Bill Watch 49/2019 [Parliament Sits This Week to end its First Session] 24 September 2019 BILL WATCH 49/2019 [24th September 2019] Both Houses of Parliament Sit this Week These Sittings are the Last in this Parliamentary Session The Next Parliamentary Session will Open on Tuesday 1st October Opening of the Next Session of Parliament There will be a ceremonial opening of the Second Session on Tuesday 1st October. During this opening the President will present his State of the Nation Address [SONA] and outline the legislative agenda for this session. Usually, after the ceremonial opening, both Houses adjourn for a week or two to mull over the work they will have to do during the session. This Week's Sittings will be the Last of the First Session The Sitting Calendar for 2019 originally envisaged both Houses enjoying a recess from 2nd August until the end of the First Session on 9th September, and the opening of the Second Session by the President on 10th September. But, in a series of departures from the Sitting Calendar, the First Session has been extended. Both Houses sat several times in August and in the first week of September, and will sit again this week. This week will provide an opportunity to both Houses to make progress on the backlog of Bills that has built up over the last year [see below] – and to wind up unfinished debates – such as the National Assembly's debate on the vote of thanks to the President for his speech opening the current Parliamentary session over a year ago now. What is the fate of unfinished business at the end of the session? All business left unfinished at the end of the session will lapse, as provided by the Standing Orders of both Houses. So both the Senate and the National Assembly will start the Second Session next week with clean Order Papers. There will inevitably be much unfinished business at the end of this session, particularly in the National Assembly, where the Order Paper for 24th September includes the Bills mentioned below, 10 uncompleted debates on reports by portfolio committees and members' motions, and over 20 motions awaiting their turn to be presented by their movers. Restoration of lapsed business to the Order Paper in the Next Session Lapsed business will be salvageable as Standing Orders provide for Senators and MPs to vote for lapsed items to be restored to the Order Paper at the stage reached at the end of the current session. This system allows a House to continue consideration of important items and to filter out items that have lost relevance or topicality or are otherwise not worth pursuing. Bills in Parliament 3rd to 5th September There was only limited progress on the backlog of Bills when Parliament last sat, at the beginning of this month.