An issue in both the 2006 and 2007 Parliaments was the constant tardiness or outright absences of MPs when time came for a vote. Such absences were, in fact, very much the reason for the failures of the Holiday Act and the Welcoming Act, latter having been considered a pivotal piece of legislation. The 2008 Parliament decided to address this problem and establish some quorum rules for expediting the legislative process.
In response to the high number of votes required as a minimum to pass a bill, on August 4, 2008 Nekromans (YSP) proposed that rather than requiring a majority of the full Parliament to pass a bill, only the majority of those online, with a minimum of three to prevent corruption, should be necessary. He also suggested that the President’s veto power should be used to regulate this speedier process. Deputy Prime Minister Demosthenes opposed this proposal, arguing that the precedent of 8 votes minimum to pass should be upheld to prevent the legislative process from being hijacked by the minority parties.
Nekromans (YSP) responded: “If Parliament cannot effectively act outside peak-time, perhaps it should not play such a prominent - and indeed dominant - role in the Government. We must not hesitate to discard those traditions and guidelines that can no longer serve the interests of democracy for this website.” He further proposed that the Presidential veto be divided, requiring a majority in the Presidential office to pass a veto as a measure of further regulation against corruption. “Sargon's vote would count for 1.5 in this, with Midgard and Thande being able to jointly overrule him but not able to stalemate with him.”
Shortly afterward, Prime Minister Douglas (E) placed this bill at Item 2 on Parliament's order of business, stating that Parliament should “consider quorum rules so that we don't need a majority of eight every single time we need to do something from now on. Note that Sargon has an absolute veto that can only be overturned by a two-thirds majority in Parliament (10 MPs)…none of this mucking about with Vice-Presidents having a say. Also, we need to take care that we don't go around saying something's been passed until Sargon signs off on it.”
The FFF unanimously announced opposition to this bill. Especially MP Steffen argued heavily against it: “No, I think the extra time it might take to wait for a qualified majority is worth it, otherwise we have endless and endless bickering over unreal majorities.”
Demosthenes (E) proposed that a minimum of 5 or 6 votes, with MPs of the majority and minority supporting the bill, for it to pass. Steffen repeated his opposition, but qualified it by adding he could support a bill which utilized a sunset system whereby after a certain time a bill automatically expires from the agenda if it finds no majority. This proposal was supported by Demosthenes (E).
Demosthenes (E) also proposed that if a bill is non-controversial and received near unanimous support but not eight votes, and if it was determined that not enough MPs were online for an eighth vote, it should be sent to the President. This proposal was also opposed by Steffen (FFF), who argued that the Deputy Prime Minister's wording was far too vague.
Prime Minister Douglas (E) proposed a compromise: Allow a bill to be considered to be passed unanimously if 5 members voted for it, with no votes against, and a minimum of 2 members each of the governing party/coalition and the opposition voting for the bill. The bill would then be placed in a “waiting period” of 24 hours where any single vote opposed to the bill would throw it back into the eight-votes-required category. If, at the end of the 24 hour period, there was no opposition to the bill, it would be forwarded to Sargon for signing and/or veto. Also, a sunset system would be implemented with a time limit of two weeks. This proposal found the support of Demosthenes (E), TheDarkServant (E), VulcanTrekkie45 (YSP), and Pkmatrix (YSP).
Kidblast (YSP) counter-proposed that, rather than two weeks, that the time limit be one week or 10 days instead. Douglas (E) and TheDarkServant (E) supported this suggestion.
Prime Minister Douglas (E) then proposed a draft of the Legislative Procedures Bill.
A bill shall be considered passed unanimously if 5 Members of Parliament voted in favor and there are no votes against, but only if a minimum of 2 Members each from both the governing party/coalition and the opposition are amongst the votes.
Section 1: If the conditions outlined in Article I are met, a “waiting period” of 24 hours shall be instituted after which the bill would be eligible for signing and/or veto by the President of His Administratorness' Government.
Section 2: Should at least one Member of Parliament vote against the bill, the conditions of Article I shall be considered void and the bill will require a minimum of eight votes in favor to pass.
The time limit for votes on Resolutions shall be no more than one week.
Voting on the Legislative Procedures Act began on August 4, 2008 and ended on August 5, 2008.
Deputy Prime Minister Demosthenes (E), Prime Minister Douglas (E), Pkmatrix (YSP), Kidblast (YSP), TheDarkServant (E), 09camaro (E), LordInsane (E), VulcanTrekkie45 (YSP), and Haggis (E) voted in favor.
None voted against.
Thus, the Legislative Procedures Act passed, 9 to 0, and was signed into law by President Sargon on August 5, 2008.