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Brazil: Municipal Elections Postponed Because of COVID-19

(July 7, 2020) On July 2, 2020, the Brazilian Congress promulgated Constitutional Amendment No. 107, which determines that the first round of the municipal elections scheduled for October 2020 will take place on November 15, 2020, and the second round, where applicable, will be held on November 29, 2020. In the event that the sanitary […]

France: Parliamentary Commission Begins Investigating Government Response to Coronavirus

(June 22, 2020) On June 2, 2020, a special commission of the National Assembly, one of two chambers of the French Parliament, began investigating the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The creation of this special commission was decided on March 17, 2020, and organized on March 24. The commission was meant to operate in […]

Denmark: Parliament Returns to Pre-Pandemic Voting Procedures

(June 11, 2020) On June 2, 2020, the Danish Parliament announced that, as of the same day, it would return to pre-pandemic voting procedures in which members of Parliament (MPs) are all expected to vote together in the Parliament building. On March 12, 2020, the Parliament had decided to limit the number of persons allowed […]

United States: Supreme Court Rules Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism May Recover Punitive Damages under Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

(June 2, 2020) On May 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that the Republic of Sudan could be held liable for $4.3 billion in punitive damages related to state-sponsored acts of terrorism that occurred in 1998. (Opati v. Republic of Sudan, No. 17-1268 (May 18, 2020).) Case History In 1998, al-Qaida orchestrated simultaneous […]

Italy: Decree Laws on Conclusion of School Year and Elections amid COVID-19 Pandemic Issued

(May 20, 2020) In April 2020, two decree laws entered into effect in Italy to regulate educational and electoral affairs that had been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Decree Law No. 22 of April 8, 2020 (D.L. No. 22) on the conclusion of the 2019/2020 school year and state examinations in Italy entered into effect […]

United States: House of Representatives Adopts Temporary Procedure for Voting by Proxy

(May 18, 2020) On May 15, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted H. Res. 965, which provides for voting by proxy during the coronavirus pandemic. The resolution allows a single House member to serve as a voting proxy for up to 10 fellow members and establishes a protocol for this new process. The resolution […]

Philippines: Senate Sessions via Teleconference Approved

(May 11, 2020) On May 4, 2020, the Philippine Senate approved a resolution allowing for plenary sessions and committee hearings to be conducted via teleconference. Specifically, the resolution provides that when a majority of the members of the Senate determine that a national emergency or “force majeure” situation has occurred that prevents them from physically […]

Colombia: Congress to Vote on Legislation in Virtual Sessions

(May 5, 2020) On March 28, 2020, Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez issued Legislative Decree 491/2020, which permits governmental bodies, including the legislature, to conduct business virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. Article 12 of the decree allows for remote sessions in which members can deliberate by any means (por cualquier medio) and make decisions by […]

Panama: Law on Congressional Virtual Sessions Enacted

(May 5, 2020) On April 11, 2020, Panama published a law allowing its legislative assembly to conduct virtual sessions in cases of a national emergency or other situations that prevent the assembly from meeting in regular fashion. The original bill of this law explained that, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became necessary […]

Chile: Senate Adopts Protocol for Virtual Committee Sessions

(Apr. 23, 2020) On April 8, 2020, the Chilean Senate adopted a protocol for carrying out committee sessions remotely during the 90-day state of health emergency declared on March 18, 2020, by President Sebastián Piñera. The protocol provides that during the emergency senators may participate and vote in committee sessions either in person or through […]