Details of Provisions
Subsection (1) requires the standing orders to make provision for 3 stages which a Bill must normally go through in the Parliament, namely:
a general debate on it with an opportunity to vote on its general principles;
a detailed consideration of it, with an opportunity to vote on its details; and
a final stage at which it can be passed or rejected.
The Standing Orders of the Parliament provide for these three stages. Although these three stages are similar to the procedures which a Bill has to go through in each House at Westminster, the procedures leading up to a Stage One debate in the Scottish Parliament are, in particular, markedly different. They involve a report on the Bill by the relevant Committee, usually after evidence has been taken upon the Bill from the Scottish Executive and interested groups and individuals.
Subsection (2) provides that subsection (1) does not prevent standing orders making provision to enable the Parliament to expedite proceedings in relation to a particular Bill. This provision is necessary to ensure that, for example, emergency legislation can be adequately dealt with. The Standing Orders of the Parliament make provision for an expedited procedure for those Executive Bills which are Emergency Bills. This procedure was used in respect of the Mental Health (Public Safety and Appeals etc.) (Scotland) Act 1999 (asp 1) and the Erskine Bridge Tolls Act 2001 (asp 12).
Subsection (3) allows the standing orders to make different provision from that required under subsection (1) for certain different kinds of Bills, namely Bills which restate the law, Bills which repeal spent enactments and private Bills. The Standing Orders have made provision for different procedures.
Subsection (4) requires the standing orders to provide for the reconsideration of a Bill passed by the Parliament if (and only if):
the Judicial Committee decide that the Bill or any provision of it is outside the legislative competence of the Parliament;
the Judicial Committee refers the Bill to the ECJ for a preliminary ruling and the reference to the Judicial Committee by the Law Officers in relation to the Bill under section 33 is withdrawn following a request for withdrawal of the reference under section 34(2)(b); or
the Secretary of State has made an order in relation to the Bill under section 35 prohibiting the Presiding Officer from submitting it for Royal Assent.
Subsection (5) requires the standing orders to ensure that any Bill amended on reconsideration is subject to a final stage where it can be approved or rejected.
Subsection (6) ensures other provisions in the Bill which refer to a Bill being passed are read, in cases where the Bill has been amended on reconsideration, as references to the Bill being approved. The references are in section 28(2) (when Bills become Acts), section 36(4) (reconsideration after passing), section 38(1)(a) (Letters Patent signifying Royal Assent to a Bill passed by the Parliament), and paragraph 7 of Schedule 3 (Crown consent before passing).