Legal Issues Put Election Economics in Doubt

Knesset counsel: No new laws without cabinet's permission.

In a legal opinion issued Sunday, the Knesset legal adviser declared that legislators will be barred from submitting draft laws without the cabinet's approval.

"The passage of private members' bills during the election recess can only be carried out in accordance with government demand, and the Knesset speaker cannot violate procedure," attorney Eyal Yinon wrote in an opinion that is seen as likely to quell the onslaught of pre-election legislative initiatives with major implications for the national budget.

Eyal Yinon
Tomer Appelbaum

As reported in TheMarker on Sunday, many MKs are trying to expedite private bills whose combined funding comes to several billion shekels a year. In addition, many have already said they intend to submit their draft laws for a first, second or even third and final vote in the Knesset prior to the anticipated September 4 general election.

The Knesset plenum is slated to reconvene a number of times between its expected dissolution later this week and the election. Any bill that is passed in first reading can be taken up again by the new, post-election parliament without having to repeat all three readings.

The Knesset Finance Committee will be asked to discuss and approve for the second and third readings a private member's bill that would provide tax benefits to organizations that encourage the establishment of new communities or increase the number of residents in existing ones. The bill was submitted by coalition chairman MK Zeev Elkin and MK Zion Pinyan, both from Likud. According to Yinon's legal opinion, the bill would have to get cabinet approval before being sent to the Knesset plenum for a second and third vote.

The chairman of the Ometz good-government organization, Aryeh Avineri, on Sunday appealed to Yinon to "put an immediate halt to the turbid wave of private members' bills, the purpose of part of which is to promote the narrow interests of MKs seeking to store up political support in their parties' primary elections from the dwindling stores of public money."