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Live Reporting

By Alun Jones

All times stated are UK

  1. Health looms large

    September can be a turbulent month in Cardiff Bay, a month which, in 1999, saw the first censure motion in the Assembly's history.  

    This year, the fact that all three opposition party leaders asked NHS-related questions in the first session of First Minister's Questions after the summer recess set the tone for the new term. Over the next few months, debate over waiting times for NHS treatment, bed-blocking figures and response times of the Welsh Ambulance Service would loom large.

    First Minister
  2. 'I'm bewildered, I'm at a loss'

    The other big devolved area, education, often sees robust debate in the Senedd. 

    A memorable example was when the education minister Huw Lewis exclaimed, "I'm bewildered, I'm at a loss", after being accused of being "deliberately disingenuous" by Conservative Angela Burns over differences in educational achievements in England and Wales.

    Huw Lewis
  3. Controversy over proposed M4 relief road

    A final decision on the proposed M4 relief road will be taken after the election in May. Labour's former environment minister Alun Davies spoke out following the sacking of his colleague Jenny Rathbone, saying: "It is to me astonishing that a government that is committed to reducing poverty, will spend a billion pounds of public money on a project that will have no economic impact on my constituents, and very little economic impact in some of the poorest parts of the country."

    Three of the route options including the black route
  4. Committee chair sacked

    The Labour AM Jenny Rathbone was sacked as a committee chair by the first minister after she criticised the Welsh government for spending nearly £20m on M4 relief road plans.   

    The first minister explained that the chair has collective responsibility and is a government appointment.   

    Jenny Rathbone
  5. How many councils?

    In September and October, AMs spent several hours debating the draft Local Government (Wales) Bill, which was designed to help local councils to merge.

    Last year the Williams Commission called for the 22 councils in Wales to be cut by half.  

    Labour has exactly half the votes in the assembly, and needed at least one opposition member to back the plan, or abstain, for the bill to pass.

    Plaid Cymru agreed a deal with the Labour Welsh government to back it.

    No council mergers will now take place before the 2016 assembly election.

    Plaid Cymru said it had stopped Labour's "centralisation agenda" and pledged to let the 22 councils work together as combined authorities.

    The map of local government in Wales today
    Image caption: The map of local government in Wales today
  6. New powers offered to Wales

    Another ongoing topic of debate is the UK government's Draft Wales Bill. The first minister claims the bill would place "new restrictions on the Welsh government's power to legislate" and amounts to an "English veto on Welsh laws".  

    In the 2011 referendum, there was a clear 'Yes' vote on direct law-making powers for the assembly.   

    New powers offered to Wales
  7. Code of Practice for Landlords and Agents

    The draft Code of Practice for Landlords and Agents was approved in November.

    Part 1 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 introduces a mandatory registration scheme for private landlords and a requirement for private landlords and agents who carry out letting / management tasks to be licensed.

  8. 'Serious and outstanding concerns' about health board

    The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board continues to be scrutinised in the Senedd, having been under the highest possible level of Welsh government intervention since June, for what Health Minister Mark Drakeford called "serious and outstanding concerns" about its leadership.

    A report in May found "institutional abuse" at the Tawel Fan mental health ward in Glan Clwyd Hospital.

    In June, it emerged there was a fraud investigation into aspects of the board's spending plans.

    Special measures were extended for another two years in October.

    Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
  9. Ministers support Walk in Heels 2015

    Welsh government Ministers Leighton Andrews and Carl Sargeant were among many men taking part in a mile walk in heels to raise awareness of domestic abuse and the White Ribbon Campaign.  

    The White Ribbon Campaign is "the largest global effort of men working to end male violence against women".

    View more on twitter
  10. Organ donation law 'revolution' starts in Wales

    Wales has become the first nation in the UK to introduce a "revolutionary" new system to increase the number of organ donors.

    From December 1, adults are regarded as having consented to organ donation unless they have opted out.

    Health Minister Mark Drakeford called it a "ground-breaking step which will save lives".

    He paid tribute to the cross-party support for the change in the law, which aims to increase the number of donors by 25%.

    The legislation was passed by the Senedd in 2013.  

    Under the new law, the assumption is that people consent to donation if they do not register a view.
    Image caption: Under the new law, the assumption is that people consent to donation if they do not register a view.
  11. SQuID

    The Senedd Live award for the most memorable acronym goes to SQuID. For the uninitiated, this is the supplier qualification information database, which seeks to "make the contracting process easier for buyers and suppliers, and is especially helpful for small businesses", according to the Welsh government.

    This is not what the AMs were talking about
    Image caption: This is not what the AMs were talking about
  12. Programme to immunise badgers suspended

    The Deputy Minister for Farming and Food Rebecca Evans, announced that the supply of vaccines to immunise badgers has been "interrupted", meaning the programme has been suspended. 

    The Welsh government began its £4.6m five-year programme to immunise badgers in north Pembrokeshire in 2012. 

    Plaid Cymru's rural affairs spokesman Llyr Gruffydd said this was "shocking news that will make a complete mockery of the vaccination trial".   

    Badgers
  13. Minister to water-down plans for a ban on the use of e-cigarettes

    In the final week before the Christmas recess, AMs voted in favour of the General Principles of the Public Health (Wales) Bill.

    The most controversial part of the bill was the provision to ban the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public places.  

    The Health Minister Mark Drakeford has expressed concerns in the past that using these devices indoors "re-normalises" the culture of smoking.

    However, he announced on December 8 that he has agreed to water-down plans for a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public places. 

    Mr Drakeford tells AMs it remained his "personal view" that a ban should be introduced. 

    But he conceded that, without a majority in the Senedd, the Welsh government needed to compromise. 

    He said the Public Health Bill would be modified to take into account a recommendation from a cross-party committee that the ban should apply only to schools, public transport and places serving food. 

    e-cigarettes
  14. Happy New Year!

    As we bid farewell to 2015 and welcome the 2016 assembly election year, remember that nobody extends a welcome like the National Assembly for Wales' singing security team.

    Senedd Live returns on Tuesday 12 January. 

    The National Assembly for Wales security team