Summary of bills before the Knesset by end of winter session: II. 2nd-3rd Readings
This article is the second of a three-part series on bills before the Knesset at the end of the winter session 2023, which ended on 2 April. A summary of bills at the first-reading stage of legislation can be found here.
Seven bills were ready for voting in the plenum. Of these, two were private members’ bills, two committee bills and three government bills. Forty-four were in debate in their relevant committees.
Bills ready for voting in the plenum and their move into the law books
- Extending the law giving increased points for parents toward income tax deductions for the taxation year 2022 in case the government will be unable to pass a budget and it falls.
- Regulations regarding Lag B’Omer celebrations on Har Meron (based on the committee that investigated the reasons behind the Meron tragedy two years ago)
- Tax exemption benefits to apartment owners and contractors who take on projects to protect their buildings from earthquakes (under the Continuation Clause: when a bill tabled by a previous government has made it past the first reading but then stopped when the government fell, the current government can move it up to the relevant committee for preparation for the second and third readings — the plenum votes on whether or not to allow the bill to proceed in this way.)
Both bills were tabled by the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee.
- Law regarding the judicial selection committee in the Basic Law: Judiciary
- Complementary laws related to judicial selection committee reforms in the Courts Act
Private Members’ Bills
- 36 MKs from the coalition parties proposed changes to the Basic Law: Government which would: (a) restrict the court from prohibiting the appointment of a minister or deputy minister other than by the law that specifically states that someone convicted of a crime who has received a prison sentence (as opposed to parole) or whose crime earned a mark of disgrace is not eligible to either of these positions; i.e., the court cannot insist of preventing the appointment on the basis of “reasonableness” alone. [Editorial comment by me: benefit of the doubt can be proferred to someone who was convicted of a single crime, but a repeat performance should eliminate that person from all future consideration for these positions and a new law should be proposed that would anchor this is law and eliminate any future debate on the issue.]; (b) a particular appointment to minister or deputy minister can be challenged by 40 MKs from the opposition.
- Yaakov Asher and Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) proposed a law allowing residents in apartment complexes to install and maintain at their own expense an automated water pressure system as long as they follow the steps delineated in the law to protect the other residents. If they leave the apartment, they must remove the automation system. The automated system relieves them of the problem encountered when opening a tap activates the electric water pressure mechanism, thereby violating the Sabbath or holiday.
Bills in preparation in the relevant committees
Of these, 25 are related to the budget for 2023-24 that must be passed by the end of this month or the government will fall. We can be sure that most of the government’s efforts will be extended toward getting the budget passed. I will not go into detail about these particular bills.
Fifteen bills are government bills dealing with other topics. One is a committee bill and three are private members’ bills. We can list these.
Government Bills unrelated to the Budget
Bills continued from previous Knesset Terms (under the Continuity Clause)
As stated above, the Continuation Clause is relevant when a bill tabled by a previous government has made it past the first reading but then stopped when the government fell. The current government can move it up to the relevant committee for preparation for the second and third readings — the plenum votes on whether or not to allow the bill to proceed in this way.
- An amendment to change the law delineating how local authorities and municipalities can fight violence in their regions/cities from a temporary measure to a permanent law. I hope I got that right because this one was difficult to figure out. It is an amendment split off from the main bill and the Knesset website did not present this one clearly when they easily could have. I had to open several windows and a few different versions of the law to figure what part was split off from the main law.
- Biometric identification documents for foreigners seeking entry into Israel
- Writ of Execution Authority (הוצאה לפועל) Law: Determination of interest payments and linkages of payment installments
- Interest and Linkages Law: Determination of interest payments and linkages of payment installments
- Putting the Ministry of Community Empowerment and Advancement under the auspices of the National Security Ministry. The former was established to give Orly Levy-Abekasis a ministry in 2020, so essentially this law just puts the tasks back into the ministry in which it was originally.
- Tax benefits that will promote investment in high-tech industries in Israel
- Determination of levels of disability and associated disability payment and other benefits for soldiers have been made within the Defense Ministry and this bill seeks to anchor these determinations in law as opposed to internal custom
- This bill concerns the Metro Law and it is a merger between two previous amendments, one dealing with the regulations authority and the other moving discussion of the bill from the Finance Committee to the Committee on Special National Infrastructure Projects and Jewish Religious Services. [Editorial comment by me: I cannot see the connection between National Infrastructure Projects and Jewish Religious Services or why those two should be covered by the same committee.]
- Anchoring in law criteria for recognition of medical imaging professionals and medical assistance professional, the latter including administrative positions, who can take medical history at intake, carry out certain procedures, etc.
- Refining some definitions required for the law against violence against medical personnel to include emergency medical caregivers
- Expanding upon the criteria for recognition of individuals who can operate as sports coaches
- Anchoring in law who is qualified to work as a heating and/or air conditioner technician
New bills and amendments
- Criteria to be applied to the erection of cameras in public places and their use by the police
- Duties of the agriculture minister will pass to the minister of the Negev, Galilee, and National Resilience — related to promises made in forming the current coalition [Editorial note by me: this leaves me wondering what the agriculture minister does to earn his ministerial salary.]
- Increase the number of members of the national planning board from 11 to 13 and representatives of the agriculture minister on the board will ensure that agricultural lands will remain protected as development of residential and commercial projects are designed
I think if we look at the kinds of bills that are listed under the Continuation Clause, we can see that many do not seem to have any relation to political attitudes. Knesset insider Jeremy Saltan says that most government bills, in fact, deal with technical issues that are suggested by ministry bureaucrats. At least one academic writer suggests that allowing the legislation of such bills to proceed in the new coalition government provides a continuity that is necessary for stability from one coalition government to the next.
On the other hand, at this point, most other government bills seem related to promises made to individual politicians for their agreement to join the coalition. The only one not related to that is the first new bill listed above.
The Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee proposed the Basic Law: Judiciary that deals with reforming the Knesset override of bills knocked down by the court. It passed the first reading but since it has landed in committee, no further action has been taken. In other words, it has not been raised for discussion in committee, probably because it is being debated at the president’s office.
Private Members’ Bills
- Etty Hava Atia (Likud) tabled a bill to safe-guard government benefits paid out to self-employed parents of dependent children such that confiscation and foreclosures in the event of unpaid debts, will not include those benefits.
- Tzvika Foghel (Otzma Yehudit) tabled a bill that was split off from the main bill expanding the authority of the National Security Minister and this split off piece puts the police commissioner under the authority of the minister and gives the minister the power to determine policy concerning time spend on investigations in conjuction with the attorney general, the police commissioner, and police investigators. [Editorial comment by me: I find it interesting that this is a private member’s bill and not a government proposal since it concerns a coalition agreement with Ben Gvir.]
- Yinon Azoulay (Shas) proposed that there be a default investment path for long-term deposits in savings plans for minor children that would promise the greatest chance for higher earnings.
So there you have it — I may have missed one or two laws because, unfortunately, I did not get around to preparing this article until after the summer session had already started and those busy-beaver MK’s have already been working and some bills may have been moved from the second-third-reading category and I was unable to catch them all. Still, I think it gives a good idea of what went on regarding bill proposals put forth by the legislators we pay to legislate.