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Monday, 23 February 2015

Business This Week - House Of Representatives

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 23RD
On Monday, the House is not in session.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24TH
On Tuesday, the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for morning hour and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.
Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:
1) H.R. 212 - Drinking Water Protection Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Latta / Energy and Commerce Committee)
2) H.R. 734 - Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Steve Scalise / Energy and Commerce Committee)
3) H.R. 1020 - STEM Education Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25TH AND THE BALANCE OF THE WEEK
On Wednesday and Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.
On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. Last votes expected no later than 3:00 p.m.
Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:
1) S. 227 - Strengthening Education through Research Act (Sponsored by Sen. Lamar Alexander / Education and the Workforce Committee)
H.R. 529 - To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to improve 529 plans (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Lynn Jenkins / Ways and Means Committee)
H.R. 5 - Student Success Act, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. John Kline / Education and the Workforce Committee)
Possible Consideration of H.R. 240 - Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015
 
 
 
 
 

Business this week - House of Lords

Monday 23 February 2015
TimeBusiness
2.30pmOral Questions
Business rates reform, steps taken to support UK high streets
Effect of VAT on finances of sixth form colleges and non-maintained special schools
Crown Prosecution Service performance following recent budget cuts
Discussions with European Union member states regarding the handling of conflict in Ukraine
Legislation
Modern Slavery Bill - Report stage - Lord Bates
Short Debate
Hotels and facilities for disabled people
 
Tuesday 24 February 2015
TimeBusiness
2.30pmOral Questions
Proposals to include animal welfare in the National Curriculum
Plans to acknowledge the service of Gurkha battalions to the UK
Dignity and privacy of women at Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre
Assessment of the ability of the UK’s armed forces to participate fully in any NATO-led Baltic defence operations
Legislation
Specialist Printing Equipment and Materials (Offences) Bill - Committee of the whole House - Baroness Berridge
Legislation
Consumer Rights Bill - Consideration of Commons amendments - Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Orders and Regulations
Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Mitochondrial Donation) Regulations 2015 - Fatal Amendment Motion - /
Debate
Concerns expressed by local authorities in England and Wales over the growth of high street betting machines
 
Wednesday 25 February 2015
TimeBusiness
3pmOral Questions
Access to finance for small businesses
Assessment of broadband services in rural areas and city technology hubs in the UK
Whether soils in England will sustain long-term food production
Legislation
Modern Slavery Bill - Report stage (Day 2) - Lord Bates
Short Debate
Mental health services
Thursday 26 February 2015
TimeBusiness
11amOral Questions
Economic impact of the increase in Entrepreneurs’ Relief
Syrian refugees becoming permanent residents
Local Government Association’s report tackling obesity
Legislation
Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill - Committee of the whole House
Orders and Regulations
Scotland Act 1998 (Modification of Schedules 4 and 5 and Transfer of Functions to the Scottish Ministers etc.) Order 2015
Short Debate
The effect of the EU regulation on British agriculture
 
Friday 27 February 2015
TimeBusiness
10amLegislation
International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill - Report stage - Lord Purvis of Tweed
Legislation
Control of Horses Bill - Second reading
Legislation
Local Government (Religious etc. Observances) Bill - Second reading
Legislation
Local Government (Review of Decisions) Bill - Second reading

Business this week - House of Commons

 
CHAMBER
 
Monday 23 February 2015
TimeBusiness
2.30pmOral Questions
Defence, including Topical Questions
Statement
European Council - Mr David Cameron
Legislation
Serious Crime Bill [HL] - Report stage
Legislation
Serious Crime Bill [HL] - Third reading
Adjournment
Oesophageal cancer - Mike Weatherley
 
Tuesday 24 February 2015
TimeBusiness
11.30amOral Questions
Health, including Topical Questions
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Nature - Sir John Randall
Legislation
Pension Schemes Bill - Consideration of Lords amendments
Motion
Consideration of an allocation of time motion
Legislation
House of Commons Commission Bill - Second reading
Legislation
House of Commons Commission Bill - Committee of the whole House
Legislation
House of Commons Commission Bill - Report stage
Legislation
House of Commons Commission Bill - Third reading
Motion
Motions relating to Procedure Committee reports on business in Westminster Hall (HC 236 2014-15), Queen's and Prince of Wales's consent (HC 871 2014-15), and E- petitions (HC 235 2014-15)
Backbench Business
Mental health and unemployment
Adjournment
Economic effects of decrease in exploration and appraisal drilling - Mrs Mary Glindon
 
Wednesday 25 February 2015
TimeBusiness
11.30amOral Questions
Scotland
12pmPrime Minister's Question Time
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Employment of People with Disabilities (Reporting) - Debbie Abrahams
Debate
Opposition Day debate (18th allotted day) - Subject to be announced
Adjournment
Care for childhood cancers - Nicola Blackwood
 
Thursday 26 February 2015
TimeBusiness
9.30amOral Questions
Culture, Media and Sport, including Topical Questions; Women and Equalities
Business Statement
Leader of the House
Statement
Select Committee Statement on the publication of the Fourth Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, session 2014-15: Future of the BBC (HC 315 2014-15)
Backbench Business
(i) Equitable life (ii) Epilepsy
Adjournment
Government support for victims of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham - Sarah Champion
 
Friday 27 February 2015
TimeBusiness
9.30amLegislation (Private Members Bills)
Health Service Commissioner for England (Complaint Handling) Bill - Report stage - Mr David Davis
Legislation
House of Lords (Expulsion and Suspension) Bill [HL] - Report stage - Sir George Young
Legislation
Office for Budget Responsibility (Political Party Policy Costings) Bill - Second reading - Thomas Docherty
Legislation
Armed Forces (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill - Second reading - Thomas Docherty
Legislation
Jobs Guarantee Scheme (Research) Bill - Second reading - Thomas Docherty
Legislation
Terms and Conditions (Migrant Workers) Bill - Second reading - Thomas Docherty
Legislation
Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (Betting Shops) Bill - Second reading - Thomas Docherty
Legislation
High Cost Credit Services (Retail Premises) Bill - Second reading - Thomas Docherty
Legislation
Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014 (Repeal) Bill - Second reading - Thomas Docherty
Legislation
Letting Agents (Fees) Bill - Second reading - Thomas Docherty
Legislation
Firearm and Shotgun Licensing (Domestic Violence) Bill - Second reading - Thomas Docherty
Legislation
Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (Statutory Requirement) Bill - Second reading - Caroline Lucas
Legislation
Sex and Relationships Education (Curriculum) Bill - Second reading - Diana Johnson
Legislation
Tyres (Buses and Coaches) Bill - Second reading - Steve Rotheram
Legislation
Public Services (Ownership and User Involvement) Bill - Second reading - Caroline Lucas
Legislation
Armed Forces (Prevention of Discrimination) (No. 2) Bill - Second reading - Thomas Docherty
Legislation
National Defence Medal Bill - Second reading - Stephen Gilbert
Legislation
Electronic Cigarettes (Advertising and Legal Age of Purchase) Bill - Second reading - Geraint Davies
Legislation
Buses (Audio Announcements) Bill - Second reading - Jim Shannon
Legislation
Railways Bill - Second reading - Caroline Lucas
Legislation
Low Pay Commission (National Minimum Wage) Bill - Second reading - Dan Jarvis
Legislation
Housing (Affordability, Supply and Tenant Protection) Bill - Second reading - Caroline Lucas
Legislation
Off-Road Vehicles (Registration) Bill - Second reading - Mr David Ward
Legislation
Fracking (Measurement and Regulation of Impacts) (Air, Water and Greenhouse Gas Emissions) Bill - Second reading - Geraint Davies
Legislation
Working Time Directive (Limitation) Bill - Second reading (Day 2) - Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation
Zero Hours Contracts Bill - Second reading (Day 2) - Ian Mearns
Legislation
Funeral Services Bill - Second reading - Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck
Legislation
Bat Habitats Regulation Bill - Second reading (Day 2) - Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation
Energy (Buildings and Reduction of Fuel Use) Bill - Second reading - Dr Alan Whitehead
Legislation
Houses in Multiple Occupation (Energy Performance Certificates and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards) Bill - Second reading - Dr Alan Whitehead
Legislation
Sugar in Food and Drinks (Targets, Labelling and Advertising) Bill - Second reading - Geraint Davies
Legislation
Defence Expenditure (NATO Target) Bill - Second reading (Day 2) - Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation
Convicted Prisoners Voting Bill - Second reading (Day 2) - Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation
Benefit Entitlement (Restriction) Bill - Second reading - Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation
Road Traffic Regulation (Temporary Closure for Filming) Bill - Second reading (Day 2) - Iain Stewart
Legislation
Illegal Immigrants (Criminal Sanctions) Bill - Second reading (Day 2) - Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation
House of Lords (Maximum Membership) Bill - Second reading - Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation
EU Membership (Audit of Costs and Benefits) Bill - Second reading - Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation
Wild Animals in Circuses Bill - Second reading - Jim Fitzpatrick MP
Legislation
Medical Innovation Bill [HL] - Second reading - Michael Ellis
Legislation
Living Wage (Reporting) Bill - Second reading - Heidi Alexander

 
Adjournment
Investigation of deaths in mental health settings - Mr Charles Walker
 
WESTMINSTER HALL
 
Monday 23 February 2015
TimeBusiness
4.30pm - 7.30pm
Debate on an e-petition relating to ending non-stun slaughter to promote animal welfare - Mr Philip Hollobone
 
Tuesday 24 February 2015
TimeBusiness
9.30am - 11am
Yemen - Keith Vaz
11am - 11.30am
Police numbers in Wales - Chris Evans
2.30pm - 4pm
Public procurement of infrastructure in the South West - Mr Gary Streeter
4pm - 4.30pm
Allegations of misconduct and human rights abuse by a British oil exploration firm in Democratic Republic of Congo - Tessa Munt
4.30pm - 5pm
Effects of mining in Goa by UK-listed companies - John McDonnell
 
Wednesday 25 February 2015
TimeBusiness
9.30am - 11am
Access to careers advice for 14 to 19 year-olds - Stephen Lloyd
11am - 11.30am
Police widows' and widowers’ pensions - Richard Graham
2.30pm - 4pm
UK contribution to preventing conflict in Gaza - Mr Michael McCann
4pm - 4.30pm
Transport infrastructure in West and South Cumbria - Mr Jamie Reed
4.30pm - 5pm
Bullying on school buses - Annette Brooke
 
Thursday 26 February 2015
TimeBusiness
1.30pm - 4.30pm
Low carbon electricity generation - Mr Tim Yeo

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Walking in the Footsteps

I did make it to Stony Stratford yesterday - and walked the length of the shopping area on what was Watling Street (now called "High Street") across the river  bridge and into Old Stratford.

Behind the High Street are the remains of St Mary Magdalene church. It was seriously damaged in the 18th Century, but its medieval tower remains.


A lovely garden has been set to commemorate  the (probable) site of the Stony Stratford Eleanor Cross. These marked the overnight resting places of the body of Edward I's wife - as it was taken from her place of death in Nottinghamshire to Westminster.




The Bridge marks a significant point in the border between England and Danelaw. Alfred the Great signed a treaty with the Viking leader, Guthrun.  The border ran from the north along Watling Street until it met the River Ouse - then followed that river towards Bedford. The photograph below shows where the border made this turn.


Friday, 20 February 2015

The road to Runnymede goes through Milton Keynes!

I've been using some of the (small) amount of free time I have at the moment, to read up about the events leading up to the meeting at Runnymede. Using my modern atlas of France, I've been able to plot (approximately) his itinerary during the disastrous campaign of 1214.



By 800 years ago this week King John had moved into the Midlands (much of the time in previous months he had been in London or southern England). After a few days in Woodstock (just to the north of Oxford - and close to the site of Blenheim Palace - in fact, after Woodstock Palace was destroyed during the Civil War of the 17th Century - stones from it were used to construct Blenheim) - he moved to Silverstone (now the centre for motor racing). From there he travelled to Northampton, spending a night in Blisworth. Northampton had a grand castle - reputedly his father's favourite castle in England. Sadly little now remains - but the station, built on much of the site, is still known as Castle Station.

Then - 800 years ago today - he left Northampton to join the main route from the Midlands to London. He came to Stony Stratford - now part of Milton Keynes. It is an ancient town (though of medieval origin rather than Roman). In Roman times, there may have been some settlement across the Great Ouse river in what is now known as Old Stratford, but the Roman Road (Watling Street) ran through countryside in what is now Stony. (I am writing this from home - in Furzton, which adjoins Watling Street - it was countryside until only 30 years ago).

Stony, because of its strategic position on a major river crossing on this ancient, but continuously important road, has had many royal visitors. It was there that the boy king Edward V was met and taken into 'protective custody' by his uncle, the future Richard III. 

If I have time, I may well pop up to Stratford sometime today - and after popping to my favourite bakers (Woodstocks - by coincidence) - I'll drive home on exactly the route King John took, exactly 800 years previously.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Judicial Review Flowdiagram



The above (which if clicked, becomes full sized) is a flow diagram I have shared with many generations of Constitutional & Administrative Law students. It is a logical pattern for dealing with a practical Judicial Review (UK) problem. If you are studying the topic of the British Judicial Review (it is wholly unlike the American action of the same name) - or you know someone who is - please feel free to use or share.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

The Road to Runnymede

After years of complaining that while Americans celebrate "Magna Carta", we Brits seem happy to ignore it - there is a host of material now available for reflection on the significance; application - and history of that tremendous document. The BBC is doing us proud with its output. I'm not a great David Starkey fan - but thoroughly enjoyed watching his programme on Magna Carta.

It's worth visiting BBC iPlayer and the "Taking Liberties" website for more information about the feast of materialnow available. My apologies to non-UK readers - but there are some blocks on access to BBC material outside the UK.

There are also some excellent books out. A selection are linked to below





Monday, 16 February 2015

Politics can be Magic

Congressman Mark Pocan, the Democratic Representative from Wisconsin's 2nd District has a new series of videos explaining what Congress is about - and what is happening. I'm hooked already. These are his first few videos -











For future episodes - subscribe here

A quiet week ahead?





Well that may be too much to hope for in this fast moving world! But on the legislative front, the news making events are likely to occur OUTSIDE the chambers.


The House of Commons and House of Lords have a week's break. In the US Monday is President's Day - and the House of Representatives has a "District Work Week", while the Senate has a "State Work Period".

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Alan Turing

In my post yesterday, I wrote that I had to go to Bletchley. Well, it's not that far for me - Bletchley is now part of Milton Keynes - and I can walk to Bletchley Park in much less than an hour. During World War Two, the parish in which I live, was home to Alan Turing. He cycled in to Bletchley Park - and the old Shenley Road passes through Furzton. In fact there was a lesser used route, which he may well have used - which passed yards from my home.

The Inn is now a private home - but, if you know what you are looking for, the building is quite obvious.

I took this photo on Friday of his teddy bear "Porgy", which - it is reputed - Turing would practice his lectures at Cambridge in front of.




Saturday, 14 February 2015

Bletchley Park


I had to go to Bletchley yesterday morning, to have a couple of tyres replaced. The upside was that I had a couple of hours to spare - so walked across to Bletchley Park. It is certainly worth a days visit - and now visitors come for such visits from around the world. But a ticket once bought allows as many return visits within 12 months as one is able to make. (Even better - if you become, as I have, a "Friend of Bletchley Park", membership also permits unlimited visits - and supports the excellent work that is going on there.)

I am supplementing my visits with reading (and listening to audiobooks) about BP. There is now such a wealth of material - and I learn something new (or put something read into context) each time I visit.

Do visit BP if you haven't been. It is one of the most inspirational historic sites in the UK. Further details are available at http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/

Friday, 13 February 2015

The Congressional Budget Office

The CBO has for the past 40 years provided specialist advice to Congress. It is an institution well worth looking at and getting to know if the workings of Congress itself are of interest to you.
 
Brookings have an event next week - which I've already signed up for - not that I will be in Washington (more's the pity) - but one can sign up for the live webcast.
 
 
 
On February 17, the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy will convene a conversation to examine the political forces that have, so far, allowed CBO to maintain its independence, to evaluate what CBO has done well and what it hasn’t, and to highlight challenges it confronts in the future.

For more details - and to sign up (either to attend in person, or for the webcast - go to http://www.brookings.edu/events

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

ECHR – Key Rights & Restrictions

What are the key rights in the European Convention on Human Rights? - and when can these be restricted? The answers can be found in the Convention itself - which can be accessed here.

But it can be easy to lose sight of the key points - so I have prepared a hand-out for my Open University W201 students, which reformats the text to highlight what the rights cover - and when States can interfere with them. This is a revision document - so if it is of help to you - or you have friends studying Constitutional & Administrative Law (UK) or Human Rights Law - please feel free to use it, or share this post (Facebook; Twitter; Email - or whatever)
 

Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life

1.    Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2.    There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except

      1. such as is in accordance with the law and
      2. is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.


Article 9 – Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

1.    Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

2.    Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only

      1. to such limitations as are prescribed by law and
      2. are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.


Article 10 – Freedom of expression

1.    Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

2.    The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to

      1. such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and
      2. are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

Article 11 – Freedom of assembly and association

1.    Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

2.    No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than

      1. such as are prescribed by law and
      2. are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the State.


·        Do not forget the principle of proportionality – R (on the application of Daly) v Home Secretary [2001] 2 AC 532

 

o   Is the legislative objective sufficiently important to justify limiting a fundamental right?

o   Are the measures taken rationally connected to this objective?

o   Are the measures taken no more than is necessary to accomplish this objective?

 

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Public Accounts Committee


This committee, of ancient origin (it existed long before the current system of departmental select committees was established), is back in the news. Its active Chair, Margaret Hodge, has announced that it will be asking the tax authority, HMRC and the Treasury, about the HSBC scandal when the committee takes evidence from them about other tax avoidance schemes tomorrow. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02jlzr9 and http://www.cityam.com/208991/hmrc-faces-hsbc-tax-dodge-grilling-parliament.

The committee website can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-archive/committee-of-public-accounts/

Legislative Explorer


An article in PS (one of the APSA [American Political Science Association] journals) - "Legislative Explorer: Data-Driven Discovery of Lawmaking" - drew my attention to this interesting and useful application. At first sight it gives a visual representation of how bills make their way (or don't make progress) through Congress. The path of every bill is shown from introduction to its eventual end - which, in a very few cases, involves becoming law. It's a superb visualisation - and as an educator - I really appreciate how representing things in different ways can aid understanding (and assist long-term retention).

But upon a closer look this app has even more uses. It contains data from the 93rd Congress to the present day - about specific Bills (and their passage); and members of Congress. I was playing with it at the weekend and was able to track the movement in ideological position of certain legislators over their career - both in terms of their move on the liberal/conservative scale - and their relative position within each Congress.

The visual contrast between the spread of ideological position within and between parties was also evident from the graphics.

There are also some very useful statistics on the success rates of bills, and you can see how general progress develops of the life of each Congress.

I can see that I'll be using this tool a lot!

You can visit it at http://www.legex.org/app.html

Monday, 9 February 2015

House of Representatives - The Week Ahead

Times are Eastern Standard Time - add 5 hours if in the UK; 6 hours if in most of the EU.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 9TH
On Monday, the House will meet at 1:00 p.m. in pro forma session. No votes are expected.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10TH
On Tuesday, the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for morning hour and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.
Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:
1) H.R. __ - National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Steven Palazzo / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)
2) H.R. 719 - TSA Office of Inspection Accountability Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. John Katko / Homeland Security Committee)
3) H.R. 720 - Gerardo Hernandez Airport Security Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. John Katko / Homeland Security Committee)
4) H.R. 710 - Essential Transportation Worker Identification Credential Assessment Act (Sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee / Homeland Security Committee)

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 11TH
On Wednesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.
Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:
1) H.R. 431 - To award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Foot Soldiers who participated in Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday, or the final Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March in March of 1965, which served as a catalyst for the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (Sponsored by Rep. Terri Sewell / Financial Services Committee)
S. 1 - Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Sen. John Hoeven / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee / Energy and Commerce Committee)

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12TH
On Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.
H.R. 644 - Fighting Hunger Incentive Act of 2015, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Tom Reed / Ways and Means Committee)

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 13TH
On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. Last votes expected no later than 3:00 p.m.
H.R. 636 - America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2015, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Patrick Tiberi / Ways and Means Committee / Budget Committee)

Forthcoming Business in the House of Lords

Monday 9 February 2015

Time
Business
2.30pmIntroduction(s)
Oral Questions
Ensuring sports stadia in the UK are made fully accessible for spectators with a disability
Rebuilding confidence in the banking system
Impact on low income taxpayers of the changes to the Council Tax Support Scheme and the Council Tax Reduction Scheme
Misuse of fixed-odds betting terminals in betting shops
Legislation
Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill - Third reading - Lord Bates
Legislation
Infrastructure Bill [HL] - Consideration of Commons amendments - Baroness Kramer
 
Tuesday 10 February 2015
TimeBusiness
2.30pmOral Questions
Amount allocated to the Scottish government in Barnett consequentials in the last year
Consultation on the future financing of local welfare assistance schemes
Investigating breaches of international law by state and non-state actors in Syria
Enhancing international support for the government of Ukraine
Legislation
Recall of MPs Bill - Report stage - Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Short Debate
Local welfare assistance schemes
 
Wednesday 11 February 2015
TimeBusiness
3pmOral Questions
Effect of local enterprise partnerships on the economy and key skills in their local areas
Plans to allow pupils to register to vote in schools, sixth form and further education colleges
Proposed measures to ensure public sector strikes have the full support of union members
Legislation
Deregulation Bill - Report stage (Day 3) - Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Legislation
Stamp Duty Land Tax Bill - Second reading
Legislation
Stamp Duty Land Tax Bill - Committee of the whole House
Legislation
Stamp Duty Land Tax Bill - Report stage
Legislation
Stamp Duty Land Tax Bill - Third reading
 
Thursday 12 February 2015
TimeBusiness
11amRoyal Assent
Oral Questions
The use of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to prevent or control busking
Transforming the delivery of probation services
Steps to reduce the number of residential properties left vacant by their owners
Legislation
Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill - Second reading
Motion
17 negative instruments relating to care and support, laid before the House between 24 and 31 October 2014
 
Friday 13 February 2015
The House of Lords will be in recess. The House will next sit on Monday 23 February 2015.

House of Commons - Business in the Main Chamber

This is the business for the week ahead. Please drop a line expressing whether you would like this as a regular Monday morning fixture on Washminster - jdavidmorgan@googlemail.com
 
Monday 9 February 2015
TimeBusiness
2.30pmOral Questions
Home Office, including Topical Questions
Motion
Motions to approve (i) Draft Social Security Benefits Up-Rating Order 2015 (ii) Draft Guaranteed Minimum Pensions Increase Order 2015
Motion
Motions to approve (i) Draft Mesothelioma Lump Sum Payments (Conditions and Amounts) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (ii) Draft Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers’ Compensation) (Payment Of Claims) (Amendment) Regulations 2015
Adjournment
Regulation of announcements relating to peanut allergies on flights entering and leaving the UK - Ian Paisley
 
Tuesday 10 February 2015
TimeBusiness
11.30amOral Questions
Deputy Prime Minister, including Topical Questions; Attorney General
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Tuition Fee (Transparency and Accountability) - Oliver Colvile
Motion
To approve the Police Grant Report (England and Wales) 2015-16 (HC 930 2014-15)
Motion
To approve motions relating to Local Government Finance Reports
Money Resolution
Motion to approve a money resolution relating to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill
Legislation
Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill - Consideration of Lords amendments
Adjournment
Transport in Tees Valley - Andy McDonald
 
Wednesday 11 February 2015
TimeBusiness
11.30amOral Questions
Cabinet Office, including Topical Questions
12pmPrime Minister's Question Time
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Job Creation Powers (Scotland) - Ian Murray
Debate
Opposition Day debate (17th allotted day) (i) Labour's Job Guarantee (ii) Tax avoidance
Consideration of any Lords amendments
Adjournment
Diversity in radio broadcasting and Premier Christian Radio - Stephen Timms
 
Thursday 12 February 2015
TimeBusiness
9.30amOral Questions
Business, Innovation and Skills, including Topical Questions
Business Statement
Leader of the House
Backbench Business
(i) Pubs and planning legislation (ii) Destruction and looting of historic sites in Syria and Iraq (iii) Mental health and wellbeing of Londoners
Adjournment
Economic contribution of Scotch whisky industry - Mr Alan Reid
 
Friday 13 February 2015
The House will not be sitting.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Corruption

We know it's bad - but what is it?

That issue lies behind an excellent programme broadcast by C-SPAN. I watched it in bed this morning. It is available here. Long term readers of this blog - and my law students, will know why it is a subject that I take a deep interest in.

Lord Acton said "power tends to corrupt...." - sometimes that is dismissed, because he is taken to mean that all who exercise political power will be tempted (and presumably, many have fallen) to accept bribes. I contend that the corruption he was thinking of is a much wider concept. In essence, it recognises that as humans we easily persuade ourselves that what is in our own interest is actually in everyone else's interest. We trust - and listen to friends, more than judge fairly between competing arguments. We are very good at justifying to ourselves what onlookers may think is unacceptable. I saw the Westminster expenses scandal up close - honourable people, who never thought they were doing wrong, got embroiled in the scandal - and couldn't understand why their constituents were turning on them. They were blinded by 'group think'. The very narrow view of "corruption" is seen by the US Supreme Court - who can't seem to recognise how corrupting an influence the large sums of money now washing around US politics and elections are.

I thoroughly recommend setting aside 90 minutes to watch this programme. It raises some serious issues - and makes one think.

Some of the issues are addressed in a book "Ethics in Congress" - which discusses the difference between personal and institutional corruption.



Websites of the contributors to the programme include -

Zephyr Teachout - http://www.teachoutwu.com/
Janine Wedel - http://janinewedel.info/
Lawrence Lessig - http://www.lessig.org/about/


Saturday, 7 February 2015

The OU


As you may already know, I am an associate lecturer with the Open University. I currently tutor on two of their Law courses. The OU has been offering courses and awarding degrees for more than 40 years. Both my parents studied through the university when I was a teenager. (I have to say that it's a great boost to a teenager to have his parents studying - it sets a great example - and can excite enthusiasm for one's own studying). In those days "Walton Hall"


appeared an almost mythical place from which books and games (yes, I found it strange that learning could be done through 'playing' board games - but it can, and was) were sent; work was sent to be assessed (no electronic submission in those days); and TV programmes (broadcast at unearthly hours before video players were available!) were made. Now I live in Milton Keynes - and Walton Hall is just a few minutes drive away. Despite that, I don't actually work at Walton Hall. As an associate lecturer, I deliver tutorials - in Oxford, Reading and Birmingham.

I am still in awe of the University. It has thousands of students, across the country (and further afield) and offers a great range of courses. There are some postgrads working at "the campus", but it's unlike any traditional university. There is a good library on site ( which I use), but the bulk of study goes on in homes with some courses offering tutorials near to students' homes.

The fantastic studios (where some of the classic OU programmes were made) have gone, but the OU still has a great output of programmes which are broadcast on mainstream British TV (the current 4 part documentary on the House of Commons is one, as are the various series of "Coast".)

Do visit the website, and if you are considering studying, you would be in some excellent company.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Dan Rostenkowski


The House of Representatives in the immediate aftermath of "Watergate" is a particular interest of mine. I have delivered a number of academic papers on that era. As I continue to research the area, I have been reading about some of the key players. One was Dan Rostenkowski - whose career of over 30 years in the House, is very interesting. He was in the latter years the powerful Chair of the Ways and Means Committee. Richard E Cohen wrote in the 1990s a biography of Rostenkowski, which I just finished reading on my kindle. I do have photocopies of part of the book made when I was in Washington researching Whips (Rostenkowski was Deputy Chief Whip in the 95th and 96th Congresses - and was a member of the Whip team for most of his congressional career).

His career ended with conviction and imprisonment following the House Post Office Scandal.

It's a very readable book, and if you want to learn more about him - I'd encourage you to read the book. I have also watched a couple of oral histories in the C-SPAN archive, in which he is interviewed by Richard Norton Smith.


Thursday, 5 February 2015

A Confession...

I have to admit that I am becoming addicted to the Rules Committee of the House of Representatives. Of an evening I will watch videos of the meetings - either via the committee's own website or via the Archives on C-SPAN.

My daughter, Sarah Taylor, was telling in (when we met for a coffee in a local Starbucks) that while she was working as an intern in Washington - she would sometimes drop by the committee's room in the Capitol Building to sit in a meeting. It is a useful means of keeping up with the issues that the whole House will be considering - as well as seeing some of the procedural issues that arise.



This week the committee was considering a "Special Rule" for consideration of a bill to repeal Obamacare. Jim McGovern picked up the point that the original wording of the proposed resolution instructed other committees to submit recommendations, rather than "report" them. Much could have hung on this word - the usual practice, to "report" is backed by many precedents - but "submit" could be more woolly and might even mean that the relevant committee need not even meet to consider what is "submitted". The Chairman disappeared for a while - to return and announce that the point was taken, and so "report" would be inserted.



 I hope to post further on the role and work of the Rules Committee shortly.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

A view behind the scenes



Did you catch the first episode of "Inside the Commons" on BBC2 last night? If not, it is available - at least in the UK - on BBC iPlayer. (press here) I don't know whether there are any plans to make it available outside Britain - I hope they do, because it gave a fantastic insight into what goes on in the Palace of Westminster.

Although I have worked in the Palace for many years - and recognised many people that I see on a regular basis - there was much I had never seen before. That's the incredible thing about the Palace - there are so many rooms, so many corridors, so many floors - that even old hands haven't seen it all. But it wasn't just the building which was interesting - some of the behind the scenes work was revealed - and we got views of the chamber that normally only MPs get to see.

The Open University have been involved in the making of this four part documentary - and there is both an OU website or the BBC's programme website with more information and links.