by Max Barry

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The Allied States of
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Overview Factbook Policies People Government Economy Rank Trend Cards

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CURRENT POLITICS (Updated Peridocially)

POLITICAL PARTIES

LinkList of Primary Beithen Political Parties

The National Party has been the dominant political party in Beithe since the foundation of the Allied States following the Second Civil War in 1948. The party's support had gone almost entirely unchecked between the 1970s and early 2000s. Recently, two minority parties, the People's Republican Party of Beithe and the Christian Democratic Party, have gained increasing support. The former party is most popular in the relatively liberal state of Kent in Beithe's Western District, while the latter has gained significant support in the religious state of Kent in the Northern District. Each of these minority parties has obtained a small number of seats in the federal LinkBeithe Senate, as well as political offices at state and local levels.

The Christian Democratic Party is anticipated to overtake the National Party in Beithe's Northern District. In the 2018 presidential election, Christian Democratic candidate John Paul Knauff, senator from Northshore's 4th district, dominated the Northern District with 92% of the popular vote (at the national level, he received 28% of the popular vote, placing him in second place behind presidential incumbent Ehrich Kemp).

Other minority parties include the Green Socialist Party, Neo-Existentialist Party, Traditionalist Party, and the recently formed Communist Party. None of these parties currently hold an office at any level.

There is rising internal friction within the dominant National Party. A small yet influential faction has been dubbed the "MacDonaldists." These party members seek to emulate to the politics of former President LinkAlistair MacDonald, who is heralded today as Beithe's greatest president, and seek a return to the National Party's traditional core values. There have been speculations that the MacDonaldists may split from the National Party.

RECENT ISSUES & POLICIES

International Relations
Considered a “lone wolf state” by outsider observers, Beithe traditionally has maintained minimal relations with other nations outside of trade and the most-basic levels of diplomacy. Hotels in Beithe’s capital (Capitol City) are continuously booked with visiting businessmen from abroad, but foreign government dignitaries have been a rare sight. Beithe’s federal government is non-interventionist and does not offer humanitarian aid or take involvement in overseas military conflicts. Under the leadership of the National Party, the Allied States of the Isle of Beithe refuses to join the World Assembly (WA) or even acknowledge it as a legitimate political entity. The National Party is anti-globalism and believes organizations such as the WA to be an affront to Beithe's sovereignty. Most minority parties share this view, except for the People's Republican Party, which has begun to gain traction in the relatively liberal state of Kent.

Though Beithe continues its general attitude of non-interventionism and anti-globalism, the nation has steadily increased foreign relations in recent years. Most notably, in October 2018, Beithe joined the International Police Force (INTERPOL) (as well as inviting INTERPOL officers from Stoklomolvi to assist in the investigation of former Governor-General of Harvest Island Franklin Simpson). President Kemp cited the legitimate need for international co-operation of law enforcement agencies amidst modern crises. This decision has proved controversial amongst the independent-minded and fervently nationalistic Beithen public, who still fear that any involvement in international organizations may threaten the nation's sovereignty. It has been speculated that President Kemp's decision to join INTERPOL contributed to his decreased support in the 2018 presidential election.

In 2019, Beithe established its first mass embassy exchange programme. The new embassy exchange programme is the brainchild of the recently appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Edward McCoy, and Prime Minister Stephanie Reinholdt, herself a veteran of the foreign affairs ministry.

Law Enforcement

Recent law enforcement policies – such as enhanced authority to perform warrantless search and detention, video surveillance of major public areas, and mandatory collection of DNA samples from even misdemeanant offenders – as well as massive budget increases for the ubiquitous police community have caused Beithe to be labelled as “police state” by international observers. Even prominent members of the National Party have rebuffed President Kemp's recent police state policies – though their objections are typically more focused on budgetary concerns and administrative logistics, rather than concerns over civil rights.

In December 2018, documents placed on the website WikiLeaks revealed the extent of police usage of electronic surveillance technology, in particular LinkStingray devices.

On 29 January 2019, Senator Maisie Smith of Kent, a representative of the minority People's Republican Party, introduced a bill that would curb certain policies, including restrictions on the ability of police to perform searches without a warrant. President Kemp has yet to comment on the proposed legislation, but should it pass through the Senate, a High Council veto is anticipated.

There have been internal debates within the National Party about re-structuring of the current law enforcement system. Some believe that the law enforcement community has become too centralized and that more authority should be devolved to the state governments. (Though state governments technically are granted independent operational command of their police forces, all police are subject to strict regulations by the federal National Police Administration.)

Education
Beithe has operated under a market-driven Linkcharter school system since the 1970s. There have been debates within the National Party General Council and the Beithe Senate regarding a transition to a completely private educational system.

In early February 2019, the Beithe Senate approved a series of revisions to the Federal Core Curricula. These revisions will place a new emphasis on preparing young Beitheans for the challenges of adult life, such as job searching and resume preparation, interview skills, budget management, and time management. The bill, Senate Act 19-014, which was approved with a 42-6 majority, was the result of a year of deliberations between the Beithe Senate Education Committee, the Ministry of Education, and each states' department of education. Shortly after its approval, President Kemp publicly issued High Council support for the measure and congratulated the federal senate on its successful co-operation with the state governments.

Several states are working on additional policies to be enacted in conjunction with the federal legislation. The Sussex State Senate has drafted a bill that will provide increased funding for high schools offering courses in general business skills as well as vocational training for in-demand trades such as HVAC, carpentry, and plumbing. Senator Joseph McCormick, chairman of the Kent House of Commons Education Committee, has announced that similar plans are being drafted in Kent. Additionally, McCormick has stated that there are ongoing discussions regarding new programmes that would allow select high school 3rd and 4th year students to attend university and college courses at discounted tuition rates. Emphasis would be placed upon studies in biology, chemistry, and mathematics. The proposed programme is intended to prepare more young Beitheans for entry into Kent's rapidly growing biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

Recreational Drug Use

Recreational drug use has remained a controversial topic in Beithe for years. Recent polls have shown public opinion is split almost 50-50.

Marijuana has been legal throughout Beithe since the 1980s, but there has been considerable debate regarding the usage of “hard” drugs such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. Debates have grown stronger amidst the opioid crisis occurring in many rural communities—particularly, the impoverished, crime-ridden state of York in the Western District, where unemployment rates are at national highs of 32.46% (for comparison, the national unemployment rate is 1.63%). In 2018, York experienced a 67% increase in emergency room visits related to opioid overdoses.

At the federal level, personal possession and use of many hard drugs is legal but sale and distribution is a fifth-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 18 months imprisonment. Illegal sale and distribution of prescription medications is a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 2 years imprisonment. The Beithe Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Drug Enforcement Division has seen mild budget increases in recent years, but the issue remains low on the bureau’s priorities.

Some states have taken a tougher approach towards recreational drugs. Moorfield, Sussex, Kent, and Lancaster have all imposed minor fines for hard drug possession. Northshore is the only state to have criminalized hard drug use. In the highly religious Northern District state, possession of many hard drugs is a first-degree misdemeanor for the first offense, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a period of mandatory, state-monitored counseling. In January 2019, the Northshore State Police announced the foundation of a new Drug Enforcement Taskforce.

There has been a steady increase in the number of private, for-profit drug rehabilitation centres throughout Beithe. There is also rising concern over the lack of regulation of these businesses, which are regularly accused of corruption. Some centres have been the target of investigations for ties to organized crime syndicates that engage in sale and distribution of recreational drugs.

On 01 February 2019, the federal Beithe Senate announced that it will begin deliberations with the state governments regarding the nation’s ongoing opioid crisis.

The Glasgow State Senate is debating a bill that would enact criminal penalties for hard drug possession, similar to the penalties currently enforced in neighbouring Northshore.

Immigration

Generally, Beithe has maintained a liberal policy towards immigration. Recently, however, the High Council directive has imposed stricter background checks for persons seeking permanent residence. The measure is part of a larger anti-terrorism campaign.

Presently, the Beithe Senate is deliberating over legislation that would provide priority status for immigration applicants with skills in certain in-demand trades.

Conscription

Beithe has imposed mandatory military service for able-bodied males since 1972. The policy has come under scrutiny due to the cost and administrative hassle of maintaining a large military reserve force. Additionally, Beithe has experienced high rates of volunteerism for military service, causing many to believe that conscription is anachronistic and unnecessary.

Legislation was introduced into the Beithe Senate in mid-December 2018 that would repeal the 1972 conscription statute. The measure is scheduled for a vote by the end of February 2019. It remains uncertain whether the measure will receive High Council support, but President Kemp has stated publicly that the council will give the proposal "due consideration."

Vaccination in Public Schools

In February 2019, a measles outbreak in Straussburg-am-See resulted in the hospitalization of 27 children aged 2-12. This is the fourth reported outbreak of a disease preventable by routine vaccination in the Northern District within the past two years. In response, Senator Michael King (National Party, Sydney 1st District—Sheffield, Gordon, and Loch Gillian) introduced federal legislation that would make vaccination mandatory for admission into government-chartered schools throughout Beithe. King’s constituency also experienced a measles outbreak across four elementary schools in September 2018. The outbreak affected 67 young Beitheans aged 5-9 and resulted in 42 hospitalizations. No deaths were reported.

Former presidential candidate John Paul Knauff (Christian Democratic Party, Northshore 4th District - Marburg and Straussburg Counties) has expressed disapproval of the proposed legislation. Though Knauff disagrees with anti-vaccination sentiments, and he has stated that all four of his children have received routine vaccinations, he believes that mandatory vaccination is an “infringement upon the right to religious and personal freedoms.”

Within the National Party General Council, there has been debate over how to handle this controversial issue. The party has officially condemned proposals of forced vaccination but has generally supported vaccination as a requirement for admission into public schools. King’s proposal, Senate Bill 19-020, has been viewed as radical by several fellow senators, however. Six National Party senators have already announced that they will vote against the bill on grounds that such legislation should be introduced at the state level.

President Kemp has called “anti-vaxxers” a threat to “not only the physical health but the intellectual health of the nation.” The President has yet to comment on Senator King’s proposal.

PENDING LEGISLATION

Senate Bill No.

Date Introduced

Summary Description

19-001 (formerly 18-376)

18 December 2018

Repeal of the 1972 National Conscription Statute.

19-015

29 January 2019

Re-define "exigent circumstances" under which police may perform search and seizure without a court-issued warrant. Mandate that all warrantless searches and seizures be reviewed for validity by a judge within 14 business days. Mandate disciplinary action for police officers who routinely execute unjust warrantless search and seizure. Restrict ability of law enforcement to use electronic surveillance. Require police to pubicly disclose the types of electronic surveillance technology used.

19-012

15 January 2019

Provide priority status for immigration applicants with skills in certain in-demand trades.

19-016

29 January 2019

Funding for 50 new officers within the National Forestry Police. Increase fines for littering in national forests.

19-017

01 February 2019

Salary increases for Tier IV-VI civil service positions.

19-018

01 February 2019

Revise federal tax code to increase allowable business expense deductions by self-employed persons.

19-019

01 February 2019

Repair and expansion project for national highways I-1, 1-2 and 1-3.

19-020

06 February 2019

Mandatory vaccinations as a requirement for admission into public schools.

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