Over 100 Knesset bills may be held back

March 8 deadline for the dispersal of the Knesset rapidly approaches.

knesset vote 298  (photo credit: )
knesset vote 298
(photo credit: )
More than one hundred bills will likely be held back in the Knesset's Law Committee and never reach the plenum floor, as the March 8 deadline rapidly approaches for the dispersal of the Knesset. Although the committee has put a rush on all bills it considers "vital" - legislature that the government has invested a significant of time or money over - there will be only so much it can do, said a committee spokeswoman. Complicating matters is the absence of Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, who left this week for a two-week parliamentary trip to Australia and Singapore. Rivlin left instructions to halt new legislature or private bills from being presented to the Knesset during his absence, infuriating MKs who had not had time to present their bills before he left. "Rivlin left these instructions because he was wary of a race to pass bills that were unnecessary and would cost the government millions," said a Knesset spokeswoman. The Knesset has already doubled the pace of its legislation, from the usual two to three bills a day, to an average reading of five bills each day. Even at that pace it will be impossible for the government to hear all pending bills, said the Law Committee spokeswoman, and the majority of bills will be dropped. By law, bills that fail to pass in one Knesset are not carried over into the next Knesset. These bills effectually become "erased" from the plenum floor and must start afresh with the new government. In the past, however, returning MKs have recommenced legislation that failed to pass. Committees that have researched special reports, or completed investigations, may also pass along their recommendations to the next Knesset, although the new committees are not obliged to take that information into account. The majority of the bills not likely to pass in this Knesset session are privately introduced bills by MKs, such as Meretz MK Zahava Gal-On's bill initiating a witness protection program in Israel. Gal-On has also proposed a bill with MK Reshef Chen (Shinui) for government sponsored "panic buttons" to be installed in private homes, connecting people directly to hospitals so that they can call for help in the case of a medical emergency. Among other laws unlikely to pass is a bill by Etti Livni (Shinui) and Gidon Sa'ar (Likud) to strengthen female membership in the Knesset through affirmative action, and a bill limiting the ability of police to take minors into custody.