States Assembly 25th February 2020


26th February 2020

​The States Assembly began at 09:30am on Tuesday 25th February

All written questions were submitted and can be found in detail in the Order Paper

The Chief Minister, John Le Fondré was marked excused from the States Assembly on both days as he was unable to return to the Island due to fog.

It was announced that Advocate Matthew Jowitt has been approved as the new Solicitor General by her Majesty the Queen. He will succeed Mark Temple QC who is taking on the role of Attorney General. 

Oral Questions 

You can watch all the oral questions here

Topics such as Data Protection, the selection of the Assisted Dying Citizen's jury, existing caps on Taxi driver numbers, whether victims of domestic violence have priority to emergency housing, and the search for a site for the new Government building were all covered during questions.

Deputy Inna Gardiner asked Deputy Richard Renouf, The Minister for Health and Social Services, "How will the members of the Assisted Dying Citizen's Jury be selected?"

The Minister advised that members of the jury will be chosen by a process called sortation. He also advised that the recruitment will be sourced from an independent specialist consultancy firm who will identify a randomly stratified group of people who are representative of Jersey's population. He advised the "process is designed to be fair and balanced and to ensure the absence of undue influence by interested parties or elected members. The citizen's jury members should represent the broader community and bring a balance of different social perspectives to the deliberation process."

Deputy Louise Doublet then asked Senator Sam Mézec, the Minister for Children and Housing "Will the Minister state whether victims fleeing domestic abuse have priority in terms of accessing emergency housing?"

The Minister answered, "The short answer is yes, but the system's not perfect. The homelessness review has been going on for the last year and I am imminently awaiting its report which will highlight some of the things we need to do to help people facing homelessness and that does include people who are fleeing domestic violence. We know that organisations like the women's refuge and Shelter do excellent work in supporting people in emergencies, but we need to do more to help provide permanent solutions, so the emergency provision is able to cope."

Questions Without Notice

You can watch all Questions Without Notice here

The Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf answered questions on Corona Virus, hospital waiting list data and the  use of medicinal cannabis.

Deputy Mike Higgins asked what plans are in place for potential sufferers of Corona virus, given the that it's been determined to be a pandemic.

The Minister advised that "the island is very well prepared for any escalation of this issue. There are officer groups who are regularly meeting to make plans and ensure our preparations are ready. There are daily meetings in the hospital with staff directly handling this issue, in particular there is a detailed plan for isolating very vulnerable patients in a secure environment and for them receiving treatment there."

Deputy Montford Tadier stated since the last States sitting, where he asked the Minister about medicinal cannabis, that he had been contacted by members of the public saying they wish to access it. He asked if the Minister sympathised with individuals who found a medicine that works for them but who have no access to it.

The Minister responded by saying, "I have sympathy for any person who might be suffering pain. What I cannot say is that medicinal cannabis is the right treatment for them. That is a question for their doctors." The Minster also added, "This assembly has done all that it can to make cannabis available as a medicine where it is appropriate as judged by those to who we entrust our care."

The Deputy Chief Minister, Senator Lyndon Farnham took questions on the pricing of alcohol, housing and the employment of outside consultants.

You can watch all Questions Without Notice here

Deputy Lindsay Ash asked the Deputy Chief Minister if the Minster was aware that there are plans to bring in minimum unit pricing of alcohol in shops without this assemblies' approval?

Deputy Chief Minister Lyndon Farnham said, he was aware and that it is a position being introduced by the licensing assembly, who have been delegated responsibilities such as these by the States Assembly. He also said, "This is an issue that we will be addressing as the licensing laws are reviewed."

Deputy Geoff Southern stated that one of the causes of the high cost of living in Jersey was housing and asked what measures there are in The Deputy Chief Minister's policies to reduce house prices and house rentals, if any.

Deputy Chief Minister Lyndon Farnham said, "I believe, Sir, the increase in cost of housing is almost entirely due to the supply and demand issues. I'm pleased to say the Housing Minister has been treating this as a priority and will be releasing his report on the subject imminently. I understand that important piece of work that the Government has been working so hard on will be a step change on how we view this issue."

Statements 

Deputy Geoff Southern, Chair of the Government Plan Efficiencies Review Panel, made a statement regarding the commencement of the Review Panel's work and said, "We have begun work…and our intention is to release our first report by June 2020."

View the whole statement here

Senator Steve Pallett, the Assistant Minister for Health and Social Services, was unwell for the sitting and will now make his statement on the Health and Wellbeing Framework during the next States sitting on 10th March 2020. 

Public Business

The States Assembly voted to accept the reduced lodging period allowing the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panels' amendment to The Minister for the Environment's Rented Dwellings proposal to be debated.

VOTES 33 FOR vs 7 AGAINST 0 ABSTENTIONS


The first item up for debate was the Rented Dwellings proposition. You can read the full proposal here

Deputy John Young, the Minister for the Environment, presented his proposal.

Constable of St Brelade, Mike Jackson spoke and said "I agree that tenants do need protection from unscrupulous landlords" but he added he didn't feel the proposal was ready and needed further work.

The Deputy of St Peter, Rowland Huelin asked for a reference back, stating he felt more information was needed on the potential inflationary effects of the proposition. The Constable of St John, Chris Taylor, Senator Kristina Moore and Deputy Kirsten Morel were among those that supported the call for the reference back while Deputy Montford Tadier, Senator Sam Mézec and Senator Tracey Vallois among others who spoke against the request.

The request for the reference back was ADOPTED.

VOTES: 24 FOR vs 18 AGAINST 

You can watch the full debate here 

The second item to be debated by the Assembly was the Minister for the Environment, Deputy John Young's Carbon Neutral Strategy. You can read the full proposal here

The Minister for the Environment Deputy John Young outlined his proposal for the Carbon Neutral Strategy. Deputy Kirsten Morel had lodged an amendment and Deputy Rob Ward had lodged an amendment to Deputy Morel's amendment. Deputy John Young accepted both.

The amendments were put to a vote and both were ADOPTED.

VOTES: 36 FOR vs 0 AGAINST 

The Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel proposed amendments to the Carbon Neutral Strategy proposal which would mean the chair of the proposed citizen's assembly would be appointed by the Government but approved by the citizens assembly and that the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure panel would be allowed to observe the citizen's assembly meetings.

Constable Mike Jackson, Chair of the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel spoke on the proposal and agreed that the chair of the citizen's assembly.

Part 1 of the amendment relating to the chair of the citizen's assembly was ADOPTED

RESULT: 22 FOR vs. 16 AGAINST

Part 2 of the amendment relating to right of the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel's right to observe the Citizen's Assembly was ADOPTED

RESULT: 31 FOR vs. 8 AGAINST

Deputy Jeremy Macon and Deputy Montford Tadier spoke on the larger scale issues which impact the global issue of climate change. Deputy Russell Labey spoke about managing the expectations of the citizen's assembly and the desired outcome of the having this citizen's assembly. The Constable of St John Chris Taylor spoke about the issues of electric car's not maximising battery capacities due to shorter distances travelled, meaning those cars are not carbon neutral along with other issues relating to the production of batteries. He encouraged the Minister to join global efforts to plant trees to help offset carbon on a global scale. Senator Lyndon Farnham said he whole heartedly supports the proposition, but he realises there are some challenges to overcome.

The debate continued on the morning of Wednesday morning where Deputy Rowland Huelin and Senator Sam Mézec supported the proposition. Deputy Kevin Lewis urged other members to support the Carbon Neutral Strategy.

The Minister for the Environment's proposal was ADOPTED.

RESULT: 41 FOR vs. 0 AGAINST

You can watch the full debate below:

Tuesday afternoon

Wednesday morning

The next item up for debate was the Draft Control of Housing and Work Regulations 

Deputy Jesse Perchard then submitted her legislative changes which would change the conditions under which entitled status can be given to individuals. You can read the full proposal here

The principles were ADOPTED 

RESULT: 38 FOR vs. 0 AGAINST

The second reading was ADOPTED by a show of hands.

The third reading saw the proposal ADOPTED.

You can watch the full debate here

RESULT: 40 FOR vs. 0 AGAINST

The States Assembly was then asked to approve the appointment of 3 new members to the Social Security Tribunal panel for a period of 5 years. You can read the full proposal here

Deputy Rob Ward requested a reference back after raising questions about the qualifications of the members. Several other members supported this request.

Deputy Jeremy Macon, the Assistant Minister for Social Security, asked the States Assembly if he could withdraw all 3 proposals for new members to various panels and answer the questions raised by the States Members.

The request for the reference back was ADOPTED.

RESULT: 23 FOR vs. 14 AGAINST 1 ABSTENTION

You can watch the full debate here


Arrangement of Public Business

Due to the very full sitting on 10th March, Deputy Russell Labey proposed that the States Assembly start sitting early at 2:45 pm on Monday 9th March.

The proposal was ADOPTED.

RESULT: 25 FOR vs. 14 AGAINST 


The next meeting of the States Assembly will begin on Monday 9th March. Debates on the agenda are:

Diversity Working Group

Diversity Working Group (Comments)

Electoral Reform 2020

Electoral Reform 2020 (Comments)

Reform of the Composition of the States Assembly

Reform of the Composition of the States Assembly (Amendment)

Sustainable Transport Policy

Draft Taxation (Implementation) (International Tax Compliance) (Mandatory Disclosure Rules for CRS Avoidance Arrangements and Opaque Offshore Structures) (Jersey) Regulations 202

Draft EU Legislation (Plant Health) (Jersey) Regulations 202






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