Billing by the hour? MK's get right to work in new Knesset

Blue and White proposals focus on fighting corruption; new Likud MK laments over-legislation, says he's going to do more practical work.

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May 2, 2019 01:27
3 minute read.
21st Knesset

21st Knesset. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
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The Knesset is the world leader in number of bills proposed, and it looks like the 21st Knesset will maintain that title, if its members keep up the pace from the first day since their swearing in on Tuesday.

Blue and White already proposed the four bills focused on government corruption that were part of its campaign promises.

One states that anyone who has been convicted of a crime with moral turpitude cannot be prime minister, or a regular minister or deputy minister, and must resign if convicted while in office.

Another Blue and White bill would set a two-term limit for prime ministers, which the proposal states “creates the possibility of change in leadership and, at the same time, ensures government stability, as it will incentivize the prime minister to preserve his coalition and not rush into elections.”

The third would require a prime minister, minister or deputy minister to resign if he or she is indicted on criminal charges.

And the fourth is to form a commission of inquiry to investigate the IDF’s purchase of additional submarines and vessels, which are at the heart of an ongoing criminal investigation. Blue and White asserted during its campaign that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was involved in the matter, although police and the Attorney-General’s Office said otherwise.

Meretz submitted a bill to cancel Basic Law: Nation-State of the Jewish People, commonly known as the Nation-State Law.
Party leader Tamar Zandberg called the law, which passed last year, “racist and discriminatory,” and said it should be “thrown into the dustbin of history.”

As she promised in an interview with The Jerusalem Post last month, freshman Likud MK Michal Shir proposed to annex Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria.

Several MKs took to social media to show that they had gotten straight to work.

MK Karin Elharar (Blue and White) tweeted that she submitted 73 bills on Wednesday, which she said are “important and significant.” The bulk of the bills are ones she proposed in the previous Knesset.

Freshman MK Idan Roll, also of Blue and White, tweeted a photo of himself signing his first bill.

But new Likud MK Shlomo Karhi had a creative response to the trend, tweeting a photo of himself with a blank sheet of paper.
“I didn’t propose bills yesterday,” Karhi wrote. “I’m not a big economic liberal and I believe in balance. At the same time, I was surprised by the amount of bills proposed yesterday.

“I chose not to propose any bills on my first day and [instead] start specifically [by] doing something practical and immediate, and look for a solution to the crisis in the factories in the Negev,” added Karhi, who represents the southern region in Likud.

Israel held the world record for most bills proposed in 2000-2016.

The 20th Knesset broke the records for most bills proposed – 5,997 private member bills and 393 government bills. Of the private member bills, 77% (4,646) did not move past the proposal stage; only 4% became laws.

During orientation for new lawmakers on Monday, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein suggested that MKs put more of an emphasis on oversight of the government, saying that it is a core job of the legislature, and encouraging them to take part in Knesset delegations to international parliamentary organizations.

“I’m not saying don’t legislate. Legislate! But look at the full picture, at whether [the bill] is possible and if it justifies all the wasted resources and taxpayer money… Let’s only propose bills that have a chance to progress,” Edelstein said.

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