Procedures On How A Bill Is Passed

The Parliament Of Uganda is a functional house where different bills are discussed between different members of parliament before made an official law.
The Parliament Of Uganda
| Photo Credit: theindependentuganda

Article 79 of the constitution provides for the function areas that make Parliament competent to make new laws, amend existing laws and repeal old laws. Regulations typically come to inform of a bill. A Bill is a draft piece of proposed legislation presented to the House for discussion before making it a law. 

There are two bills: a government bill moved by government ministers and a private member bill which any other member of parliament moves. The unique feature is in drafting the private member’s Bill, where Rules of procedure provide for legal assistance by the Legal department of government.

In its process, a Bill undergoes several stages before it becomes an Act of Parliament. First and foremost, the first reading is mainly the introduction of the Bill. 

A member introduces a bill and provides copies to other members for easy reference. The clerk then reads Bill’s title, considered to be read for the first time. The Bill is sent to the appropriate Committee for analysis before the second reading.

The Committee is responsible within forty-five days from the time the Bill is read for the first time and needs to report back to the House on the findings regarding the Bill. Any proposal to amend or include new clauses shall be presented before the Committee that will be scrutinized with the Bill and come up with a final report to the House.

The second reading is moved permanently by the Vice-president, Minister or private Member. At this stage, the main principle, reasons and benefits of the Bill and reviews of the most critical clauses get understood.

The House will receive the committee report, the opposition will respond, and somebody will read the debate to other members and opposition parties.

When the House accepts and adopts and accepts the committee report, the Bill is revised for the second time. When a motion for the second reading is adopted, the House proceeds with the debate at the committee stage. The Bill is examined in detail, considering one clause or subclause at a time, agreed to, amended or rejected based on the majority votes without altering the main principle of the Bill. 

After that, the speaker leaves the chair and assumes the chairman presides over the House Committee, which includes all other members. In passing the Bill Rule 23(1) of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament, one-third of all parliament members vote.

The sub-rule (2) states that ‘the quorum prescribed in sub-rule(1) shall only be required when parliament is voting on any question’. One-third of all MPs entitled to vote are125 members; therefore, if passing any bill, a decision relies on this Rule. When the Committee of the whole House has concluded its deliberations, it will report to the House that the Committee has considered the Bill referred to it and agreed to the same with amendment and proceeds to the third reading of the Bill upon a motion. 

The speaker will ask that the Bill be revised for the third time. At the final stage, Parliament passes the Bill as an Act of Parliament, then sent to the president for assent, where it becomes an Act of Uganda. 

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