Wednesday, March 22

Speaker FTJ rules unfinished bills be carried over for continuation

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Speaker Jatta asserted that he was asked on a “Point of Order” by the chairperson of the Standing Orders Committee of the National Assembly about the consequences for unfinished parliamentary businesses in the dissolved National Assembly (the 5th legislature), especially bills, bearing in mind the convention that a National Assembly (Parliament) cannot bind its successor Assembly, and requested to make a ruling.

“Cognisant of the Constitution of the Republic and the Standing Orders of the National Assembly; recognising the existence of the parliamentary convention, the omissions in our parliamentary law, and as well as the need for the National Assembly to adhere to the convention; whereas there is no express provision in the Standing Orders regarding the matter at hand and in accordance with Standing Order 8, I hereby rule that the convention be adapted to suit our local parliamentary context as follows,” he said.

He further enumerated: “That the National Assembly adhere to the longstanding parliamentary convention to the extent possible in our local context; that all incomplete or unfinished government Bills or other businesses of the Fifth Legislature may be reinstated or reintroduced in this successor Assembly (the Sixth Legislature) subject to a motion by the person-in-charge.”

“That bearing in mind the convention, the respective “persons-in-charge of the unfinished Bills or business must table a motion, with notice, before the National Assembly on each of the Bills or businesses requesting for a carry-over.”

“That a Bill or business agreed to be carried over would be reinstated or reintroduced in the same form in the next ordinary session, at the same parliamentary stage it was prior to the dissolution of the immediately preceding National Assembly; that the timing of reinstatement or reintroduction of a Bill or business carried over to a successor National Assembly be decided by the Assembly Business Committee in consultation with the person in charge,” he further outlined.

Speaker Jatta also stated that the “Standing Orders Committee consider reviewing the Standing Orders on the matter with a view to proposing an amendment to expressly codify this convention before the Seventh Legislature to establish a special procedure for carrying over legislation and other businesses from a dissolved National Assembly bearing in mind this ruling.”

“Finally, that the Office of the Clerk immediately notify all the affected persons or bodies regarding this ruling. This is my ruling in accordance with Order 8 of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly.