Bill Watch 45/2019 President Orders Special Senate Sitting on Wednesday 14th August 12 August 2019 BILL WATCH 45/2019 [12th August 2019] The National Assembly Has Adjourned until 27th August The Senate Will Meet on Wednesday 14th August for Special Business By furious fast-tracking of business on Wednesday 8th [they sat until 10.39 pm] and Thursday 9th [until 4.10 am on Friday morning] the National Assembly managed to pass, not only the Finance (No. 2) Bill and the Appropriation Supplementary (2019) Bill [the two Budget bills], but also, with amendments, the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill [see Bill Watch 43/2014 of 9th August [link]]. The House then adjourned until 27th August. At the end of their sitting at 3.55 pm on Wednesday 7th August, Senators resolved to adjourn until Tuesday 27th August as it then seemed highly unlikely that the National Assembly would be sending the two Budget bills – or any other Bill – to the Senate in time for Senators to deal with them before the holiday weekend. But late on Friday it was announced by Parliament that the President had summoned the Senate to re-assemble on Wednesday 14th August, two weeks earlier than expected. Senators Recall The President acted in terms of section 146 of the Constitution, which empowers him to alter a House’s own recess arrangements by summoning it to sit at any time “to conduct special business”. In this case the special business cited in Parliament’s announcement of the recall, is to finalise the three Bills that were passed by the National Assembly last Thursday [in fact early Friday morning] and immediately sent to the Senate – the Finance (No. 2) Bill, the Appropriation Supplementary (2019) Bill and the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill. Why the Hurry? What is it about these Bills that qualifies as “special business”? There is only one truly special element to the business facing the Senate – the need to avoid the collapse of the new monetary arrangements at midnight on Wednesday 21st August. That collapse may occur if Part VI of the Finance (No. 2) Bill does not become law on or before the 21st August. This deadline stems from the temporary nature of SI 33/2019, which underpins these arrangements. SI 33 – which was gazetted under the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act on 22nd February – is due to expire at midnight on Wednesday 21st August. Part VI [clauses 20 to 24] of the Finance (No. 2) Bill is designed to validate and regularise [“statutise” is the word used in the

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