Israel Beiteinu protest halts construction reform votes (JERUSALEM POST) By LAHAV HARKOV 03/15/12)
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Amnon Cohen (Shas), chairman of the Knesset Subcommittee on Reforming
the Planning and Construction Law, stopped final committee votes on
Wednesday, after Israel Beiteinu began voting with the opposition in
protest of the criteria for affordable housing.
According to Israel Beiteinu, the Likud has not kept its commitment
to include in the bill that the criteria be decided by a ministerial
vote, as opposed to a decision by the prime minister, finance
minister and housing minister. This way, Israel Beiteinu hopes to
make 125 percent employment per married couple (for example, one
spouse working fulltime and the other one-quarter time) a requirement
for affordable housing.
Therefore, late Tuesday night, MK Hamed Amer (Israel Beiteinu) began
voting with the opposition, and by Wednesday morning, Cohen stopped
the subcommittee votes, because the coalition could not get a
Cohen, Israel Beiteinu and the Likud continued to negotiate
throughout the day. The next subcommittee meeting has been delayed
until Monday, in hopes the MKs will reach an agreement that would
allow voting to resume.
The subcommittee has been working on the lengthy bill for more than
two years. In addition to affordable housing, some of the topics in
the legislation include institutions for authorizing planning and
construction and the process of planning new construction as well as
penalties for not following the new guidelines.
Last month, Cohen finished preparing the bill for its second and
third (final) plenum readings, but opposition MKs submitted 630
reservations, each of which must be discussed and put to a vote by
Nearly 300 of those have been discussed in the committee, and most
were voted down.
At the same time, coalition MKs have consistently voted in favor of
the subcommittee’s changes to the bill, as opposed to the original,
government version of the bill.
According to Cohen, the subcommittee’s amendments make the bill
friendlier to citizens, as opposed to the government.
Some examples of changes to the legislation include adding Arab and
Druse municipality representatives to the National Council for
Planning and Construction, as well as representatives of the Israel
Parks and Nature Authority in the regional subcommittees. (© 1995-
2011, The Jerusalem Post 03/15/12)
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