On 18 September the Assembly voted in favour of creating the Committee on Assembly Electoral Reform with the remit to examine the recommendations of the Expert Panel on the size of the Assembly, how Assembly Members are elected, and how a new electoral system could encourage the election of a more diverse Assembly.
The Finance Committee and Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee published their Stage 1 reports on 28 June 2019. The reports made a number of recommendations, including that the Assembly approve the general principles of the Bill.
The Assembly voted on 10 July 2019 to approve the general principles of the Bill. The Bill will therefore move to Stage 2 of the legislative process. During Stage 2, the Bill will be considered line by line, and Members will be able to suggest changes.
Following a meeting of the Assembly Commission, the Llywydd wrote to all Assembly Members to explain that while she is confident that the case in favour of increasing the number of Members has been made, nevertheless there is not yet consensus on how Members should be elected.
For this reason, the Commission has decided it is not possible to legislate on Phase 2 of electoral reform in this Assembly. However, the Commission’s work to explore issues relating to the size of the Assembly and how Members should be elected will continue assisting the public debate and political parties as they consider their views on these matters.
On 12 February 2019, the Llywydd introduced the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill on behalf of the Assembly Commission. The Bill contains proposals to lower the voting age for Assembly elections to 16, change the name of the Assembly and make other important changes to the way that elections are run and administered in Wales.
If passed by the Assembly, the changes proposed by the Bill will be implemented in time for the 2021 Assembly elections.
Following a meeting of the Assembly Commission, the Llywydd wrote to all Assembly Members to explain that the name change introduced in the Bill would be the monolingual name “Senedd” and that Members would be referred to as “Aelodau’r Senedd / Members of the Senedd”.
The Bill would be called the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill.