The Arrangements Law
The Arrangements Law is a government bill presented to the Knesset each year alongside the Budget Law. It incorporates government bills and legislative amendments that are needed in order for the government to fulfill its economic policy. In recent years the law was also called the "Economic Policy Law" and the "Israeli Economic Recuperation Law."
The Arrangements Law was first legislated in 1985 by Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Minister of Finance Yitzhak Moday. It was presented as an emergency regulation, supplementing the economic stabilization program. This law was comprised of bills and amendments regarding various issues which were then presented to the Knesset as a single bill proposal. Since then, the Arrangements Law has been a permanent component of the Budget Law.
The Arrangements Law is a unique instrument used by the government to initiate legislation, complete legislative acts and stall or eliminate private members' bills already legislated. Through the law, the government can overcome parliamentary obstacles, as it relies on its majority among coalition members. The main argument used to justify the law is that the cost of ratified bills will exceed budgetary limits. The law is presented to the Knesset towards the beginning of each fiscal year – in October – and discussion surrounding it usually lasts until the end of December.
The Arrangements Law is different than other bills in both its context and its legislative procedure. Ordinary bills deal with specific issues, while the Arrangements Law gathers various bills on different subjects. Ordinary bills are debated in various Knesset Committees, while the Arrangements Law is passed as a unified bloc to the Finance Committee, which debates its contents for a short period of time before approving it towards second and third readings with the Budget Law. The Budget Law in itself is presented as if all articles of the Arrangements Law have been approved. In recent years, at the government's request, some of the law's contents are debated in different committees prior to their final ratification by the Finance Committee. The committee's draft of the law is presented as a single bill towards its approval.
The Arrangements Law is subject to fierce criticism within the Knesset and among the public. Its critics claim that it is not concerned with the budget; rather it contains extensive reforms in the state economy and unnecessary legislation. It is also claimed that the law makes poor use of the legislative process within the Knesset committees, as it is processed rapidly and does not allow Knesset Members to examine thoroughly its contents and take a stand on its issues. Furthermore, the time spent on the Arrangements Law – some two months – seems unreasonable to discuss and/or amend legislation that had already been passed following months or years of effort – sometimes under professional guidance. Lastly, the coalition's and opposition's parliamentary discipline does not allow their members to vote independently on the law's various fields of interest.
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