Thursday, 30 April 2009
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
- strengthen the regulatory powers of the Electoral Commission, to provide new powers of investigation and the option of civil sanctions
- enable political parties to put forward four extra Electoral Commissioners and relax political restrictions on staff of the Commission
- alter the definition of ‘election expenses’ and ‘candidate’ in the Representation of the People Act 1983 to take into account spending on elections prior to the dissolution of Parliament
- place further requirements on parties and donors to clarify the source of donations
- amend the Representation of the People Act to provide a more flexible system for adding to the register of electors when an election is called while the register is being updated.
The Research Paper prepared by the House of Commons Library on the Bill last September is available at http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/rp2008/rp08-074.pdf
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Monday, 27 April 2009
His slides are available athttp://www.open.ac.uk/documents/1/rc090604541921155.ppt
and the audio is available at http://www.genomicsnetwork.ac.uk/media/HFEA-Phil%20Willis.wma
The following Hansard Society publication provides further useful background - http://www.hansardsociety.org.uk/blogs/downloads/archive/2007/09/27/law-in-the-making-jun-2007.aspx
Sunday, 26 April 2009
Saturday, 25 April 2009
Nineteen bills are expected to be considered under the suspension of the rules procedure plus
H.R. 1913 - Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (Rep. Conyers – Judiciary)
H.R. 627 - Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2009 (Rep. Maloney – Financial Services)
Conference Report on S.Con.Res. 13 - Setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2010, revising the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal year 2009, and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2011 through 2014 (Rep. Spratt – Budget)
The Senate will continue consideration of S.386, the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009.
The details of this week's business can be found at
Westminster - http://services.parliament.uk/calendar/.
House of Representatives - http://democraticleader.house.gov/links_and_resources/whip_resources/weeklyleader.cfm?pressReleaseID=2971
Friday, 24 April 2009
"Surveillance is an inescapable part of life in the UK. Every time we make a telephone call, send an email, browse the internet, or even walk down our local high street, our actions may be monitored and recorded. To respond to crime, combat the threat of terrorism, and improve administrative efficiency, successive UK governments have gradually constructed one of the most extensive and technologically advanced surveillance systems in the world. At the same time, similar developments in the private sector have contributed to a profound change in the character of life in this country. The development of electronic surveillance and the collection and processing of personal information have become pervasive, routine, and almost taken for granted. Many of these surveillance practices are unknown to most people, and their
potential consequences are not fully appreciated.
Commenting on these developments in August 2004, the Information Commissioner Richard Thomas warned against the possibility of the UK sleepwalking into what he referred to as a “surveillance society” In particular, he expressed concern about a raft of new Government proposals, including the establishment of a national identity card scheme, and the creation of a database containing the name and address of every child under the age of 18.
The years that have followed these comments have seen an expansion in the National DNA Database (NDNAD), the introduction or development of new databases for a variety of public services, and a steady increase in the use of CCTV in both the public and private sector. There has been a profound and continuous expansion in the surveillance apparatus of both the state and the private sector. In the past, computer databases and data sharing, the monitoring of electronic communications, electronic identification, and public area CCTV surveillance were relatively uncommon. Today these technologies are ubiquitous and exert an influence over many aspects of our everyday lives. The expansion in the use of surveillance represents one of the
most significant changes in the life of the nation since the end of the Second World War, and has been shaped by a succession of governments, public bodies, and private organisations. Furthermore, surveillance continues to exert a powerful influence over the relationship between individuals and the state, and between individuals themselves. The selective way in which it is
sometimes used threatens to discriminate against certain categories of individuals.
In 2006, the Information Commissioner commissioned the Surveillance Studies Network to compile A Report on the Surveillance Society. The Report was published in November 2006, and focused on surveillance in everyday life in the UK today and in the future, and on how it might be regulated. In March 2007, the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) produced its report,
Dilemmas of Privacy and Surveillance: Challenges of Technological Change,which also made a number of recommendations for regulation."
Thursday, 23 April 2009
The renovation will restore the building to its original grandeur, as additions from the 1980's are being peeled back and removed to reveal original features, such as ornate ceilings. The historic integrity of this important building is being preserved while a modern functional and publicly accessible court space is created."
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
A fourteen minute recording is available on the parliamentary website about the history and traditions of the Budget - http://www.parliament.uk/about/podcasts/budget.cfm. A factsheet is available at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/p05.pdf.
The Hansard Society have done a lot of work on the current process - and proposals for reform. Their book, 'The Fiscal Maze' is downloadable at http://www.hansardsociety.org.uk/blogs/downloads/archive/2007/09/17/the-fiscal-maze-jul-2006.aspxBudget resolutions are passed to give effect to any tax changes announced - and these are then permanent effect after the Finance Bill is passed.
The Treasury maintains a Budget website at http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/bud_bud09_index.htm
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
Senator Mark Pryor discusses how to improve civility in the senate