, and process for the IQA to manage its rules. Part A changes will need an Initiative, with opportunity loss for more important matters.
The IQA guidelines shall ensure that direct democracy Initiatives comply with the Constitution. In order of priority, it shall focus on advancing Initiatives to:
- Check and balance, provide oversight, and remedy representative democracy, but not supersede it.
- Set policies, principles, objectives and limits so that government shall best benefit the general well-being. In order that the nation’s assets shall be available to serve the long-term well-being of the People, the IQA shall foster:
- Reduction in waste for all forms of the nation’s assets.
- Increasing all forms of the nation’s assets.
- Promotion of effective efficiency-i.e., doing the right things well for the right objectives.
- Resolve issues of importance to the People that the government has not addressed adequately, because, for example, government:
- Is politically unable to take them up.
- Will not resolve them because Congresspersons have a personal conflict of interests.
- Will not resolve them because to do so would be contrary to the wishes of a set of special interest groups.
- Is otherwise unwilling to resolve them.
- Has neglected to deal with them.
- The IQA shall avoid focusing on advancing Initiatives that:
- Address problems that are at core symptomatic and/or intractable, however emotionally appealing (unless they tackle the core problems).
- Will incur significant expenditures, but are unfunded (unless the funds are created by the Initiative or the costs are relatively small).
- Comprise nationwide actions that could effectively be tried and proved first at a willing State level (unless they support a State trial).
- Compete with or nullify Congressional legislation (unless the People clearly wish it).
Explanation of Direct Democracy Guidelines
Guidelines defining priorities and assuring that Congressional abuses are at the top of the list. It also guides the IQA against infeasible legislation or expensive unfunded projects–Congress has no such constraints at this time.
The composition of the IQA shall consist of a cross-section of all U.S. Citizens who are legally entitled to vote. Their terms shall be staggered to ensure organizational continuity. At the end of each one-twelfth portion of their term of service, one-twelfth of their number who have served the longest (if equally long, then selected by lot) shall resign and be replaced by new IQA Members to fill the Full Complement.
Explanation of Composition of the IQA
The IQA will accurately represent the People, thus selecting Initiatives that the People will want to vote on and avoiding waste of their time..
The member selection method shall be simple random sample, stratified random sample or similar sampling process that is feasible and provides an effective random sample. The IQA shall select the optimum method. The selection process shall be audited by the IQA and open to public and press; the names of those selected shall not be made public.
Explanation of Member Selection Method
A random sample is the only method that assures that the IQA truly represents the People. It is never perfect because some of those chosen cannot serve.
The maximum size of the IQA shall be 600 Members and the minimum size 300 Members. Within these limits the IQA shall set the optimum number.
Explanation of Size of IQA
The size is sufficient to reflect the opinions of all Citizens about 9 times out of 10.
The maximum term for a Member’s service shall be 25 months and the minimum term shall be 12 months. Within these limits the IQA shall set the optimum term.
Explanation of Term of Service
The term of Grand Jury service is often comparable.
The Governments shall protect from tampering, or to press and media exploitation or manipulation for the following periods:
- The IQA when in session by means of law and a physical presence.
- The security of the IQA’s facilities on a continuous basis by means of law and a limited physical presence.
- For each Member and each Member’s family from the Members’ notification of selection until a minimum of two years and a maximum of five years from the date the Member is first seated, by means of law and its enforcement.
Explanation of Protect IQA and Members
Members are private persons similar to jurors. They will need greater protection because they will have information of newsworthy value to the media. The IQA must not become a media circus and its Member protection must continue while their past work is still current.
A Member’s primary job description as a deputy of the People is to develop an independent, un-coerced, informed opinion after open-minded deliberation about the overall benefit to the People’s best interests of one proposed Initiatives compared to another. When the IQA expects the Member to vote, then to vote that opinion by secret ballot. The IQA shall expand this job description.
Explanation of Members’ Basic Job Description
The IQA only ranks the Proposed Initiatives—it does not create them except when requesting the People to approve a change to its Charter.
When the People have voted on nearly all worthy Initiatives that the IQA can submit to them, the IQA shall not burden the Electorate by proposing less-worthy Candidate Initiatives. By a two-thirds majority vote of the IQA it may temporarily cause cut-back or reduced operations and corresponding Members’ remuneration for a period not to exceed two years by cutting back 50 percent (or less) on the frequency of its sessions and/or by cutting back 50 percent (or less) on the duration of its sessions.
Explanation of IQA Reduced Operations
The assumption that the IQA will always operate at high capacity needs relief when this assumption becomes untrue.
To find new members, lists shall be generated from the best available database of U.S. citizens, defaulting to the social security number database if none better is available. The lists shall be kept in the order drawn from which each new batch of IQA Members will be selected. Anyone ineligible to vote shall be removed from the list, e.g.,:
- Not entitled to vote-e.g., by reason of lack of U.S. citizenship or of sufficient age.
- Is incarcerated.
- Whose death has not been recorded in the database.
- Has previously served as a Member.
- Is automatically exempted
The lists will be sufficient so that additional Members can be selected to compensate properly for those who are unavailable, e.g.,:
- Cannot be found after a good-faith attempt.
- Has been released from duty by an expedited hardship hearing.
- Refuses to fulfill the duty.
After the monthly complement has been filled and seated, names drawn in excess of requirements shall be voided but remain eligible for subsequent selection. The records of all as-drawn lists showing those who become IQA Members and the reason why the others did not become IQA Members shall be retained for seven years in a form suitable for statistical audit and analysis.
Explanation of IQA Requirements for New Members
The US does not have a list of all Citizens at this time. Until it does, a surrogate list such as Social Security will serve as a starting point from which to remove those who are not qualified to vote.
Records of the process must be kept so that the method can be analyzed and improved over time.
The IQA shall provide its Members with comfort but without extravagance. The facilities shall be more than two-hundred miles from Washington D.C. The facilities shall be leased or rented. If the IQA determines that it needs permanent facilities, it shall obtain budget and approval by Direct Initiative.
Explanation of IQA Facilities
It is premature to acquire permanent facilities.
The IQA shall avoid long-term arrangements, commitments, relationships, or bureaucracy that might permit personal or institutionalized influence. The maximum duration that the IQA Moderator (or Chairperson) shall hold office is one calendar month.
Explanation of Duration of Relationships
External influence becomes more likely in long appointments or relationships.
As remuneration, each Members’ shall receive $300 per diem. Separately, $50 per Member per diem shall be paid into a bonus pool. All amounts are computed as of January 1st, 2007 before deductions, to be adjusted each year by the cost of living index used for Social Security pensions, and paid monthly. In addition, all reasonable expenses, including economy transportation, board, lodging, and child care shall be reimbursed. Members shall receive one-day’s per diem for travel time per IQA session if they attend. The employment relationship policies between Members and the IQA shall correspond to those between a Juror and a Federal Grand Jury where relevant and applicable.
Explanation of Remuneration
Assembly members should suffer no hardship but the People should not have to pay more than necessary for their services.
Four years after Initiatives first appear on the ballot, the Electorate shall have an opportunity to vote for IQA Members Rewards who were seated between four and six years previously had performed. The bonus shall be based on the overall quality and results (not the total number of Candidate Initiatives) of the Initiatives that they selected and were adopted four years ago. Each Voter shall select a bonus amount. The bonuses shall range from zero to one-third of the per-diems originally paid in increments of tenths and shall correspond to 11 grades from D to A+. These awards shall be averaged over all votes cast. Bonuses shall be distributed by the current IQA on the basis of the number of days each Member attended regular IQA sessions in that two-year period-note that about half the Members will receive bonuses from two periods.
Explanation of Members Rewards Recognizing Performance
Assembly members should be rewarded both financially and praise for the quality of their services. The history of these rewards will be inducements for the quality of service of later assemblies.
The budget is $90 million for the first year including start-up, $75 million for the second year including residual startup, and $60 million for subsequent years (using the dollar value as of January 1st, 2007 to be adjusted each year by the cost of living index used for Social Security pensions). The accounts shall be kept on a cash basis except for accrual of bonuses in an interest-bearing trust account. If the bonus pool needs to be “topped up” due to Members’ high performance, this shall be drawn from IQA funds and added to the budget. After an annual financial audit, and after the current year’s budget has been deposited, unused funds shall be returned to source. If the IQA wishes to change its budget, it shall submit a Direct Initiative to the Electorate proposing and justifying its budget.
Explanation of Budget
The budget must be adjusted for US inflation at the time the first state adopts this the Amendment.
As a last resort to sustain the IQA if the U.S. Government fails to provide the IQA’s budget and access to loans is unavailable, the IQA may use unconditional U.S. philanthropic funds, State funds, and/or unconditional U.S. Citizens’ private donations that do not to exceed one percent of the maximum annual Social Security payment. The IQA shall not use these funds to accommodate expenditures in excess of its budget. To the maximum and quickest degree possible, any use of philanthropic funds shall be repaid as loans at an interest rate of prime plus one percent.
Explanation of Philanthropic Funds
A belligerent Congress might act unconstitutionally to withhold IQA funds. It is unlikely, but it would be foolish not to anticipate it.
If necessary, the IQA may incorporate as a nonprofit corporation in the State where it assembles. It shall meet the minimal requirements of the State of incorporation. The registered agent may be a local attorney. The maximum combined time that a IQA Member may serve as a corporate director or officer is four months.
Explanation of Incorporation as a nonprofit Corporation
The IQA must comply with State law in which it is currently located. This may necessitate incorporation.
The IQA shall define the term “Excessive Hardship Excuse” that the Federal Courts should consider in excusing Citizens selected for Membership from serving and in excusing Members from completing or otherwise fulfilling their membership obligations. The IQA shall attempt to find ways to relieve some categories of excessive hardship so as to permit those to serve who might otherwise have to be excused.
The following sitting and candidate officials shall be automatically excused: U.S. Congresspersons, U.S. President and Vice President, Secretaries of Departments of the U.S. Government, Justices of the Supreme Court, and State Governors and Lieutenant Governors.
Explanation of Excessive Hardship Excuse
It is intended and expect as a duty of citizenship that those selected will serve. However, it is inevitable that some may be unable to serve by excessive hardship or by gross conflict of interest.
Any Member’s losses due to attending IQA shall be paid only up to the amount of normal Member’s expenses.
Explanation of Losses Not Borne by the IQA
The IQA cannot become a source of unusual claims by its members.
The Authors shall indicate whether the type of Initiative shall be Direct, Indirect, or Advisory. The IQA may elevate an Indirect Initiative to a Direct Initiative.
Explanation of Type of Initiatives
The initiatives shall conform to the three most usual types.
- If Congress passes a bill and the President signs it to propose an alternative annual budget for the IQA, and submits it 60 days before Draft Candidate Initiatives must be published, this alternate budget choice shall be offered without change as an alternative to the IQA’s budget. Both alternatives shall be included in the IQA’s budget Direct Initiative at the next election for the nationwide Electorate to decide between them or to reject them both and leave the annual budget unchanged.
- The following shall apply until such time as the Congress first submits a nationwide Referendum for vote by the People. If Congress passes a bill and the President signs it to repeal or amend legislation passed in a prior Direct Initiative and submits it 60 days before Draft Candidate Initiatives must be published, this proposal shall be offered without change as a Direct Initiative at the next election. The limit shall be one such repeal-or-amend proposals per two-years, unless the IQA agrees to include more.
Explanation of Obligatory Initiatives
In their role controlling expenditure, the Congress shall have an opportunity to ask the People to consider an alternate IQA budget.
Congress has not sought the power of Referendum. Until it does, it may through the IQA, achieve a similar result by putting one repeal-or-amend Initiative on the Ballot.
A Citizen Group shall consist of an Authors Group who write the proposed Initiative and their Supporters Group. The minimum size of a Group that may propose an Initiative may be set by a simple Supermajority vote of the IQA to be between 5 and 100 Citizens. Each Member of the Citizen group shall sign the Initiative and furnish other information needed for unique identification. Each Member of the Citizen Group shall act independently in proposing the Initiative. A Member shall not act as a surrogate for another person or organization, which would be abuse of their right. The IQA may use the Citizen group size to control the number and quality of Initiatives proposed.
Explanation of Minimum Size of Citizen Group
If a single Citizen were permitted to propose an Initiative, the system would inevitably be inundated by inferior proposals. To reduce this effect, a Group of Citizens is required.
Organizations that may propose an Initiative shall comply with the following requirements:
- Legally incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under the laws of a State for at least two years.
- Financially solvent and not delinquent on taxes or payroll.
- 90-percent or more of the Board of Directors shall be U.S. Citizens.
- 90-percent owned and 90-percent controlled by U.S. Citizens.
- The proposed Initiative shall be approved by the Board of Directors, any non-U.S. citizen members abstaining.
- The organization shall have at least the equivalent number of full-time U.S. citizen members, officers, employees, and, in the case of a nonprofit corporation, volunteers forming the minimum size of a citizen group that can propose Initiatives. These persons shall become a Citizen Group and conform to its requirements and shall sign the proposed Initiative.
- The persons involved in any activities associated with the Initiative shall all be U.S. Citizens.
- The organization shall report all funds expended and services donated on the proposed Initiative, and the sources of those funds and services. This report shall be included as part of the proposed Initiative.
The U.S. Presidency, the U.S. Congress, State Governorships, and State Legislatures shall qualify as organizations that may propose Initiatives provided that they comply with applicable requirements.
All U.S. Judiciary organizations that may hear litigation or write opinions regarding U.S. Initiatives shall be disqualified automatically from proposing U.S. Initiatives.
No organization shall submit a proposed Initiative via a proxy Citizen Group. This would be abuse of the Initiative process.
Explanation of Minimum Requirements for Organizations
Organizations may also propose Initiatives provided they legitimately represent a Group of Citizens.
The IQA by a two-thirds vote may introduce a submittal fee not to exceed $20,000 per proposed initiative in order to help control the rate at which the people submit Initiatives.
Explanation of Initiative Submittal Fee
Ideally, there would be no fee; realistically the IQA would be overwhelmed especially when Initiatives first become available.
The IQA shall ensure that each Initiative proposer’s identification shall be validated by a system at least equivalent to the systems used for voter registration, even though this criteria may prevent some Citizens from signing Initiative Proposals. Validation that is more rigorous shall be repeated before an Initiative is qualified for the Ballot.
Explanation of Initiative Proposer Identification Validation
Non-Citizens and Citizens who cannot vote are excluded from the Initiative process.
The IQA may set a maximum limit on the number of Initiatives (accumulating Citizen Group and Organization Initiatives, and any proxies they may attempt to use) that may be proposed over a period in order to limit abuse and to control the rate of submission of Proposed Initiatives.
Explanation of Maximum Number of Initiatives Per Citizen
Occasional abuse by proxy will be possible, but at least it will be illegal and appropriate penalties can be imposed.
The Authors Group of an Initiative that the People passes by Nationwide Vote shall receive a reward of up to five million dollars divided equally amongst them plus a return of up to ten times the Proposed Initiative Submittal fee to be divided equally between all those who signed the Proposed Initiative.
Explanation of Rewards to Authors of Successful Initiatives
Though many will perform altruistically for nothing, strong recognition is appreciated and reinforcing.
The IQA shall not propose or change Initiatives except:
- The IQA may propose Direct Initiatives to obtain the Electorate’s approval for changes to the IQA’s Part 1: IQA Charter Rules and to deal with IQA administrative issues.
- After Citizens’ feedback, expert advice and deliberation, the IQA may suggest corrections, improvements and consolidations of any part of a Proposed Initiative(s) to the original authors, who may then re-propose their Initiative. The IQA may pay the publication cost of such re-proposal.
- If the proposed initiative supply is inadequate, the IQA may advertise suggestions on their web site for potential initiative topics. The IQA may also advertise suggestions for its own administrative changes.
The IQA shall not bypass the normal procedures of publication for any Proposed or Changed Initiative.
Explanation of IQA’s Authority to Propose or Change Initiatives
Initiatives are created and submitted by innovate small groups.
The IQA is a large group and best a choosing between alternatives.
This separation of skills will be maintained even if some IQA members become frustrated.
A quorum of the IQA shall be one-half plus one of the Full Complement of Members-e.g., 251 for a 500-Member IQA.
Explanation of Quorum
This is a simple definition for clarification.
Motions passed by voting in Plenary Session with a quorum present shall govern the IQA. Passage shall require a simple majority vote with the exception of the following that shall require a two-thirds simple supermajority vote:
- A Candidate Initiative containing a proposed constitutional amendment.
- Expulsion of a Member.
- Reduced IQA operations.
- Changes to Part 2 IQA Bylaws Rules.
The Moderator (Chairperson) shall not vote except to break a tied vote.
Explanation of Plenary Session Voting
Again, simple definitions for clarity and avoidance of confusion.
Before a Candidate Initiative can be placed on the ballot, the IQA shall have approved it twice in two separate readings separated by at least one month.
Explanation of Readings of Candidate Initiatives
This provides an opportunity to increase the statistical accuracy of the Assembly vote.
All IQA Members are equal.
Explanation of Members are Equal
A simple equality declaration for clarity.
Members shall have and shall vote their Independent Opinion on the initiatives. Exchange of knowledge and information are essential, discussion is required, debate is acceptable, and occasional change-of-mind is expected-however, consensus is neither required nor desired and Members are encouraged to research the issues independently. Members shall not participate in discriminatory group association amongst Members-for example, groups based on political parties, race, color, religion, ethnic origin, age, or other advocacy. Coercion of individual member votes by an advocacy group within the IQA shall be tampering.
Explanation of Member Independent Opinion
Large groups make the best decisions when the individuals vote independently. Coercion is strongly counterproductive to representing all Citizens. By making it “tampering”, there are real penalties that can be imposed.
I do solemnly swear before God or affirm that:
- I have been notified that I have been selected for duty as a Member of the IQA. I have been given information about responsibilities, obligations, period of duty and approximate days per month, and remuneration. My questions have been answered to my satisfaction.
- I am a U.S. Citizen and eligible (not necessarily registered) to vote in federal elections. I take this Oath as an obligation of Citizenship.
- I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.
- I will fulfill my responsibilities in accordance with the IQA Rules. I will be the People’s sworn deputy obligated to act in the best interests of all U.S. citizens and their Constitutional rights, even when that may not be to my personal advantage including my special-interests, political affiliations or business affiliations. I will vote my own independent un-coerced opinion after open-minded deliberation. I will shall not participate in voting by any group affiliation, vote trading, sale or favor.
- I will keep Confidential my acceptance of this duty, all IQA deliberations and other Member’s Privacy. I will maintain this Confidentiality, and refrain from meeting with, or leaking to, or negotiating with the Press or other Media or their intermediary, and avoid any improper influence or tampering with my duties. I will promptly report any attempt to interfere with or violate this Oath, and cooperate with law enforcement to take appropriate action.
- From the date of this oath it shall remain in effect and bind me for a period of time specified by the IQA, but not less than two years and not more than five years from the date I first take my place at the IQA.
- If I wish to inform specific other people with whom I have a close relationship of my acceptance of this duty, they shall first take an Oath by Other Persons.
Full Name in Block Capitals:
If I am prevented by extreme hardship from starting this duty to serve as a Member, this Oath shall be void.
Give 1st copy to the IQA representative. Keep 2nd copy. Present 3rd copy at the IQA.
I, a qualified and currently licensed Notary Public, do hereby certify that this Oath of Duty was sworn and affirmed before me by the person named above with proper identification at the location and on the date I describe:
Refusal to take this oath shall not disqualify the Member from service.
Explanation of IQA Member’s Oath of Duty
This is a simple statement of obligation accepted by an IQA Member.
Initiatives shall be included in the Federal Election Ballots. Notice of each Candidate Initiative submitted for vote of the Electorate shall be published in draft form not less than six months before the date of the vote by the Electorate and withdrawn or published in final form not less than four months before the date of the vote by the Electorate.
Explanation of Notice of Initiatives
Clarification of timing and notice.
Congress may neither change nor overrule a Direct or Advisory Initiative unless the Direct Initiative explicitly grants it. Congress can also use any Constitutionally authorized right to use nationwide Referendums to change or overrule a Direct Initiative.
Explanation of Congressional Right to Overrule
This clarifies that a Direct Initiative takes precedence over Congressional actions.
The IQA shall arrange that before a proposed Initiative reaches Draft Candidate status, it has received expert constitutional and legal review and ensure that no unintended conflicts exist.
Explanation of Legal Review
This clarifies an obligation of the IQA.
The IQA shall arrange the Members shall have the materials and information for self education. Special care shall be taken on the issues of an initiative before the IQA votes to advance the initiative to Draft Candidate Initiative status. This shall take precedence over the number of initiatives that are advanced. The IQA shall have no limitations on its sources of advice, data, information, knowledge and self-education except that the sources should be diverse and independent. This may include the use of consultants and experts, reading materials and Internet sources, Government information, Think Tanks, hearings, Citizens Jury methods, Deliberative Polling methods, Deliberative Blog methods, crowd-sourcing, subpoenaed testimony, and their equivalents, which may be paid for by the IQA and may be provided by third parties. Reasonable requests for information by individual Members shall be fulfilled. No source of advice may become institutionalized such that any special interest influence or long-term individual influence may be brought to bear on the IQA.
Explanation of Self Education and Advice
One of the criteria for good group decisions is that each member bring as independent and informed view as possible to the vote.
The number of Direct and Advisory Candidate Initiatives on the ballot at each even-year federal election shall be limited to less than the maximum that the Voters believe acceptable, including:
- Any obligatory Candidate Initiatives from Congress.
- Any Candidate Initiatives needed to bring the Initiative Rules up-to-date.
- IQA Members’ Recognition of Effort and Bonus Rewards Candidate Initiative.
The IQA is responsible to ensure that the total of all Candidate Initiatives must not overburden the Electorate.
Explanation of Limit on Candidate Initiatives
The number of Initiatives is comparable with the upper limits of State Initiative experience.
The number of Indirect Initiatives submitted to Congress each year shall be reasonable and if necessary specified later by a limiting Direct Initiative.
Explanation of Number of Indirect Initiatives
Indirect Initiatives do not take Voter time and utilize the considerable resources of Congress.
All IQA external communication shall be:
- by publication including on the IQA’s Internet website.
- in writing with clear origination and destination identification. A copy shall be retained by a committee that scrutinizes outgoing and incoming written communications (including fax and e-mail).
- telephone and other communications shall be monitored
The IQA may take appropriate actions to monitor, control communication, and prevent any attempts to tamper with the IQA and its Members.
Explanation of External Communication
The need to prevent outside interference is paramount.
Each Member may have access to classified information only up the security level and in the manner to which they have been authorized by the Government of the United States. Otherwise, the IQA is empowered to prompt access to all other Government data.
Explanation of U.S. Classified Information
This clarifies access and creates no new rights of access.
IQA records, recordings and affairs of the IQA shall be confidential as they occur. Later, they shall become sunshine public records within the following range of time after the event occurred:
- A maximum of five years.
- A minimum of a Member’s normal term of duty.
All materials published or posted on its web site by order of the IQA are not confidential.
Explanation of Confidential and Sunshine Provisions
A Proposed Initiative is unlikely to be in process for more than five years.
Members who report tampering (which includes improper influence of Members and witnesses) or undue influence leading to a conviction shall receive (or share) a reward up to $50,000 per event (or set of related events). The amount and allocation of the reward shall be made by the IQA after court sentence and penalties has been passed.
Explanation of Tampering or Influence Avoidance
This reward is a serious deterrent to someone contemplating tampering, since a conviction results in mandatory jail time as well as fine.
Part 2: IQA Bylaws Rules Changeable only by IQA Absolute Supermajority Vote
Explanation of IQA Bylaws
The IQA shall publish their expectations and guidelines. A Candidate Initiative shall:
- Be clear, concise and quickly understandable.
- Be expressed in language of reason not emotion.
- Not overwhelm the voters.
- Complement the legislative process, not replace it.
- Be limited to a single subject or closely related issues.
- They shall contain:
- A title, reference number and date. Titles should use clear yet brief language to explain the intent and effect of the initiative.
- Authors (up to ten).
- The Initiative as approved by the IQA.
- Period that Congress shall not change or overrule a Direct Initiative.
- Brief impact statements: Fiscal, Social, Environmental as appropriate.
- Pro and con opinions prepared by the IQA,
- Pro and con opinions from others in order of shortest first, longest last:
- Authors who proposed the Initiative.
- A separate Independent IQA Review if it exists.
- House of Representatives.
- Supreme Court-an important goal is to keep initiatives out of the courts after approval.
The IQA may place a limit on the length of the opinions if necessary to protect the Electorate from overload
Explanation of Content and Format of Candidate Initiative
Clarifies proposed initiatives format and content.
U.S. Citizens groups and organizations shall submit proposed Initiatives to the IQA only by their publication as specified by the IQA. The IQA may occasionally invite proposed Initiative’s authors to become advisory to the IQA regarding their Initiative, attend hearings, and submit supporting data.
Explanation of Method to Submit Proposed Initiatives
Clarifies how the Proposed Initiatives are submitted to the IQA.
The minimum size of a Citizen Group that may propose an Initiative is set at 25 Citizens who are eligible to vote.
Explanation of Minimum Size of Citizen Groups
Refines the size of Citizen Groups. permitted by the Amendment.
Each Citizen’s limit is to sign or submit only one Proposed Initiative per Congress. A Congress is seated at the start of each odd year and sits for two years. This limit applies for Initiatives proposed by Citizen Groups and Organizations. The limit will be reviewed to control the number of Proposed Initiatives received by the IQA.
Explanation of Limit on Proposed Initiatives Per Citizen
Prevents Citizens from abusing their rights.
Initially, the fee to propose an initiative shall be $10,000 in order to avoid an possible flood of proposed initiatives.
Explanation of Initiative Fee
Refines the Amendment fee range to a starting value expected to decline over time.
Rewards to Authors’ and Supporters’ upon the voters’ passage of their initiative are:
- The Authors’ group shall receive one million dollars to be shared equally between the Authors or in accord with any written legal agreement between them.
- The Supporters group shall receive five times the Proposed Initiative Submittal fee to be divided equally between the Supporters or in accord with any written legal agreement between them.
A Citizen may be both an Author and a Supporter, but is one person in the Citizen Group’s count.
Explanation of Rewards to Authors’ and Supporters’
This should still be sufficient to encourage and reward Initiative Authors and to adequately recompense their Supporters. but with low risk of inciting anyone to try to game the system,
The IQA shall expedite proposed Initiatives from the following sources to the status of an Assigned Initiative so that prompt action can be taken to process them through the system:
- Proposed Initiatives generated by Congress. These may originate in Congress or be counter-proposals to IQA Initiatives sent to Congress for comment.
- Any group of State Governors comprising fifty percent of all the Governors and with pro-rata (based on all the Governors) multi-partisan approval.
- Any group of State Legislatures comprising fifty percent of the States.
Explanation of Expedite Initiatives
Encourages Federal and State Government to propose Initiatives.
The IQA shall review what initiative type has been submitted (Direct, Indirect or Advisory), and may suggest revision of their preference to the authors. Preference may change as required to meet the prevailing circumstances:
- Direct. The Direct Initiative is the fundamental power of the People. If there is not reason to expect that Congress will cooperate on an Indirect Initiative, then a Direct Initiative shall be used.
- Indirect. When Congressional cooperation can be expected and Congress appears to have assured consensus, an Indirect Initiative shall be used in preference to a Direct Initiative. The Indirect method has the advantage of assisting integration into the U.S. legislative and budgeting structure. Subsequently the IQA shall determine, or use a Poll or Advisory Initiative to determine, if Congress has met the intentions of the People as expressed in the Indirect Initiative. If it has not, then the IQA may use a Direct Initiative to remedy the situation.
- Advisory. If a poll will not suffice and the will of the People is not clear on some important issue or if common ground is not obvious, then an Advisory Initiative shall be used to determine if it is possible to develop a subsequent Direct or Indirect Initiative with assurance.
Explanation of Initiative Type
Provides less powerful alternatives to the direct Initiatives that will not always warranted.
The IQA shall negotiate with national publishers for Publication of Initiatives and Feedback of proposed initiatives and periodically select a specific publication(s) that on certain days shall be distributed to all the Members. The IQA shall post their selection(s) prominently on their web site. U.S. citizens and organizations will publish proposed initiatives without copyright in a standard modest format. Frivolous, repeated or numerous submissions shall be an abuse of the right to propose initiatives. A unique numeric identification shall be assigned to each proposed initiative, with sub identification of revisions and comments, by a method agreed by the IQA and the publisher.
U.S. citizens and organizations will published materials that include:
- Source Initiatives, generally with brief reasons, pro and con summaries, and references.
- Revisions to previously published source Initiatives.
- Comment, opinions and feedback.
The IQA shall publish:
- An up-to-date searchable Internet database of all published Initiatives and comments on Initiatives from proposed to approved status with all revisions. There shall be no read-only restrictions on access. Only persons registered on the database, clearly identified as Citizens eligible to vote with confirmed Internet addresses, shall be permitted to post to the database. If a database of Citizens eligible to vote is not available, a default to Citizens registered to vote with a valid voter ID and valid personal data shall be used.
- The database shall contain a short list containing proposed initiatives that are under consideration for advancement so that readers can focus their comments effectively.
- Draft Candidate Initiatives shall be published on the IQA’s web site and copies sent by mail to major newspapers, magazines, and television media. They shall solicit published feedback.
- Candidate Initiatives being placed on the ballot. They shall be published on the IQA’s web site and copies sent by mail to major newspapers, magazines, and television media. Candidate Initiatives shall be sent to all Election Authorities.
Explanation of Publication of Initiatives and Feedback
Not all Citizens are comfortable with Internet publishing. Therefore, the proposed Initiatives are published in the Newspaper, which then sends the digital version to the IQA.
All votes shall be in secret. Records of all vote counts shall be retained, but no names shall be identified. Votes shall be tallied by machines whenever possible with voter receipt for the vote cast.
Explanation of Secret Voting
IQA voting is secret, to avoid risk of coercion and assure Members’ independence.
Use of straw vote or poll shall be avoided in order that members cannot become emotionally committed to their initial straw vote and produces an information cascade. Moreover, votes shall be after all deliberation is complete or a motion to terminate discussion has passed, thereby assuring that the decision is taken simultaneously (i.e., at one time) rather than cascading sequentially over time.
Explanation of Straw Vote
IQA voting is secret and on a single occasion, to avoid risk of coercion and assure Members’ independence.
If no complete single table or list of all U.S. citizens exists in a suitable format for selection of new members, then the table of all Social Security numbers may be used as a basis for selection. The method of selection must be published and the randomness of the selection process must be independently certified. Potential new Members shall be provided appropriate information describing the terms, conditions and responsibilities of their duty. They shall swear and sign an appropriate oath. Anyone with whom they must discuss IQA business shall swear a related oath. The IQA shall audit the Member selection and notification process including software and databases.
Explanation of Selection of New Members
There is no proof of citizenship ID for the US. Consequently the IQA must use or create a surrogate.
The IQA shall not have any employees except as may be mandated under law. All services shall be contracted.
Explanation of Employees at IQA
Long-term employees could exert considerable influence.
The IQA shall by vote select and appoint sources for Advise and Consultation that they deem necessary, and determine their remuneration and time to be present. They shall be chosen to address properly all pertinent sides of the issues and particularly to balance any immoderation or hidden agenda of the proposed Initiative’s authors. Advisers and Consultants shall provide information and answer questions in writing or in Plenary Session, and shall not meet alone with any Members whether in IQA Session or on leave to avoid risk or appearance of tampering. However, if necessary, Consultants expert at training and evaluating Moderators may meet on an occasional and temporary basis with smaller groups than a Plenary Session to solve deliberation issues and improve deliberation methods. The term of appointment of any Adviser or Consultant shall not be longer than 160 hours in one year. Moreover, having served in a calendar year, an Adviser or Consultant may not normally be re-appointed for a period of the following two calendar years.
Explanation of Advise and Consultation
Though the IQA is large enough to have significant general knowledge, specialist knowledge will have to come from external sources.
The IQA shall invite or contract for testimony and advice (and, if necessary, subpoena) both for and against proposed Initiatives that are considered sufficiently worthy. Testimony from the original authors of the Initiative shall normally be included. Devil’s advocates shall be appointed as necessary to assure a balanced perspective. The testimony and advice shall be presented in Plenary Session with appropriate handout notes and other materials.
Explanation of Proposed Initiative Testimony and Advice
Balanced information, advice, and debate will foster the best Initiatives.
A sound or video meeting record (e.g., Plenary Sessions, Moderator lead meetings, Task Force meetings, and Committee Meetings) shall be kept for eventual potential use as a training reference, public record, etc. Secure (encrypted or cable) voice microphones shall be provided in adequate numbers for the members to be heard. The Plenary Sessions shall be recorded on video, but need not be broadcast quality.
Explanation of Meeting Record
The IQA needs to learn from experience and pass that experience on to subsequent Members.
For the reassurance of Members’ spouses or partners and the maintenance of general order, the IQA shall provide reasonable accommodation for men and women in separate facilities beyond easy walking distance. The meeting rooms shall be at one of the facilities or at a third location. Buses shall be provided to transport members.
Explanation of Separate Facilities
Perhaps the IQA will relax this rule later, but an early scandal at the IQA should be avoided if possible.
The Moderator (with the resources of the Security and Discipline Committee, Sergeant at Arms, Security and local Law Enforcement) shall have authority and responsibility to maintain discipline in all meetings and at all times of the day and night while the IQA is in Session. A meeting that does not come to order may be temporarily suspended or terminated for that day only by the Moderator. A disruptive Member may be required by the Moderator to watch the proceedings in a separate area over a television link and shall have the ability to vote. Additional sanctions, including expulsion and dishonorable discharge, may be imposed as authorized by a two-thirds majority vote of the IQA.
Explanation of Discipline
Since the IQA is a random sample of the People, it is inevitable that some will be unruly.
The following definitions will be used as guidelines by Federal Courts to help define excessive hardship that would be incurred by attending IQA meetings. Hardship shall not generally be considered extreme if another qualified person or persons can periodically assume the responsibilities of the selected person who is otherwise able to attend the IQA.
- Persistent contagious disease that could seriously harm other Members and cannot be cured within two months.
- Physical or mental incapacitation that will last more than two months and would prevent participation in the IQA’s work.
- Pregnancy with complications that require absence for more than three months.
- Ongoing obligations of a critical nature where others would suffer grave harm as a result of the selected person’s periodic absence.
- The following are some examples of circumstances that do not generally qualify as excessive hardship. The IQA will not generally provide any additional compensation.
- A doctor, lawyer, engineer, teacher, priest, executive or other highly skilled person whose basic skill is available from others in the community.
- A military person on active duty during time of war.
- A state assembly-person.
- A diplomat.
- A civil servant.
- A student.
- A mother of children five years old or younger who normally cares for the children, where a qualified relative or professional is willing to provide the care, perhaps with additional modest compensation from the IQA.
- The owner of a small business where another qualified person is willing to run the business, perhaps with additional modest compensation from the IQA.
Explanation of Excessive Hardship Excuses Defined
A perfect random sample requires all those selected to participate. This is not attainable in practice, so a best effort must suffice and a definition of excuse is necessary.
The IQA may excuse a Member from service for excessive hardship. Care shall be exercised not to create inappropriate precedents, duplicate Court’s jurisdiction, or jeopardize the credibility of the definition of excessive hardship used by the Courts.
Explanation of Excuse from Service
The IQA needs the authority to excuse those that arrive but are unable to serve.
The Moderator may set time limits on all presentations and may terminate debate on a motion when he/she deems it appropriate. Debate on a motion may also be terminated by a voter “moving the question” which, if accepted by the Moderator as not being premature shall be voted on without discussion or debate. A motion to “move the question” requires a two-thirds simple majority vote for passage.
Explanation of Time Limits
There has to be general Time Limits on how long a Member may speak or order will be lost.
The statistical method initially used to select Members shall be a simple random sample. The IQA shall hire experts to advise on the long-term optimal statistical method considering factors such as:
- IQA control of the process and bureaucratic complexity of the statistical method.
- Availability and quality of databases.
- Frequency of excuse from service.
- Feasibility, auditability, and randomness of system.
- Fairness of system to the People and the Members.
Explanation of Statistical Method to Select Members
The selection of a Random Sample should be simple but effective. The IQA will undoubtedly find that the system needs to be refined.
The IQA shall initially consist of 500 Members. The IQA shall hire experts to advise on the long-term optimal membership size of the IQA and the number of days it should meet based on factors such as:
- Number of proposed Initiatives submitted.
- The minimum size of a group of Citizens who can propose an Initiative.
- Approval rate for Candidate Initiatives.
- Proximity of the IQA vote to the Electorate vote on each Initiative.
- IQA organization, effectiveness and efficiency
Explanation of IQA Membership Size
500 Members will yield a good representation of the People. It will be almost as good as a “Gallop” poll, and. represent the view of the whole Nation about 90 percent of the time. Consequently, Initiatives will usually be subjects on which the People wish to vote.
A Member shall have a training period in the month before becoming a full Member of the IQA. After training, a Member’s service duration shall be one year. Attendance shall be for a group of consecutive days each month.
Explanation of Service Duration
The duration is similar to that of a Grand Jury.
In general, the Governments’ protection of each ex-Member and each ex-Member’s family from tampering, or to press and media exploitation or manipulation, shall end when all of the ex-Member’s contemporaries are no longer Members. Specifically, with a one-year term of service, this means that the protection shall last for a period of two years from the date a member is first seated as a full Member.
Explanation of Duration of Protection
Protection is essential to avoid risk of tampering.
Anyone with whom Members must discuss IQA business during their IQA activities shall all swear a similar Additional Oath to that required of Members.
Explanation of Additional Oath
It is undesirable but inevitable that this will occur.
Expenditure of funds shall only be authorized by vote in Plenary Sessions. All expenditures shall be properly justified for the record. It is the responsibility of the IQA members to expend funds economically, and to ensure that Session lengths are such that Members are fully occupied in productive work.
Explanation of Authority to Expend Funds
The IQA has a budget. Members are responsible for managing the expenditures.
The following acronyms and abbreviations shall be used:
- Initiative: A generic form of Direct Initiative, Indirect Initiative, and Advisory Initiative.
- DTF: A Deliberative Task Force is a temporary small subgroup of the IQA that is focused on an issue, randomly selected from the Whole IQA excluding the IQA’s Moderator (or Chairperson), led by its elected DTF Moderator, and deliberates before voting.
Explanation of Acronyms and Abbreviations
This is a catchall for defining acronyms and abbreviations used by the IQA.
Part 3: IQA Majority Rules Changeable only by IQA Absolute Majority Vote
Explanation of IQA Majority Rules
The IQA Rules shall prevail. The most current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall resolve issues not covered by the IQA Rules. Meetings may be run less formally provided there is not simple majority objection.
Explanation of Rules of Order
Robert’s Rules of Order are in use throughout the US for large and small assemblies
Election of Moderator and Secretary:
- The IQA shall elect a different Chair or Moderator and a Recording Secretary to serve for each month, and may change them during a month. A Member may serve as Moderator only once (except for the temporary Moderator who may serve once more).
- The Moderator shall preside over the IQA, decide all questions of order and procedure, and announce the results of all votes. The results of all votes as announced by the Moderator shall be final except on a voice vote which may be questioned by ten Members standing immediately after the announced results of a vote. In such a case, a recount shall be taken without debate.
- The Moderator shall ensure that all important sides of an issue are fairly addressed. If the Members do not adequately represent one side of an issue, the moderator shall appoint a devil’s advocate
Explanation of Election of Moderator and Secretary
These persons will potentially have substantial opportunity to influence the meetings; therefore, their duration in office must be strictly limited.
To address the IQA, a speaker must be recognized by the Moderator and, once recognized, a speaker should first give his/her name for the record. No speaker shall be recognized while another person is speaking except to raise a point of order, which is used to question a ruling of the Moderator or the conduct of the IQA. A point of order must not address the subject matter being discussed.
Explanation of Address the IQA
Clarification of process.
In order for the IQA to act on or discuss an issue, a motion must be proposed. The Moderator shall call for a motion on each issue and, if no motion is made after the second call, the Moderator shall “pass over” the issue and move on to the next issue.
Explanation of Motion
Clarification of process.
The IQA shall arrange a publisher of proposed Initiatives without copyright in a specific location (e.g., a specific section) of a newspaper on a specific day of the week so that U.S. citizens and organizations may submit proposed Initiatives to the IQA. The publisher should be a major national publisher.
Explanation of Selection of Publisher
This must be addressed early so the Voters can propose their Initiatives. It ensures that Citizens who do not have Internet access can participate.
Permanent or standing committees consisting of at least three Members shall be elected by vote of the IQA:
- Finance and Accounting Audit.
- Membership and Member Selection Audit.
- Infrastructure and Maintenance.
- Information and Archives.
- Security and Discipline.
- External Communications
Permanent Committees’ Members may serve for longer than six months, and their appointment shall be staggered so that one sixth of its members resigns every month. Each Permanent Committee shall elect a Moderator and a Recording Secretary. Permanent Committee minutes shall be copied to the Archives the day after the meeting occurred and before the end of the Session. The Caretaker committee that shall take care of IQA business when the whole IQA is not in Session, but shall not have executive powers. The External Communications committee shall examine incoming and outgoing written or faxed communications connected with IQA Initiatives to ensure no improper influence or other violation of IQA rules.
Explanation of Permanent Committees
Basic allocation of necessary duties amongst the Members.
Each Member may serve as a Moderator or Recording Secretary of the IQA or Permanent Committees, or other position of authority no more than six months (in cumulative total of all positions) unless no other Member can be found to fill the vacant position.
Explanation of Time in Position of Authority
Further clarification of limited time in office to avoid accumulation of power.
The nominal length of the monthly IQA Session shall be five consecutive days starting at 8:00 am on the second Monday of each month. This shall be adjusted as required to meet circumstances. Monthly Sessions shall be a minimum of one day, but otherwise no longer than necessary. All Members shall reside in facilities provided by the IQA throughout the IQA Session. The Session lengths shall be approximately as follows:
- The initial Session shall be four days, second Monday 8:00am through Thursday 5:00pm, during which the IQA shall adopt a short-term schedule for subsequent Sessions.
- The first year budget should enable the Sessions to average up to ten days per month.
- The second year budget should enable up to seven days.
- Subsequent annual budgets should enable up to five days.
Between IQA Sessions members may return to their families and work wherever located, or go to a location elsewhere in the continental United States, but must return before eight am on the first day of the next IQA Session. Visitors to Members at the IQA Facilities shall not be permitted. With Plenary Session approval, specified Members may remain at the IQA facilities after the end of a Session to complete unfinished work.
Explanation of IQA Sessions
This will be refined based on experience.
Periodically the IQA shall rent or lease new IQA facilities, move into them, and assume full control and responsibility for them. To the degree possible, the Members shall not mix with the local population to avoid opportunities for influence. The facilities shall not be in any State Capitol or in a city of more than one million persons. Facilities shall include a meeting room to accommodate Plenary Sessions.
Explanation of New IQA Facilities
It is important to avoid creating in infrastructure that encourages or permits outside influence on the IQA.
The IQA shall liaise with the U.S. Government security officer. Checkpoints and barriers shall be established as required at an appropriate distance from any point of the buildings. Security of facilities and Members shall be provided 24×7 while IQA in session. Security videos and logs shall be made and retained for an appropriate time showing all vehicles and persons entering and leaving the IQA’s facilities. All Members shall wear official photo name tags at all times. All IQA phones and computers may be monitored to detect any attempts to influence Members.
Members shall not remove any IQA documents or information in written, electronic or other media from the IQA premises without specific permission originating from a vote at a Plenary Session on each occasion.
Explanation of Security
The IQA needs reasonable protection from terrorism.
If no complete single table of all U.S. citizens exists in a suitable format, then the table of all Social Security numbers may be used as a basis for selection. The method of selection must be published and the randomness of the selection process must be independently certified. Potential new Members shall be provided appropriate information describing the terms, conditions and responsibilities of their duty. They shall swear and sign an appropriate oath. Anyone with whom they must discuss IQA business shall swear a related oath. The IQA shall audit the Member selection and notification process including software and databases.
Explanation of Selection of New Members
The IQA must create a surrogate.
The minimum size of a Citizen Group that may propose an Initiative is set at 25.
Explanation of Size of Citizen Group
This will probably be changed based on experience.
The IQA shall provide temporary employment of the Members only to the minimum degree mandated by law. While the IQA is in Session a Member shall not provide services for another organization in the expectation of any immediate or future benefit. However, a Member may provide free help and advice to those for whom the Member has a continuing obligation of immediate and urgent service provided that this does not interfere with the Member’s IQA duties.
Explanation of Member’s Employment
An appropriate balance is needed to accommodate the higher priority of IQA employment and duty with reasonable accommodation of a Member’s other obligations.
- To a reasonable minimum degree, Members may send and receive personal email and access the Internet for necessary personal communication on IQA electronic devices, and make and receive personal phone calls on IQA phones.
- Members shall not bring or use mobile or cell phones or their own personal computers, electronic devices, or equivalent devices at the IQA. The IQA may vote to approve each specific exception where a cell phone is needed for life-threatening situations. Removing IQA digital information from the IQA by whatever means or method shall be tampering with the IQA.
Explanation of Electronic Devices
Communication technology and security is changing so rapidly that any rules will probably be changed quickly by the IQA; nevertheless, there must be some starting rules in place.
During each month of the first year of the IQA, one-twelfth of the original Full Complement of Members shall be randomly selected from the original Members (including any Members who are filling the balance of term of a Member who resigned early). The selected Members shall resign at the end of the last day of that IQA Session. They shall be replaced on the first day of the following IQA Session by Members selected under the powers of the President of the United States to fill the Full Complement of Members.
Explanation of Members’ Resign in the First Year
In the first year, Members will serve from one month to 12 months. During this time, the US President is responsible for filling vacancies.
- When the IQA first convenes, it shall arrange an extensive training program for itself over several months to establish its knowledge base and develop the new-member orientation and training program. This process shall be refreshed and enhanced to evolve as the IQA matures.
- New Members shall receive an orientation course. This shall be followed later by an training course when Members have become familiar with the IQA. The courses shall be given by longer-serving Members based on class notes and information that has been recorded on the IQA LAN and progressively improved. Similarly, classes and notes shall be arranged so that new task forces and elected positions can benefit from the experiences of previous sessions of the IQA. Outside lecturers shall be used to provide training on special issues such as:
- Responsibilities of the IQA.
- Responsibilities of Members.
- Direct democracy.
- Initiative process.
- Latest and best approaches to deliberative assemblies.
- Techniques for Members to function as Moderators of Deliberative Task Forces.
- Sources of information available to members.
Explanation of Orientation and Training of New Members
Training and passing knowledge by documentation, verbal communication, audio-visuals, video etc. to future Members is vital to the IQA’s success. The Constitution Orders require that the President (executive branch) arrange for this training when the IQA first convenes.
The task forces shall be comprised of an appropriate number of Members appointed by the IQA in Plenary Session to produce a specific result with defined resources by a certain date. Each Communicated Initiative shall be assigned to a task force; or to a pair of task forces for result verification.
Explanation of Task Forces
Groups rather than individuals must make all decisions on Initiatives.
- The IQA shall form DTFs (Deliberative Task Force) consisting of about fifteen Members randomly selected from the Whole IQA. A DTF shall exist for a short period, usually half a day, to deliberate on an issue assigned by the Plenary Session and either take a DTF vote on that issue or return and participate in a Plenary Session deliberative IQA discussion or vote on the issue.
- Each DTF shall meet in a separate room. A DTF shall elect a Moderator by simple majority vote, or if no simple majority vote can be reached then by lot. The Moderator shall ensure that members of the DTF get a chance to speak and shall appoint a devil’s advocate if the discussion is one-sided. Minutes shall be kept of any DTF votes by a DTF recording secretary elected by the DTF, and the minutes shall be forwarded to the IQA. When its assignment is complete, or by IQA vote, the DTF shall disband. Members shall not be assigned concurrently to more than one DTF.
- The IQA shall periodically divide itself entirely into DTFs of about 15 Members that shall debate the initiatives and other matters under consideration in an environment where each Member can exchange information, voice their opinions and discuss the issues with others. This process may be repeated several times until in plenary session the IQA agrees that no more can be achieved by this process in furtherance of the matter under consideration.
- The IQA may appoint two or more DTFs to consider the same issue in order to minimize risk of error.
- A DTF may itself subdivide to undertake routine functions with maximum efficiency, but all members of a DTF shall vote together.
- Outside consultants shall occasionally monitor DTFs in order to improve the deliberative process, improve Member training, and develop innovations. They shall not comment on the individual performance of any DTF or its members without written permission of all the DTF members and the IQA.
Explanation of Deliberative Task Force (DTF)
The ability of a dozen or so randomly selected jurors to make sensible decisions is the basis for the entire judicial system in most countries. It is not perfect, but it is the best that we have.
There shall normally be seven Initiative Stages of Progress before becoming law:
- Source Initiative. The Initiative is under discussion at a variety of sources by informal or formal groups, concepts are being developed, drafts circulated, committee votes taken, documents published in the press or on the Internet, etc. Generally Source Initiatives will originate outside the IQA, though IQA Members or the IQA itself may also source Initiatives by using their citizens’ right to publish proposed initiatives.
- Communicated Initiative. A Source Initiative is made known at a IQA Plenary Session, and becomes a formally Communicated Initiative. It is now officially taken up by the IQA, catalogued, and tracked.
- Assigned Initiative. A DTF is assigned to the Initiative to review, develop, identify errors or improvements, and prepare in a complete form. An informative preamble and opinions clearly presenting the pro and con opinions shall be attached. It is then rejected, selected for advancement or returned to the original authors for possible revision by the IQA in Plenary Session.
- Nominated Initiative. A Communicated Initiative that has been selected for advancement becomes a Nominated Initiative. The citizenship of its authors shall be independently verified as soon as it is nominated. In its final form it must be approved without change by the IQA in Plenary Session in two readings separated by a IQA Session break.
- Reviewed Initiative. In addition to legal review at earlier levels:
- A legislative initiative shall be formally reviewed by experts to ensure that it is likely to be sustained in any challenge to its constitutionality and that it is not in unintended conflict with other laws.
- A constitutional initiative shall be formally reviewed by experts to determine if it is in any unintended conflict with the constitution and prevailing law.
- Draft Candidate Initiative. A Nominated and Reviewed Initiative that has been approved advances to a Draft Candidate Initiative. It shall be published on the IQA’s Internet Site as a Draft Candidate Initiative so that feedback can be obtained. If it is changed, the changes shall be re-approved by the IQA in Plenary Session or the Initiative shall be withdrawn.
- Candidate Initiative. A Draft Candidate Initiative, after feedback and any re-approval, becomes a Candidate Initiative. It shall be published on the IQA’s Internet Site as a Candidate Initiative, and shall be placed on the Ballot for vote by the Electorate.
- Ratified Initiative. A Candidate Initiative that has received a double majority vote by the Electorate and the vote certified, shall be a Ratified Initiative, and becomes law.
The term “proposed Initiative” means only that it is being proposed, not that it is in any particular stage of progress.
Explanation of Initiative Stages of Progress
These are simple stages to guide the IQA. It may prove easier to use staging numbers rather than staging names.
- Initiative Selection is an elimination process using a ranking system and common sense. Rapid initial elimination slows to lengthy deliberation. The IQA shall hire outside consultants to help review and improve these selection procedures based on experience. The IQA may call upon, and compensate as appropriate, persons to provide presentations and testimony as needed.
- The IQA shall determine the final number of Candidate Initiatives based on their overall worthiness and readiness for nationwide vote. Any that are important but not ready shall be postponed rather than hastily presented. The IQA shall be under no obligation nor make any attempt to fill the maximum allowable number of Initiatives.
- If the number of proposed initiatives is beyond the processing capacity of the IQA:
- The IQA may postpone the evaluation of some proposed Initiatives until it can catch up.
- Shall implement systems and procedures to accommodate the work load.
- May temporarily make a cursory selection of important proposed Initiatives for immediate focus.
- May propose an Initiative to the People to modify the Initiative proposal process and improve its manageability.<
Explanation of Initiative Selection Process
Initially the selection process will be relatively slow due to lack of a body of experience, and the process must accommodate a backup.
The IQA shall seek expert advice on the use of readability measures such as the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score to help determine that the Initiatives can be understood by almost all the voters. The IQA shall take advantage of its full range of Citizens’ abilities to perform an internal check on the comprehensibility and quality of proposed initiatives.
Explanation of Readability Indexes
At a minimum, this will ensure that the vast majority of voters will be able to understand the issues they vote on.
- The IQA shall arrange for Polls and Surveys of a sample of the people when necessary to clarify the need and desire for an Initiative and its contents, and to determine the IQA’s performance. The polls may be contracted with various polling organizations. Sophisticated random sampling techniques may be used with proper guidance if they have been proven. The efficacy of simple random sampling shall be compared with other methods such as stratified random sampling.
- The IQA shall test its own ability to predict the Electorate’s vote. When an Initiative is first introduced in plenary session and prior to general deliberation, Members shall cast their “predictive” votes as they would at the ballot, consciously disregarding any deliberative study to which they may have been exposed. The IQA’s “predictive” vote shall be compared with Polls and actual Electorate votes to determine if a IQA predictive vote can be accurate. No use of these predictive votes shall be made until its accuracy has been thoroughly evaluated.
Explanation of Polls and Surveys
Theoretically, the voters should find about 90 percent of the ballot initiatives suitable for approval. The success of the IQA to avoid wasting Voters’ time must be tested and validated.
When appropriate and feasible, the IQA shall solicit opinions from the public. It shall also take advantage of any deliberative polls of randomly selected citizens. A public hearing shall not be at the IQA facility to avoid potential inclusion of media in IQA business. Public hearings may be assigned to and attended by a IQA Task Force that will report back to the IQA.
Explanation of Public Hearing
Public Hearings may prove a useful tool, but have the potential to amplify issues and fuel discord.
- The simple majority initiative opinion and the number of Members’ votes passed in favor and against on the final approval shall be disclosed on all Draft Candidate and Candidate Initiatives. Groups of twenty-five percent or more IQA Members may present dissenting opinions. Each dissenting opinion shall be included with the published Candidate Initiative and shall note the number of Members who participated in this opinion.
- The IQA shall take great care in presenting their opinion to the Electorate. They have had the opportunity to become well informed and have the benefit of extensive deliberation. It is the IQA’s responsibility to use whatever means necessary to present their knowledge in written, verbal and video format that they effectively communicate this knowledge to the Electorate.
Explanation of Initiative Opinion
The range of opinions found in the IQA should be disclosed to the Voters.
An Initiative may be in the form of an Advisory Initiative to test whether people either support or oppose a potential action or issue and to find common ground in complex ethical and political issues. No person or organization is bound by the result of an Advisory Initiative. Advisory Initiatives should be used sparingly and not as an alternative to a poll, but should be considered before any controversial proposed constitutional Amendment.
Explanation of Advisory Initiative
Some problems facing the Voters are unsolvable. Instead, agreement may be possible only in limited areas. Advisory Initiatives are a valuable tool to find these areas of accord.
A Multiple Choice Initiative may be used where there is no simpler option to achieve the objective. However, they must be easy to use, and carefully designed and tested for ease-of-use before they can become a Nominated Initiative. Voters must be given a clear choice to retain status quo and vote against a Multiple Choice Initiative.
Explanation of Multiple Choice Initiatives
This can be a valuable tool to set policy, minimums, maximums, and ranges, provided the voting options and significance are easily understandable.
The IQA shall publish and distribute by print and electronic means unbiased and balanced voter education materials, including information on the initiative process itself as well as pro and con arguments on each measure certified for the ballot.
Explanation of Voter Education Materials
Voter education and communication is an ongoing vital process over many years.
A proposed Initiative shall stand on the merits of its content plus any preamble, relevant impact statements, and arguments pro and con. Proposed Initiatives shall include notarized proof of identity, address, method of contact and citizenship of its source authors. Revisions to previously-received proposed Initiatives are to be encouraged instead of a completely new proposed Initiative that duplicates much of the one previously received.
Explanation of Proposed Initiative Content
The integrity of a proposed initiative and the proposers must be scrutinized to ensure integrity and public trust.
The IQA shall competitively hire outside companies to provide all support and services personnel they require. Contracts shall be non-renewable for maximum periods of one year.
Explanation of Support and Service Personnel
The intent to avoid outside influence is obvious; the limits will depend on the IQA location(s).
Implementation of the information technology shall be phased to remain within IQA budgets. Programming shall be kept to a minimum using high-level development tools, off-the-shelf self-documenting technologies, and widely-used program suites that do not require expert users.
- The systems shall be user friendly to the Members. Those who are familiar with computers shall not have any significant learning curve for routine work.
- Simplicity, efficiency, and standard features shall be preferred (especially at the IQA convocation) over meeting all user requirements (e.g., imagined or real but not vital).
- Records of the IQA shall be kept whenever possible on IQA confidential server(s) for efficiency, consistency and continuity of IQA functions during turnover of membership.
- The IQA computer monitors shall be installed in several rooms for access by the Members at any time during a Session. The entire computer system shall be designed for transportability once a year to new facilities.
- The public shall have the capability to search the external database using various keys including generic SQL or equivalent for the greater efficiency of the Initiative system. Citizens will wish, for example, to add their own comments, to determine what proposed Initiatives or comments on Initiatives have been submitted, to avoid duplications and unnecessary new proposals.
- High commercial standards shall be used. They shall assure, for example, the integrity, invulnerability, maintainability, extensibility, off-site backup and archives, safety and security of the computer systems.
Explanation of Information Technology
While latest information technology is important, it must not be beyond the understanding of the IQA Members.
The IQA shall arrange to maintain the following websites, sub-webs, and pages:
- Guidelines for submitting proposed Initiatives including forms.
- Any current news about the IQA.
- Draft Candidate Initiatives.
- Capability for users to search all prior Initiatives.
- Capability for users to provide feedback on all Initiatives and to comment on the feedback.
- List of possible proposed Initiative topics that appear to be under-represented.
Explanation of Websites Publication
Internet communications with the Voters will evolve rapidly.
Ex-Members of the IQA may at their sole discretion disclose any truthful information about the IQA to anyone at anytime after all Members with whom they served are now ex-Members-i.e., a period equal to about twice the term of duty of IQA Members has passed since the disclosing Member joined the IQA. Disclosure before this time may be tampering. A disclosing Member shall be fair and considerate of other Members if and when they make any disclosure, and shall not reveal the actual names of any Member without each Member’s written and notarized concurrence.
Explanation of Ex-Members’ Non-Disclosure Period
In essence, full disclosure and openness are unhindered except while it would harm the current IQA to conduct its business.
The IQA shall assign DTFs to cover the following efforts:
- All Plenary Sessions shall be recorded and a copy retained for seven years. An electronic copy of all proceedings of the Initiatives Committees shall be provided weekly by their Recording Secretaries to the Library and Archive Committee. All records shall be in movable furnishings for transportation.
- Records shall be released to the IQA’s web site two years after the meetings took place and after the Electorate has voted on the subject, but in any case no longer than five years after the meetings took place. The records shall be kept on the web site for at least one year. At this time, if a Member requests it in writing, the name and actions of that Member shall become public so that the Member’s efforts and contributions can be properly recognized and credit taken.
- An import milestone for the IQA will occur when the Initiative for the continuation or repeal of IQA and Initiatives is put to the Electorate. All those Members whose efforts resulted in the Electorate choosing continuation will have made history and shall be recognized. This shall be in addition to any retroactive bonus rewards covered by Initiatives.
- At the end of the non-disclosure by ex-Member period, each Member shall:
- Receive an well-designed plaque certificate as recognition of their participation as a Member.
- Be honored for their participation on the IQA on the IQA’s web site if they grant the IQA written witnessed permission to include them.
- May discuss and publish general and truthful information about their experiences on the IQA, but shall not mention or include data that identifies any other Member by name without the other Member’s written permission.
Explanation of Library Archive, Publication and Recognition of Effort
A formal repository for IQA information is essential; recognition of effort will be after-the-fact based on those records and subsequent Voter decisions.
The IQA facilities should already have accessibility for people with disabilities as required by law. If any deficiencies are found, the IQA shall take reasonable action to resolve such deficiencies. An American Sign Language translator shall be made available for deaf Members during Plenary Sessions and at other reasonable times. Recordings of Plenary Sessions shall be available to blind Members, and a reader shall be made available at other reasonable times. However, current Braille transcripts shall not be made for Members, though some will be available at a later date as technology becomes available. Orderlies will be made available to assist handicapped persons.
Explanation of Accessibility
IQA accessibility standards should to the highest norms.
Minor medical problems will be treated at the IQA facilities by an on-call Nurse and/or General Practitioner. Members may not use their IQA accommodations as a sick room and shall avoid contagion of other Members. Alternate accommodations or complete isolation (if that is possible in the IQA facilities) shall be provided by the IQA for a few days and then only for illnesses no more serious than a common cold or mild influenza. An ambulance will be called for Members with serious medical problems or they may return home. Medical emergencies will be accommodated by normal humanitarian efforts. A Member experiencing a medical problem that affects their ability to fulfill their IQA duties and is expected to continue beyond one month shall appeal to a Federal Court to be excused for excessive hardship.
Explanation of Medical Problems
These guidelines will assist the IQA in making decisions when medical problems arise.