HL Deb 28 January 1993 vol 541 cc1386-97

4.30 p.m.

Lord Mountevans

My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time. In doing so I declare an interest.

The Bill is a Private Bill promoted by the British Railways Board. Several noble Lords have asked me why it is before your Lordships at all in view of the Transport and Works Act which received Royal Assent shortly before the last election. Although that Act made substantial changes to the methodology for authorising public works its provisions do not apply to works Bills already in progress. This particular Bill was deposited in 1990. It comes before your Lordships as an unopposed Bill, the one petition against it in this House having now been withdrawn.

The Bill has 47 clauses and, if enacted, would enable British Rail to undertake a number of works, all of which are necessary to improve the railways' operations and are designed to facilitate or improve passenger services or to enable British Rail to attract or retain freight traffic.

Authority for those works is sought in Clause 5 of the Bill, while the works themselves are detailed in Schedule 1. In summarising the works to the House I shall take the opportunity to name the sponsors of the various projects.

Work No. 1 involves the reinstatement of a stretch of line at Guide Bridge, Manchester, to facilitate the operation of aggregates trains. Operating costs for such trains will be reduced, making rail more competitive with road transport. The cost of the works will be met by Trainload Freight.

Work No. 2 consists of the reinstatement of a piece of line at Edge Hill, Liverpool, to enable trains carrying imported coal to run directly from Bootle Docks to Fiddler's Ferry power station. That work is also funded by Trainload Freight.

Work No. 3 involves the reinstatement of a stretch of railway in St. Helens facilitating a new passenger service from St. Helens to the West Coast main line at Warrington. That work is sponsored by Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive.

Work No. 4 is being promoted on behalf of the Department of Transport and will consist of a temporary diversion of the Leeds to Skipton railway line to accommodate the construction of the new Aire Valley trunk road.

Works Nos. 5 and 6 involve the construction of additional track between Holbeck Junction and Leeds City Station. The additional capacity is needed to alleviate congestion and to enable West Yorkshire PTE, the sponsors, to run additional services.

Work No. 7 was to have been sponsored by British Rail's European passenger services and involved extension of a line already authorised in connection with services to and from the Channel Tunnel. The extension would have taken place at Ashford. If the Bill is given a Second Reading tonight the promoters will seek to have that item withdrawn from the schedule as there is no longer any operational necessity for the extension. My noble friend Lord Aldington has advised me that he wishes to discuss that particular proposal and its consequences and I am sure that I shall return to it in my winding-up speech.

Work No. 8 involves a new spur near Worksop to facilitate the movement of imported coal from South Humberside ports to Cottam power station. It is sponsored by Trainload Freight, as is Work No. 9 which involves a new siding at Sherborne in Elmet, North Yorkshire. The siding will be for the unloading of limestone to be used by the flue gas desulphurisation plant at Drax power station, where the material will be converted into insulation material.

Work No. 10 involves the construction of a footbridge in connection with the stopping up of a level crossing at Marholm near Peterborough on the East Coast main line. The crossing closure is already authorised by the British Railways (No. 2) Act 1986. The cost will be met by InterCity.

Works Nos. 11A and 11B arise from the need to close a public and a private farm crossing at Broughton West on the Cumbrian coast line. It is sponsored by Regional Railways.

In addition to those works the Bill provides for land purchase at Strood in Kent to allow a siding extension required for the operation of longer commuter trains on Network SouthEast's North Kent route. That would be funded by Network SouthEast and would in part be grant aided.

There are also a number of minor works and level crossing closures designed to improve the reliability and safety of the railways. They are detailed in the remainder of Part II of the Bill and in subsequent paragraphs.

The Bill contains a number of other clauses. These are standard to works Bills of this kind and your Lordships will already be familiar with them. In concentrating on the works themselves, and in particular their funding, I have sought to demonstrate my belief that privatisation does not make the Bill irrelevant. Rather, I feel that Railtrack, the passenger transport executives and other successor bodies to British Rail would wish the works to proceed. Indeed, noble Lords may have noted PowerGen's announcement last week of its plans to buy a locomotive and rolling stock in connection with the facilities making up the work proposed at Drax.

The future ownership of our railways is not an issue for me this afternoon. The issue is the authorisation of works to improve the railway network and the service it provides. The issue is attracting more business to rail. Regardless of ownership our railways must develop and prosper. Achievement of those goals is the aim of this Bill. I urge your Lordships to support that aim and to give the Bill a Second Reading. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Bill be now read a second time. —(Lord Mountevans.)

4.37 p.m.

Lord Aldington

My Lords, I should like to thank my noble friend for the lucidity of his explanation of the Bill and for the manner in which he moved its Second Reading. Much of the Bill has my full support but I wish to raise a particular point in relation to Clause 9. The clause relates to works, to which my noble friend referred, which are no longer needed and, in particular, to the closure of a level crossing. That is the point which I wish to discuss.

First, however, I ask the House's pardon if I appear a little inexperienced in the procedures applicable to Private Bills. The last time I spoke on a Private Bill in this Chamber was about 41 years ago, when the Chamber was occupied by another place.

Clause 9 refers to the closure of an important level crossing at Aylesford Place in the middle of the Willesborough area of Ashford. The level crossing was first established there more than 150 years ago. British Rail is seeking powers in Clause 9 to close the crossing in connection with Work No. 7. Since British Rail has now abandoned Work No. 7, it proposes to abandon Clause 9. However, that clause includes provision for the construction by British Rail of a new footbridge in relation to which undertakings were given to the committee of another place in June 1991 concerning an alternative route for vehicles.

At first sight, it may seem not unreasonable of British Rail to wish to withdraw Clause 9. However, I propose to explain to your Lordships that it is very unreasonable and, in a way, quite outrageous and verging on sharp practice of a kind that no one would expect of British Rail if, in the circumstances which it explained through distinguished counsel Miss Sheila Cameron to the House of Commons committee on 12th June 1991, it was to fail to provide alternative crossings for pedestrians, perambulators and disabled persons' wheelchairs on the one hand and for vehicles on the other.

I am glad to be able to say that the board of British Rail has told me and the council that it will provide, at its expense, the new footbridge provided for in the Bill. But the board will not provide any alternative route for vehicles. I shall come to that.

One might ask, "Why is it that the board of British Rail agrees to provide the footbridge?" The reason is to be found in the speech of the board's counsel. I shall quote quite extensively from it. The reason for the closing of the crossing was, according to her, not really the works then proposed but the increase in railway traffic reliably expected to follow the opening of the Channel Tunnel. The abandonment of the works will not leave the level crossing open sufficiently for the required movement of vehicles and people.

At page 3 of the transcript of her opening statement, Miss Cameron said: I then turn, sir, to the need to close the level crossing. This is a manned crossing; the sole remaining level crossing on the London to Folkestone railway line, and it could be regarded in 1991 as something of an anachronism in any event on such a major line … So far as the Board is concerned"— That is, the board of British Rail— its closure has now become necessary with the advent of the Channel Tunnel and the Board's proposal to run international trains on the existing railway line between Ashford and Folkestone". Later, referring to the advent in due course of a high speed line, she said that, there is no way that any level crossing could be retained together with such a high speed line". Miss Cameron explained the impracticality of retaining the crossing. Some noble Lords may have seen the minutes of evidence. At the bottom of page 4 of the transcript, she said: I now turn … briefly to the impracticality of retaining the crossing. My witness will explain how impractical it would be to retain the crossing from the point of view of the road users once international trains are using this line. By way of illustration, sir, taking a 16-hour day, at present during 14 of 16 hours the crossing is open for vehicular traffic for 30 minutes or more in each hour—each of those 14 hours. In future there will be only one hour in 16 when the crossing could he open for vehicular traffic in excess of 30 minutes, and that would be for a total of 33 minutes. For six hours it would not be open for more than 20 minutes and for two hours of those 14 it would be open for only five minutes in each hour. In other words, it would be closed for 55 minutes. It, therefore, takes little imagination, sir, to realise that drivers of vehicles are going to look for an alternative route". That is what she said then about the practicability.

I have had the advantage, through Mr. Urie of British Rail, of obtaining a more up-to-date estimate of the hours in which the crossing will be available in 1996. In one hour it will only be available for three minutes and in another․94 minutes in a row․it will only be available for eight minutes. That deals with the impracticality of keeping the crossing open and relates to the footbridge.

What was said by Miss Cameron about the provision of vehicle alternatives is also important. I quote from page 6 of the transcript where she said: The first point [I want to make in this connection] is that the Board has long recognised that if and when the level crossing was closed, then improvements would have to be made to an alternative route across the railway. The nearest alternative route across the railway is a bridge with which Members will soon become very familiar, called Crow Corner Bridge, which is about 500 metres"— or slightly less than that— to the east of the level crossing". The reconstruction of that bridge to a higher standard has always been a prerequisite to the Ashford Borough Council's agreement to the closure of the level crossing.

Later, having described the consultations that had taken place, she was talking to the members of the Commons committee about a residents' petition against the Bill. She said: What, however, I must make quite clear, is that the Board is proposing to meet the whole cost of the widening of Crow Corner Bridge from its present narrow span of five yards with no footpaths which is 4.5 metres, to an eight yard carriageway and two yard footpaths on either side, making a total span, as I understand it, of 12 yards, so that it will meet modern highway standards. So the bridge is going to be enlarged substantially". She went on to make what she said was her fourth point in that connection, stating that, there is no question that the level crossing would be closed until Crow Corner Bridge has been reconstructed and brought into use for road vehicles, so that that new wider span bridge would have to be complete and ready before the Board could close the level crossing at Aylesford Place". That establishes the case for what the board proposes to do in view of the closing of the crossing which it took powers to do under Clause 9.

I have explained to the House that the reason for the closing of the crossing was not the works but the increase of rail traffic reliably expected after the opening of the Channel Tunnel. On the basis of British Rail's own figures, it is now expected to have a devastating effect from the point of view of vehicles and passengers crossing the railway in 1996. It seemed to me that on behalf of the board a clear undertaking was given to members of the Commons committee dealing with a petition from the residents that it would be provided. On that basis, the Commons let the Bill go through.

I therefore say to your Lordships that it seems to me incredible that the board of British Rail is now resiling from what was promised then. I think it is resiling from it purely because it has abandoned the works. It has forgotten that to all intents and purposes, as it told the Commons committee, the level crossing will be unusable and therefore closed to traffic.

It seems to me that if the Bill stays as it is with Clause 9 remaining, albeit slightly amended to remove the reference to the works, it will then be just a provision for the closing of level crossings, of which there are others in the Bill. It seems that the undertakings given to the Commons committee will then be valid and British Rail will have to follow them. That would seem to me a sensible piece of procedure if it is in accordance with Private Bill procedure in the House. I cannot believe that British Rail argues that the crossing will not in effect be closed once international rail traffic increases along that line.

There is, if the House does not accept my advice, another way for the borough council to deal with the matter. That is by a legal action. It has taken counsel's opinion and it is assured that it is in the right to impose upon British Rail an obligation to provide an alternative route for vehicles. I understand that British Rail took opinion and that it received exactly the opposite advice. That may be so.

My noble friend the Minister, in his usual courteous way, replied to a letter that I sent him informing him of what I intended to say. I do not believe that he will so far have been surprised at anything I have said. He said that there is no railway reason to widen the Crow Corner bridge. Why then did Miss Sheila Cameron say that it would be done. Apart from that, is it not a good railway reason that British Rail should honour undertakings made in its name to a committee of the Commons? I hope that at Committee stage a way will be found of looking after the justifiable interests of the people of Willesborough in Ashford.

4.52 p.m.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, although I speak from the Opposition Dispatch Box, I should like to make it clear, as always on these occasions that I do so in a personal capacity as it is a Private Bill. However, I have no reason to doubt that my noble friends support what I am going to say.

As the noble Lord, Lord Mountevans, said, the Bill carries out what most British Rail Bills aim to do; namely, to facilitate the running of the railway, to improve reliability and to improve safety. This Bill is in the same line.

As has been mentioned, the Bill received an unopposed Second Reading in the other place as far back as March 1991, three years ago. There are now no petitions to be heard. Therefore, if this House gives it its Second Reading, the Bill will go to an Unopposed Bill Committee.

A very important issue was raised by the noble Lord, Lord Aldington. He explained what Work No. 7 in Clause 9 refers to; namely, stopping up a level crossing in the Ashford area. That, as we heard from the noble Lord, has given great concern to the Ashford Borough Council. I emphasise that the Ashford Borough Council displayed keen interest and support for the fast rail link which is intended when the Channel Tunnel goes ahead.

The noble Lord, Lord Aldington, referred to the undertaking given on behalf of British Rail at the Commons Select Committee in June 1991. That, I believe, was a very important undertaking. I shall not weary the House by going over what the noble Lord, Lord Aldington, said in a very plain speech, explaining the situation clearly. However, I stress that Ashford Borough Council has emphasised that it had no reason to doubt that the works—namely the alternative works and the improved bridge at Crow Corner—would be carried out in the light of the undertaking given by counsel on behalf of British Rail. I understand that the council was absolutely amazed when the undertaking given quite freely was withdrawn at a later stage.

I must ask two questions. Noble Lords may feel that they have been answered in the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Aldington. But I would like the noble Lord, Lord Mountevans, to answer the questions and perhaps the Minister as well. Why was the undertaking so clearly given by counsel on behalf of British Rail? Secondly, why was the undertaking subsequently withdrawn?

Reference was made by the noble Lord to a ministerial letter he received from the noble Earl, Lord Caithness. He will certainly not mind my referring to it, as the noble Lord, Lord Aldington, has given me a copy. The noble Lord read out one part. It said: As regards vehicles, there is no railway reason why Crow Corner Bridge should be rebuilt". Unfortunately the noble Lord forgot to mention the last three words—"at this time". Those words are very important.

I support what the noble Lord, Lord Aldington, said. That is why I would like two questions answered. Why should the decision as to what is going to happen be taken "at this time"? I would urge that if British Rail cannot now provide the actual works, it should give a renewed undertaking to be prepared to pay for any works that have to be carried out to improve the Crow Corner bridge. It seems pretty clear from what I have heard of the case, and from what the noble Lord has explained to the House, that when the level crossing is stopped up, there will be difficulty with vehicular traffic using the present bridge at Crow Corner. It is a narrow bridge and a hump bridge.

The other reason why I believe an early decision needs to be taken is so that one can be ready for what has to be done when the Channel Tunnel link is finally determined. I hope that it will be possible for something to be done with a complaint so strongly put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Aldington, and that there is some means whereby the position can be improved in the light of the original undertaking given by the board's counsel.

The other point I wish to raise is that Works Nos. 2 and 8 relate to developments to facilitate the handling of imported coal. I can understand the point that has been made that British Rail carries out provisions to meet the wishes of customers. May there not be changed circumstances? We understand that a report is to be presented which may lead to a completely changed situation regarding imported coal. Some of the pits which it has been announced will be closed may not be closed. There may be a new agreement with British Coal whereby British Coal will take much more coal from the pits, and the need for imported coal may not be as important as this Bill would suggest. I do not blame British Rail. If a customer wants provision to be made, British Rail must comply or should consider doing so. But, in the light of circumstances that I believe are to change in the next few weeks, provisional facilities for imported coal should be seriously considered on the basis of whether they should proceed or whether that would not be an encouragement to bring in coal which is no cheaper than coal from our own pits. It is not just a question of British Rail; it is a question of national policy, to which I believe the Government should give some consideration.

The final point that I wish to make is that Works Nos. 3, 5 and 6, as the noble Lord, Lord Mountevans, emphasised, relate to works to improve local services in accordance with decisions of the relevant passenger transport authority and its passenger transport executive with the PTA meeting any cost involved. That clearly emphasises one point made when we considered amendments to the British Coal and British Rail paving Bill, namely, the importance of Section 20 schemes put forward by PTAs which are so vital to the provision of local passenger services. I hope that consideration will be given to the point emphasised in the Committee stage of the paving Bill that the passenger transport authorities and their executives should be clearly associated with the granting and developing of franchises under the railways Bill which we shall be considering shortly.

I support what British Rail is trying to do. However, I hope that some way will be found of resolving the complaint of the noble Lord, Lord Aldington, to which I give my full support.

5 p.m.

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, I am sure that the whole House is grateful for the clarity with which my noble friend Lord Mountevans introduced his Private Bill. I stress, as did the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, that it is a Private Bill and therefore places the speakers at the Dispatch Box in a different position from normal.

The Government have considered the content of the Bill and have no objection in principle to the powers sought by the railways board. We have no points outstanding on the Bill. However, it would be wrong for me not to comment on one point because there is a departmental interest in it. I refer to Works No. 4 which relates to the proposed Airedale trunk road scheme. Obviously, we do not wish the Bill to be delayed as we wish to progress with that work. We believe that that is an important and vital part of the trunk road scheme which will bring substantial benefits locally.

I comment briefly on a point raised in detail by my noble friend Lord Aldington and the noble Lord, Lord Underhill. As the House is aware, it is up to the promoters of the Bill to persuade Parliament that the powers that they are seeking are justified and to explain in particular their policy towards the Willesborough level crossing. As your Lordships will know, my noble friend Lord Aldington was a barrister and he would have been more than a formidably good advocate had he not become a formidably good Minister. He certainly put a strong case tonight. That is but one side of the story. For every good barrister on one side there is doubtless a good barrister on the other. Indeed, my noble friend mentioned that BR had received different advice from the advice that he was backing.

As a good barrister my noble friend is well aware that interpretation of the statute is ultimately a matter for the courts. However, whatever the practical merits of the point, my advice and as I understand it—I am no lawyer—is that BR's legal advice is that BR has a statutory right to carry the line across the road on the level and a right to keep the crossing gates closed at all times when the line is being used by rail traffic. In other words, rail has priority to road and the intensification of rail use does not, in the board's opinion, affect the board's legal right or obligations.

Having said that, I would add that that dates back to the South-east Railway Act of 1836 as amended by an order made by the then Minister of Transport in June 1966. It is a complex and legal affair and I am sure that the House will agree that this is perhaps not the time to look into the details of it. The Committee stage is obviously the right place and Members of the Committee will be in a better position than we are today to examine the issues in detail. Meanwhile, I hope that the House will give the Bill a Second Reading.

5.4 p.m.

Lord Mountevans

My Lords, as I said earlier, my noble friend Lord Aldington kindly gave me notice of his intention to raise the subjects of Willesborough crossing and Crow Corner Bridge—two locations which have caused considerable anxiety also to the noble Lord, Lord Underhill. I must say at the outset that I have some sympathy from a personal point of view, as I am sure your Lordships do, with the case put forward by my noble friend Lord Aldington. This is not the first time and, alas, it will not be the last when we have to consider instances where a sacrifice is demanded of a minority—in this case the users of the Willesborough crossing—for the greatest good of the greatest number.

My noble friend raised a number of points concentrating on the speech of British Rail's counsel before the committee of the House of Commons. However, it is worth saying that there are a number of other points of view which should also be taken into account. As I mentioned earlier, the alterations to the design of the international station at Ashford are such that the closure of the level crossing as then thought necessary, is no longer such a necessity. Noble Lords will be aware that the Government rejected British Rail's original proposals for Ashford International. There is now a second set of proposals before the Government, but they have been moved some distance away.

My noble friend Lord Aldington made much of the undertakings given in another place by British Rail in arguing for the closure of the level crossing. However, as I said, the argument was based on the original proposals in respect of Ashford International. Since then, not only has the station itself been moved, but other factors have changed. The opening of the Channel Tunnel has been delayed. That will enable British Rail to undertake the re-signalling of the Ashford area and include Willesborough level crossing into the new plans in time for the introduction of international services. British Rail therefore no longer has any operational purpose in seeking the closure of the level crossing. We must be careful because both my noble friend and the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, used a word, which was not far short of "stop-up", and implied that the crossing was going to be closed in perpetuity. It is not. It will be open when the operation of trains commences.

I turn briefly to Crow Corner Bridge. Part of the reason for rebuilding it was to include an extra span which was to accommodate a road access between a development site called "Newtown", which the board proposed to develop in the context of the original proposals for Ashford International. It would give access between that site and the southern orbital road. However, owing to the current depressed state of the property market that development is not being progressed. Again, British Rail feels unable to accommodate my noble friend.

As the board no longer seeks authority in the Bill to carry out any works at Ashford, it is highly questionable whether it possesses the statutory powers needed to pay for highway improvements unrelated to railway works. That is what a reconstructed railway bridge at Crow Corner—as the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, requested—would constitute.

As my noble friend Lord Aldington said, after the opening of the Channel Tunnel there will be periods when crossing the railway at Willesborough by car will be difficult. But as he also reminded us, there are alternatives to motorists by Newtown road, which I recognise has a height restriction, or by the use of Crow Corner Bridge. British Rail stands by its original undertaking to assist with the highway changes when next Crow Corner Bridge is rebuilt—I stress, "when next".

My noble friend mentioned also that British Rail made considerable progress in benefiting again pedestrian users of Willesborough crossing. A new footbridge is in the design stage. It takes total account of the requirements for the disabled, people with prams and so forth and abides by the later statutory directives in that sense. There has been widespread consultation with the local residents' association to ensure that the bridge meets their requirements. Ashford council has been present at least at some of those consultations.

Lord Aldington

My Lords, perhaps I may interrupt my noble friend and I hope that he will not think I am being discourteous. In the course of his earlier remarks he implied that I slightly misled your Lordships by saying that the board had said in its evidence to the Commons that it was necessary to close the crossing. May I remind him of what counsel said quite clearly: So far as the board is concerned, its closure has now become necessary". That is clear. What has happened to change the board's mind about that?

Lord Mountevans

My Lords, I thought that I had detailed a number of things that have happened. Ashford International has been moved. Property developments which British Rail was seeking to achieve have been deferred. On the south side of the crossing, property developments which Ashford Borough Council was seeking to encourage have also been deferred. The line will be resignalled before Channel Tunnel trains start operating. That is now the hope. I really cannot go much further. I can fully understand why British Rail gave the undertakings it did at the time in the Commons committee, but, as I cannot seem to stress enough, many of the circumstances have changed since then.

If I may return briefly to the footbridge, I can assure my noble friend, in case he has not been assured before, that funds are earmarked for this project. I understand that British Rail hopes to submit a design proposal to Ashford Borough Council for planning consent some time next year. One cannot predict when the bridge will be built or opened because there is the planning process to go through.

My noble friend also mentioned the legal opinion which had been obtained by Ashford Borough Council regarding the crossing. I cannot comment on that legal opinion because the promoters have not seen it. As your Lordships will have heard, however, the promoters have secured their own opinion. The opinion that they have received leads them to believe that they have in their favour the support of 150 years of law relating to railway operation and public rights of way.

The noble Lord, Lord Underhill, referred to the two works which are concerned with facilitating the import of coal. He reminded us that a number of imminent reports might well remove the requirement for those works by making imported coal less attractive. As he also implied, when this Bill was deposited the two works were put in because it appeared to the promoters that they met a marketing opportunity—there was a need for them. Whether that marketing opportunity will exist in the future I cannot tell, because quite clearly I cannot today address the problems of the coal industry. It would be extremely presumptuous of me to attempt to second guess what the energy White Paper might eventually say when it is published.

The noble Lord, Lord Underhill, also mentioned the two works being commissioned by passenger transport authorities. He well knows that I share his considerable support for the work being done by the PTA and PTE system. He will probably remember several very pleasant and instructive trips that we have had to various venues in the north of England. I share his enthusiasm and I understand that the PTEs will still be able to specify the service level and will still be able to request investment levels even in the new regime which might come to pass if the privatisation Bill before another place eventually receives Royal enactment. I hope that he finds my support sufficient on that matter.

I have endeavoured to respond to the points made by those noble Lords who have put questions to me. I am sorry that I cannot accommodate my noble friend Lord Aldington further. He and I, I fear, will always differ on this because he is in one sense living in the past. He is quoting the situation as it was in 1990 and 1991. I have sought to quote the situation that will prevail in 1994 and beyond, which will be different. With those closing remarks I thank those who have spoken for their support.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, the noble Lord has said that circumstances will be different. What are the changed circumstances which will render unnecessary an improvement for vehicular traffic?

Lord Mountevans

My Lords, I have tried to cite some of them already. The delay of the Channel Tunnel itself—hence delay in the coming into service of the increased traffic. There will also be reduced road traffic because two developments which played a significant part in formulating British Rail's thoughts for the work are no longer necessary. They are not going ahead at the moment. They may of course go ahead in the future. Union Rail may go ahead in the future. I mentioned resignalling. There are a whole number of items which I believe reflect a substantial change in the situation since 1990.

On Question, Bill read a second time, and committed to an Unopposed Bill Committee.

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