Here are the key points of the bill – Disegno di legge N.328/XIV di iniziativa popolare – promoted by the civic committee Più Democrazia in Trentino (More Democracy in Trentino):
- Greater involvement of the people: extension of the rights of participation to all residents over the age of 16, including citizens from countries outside the EU territory, for petitions, citizens’ initiatives, and non-binding referendums.
- Re-introduction of civic education in schools, and promotion of direct democracy principles through academic institutions and local communities.
- Dedication of a portal for on-line advertising of citizens’ political initiatives promoted within this law.
- Creation of an e-petition portal with the possibility of on-line subscription by citizens
- Appointment of a commission for participation with the optional representation of civic committees.
- Constitution of the prytanes: citizen juries composed by sortition. They can be convened by the Government of the Province, the Council of the Province, or by the collection of 2.500 citizen signatures. They will emit non-binding decisions to address the policies of the provincial Government. The prytanes can file a non-confidence motion towards the provincial Government if their decisions are disregarded.
- Regulation of public consultation in the law making process with transparency and publication of the proceedings.
- Management of public debate according to criteria of accuracy of information, impartiality and fair representation of civic committees.
- Citizens’ initiatives and proposals of referendum with assistance from the legislative office of the Council of the Province and public hearing of the promoters.
- Updating the method of signature gathering through customized electronic signature collection forms.
- Transparency of funds supporting referendums by publication on the direct democracy portal.
- Brochures sent out to inform the citizens in occasion of the polls containing description the referendums, list of the positions for and against the proposal, venue details and dates of the poll, as well as the list of the contributors and their financial support.
- Unification of polling days, referendum, and election days into a single date.
- Introduction of electronic and postal voting.
- Non-binding referendum initiated by residents (All residents over the age of 16 including citizens from non-EU countries whom have long term permits).
- Elimination of participation quorum in all types of provincial referendum.
- Confirmative referendum on laws, regulations and provincial acts promoted by citizens.
- Introduction of a pro-active referendum (propositive referendum) with the option for the Government or the Council of the Province to formulate a counter-proposal.
- Multiple-choice pro-active referendum: possibility of choosing between a plurality of proposals, including the counter-proposal formulated by the institutions.
- Motion of non confidence advocated by a citizens’ initiative for or against, the President of the Province, one or more assessors, or the whole Government of the Province.
- Introduction of a two term limit for political mandates in public office.
- Termination of the remuneration of the members of the Government and Council of the Province who do not consent to the publication of their assets’ list and income declaration.
The contents of this proposal of law are the results of a deliberative process which lasted approximately five months, from November ‘11 to April ‘12. Formal members of the committee Più Democrazia in Trentino and supporters have brought their contributions to this process. The bill was submitted in accordance with the citizens’ initiative procedure, which is regulated by the provincial law, dated March 5th, 2003 n.3.
The committee is composed of a diverse range of people who manifested their will to impulse a change in the rules of the law making and decision making process. The editors and the official speakers of the committee are Alex Marini, the committee coordinator and first subscriber, Cristiano Zanella and Stefano Longano, the other two delegates who will take part in the legislative phase.
Mauro Ceccato and Camillo Lutteri are the officials of the legislative office of the Council of the Province of Trento, who – under the provincial law number 3 of March 5th, 2003 – attended to the speakers in writing the text in the appropriate juridical form.
The signature gathering started the 19th of April 2012 and ended the 18th of July 2012. In order to submit the bill to the discussion of the Council, the minimum number of voter signatures is 2.500. Dozens of volunteers helped and supported the committee during the campaign to collect signatures. Thanks to them, the committee was able to collect 4.000 signatures, many more than necessary.
The bill has been officially filed to the Council of the Province of Trento after the control of the validity of all signatures and after examination of the conditions of admissibility. On the 16th of August 2012 the bill has been accepted for the discussion at the First permanent Legislative Commission. In fact, the law making phase within the Council will be preceded by the discussion and by the possible amendments at the commission level.