April 13, 2012

Nova Scotia Legislative Report - Spring Sitting April 13, 2012

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The spring sitting of the 4th session of the 61st General Assembly of the Nova Scotia Legislature began on March 29, 2012. As of April 13, 7 Government Bills and 14 Private Members Bills have been introduced during this sitting of the House of Assembly.

Below is a summary of those Bills introduced between April 6 and April 13, 2012.

GOVERNMENT BILLS

Bill No. 11 - Nova Scotia Tartan Act (amended) – Hon. David Wilson
This Bill declares the Nova Scotia Tartan to be the official tartan of Nova Scotia, sets out a technical description of the Tartan, sets out what the colours in the Tartan represent, and declares April 6th to be Tartan Day.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 13 - Education Act (amended) – Hon. Ramona Jennex
This Bill amends the Act to lower from eight to five the minimum number of members of a school board as determined by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 17 - Financial Measures (2012) Act – Hon. Graham Steele
This Bill reduces the small business corporate income tax rate from 4% to 3.5% effective January 1, 2013. The Bill also requires the Minister of Finance to take the necessary steps to lower the provincial portion of the harmonized sales tax from 10% to 9% on July 1, 2014, and from 9% to 8% on July 1, 2015, or on an earlier date in those years as directed by the Executive Council. Schedule A enacts the Nova Scotia Pension Services Corporation Act. Schedule B replaces the Public Service Superannuation Act.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 20 - Public Trustee Act (amended) – Hon. Ross Landry
This Bill amends the Public Trustee Act to authorize the Public Trustee, where an estate is valued at twenty-five thousand dollars or less, to elect to administer the estate by simplified process before the Probate Court.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

PRIVATE MEMBER’S BILLS

Bill No. 10 - Blueprint for the Future of Public Education in Nova Scotia Act – Hon. Stephen McNeil (Lib)
This Bill requires the Minister of Education to undertake a comprehensive review of all provisions and aspects of the public schools program in the Province. The report is to be completed by September 29, 2012.
Status: Debate was adjourned on second reading.

Bill No. 12 - Petroleum Products Pricing Act (repealed) – Hon. Stephen McNeil
This Bill repeals the Petroleum Products Pricing Act, and would eliminate the regulation of gasoline prices.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 14 - 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 and the other employers; provides that the non-unionized labour representative may be a member of a non-unionized organization, nominated by the non-unionized employee community; and
provides 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.

Bill No. 15 - House of Assembly Management Commission Act (amended) – Hon. Michel P. Samson (Lib)
This Bill allows a member of the House of Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee to be a member of the House of Assembly Management Commission.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 16 - Affordable Higher Education Act - Zach Churchill (Lib)
This Bill requires the Minister of Advanced Education to undertake a comprehensive review of all ancillary fees charged by post-secondary educational institutions to students in the Province. The review shall be completed by September 29, 2012.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 18 - Agriculture and Marketing Act (amended) – Leo Glavine (Lib)
This Bill amends the Agriculture and Marketing Act to require the advisory committee under the Act to advise the Minister of Agriculture on the development of policy respecting food purchases by Government of Nova Scotia entities. The Bill also requires the committee to advise the minister on the development of a policy to include a healthy-snack program in the classroom.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 19 - Early Development Instrument Assessment Program Act – Hon. Karen Casey
This Bill requires the Government to establish a Province-wide program to administer the Early Development Instrument (a program developed by McMaster University) to every student enrolled in Grade Primary under all school boards in the Province commencing in the 2012-13 academic year.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 21 - Sound Recording Tax Credit Act – Hon. Harold (Junior) Theriault (Lib)
This Bill provides a Nova Scotia sound recording tax credit available to eligible sound recording companies for certain qualifying expenditures on eligible sound recordings by emerging Canadian artists or groups.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

STATUS UPDATES

Status Update on Government Bills
Bill No. 1 – Status of the Artist Act – Passed second reading, and was referred to Law Amendments Committee, on April 3, 2012.
Bill No. 5 - Municipal Government Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 9 – Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act (amended) – Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Status Update on Private Member’s Bills
Bill No. 2 – Tax Review (2012-13) Act – Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 3 – Sales Tax Act (amended) – Debate was adjourned on second reading.
Bill No. 4 – Maintenance and Custody Act (amended) – Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 6 – Fair Treatment of Children Act– Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 7 – Concussion Awareness Act– Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 8 – Joseph Howe Day Act– Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Status Update on Private and Local Bills
None


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 it is 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 jforster@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.