Good thing the Knesset isn’t only preoccupied with justicial reform
With all the noise on the streets and in the mainstream and social media, you would think that our elected officials are concerned at this time with nothing other than judicial reform. And I have the feeling that those shouting out about the demise of democracy should these reforms go through have no idea of the actual wording of the proposals, the work behind the scenes in bringing these proposals to the table, or the work that goes on in committees before each of the three readings of bills before a proposal becomes law.
They likely have no idea that even the passing of a law is not the end of the story — the law is not etched in stone or indelible ink. Each law passed is subject to later amendments should experience show that the law needs to be refined, changed, or even removed from the law books. In fact, most legislative activity concerns amendments to existing laws and not the creation of totally new laws.
In this article, I want to show what our elected officials have been doing in the legislature since the new government was installed. And then I want to ask you a question.
Bills being processed to date
True to 15 Feb 2023 at 14:00. Two of the laws below have already changed category from the time I started examining the list earlier this morning and the time of completing this article now.
The current Knesset has 2456 law proposals before it. These can be broken down according to the stage they have reached in the legislative process:
Before preliminary discussion: 2348 bills
In preparation for the first reading:
In preparation in committee – 1
Ready for debate in the Knesset plenum – 8
In preparation for second reading:
In preparation in committee – 15
Ready for debate in the Knesset plenum – 6
Completed the process of being signed into law – 14
Legislative process halted – 64.
Now, let us look at these laws.
I will not list the laws for which the legislative process has been halted. Some comprise merging of similar laws together into a single proposal. Others are simply put on hold for some reason.
The one proposal currently in preparation for committee in advance of the first reading is one section of the infamous bill that has thousands of citizens marching against it: Basic Law – Judgement (a separate article going into the details of this law is in preparation).
The laws prepared for first reading in the Knesset plenum (all of these involved amendments to existing laws, unless otherwise specified):
- Basic Law – Judgement (amendment – Strengthening separation of powers)
- Court Law: amendment – regarding judicial selection committee
- New law: Real estate purchasing groups
- Criminal Law: amendment concerning application of Israeli law for crimes committed outside the country by citizens or residents of Israel
- Land Law: amendment concerning placement of electric vehicle charging stations next to apartment blocks
- Criminal Information Law: amendment concerning the need for balance between having a comprehensive collection of information on criminal activity and the need to allow those who committed crimes to the privacy that would help them rehabilitate their lives
- Druze Religious Courts Law: amendment to change title of the head of the court from “Head of the Appeals Court” to “President of the Appeals Court”
- Money Laundering Law: amendment concerning giving public bodies the right to inform the authorities of suspected use of donations for money laundering purposes
Topics of laws in preparation for second and third readings (all of these involve amendments to existing laws, unless otherwise stipulated):
- Regarding discharged soldiers entering the police of prison services
- New law on collection of information regarding those entering and leaving the State of Israel
- Authority responsible for domestic security
- Taxation in real estate
- Regarding competition in the market
- Milk marketing
- Body searches in criminal law proceedings
- New law concerning interest payments and payment linkage
- Interest related to writ of execution
- Correction regarding the underground metro
- Another correction regarding the metro
- Part of law split off from policing law
- Biometric and other means of identification regarding those entering the country
- Protection from assistance funds confiscation for the self-employed parent under a writ of execution
- Increasing efficiency and supervision in local authorities
Bills being sent by the committee to the Knesset plenum for second and third readings involve the following topics:
- Rescinding the citizenship or resident status of someone who committed terror
- The Second Authority for Television and Radio
- Related to Internet service providers
- New law carried over from previous Knesset term related to encouraging hi-tech
- Amendment to law governing entry into the country (carried over from previous Knesset term)
- Related to who is authorized to perform medical procedures in the hospital
Topics of laws that have passed since the beginning of the current Knesset session (most of these are carry-overs from laws proposed in the previous Knesset and completed in the current term):
- Connected with security services
- Special authority to deal with the Corona virus
- Increasing efficiency and supervision in local authorities
- Clearing up mine fields
- Related to debt payments in writ of execution and coping with the Corona virus
- Related to collecting fines and fees
- Related to prison services
- Income tax
- Related to Knesset committees
- Extending period of time that can be considered an emergency situation
- Related to Basic Law – The Knesset
- Concerning police functioning
- Basic Law: The Government
- Deleting four words from the Knesset Law
There is a lot of work related to running the country. Not all of it, most of it, in fact, is related to small, sometimes miniscule details such that one word can change the entire meaning of a law or the way it is set to be carried out. While parliamentary work is often accompanied by shouting and cursing each other, whether in the Knesset plenum or in the committees where the work actually happens, it seems that the legislature does function and democracy works, however inefficiently and rancourously.
Public oversight is important, especially since our electoral system does not allow us to elect a regional representative who is one’s personal voice in the Knesset and who would have been accountable to the voter if he or she wants to be re-elected. Lacking that, debates in the media over important legislation help make the MK’s take voters somewhat into consideration.
Now let me ask you:
Does reading this article raise questions for you regarding the volatile situation in face of Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s judicial reform proposals? What do you think we need to know or understand about the proposals and/or opposition to the proposals before we decide whether or not to go out to demonstrate in the streets and demand a stop to the process?
Does this article raise other issues for you that you would like to see mainstream media debates focus on?
All those disturbances are not about the proposed changes or adjustments in the law (which by the way many even on the left find necessary) nor is it about, as they scream “Saving Democracy”! It’s just about not being able to accept and get over the outcome of elections depriving the Liberal, progressive, elitist left of their privileges and hegemony which they, for some reason, think they are entitled too. Is there anyone of those hypocrites, leftist ideologues troublemakers who really believes that, for instance that terrible Oslo political experiment as well as the disastrous one of Gaza were legal and carried out Democraticaly? Supreme Court should have been up in arms to prevent those illegal, anti Democratic procedures to succeed.
I totally agree with you here.