A member of parliament’s legislative motion, called a private member's bill or a member's bill in some parliaments, is a proposed law introduced by a member of a legislature who is not acting on behalf of the executive government. In most countries with a parliamentary system, most bills are proposed by the government. In the United States and other countries in which the executive is formally separated from the legislature, there is no mechanism for the executive government to directly introduce its own legislative proposals, and members of the executive are not part of the legislature. All bills are simply introduced by members of the legislature, and the concept of the private member's bill does not apply.
In the United Kingdom and other countries that follow the Westminster System such as Canada and New Zealand, an individual member of parliament (MP) who is not a Government minister is called a private member (of parliament) (or backbencher) and therefore such an MP's legislative motion is called a private member's bill. The MP who introduces a legislative motion can be a member of a party represented in the government (cabinet) or in the opposition. It can also be introduced by a crossbencher. Usually, in such countries, the overwhelming majority of bills introduced are proposed by members of the cabinet, and most of the legislature's time is spent dealing with such bills, which are called "Government bills". However, some parliamentary time is regularly set aside so that backbenchers and crossbenchers may also introduce bills.
A private member's bill is not to be confused with a private bill, which is a bill that only affects an individual citizen or group.
The United Kingdom parliament has a long history of enacting private member's bills. In contrast, the Oireachtas (parliament) of the Republic of Ireland rarely passes private members' bills, with the overwhelming number of bills being passed being introduced by members of the cabinet.
Famous quotes containing the words bill, private and/or member:
“Bill McKay: I thought the point was to say what I wanted.
Lucas: Well, it is. But in the right way, and at the right time.”
—Jeremy Larner, U.S. screenwriter, and Michael Ritchie. Bill McKay (Robert Redford)
“For it is a fire that, kindling its first embers in the narrow nook of a private bosom, caught from a wandering spark out of another private heart, glows and enlarges until it warms and beams upon multitudes of men and women, upon the universal heart of all, and so lights up the whole world and all nature with its generous flames.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one.”
—Bible: New Testament, Matthew 18:15.