Tuesday, 20 November 2012

How a Bill Becomes Law

Huge shout out to Kasha Jacqueline for taking the time to explain how a Private Members' Bill becomes law in Uganda.

The Process of the Bill in Parliament (How a Bill becomes Law)

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BILL. Article 79(1) of the constitutional provides that: “parliament shall have the power to make the Laws on any matter for the peace, order, development and good governance of Uganda”.

A bill is a draft of an Act of Parliament and includes both a Private Members' Bill and a Government Bill. A Private Members' Bill is moved by a backbench MP.

A. Plenary
  1. MP Committee Chairperson moves motion seeking leave (permission) to present Private Members' Bill
  2. Provides proposed draft of the Bill
  3. MPs debate and vote on motion
  4. If the MPs reject the motion, the Private Members' Bill is dropped
  5. If the motion is approved, printing and publication of the Bill is done by Clerk to Parliament
  6. Bill is published in the Gazette
  7. Private Members' Bill is introduced for the first reading accompanied by Certificate of Financial Implication
  8. Speakers refer Bill to appropriate committee

B. Committee  
  1. Committee scrutinizes Bill
  2. Calls responsible mover(s)
  3. Calls various stakeholders and government in public hearings
  4. Reviews relevant and related laws/documents
  5. Writes report with proposed amendments to Plenary

C. Plenary  
  1. Mover moves and justifies motion for Second Reading of the Bill
  2. Committee Chairperson presents report on the Bill
  3. Minority Report is presented (if it exists)
  4. MPs debate Committee Report on principles of the Bill
  5. Parliament votes for second Reading of the Bill
  6. Bill referred to the Committee of the Whole House
D. Committee of the Whole House  
  1. Committee of the Whole House means a committee composed of the whole body of MPs
  2. Chaired by the Speaker/Deputy Speaker (referred to as Chairperson)
  3. Sits in the Chamber
  4. Speakers leave the Chair, who sits at the Clerk’s Table
  5. MPs approve causes, and schedules of the Bill

E. Plenary
  1. MP in charge of Bill asks Plenary to resume
  2. Reports outcome of Committee of the Whole House
  3. Plenary votes for Third Reading of the Bill 

F. Clerk’s Office
  1. Clerk’s Office prepares copies for authentication and Assent of the President  
  2. Copy sent to the President.

G. President's Office
  1. President assents to Act of Parliament*
  2. Act of Parliament becomes Law of Uganda
  3. Implementation starts on commencement date
  4. Law is published in government Gazette
*president may reject to give assent

Constitution provides that the president shall, within 30 days after a bill is presented to him/her, either:-
  • Assent to the bill; or
  • Return the bill to Parliament with a request that the bill or a particular provision of it be reconsidered by Parliament
  • Notify the Speaker in writing about the decision
The bill may be reconsidered and then presented for the President’s approval. However, it may become law without the President’s assent if he/she returns it to parliament two times. It should have the support of at least two-thirds of all MPs.

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