Thursday, 2 May 2013

Frequent absences and those without excuse will be fined

Empty Chamber of Deputies
ANDALUCÍA The headline could be referring to schoolchildren and their parents, but no. It is the essence of a change in the Rules of the Chamber of Deputies at the Parliament of Andalucía, as set out by that body's President, Manuel Gracia, which also includes the admission into debate of so-called citizens' questions. He is fed up with empty debating sessions and committee meetings, which he in fact denied at a press conference by saying he 'had the impression' that there is no problem at present but it should be avoided if ever it becomes so - so he is proposing that deputies continually absent without excuse will be fined according to decisions made by the Mesa de la Cámara ('the head table').>>>
Gracia points out that attending debates and meetings is 'their duty' and absentees will have their pay docked, and their expenses 'thoroughly scrutinised'.

In addition, the names of frequent absentees will be published, something that doesn't happen at present, and each member will have their own parliamentary activity accounted for by publication of their voting record, and a video of each of their speeches in the Chamber.

This proposal has two other significant items: the first is that deputies carrying out 'incompatible activities' outside Parliament without prior authorization by the Mesa, will also incur fines and sanctions.

The second item is the possibility of ordinary citizens (as opposed to 'extra'ordinary deputies?) being able to present amendments and proposals being debated in the Chamber. This, as well as the obligatory inclusion of at least one citizen's initiative in a Plenary session, up to a maximum of four. This would require a deputy in good standing taking on the citizen's question or point and then obtaining the signature of his political group's head.

Manuel Gracia has sent these proposals, and several more technical ones, to the various heads of political groups, and it is hoped that the proposal will become part of the Rules by the summer.

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