The speak. These members usually have a 40-minute allotted

The process of a bill becoming an Act in Parliament
involves 4 stages. The process is commenced by the ‘First Reading’ of the bill. During this stage, a motion is presented in
parliament. This consists solely of the title of the bill. This is first shown at the Office of the Clerk of the House. After a
preparatory period, commonly
consisting of three days,
the bill is presented on the parliamentary agenda for its First Reading. Once this has occurred, the motion is put to a vote. At this stage, no debating takes place.


The bill will then be published, and once again,
will be included in the agenda of the House, now proceeding on to the Second
Reading. This begins on a previously stipulated date. In the case that the bill
requires funds to be taken
out of the
Consolidated Fund, an extra step is required. Here, the Minister extending forth the bill forward notifies the speaker of a memorandum from the President of Malta. This is then recommended to the House
for its consideration. This memorandum must then be passed on to the Speaker. This is read, and the Minister is invited by the Speaker to introduce
the bill to the House. According to the Standard Orders followed by Maltese
Parliament, the Minister moving the Second Reading of the bill forward and
members of the Opposition speak first, each having an allotted hour and a half.
They are then followed by any other members who wish to speak. These members
usually have a 40-minute allotted time period to speak. This can be extended by
30 minutes if the House chooses to do so. In extreme cases, a parliamentary
member can be given ‘Leave of House’. In this case, the Parliamentary Member is
allowed to speak indefinitely. In the Second Reading, the focus is placed on
the Principle of the Bill, which is distinguished in its details. The Minister presenting the bill is then permitted a half hour
for the ‘winding up’. This is then
proceeded by the Speaker of the house putting the bill to a vote.

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Given that the Bill passes the Second Reading, the
third legislative stage is known as the Committee Stage. During this stage, the Speaker does not
participate, and the House must distribute itself into a Committee. This will then be presided over by an appointed chairperson. In cases were the Consolidated Fund is not
reappropriated, the Bill to
be considered on the advice
of a Minister by the ‘Standing
Committee for the Consideration of Bills’. Here, each
clause of the Bill is studied thoroughly. Proposals for any number of
amendments to a particular clause can be made as seen fit by both members of
the Government as well as by the Opposition. At the end of this, a vote is taken on
all amendments proposed for a clause, which will then be amended as
appropriate. This process is then repeated numerous times for each clause. Once each clause is checked,  the
Chairperson informs the House whether the bill has passed or not, and whether
this is with or
without amendments.


Finally, a Third Reading of the Bill may be put on
the Parliamentary agenda and moved by the concerned Minister. At this point,
the Speaker of the House may declare the bill to have been unanimously approved
or carried. If a division is requested, a recess of 20 minutes is taken before
the Chair orders the Chamber doors to be closed and the Clerk of the House must
call out all the Members’ names to record the number of ‘Ayes’ and ‘Noes’. The
Speaker will then be able to declare whether the bill has been carried through
the Third Reading by a majority of Members present and voting, as stated in the
Constitution. The same voting procedure is used throughout all 4 stages of
enacting a Bill.


Once the Bill has passed the Third Reading with a
majority of votes, it is then presented to the President of Malta for approval,
and is then published in the Government Gazette, this being confirmed as a
Parliamentary Act.12


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