(Title Image: via Senedd TV)
The First Minister has announced the Welsh Government’s final legislative programme before next year’s scheduled Senedd election.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a noticeable impact on the legislative timetable and legal resources, with 50 laws (mainly regulations) having been introduced or changed to deal with it.
Additionally, work will need to proceed at speed to ensure deadlines for Brexit-related legislation are met before the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020.
Laws which will be carried forward in September include:
- The Local Government and Elections Bill, which will extend the franchise in local government elections to 16 and 17-year-olds and makes several administrative changes to local authorities and town & community councils.
- The Curriculum and Assessment Bill – recently introduced to support the new national curriculum.
- The Renting Homes (Amendment) Bill, which will improve the rights of private tenants, including extending the notice period for “no-fault evictions”.
Bills which have been paused include:
- Bus Services Bill – because of the impact coronavirus has had on the industry. The First Minister said he was particularly disappointed that this is being delayed.
- Tertiary Education and Research Bill, which will replace HEFCW with a new university funding system, has been published as a draft Bill for consultation. The same will happen for the Social Partnership Bill.
Other legislative priorities (which may require new laws or regulations) include:
- Extending public smoking bans outdoor hospital grounds, school grounds and local authority playgrounds.
- Placing a duty on public bodies to consider ways to reduce socio-economic disadvantages.
- Implementing a new additional learning needs system.
- Ending third-party sales of puppies and kittens (aka. “Lucy’s Law”).
- Working with local authorities to extend 20 mph zones (a debate will be held on this later today – more on this tomorrow).
Offering to work constructively with the government for the remainder of the term on legislation, Leader of the Opposition, Paul Davies MS (Con, Preseli Pembs.), couldn’t help noting his disappointment at the government’s failure to use legislative tools to address climate change – namely a Clean Air Act – and to boost employment opportunities.
Adam Price MS (Plaid, Carms. E & Dinefwr) thought the government’s legislation lacked ambition too. Picking up on some of the arguments around the Curriculum Bill, he thought the government was working against the objectives of Cymraeg 2050 in terms of the role of the Welsh language in the curriculum.