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Andrew97
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A240 - Bill Amendments Amendment
Proposed by: 04MR17 MP (CP)
Seconded by: Aph MP (CP); FRS500 MP (Lab); Moonbow MP (LD); Theloniouss MP (CP)

An Amendment to Change the Guidance Document as follows:

Under Bills Procedure replace:
“4) Each item can undergo a maximum of 3 readings: i) First Reading – Two days minimum, Six days maximum (with an additional 48 hour extension if requested) ii) Second Reading – One day minimum, Four days maximum (with an additional 24 hour extension if requested) iii) Third reading – One day minimum, Three days maximum
5) After a reading, the item is put into cessation for up to 7 days unless the proposer has asked for it to go to a new reading or to division.
6) At any point during an item's discussion the submitter can ask for a 7 day cessation period.
7) An item can be withdrawn at any point. Once an item has been withdrawn it cannot be submitted for a further reading or sent to division during the same term.”


With:
“4) Each item can undergo a maximum of 3 readings.

i) The First Reading of an item must last for five days minimum, seven days maximum.
ii) A Second Reading of an item must last for three days.
iii) A Third Reading of an item must last for two days.

5) An amendment to a bill may be submitted by any MP to the speaker during the period of the bill’s first reading.

i) An amendment to the bill should not change the stated aim of the bill.
ii) The Speaker has the right to reject an amendment to the bill on the grounds that it holds aims contradictory to that of the bill in its first reading.
iii) An amendment to a bill should be formatted as if it were the entire bill, amended, with an added note to explain the change(s) made.
iv) The Speaker has the right to reject an amendment to the bill on the grounds of it not being formatted correctly according to sub-section iii.
v) Any person who is not an MP may submit an amendment to the bill if seconded by an MP; except where the author of the bill, who is not an MP, submits an amendment.
vi) If the Speaker receives no amendments for the bill, the item is put into cessation for up to 7 days unless the proposer has asked for it to go to division, or asks for it to be withdrawn.

6) Amendments to the bill will be considered as second readings of a bill.

i) These shall be labelled “Bxxx(ii)”, “Bxxx(iii)” etc. according to the order in which they were submitted to the speaker.
ii) Unless the member who submits the amendment withdraws it, the amendment shall automatically be put to a vote after a three day period.
ii. a) If all amendments to the bill are withdrawn, the original bill is put to cessation.
iii) The question in the division lobby should be: “Should Bxxxx be amended to read as follows?”
iv) Votes on amendments to bills should last for two days, be public votes, but not contribute to the MP voting record.
v) Amendments to the original bill succeed if they achieve a simple majority in the division lobby.
vi) The author of the original bill may not withdraw the bill once amendments have been submitted to it, unless all authors of amendments to the bill agree to a withdrawal also.
vii) Following votes to amend the bill, the item is put into cessation for up to 7 days.

7) Successfully Amended bills will then be put to the house in a third reading.

i) Any member is able to submit the third reading of an amended bill provided that it satisfies the amendments made to it and changes nothing from the original bill besides the amendments made in the second reading.
ii) Where multiple successful amendments to a bill amend the same parts of the original bill in ways that are not the same, the amendment which received the most votes in the division lobby may be taken as the amended bill for the third reading.
ii. a.) In the event of a tie, the author of the original bill may select which amendment is to be taken as the amended bill.
iii) Where multiple successful amendments to a bill amend different parts of the original bill, the complete revised bill must satisfy the proposer(s) of all successful amendments to the bill, along with the speaker. The complete revised bill may be submitted by any member.
iii. a.) The Speaker may overrule the dissatisfaction of amendment proposers with a proposed third reading of a bill if (s)he believes that such registrations of dissatisfaction are an attempt to block the progression of the bill unnecessarily.
iv) A bill which has entered a third reading will be put to a vote automatically after two days.
v) A bill which has entered a third reading cannot be withdrawn.
vi) A vote on a third reading of a bill must last for four days, with the question “Should this bill be made into law?”


Notes
Spoiler:
Show
Here is a diagram detailing the existing bill procedure in the house
Image


Here is a diagram detailing the proposed new bill procedure in the house
Image


This amendment does a few things. Firstly it removes the flimsy minimum/maximum periods for readings with exception of the first reading.

Secondly, and most significantly, it allows the house an opportunity to work collaboratively and submit amendments to change bills authored by other parties.

Clauses are in place to limit the abuse of this function, if an MP wishes to change the bill fundamentally then this should be rejected as part of 5.i and 5.ii.

Members should not be able to block amendments by withdrawing bills, hence the provision for this in 6.vi and 7.iii.a.

The other change of note is that this amendment would actually shorten the maximum length of time a bill may be within the system for.

The idea of voting on amendments to bills and bills passing through more readings brings MHoC closer to the IRL Parliamentary format. I don't expect this to be used particularly often, but it should hopefully limit the number of amendment bills and make the game a bit more interesting. I don't expect this amendment to pass either, but I thought it was worth discussing.

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SnowMiku
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I support the option of amendments for the sake of realism and I have a feeling it'll change MHoC quite a bit. It does lengthen the time, from what the diagram shows, that a bill can take to be passed, but I'm okay with that as well.

I happen to be first comment and it's an Aye from me.

(Side note, fair play to whoever made said diagrams.)
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abucha3
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(Original post by SnowMiku)
I support the option of amendments for the sake of realism and I have a feeling it'll change MHoC quite a bit. It does lengthen the time, from what the diagram shows, that a bill can take to be passed, but I'm okay with that as well.

I happen to be first comment and it's an Aye from me.

(Side note, fair play to whoever made said diagrams.)
I completely agree with this. Allowing amendments as described below brings us much closer to the RL House of Commons. Personally I think it will make the proceedings a bit more exciting as well.

It does place a lot of judgement on the Speaker? Is that what we want? I would theoretically say allow a wrecking amendment so to speak to be proposed if needs be, and the House can always vote it down? I would argue whether the Speaker needs to prevent any amendments to a bill in this respect?

I completely agree, hats off to whoever made the great diagrams.

I’m quite happy for a bill to take longer to go through the House. Again makes for a far more authentic experience.

An aye from me
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Aph
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I think that there is an interesting question here, would 'joke amendments' be allowed?
Whilst I seconded this and indeed believe that it is an improvement on the status quo, I do think that there is something to be said for having multiple rounds of amendments if an amendment that is passed slips errors in. But that might make the process of amending long and complicated and thus put people off.
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Bailey14
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I completely support this amendment and look forward to voting for it in the division lobbies.

Amendments to bills are something I've thought about for a while, and believe this amendment would provide a welcome change.
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Theloniouss
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I of course support this
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04MR17
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(Original post by Aph)
I think that there is an interesting question here, would 'joke amendments' be allowed?
Whilst I seconded this and indeed believe that it is an improvement on the status quo, I do think that there is something to be said for having multiple rounds of amendments if an amendment that is passed slips errors in. But that might make the process of amending long and complicated and thus put people off.
According to the GD: "joke items" cannot be sent to division. So no, in my view.

I sympathise with the idea of having multiple rounds of amendments, but it'd also be difficult to accommodate that without it being open to further abuses (e.g. somebody had an amendment to a bill defeated in the first round, and attempts it again in the second round with minor tweaks to disguise it).
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04MR17
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(Original post by abucha3)
I completely agree with this. Allowing amendments as described below brings us much closer to the RL House of Commons. Personally I think it will make the proceedings a bit more exciting as well.

It does place a lot of judgement on the Speaker? Is that what we want? I would theoretically say allow a wrecking amendment so to speak to be proposed if needs be, and the House can always vote it down? I would argue whether the Speaker needs to prevent any amendments to a bill in this respect?

I completely agree, hats off to whoever made the great diagrams.

I’m quite happy for a bill to take longer to go through the House. Again makes for a far more authentic experience.

An aye from me
The issue comes at whether you present a bill to nationalise roads, and an amendment is put through to the floor changing all instances of the word "roads" to "swimming pools". It's a wrecking amendment but it entirely changes the purpose of the original bill. The Speaker judgement and overruling clauses are only there to prevent abuse of the system, on a day-to-day basis shouldn't require a huge amount of effort on the speaker in terms of judgement alone.

That said, this would put some additional work on the speaker with more things going to floor, more divisions and more opportunities for a speaker's judgement to come about. I hope the house can see this system as worth that extra effort, but I respect the views of anyone who'd argue that this puts too much strain on an already challenging role.



On the length of time, this does lengthen the minimum time an item can get from day 1 on the floor to being passed or rejected. But it actually shortens the maximum time a bill can take to pass, because currently a bill can go for a week of cessation after every reading. SnowMiku on the last point.
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04MR17
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As I say in the notes, I honestly don't expect this to pass. It is a big change and I'm not sure that it's perfect but this has had a few weeks/months of consideration before you see it today. And in reality, you either agree with the idea of having amendments to bill during readings or you don't.

Right now, the only way you can change a bill is to persuade the author to make a change prior to division, or to put it to a second reading if the change is larger. If the bill author is resistant in doing that, your only option is to produce a bill yourself, amending a bill that the house has just passed.
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Jammy Duel
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This is actually pretty silly

If we are to say "this is good because it emulates RL better" then 6 vi must go given wrecking amendments are a thing

Speaking of wrecking amendments 5ii is just asking for problems for the speaker because we have seen multiple times people **** about amendments as "wrecking amendments" because of a lack of a proper argument

7i seems unnecessarily complex when it ultimately seems to be a case of "let me 'steal' bills when somebody else beat me to the idea because I sat around on my arse instead of writing something"

Simultaneously dealing with amendments is just asking for trouble, creating bills that contradict themselves
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by SnowMiku)
I support the option of amendments for the sake of realism and I have a feeling it'll change MHoC quite a bit. It does lengthen the time, from what the diagram shows, that a bill can take to be passed, but I'm okay with that as well.

I happen to be first comment and it's an Aye from me.

(Side note, fair play to whoever made said diagrams.)
You do realise this amendment ultimately exists because 04 and the CP keeps getting upset with other people "stealing" their ideas and that it does not make things more realistic, if anything it makes things less realistic because IRL the proposer of a bill has the ability to block any amendment they like by simply pulling the bill, this amendment is specifically designed to stop that.
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Jammy Duel
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Here's another one.

I submit a bill, I think changes are required so what do I do? Well if I don't make those changes within a week tough ****, can't do anything, either it is withdrawn or pushed as it is despite it needing changes.

If I do go for an amendment either it is approved in which case great, if not tough **** the bill has to be voted on no matter how broken it is.

But now let's say the amendment is accepted, now during the debate on that amendment new issues came to light which similarly break the bill, now we're royally screwed because they can't be fixed and you have no choice but to go for division on a bill that is critically flawed whether the amendment is accepted or not
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04MR17
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
You do realise this amendment ultimately exists because 04 and the CP keeps getting upset with other people "stealing" their ideas and that it does not make things more realistic, if anything it makes things less realistic because IRL the proposer of a bill has the ability to block any amendment they like by simply pulling the bill, this amendment is specifically designed to stop that.
That is not the motivation for this amendment at all, and this is not party political.
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Saracen's Fez
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I like the principle and I'd love to give this a trial for a bit to see if it would actually work in practice.
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04MR17
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
Here's another one.

I submit a bill, I think changes are required so what do I do? Well if I don't make those changes within a week tough ****, can't do anything, either it is withdrawn or pushed as it is despite it needing changes.

If I do go for an amendment either it is approved in which case great, if not tough **** the bill has to be voted on no matter how broken it is.

But now let's say the amendment is accepted, now during the debate on that amendment new issues came to light which similarly break the bill, now we're royally screwed because they can't be fixed and you have no choice but to go for division on a bill that is critically flawed whether the amendment is accepted or not
That isn't correct. After the first reading the bill would enter cessation provided that nobody else has submitted amendments. You'd then have a total of 2 weeks to get your amendments in after the first day of the first reading. If you can't make a change to something you've already written, within 14 days, then I'd have to ask where you found the time to write the bill int he first place. It is quite common for an author of a bill to make it known that they intend to produce a second reading or change prior to division - that's simply good practice. If you were opposed to some of the suggested bill amendments then you would be expecting some amendments to be put through within the first 5 days and so you'd have the first 7 days of the bill's first reading to sort out your own changes as well.
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04MR17
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(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
I like the principle and I'd love to give this a trial for a bit to see if it would actually work in practice.
I agree, if it goes horribly wrong I'd support its repeal.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by 04MR17)
As I say in the notes, I honestly don't expect this to pass. It is a big change and I'm not sure that it's perfect but this has had a few weeks/months of consideration before you see it today. And in reality, you either agree with the idea of having amendments to bill during readings or you don't.

Right now, the only way you can change a bill is to persuade the author to make a change prior to division, or to put it to a second reading if the change is larger. If the bill author is resistant in doing that, your only option is to produce a bill yourself, amending a bill that the house has just passed.
Conceptually there isn't a problem with amendments as part of the process, merely practically.

We either have this approach which leads to bills that make current items look good because you have different parts being pulled in different directions which creates massively incoherent bills, as well as placing the speaker in a position where they inevitably annoy everyone because at some point or another they will accept an amendment that somebody doesn't want accepting or reject one that somebody doesn't want rejecting.

The other way would be to do it like RL where things are done sequentially, but congratulations, you have introduced the filibuster.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by 04MR17)
That isn't correct. After the first reading the bill would enter cessation provided that nobody else has submitted amendments. You'd then have a total of 2 weeks to get your amendments in after the first day of the first reading. If you can't make a change to something you've already written, within 14 days, then I'd have to ask where you found the time to write the bill int he first place. It is quite common for an author of a bill to make it known that they intend to produce a second reading or change prior to division - that's simply good practice. If you were opposed to some of the suggested bill amendments then you would be expecting some amendments to be put through within the first 5 days and so you'd have the first 7 days of the bill's first reading to sort out your own changes as well.
"5) An amendment to a bill may be submitted by any MP to the speaker during the period of the bill’s first reading."

You have 1 week to submit the amendment because that is how long the first reading is. You are halving the time available.

It's also interesting you say "If you can't make a change to something you've already written, within 14 days, then I'd have to ask where you found the time to write the bill int he first place" when you have defended shocking bills with an argument that it has been worked on for months and not voting for it undermines the hard work done. Items can be written over long periods of time, they don't have to be written in a single sitting.
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Miss Maddie
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I'm voting no.
Last edited by Miss Maddie; 2 weeks ago
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04MR17
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
This is actually pretty silly

If we are to say "this is good because it emulates RL better" then 6 vi must go given wrecking amendments are a thing

Speaking of wrecking amendments 5ii is just asking for problems for the speaker because we have seen multiple times people **** about amendments as "wrecking amendments" because of a lack of a proper argument

7i seems unnecessarily complex when it ultimately seems to be a case of "let me 'steal' bills when somebody else beat me to the idea because I sat around on my arse instead of writing something"

Simultaneously dealing with amendments is just asking for trouble, creating bills that contradict themselves
7i is simply saying that the original author of the bill doesn't have to author the third reading. With the exception of the speaker and DS, who stand for and are elected to their positions, no part of our GD or constitution mandates anyone to actually do anything beside vote. And even then they can choose not to. If the original author has fallen out of love with an item that's been changed significantly and is no longer something they would be willing to continue with a person who submitted one of the amendments (for instance) could author the third reading. It isn't a case of stealing, there is no prizes to be won for authoring a third reading. If you're worried this could be open to abuse then I could add a line that says the original author must either permit the production of the third reading without them or produce it themselves?


The closer emulation to IRL is one reason members may wish to support this amendment. It is not the sole reason and there are a series of differentiations here between MHoC and RL. Do you have any issue with 6.vi beyond a perceived inconsistency with the notes?

5ii is perhaps one of the most ambiguous parts to this. A few years back we would be arguing that its good the speaker has such flexibility. Now we seem to be under a veiled notion that unless a robot can do it, the speaker shouldn't. I appreciate the weakness that 5ii holds, and I welcome thoughts as to how it may be strengthened. If it's a clause that would lead to people rejecting this amendment, then so be it. I'm not going to break this amendment in order for it to get through. If the house defeats it that's fine. It's not something I feel about strongly.
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