The house will have new laws tested by scientists

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December 13, 2021 | Commissioned by Universities of the Netherlands (formerly VSNU), two scholars can be appointed to review laws in consultation with the Chamber of Deputies. However, the VVD questions whether the university’s umbrella is sufficiently independent.

Jost Sneller, who explains the initiative in the House of Representatives

With the arrival of a new coalition agreement, several new bills will be presented to the House of Representatives after a year of a transitional government in place. In recent years, the House has already experimented with a number of bills that have been tested by experts from academia. This experiment proved successful. This is the reason for the desire of the House of Representatives to continue to do so.

Can be returned to the room

This board’s desire became clear during a meeting in which Jost Sneller of D66, a member of the Government Expenditure Committee, explained what the plan was. “The government is obligated to provide a documented framework regarding objectives, efficiency and effectiveness in the proposals it sends to the House of Representatives. Such a framework can make things very clear if the evidence turns out to be insufficient. If that is the case, then the House of Representatives will not have to deal with such The law, but it can be returned to the government,” Sneller said.

Universities of the Netherlands (formerly VSNU) will assist MPs in taking such an exam. Sneller emphasized, however, that the scholars submitted by UNL must be independent, so that the “we are from the toilet duck” story is not brought home. “VSNU, in cooperation with the House of Representatives, can conduct a scientific test based on proposals from the Cabinet. This does not mean that MP X, who has a favorite scientist Y, can say, ‘I would like this scientist to think critically about it.'”

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According to Sneller, the intention is for the umbrella organization of universities to select scientists to conduct such testing in consultation with the House of Representatives.

Two scholars from two different disciplines

The intent is for two scientists from different backgrounds to consider a bill. “They are probably two worlds from different disciplines and different universities, so that they have second opinion On the proposal of the Council of Ministers. What does science say? Are there no other tools that can approximate the same target? Or is proving the goal of the government proposal not so abstract that you can’t make it more realistic? This way, the bill can be better evaluated and monitored,” Sneller said.

Snell explained that a counter-experience request from scientists can always be done on an ad hoc basis, but since a new cabinet is expected soon, he advises that when planning new bills, you should already consider which scientists and which scientists are. Experts can be nominated by UNL .

Will VSNU also test laws related to universities?

“First of all, kudos to this suggestion,” VVD’s Hattie van der Wood replied to this suggestion from Sneller. “It will make our work easier and better. I have a question about testing the scholars selected by VSNU. Does this also apply to bills of interest to the universities themselves?”

Sneller answered the question from VVD, they were not previously left out. According to Sneller, it’s up to the House of Representatives to see if the scientists are independent enough. “I will leave it to the discretion of the rapporteurs of the House of Representatives to search for disciplines relevant to such a bill. Thus none of the directors or other interested parties are involved in the inspection. I believe there are enough scholars who can make judgments at a sufficient distance.”

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Megan Vasquez

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