April 29, 2011

Nova Scotia Legislative Report - Spring Sitting April 29

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The spring sitting of the 3rd session of the 61st General Assembly of the Nova Scotia Legislature began on March 31, 2011.  As of April 15, 18 Government Bills, 25 Private Members Bills and 3 Private and Local Bills have been introduced during this sitting of the House of Assembly.

Below is a summary of those Bills introduced between April 25 and April 29, 2011.

GOVERNMENT BILLS

Bill No. 40 – Liquor Control Act (amended) – Hon. John MacDonell
This Bill amends the Liquor Control Act to transfer liquor licensing responsibilities from the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations and provide for the appointment of an Executive Director to carry out these responsibilities. In addition, it removes the requirement that a license applicant be a resident of Canada or a Canadian citizen. The Bill authorizes Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations through the Executive Director to be the first-level decision-maker regarding minor regulatory infractions. Finally, it provides an appeal process for a licensee or applicant from a decision of the Executive Director to the Utility and Review Board. On such an appeal or a referral from the Executive Director, an oral hearing by the Utility and Review Board may take place. The Bill also replaces mandatory formal hearings, for the granting of certain types of liquor licences, with a public consultation process to be defined by regulation.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 41 - Dangerous and Unsightly Premises Amendment (2011) Act – Hon. John MacDonnell
This Bill amends the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter and the Municipal Government Act. It expands the definition of “dangerous or unsightly” premises to include premises where there is an accumulation or collection of materials hidden, stockpiled or stored away. It requires the administrator to publicly report at least twice per year to the municipal council on the status of dangerous and unsightly premises, including progress on remedial orders. It requires a recorded decision from the municipal council when overturning a decision of the administrator regarding dangerous or unsightly premises. The Bill exempts from reduction, pursuant to the Remission of Penalties Act, owners of dangerous or unsightly premises unless the property is the primary residence of the person required to pay the fine.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 42 - Halifax Regional Municipality Charter (amended) and Municipal Government Act (amended) - Hon. John MacDonnell
This Bill amends the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter to correct a typographical error. It amends the Municipal Government Act to grant municipalities more flexibility in regulating lot size by removing references to “minimum” and “maximum” from the land use by-laws. This makes the Municipal Government Act consistent with the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter. It also amends the Municipal Government Act to allow the Minister instead of the Governor in Council to set fees for municipal auditors.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 43 – Interior Designers Act (amended) – Hon. Ross Landry
This Bill narrows the scope of practice of interior designers to match limitations on the scope of practice of architects.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BILLS

Bill No. 39 – Liquor Control Act (amended) – Diana Whalen (Lib)
This Bill permits the operation of a business to assist or participate in the making of beer, wine or cider by another person, commonly referred to as a U-Bru or U-Vin business.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 44 – Legislative Internship Act – Diana Whalen (Lib)
This Bill requires the House of Assembly to create a legislative internship program before December 31, 2011. The purpose of the Program is to provide interns with an opportunity to gain practical experience in the day-to-day work of the House of Assembly and a comprehensive knowledge of the legislative process in the Province.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 45 – Wilderness  Areas Protection Act (amended) – Hon. Jamie Baillie (PC)
This Bill allows for off-highway vehicle use on existing trails within a designated wilderness area. It requires that management plans for wilderness areas be enacted and adopted within twelve months of this Bill receiving Royal Assent. It also allows persons holding renewable leases and licences to access camps or cottages to renew those leases and licences.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 46 – Fair Treatment of Children Act – Chuck Porter (PC)
This Bill provides that where a physician performs a medical examination of a person under the age of eighteen and recommends a psychiatric assessment, the assessment must take place within thirty days of the medical examination.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

STATUS UPDATES

Status Update on Government Bills
• Bill No. 1 – Motor Vehicle Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading, and is referred to the Law Amendments Committee which is scheduled to meet on May 2, 2011.
• Bill No. 7 – Justice Administration Amendment (2011) Act - Passed 2nd reading, and is referred to the Law Amendments Committee which is scheduled to meet on May 2, 2011.
• Bill No. 13 – Pharmacy Act - Passed 2nd reading, and is referred to the Law Amendments Committee which is scheduled to meet on May 2, 2011.
• Bill No. 15 – Electricity Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
• Bill No. 17 – Fair Drug Pricing Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 19 – Nova Scotia Business Incorporated Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading, and is referred to the Law Amendments Committee which is scheduled to meet on May 2, 2011.
• Bill No. 21 – Public Archives Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 23 – Public Procurement Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 25 – Occupational Health and Safety Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 27 – Financial Measures (2011) Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 30 – Land Registration Act (amended) and Registry Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 33 – Court Administrative Reform Act (amended)-  Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 35 – Body Armour Control Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 36 - Energy Saving Roadway Lighting (2011) Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 40 – Liquor Control Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 41 - Dangerous and Unsightly Premises Amendment (2011) Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 42 - Halifax Regional Municipality Charter (amended) and Municipal Government Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 43 – Interior Designers Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Status Update on Private Member’s Bills
• Bill No. 2 – Hydraulic Fracturing Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 3 – Modernizing Government Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 4 – Tax Review (2011-12) Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 5 – Balanced Budget Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 6 – Finance Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 8 – Maintenance and Custody Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 9 Gaelic College Foundation Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 10 – Electricity Act (amended) – 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- Income Tax Act – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 14 – Agriculture and Marketing Act – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 16 – Multiple Sclerosis Patient Support Act – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 18 – Maintenance and Custody Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 24 – Value For Money Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 26 – Sound Recording Tax Credit Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 28 – Public Highways Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House. 
• Bill No. 29 – Public Utilities Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House. 
• Bill No. 31 – Health Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House. 
• Bill No. 32 – Rural Nova Scotia Physicians Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House. 
• Bill No. 34 – Newly Trained Nova Scotia Doctors Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 37 - Joseph Howe Day Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 39 – Liquor Control Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 44 – Legislative Internship Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 45 – Wilderness  Areas Protection Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 46 – Fair Treatment of Children Act - Passed 1st 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) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 22 – Public Service Commission of Bridgewater Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
• Bill No. 38 – Yarmouth North Baptist Church 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.