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Italy: Decree Laws on Conclusion of School Year and Elections amid COVID-19 Pandemic Issued

(May 20, 2020) In April 2020, two decree laws entered into effect in Italy to regulate educational and electoral affairs that had been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Decree Law No. 22 of April 8, 2020 (D.L. No. 22) on the conclusion of the 2019/2020 school year and state examinations in Italy entered into effect […]

United States: House of Representatives Adopts Temporary Procedure for Voting by Proxy

(May 18, 2020) On May 15, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted H. Res. 965, which provides for voting by proxy during the coronavirus pandemic. The resolution allows a single House member to serve as a voting proxy for up to 10 fellow members and establishes a protocol for this new process. The resolution […]

Philippines: Senate Sessions via Teleconference Approved

(May 11, 2020) On May 4, 2020, the Philippine Senate approved a resolution allowing for plenary sessions and committee hearings to be conducted via teleconference. Specifically, the resolution provides that when a majority of the members of the Senate determine that a national emergency or “force majeure” situation has occurred that prevents them from physically […]

Colombia: Congress to Vote on Legislation in Virtual Sessions

(May 5, 2020) On March 28, 2020, Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez issued Legislative Decree 491/2020, which permits governmental bodies, including the legislature, to conduct business virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. Article 12 of the decree allows for remote sessions in which members can deliberate by any means (por cualquier medio) and make decisions by […]

Panama: Law on Congressional Virtual Sessions Enacted

(May 5, 2020) On April 11, 2020, Panama published a law allowing its legislative assembly to conduct virtual sessions in cases of a national emergency or other situations that prevent the assembly from meeting in regular fashion. The original bill of this law explained that, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became necessary […]

Chile: Senate Adopts Protocol for Virtual Committee Sessions

(Apr. 23, 2020) On April 8, 2020, the Chilean Senate adopted a protocol for carrying out committee sessions remotely during the 90-day state of health emergency declared on March 18, 2020, by President Sebastián Piñera. The protocol provides that during the emergency senators may participate and vote in committee sessions either in person or through […]

Sweden: Swedish Parliament Gives Swedish Government Temporary Emergency Powers Because of COVID-19 Outbreak

(Apr. 22, 2020) On April 16, 2016, the Swedish Parliament passed legislation that allows the Swedish government to issue special regulations during the COVID-19 outbreak. The law amends the Swedish Infectious Disease Control Act (Smittskyddslagen (SFS 2004:168)), Sweden’s emergency legislation. (Socialutskottetsbetänkande2019/20:SoU20.) The amendment (Prop. 2019/20:155) allows the government to issue regulations that temporarily limit public […]

European Union: Parliament Temporarily Allows Remote Participation to Avoid Spreading COVID-19

(Apr. 21, 2020) The Bureau of the European Parliament (Bureau) has agreed to temporary changes to the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament that allow for remote participation and electronic voting by members of parliament (MPs) and committee members. The changes are meant to allow members to “fulfil their democratic rights and legislative duties” […]

Israel: Supreme Court Again Rejects Petition for Court to Rule on Indicted Knesset Member’s Eligibility for Prime Ministership

(Apr. 20, 2020) On April 12, 2020, the Supreme Court of Israel, sitting as a High Court of Justice, unanimously rejected a petition that the Court determine whether a member of Knesset (Israel’s parliament) who had been indicted for an offense of moral turpitude is eligible to serve as prime minister (PM), and whether the […]

Sweden: Parliament Extends Agreement on Changes to Parliamentary Procedure During COVID-19 Outbreak

(Apr. 16, 2020) On April 15, 2020, the group leaders of the Swedish Parliament extended their agreement on temporary parliamentary procedure during the COVID-19 outbreak to last until at least April 29, 2020. On March 16, 2020, the Swedish group leaders had agreed to a number of measures and changes to parliamentary procedure aimed at […]