House of Assembly Act

R.S.N. 1990, Chapter H-10
(Incorporates amendments made by S.N. 1993, Chap. 1 and S.N. 1995, Chap. 33)

An Act respecting the House of Assembly.

1. This Act may be cited as the House of Assembly Act.

2. In this Act "committee"means a standing or select committee of the House of Assembly.

3. The House of Assembly shalle continue, notwithstanding the demise of the Crown, for 5 years from the day on which it shall by proclamation be appointed to meet, unless sooner dissolved, and no longer.

4. (1) The House of Assembly shall consist of 48 members.

(2) A quorum of the House of Assembly is 14 members.

5. Each district for which a member shall be returned to the House of Assembly is listed below and is more particularly described and delineated in the Schedule; and each district shall return one member to the House of Assembly:

Baie Verte
Bay of Islands
Bellevue
Bonavista North
Bonavista South
Burgeo & La Poile
Burin—Placentia West
Cape St. Francis
Carbonear—Harbour Grace
Cartwright—L'Anse au Clair
Conception Bay East & Bell Island
Conception Bay South
Exploits
Ferryland
Fortune Bay—Cape La Hune
Gander
Grand Bank
Grand Falls—Buchans
Harbour Main—Whitbourne
Humber East
Humber Valley
Kilbride
Labrador West
Lake Melville
Lewisporte
Mount Pearl
Placentia & St. Mary's
Port au Port
Port de Grave
St. Barbe
St. George's—Stephenville East
St. John's Centre
St. John's East
St. John's North
St. John's South
St. John's West
Signal Hill—Quidi Vidi
Terra Nova
The Straits & White Bay North
Topsail
Torngat Mountains
Trinity—Bay de Verde
Trinity North
Twillingate & Fogo
Virginia Waters
Waterford Valley
Windsor—Springdale

6. (1) The House of Assembly may establish rules for its government and the attendance of its members and the conduct of its business, and for limiting the length of time that members may speak, and may alter, amend and repeal those rules.

(2) A rule established under subsection (1) shall not be altered or repealed except by a vote of 50 % plus one of the members present and voting in favour.

(3) Except as provided in this section, a rule or order or anything in this Act shall not be construed to limit or restrict the liberty and privilege of speech or debate of the House of Assembly, or a right or privilege of the House of Assembly now existing.

7. Upon an inquiry touching the privileges, immunities or powers of the House of Assembly, or a committee or member of the House of Assembly, respectively, a copy of the journals of the House of Assembly, printed or purporting to be printed by the order of the House of Assembly, shall be admitted as, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, evidence of those journals by all courts, justices and others, without proof being given that that copy was so printed.

8. The House of Assembly or a committee may require that facts, matters and things relating to the subject of inquiry before the House of Assembly or that committee be verified or otherwise ascertained by the oral examination of witnesses, and may examine those witnesses upon oath or affirmation; and for that purpose the speaker or clerk of the House of Assembly, or the chairperson or clerk of that committee, may administer an oath or affirmation in the following form, or to the same effect, to a witness:

"The evidence I shall give to the House of Assembly (or committee) touching (starting here the matter then under consideration) shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help me God." (Or; "I do solemnly affirm ... ")

9. Where witnesses are not required to be orally examined before the House of Assembly, or a committee, an oath, affirmation, declaration or affidavit in writing, which is required to be made or taken by or according to a rule or order of the House of Assembly or committee, and in respect of a matter or thing pending or proceeding before the House of Assembly or committee, may be made and taken before the Clerk of the House of Assembly, a commissioner for taking affidavits in the Supreme Court, or a notary public.

10. A person examined before the House of Assembly or a committee, who wilfully gives false testimony on a question material to the subject matter which the House of Assembly or committee is then engaged in investigating or inquiring into, is guilty of the crime of perjury, and, on indictment and conviction before the Supreme Court, is subject to the penalties now attaching to the crime of perjury.

11. (1) The House of Assembly may command and compel the attendance before the House of Assembly, or before a committee, of a person, and the production of papers and things that the House of Assembly or committee considers necessary for its proceedings or deliberations.

(2) A person neglecting or refusing to attend, or to produce those papers and things before the House of Assembly or committee, is guilty of a violation of this Act.

(3) A person shall not be liable to produce a paper or document which he or she would not be compelled to produce in a court of justice or from the production of which he or she may be privileged by law.

12. The following acts, matters and things are prohibited and constitute infringements of this Act:

(a) assaults upon members of the House of Assembly during a session of the Legislature;

(b) obstructing, threatening, or attempting to force or intimidate members of the House of Assembly;

(c) the refusal or failure of an officer of the House of Assembly, or other person, to obey a rule, order or resolution of the House of Assembly;

(d) the offering to, or acceptance by, a member of a bribe to influence that member in his or her proceedings as a member;

(e) assaults upon, or interference with, the officers of the House of Assembly, while in the execution of their duty;

(f) tampering with a witness in respect of his or her evidence, to be given to the House of Assembly or a committee of the House of Assembly, or directly or indirectly trying to deter or hinder a person from appearing or giving evidence;

(g) presenting to the House of Assembly or to a committee of the House of Assembly a forged or falsified document with intent to deceive the House of Assembly or committee; and

(h) forging, falsifying or unlawfully altering a record of the House of Assembly or of a committee, or a document or petition presented or filed or intended to be presented or filed before the House of Assembly or committee, or the setting or subscribing by a person of the name of another person to a document or petition with intent to deceive.

13. (1) A person shall not be liable, in damages or otherwise, for an act done under authority of the House of Assembly and within its legal power, or under a warrant issued under that authority.

(2) A warrant issued under the authority of the House of Assembly may command the assistance of sheriffs, bailiffs, constables and others; and a refusal or failure to give that assistance, when required, shall be an infringment of this Act.

14. Where at a time during the session of the House of Assembly a member of the House of Assembly other than the speaker performs the duties and exercises the authority of the speaker, under the Standing Orders or other order or resolution of the House of Assembly

(a) acts done by that member in the proper discharge of those duties shall have the same effect and validity as if they had been done by the speaker; and

(b) Acts passed, orders made and everything done by the House of Assembly while that member is acting as speaker shall be as valid and effectual as if the speaker were in the chair.

15. A member of the House of Assembly shall not be liable to a civil action or prosecution, arrest, imprisonment or damages, because of a matter or thing brought by that member by petition, bill, resolution, motion or otherwise, or said by that member, before the House of Assembly.

16. It shall be lawful in civil proceedings against a person for printing an extract from, or abstract of a report, pape, vote or proceeding of the House of Assembly, to give evidence under the general issue or denial of the report, paper, votes or proceedings to show that the extract or abstract was published in good faith and without malice; and where that is the opinion of the court, or of the jury, judgment shall be rendered or a verdict shall be entered for the defendant.

17. A person violating section 11 or 12 shall, upon conviction, be subject to a fine not exceeding $100; and, in default of payment, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 3 months, during the session of the Legislature then being held, that may be determined by the House of Assembly.

18. Proceedings for inquiry into a violation of section 11 or 12 shall be had and taken by the House of Assembly or a committee, and the warrant or summons of the speaker or chairperson of the committee shall have the effect of a summons or warrant of a Provincial Court judge.

19. The House of Assembly and the members of the House of Assembly shall hold, enjoy and exercise those and similar privileges, immunities and powers that are now held, enjoyed and exercised by the House of Commons of the Parliament of Canada and by the members of that House of Commons.

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PART II

(Part II of this Act, enacted by the House of Assembly (Amendment) Act, S.N. 1993, Chap. 1, is omitted.)

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PART III
LEGISLATIVE DISABILITIES

54. Where a vacancy occurs in the House of Assembly, the Lieutenant-Governor in Council shall, within 60 days after the seat becomes vacant direct the issue of a writ of election, to be held not later than 30 days after the issuing of the writ for the election and return of a member for the district in respect of which the vacancy has occurred.

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(The Schedule to this Act, delimiting the boundaries of the various electoral districts, is omitted.)

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