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House meeting underway; multiple bills, motions presented

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Posted: Friday, July 2, 2021. 10:50 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: The House of Representatives is meeting in Belmopan today with a busy agenda.

Bills are to be introduced as follows: amending the Companies Act to remove the fee for certifying documents as in compliance with the Act and to allow for certain fees to be prescribed by Order published in the Gazette; the Stamp Duties Act to exempt certain documents of a company from the payment of stamp duties; the Constitution, controversially, to provide additional grounds for the disqualification of a person as a Member of the National Assembly; the Immigration Act to provide for the addition of a new category of visitor permit to allow visitors to work remotely from Belize; the Tax Administration and Procedures Act to authorize the Director General of the Belize Tax Service Department to publish the names of tax defaulters in the Gazette and local newspapers and to amend the general provisions of part ten with regard to criminal proceedings pertaining to the prosecution of tax offences; the Governor-General Conditions of Service Act to provide for health insurance for the holder of the post; and the Misuse of Drugs Act to establish licensing, registration and operational requirements for the cultivation, processing, distribution and delivery of cannabis products for adult use and making regulations for the monitoring and enforcement of any regulations to the Act.

New bills are as follows: an Electronic Transfer of Funds Crime Bill to provide for the regulation of the transfer of money through electronic means; an Electronic Transactions Bill to give legal effect to all electronic documents, records and signatures and to repeal the previous Act; a Data Protection Bill to regulate the collection, keeping, use and dissemination of personal data and protect the privacy of individuals in relation to their personal data; a Public Sector Data Sharing Bill to facilitate the sharing of data between public sector agencies and other entities and to provide for an Office for Data Analytics; and an Electronic Evidence Bill to make provision for electronic evidence and repeal the previous Act.

Two motions will also be presented: one to amend the schedule to the Governor-General (Conditions of Service) Act, Chapter 7, to increase the salary of the holder to $75,000 annually and $12,000 in duty allowances; and that Belize should condemn the actions of the State of Israel toward the Palestinian people and take steps to loosen Belize’s ties to the Jewish state.

We’ll have more as it happens.

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