States of Lower Columbia
|States of Lower Columbia|
|Also known as||Commonwealth (North Fraser, Olympus, Pacifica, Puget, South Fraser, Vancouver Island, Willamette), principality (Saint Catherine)|
of Lower Columbia
A state of the Federal Kingdom of Lower Columbia is one of the sixteen constituent political entities that enjoys limited autonomy within, and shares sovereginty with, the Lower Columbian federal government. By virtue of this shared sovereignty, a Lower Columbian is a citizen of both the federal kingdom and the state where he or she lives. State citizenship is flexible and automatically transferred whenever a citizen moves to a different state, with no government approval necessary (with the exception of persons covered by certain types of court order).
For historical reasons (detailed below), seven states are officially titled Commonwealth instead of State, while another uses the official title of Principality.
Before Lower Columbia became a single country, the Europeans who settled the Pacific Northwest formed regional states as their populations grew and a greater level of governance became necessary. Seven such states were ultimately formed between 1648 and 1719; these states were titled "Believers' Commonwealths", as they were largely populated by devout Christians and their governments included ecclesiastical leaders. Three of these commonwealths would eventually unite under King Edward to form Lower Columbia, becoming the country's first three states. The other four commonwealths, meanwhile, eventually united to form the Federal Republic of Gudland; when that country was annexed by Lower Columbia, the old commonwealths were simply admitted as states in their own right (although one, Puget, was merged with the old Commonwealth of Rainier, while the Commonwealth of Fraser had been split into two smaller states while part of Gudland).
The commonwealths' form of government was kept largely intact when the Constitution of Lower Columbia was written and ratified. Each state had a democratic government, with an elected premier and legislature, as well as an appointed judiciary. The only modification that the writers of the constitution made was to give each state a viceroy, who would be appointed by the King on the advice and consent of the state legislature. The viceroy was meant to be the monarchy's representative to the state, and as such, viceroys were given several reserve powers parallel to those held by the King. However, the state premier was tasked with performing most of the everyday responsibilities of the state executive branch.
The union with the Principality of Saint Catherine presented a unique challenge to the federal government. Under the Treaty of Yekateringrad, which formalized the union between the two countries, the Prince of Saint Catherine was retained as the monarchy's representative in the state, making the appointment of a viceroy for the new state unnecessary. However, because the Lower Coumbian Constitution specifically required viceroys to be appointed, an amendment was needed to keep the treaty from violating the constitution. This amendment, which both granted Saint Catherine an exemption from the Viceroy Clause of the constitution and specified that the Prince of Saint Catherine would always be the King's oldest child, was quickly ratified, allowing the principality to be added to the kingdom while honoring the terms of the treaty.
Each state has a unicameral legislature, which the state viceroy is the nominal head of. Most of these legislatures are titled State (or Commonwealth) Assemblies and are based on the early legislative assemblies of the commonwealths, although Saint Catherine's legislature is titled the Duma for historical reasons. Each state's constitution determines how its legislature should be apportioned, and how state legislators are to be elected, although it is commonplace for state assemblies to be apportioned by population.
After each general election, it is the state assemblies' duty to elect seven persons from each state to the federal Council of States. The national constitution requires Councilors to be elected in roughly the same proportions as the assemblies themselves are composed, as determined by party affiliation. This requirement is due to the fact that Councilors officially represent state governments, not the people, in Parliament. To meet these requirements, and in order to expedite the process, political parties usually submit ranked lists of up to seven candidates to the state assemblies before the general election. This practice, while not legally required, allows the lesiglators to elect Councilors as soon after general elections as possible, which in turn allows the King to appoint the Lord of the Council of States as quickly as possible.
With the federal government
Creation of new states
List of states
South Fraser |