'Lapid Law' to go to plenum

Two bills imposing cooling-off periods for journalists approved.

yair lapid 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
yair lapid 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
 Efforts to prevent journalist Yair Lapid from running for Knesset received a boost on Sunday when the Ministerial Committee on Legislation decided to allow the members of each faction to vote their conscience on two bills that would institute a cooling-off period for journalists before they enter politics.
The Knesset plenum will vote Wednesday on preliminary readings of Kadima MK Ronit Tirosh’s bill, which calls for a six-month cooling-off period, and Likud MK Carmel Shama’s legislation, which would require a full year.
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The bill is nicknamed the "Lapid Law," after rumors that popular Channel 2 anchor and former columnist Yair Lapid was planning to journalism for politics.  Lapid hinted in a speech in Herzliya last week that he intended to enter politics ahead of the next election.
The sponsors said they were concerned that the ministerial committee on legislation would enforce coalition discipline against the bills. They expressed confidence that they would draft enough support to pass them by Wednesday.
“This was the smartest decision the ministerial committee could have made,” Shama said. “Lapid’s recent announcement that he would accept a six-month cooling-off period proves that a full year is the minimum cooling-off period that would be effective for journalists.”
Likud minister-without-portfolio Michael Eitan voted against the bill on Sunday, because he strongly opposed any bill intended to target anyone personally. He tried unsuccessfully to persuade his fellow ministers to decide that the coalition opposed the legislation.
“This bill would harm the public’s right to choose their candidates,” Eitan said. “It is an improper political maneuver that smells of cowardice and unwillingness to compete fairly for public support.