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Newfoundland and Labrador fall legislature roundup and lookahead

House of Assembly, Confederation Building, St. John's.
The House of Assembly has plenty of legislation to deal with today when it resumes its fall sitting. – Telegram file photo

A quick overview of legislation that has passed or is coming up in the House of Assembly

Believe it or not, it’s not just debates about bullying and harassment happening in the House of Assembly these days.

While the public conversation has been focused on the allegations and ensuing debate, now is a good time to review what legislation has been passed since the House of Assembly opened on Oct. 23.

Here is a quick list of what has been passed and what is upcoming in the House of Assembly, in their numbered order.

Passed

Bill 28: The Arts Council Act saw an amendment that will see its finances audited by the auditor general, and not through the Financial Administration Act. The arts council has always complied with the act, but now the annual audit will be reviewed by the auditor general.

Bill 29: Amendments to the Forestry Act saw changes to the tax rate and market value of productive forest land, primarily affecting Corner Brook Pulp and Paper. Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Gerry Byrne called the changes an effort to reduce red tape. Essentially, instead of having cabinet as a whole approve the land tax applied, the minister of fisheries and land resources now has that ability.

Bill 30: The Private Investigation and Security Services Act was changed to remove the requirement for security guards in the province to have been born in Canada. Now, anyone over 19 years of age in the province can become a security guard.

Justice Minister Andrew Parsons.
Government House leader Andrew Parsons.

Bill 31: Amendments to the House of Assembly Accountability and Integrity Act (HOAAIA) will make it mandatory for MHAs to receive training when they are first elected.

Prior to the changes, training offered by House of Assembly staff was not mandated, but now every MHA will be required to undergo training to get them up to speed on the MHA Code of Conduct, Elections Act, members allowance rules, the House of Assembly Accountability and Integrity Act, and the House of Assembly.

Government House Leader Andrew Parsons says most MHAs did take the training voluntarily, but now missing the training could be found as a breach of the MHA Code of Conduct.

Upcoming

Bill 27: While the province’s carbon tax plan has been announced publicly, it has yet to make it through the House of Assembly. So far, the province has said the plan – which carries more exemptions than it appears to cover – has been approved by the federal government. The carbon tax is expected to come into place on Jan. 1.

Bill 33: Amendments to the Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act have yet to be read in the House of Assembly. Bills are not typically discussed before second reading, so not much is known about what’s coming in these amendments.

Bills 35-38: Bills 35 and 36 will see amendments to the Workplace Health, Safety, and Compensation Act. Again, they have not received second reading, so information is not yet available on what changes are coming. Bill 37 will introduce new legislation, but it also has not been given second reading, so only the title is known: the Protection and Promotion of Public Health Act. Bill 38 is also new legislation, for which only the title is known: the Reporting Requirements of Public Bodies Act. Much attention will be given to that act in the coming days.

Legislation protecting against “revenge porn,” introduced in May, will be given its second reading in the House on Tuesday, with a news conference scheduled for 11:30 a.m.

David.Maher@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @DavidMaherNL


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