Less policy and more politics in LegCo this week – LegCo 2016 elections, Pro-est members seeking to get in the Establishment Committee (again), Government begging for funds to continue operations.
March 16 Monday
No big change in LegCo 2016 elections
At the meeting of Panel on Constitutional Affairs, members will discuss the technical amendments to the LegCo 2016 elections. There will be no change on the Functional Constituency seats and the Government also rules out previous rumours which suggest it will increase the Geographical Constituencies. Official papers wrote, “there has not been much public interest or discussion to change the number of GCs during the Public Consultation…As the existing arrangement of having five GCs has been well accepted by the community, we propose to maintain the number of GCs at five.” No gerrymandering for now.
March 17 Tuesday
Wait in line, please
The Establishment Subcommittee, still laregly dominated by pan-dems, will discuss the application of 16 pro-establishment members. There were 18 applications orignally, Chan Kin-por (FC-Insurance) was rejected and Paul Tse (GC- Kowloon East) gained membership earlier.
List of applicants:
- DAB’s Chan Kam-lam, Tam Yiu-chung, Chan Hak-kan, Ip Kwok-him, Chan Han-pan, Leung Che-cheung, Elizabeth Quat, Ann Chiang and Christopher Chung
- BPA’s Andrew Leung, Priscilla Leung and Lo Wai-kwok
- Liberal Party’s Frankie Yick
- FTU’s Alice Mak, Wong Kwok-hing
- Tony Tse
The Panel on Commerce and Industry will discuss the results of the two-month consultation to modernise the practice and procedures of the Copyright Tribunal which ended on February 9th. Only a total of six written submissions were recieved from various stakeholders including professional bodies, copyright licensing bodies and other entities. Comments were also received from members in the Tribunal.
The Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014, dubbed “The Article 23 of the Internet” by its opposers, is currently under discussion at a Bill Committee. The amendments seek to address the copyright issues for the exemption of parody work.
Standard working hours
At the meeting of the Panel on Manpower, members will discuss the progress of the work of the Standard Working Hours Committee. It was reported that the Committee has finished the preliminary report to be submitted to the Government soon but the report has not been disclosed to the public. The Committee plans to submit the final report on implementing standard working hours before March 2016.
March 18 Wednesday
The $8.8 billion construction project
Third on the agenda of the Public Works Subcommittee is the construction of boundary facilities at the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point. The construction project costs around $8.8 billion and fundings to the project previously have provoked many questions from the pan-dems.
Council meeting resumes
Two subsidiary legislation will be tabled at the meeting: District Councils Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 7) Order 2015 and Maximum Amount of Election Expenses (District Council Election) (Amendment) Regulation 2015. Both legislation will increase the financial assistance to this years District Council election, including raising the compensation from $12 per vote to $14 per vote and increasing the election expenses limit from $53,800 to $63,100.
Currently, elected candidates or candidates who received 5% of valid votes or more in the District Council election is eligible for financial assistance, which would be the lowest of the following amounts:
- the amount obtained by multiplying the subsidy rate (currently $12 per vote) by the total number of valid votes cast for the candidate (if the election is contested) or 50% of the number of registered electors for the constituency concerned (if the election is uncontested);
- 50% of the election expenses limit; and
- the declared election expenses of the candidate.
Bill for 1st reading:
Human Reproductive Technology (Amendment) Bill 2015
Banning the publication or distribution of advertisements purporting to promote sex selection services through human reproductive technology procedures, whether or not the services are provided in Hong Kong.
Bills to resume 2nd reading and 3rd reading:
Securities and Futures and Companies Legislation (Uncertificated Securities Market Amendment) Bill 2014
To enable legal ownership in securities to be held and transferred without paper documents.
Veterinary Surgeons Registration (Amendment) Bill 2014
To broaden the membership of the Veterinary Surgeons Board and to establish the preliminary investigation committees.
As the debate on the Appropriation Bill will not begin until April 22nd, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Professor K C Chan will move a motion to seek approval for the Government to use 23% of the proposed amount in the latest Budget to continue the operation of the Government. The amount will be around $81.6 billion.
March 19 Thursday
Continuation of the Council meeting
Members are likely to carry on the debate on Professor K C Chan’s motion to seek funding before the Appropriation Bill is approved. It remains to see whether some pan-dems may filibuster the motion.
Next to be dealt with is Andrew Leung’s (FC- Industrial 1st, BPA) motion to expand the ratio of the middle-class population and Lo Wai-kwok’s (FC- Engineering, BPA) motion to formulate a long-term and comprehensive industrial policy.
March 20 Friday
Finance Committee resumes
Members will debate on eight staffing proposals from the Establishment Sub-committee and six construction proposals from the Public Works Subcommittee. All the proposals are non-controversial and will likely be approved without further ado.