November 22, 2011

Nova Scotia Legislative Report - Fall Sitting Nov 18, 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 19th, 19 Government Bills, 20 Private Members Bills and 2 Private and Local Bills have been introduced during this sitting of the House of Assembly.

Below is a summary of those Bills introduced between November 14 and November 18, 2011.

GOVERNMENT BILLS

Bill No. 93 - Education Act (amended) – Hon. Ramona Jennex
This Bill amends the Education Act by providing for the appointment and describing the duties of a Registrar of Teacher Certification. It repeals references to the former Nova Scotia Teachers College and removes the authority of the Minister to classify teachers and grant teachers’ certificates and permits. Further, the Bill empowers the Governor in Council to make regulations respecting the duties of the Registrar.
Status: Passed second reading and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.

Bill No. 94 - Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority Act (amended) - Hon. Ramona Jennex
This Bill updates the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority Act by replacing the term “resource centre” with “centre”, removing references to facilities that are no longer in operation and adding a reference to the facility that is currently in operation on South Street in Halifax.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 95 - Education Act (amended) – Hon. Ramona Jennex
The Bill removes the requirement for the minister to hear appeals of his or her own decisions. School boards will have more independence to discipline members for minor infractions without having to involve the minister and any school board member who is suspended, has their seat vacated, or who temporarily has their right to sit revoked will still be able to appeal to the minister. Any member who feels a reprimand violates their individual rights can pursue a remedy through the legal system.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 96 - Pension Benefits Act – Hon. Marilyn More
This Bill repeals and replaces the former Pension Benefits Act. This Bill would govern employer-sponsored pension plans for employees in Nova Scotia and would provide pension plan members and retirees more information about their plans. Further, employers would have more plan design options. This Bill adds “retirees” as a third category of pension plan participants, along with “members” and “former members” that were recognized under the former Act. The Bill would also give people in common-law relationships greater access to their partner’s pension benefits. This Bill would not apply to employees who work under federal jurisdiction or pension plans established for provincial public servants, teachers, judges, MLAs or Sydney Steel Corporation employees.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 98 - Fish Harvester Organizations Support Act – Hon. Sterling Belliveau
As the name suggests, the purpose of this Bill is to provide support for fish harvester organizations. This Bill is to strengthen the licence-holder collectivity and the fish harvester organizations in the Province by designating accredited organizations to represent their interests in matters related to the fishery. It will impose mandatory dues on licence holders in regions where they have voted affirmatively for the designation of an accredited organization to represent their interests and provide a procedure for a Registrar to remit to the accredited organizations mandatory dues collected from licence holders. Furthermore, the Bill is aimed to encourage the development of a strong accredited organization structure that will evolve and assume responsibility for the licence-holder collectivity including the appointment by the Minister of Registrars for specified organizations.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 100 - Municipal Elections Act (amended) and Municipal Government Act (amended) – Hon. John MacDonell
This Bill aims to ensure that as many eligible voters as possible can participate in the Municipal election process by allowing students to vote in the riding where they are attending school rather than where their family home is. The proposed amendments will update the Municipal Elections Act in time for the 2012 municipal and school board elections. The Bill makes the residency requirements of the Municipal Elections Act consistent with those of the new Elections Act. The Bill also allows a judge to determine whether a recount application is frivolous or vexatious, or otherwise not in the interest of justice and, if so, refuse to conduct the recount. The Bill also clarifies that election advertising must indicate that it is printed, published, broadcast or distributed on behalf of a candidate if the candidate, the candidate’s official agent or any other person acting on behalf of the candidate caused the advertising to be printed, published, broadcast or distributed. The Bill will also broaden the provisions for electronic voting, allowing for the use of electronic voting without the need to traditional ballots. The Bill would also prevent village commissioners and municipal councillors to serve of both organizations at the same time.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 102 - Trade Union Act (amended) – Hon. Marilyn More
The Bill provides that if a newly certified union and employer reach a bargaining impasse, both parties will go to conciliation. Neither party would have to prove that bad-faith bargaining led to the impasse. If there is still no agreement after the expiry of 90 days but before the expiry of 120 days, either party can then apply to the Labour Board (the “Board”) for a settlement. The conciliator must also give notice to the Board that the parties were unable to reach an agreement. Once the parties apply to the Board for a settlement, they will have a chance to agree on an arbitrator. If they agree, the arbitrator would have 60 days to settle any outstanding issues. If the two sides cannot agree on an arbitrator, then the Board will attempt to get negotiations restarted. If the negotiations do not lead to a settlement, then the Board can impose one. The amendments do not apply to the construction industry because Part II of the Act (addressing the construction industry) remains unchanged.
Status: Passed first reading and debate was adjourned on second reading.

Bill No. 104 - Gaming Control Act (amended) – Hon. John MacDonnell
This Bill amends the Gaming Control Act to update the Act to reflect the revised operating structure by providing that the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations is responsible for various inspection and enforcement roles previously carried out by the Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission (subsequently, the Alcohol and Gaming Authority) and that the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board is responsible for the adjudicative functions previously carried out by the Commission. In addition, this Bill replaces the method of appointing the Executive Director and Directors as well as providing other updates of a housekeeping nature.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

PRIVATE MEMBER’S BILLS

Bill No. 91 - Increasing Immigration to Nova Scotia Act – Diana Whalen (Lib)
This Bill is designed to provide for the establishment of an Entrepreneur Stream under the Nova Scotia Nominee Program. The Immigration Advisory Council is to recommend criteria for evaluating applicants under the Entrepreneur Stream. Once the criteria is decided, the Advisory Council shall submit a report of its recommendations to the Minister of Immigration no later than March 15, 2012. The Minister would then prepare a response to the report, and both the report and response are to be tabled in the House of Assembly (or with the Clerk of the Assembly if the House is not sitting).
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 92 - Power Rate Reduction Review Act – Jamie Baillie (PC)
The Bill is designed to empower a panel of consumers, independent of government, to identify existing policies that contribute to the cost of power, then bring them forward for review by the Legislature. The purpose of this Bill is to find ways to reduce power rates.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 97 - Day Care Act (amended) – Hon. Karen Casey
This Bill requires the Minister of Community Services to undertake a review of day-care quality and access throughout the Province. The review is to be completed by May 20, 2012.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 103 - Early Development Instrument Assessment Program Act – Hon. Karen Casey
This Bill will create a mandatory Early Development Instrument assessment program in Nova Scotia. This Bill would establish a Province-wide program to administer the Early Development Instrument to every student enrolled in Grade Primary under all school boards in the Province commencing in the 2012-13 academic year. Parents of students who are to be assessed under the program shall be given the opportunity under the program to indicate in writing that they do not wish their children to participate.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House

Bill No. 105 - Trade Union Act (amended) – Hon. Stephen McNeil (Lib)
This Bill amends the composition of the Labour-Management Committee to require that two of the ten members represent the non-unionized sector, one labour representative and one employer representative. The Bill provides that the non-unionized labour representative may be a member of a non-unionized organization, nominated by the non-unionized employee community and that the non-unionized employer representative may be a member of a business organization nominated by the employer community.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS

Bill No. 99 - An Act Respecting the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth – Hon. Leonard Preyra
This Bill amends legislation incorporating the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Halifax and The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Yarmouth as a result of the formation of the new Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth from the Archdiocese of Halifax and the Diocese of Yarmouth. The Bill provides that the two episcopal corporations continue as separate body corporates.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 101 - An Act to Incorporate the Halifax Kennel Club (amended) – Hon. Michèle Raymond
This Bill removes the limit on the value of real and personal property that the Halifax Kennel Club may acquire and own.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

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 2nd 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 referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
-Bill No. 72 – Timely Medical Certificates Act - Passed second reading and referred to the Committee on Law Amendments
-Bill No. 73 – Safer School Zones Act - Passed second reading and referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.
-Bill No. 76 – Civil Forfeiture Act (amended) – Passed second reading and referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
-Bill No. 78 – Civil Constables Act (repealed) - Passed second reading and referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
-Bill No. 80 – Constables Act (repealed) - Passed second reading and referred to the Law Amendments Committee
-Bill No. 81 – Change of Name Act (amended) - Passed second reading and referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
-Bill No. 84 – Animal Protection Act (amended) - Passed second reading and referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
-Bill No. 85 – Agriculture and Rural Credit Act (amended) - Passed second reading and referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
-Bill No. 86 – Fair Automobile Insurance (2011) Act - Passed second reading and referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
-Bill No. 90 - Safe Collection of Scrap Metal Act – Passed second reading and referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
-Bill No. 93 - Education Act (amended) – Passed second reading and referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
-Bill No. 94 - Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 95 - Education Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 96 - Pension Benefits Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 98 - Fish Harvester Organizations Support Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 100 - Municipal Elections Act (amended) and Municipal Government Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 102 - Trade Union Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 104 - Gaming Control Act (amended) - 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 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 3 – Modernizing Government Act - Passed 1st reading, and was adjourned on 2nd reading.
-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 was adjourned on 2nd reading.
-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 was adjourned on 2nd reading.
-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.
-Bill No. 48 – Income Tax Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 49 – Buy Nova Scotia First Act - Passed 1st 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 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 60 – Elections Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 61 – Pension Benefits Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and was adjourned on 2nd reading.
-Bill No. 63 – Concussion Awareness Act – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 64 –Motor Vehicle Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 66 – Ratepayer Protection Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 67 – Scrap-Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 68 – Elimination of Bonuses in Power Rates Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 69 – Transparency in Power Rates Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 70 – Ratepayer Fairness Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 71 – Public Service Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 77 – Environmental Ombudsman Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 79 – Green Energy Promotion Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 82 – Next Generation Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 83 – Health Protection Act (amended) - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle in the House.
-Bill No. 87 – Wildlife Act (amended) - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle in the House.
-Bill No. 88 – Code of Ethics Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle in the House
-Bill No. 89 - Sea, Army and Air Cadets Training Recognition Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle in the House.
-Bill No. 90 - Safe Collection of Scrap Metal Act – Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle in the House.
-Bill No. 91 - Increasing Immigration to Nova Scotia Act – Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 92 - Power Rate Reduction Review Act –Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 97 - Day Care Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 103 - Early Development Instrument Assessment Program Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 105 - Trade Union Act (amended) – 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 2nd reading, and was referred to the Private and Local Bills Committee
-Bill No. 99 - An Act Respecting the Archdiocese of Halifax - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 101 - An Act to Incorporate the Halifax Kennel Club (amended) - Passed first 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 (902)491-4107 or jcoxandpalmer.com 


 


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