Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 12 February 2013
Venue: Room 106
The meeting began at 12.33pm.
1.1 Apologies were noted from the Speaker and Mr Robin Swann. The Acting Chairperson expressed congratulations and best wishes, on behalf of the Business Committee, to Mr Swann on the birth of his baby son, and welcomed Mr Kinahan as the UUP substitute.
2. Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 05 February 2013
2.1 The minutes were agreed and signed by the Acting Chairperson.
3. Matters arising
3.1 Following recent late requests to exchange Question Time slots, members noted a letter issued by the Speaker to the First Minister and deputy First Minister, asking that all requests to change Question Time slots be received for consideration at a meeting of the Business Committee at least one week before the deadline for names to be submitted for the relevant ballot.
4. Finalisation of Order Papers for plenary meetings in week commencing 18 February 2013
4.1 Members noted that, in addition to Executive Business agreed previously, a motion to approve the draft Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (Designated Organisations) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013; and a motion to approve the draft Welfare of Animals (Dog Breeding Establishments and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013, had been scheduled for Monday 18 February.
4.2 Members noted that, in addition to Executive Business agreed previously, the Consideration Stage of the Criminal Justice Bill had been scheduled for Tuesday 19 February. As it was expected that this would form most of the day’s business, other Committee and Private Members’ motions originally planned for that day had been rescheduled. Members further noted that the deadline for tabling amendments to the Bill in the Bill Office was 9.30am on Thursday 14 February.
4.3 Members noted that the text of the motion from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment on ‘Supporting Growth in the Sustainable Energy Sector’ was now included on the Draft Order Paper for Monday 18 February.
4.4 Members noted that the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure’s motion on ‘Grassroot and Elite Sports Facilities’, provisionally scheduled for Tuesday 19 February, had been deferred until Monday 25 February.
Private Members’ Business
4.5 Members noted that the motion on ‘Gradutate Programmes in the Agri-Food Sector’, provisionally scheduled for Tuesday 19 February, had been deferred until Monday 25 February; but that the adjournment debate would be unaffected.
4.6 Junior Minister McCann confirmed that all relevant Ministers were available to respond to business.
4.7 The draft Order Papers were agreed.
5. Provisional arrangements for plenary meetings in week commencing 25 February 2013
5.1 Members noted that the Further Consideration Stage of the Water and Sewerage Services (Amendment) Bill; Final Stage of the Budget Bill; and a Legislative Consent Motion on the Antarctic Bill were all scheduled for Monday 25 February, along with Question Time to the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure and the Minister for the Environment. In addition, members also noted the possibility of motions from the Minister of Finance and Personnel to approve statutory rules coming forward at next the meeting.
5.2 Members noted that, while only Question Time to the Minister of Finance and Personnel and the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety was scheduled for Tuesday 26 February, other Executive business was expected to come forward at the next meeting.
5.3 Members noted that the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure’s motion on ‘Grassroot and Elite Sports Facilities’ was now rescheduled for Monday 25 February; and that no other Committee business had been requested.
Private Members’ Business
5.4 Members noted that the motion on ‘Graduate Programmes in the Agri-Food Sector’ was now rescheduled for Monday 25 February; and agreed to schedule no further Private Members’ business that day.
5.5 Members agreed to schedule two Private Members’ motions on Tuesday 26 February. Under the system of allocation the selections lay with Sinn Féin and the DUP. The following motions were selected:
- ‘Establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee’ (Ms C Ruane, Mr P Ramsey);
- ‘Local Meat Products’ (Mr P Frew, Mr G Dunne, Mr W Irwin).
Junior Minister McCann advised that the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment would not be available to respond to the motion on ‘Local Meat Products’ on Tuesday 26 February. Mr Weir agreed to advise the Clerk of a new motion, as soon as possible. The usual timings were agreed for the motions.
Members agreed to schedule an Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 26 February. Under the system of allocation, the selection lay with the DUP. The following adjournment topic was selected:
- ‘John Lewis Sprucefield Retail Development’ (Mr P Givan).
5.6 Following junior Minister McCann’s advice that the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment would not be available to respond to the Adjournment Debate, it was noted that the Member whose topic it was wished to address the planning aspects of the topic. Otherwise, all relevant Ministers were available.
5.7 The provisional Order Papers were agreed.
6. Update on statistics on late answers to written questions
6.1 The Acting Chairperson referred members to a summary paper which provided an update on the response times to Assembly Written Questions from 1 November 2012 - 31 December 2012. Members noted the results.
6.2 Ms Ruane asked for it to be recorded that a number of answers to questions relating to her responsibilities on the Assembly Commission were awaiting her signature as, to date, they were not available in both English and Irish. Members noted that these answers did not affect the statistics under consideration.
6.3 Members agreed to receive a further update following the Easter recess.
7. Any other business
7.1 The Acting Chairperson referred members to a letter from the Minister of the Environment requesting an exchange of Question Time slot on 19 March with the Minister for Regional Development on 4 March.
7.2 Members agreed to this request.
8. Date and Time of next meeting
8.1 Members agreed to meet at approximately 12.30pm on Tuesday 19 February 2013 in Room 106.
The Acting Chairperson brought the meeting to a close at 12.43pm.