The parliamentary legislative process ensures that bills are debated before they become acts of parliament. The bills are drafted and then presented to parliament. The legislative process can be categorized into pre- legislative scrutiny, legislative scrutiny and post legislative scrutiny. In some cases, the bill is presented by the government, although the legislators can also present a bill. This essay will discuss the following statement that; the Parliamentary legislative process fails to achieve its primary purpose: it fails to ensure effective legislative scrutiny of Parliamentary Bills.
The purpose of parliamentary legislative process
The legislative process has a primary duty of ensuring that bills are scrutinized by legislators before they are made into law. A bill undergoes various stages, where it is debated intensively; amended and agreed to before it becomes law. When a bill is passed, it becomes an act of parliament. The act of parliament affects citizens in their daily lives. The act of parliament or statute prescribes the requirements to the citizens, as well as the form of punishment for those who do not conform. Scrutiny of the bills ensures that the quality of legislation is improved. If a bill is not thoroughly scrutinized, the impacts on the citizens can be harmful. The aim of presenting the bill in parliament is to ensure that the bill meets its purpose (House of Lords 2).
According to Levy (15), the legislative process has been accused of being unreliable and failing to meet its purpose effectively. The legislative process has failed to include the opinion of the citizens together with the legislative process. The legislatures have also failed to call the present government to take account.
One of the deficiencies in the legislative process is that the legislators view presentation of bills as a demonstration of their strength. Depending on the departments the legislators represent, the legislators support or fail to sustain the bill. Moreover, legislators choose to give support depending on their political allies.
Bills presented in parliament require aiding materials to support their understanding of the bill. The bills are presented in an understandable language. The bill has a purpose in which it was intended. Depending on the form of government, the bill is presented to the house depending on its complexity and subject matter. The committee of experts is involved depending on the sensitivity of the bill (House of Lords 20).
When a bill is presented in the parliament, the legislatures have different understanding. According to Power (22), the government introduces a bill which is presented for scrutiny by the legislators. The scrutiny of the bills influence the policy making process. A committee can be formed where it may get a public opinion and attention from the media. If the committees report supports the legislation, chances are it will affect the outcome of the parliamentary process. At the pre- legislative stage, legislators influence the bill and when it is tabled in parliament they defend and even justify their opinion in the public.
When the bill is presented before the committee, the committee which consists of expertise and legislators further scrutinize the bill. The committee will consist of expertise who scrutinizes the draft bills. Joint committees can be introduced when a bill covers a wide range of areas. The challenge is that those joint committees are often influenced by the government. The committee informs the legislators who scrutinize the bill from a knowledgeable perspective.
Levy (16) argues that the legislators, the citizens and the experts should have access to large volumes of quality data to participate in the legislative process. Statuses should reflect what the citizens require. The parliamentary legislative process should be as open as possible. Moreover, it should be a reflection of the evidence based scrutiny. Time is of essence in the legislative process. Adequate time should be provided for the provision of evidence. On the other hand, the bill should not exceed its time in the parliament. The implication of the bills should be considered and a specified time be allowed to allow amendment of the bill before it is published.
There are efforts to modernize the legislative process in parliaments in different parts of the world. The parliament dealt with civil and criminal laws which were under case laws in the past. Today, the parliament the number of statutes passed cover different areas. The number of statutes being passed has also increased with time. The parliament has to deal with an increasing number of bills. Cases of terrorism have led to emergency bills, which have to been passed within a short time. There are efforts to reform the parliamentary procedures. There is need to ensure that voting does not occur at night, since some legislators are parents. Furthermore, there are efforts to guarantee that the statutes are written in an understandable manner.
The parliamentary legislative processes vary with the system of government. The bill may take long or a short time depending on the issue at hand. The quality of scrutiny may result in slow process. Bills have failed to be passed for lack of time. The process of scrutinizing has been affected by party politics and personal interests from the legislators.
The parliamentary legislative process should consider acknowledging assistance from the expertise and the citizens. The legislative process should consider ethical issues that may arise: hence should consult the communities. Moreover, every bill should have an explanation of its intended purpose and indicator of success. Additionally, the bill should not contradict existing law. The debate should ensure that the bill will not contradict with existing law (Oup.com 54).
The parliament can connect with the citizens and the interest groups to consider their opinion. The legislative process should strive to call the government to be accountable. Moreover, legislators should avoid involving their personal interests in a bill. At the pre- legislative stage, legislators can make bills that are considerable. In the post- legislative, when a parliamentary act has negative effects, the legislators should acknowledge and make necessary amendments.
One of the parliamentary legislative process roles is to scrutinize bills before they are made into statutes or acts of parliament. The bills are most often presented by the government and sometimes by legislators. The legislative process has been characterized by delays, failure to incorporate public views and not involving interest groups. The legislators have been overcome by their personal interests, party politics and influenced by the government. An effective legislative process will involve the public and interest groups. It will consult committees, consider the opinion of expertise and is based on evidence. Adequate time should be availed for quality scrutiny to occur.
House of Lords. Parliament and the Legislative Process, 2004. Web.
Levy, Jessica. Strengthening Parliament’s Powers of Scrutiny?, 2009. Web.
Oup.com. The legislative process, 2009. Web.
Power, Greg. Parliamentary Scrutiny of Draft Legislation 1997-1999, Web.