REGINA - The Saskatchewan legislature is back in action starting Monday, with plenty of legislation on the plate for the MLAs coming back.
The spring sitting runs for ten weeks, ending May 18, with the week of April 10 to 13 off.
A busy time is ahead as MLAs are set to resume debate on second reading of a number of bills before the Assembly. Among the legislation coming back to the House for second reading include the Saskatchewan First Act, the Provincial Protective Services Act, the Trespass to Property Amendment Act, the Wills Amendment Act, the Saskatchewan Firearms Act, the Warrant Compliance Act, the Saskatchewan Revenue Agency Act and the Alcohol and Gaming Regulation Amendment Act, among others.
The highlight of the spring sitting will be the budget, which is to be presented by Finance Minister Donna Harpauer on March 22.
Even though the Legislature has been out of action since early December, it has been an active few weeks for the Sask. Party government. Last week, the government officially signed on to the health care transfer agreement with the federal government, on the heels of meetings between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the provincial premiers in early February.
The month of February also saw the auction proceed on 35 Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority retail liquor licenses, to replace the public liquor stores that are being closed by the provincial government. The province is reporting SLGA raised $45 million from the auctions.
Last month saw a notable resignation. Not returning for the spring sitting is Mark Docherty, MLA for Regina Coronation Park who has resigned his seat. A byelection has yet to be called.
On Monday afternoon the legislature was rocked by another resignation announcement, as Lumsden-Morse MLA Lyle Stewart announced he, too, would be leaving. He announced he was resigning his seat effective Friday, due to health concerns.
Last week also was a notable one for the opposition Saskatchewan United Party. They enter the session as an officially registered party with Elections Saskatchewan and attracted a big crowd to Prairieland Park in Saskatoon on Feb. 28 for the party’s launch event headlined by leader Nadine Wilson.
For the opposition New Democrats, the indication is they plan to focus on jobs and affordability in this session. Last week at the legislature, the NDP also repeated their call for removal of the PST on construction labour.
The opposition had also been on a health care tour across the province with critics Vicki Mowat and Matt Love attending a town hall on health care in Delisle last Friday.