October 08, 2009

NS Legislative Report, Fall Sitting - Update October 8

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Following the change of government this past June, the 61st General Assembly of the Nova Scotia legislature began on Friday, September 17 with a speech from the throne. As of October 8, 19 government bills and 14 private member's bills have been introduced during this sitting of the House of Assembly. 

Below is a summary of the bills introduced between October 1-8 along with a status update on those bills introduced since the beginning of the 61st General Assembly as of October 8.

Government Bills
Bill No. 28 – Education Act (amended)
These amendments require a School Board to fill the vacancy of the office of Vice Chair in the same manner as a vacancy in the office of Chair is filled. A member who is elected in this manner serves for the remaining balance of the term of his predecessor.  The Bill also provides that Chairs and Vice Chairs shall be elected annually by repealing provisions enacted in 2008 that would have provided for two-year terms.  Status: Passed on first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 29 – Financial Measures (2009) Act
This Bill amends a number of different statutes with respect to fees payable under their provisions.  The statutes amended include the Companies Act, the Corporations Registration Act, the Equity Tax Credit Act, the House of Assembly Act, the Income Tax Act, the Motor Vehicle Act, the Personal Property Security Act, the Probate Act, the Provincial Finance Act, the Public Service Superannuation Act, the Revenue Act, the Summary Proceedings Act, and the Trust and Loan Companies Act.  Of note, the Bill removes the prohibition on the Minister of Finance from tabling a budget that estimates a deficit, and also removes the obligation to recover a deficit occurring in a fiscal year in a subsequent fiscal year.  As well, the Bill creates a Post-Secondary Graduate Retention Rebate which provides a provincial tax deduction of up to $2,500 in the year a person graduates and for the five years immediately following.  Status: Passed on first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 30 – Public Trustee Act (amended)
These amendments authorize the Public Trustee to take control of a person’s financial assets where the delegate referred to in the person’s personal directive makes a referral to the Public Trustee and the person is being admitted to a continuing-care home or is receiving home-care.  These changes affect the amendments to the Public Trustee Act found in the Personal Directives Act, an act which received royal assent on May 27, 2008 but has not yet been proclaimed in force. Status: Passed on first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Private Member's Bills

Bill No. 31 – Uranium Mining Prohibition Act - Chuck Porter (Hants West)
This Bill creates a summary conviction offence for the mining or extraction of uranium in the Municipality of the District of West Hants.  A person found guilty of this offence is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 for each day that the offence is committed or continues to be committed.  Status: Passed on first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 32 – Education Act (amended) - Kelly Regan (Bedford-Birch Cove)
This Bill would require the Minister of Education to continue to provide tuition support for students with special needs who require such support until the public school system has the capacity to provide a special-needs program equivalent to that provided by special-education private schools.  This tuition support is to be paid out of moneys designated by the Legislature for this purpose.  Status: Passed on first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 33 – Public Service Act (amended) - Alfie MacLeod (Cape Breton West)
This Bill requires that all provincial government employees, whether unionized or non-unionized, are to be treated equally with respect to wage or salary increases.  Status: Passed on first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Status Update on Government Bills

  • Bill No. 1: Motor Vehicle Act (amended) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 2: Motor Vehicle Act (amended) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 4: Engineering Profession Act (amended) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 5: Halifax Regional Municipality Charter Act (amended) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 6: HRM by Design, An Act to Implement (amended) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 7: Trade Union Act (amended) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 9: Assessment Act (amended) and Municipal Grants Act (amended) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 10 Personal Property Security Act (amended) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 14: Judicature Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House. 
  • Bill No. 15: Beneficiaries Designation Act (amended) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 16: Motor Vehicle Act (amended) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 17: Agricultural Marshland Conservation Act (amended) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 20: Internal Trade Agreement Implementation Act  (amended) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 24: Pipeline Act (amended) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 25: Motor Vehicle (amended) – Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 27: Occupational Health and Safety Act (amended) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 28: Education Act (amended) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 29: Financial Measures (2009) Act – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 30: Public Trustees Act (amended) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

 

Status Update on Private Member's Bills

  • Bill No. 3: Health Act (amended) – Hon. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis) – Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 8: Provincial Finance Act  (amended) – Leo Glavine (Kings West) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 11: Provincial Finance Act (amended) – Leo Glavine (Kings West) – Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 12: Elections Act (amended) – Chuck Porter (Hants West) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 13: Sales Tax Act (amended) – Herald Theriault Jr. (Digby-Annapolis) – Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 18: Diabetic Persons Support Act – Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 19: Life-threatening Illness Student Support Act – Kelly Regan (Bedford-Birch Cove) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House. 
  • Bill No. 21: Motor Vehicle Act (amended) – Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East) – Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 22: Motor Vehicle Act (amended) – Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 23: Employment Support and Income Assistance Act (amended) – Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East) – Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 26: Advisory Council on Mental Health Act – Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park) – Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 31: Uranium Mining Prohibition Act – Chuck Porter (Hants West) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 32: Education Act (amended) – Kelly Regan (Bedford-Birch Cove) – Passed first reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 33: Public Service Act (amended) – Alfie MacLeod (Cape Breton West) – Passed first reading; 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 Member's 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 Member's 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 questions regarding the legislation summarized above or would like to receive a copy of any bill, please contact Gavin MacDonald at coxandpalmer.com or by phone at (902) 491-4464.


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.