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PRIVATE MEMBERS' LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS AND SPECIAL PETITIONS COMMITTEE (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY)
25 August 1999
ELECTION OF CHAIRPERSON AND BRIEFING ON NEW RULES
Documents handed out:
National Asembly Rules : Private Members' Legislative Proposals & Special Petitions (see Appendix 1 below)
Briefing document on Private Members' Bills (see Appendix 2 below)
Extract from Chapter 6 of Legislative Drafting by G Thornton: The five stages of the drafting process
Mr P Hendrickse (ANC) was elected as Chairperson. Adv Meyer, Parliamentary Law Advisor, briefed the Committee on the New Rules for Private Members' Bills. The New Rules differ from the Old Rules in that from now on proposals for legislation from members go directly to the Assembly and from there it will be referred, by the Speaker, to the relevant Committee.
Election of Chairperson
The Committee Clerk asked for nominations, in terms of Rule 129 of the National Assembly Rules, for the position of Chairperson. Ms Coetzee (ANC) nominated Mr P Hendrickse of the ANC and was seconded by Mr J Bekker (IFP). As there were no further nominations, Mr Hendrickse was duly elected as Chairperson.
Briefing on New Rules
The newly elected chairperson introduced Adv Meyer, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, to give a briefing on the New Rules relating to Private Members' Bills. Adv Meyer said that Section 73 of the Constitution provides that legislation can be introduced by a Cabinet member or a Deputy Minister or a member or committee of the National Assembly. It was accepted that the Old Rules did not allow correct use of this right inasmuch as this Committee and not the National Assembly made the decision on whether the private member's bill should go forward. The New Rules change the decision-making authority and ensure that the relevant portfolio committee is consulted as to the substance and financial implications of a proposed bill. The old rules merely provided that when a member introduces a bill, a memorandum regarding the objects was submitted to this Committee.
The New Rules, in terms of Rule 235-7, provide that before legislation is introduced a private member must submit a memorandum setting out the particulars, objects and financial implications of the proposed legislation to the Speaker who will table it in the National Assembly and refer it to this Committee. This Committee will consult with the relevant portfolio committee who will have to provide a report if there are financial implications for the State. This Committee will consider the member's memorandum and the portfolio committee's report and make a recommendation to the National Assembly. The National Assembly will make the final decision. Adv Meyer added that the memorandum need not be in the form of a draft Bill.
Mr Cassim (IFP) asked whether members could introduce any type of bill and including constitutional amendments. Adv Meyer said that in terms of the constitution only the Cabinet member responsible for national financial matters may introduce a money Bill in the Assembly, therefore not all Bills can be introduced by members. Constitutional amendments may be introduced by members.
Mr Cassim enquired what would happen if a Portfolio Committee, through its Chairperson, prepared a draft bill, which they want enacted, but when referred to the Private Members' Legislative Proposals Committee it is not accepted. The Chairperson responded that in terms of Rule 238 of the National Assembly submissions initiated by committees go directly to the National Assembly and therefore this situation would not arise.
Adv Meyer said that where the National Assembly refuses permission to proceed with the Bill the matter ends there and cannot be taken further by the member.
Mr Cassim requested the Chairperson to prepare a dictionary of terms to make it easier for members to access terms when drafting. This in affect could also then be used as a guideline to drafters. The Chairperson said that although he appreciated Mr Cassim's willingness to give him work, there were an explanation of terms at the front of the National Assembly's Rules.
Mr Cassim further asked what remedies are available to members in the situation where an Act had been passed but not implemented. Adv Meyer admitted that this is a problem and in most instances the rules and regulations of the particular Act are not in place. It was suggested that it is up to any Member of Parliament by way of a motion to draw people's attention to the problem.
Since there were no further matters to be discussed the meeting was closed.
National Asembly Rules
Committee on Private Members' Legislative Proposals and Special Petitions
Bills initiated by Assembly members in individual capacity
Submission of legislative proposals to Speaker
234. (1) An Assembly member intending to introduce a bill in the Assembly in an individual capacity (other than as a Cabinet member or Deputy Minister) must, for the purpose of obtaining the Assembly's permission in terms of Rule 230 (1), submit to the Speaker a memorandum which â€”
(a) sets out particulars of the proposed legislation;
(b) explains the objects of the proposed legislation; and
(c) states whether the proposed legislation will have financial implications for the State and, if so, whether those implications may be a determining factor when the proposed legislation is considered.
(2) The Speaker must table the member's memorandum in the Assembly.
Referral of proposals to committee
235. (1) The Speaker must refer the member's memorandum to the Committee on Private Members' Legislative Proposals and Special Petitions.
(2) The Committee must consult the portfolio committee within whose portfolio the proposal falls.
(3) If the Committee after such consultation is of the view that the member's proposal warrants further investigation, but that it may have financial implications for the State request the Speaker to refer the member's memorandum that may be significant enough to affect its desirability, the Committee must request the appropriate portfolio committee to report on the financial implications of the proposal.
(4) After considering the member's memorandum and the portfolio committee's report, if there is such a report, the Committee must recommend that permission either be â€”
(a) given to the member to proceed with the proposed legislation; or
(5) If the Committee recommends that the proposed legislation be proceeded with, it may â€”
(a) express itself on the desirability of the principle of the proposal;
(b) recommend that the Assembly approve the member's proposal in principle; or
(c) recommend that permission be given subject to conditions.
Consideration of legislative proposal by Assembly
236. (1) The Committee on Private Members' Legislative Proposals and Special Petitions must table in the Assembly the member's memorandum and the Committee's recommendation, including any views of a portfolio committee on the financial or other implications of the proposal.
(2) The Speaker must place the Committee's report together with the member's proposal on the Order Paper for a decision.
(3) The Assembly may â€”
(a) give permission that the proposal be proceeded with;
(b) refer the proposal back to the Committee or the portfolio committee concerned for a further report; or
(c) refuse permission.
(4) If the Assembly gives permission that the proposal be proceeded with, it may, if it so chooses â€”
(a) express itself on the desirability of the proposal; or
(b) subject its permission to conditions.
Preparation of draft bill
237. (1) If the Assembly gives permission that the proposal be proceeded with, the member concerned must â€”
(a) prepare a draft bill, and a memorandum setting out the objects of the bill, in a form and style that complies with any prescribed requirements;
(b) consult the JTM for advice on the classification of the bill; and
(c) comply with Rule 241 or, if it is a proposed constitutional amendment, with Rule 258.
The Secretary must reimburse a member for any reasonable expenses incurred by the member in giving effect to Subrule (1), provided that those expenses were approved by the Speaker before they were incurred.
Briefing document on Private Members' Bills
(National Assembly Rules 233 - 237)
1. INITIATION OF LEGISLATION
Any member may introduce a Bill in the National Assembly, with the permission of the Assembly (section 73(2) of the Constitution, NA rule 230).
2. LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS (RULE 234)
*Memorandum setting out -
- financial implications
*Submit memorandum to Speaker
*Speaker tables memorandum
3. REFERRAL TO COMMITTEE (RULE 235)
3.1 Speaker refers memorandum to Committee on Private Members' Legislative Proposals and Special Petitions.
3.2 Committee must consult with relevant portfolio committee.
3.3 If significant financial implications - portfolio committee must
3.4 Committee must recommend -
*permission to proceed; or
*permission be refused
3.5 Committee may -
* comment on desirability of principle
*recommend approval in principle
4. COMMITTEE REPORT (RULE 236(1) and (2))
*Tabled in Assembly
*On Order Paper for decision
5. ASSEMBLY'S OPTIONS (RULE 236(3))
*Permission to proceed
*refer back to Committee
*refer to portfolio committee
*refuse permission to proceed
6. PREPARATION OF DRAFT BILL (RULE 237)
*Member prepares draft bill and memorandum on objects (and official translation)
*Member consults JTM on classification of bill
*Secretary reimburses member for reasonable expenses incurred with prior approval of Speaker.
7. NOTICE IN GOVERNMENT GAZETTE (RULE 237(1)(c)
*Member gives notice in Gazette of intention to introduce bill
*Member publishes explanatory summary of bill or the draft bill itself in Gazette.
*lf it is a Constitution amendment bill, member gives notice in Gazette in accordance with section 74(5) of the Constitution and rule 258.
8. INTRODUCTION OF BILL
Ordinary procedure (Rule 243 or, if it is a Constitution amendment bill, Rule 260).
Must be accompanied by statement that bill introduced by member with Assembly's permission.
Cover page contains reference to member introducing bill (that is the person in charge of the bill - see definition in rule 1).
May be introduced only when Assembly is in session
SPECIAL PETITIONS (NA RULES 309 - 315)
1. DEFINITION (RULE 1): A special petition means a petition requesting a pension or other specific or personal relief from the State which is not authorised by law.
2. Form, Language, Signing, Lodging, Approval, Tabling (Rules 309 - 314)
3. After tabling, special petition referred to Committee on Private Members' Legislative Proposals and Special Petitions for consideration (Rule 315).
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