States Assembly 2nd April 2020

2nd April 2020

The States Assembly met virtually for the first time in its history on 2nd April 2020.

The virtual assembly was the first meeting of a legislature in the Commonwealth which allowed members to participate in full.

The virtual Assembly opened with the Bailiff, Timothy Le Cocq, addressing the States Members before moving onto Questions without Notice.

The topics of the questions covered included the availability of testing kits, plans for a field hospital and guidance for the construction industry.

The first item up for debate was the Amendment to the Social Security Fund proposal.

You can read the full proposal here

The Health and Social Security Panel presented their findings from their review of the proposal and put forward the amendment that payments into the Social Security fund be paused for only 2020 and not also 2021 as initially proposed.

Multiple States Assembly members including Health and Social Security Scrutiny Chair deputy Mary Le Hegarat and Deputy Graham Truscott supported the amendment of deferring the payment just for 2020 at this time. Deputy Kevin Pamplin and Senator Sarah Ferguson were among Members who asked the Health and Social Security panel for a repayment plan in 6 months time.

The proposal was ADOPTED

The next item was the Amendment to the Draft Marriage and Civil Status legislation.

You can read the full proposal here

Minister for Home Affairs Len Norman asked members to approve temporary changes to the law which would change the rules around how death certificates can be approved with the aim of reducing pressure on certain medical staff.

Deputy Rob Ward spoke on behalf of the Health and Social Security Scrutiny panel's and pointed out that the proposed changes were temporary and at this time limited until September 30th.

After a short debate which included questions on details of the process and concerning dignity for patients The Minster for Home Affairs reassured members that those being tasked with implementing these changes are highly professional people and he expected that the full details of any person's medical conditions be listed on a death certificate.

The proposal was ADOPTED 

The next item up for debate was the proposed changes to the Draft COVID-19 Regulations

You can read the full proposal here

The Minister for Health and Social Services, Richard Renouf presented his proposal to the Assembly. He explained that the changes he wished to be made were to reduce the burden on the public to prove why they are out of their homes during their 2-hour allotted time period. He added that the burden of proof should fall to the authorities.

The Health Minister stressed that the changes were not a relaxation but more a clarification to help Members explain the rules to their constituents that may be asking.

Members including Deputy Montfort Tadier and Deputy Mike Higgins sought clarification on what activities were permitted for the allotted 2 hours of outdoor time.

The Health Minister Richard Renouf clarified that people were allowed to drive to an outdoor destination to spend time outdoors but highlighted the drive must be part of that 2-hour time frame.

The proposal was ADOPTED 

The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Lyndon Farnham read a statement to the Assembly regarding the Application of Control of Housing and Work Legislation during the Coronavirus Crisis.

You can read the statement in full here 

Senator Lyndon Farnham, Minister for Economic Development, Sport and Culture then followed with a second statement, this time relating to Support for Self-employed People during Coronavirus.

You can read the statement in full here

Following Senator Lyndon Farnham's statement on the Control of Housing and Work Legislation, Deputy Inna Gardiner withdrew a proposition due to be debated related to the same topic.

The next States Assembly is due to be on the 21st April, however Deputy Kirsten Morel raised that he believes this is too long a break given the current situation. 

The Bailiff advised that Members may request an additional sitting before the proposed date.


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