What new laws are the Scottish government planning?
The Scottish government has announced plans for 12 new bills during the 2018-19 session of the Scottish Parliament.
Biometric Data Bill
This bill will establish a statutory code of practice covering the acquisition, use, retention and disposal of biometric data such as fingerprints, DNA and facial images. It will also establish a Parliamentary Commissioner tasked with overseeing the code and promoting best practice, as well as raising wider awareness in this evolving area.
The annual Budget Bill provides parliamentary approval for the Scottish government's spending plans for the next financial year.
Census (Amendment) Bill
This will allow National Records of Scotland to ask voluntary questions on sexual orientation and transgender status/history in the 2021 census and future censuses.
Consumer Protection Bill
The bill will establish Consumer Scotland, which will carry out in-depth investigations into areas of most pressing harm to consumers in Scotland, and use its findings to propose specific and practical solutions.
The bill will make amendments to the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 and Part V of the Police Act 1997 to support the modernisation of the disclosure system.
Electoral Franchise Bill
This will extend the franchise for Scottish Parliament and local government elections to protect the right to vote for EU citizens. The bill will be brought forward after a consultation on prisoner voting has been carried out.
Electoral Reform Bill
The bill will implement a range of electoral reforms, some of which will use the 2016 Scotland Act powers. These include proposals included in the recent Electoral Reform Consultation to extend the powers of the Electoral Management Board, and make changes to boundary reviews. It will also include some technical matters, for example transferring oversight of the Electoral Commission to the Scottish Parliament.
Family Law Bill
The Bill will make a number of changes to family law, with a particular focus on ensuring that the child's best interests are at the centre of any contact and residence cases. This includes regulation of Child Welfare Reporters, further protection of domestic abuse victims in contact and residence cases and ensuring that cases are dealt with effectively and efficiently by the courts.
Female Genital Mutilation Bill
The bill will strengthen existing protection of women and girls from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which the government describes as a form of gender-based violence. The bill will seek to introduce protection orders for women and girls at risk, and place guidance for professionals on a statutory footing.
Non-Domestic Rates Bill
The bill "enhance and reform" the business rates system in Scotland through measures including a move to a three-year valuation cycle. It will also introduce measures aimed at improving the administration of the system, including a reduction in the number of appeals and improvements to the quality of information available. It will also deliver measures aimed at increasing fairness by reforming a number of tax reliefs and tackling known avoidance measures.
Scottish National Investment Bank Bill
The bill will pave the way for the establishment of the Scottish National Investment Bank, which was announced by the government last year. It says the bank will provide investment, help companies grow and support the government's economic vision.
South of Scotland Enterprise Agency Bill
This will establish a new enterprise agency for the south of Scotland, which will be tasked with "driving inclusive growth and ensuring that the region benefits from a new approach that supports a diverse and resilient economy, sustains and grows communities, and harnesses the potential of people and resources."