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Propositions and how to lodge one

A proposition is a debate topic, and any States member can lodge one. Propositions must be set out so that other members can make a decision on an issue by voting for or against it. You can find out the results of members' votes in the votes section.

What is a proposition?

A proposition is simply a debate topic. It should aim to encourage debate on an issue and also to present a potential solution, which will lead to a clear, definable decision that either requests a minister to take action or to authorise an action. 

What is the lodging period?

The lodging period refers to the matter being lodged ‘au Greffe’ - being published by the States Greffe. The various lengths of time that a matter has to be ‘lodged’ before it can be debated are outlined in Standing Order 26 of the Standing Orders of the States of Jersey.

Who can lodge a proposition?

Any member of the States can lodge a proposition for debate. 

How are propositions written?

Propositions should ask the Assembly to make a decision on an issue – they must be set out so members can ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ and be unambiguous. Traditionally they always start with the following phrase: “The States are asked to decide whether they are of opinion...”

The Greffier and his staff can help members and departments with the wording of a proposition in order to best achieve the desired outcome. Every draft proposition is then sent to the Bailiff for approval. 

What accompanies a proposition?

A draft proposition must be accompanied by an estimate of the financial / manpower implications and an explanation as to how, when and from where these could be realistically sourced.

A proposition also needs to be supported by a report which outlines the background to the proposal and gives greater detail or statistical information. 

The Council of Ministers is bound by collective responsibility.  Any proposition lodged by the Council, the Chief Minister or another Minister must therefore include a collective responsibility statement to explain which Ministers and Assistant Ministers are bound to support the proposition.

How long must you wait before a proposition can be debated?

The rules which govern the length of time that a matter has to be ‘lodged’ before it can be debated are outlined in Standing Order 26.

As a rule, matters relating to the dismissal, vote of no confidence, suspension or censure of any person or body requires just a 2 week lodging period.

A proposition lodged by a States Member in his or her own right; a proposition for the appointment of a person or tribunal to a public office; or a draft legislative act or amendment to Standing Orders only needs to be lodged for 4 weeks.

Matters lodged by the following need to be lodged for a minimum of 6 weeks:

  • Chief Minister
  • a minister
  • the Council of Ministers
  • the Privileges and Procedures Committee
  • the Public Accounts Committee
  • the Chairmen’s Committee
  • a Scrutiny panel
  • the Comité des Connétables
  • the States Employment Board

There is no minimum lodging period for a proposition relating to a petition. In other words it could be debated at the same meeting at which it is lodged.

When does the lodging period start?

The lodging period starts from the day a matter is ‘lodged’ or made available to the public. 

When does the matter become public?

If the proposition is not distributed during a States meeting, it is considered to be ‘lodged’ (made public) the working day after it has been distributed. For example a proposition received on Wednesday 12 October by the Greffe would normally have a lodging date of Thursday 13 October. If it was a matter requiring a 6 week lodging then the earliest it could be debated would be the next States meeting after Thursday 24 November.

The lodging period itself is not affected by public holidays such as Christmas or Easter, but it may be necessary to ensure that the matter reaches the States Greffe a few days earlier in order to guarantee that it will be lodged on the required date. 

Lodging as an individual States member

As a States member you may lodge a proposition ‘au Greffe’ for debate at a forthcoming meeting. The rules which govern the length of time that a matter has to be ‘lodged’ before it can be debated are outlined in Standing Order 26 but as a rule, a proposition lodged by a States member in his or her own right only needs to be lodged for 4 weeks. 

Lodging as a minister / department

Matters lodged by the following need to be lodged for a minimum of 6 weeks:

  • Chief Minister
  • a minister
  • the Council of Ministers
  • the Privileges and Procedures Committee
  • the Public Accounts Committee
  • the Chairmen’s Committee
  • a Scrutiny panel
  • the Comité des Connétables
  • the States Employment Board

Any matter which is formally lodged or presented to the States by a minister requires a Ministerial Decision to be uploaded onto the Livelink system.

What if the matter is urgent and can’t wait 6 weeks?

The States may agree to reduce the minimum lodging period if they consider that the proposition relates to a matter so urgent and important that it would be damaging to Jersey if the debate was delayed. 

Amendments to propositions

Any member can amend a proposition lodged by someone else.

The Greffier can advise on the wording which best achieves the aims of the amendment. Amendments need to be lodged for a set period of time, according to the proposition they are amending. To amend any proposition which required a 2 or 4 week lodging period the matter would have to be lodged for a week (or 4 days for an amendment to an amendment). A 2 week lodging period is required for any amendment to a proposition which had a 6 week lodging period (one week for an amendment to an amendment).

Comments on propositions

The Chief Minister, Council of Ministers or a minister, the Privileges and Procedures Committee, Public Accounts Committee, Chairmen’s Committee, Scrutiny panels, the Comité des Connétables, the States Employment Board, members of the States with an official responsibility relating to the matter, or a committee or panel established by the States are able to issue official comments regarding a proposition or an amendment.

Any matter which is formally presented to the States by a minister requires a Ministerial Decision to be uploaded onto the Livelink system.

Comments have to be received at the States Greffe before noon on the penultimate day before the meeting at which the matter is to be debated. This is normally the Friday before a meeting.

For example, if the next States meeting is on a Tuesday, then the comment should be sent to the Greffe before noon on the Friday beforehand. If it is not received before noon then the comment has to include a statement explaining why it has been issued late. 

How are propositions debated?

Once the proposition has been lodged for the relevant minimum period of time it is then placed on the Order Paper as an item of public business for debate at the next scheduled States meeting. Items are generally listed in numeric order.

When the matter is debated in the Chamber, the Greffier reads out the proposition and the proposer makes his or her opening speech. The matter is then seconded by another member and the debate begins.

If the proposition has been amended by another member then the Greffier will read this out after the proposer has completed his or her opening speech and the proposition has been seconded.

The member amending the proposition will then make a speech outlining the reasons for bringing forward the proposed change and the Assembly will then debate the amendment (or amendments). Once all members who wish to participate have spoken, the proposer makes a second speech summarising and responding to any of the points raised during the debate and then the Assembly votes on the matter.

There is then a vote on the amendment. If the amendment is adopted then the debate resumes on the original proposition as amended. This process is repeated if there are several amendments.

If the amendment is rejected then the debate resumes on the original proposition. Once all members who wish to participate have spoken, the proposer makes a second speech, summarising and responding to any of the points raised during the debate and then the Assembly votes on the matter. 

Voting results

The results of votes in the Assembly are uploaded onto this website shortly after they occur. If a standing vote was held then only the result is recorded (carried or lost) and not the way in which individual members voted. However, if the vote was taken using the electronic voting system (an ‘appel’) then these are uploaded showing the way in which individual members voted.