On the eve of the start of plenary sessions (the first will take place on September 19), the State Duma apparatus has prepared a rough program of legislative work for deputies during the autumn session regarding bills that are subject to priority consideration.
In addition to the traditionally main bill of the autumn session - the federal budget for 2024 and for the planning period of 2025 and 2026. – the document contains 51 more bills (Vedomosti has read it).
In September, in particular, it is planned to consider in the first reading a government bill on the procedure for paying for heating in Moscow. The Moscow authorities are proposed to be given the opportunity to establish “the specifics of determining the amount of payment for utility services for heating.” The explanatory note states that the amendments were prepared to “prevent significant increases in fees” for housing and communal services associated “with annual climate fluctuations.”
This month, the Duma also plans to ratify the agreement on joint logistics and medical support for the Troops (Collective Forces) of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
At one of the next meetings, deputies plan to consider in the first reading a government bill proposing to expand the list of persons who can consider cases of state secrets. Such powers will be given to the head of the central military command body, which is responsible in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation for coordinating the main areas of activity to protect restricted information, and to structural units for the protection of state secrets.
In October, deputies will consider in the second reading a new version of the law on employment, authored by the speakers of both chambers of parliament. It proposes to provide the opportunity to receive assistance from employment services to people looking for a better job, or to workers at risk of being fired. In addition, individual entrepreneurs and self-employed people will be able to register and receive unemployment benefits in the maximum amount.
Scheduled for November is the first reading of a Supreme Court bill that would limit the ability to arrest women, those with young children, those with serious illnesses, and those accused of nonviolent, minor crimes.
In December, they plan to consider in the first reading an initiative aimed at legalizing the retail sale of alcohol on the summer verandas of cafes and restaurants (introduced by deputies led by the chairman of the economic policy committee, Maxim Topilin). The explanatory note to the bill states that the existing law does not provide for the possibility of retail sales of alcoholic beverages when providing catering services in summer (seasonal) cafes.
In addition, on September 14, the relevant Duma Committee on CIS Affairs decided to consider in October a bill on deprivation of citizenship by birth for desertion or discrediting the army. It was introduced in July by four senators, but after criticism of the initiative, including in the Federation Council itself, three of them withdrew their signatures, leaving only the senator from Crimea Sergei Tsekov among the authors.
Bills are included in this program for two reasons, says political scientist Pavel Sklyanchuk: expressed priority on the part of factions and readiness for initiative in the committee. If a faction wants to quickly consider its bill, but there is no, for example, opinion from the lawyers of the presidential administration, then the committee, according to the expert, will not include it in the plan.
In addition, Sklyanchuk notes, the overwhelming number of priority initiatives were introduced by the government, because the relevant ministries are rushing Duma members to meet their KPIs at the end of the year.
At the same time, recently a practice has developed when lawmaking does not go according to plan: socially significant initiatives that have been without movement for a long time are considered suddenly, in a short period of time, they will be included in the form of amendments, and not separate draft federal laws, the expert adds.