LC Paper No. CB(1) 1059/98-99
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)
Bills Committee on
Members present :
Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 1998
Minutes of meeting
held on Thursday, 4 March 1999, at 8:30 am
in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP (Chairman)
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon LEE Kai-ming, JP
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Members absent :
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon Bernard CHAN
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Public officers attending :
Clerk in attendance :
- Mr Alex FONG
- Deputy Secretary for Transport
- Mr Roy TANG
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport
- Mr Alan LUI
- Assistant Commissioner for Transport/Management and Licensing
- Mr S M LI
- Assistant Commissioner for Transport/Technical Services
- Mr Patrick LAI
- Chief Superintendent of Police
- Mr CHENG Hung-leung
- Chief Engineer of Transport Department
- Mr Lawrence PENG
- Senior Government Counsel
- Mr Sunny CHAN
- Senior Government Counsel
Staff in attendance :
- Mrs Vivian KAM,
- Chief Assistant Secretary (1)5
- Miss Connie FUNG,
- Assistant Legal Adviser 3
- Mr Andy LAU,
- Senior Assistant Secretary (1)6
I Confirmation of minutes and matters arising from previous meetings
(LC Paper No. CB(1) 874/98-99 - Minutes of the meeting held on 4 January 1999
LC Paper No. CB(1) 934/98-99(01) - Information paper provided by the Administration)
The minutes of the meeting held on 4 January 1999 were confirmed.
2. Members noted the submissions from the following organizations:
- Private Hire Car For Young Children Association Limited; and
- Young Children School Mini-Buses Operators Association (Ltd.).
3. The Chairman recapitulated that at the meeting on 4 February 1999 when voting was taken on the proposal to tighten the prescribed limit for alcohol concentration, the majority of members present voted against the proposal. On behalf of members of the Democratic Party who were not present during the voting, Mr HO Chun-yan asked to put on record that members of the Democratic Party were in support of the Administration's proposal to tighten the Blood Alcohol Concentration to 50 mg. As for the rectification of the payment arrangement for management agreements under Part IV of the Bill, the Chairman advised that the Bills Committee was in support of the Administration's proposal.
Amendments related to school private light buses
4. Members went through the paper provided by the Administration which set out the Administration's response to issues raised by members at the last meeting on the proposal to place school private light buses under the Passenger Service Licence (PSL) Scheme. Members noted that the Administration would continue to consult the trade in advance before any new safety measures were introduced.
|5. Mr CHAN Kam-lam said that whilst not objecting to the proposal, he was of the view that a fair and uniform arrangement should be adopted in drawing up the annual licence fees for school private light buses. In reply, the Assistant Commissioner for Transport/Management and Licensing (AC/ML) advised that the fee for a PSL was set to recover the full cost of the administrative work involved in issuing the PSL. This was in line with the Administration policy on fees and charges. Regarding the annual licence fees for school private light buses, AC/ML said that the Administration was aware that the annual licence fees for school private light buses were significantly higher than those for public buses, and would review the structure of the relevant annual licence fees in due course.
6. The Chairman pointed out that the existing arrangements were unfair to the trade, and urged the Administration to expedite the review. She was of the view that the annual licence fees for school private light buses should be much lower than those for public buses as the latter provided a significantly wider range of services. AC/ML took note of the Chairman's remarks.
7. Given the obvious difference between public buses and school private light buses in terms of annual licence fees, seating capacity, vehicle size and volume of cylinder, Mr CHAN Kam-lam queried the need for carrying out a review before arrangements could be made to lower the annual licence fees for school private light buses. AC/ML advised that as the annual licence fees for vehicles included a tax component and a number of policy bureaux would be involved, the review of the structure of the relevant annual licence fees and the legislative process would take time. In reply to Mr Howard YOUNG, AC/ML said that the administrative costs for issuing licences to school private light buses and public buses were similar, and the variation in the levels of annual licence fees was on account of the tax components in the related fees.
8. To illustrate the commitment of the Administration in reviewing the subject matter, AC/ML advised that the Administration would waive the fees and charges related to the PSL Scheme for school private light buses in the initial operation period of the Scheme pending the outcome of the review.
9. In response to the Chairman on the details for the above arrangements, AC/ML advised that letters of approval would no longer be issued to school private light bus operators as from 1 May 1999. They would be issued with PSLs and PSL Certificates upon expiry of their approval letters. All PSLs to be issued to school private light bus operators from 1 May 1999 would initially be for a validity period of one year instead of two years as in the normal case, and payment of the PSL fees would be waived until completion of the aforesaid review. AC/ML also confirmed that the Administration would not take any retrospective actions to recover the exempted fees from school private light bus operators.
10. In consideration of the above measures which were aimed at addressing the concerns of members and the trade, members had no further questions on the proposed amendments and were in support of the Administration's proposal in the Bill.
II Clause-by-clause examination of the Bill
(LC Paper No. CB(1) 695/98-99 - Marked-up copy of the Bill)
11. Members went through the Bill clause by clause, and the main concerns of the Bills Committee are summarized below.
12. The Chairman and Mr Ronald ARCULLI requested the Secretariat to check whether the two components in Clause 2 of the Bill could be voted on separately at the Committee Stage of the Bill. The two components in Clause 2 included the proposal for tightening the statutory limits for alcohol concentration with which the majority of members of the Bills Committee objected, and the definition for a breath test centre with which the Bills Committee supported. They pointed out that if arrangements could be made for the two components in Clause 2 to be voted on separately, there would not be a need for the Bills Committee to move a Committee Stage amendment to repeal the amendments relating to the prescribed limit for alcohol concentration. If not, either the Chairman on behalf of the Bills Committee or a member of the Bills Committee would move a Committee Stage amendment to repeal the changes to the prescribed limit for alcohol concentration proposed under Clause 2 of the Bill.
Section 39B(2) under Clause 3
13. In response to the Chairman on the proposed amendments to section 39B(2) under Clause 3, the Senior Government Counsel (Mr Sunny CHAN) (SGC) advised that this was a technical amendment to spell out the general guideline for the terms "motor vehicle" and "vehicle" to be translated as and respectively.
Section 39C(1) under Clause 4
14. SGC said in reply to the Chairman that the proposed amendments to section 39C(1) was to rectify a drafting error in the Chinese version of the Ordinance. He confirmed that the English version was in order.
New section 39C(20) under Clause 4
15. Referring to new section 39C(20), members generally agreed that a notice made by the Commissioner of Police designating a place or vehicle to be a breath test centre was not subsidiary legislation.
16. In response to the Chairman, the Assistant Legal Adviser advised that for the avoidance of doubt, members might wish to consider whether an express provision should be added in the Ordinance to state clearly the nature of such notice. She pointed out that notices in the Gazette made by the Commissioner of Police under section 39F(1) of Cap. 374 had been treated and published as subsidiary legislation. Given that both section 39F(1) and new section 39C(20) contained the same reference to "by notice in the Gazette", it would be necessary to distinguish the nature of notices made under these two sections by providing expressly that a notice under new section 39C(20) was not subsidiary legislation. The Chairman also advised that the Administration had adopted the same approach when drafting the Road Traffic (Construction and Maintenance of Vehicle) (Amendment) Regulation 1999. (L.N. 14 of 1999). Mr Ronald ARCULLI pointed out that unless an express provision was included in the legislation to the contrary, all instruments made by means of notices in the Gazette would be considered as subsidiary legislation.
|17. SGC said that in the present case, it was obvious that a notice made by the Commissioner of Police designating a place or vehicle to be a breath test centre was not subsidiary legislation. Inclusion of an express provision might therefore not be necessary as otherwise, it would be necessary to specify the nature of all futures instruments to be included in the legislation. However, he noted members' concerns in this regard and undertook to consider the issue further.
(Post-meeting note: SGC confirmed on 8 March 1999 that the Administration had accepted members' suggestion and would move a Committee Stage amendment to this effect.)
New section 39C(21) under Clause 4
18. In response to Mr Ronald ARCULLI, the Chief Engineer of Transport Department advised that both registered nurses and enrolled nurses were competent to take blood specimens, although registered nurses had higher standards as far as qualifications and training were concerned.
19. The Chairman pointed out that the proposed amendment in Clause 5 was related to that in Clause 2 on the tightening of the prescribed limit for alcohol concentration with which the majority of members of the Bills Committee objected.
20. Referring to the standardization programme of the colour for school private light buses, the Chairman pointed out that flexibility had been introduced to confine the introduction of the mandatory colour scheme only to new school private light buses. She enquired whether new conditions would be introduced for mandatory compliance of the colour scheme upon introduction of the PSL Scheme. AC/ML confirmed that the transitional arrangements would continue to apply, and suitable provisions would be included in the PSLs.
21. In concluding discussion, the Chairman said that the Bills Committee had concluded its deliberations on the Bill. Whilst the majority of members of the Bills Committee did not support the proposal for tightening the statutory limit for alcohol concentration, the Bills Committee was in support of other parts of the Bill.
|22. As requested by members, the Secretariat would follow up on the following two issues and inform members accordingly:
- whether the two components in Clause 2 of the Bill could be voted on separately during the Committee Stage of the Bill; and
- the Administration's position regarding the Bills Committee's suggestion for adding an express provision for specifying, for the avoidance of doubt, that a notice in the Gazette made by the Commissioner of Police under new section 39C(20) as added by clause 4(i) of the Bill was not subsidiary legislation.
(Post meeting note : Members were informed vide LC Paper No. CB(1) 989/98-99 dated 10 March 1999 that arrangements would be made for the two components in Clause 2 of the Bill to be voted on separately during the Committee Stage, and it would thus not be necessary for the Bills Committee to move a Committee Stage amendment on the proposed change in statutory limits. The Administration had also agreed to move a Committee Stage amendment on (b) above, and a copy of the amendment was circulated to members' for consideration vide the same paper.)
23. The Chairman sought members' views on the timetable for the Bills Committee to report to the House Committee and for the resumption of Second Reading debate. Members agreed that the Bills Committee would make a report to the House Committee on 12 March 1999 and recommend resumption of Second Reading debate of the Bill on 31 March 1999. The Deputy Secretary for Transport, however, said that the Secretary for Transport had yet to decide on the date of resumption of Second Reading debate and would inform members of the decision in due course.
III Any other business
24. There being no other business, the meeting ended at 9:20 am.
Legislative Council Secretariat
6 September 1999