Bill Tracker Siren

Bill Tracker

Keeping Informed BEFORE it Becomes Law

Quickscribe invites you to test out a new client tool that is designed to keep you informed about important legislative changes before they come into force.

Quickscribe's new Bill Tracker uses RSS feeds to notify you when new legislation and proposed amendments are first introduced (1st reading) and again when (and if) the Bill achieves 3rd reading. Once notified, you will be provided with a direct link to the Bill so you can read the proposed amendments. If a Bill has undergone any changes from 1st to 3rd reading you will be able to easily compare the two versions side by side with the changes highlighted in colour.

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Q: What is a Bill and how does one become law in BC? (From the BC Courthouse Library Society)
A: A Bill is a proposed law that can amend or repeal existing law or can contain completely new laws.

Q: What stages must a Bill pass in order to become law? (From the BC Courthouse Library Society)
A: The stages are as follows:

1st Reading: This is a formality whereby the Bill is introduced in the Legislature. The Bill is then printed in its 1st reading form, often with explanatory notes.

2nd Reading: Members of the Legislative Assembly debate the main principle(s) and purpose of the Bill. If passed, the Bill is then referred to committee for further study. Bills are not re-printed at 2nd reading.

Committee: Clause by clause debate takes place, usually in Committee of the Whole House. At this time, amendments to the Bill may be proposed.

Report Stage: The committee reports the Bill as either complete without amendments or complete with amendments.

3rd Reading: The Bill, as reported by the committee, is passed by the Legislature and is then printed in its final, 3rd reading form. The 3rd reading copy of a Bill includes any amendments made to the Bill and is generally what becomes law.

Royal Assent: This formal ceremony, presided over by the Lieutenant Governor, completes the enactment process. The Legislature must be sitting in order for a Bill to receive Royal Assent. Bills are assigned chapter numbers for the Statutes of British Columbia upon Royal Assent.

Q: When does an Act come into force? (From the BC Courthouse Library Society)
A: An Act comes into force on the date of Royal Assent, unless the Act itself states that it comes into force on some other day. Different sections of an Act can come into force on different days. An exact date may be specified or a "commencement" section may state that the Act or certain sections of the Act will come into force "by regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council". This means a regulation is required to fix the date that the Act or sections of the Act come into force. These regulations are generally referred to as proclamations. The Legislature does not have to be sitting in order for a regulation to be issued to proclaim an Act or sections of an Act into force.

Q: What happens if a Bill is not passed? (From the BC Courthouse Library Society)
A: Not all bills become law. If a bill does not pass through all of the stages described above during one session of the Legislature, the bill "dies on the order paper". A bill that has died on the order paper can, however, be reintroduced as a new bill, with a new bill number, in the next session.

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The initials "RSS" refers to the Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0) Standard. The basic concept behind RSS is that you no longer need to continuously check your favorite sites to see if anything is new, rather, you can now request that these sites notify you when a new item is posted.

To find out more about RSS feeds take a look at this Wikipedia entry.

Quickscribe uses RSS technology to automatically send you notification the moment relevant Acts and Regulations in our database have been updated. You get to select what Acts & Regulations are relevant to you.

For RSS to work, you need an RSS reader. There are many readers to choose from, all are readily available and free of charge. In fact, if you are using the latest IE7 you already have a reader at your disposal.

Here are some popular RSS readers for you to chose from:

Google Reader
News Alloy
My Yahoo
Omea Reader

Once you have your reader installed, click on this link to sign up to receive the Quickscribe RSS feed.

The Bill Tracker can also be used as an effective tool for catching consequential amendments that can easily get overlooked.

Click here to view a demo of this unique service.

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