April 09, 2010

Nova Scotia Legislative Report - Spring Sitting, April 9, 2010

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The 2nd Session of the 61st General Assembly of the Nova Scotia legislature began on Thursday March 25th, 2010 with a speech from the throne. As of April 8, 2010, 7 Government Bills and 13 Private Members Bills have been introduced during this sitting of the House of Assembly.

Below is a summary of those bills introduced between March 31st, 2010 and April 8th, 2010 and provides the status of legislation introduced since the beginning of this session to April 8th, 2010.

GOVERNMENT BILLS

Bill No. 16 – Summary Proceedings Act (amended) – Hon. Ross Landry (NDP)
This Bill makes numerous administrative changes to the Act. It allows a summons sent by registered mail to be deemed personally served without proof of receipt. It replaces arraignments for summary offence tickets with the filing of a notice of intention. The Bill also provides an application process for setting aside a conviction in absentia by receipt of an application within 60 days and an application fee. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 18 – Vital Statistics Act (amended) – Hon. Ramona Jennex (NDP)
This Bill gives the Deputy Registrar General the authority to delegate powers, duties or functions to the Assistant Deputy Registrar General and repeals a requirement for the Deputy Minister of Health to act in the place of the Deputy Registrar General and the Assistant Deputy Registrar General when they are both absent. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 19 – Motor Vehicle Act (amended) – Hon. Bill Estabrooks (NDP)
This Bill amends the Motor Vehicle Act to allow the Minister of Transportation to make regulations with respect to highways or portions of highways that are included in regulations to Acts other than the Motor Vehicle Act. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.


PRIVATE MEMBER’S BILLS

Bill No. 15 – Viola Desmond Day Act – Alfie MacLeod (PC)
This Bill recognizes November 8th in honour of Viola Desmond, who on November 8th 1946 was denied entry to a theatre on the basis of her colour. The resulting controversy influenced segregation laws in Nova Scotia. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 17 – Public Highways Act (amended) – Chuck Porter (PC)
This Bill allows advertising signs on controlled access highways that were grandfathered by the Advertising Sign Regulations to be maintained, modified or replaced. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 20 – Health-care Sustainability Advisory Council Act – Diana Whalen (LIB)
This Bill creates the Health-care Sustainability Advisory Council, whose role is to solicit and evaluate proposals regarding the safe, effective and cost-efficient delivery of health care, and to make recommendations to the Minister of Health on programs and services. The Council will also review the operations of district health authorities to propose changes to the delivery of health care. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.


Status Update on Government Bills

  • Bill No. 1 House of Assembly Management Commission Act - Passed 1st reading; debate was adjourned on 2nd reading
  • Bill No. 7 Pharmacy Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 10 Cape Breton Island Marketing Levy Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 13 Motor Vehicle Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 16 Summary Proceedings Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 18 Vital Statistics Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 19 Motor Vehicle Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House

Status Update on Private Member Bills

  • Bill No. 2 Health Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 3 Provincial Finance Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 4 Electricity Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 5 Provincial Finance Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 6 Industrial Expansion Fund Transfer Act - Passed 1st reading; debate was adjourned on 2nd reading
  • Bill No. 8 Multi-Year Funding Act - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 9 Advisory Council on Mental Health Act - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 11 Diabetic Persons Support Act - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 12 Life-threatening Illness Student Support Act - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 14 Sales Tax Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading; debate was adjourned on 2nd reading
  • Bill No. 15 Viola Desmond Day Act - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 17 Public Highways Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 20 Health-care Sustainability Advisory Council Act - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House


THE PROGRESS OF BILLS IN THE NOVA SCOTIA LEGISLATURE

The legislative process begins when a Bill is presented by a Member of the House of Assembly and is given First Reading by the House, without debate.

A Bill is given Second Reading after being debated in principle in the House.

Following Second Reading, Bills are referred to one of the legislative committees – the Law Amendments Committee or Private and Local Bills Committee – for detailed discussion in meetings outside the House. Members of the public can attend the meetings of these Committees and make presentations respecting any Bill. Amendments are frequently considered and may be adopted and included in the bill when it is reported back to the House.

Bills reported back from the legislative committees are debated, clause by clause, by the members of the House acting as the Committee of the Whole House on Bills. The Bill is then reported back to the House.

The Bill receives Third Reading and the final approval of the House. There may be some debate at this stage but usually the Bill is voted on with no discussion.

The Bill receives Royal Assent when the Lieutenant Governor signs the final version. The Bill is then referred to as an Act, and is assigned a chapter number in the Statutes of Nova Scotia.

Commencement is the day on which the Act takes effect. Ordinarily, an Act takes effect when it is given Royal Assent. Sometimes, however, it provides that it will come into effect only when is it proclaimed to take effect by Order in Counsel to be made by the Cabinet.

Government Bills are introduced by the Minister of the department responsible for the legislation. Private Members Bills are generally introduced by a member of the opposition parties. Government Bills have a higher likelihood of becoming law since the largest party in the Legislative Assembly supports the initiative. Except in a minority government, Private Members Bills are unlikely to be brought forward for substantive debate or become law.

If you wish to be informed when a specific piece of legislation is scheduled to be heard by a legislative committee, please contact us and we will make arrangements for you to be so informed.

If you have any questions regarding the legislation summarized above or would like to receive a copy of any bill, please contact Jennifer Forster at coxandpalmer.com or by phone at (902) 491-4107.


Cox & Palmer publications are intended to provide information of a general nature only and not legal advice. The information presented is current to the date of publication and may be subject to change following the publication date.