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Government of Wales Act 2006

Procedure

Section 111: Proceedings on Bills

422.This section requires the Assembly’s standing orders to contain certain provisions in relation to the consideration and passing (or approval, in the case of Bills which are reconsidered and amended) of Assembly Bills.

423.Standing orders must ensure that, generally, Bills must pass through three stages.

424.There must firstly be an opportunity for a general debate about the Bill by the Assembly, and for Assembly Members to vote on its general principles. This stage mirrors the Second Reading stage of Bills in the UK Parliament.

425.There must then be a stage involving consideration of, and an opportunity for Assembly members to vote on, the details of the Bill, corresponding to the committee stage of a Bill at Westminster.

426.Finally there must be a stage at which members can vote on whether to pass the Bill in its final form. This is equivalent to the Third Reading of a Parliamentary Bill.

427.Standing orders may allow a different procedure in the case of Bills which fall within certain categories, namely those which restate the law, those which repeal or revoke spent enactments and “private” Bills, that is ones which change the law only on a very localised basis. In the case of the first two, standing orders may well permit a streamlined procedure whilst in the case of “private” Bills they are likely to include an opportunity for individuals affected to make representations to the Assembly, as in the case of private Parliamentary Bills.

428.Standing orders must include provision for securing that, except in specified circumstances (which are left to standing orders to define) a Bill can only be passed if the text of the Bill is in both English and Welsh.

429.Standing orders must provide for a Bill which has been passed by the Assembly to be reconsidered in certain circumstances. These are:

a)

where the Supreme Court has decided that the Bill is outside the Assembly’s legislative competence, following the Counsel General or the Attorney General referring that issue to the Supreme Court under section 112;

b)

where the Counsel General or the Attorney General has referred the issue of whether the Bill is within the Assembly’s legislative competence to the Supreme Court under section 113, the Supreme Court has then referred an issue arising out of it to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling, but the reference to the Supreme Court has been withdrawn following a decision by the Assembly that it wishes to reconsider the Bill;

c)

where the Secretary of State has made an Order under section 114 prohibiting the Clerk of the Assembly from submitting a proposed Bill for approval by Her Majesty.

430.If a proposed Assembly Bill is, upon reconsideration, amended by the Assembly, then there must be a further final stage at which the amended Bill can be approved or rejected by the Assembly.

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