Monrovia – In keeping with Article 32 (A) of the Constitution, members of the 53rd National Legislature are expected to resume normal legislative work Monday, January 9, 2017.
The lawmakers are expected to debate several bills including the Tax Amendment Bill which highlights the much talk-about ‘one cent per minute’ tariff on all voice calls and the Domestic Violence Bill.
For the latter, the House of Representatives has passed the bill while the Senate will have to weigh in on the possibility of concurring with a bill that has met massive disapproval from many Liberians.
Additionally, the legislature will have to finally pass the propositions for the holding of referendum ahead of the 2017 election after the house passed six propositions awaiting approval or concurrence by the Senate.
The lawmakers are also expected to debate and ratify the US$ 50 Million loan by the Chinese government for the construction of the Roberts International Airport.
The recommencement of session will be the last for members of the House of Representatives under the 53rd National Legislature, while the members of the Liberian Senate will have to continue after the October 2017 elections.
States Article 32 A: “The Legislature shall assemble in regular session once a year on the second working Monday in January.”
Current members of the senate will remain seated as senators into the 54th legislature until election is held. Liberians went to the polls in 2014 December in a special senatorial election to elect 15 new senators an election brought on board Senator George Weah, Varney Sherman and others.
The last months of the 53rd sessions in 2016 saw the House of Representatives swamped by a leadership crisis with frantic fight that led to the ousting of Speaker Alex Tyler and the ascendency of Emmanuel Nuquay as Speaker.
Statistics from the offices of the Chief Clerk showed that a total of 79 bills were acted upon by the House of Representatives during its 5th session, including Extraordinary Sittings.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf sponsored and ensured that 73 of the laws submitted were endorsed by the Lower House, while the remaining six laws were sponsored by lawmakers.
The 5th Session of the 53rd Legislature started on the second working Monday, January 11, and ended on Tuesday, August 30, 2016.
In order to discuss and act upon matters of national concern, the Legislature was recalled twice from their annual constituency break.
The Legislature’s 1st Extraordinary Session started on Thursday, September 1 and ended on Wednesday, October 5, while the 2nd Extraordinary Session ran from Tuesday, November 8 to Thursday, December 8.
The 79 laws represent the highest number of laws approved by the House of Representatives (or ratified by the Lower House) in a year since the advent of the first Sirleaf administration in 2006.
According to research, in the 52nd Legislature, the House of Representatives enacted 194 laws in six Sessions (2006 – 2011): 10 laws in 2006; 24 in 2007; 51 in 2008; 39 in 2009; 38 in 2010 and 20 in 2011.