Mini-Norwegian bill delayed for amendment

A key bill that is one of the so-called "governance laws" sponsored by the government to solidify its coalition within the Knesset met with a speed bump Monday morning on its way to Knesset approval. The bill, known as the "mini-Norwegian law," was expected to pass the Knesset plenum in its second and third readings later this week, but will now likely be delayed and join the "Mofaz bill" in being brought to the floor next week, the last week of the Knesset session. The mini-Norwegian law, or "Slomiansky law," was debated in the Knesset Law Committee Monday, but MKs did not reach an agreement to vote the bill through committee. The legislation, which has already passed its first reading, would allow one minister from each party in the coalition to resign from the Knesset in favor of the next name on their party's list and then return to the Knesset if they quit the cabinet. Instead of passing the bill through the committee, MKs decided to try adding an additional clause that would allow parties that only hold deputy ministries to bring in an additional MK as well. Committee chairman David Rotem (Israel Beiteinu), an ardent supporter of legislation for governmental reform, said he was not disheartened by the delay caused by the amendment, which seemed tailor-made for United Torah Judaism with its lone government position of deputy health minister. "I support as broad a Norwegian law as possible," said Rotem, who told The Jerusalem Post last week that he would like to see the law be expanded to require all ministers to relinquish their seats, rather than merely one minister from each coalition party. "But I am not disappointed if the mini-Norwegian bill is the one that passes," he said. "Every large march begins with one small step, and I plan to continue the march." But while the law - nicknamed for the former Habayit Hayehudi MK who will benefit from the law if it goes into effect - seems to be on a direct path to house approval late this week or early next week, the Mofaz bill still has not surfaced in committee or on the house floor. That bill, which sat at the heart of the opposition's boycott of Knesset proceedings earlier this session, is expected to be brought to the floor for voting next week, during the last few days of the Knesset session. But even if the law - which would allow any group of "rebel" MKs totaling seven to form its own faction or join another Knesset faction - were to pass its first reading next week, the coalition would be hard-pressed to pull it through its second and third readings before the end of the summer session, as the last day is shortened due to Tisha Be'Av. But at least one controversial bill is expected to be debated this Wednesday on the house floor. Israel Beiteinu MK Alex Miller's "Nakba bill," which won the endorsement of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday, is expected to be brought for its first reading.