Marshalled List of Amendments, and Groupings for debate, for Stage 2 consideration of the Air Weapons and Licensing (S) Bill by the Local Government and Regeneration Committee at its meeting on Wednesday 13 May 2015.
What is the Marshalled List?
The Marshalled List is a list of all of the amendments lodged to the Bill by MSPs. Amendments are shown in the order in which they seek to amend the Bill (starting at Section 1 and working through the Bill). This is also the order in which the Committee will decide on each amendment. Amendments are numbered chronologically in the order in which they were lodged by MSPs with the clerks.
This explains why sometimes amendments with a higher number may appear higher up the Marshalled List than those with a lower number. For example – if say Amendment 15 had proposed to amend Section 62 of the Bill, and Amendment 25 had proposed to amend Section 45 of the Bill, then Amendment 25 would appear before Amendment 15 on the Marshalled List (as Section 45 comes before Section 62 in the Bill). Therefore, the order of amendments on the Marshalled List is not determined by the number of each amendment, but rather by which part of the Bill the amendment relates to.
What are Groupings?
In order to prevent repetition of debate during the meeting, amendments of a similar theme or topic are grouped together and debated at the same time. These are called Groupings. The debate on each group begins by the Convener calling on the MSP who has lodged the first amendment in that group to move their amendment and speak to it, and also to speak to all the other amendments in the Group. All other MSPs who may have an amendment that Group will also speak on the amendments in the Group. Other MSPs at the meeting can also speak in the debate. The debate winds up by the Convener asking the MSPs in whose name the first amendments is, to sum up the debate and decide whether to press the amendments (to a vote) or withdraw it (from consideration). If the MSP presses the amendment then the question on the amendment is put to the Committee (see below). If it is withdrawn (see below), then the amendment falls and the Committee moved onto the next amendment. Only MSPs who are Members of the Committee can vote on amendments.
One of the consequences of voting on amendments in marshalled order, but debating them in groupings, means that certain amendments may be debated at an early point in the meeting, but will not be decided upon on until later. For example – the first Grouping for the meeting on 13 May contains amendments 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 36, 37. So while amendments 1 will be decided on as soon as the debate on that group finishes, amendments 36 and 37 won’t be decided until till later in the meeting as they are further down the Marshalled List. When the Committee reached amendments 36 and 37 on the Marshalled List, the Convener will call those amendments “already debated with Amendment 1” and ask the MSP if the wish to move the amendments for decision.
What is Moving, Pressing and Withdrawing of amendments?
In order for any amendment to be debated it must first be moved. Any MSP can move any amendment, however, it is usually the MSP who has lodged the amendment who moves it. Once moved, an amendment is debated by the Committee (usually as part of a Group – see above). After the amendment is debated the MSP who moved it will be asked if they wish to press it to a vote or if they wish to withdraw it. If they press the amendment then the question will be put to the Committee asking if all members agree with the amendments. If all members agree, then the amendment is unanimously passed. If any member do not agree, then the question is put to a vote.
A simple majority is required to pass any amendment (excluding any MSP who may have abstained). In the event of a tie in the number of votes for and against an amendment, then the Convener may use a casting vote to decide the question. If a member wishes to withdraw an amendment they have already moved, then the Committee must unanimously agree to allow it to be withdrawn. If any Committee member disagrees to an amendments being withdrawn then the Committee must vote on the amendment.
If an MSP decides not to move an amendment, or is allowed to withdraw an amendment, or the Committee votes against an amendment, then that amendments falls and the Committee carries on to the next amendment. Another rule, called the Rule of Progress, means the Committee can only consider each part of the Bill once. So once each section or schedule of the Bill has been agreed to (whether it was amended or not) it cannot be considered again at Stage 2. Stage 3, the final amending stage, exists to allow an opportunity for any final tidying up amendments to be made to a Bill.
What is a pre-emption?
You will notice in this Marshalled List that Amendment 12 pre-empts Amendments 13 and 14. Looking at Amendment 12, it proposes to delete Subsection 2 of Section 5 of the Bill. However, Amendments 13 and 14 propose to amend the wording in Subsection 2 of Section 5. Therefore, if the Committee were to agree to Amendment 12, Subsection 2 would be deleted from the Bill. This would mean that the Committee couldn’t then consider Amendments 13 and 14, as they are would then be proposing to amend a part of the Bill which no longer exists (as Amendment 12 would have just deleted it). If Amendments 12 is not agreed to (or is withdrawn, or not moved) then Subsection 2 of Section 5 would remain in the Bill and Amendments 13 and 14 could then be considered. This process is called a pre-emption.