The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee convened Monday in order to advance a law to shorten legislative process and bypass the need for parliamentary approval on decisions surrounding the newly implemented coronavirus restrictions.
The committee was expected to approve the bill, dubbed the “Framework Law” on Monday, due to the dramatic increase in confirmed coronavirus cases throughout the country. And after receiving special permission from Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin the discussions were to be held in parallel with the plenary.
The proposal gives the government the power to declare a state of emergency due to the pandemic without the approval of the Knesset plenum. It also states that changes regarding the coronavirus restrictions will not require the approval of the Knesset either.
Under the proposed legislation, the government can declare a state of emergency without Knesset approval when it believes “there is a real risk that the virus will spread and pose serious harm to public health if no action is taken.”
The proposed bill, which was to be presented Monday for its second and third Knesset readings, would remain valid for 30 days. The government can then extend this period for another 45 days, but can grant itself as many extensions as it wishes until March 31, 2021 at the latest.
Once enacted, the law can be overturned by a Knesset majority. Furthermore, the government must cancel the state of emergency if the circumstances justifying it cease to exist.
During the Knesset discussion on the bill, opposition MKs argued that such legislation would block essential parliamentary oversight.