Outlining government’s vision for Nova Scotia and moving forward on important steps to realize immediate priorities toward that vision were the focus of the fall sitting of the legislature, which concluded today, Dec. 13. Thirty-two bills were passed during the 16-day session. “Thanks to the efforts and support of all parties, the government was able to move forward on an aggressive agenda and include positive legislative changes proposed by the opposition,” Premier Rodney MacDonald said. The fall sitting opened with the government’s throne speech outlining its five priorities: educating to compete; protecting the environment; better roads and infrastructure; safer, healthy communities; and shorter wait times. Key bills include new legislation to help make streets and communities safer.Measures include: a photo radar pilot project, and changes to allow for red-light enforcement cameras to help reduce injuries and fatalities associated with speed and intersection collisions increases in penalties to combat street racing targetting driver distractions and imposing fines for those using hand-held cellphones and text messaging. changes that will hit criminals where it hurts most, cutting into profits from their crimes allowing electronic court documents, as recommended by the Nunn Commission amendments to enhance the Human Rights Act a bill formally allowing class-action lawsuits to be filed in Nova Scotia legislation that would make reporting gunshot wounds mandatory for hospitals. Legislative changes also further enhance the justice system. These include: Several pieces of legislation from Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations will strengthen local government and help make it easier for businesses to operate. Six opposition bills were also passed. These include changes to further protect the rights of the province’s retail workers on statutory (designated) holidays, changes to offer the maintenance enforcement director assistance in executing orders, prohibit smoking in cars when children are present and changes to help eliminate lunch-program inequalities at the school board level. “As I promised the people of this province, I continue to work with all parties to make minority government work,” the premier said. Co-operative efforts also passed a law to assist workers, like those at Trenton Works, with pensions if a business closes. Changes to the Public Service Commission Act will mean thousands of seasonal and casual government employees will have access to collective bargaining rights. The premier noted that he was disappointed the opposition parties did not support changes to the Trade Union Act that would have ensured our health system would not be interrupted by strikes and still offered a fair resolution to health labour disputes. The House also voted unanimously to support a motion to commend the survivors of the Halifax Explosion, as well as honour those who perished and the many heroes who emerged on that day 90 years ago. All members also marked the solemn National Day of Remembrance on Dec. 6. The House welcomed back Finance Minister Michael Baker, who recently had hip-replacement surgery but returned to participate in the fall sitting of the legislature.