Dozens of bills to be buried before early election

DST extension won't be brought to a vote; bill criminalizing prostitution stays stuck in committees; "Tzohar Bill" unlikely to reach final reading.

Knesset 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Knesset 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
With the Knesset expected to be dissolved next week ahead of early elections on January 22, dozens of bills will not become law unless MKs propose similar legislation in the 19th Knesset.
One bill that made headlines recently is the proposal to extend daylight-savings time. DST was last dealt with in a Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee meeting in late February, which ended without any progress on two private bills and a ministerial bill on the matter.
MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) – who proposed one of the private bills – and associates of Interior Minister Eli Yishai have placed the blame on each other. Horowitz says the Shas leader wants to keep DST short for religious reasons, while those close to Yishai say the bill has been stuck since February for technical reasons. Yishai planned to pass the bill in the Knesset’s winter session, but as it is not scheduled for a vote next week, he won’t be able to.
Another bill that has been stuck for months and is a target of Shas-Meretz bickering is a reform of the Planning and Construction Law. In February, Amnon Cohen (Shas), chairman of the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, finished two years of work on preparing the legislation, which is 200 pages and 600 articles long. Horowitz has complained that the bill does not give enough attention to environmental considerations, and wrote to Knesset Legal Adviser Eyal Yinon in February that MKs were not given enough time to review the legislation before the committee vote.
A bill criminalizing prostitution by Orit Zuaretz (Kadima), chairwoman of the Knesset Subcommittee to Battle Trafficking of Women, passed a preliminary plenum reading in February. The legislation would make paying for sexual services a criminal offense, but has been stuck in the Knesset House Committee since the beginning of this year, where it is supposed to be decided which committee would continue discussions.
The “Tzohar Bill,” which allows couples to register for marriage in any municipality, regardless of where they reside, is scheduled to be discussed in the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee this week, but its chances of being brought to a final plenum vote is slim. Two similar bills, proposed by MKs Faina Kirschenbaum (Yisrael Beytenu) and Otniel Schneller (Kadima), would make it easier for Tzohar, an organization of national- religious rabbis that is considered liberal, to perform weddings.
Habayit Hayehudi MK Zevulun Orlev’s legislation requiring government supervision and licensing of daycare centers for children from infancy to age three is also stuck in committee.
The bill is meant to ensure appropriate conditions and an educational environment that will fulfill the children’s physical, emotional, social and educational needs. The bill has yet to be brought to a second and third (final) Knesset reading, after Yisrael Beytenu expressed concerns that it would raise childcare prices. Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon (Independence) froze the legislation in March.
A Culture and Sport Ministry bill meant to protect authors’ royalties will be brought to the Knesset Education, Culture and Sport Committee on Monday morning to be prepared for its second and third readings, but it is still unclear if the bill will reach its final plenum votes.
Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat proposed the legislation to increase authors’ income while working towards breaking the duopoly in which the Steimatzky and Tzomet Sfarim bookstores make up 80 percent of the market. The bill would require stores to sell books at full price for the first 18 months after publication.