The Legislature of the Holy Principality of Saint Beñat and Argiñe, commonly known as the Ibarrasque Legislature, is the supreme legislative body in the Holy Principality of Saint Beñat and Argiñe. Its primary seat is Igone II Palace on 37 Erlojuaren Dorrea Boulevard in San Beñaten Hiria.
The legislature is tricameral, consisting of the church (the House of Apostles), an upper house (the House of Counts), and a lower house (the House of Representatives).
House of Apostles
The House of Apostles (HA) consists of seven members, called the Apostles (not to be confused with the Royal Apostles). Members are nominated in conclaves by the arch/bishops and high monas/nonas and submitted for the approval of at least one of the Co-Princes. Apostles may serve for life, but may be removed by the order of both Co-princes. Despite having a meeting chamber in Igone II Palace, the HA actually meets at an unmarked townhouse in a particularly wealthy neighborhood of northern Bahía de Gracia.
Unlike the other two houses of the legislature, outside observers are not allowed. Proposals are either hand-delivered or sent via secured mail to and from the residence. To be eligible, one must be a member of the church, a citizen, and at least 35 years of age.
House of Counts
The House of Counts (HC) is made up of nineteen appointed members, chosen by the Co-Princes. Nine of the seats are reserved for the Imperators of each branch of the military, with the remaining ten divided in halves for each sovereign. Once appointed, members may serve for up to fifty years before being forced to retire. They also serve as the titular heads of each county and two cities.
However, it is common for counts to resign once their appointer leaves office. While the HC occupies the right half of Igone II Palace, the HC frequently suffers from poor attendance of its members and is often unable to meet the legal quota to carry out its duties. In general, citizens of nineteen years of age or older are eligible to become a member.
House of Representatives
The House of Representatives (HR) is the only democratically-elected body of the legislature, totaling 23 members in all. Seventeen of the members are elected directly by citizens of their county, members of the military elect an individual to represent their respective branch, citizens of both provinces elect an at-large representative to represent their province, and those in the penitentiary system elect a representative.
Members are elected to alternating five and seven-year terms, but the Co-Princes have the right to call snap election at any time (with a one year waiting period in-between uses). However, snap elections are quite rare and have only occurred four times in the nation’s history. Those who are citizens and at least 25 years old are eligible to serve in the HR.
Rules and procedures
In the event of a vacancy in the HR, the Provincial Commission that the county with a vacant representative belonged to may appoint an individual to complete the term. For non-county representatives, a special election will be called as long as there are at least three years left in the term.
All proposals must be hand-written with visible ink on onionskin paper before being rolled and submitted into a large, round, opaque vase that is located on the Speaker’s desk in each house. Legislators may submit one proposal per meeting and at least 70% of the proposals submitted during a meeting must be read to the floor. Unread proposals are kept in the vase to potentially be read in the future. By custom, authors of proposals are to remain anonymous.
Proposals that have been passed by another house are signed and stamped by the house’s Speaker before being submitted to the proposal vase of another house like any other proposal. Proposals that cover national appointments and non-constitutional laws must receive simple majority approval of at least two houses before they are submitted to the sovereigns for at least one royal signature. Constitutional amendments must receive simple majority approval from all houses, as well as be signed by both monarchs.
Each house of the legislature must choose one individual to become the Speaker. An individual may concurrently serve as Speaker for more than one house, as long as the person is a member of the legislature. The Speaker may vote on proposals only if he/she is a member of the house to which the proposal is being read. The Speaker’s primary functions are to read proposals and sign/stamp said proposals if the house approves.
For much of the nation’s history, the House of Apostles has chosen to share the Speaker of the House of Counts. The House of Representatives generally elects one of its own members to become Speaker. A “Union of the Houses” (where all houses share the same Speaker) is very uncommon, having only happened eight times with the last occurring in 1983.