Select Committees Act
BE IT ENACTED BY THE STATE OF FIRESTONE CONGRESS HERE ASSEMBLED THAT:
§ 1. General Provisions
(a) The “Select Committees Act” shall be established.
(b) This Bill shall go into effect as an Act of Congress upon the completion of the constitutionally required processes.
(c) Should any part of this Act be struck down and/or declared unenforceable, then that part shall be severed with the rest remaining in full force and effect unless all is struck down and/or declared unenforceable.
§ 2. Establishment of Select Committees
(a) A ‘Select Committee’ shall be defined as a committee established by and regulated within the scope of this Act.
(b) Congress shall be permitted to establish Select Committees in response to certain incidents, issues, or other matters which require the attention of Congress, within the scope and provisions of this Act. Select Committees may only be established for investigating misconduct, corruption, or criminal activity when it cannot be (or has been unreasonably) handled by the executive and/or judicial branches. This purpose must be stated in the establishing resolution, and a select committee may not exceed its purpose. The purpose of a select committee may be amended by a joint resolution.
(c) Select Committees shall be established through the passing of a joint resolution of Congress. This aforementioned joint resolution shall state the purpose of the Select Committee.
(d) Select Committees may be provisionally established with an official letter to the public with the approval of a Congressional Presiding Officer (as defined as the Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, Speaker Pro Tempore, and President Pro Tempore) and at least one member of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. This said letter shall state the reason why the Select Committee should be established prior to the joint resolution passing Congress. Select Committees provisionally established shall immediately start operations and be filled with membership pursuant to § 3 of this act. Members added during this time shall remain after the passing of the joint resolution establishing the Select Committee. The provisionally established Select Committee shall suspend operations after seven (7) days if the joint resolution to establish the Select Committee has still not yet passed by both houses of Congress. If the joint resolution establishing the Select Committee fails Congress, the Select Committee shall be abolished and may not be provisionally authorized again.
(e) All Select Committees shall cease all operations thirty (30) days subsequent to their establishment; if the Select Committee is provisionally established, that time shall count towards the thirty (30) days, except for when suspended. A Select Committee’s time may be extended by an additional thirty (30) days upon the passage of a joint resolution of Congress; a Select Committee’s time may never exceed sixty (60) days. Should a select committee expire but a joint resolution to extend a select committee has been proposed to Congress (and is not tabled), then that select committee may continue operating either until such a vote completes or until fifteen (15) days pass after expiration.
(f) A Select Committee shall be permitted to voluntarily cease all operations with a supermajority (⅔) vote of the Select Committee’s membership. This may not be reversed, except for by a joint resolution in Congress.
(g) A Select Committee may be forced to cease all operations through a joint resolution in Congress.
(h) A provisionally established Select Committee may be forced to suspend all operations if the Congressional Presiding Officer who authorized the Select Committee deems it necessary, with justification.
§ 3. Membership of Select Committees
(a) Upon the establishment of a Select Committee, any sitting member of congress may be permitted to run for a position on the Select Committee. The Congressional Presiding Officers shall be prohibited from holding any position within a Select Committee. Should a member of a Select Committee become a Congressional Presiding Officer, said person shall be removed from any Select Committee of which they are a member.
(b) Should six (6) or more sitting members of Congress run for a position on a Select Committee, an election under the supervision of the Speaker of the House (or in the event of vacancy or absence, the President of the Senate; or should that office to be vacant or holder absent, the Governor of the State of Firestone) shall be held. The procedures and rules shall be at their discretion, however they may not disqualify any candidate and the election must be fair.
(c) Should less than six (6) members of Congress be running for a position of a Select Committee, then all candidates who meet the requirements shall be seated on the Select Committee.
(d) Any Select Committee established shall be headed by the member of Congress who proposed the establishment of the committee. The head of the Select Committee shall be referred to as the ‘Chairperson’ of the Select Committee in question.
(e) Measures for the selection of a Chairperson – who is not the individual who proposed the establishment of the select committee – may be implemented in the establishing resolution. No individual shall be the chairperson of a Select Committee if they are not (or cease to be) a sitting congressperson or are (or become) a Congressional Presiding Officer.
(f) The number of members of a Select Committee may be restricted by its establishing joint resolution; however, Select Committees shall not exceed greater than six (6) members. The chairperson shall be included and count toward the membership limit.
§ 4. Proceedings of Select Committees
(a) All proceedings of the Select Committees under this Act shall be presided over by the Chairperson of the Select Committee unless the Chairperson delegates this task to another member of the Select Committee. This individual shall be referred to as the ‘Presiding Officer’.
(b) All members of the Select Committees under this Act may cast a vote of Aye, Nay, or Abstain on matters (henceforth called ‘Motions’) before the Select Committee.
(i) A vote of Aye shall be regarded as voting in affirmation of the Motion.
(ii) A vote of Nay shall be regarded as voting in the negation of the Motion.
(iii) A vote of Abstain shall be regarded as a declination to cast a vote of Aye or Nay.
(c) For any vote of a Select Committee to be valid, a quorum of ½ of the Select Committee’s membership (excluding the Presiding Officer) must have cast a vote of Aye, Nay, or Abstain. Members who are present but do not cast any vote shall not be regarded as present for the purposes of quorum.
(d) For a ‘Simple Majority’ to be met, the count of the Ayes must be greater than the count of the Nays. In the event of a tie, the Presiding Officer shall cast a ‘tiebreaker’ wherein they decide if the Motion passes or fails.
(e) For a ‘supermajority’ to be met, ⅔ of the Ayes and Nays cast must be voting in affirmation of the Motion.
(f) The Select Committee shall have the authority to establish, amend, and/or repeal standing rules for the Select Committee with a simple majority vote. These standing rules may establish additional voting procedures, rules of conduct, etc. that regulate or limit the scope of the Select Committee or the authority of the Presiding Officer, except for restraining any power granted to the Select Committee or Presiding Officer by this Act.
§ 5. Requests to Appear Before a Select Committee
(a) Select Committees under this Act, with a simple majority vote, shall have the authority to issue a request to appear for any individual relevant to the Select Committee’s stated purpose. A request to appear shall not require but encourage the individual called appears before the Select Committee. It shall be Contempt of Congress to fail to show upon the issuance of a request to appear.
(b) Upon the passage of a Motion to request someone to appear, a detailed letter giving the location, and time of the questioning must be posted in a ‘topic’ or ‘thread’ on the Firestone Forums. Such topic/thread must include the name of the individual and ‘request to appear’ in the title, and outline that they are encouraged and requested to appear before the Select Committee.
(c) Reasonable efforts must be made to contact the requested individual to inform them of their request to appear.
(d) No individual may have their attendance mandated by a request to appear.
(e) Individuals present at a Select Committee proceeding for the purpose of being questioned must be sworn to honesty before an officer of the Firestone Government (pursuant to Chapter 6, Section 7 of the Firestone Criminal Code). It shall be Contempt of Congress (pursuant to Chapter 6, Section 2 of the Firestone Criminal Code) to dishonestly answer any question pertinent to the Select Committee’s official purpose, except for questions that: would infringe on the individual’s constitutional rights, such as the right against self-incrimination; where answering the question could breach another state law (i.e. classification statutes); or where answering the question would violate privilege afforded by state law. Only members of the Select Committee may ask questions in proceedings.
§ 6. Information Provided or Surrendered to a Select Committee
(a) Select Committees under this Act, with a simple majority vote, shall have the authority to request any government department, executive agency, or other governmental body recognized by state, county, or municipal law, to provide copies of information, such as Discord channels, documentation, and/or records, except for where such information is classified or otherwise privileged under law and/or where the information under request has no bearing on the select committee’s stated purpose
(d) Except for where expressly permitted by state law or authorized by the Select Committee in a simple-majority vote, it shall be Contempt of Congress (pursuant to Chapter 6, Section 2 of the Firestone Criminal Code) for any person to knowingly redact or alter any information ordered by a Select Committee.
(e) A department, agency, or other governmental body head or the Governor may request the Select Committee keep the ordered information confidential and to privately deliver this information to the Select Committee; however, it shall be at the discretion of the Select Committee and its members if this request is honored.
(f) A department, agency, or other governmental body head or the Governor may - within the scope of the law - volunteer classified information to a Select Committee. This information must remain classified and may only be distributed beyond the Select Committee if there is a lawful reason and within the scope of the law.
(g) Any whistleblower who confidentially provides classified information to a Select Committee, where the information reasonably shows a criminal offense relevant to the Select Committee’s purpose has been committed, and who clearly indicates to the members that the information is in fact classified and that they are providing it as a whistleblower, shall be protected from both liability (civil or criminal) and disciplinary action (in any way) so long as they acted reasonably and with a good faith belief that the information provided shows a crime has been committed. It shall be unlawful for any person to retaliate against a whistleblower who provides information to a Select Committee.
(h) A whistleblower must have attempted to report the offense to the Governor or the Attorney General prior to disclosing the information to a Select Committee. However, this is not necessary if it can be reasonably shown that there was or would have been a threat of retaliation against the whistleblower or his associates and acquaintances.
(i) Classified information, provided voluntarily or by a whistleblower, must remain classified (unless declassified by law) and cannot be distributed beyond the select committee’s membership except for where permitted by state law.
(j) Whereas the Select Committee is reviewing, considering, accessing, or discussing information, details, etc. which are classified, the proceeding must be closed and may not be visible to any individual outside of the select committee (unless, in a closed proceeding, the select committee is questioning or discussing with an individual who is lawfully authorized to access the information or is an individual that has surrendered the pertinent classified information to the committee)
Respectfully submitted to the Congress of the State of Firestone,
The Honorable Clonemep, Former Senator
Chief Sponsor :
The Honorable Jackfruitism, President pro tempore
Co sponsors :
The Honorable Noobsiance, Senator
The Honorable SimulationCode, Representative
The Honorable FrostEspresso, Representative