Picture yourself as a member of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom and the State Duma of the Russian Federation. Describe the role that your political party plays in your career as a legislator. How does the party help you in your work, and how does it restrict you? To what extent is your career tied up with that of the party? As a backbencher (or equivalent), what changes might you want to see in the organization of your party?
"Members of Parliament"
As legislator in the British HOC, not much has changed to my role in the recent history since Britain is fixated on tradition. The role of the legislator in the HOC has, therefore, remained virtually unchanged. Perhaps the only push for change in recent times has come about due to the swift atmosphere of change in global politics / environment calling for faster involvement in Parliament in making their laws. Legal change has become more hectic in the 21st century, and people are pushing for Parliament to keep apace.
More significantly, Britain's membership in the EU also brought changes where traditional authority of Parliament was challenged and Parliament now became subject to the rulings of the European Court of Justice. Legislation, therefore, passed in Parliament has to consider the involvement and ruling of the EU and have to conform to European requirements (examples of these are company, consumer and employment law).
Britain's social climate has also changed aspects of the law; considerations of homosexuality have become more relaxed; women are given more rights; there is a greater emphasis on environmental protection; abortion has been legalized and divorce is more obtainable. The law has adapted to these changes (Pearson Ed. Chapter 2 )
As regards the Duma, the rules for legislator involvement in laws were promulgated in 1995 which is comparatively recently. Not much, if anything, has changed since then. The laws also reflect modifications to morals of recent times such as the controversial "On Amendments to Federal Law On Protecting Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and Development and Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation" which touched on Internet and telecom services (Russian Lawmakers Set to Debate Internet Blacklist, MOSCOW, July 6 (RIA Novosti)] http://en.ria.ru/russia/20120706/174427445.html).
One point of contention in the State Duma which has still not been resolved is the amount of power that the Federation Council has and its partisanship to the President. At least at the moment, many of the members of the Duma themselves are less pro-President than those in the Federation Council are. This has resulted in wrangling which both chambers tried unsuccessfully to break in February 1996. Little change has been effected since then in the legislative running of the two Chambers (Monagabay.com)
1. Passing Laws as Member of House of Commons: Parliament
As legislator, I clearly stand a better chance being connected with the HOC than I do with the HOL. This is because the HOC is more powerful in passing legislation than is the HOL, and I stand a better chance her in passing my bill.
Bills may be passed in either House, although the controversial Bills are frequently launched from the HOC. More so, it is the supremacy of the HOC in passing bills that stands me in good stead. Parliament Acts ensures that certain bills can be passed by the HOC without needing the assent of the HOL. This not only increases the chance of the bills being accepted, but also lessens the amount of time for bills to be implemented into actuality.
There are other bills, too, that the HOL cannot delay for more than one month. These include those dealing with funds (such s national taxation or public money). Most other bills cannot be delayed for more than two parliamentary sessions, or for beyond one year.
If my bill is concerning taxation or supply, it is advantageous that I actually belong to the HOC rather than to the HOL, since only a member of the HOC can produce such a bill. Best of all, these types of bills are immune to amendment by the HOL; they cannot be touched by them.
(Raphael et al., 2004, pp. 101; 125). Perhaps, the sole way that the party restricts me in my work as legislator is that passing the bill can actually be a tedious and long process. Some bills have to be accepted (and passed through) the HOL, who may decide to reject it. Oftentimes, too, bills may be amended beyond my desire.
Parliament considers five types of legislations:
1) Government Bills
2) Private Members' Bill
3) Private Bills
4) Hybrid Bills
5) Statutory Instruments (Www.Parliament.uk)
Some of these types may take longer than others to process.
Government bills are almost certain to be passed although they will likely be simultaneously amended. Were I, however, to wish to introduce a Private Member's Bill I may stand little chance of these getting heard and less likely of them being voted on since Parliament is most taken up with Government bills and has little time for the Private ones.
The Private Bills (launched by certain organizations) stand the same poor chance as private bills introduced by members and for the same reasons: Parliament is too occupied with its Government bills. As lawyer, therefore, who may be introducing one of either two kinds, I would likely be wasting my time.
Hybrid bills are those only introduced by Government or a backbencher and are intended to accord different treatment to one or more individuals. There are rare.
Statutory Instruments, also known as secondary legislation, are laws that emerge from primary Parliamentary conventions. These are the ones that I may stand a better chance in promoting and passing through; sometimes (depending on their characteristics), not needing to have them reviewed by the HOL.
Laws, however, may take a while to process and I may have to wait a long while for my bill to be introduced since Cabinet, at the beginning of each calendar year, prioritize its bills that it will introduce during the course of the year. A bill that I may wish to introduce in the middle of the year may well have to wait until the next calendar year. More so, given that Parliament actually has extended recessions; they sit for less than a year and can only review 20 major bills a year (FindLaw UK). This gives less time for my bill to be seen.
The process itself is convoluted and takes place in various steps. These consist of:
Formulation -- where ministers and civil servants decide the3 contents of the bill. As lawyer, I will not be involved in this stage. (My responsibility lies with actually drafting the bill)
Consultation -- where the bill is opened to the public and the public is given an interim to discuss it and present change to their Representative. The more important the bill, the more time will be taken up discussing it since government will want each and every point covered. Different groups of experts will therefore be brought in and consulted.
First Reading in HOC -- this is done after the bill has been drafted and agreed on by ministers. It usually passes with little, if any, conflict. The bill is printed
Second Reading -- Members discuss the bill (usually about 6 to 18 hours depending on the contents of the bill). Backbench MP's join in the debate.
The Committee Stage -- Thorough examination of the bill by 18 to 25 MPs.
The contents of the bill determine the amount of time allocated to it. Some bills may take as long s six to more weeks. A Standing Committee is appointed to discuss them. Controversial bills may have two chairs appointed
Report Stage -- Otherwise known as 'The Consideration', this consists of thorough examination of bill and amendments by the members of the HOC.
The Third Reading -- this is the final part of the debate in the HOC where the entire bill is reviewed. The bill then passes onto the HOL where the Lords go through he same process as that conducted by the HOC. Sometimes, the bill may need further discussion form the HOC in which case it zigzags back and forth between both Houses until unanimous consent has been reached about its legislature. Only then does it receive the Royal Assent. (BBC; History Learning Site)
This, in other words, is a lengthy, tedious, complicated process which can be frustrating for any legislative member who wishes to pass a bill and restricts me in my work as legislator.
2. Passing Laws as Member of the State Duma of the Russian Federation
The process of passing the bill actually seems faster and simpler in the Duma and were I a legislator here I would be helped in my career by the smoother processing of the bill. The process is the following:
Right of legislative initiative -- this is where the following parties are involved in initiating the bill: the President of the…