November 04, 2011

Nova Scotia Legislative Report - Fall Sitting November 4, 2011

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The fall sitting of the 3rd session of the 61st General Assembly of the Nova Scotia Legislature began on October 31, 2011. As of November 4th, 3 Government Bills, 8 Private Members Bills and 0 Private and Local Bills have been introduced during this sitting of the House of Assembly.

Below is a summary of those Bills introduced between October 31 and November 4, 2011.

GOVERNMENT BILLS

Bill No. 65 – Nova Scotia Jobs Fund Act – Hon. Percy Paris
This Act would replace the 60-year-old Industrial Development Act and allows for a modern fund to meet today's economic development needs and includes a legislated framework for accountability and management. The Bill legislates the type of investments the Province would provide through the Nova Scotia Jobs Fund to: promote economic growth, help restructure economic regions, support industry sectors, pursue regional and strategic economic initiatives, support programs that provide assistance to small businesses and support community economic stability.

The Public Service Act would also be amended to allow for the creation of a new Cabinet Committee called the Economic Investment Committee. The new fund would be advised by the Economic Investment Committee. Provincial economic development investments are also being improved with a new joint management committee, which will have representatives from the Premier's Office, Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, Department of Finance, Nova Scotia Business Inc., and Innovacorp.
Status: Passed second reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee, November 3, 2011.

Bill No. 72 – Timely Medical Certificates Act – Hon. John MacDonell
This Bill would allow grieving families to make arrangements more quickly after a death. Currently, only doctors and medical examiners are allowed to sign medical certificates of death, and funeral directors cannot remove a body until the certificate is signed. This can cause hardship for families in remote and rural areas, in some long-term residential facilities and deaths at home. The change would allow nurse practitioners and others authorized to sign medical certificates of death in certain circumstances. Where a nurse practitioner or qualified person (under the Regulations) is unavailable, the Bill directs the Funeral Director to obtain a medical certificate of death.
Status: Passed first reading, and was adjourned on second reading, November 3, 2011.

Bill No. 73 – Safer School Zones Act – Hon. Bill Estabrooks
This Bill amends the Motor Vehicle Act to provide clarity with respect to the speed limit in school areas. Speed limits will be reduced to 30 km/h where the limit immediately before the school zone is 50 km/h but remains at 50 km/h where the limit before the school zone is greater than 50 km/h.
Status: Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House, November 2, 2011.

PRIVATE MEMBER’S BILLS

Bill No. 66 – Ratepayer Protection Act – Andrew Younger (Lib)
Beginning in the fiscal year 2012-13 and continuing on a bi-annual basis, the Board of Directors of NSPI would be required to make public a performance and value for money audit of the Corporation. This would encompass operations, maintenance and general expenses for the two years before publication of the report. Upon accepting and considering written comments from interested parties, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board may add issues and areas to be covered by the audit on a rotating period of three audits. The Corporation would be required to make public an annual report setting out how estimates regarding expenditures and revenues compare with current and actual costs. The Bill states that executive bonuses, for example, must not be paid from funds collected in payment of electricity rates by ratepayers. Also, if the Corporation were to make a general rate application, the Corporation would be required to hold public meetings on the proposed rate increase before the hearing.
Status: Passed first reading, and was adjourned on second reading, November 2, 2011.

Bill No. 67 – Scrap-Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act – Allan MacMaster (PC)
The Bill attempts to reduce the amount of illegal activity within the scrap metal recycling industry by issuing rules with respect to the identity of individuals attempting to return scrap metals to a scrap metal dealer or recycler. The scrap metal dealer is required to hold such personal identification received from a scrap metal provider for one year after the transaction. Peace officers will have the ability to inspect a scrap metal dealer or recycler's records when investigating the disappearance of scrap metal. The Bill provides that individuals who contravene the Act for a first time would be subject to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months (or both) while corporations would be subject to a fine not exceeding fifteen thousand dollars. Repeat offending individuals would be subject to a fine not exceeding fifteen thousand dollars or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months (or both) while corporations would be subject to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand dollars.
Status: Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House, October 31, 2011.

Bill No. 68 – Elimination of Bonuses in Power Rates Act – Chuck Porter (PC)
This Bill provides that the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board must not include bonuses for executive-level employees of electric public utilities as a cost when determining the rate base or general rate for the utility.
Status: Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House, October 31, 2011.

Bill No. 69 – Transparency in Power Rates Act – Chuck Porter (PC)
This Bill provides that the portion of any rate increase granted for Nova Scotia Power Incorporated that is attributable to an enactment of the Province or a policy, decision or other requirement of the Government does not take effect until specifically approved by an Act of the Legislature.
Status: Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House, October 31, 2011.

Bill No. 70 – Ratepayer Fairness Act – Chuck Porter (PC)
This Bill sets out what the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board must take into account, and not take into account, in determining the allowable return on common equity included in the general rate set for an electric public utility.
Status: Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House, October 31, 2011.

Bill No. 71 – Public Service Act (amended) – Hon. Stephen McNeil (Lib)
This Bill establishes the Office of Fire and Emergency Services in the public service. Increasing provincial support and coordination of both career and volunteer firefighters would help to provide adequate resources to secure necessary equipment, enhance training programs and develop better recruitment strategies.
Status: Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House, November 1, 2011.

Bill No. 74 – Income Tax Act (amended) – Hon. Wayne J. Gaudet (Lib)
This Bill amends the Income Tax Act to increase the $500 volunteer firefighter and ground search and rescue tax credit to $1000 for the taxation year 2010 and for subsequent taxation years.
Status: Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House, November 3, 2011.

Bill No. 75 – Life-threatening Illness Student Support Act – Hon. Karen Casey (Lib)
This Bill requires the Minister of Education to establish and monitor the implementation of a life-threatening illness policy in schools.
Status: Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House, November 4, 2011.

STATUS UPDATES

Status Update on Government Bills
-Bill No. 1 – Motor Vehicle Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 7 – Justice Administration Amendment (2011) Act - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 13 – Pharmacy Act - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 15 – Electricity Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 17 – Fair Drug Pricing Act - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 19 – Nova Scotia Business Incorporated Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 21 – Public Archives Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 23 – Public Procurement Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act except clauses 12(1)(a), (b), (g), (k) and (m), Sections 14, 17 and 18, has effect on and after June 1, 2011. The excepted provisions will have effect on and after June 1, 2012.
-Bill No. 25 – Occupational Health and Safety Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 27 – Financial Measures (2011) Act - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. Section 7 has effect on and after January 1, 2010. Section 10 has effect on and after December 1, 2010. Sections 8 and 9 have effect on and after January 1, 2011. Sections 2, 18 to 20 and 31 have effect on and after April 1, 2011. Section 3 has effect on and after May 1, 2011 Section 17 has effect on and after July 1, 2011. Sections 11 to 16 and 21 to 25 and subsection 27(1) come into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 30 – Land Registration Act (amended) and Registry Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 33 – Court Administrative Reform Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 35 – Body Armour Control Act - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Security and Investigative Services Act comes into force.
-Bill No. 36 - Energy Saving Roadway Lighting (2011) Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 40 – Liquor Control Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 41 - Dangerous and Unsightly Premises Amendment (2011) Act - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 42 - Halifax Regional Municipality Charter (amended) and Municipal Government Act - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 43 – Interior Designers Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 47 – Summary Proceedings Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 50 – Appropriations Act, 2011 - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act has effect on and after April 1, 2011.
-Bill No. 51 – Public Highways Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 52 – Government Administration Amendment (2011) Act – Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 53 – Labour Standards Code (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 55 – Medical Act – Passed second reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
-Bill No. 56 – Real Estate Trading Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 57 – Private Ways Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 59 – Elections Act – Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 62 – Halifax Regional Municipality Charter (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 65 – Nova Scotia Jobs Fund Act - Passed second reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
-Bill No. 72 – Timely Medical Certificates Act - Passed first reading, and was adjourned on second reading.
-Bill No. 73 – Safer School Zones Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Status Update on Private Member’s Bills
-Bill No. 2 – Hydraulic Fracturing Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 3 – Modernizing Government Act - Passed first reading, and was adjourned on second reading.
-Bill No. 4 – Tax Review (2011-12) Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 5 – Balanced Budget Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 6 – Finance Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 8 – Maintenance and Custody Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 9 Gaelic College Foundation Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 10 – Electricity Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and was adjourned on second reading.
-Bill No. 11 – Diabetic Persons Support Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 12- Income Tax Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 14 – Agriculture and Marketing Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 16 – Multiple Sclerosis Patient Support Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 18 – Maintenance and Custody Act (amended) - Passed first reading, and was adjourned on second reading.
-Bill No. 24 – Value For Money Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 26 – Sound Recording Tax Credit Act (amended) - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 28 – Public Highways Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 29 – Public Utilities Act (amended) - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 31 – Health Act (amended) - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 32 – Rural Nova Scotia Physicians Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 34 – Newly Trained Nova Scotia Doctors Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 37 - Joseph Howe Day Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 39 – Liquor Control Act (amended) - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 44 – Legislative Internship Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 45 – Wilderness Areas Protection Act (amended) - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 46 – Fair Treatment of Children Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 48 – Income Tax Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 49 – Buy Nova Scotia First Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 54 – Cemeteries Protection Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act came into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 58 – Multiple Sclerosis Liberation Therapy Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 60 – Elections Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 61 – Pension Benefits Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and was adjourned on second reading.
-Bill No. 63 – Concussion Awareness Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 64 –Motor Vehicle Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 66 – Ratepayer Protection Act - Passed first reading, and was adjourned on second reading.
-Bill No. 67 – Scrap-Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 68 – Elimination of Bonuses in Power Rates Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 69 – Transparency in Power Rates Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 70 – Ratepayer Fairness Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 71 – Public Service Act (amended) - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 74 – Income Tax Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 75 – Life-threatening Illness Student Support Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Status Update on Private and Local Bills
-Bill No. 20 - Trustees of Liverpool United Baptist Church Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act came into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 22 – Public Service Commission of Bridgewater Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. Section 4 has effect on and after November 25, 1999. All other changes came into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 38 – Yarmouth North Baptist Church Act - Passed second reading, and was referred to the Private and Local Bills Committee.

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. 

Any questions regarding the legislation summarized above or if you 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.