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The work of the Parliament - Help : Scottish Parliament

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What is the difference between the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government? Does the UK Parliament have to approve bills passed by the Scottish Parliament before they can Is it possible to watch live coverage of the Parliament?. There are Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). To vote in the Scottish Parliament elections you must: be registered to vote; be 16 or over on the day. The Scottish Parliament is the devolved national, unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in The British Parliament retains the ability to amend the terms of reference of the 13 See also; 14 References; 15 Bibliography; 16 External links .. where the bulk of Scotland's population live, and much larger constituency.

Faith groups can make direct representations to the Presiding Officer to nominate speakers.

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Before SeptemberTime for reflection was held on Wednesday afternoons. Debate is more informal than in some parliamentary systems. This "Decision Time" is heralded by the sounding of the division bell, which is heard throughout the Parliamentary campus and alerts MSPs who are not in the chamber to return and vote.

If there is audible dissent, the Presiding Officer announces "There will be a division" and members vote by means of electronic consoles on their desks. Each MSP has a unique access card with a microchip which, when inserted into the console, identifies them and allows them to vote.

The outcome of most votes can be predicted beforehand since political parties normally instruct members which way to vote. Parties entrust some MSPs, known as whipswith the task of ensuring that party members vote according to the party line. This is typically done on moral issues.

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Such motions are on issues which may be of interest to a particular area such as a member's own constituency, an upcoming or past event or any other item which would otherwise not be accorded official parliamentary time. As well as the proposer, other members normally contribute to the debate.

The relevant minister, whose department the debate and motion relate to "winds up" the debate by speaking after all other participants. Committees of the Scottish Parliament Private Bill Committees are set up to deal with the legislation required for major public sector infrastructure projects, such as the underground extensions to the National Gallery of Scotland in Much of the work of the Scottish Parliament is done in committee.

The role of committees is stronger in the Scottish Parliament than in other parliamentary systems, partly as a means of strengthening the role of backbenchers in their scrutiny of the government [48] and partly to compensate for the fact that there is no revising chamber.

The principal role of committees in the Scottish Parliament is to take evidence from witnesses, conduct inquiries and scrutinise legislation.

Committees can also meet at other locations throughout Scotland. Mandatory Committees are committees which are set down under the Scottish Parliament's standing orders, which govern their remits and proceedings. Typically each committee corresponds with one or more of the departments or ministries of the Scottish Government. The current Subject Committees in the fourth Session are: Private bills normally relate to large-scale development projects such as infrastructure projects that require the use of land or property.

For the purposes of parliamentary sovereigntythe Parliament of the United Kingdom at Westminster continues to constitute the supreme legislature of Scotland. A degree of domestic authority, and all foreign policyremain with the UK Parliament in Westminster. The Scotland Act provided for the establishment of a Scottish Parliament. Under the terms of the Act, the Scottish Parliament is able to pass laws affecting Scotland on a range of issues, which are known as devolved matters.

The Act also gave the Scottish Parliament the power to raise or lower the basic rate of income tax by up to three pence in the pound. How can I influence the work of the Parliament? There are many ways in which you can engage with the work of the Scottish Parliament. You can contact your MSPs by phone, email or letter, using the contact details available on their webpages in the Current MSPs section of the Scottish Parliament website.

You can also meet your MSPs on a one-to-one basis at a local surgery. Committees aim to involve as many people as possible in the democratic process.

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By responding to a call for evidence, you may influence legislation or the policies of the Scottish Government. You can write to a committee in response to a call for evidence on an inquiry or a bill. Joining a CPG will enable you to meet with MSPs and other individuals and organisations who share the same concern or interest.

See the Cross-Party Groups page on our website for further details. You can raise a petition online through the e-petition system to attract a wider audience.

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You can access the e-petition web page to add your name to an e-petition that interests you or take part in an online discussion on the Public Petitions website. It considers proposed legislation and scrutinises the activities and policies of the Scottish Government through debates, parliamentary questions and the work of committees.

The Scottish Government is the government in Scotland for devolved matters and, as such, it is responsible for defining and implementing policy in these areas. The Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government are separate organisations with different contact details. How can I find out what's being discussed in the Scottish Parliament? The programme of parliamentary business in the Chamber is normally decided two weeks in advance, although it is subject to change.

The Business Bulletin is published on our website each weekday when the Parliament is sitting and at regular intervals when the Parliament is in recess. Information about the current business of Scottish Parliament committees can be found on the web pages of each committee. Committee agendas and information about forthcoming committee business are also published in the Business Bulletin.

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Committee agendas normally appear two days before the meeting. How does the Scottish Parliament make laws? The usual parliamentary process for a bill consists of three stages: Stage 1 - consideration of the general principles of the bill by parliamentary committee sand a debate and decision on these by the Parliament.

Stage 2 - detailed consideration of the bill by parliamentary committee s. Stage 3 - final consideration of the bill by the Parliament and a decision on whether it should be passed or rejected. After a bill has been passed and received Royal Assent, it becomes an Act of the Scottish Parliament and appears on the Legislation.

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The Act may state when provisions will come into force or that the date or dates, if different parts are to be brought into force at different times will be decided by the Scottish Ministers.

Enquiries about commencement should be directed to the Scottish Government. Find out more in the How does the Scottish Parliament make laws? You can also find out more in our short animated guide to how laws are normally made in the Scottish Parliament.

Does the UK Parliament have to approve bills passed by the Scottish Parliament before they can become laws? The Scottish Parliament is entirely separate from the UK Parliament and can pass laws on all those issues devolved to it.

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However, the UK Parliament retained the power to make laws for Scotland on certain issues. These issues, which generally have a UK-wide or international impact, are known as reserved matters. Can I attend committee meetings and debates? Can members of the public take part in committee meetings?

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Subject to the availability of tickets, members of the public can attend all committee business that is not held in private, but they are not able to take part in the discussions unless they have been invited by the committee to give evidence as a witness.

You can find information about attending committee meetings and other parliamentary business by looking in the Tickets for Parliament Debates and Tickets for Committee Meetings sections of the website. Only MSPs and witnesses can take part in committee meetings.

Is it possible to watch live coverage of the Parliament?