July 31st, 2017

Legislative Newsletter - Edition 052

End of the parliamentary recess: resuming the activities in the Legislative Branch.

The first week of August marks the end of the parliamentary recess, which means a full agenda within the Legislature

Legislative Newsletter - Edition 052

The first week of August marks the end of the parliamentary recess, which means a full agenda within the Legislature. A total of 23 provisional measures (MPs, in the acronym in Portuguese) should be analyzed by the National Congress. Of the MPs that began to be analyzed by the parliamentarians, 14 are processed on an emergency basis, which means that they block the voting schedule in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Federal Senate.

In the week preceding the return of parliamentarians to Brasilia, six provisional measures were issued, including one that provides for rules for the Voluntary Withdrawal Program (PDV) within the Federal Executive Branch. This MP (792/2017) aims to reduce federal employees' payroll expenses by instituting an indemnity corresponding to 125% of the employees’  monthly compensation, considered on the date of termination, multiplied by the number of years of employment.

Last week, three MPs that changed standards in the mining sector were also published. MPs 789, 790 and 791 - all of 2017 - were announced on July 25th, at a ceremony in which the Brazilian Mineral Industry Revitalization Program was inaugurated. Together, they modify more than 20 aspects of the Mining Code. Among the most significant changes are the increase in the Financial Compensation rates for Mineral Exploration (Cfem) and the transformation of the National Mining Department into a regulatory agency, called the National Mining Agency (ANM). Cfem is the royalty charged to companies operating in the mining industry. According to the new rules, rates vary between 0.2% and 4%. The iron will have a tax rate between 2% and 4%, depending on the price of the international quotation. The lowest rate will be for minerals extracted under the mining regime, of 0.2%. The new rates will focus on gross revenue, not on net revenue, as it was before.

Among MPs that already block the agenda of both Legislative Houses, the one that has the shortest voting deadline is MP 770/2017, on investments for the implantation of new cinemas. This MP extends the deadline for the use of the tax benefit of the Special Taxation Regime for the Development of the Cinematographic Exhibition Activity (Recine), a system that suspends the collection of all federal taxes levied on the purchase of equipment and materials necessary for the construction or modernization of movie theaters.

MP 771/2017, which is currently in the Senate, needs to be voted until August 10th, and creates the Governing Authority of the Olympic Legacy (Aglo), a temporary federal authority to replace the Olympic Public Authority (APO). This autarchy must manage the legacy - patrimonial and financial - left by the Olympics and Paralympics of 2016.

In addition to the MPs that block the Senate, four others need to be analyzed by the House and also make it impossible to vote on other projects. Among them is MP 772/17, which increases from R$ 15 thousand to R$ 500 thousand the maximum amount of fine to be applied to slaughterhouses that violate sanitary legislation. The text must be voted by the House and have the voting finished in the Senate until August 10th.

Other MPs that are being appreciated by committees comprises of Deputies and Senators will reach the Plenary of the two Legislative Houses by blocking the voting list. Out of the ten measures in the committees, eight entered the system of urgency because they were submitted more than 45 days before the beginning of the parliamentary recess, and the recess interrupts the deadline. Among the measures that are in the commissions are MP 778/2017, which installs the social security debt of states and municipalities, and MP 782/2017, which gives ministry status to the General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic. MP 783/2017, which establishes a new tax regularization program (Refis), is also being discussed in committee. According to this MP, companies and individuals with debts to the Internal Revenue Service can pay debts up to 175 times, with interest rebates and late payment penalties. The measure is criticized by members of the Federal Revenue, but supported by representatives of the Industry.

On Wednesday (2), the Chamber of Deputies will analyze the complaint of passive corruption of the Attorney General's Office against the President of the Republic, Michel Temer. Attorney General Rodrigo Janot denounced Temer for the crime of passive corruption on the basis of the recordings and the plea bargain agreement with brothers Joesley and Wesley Batista, owners of the J&F group. The authorization for Temer to be judged by the Federal Supreme Court (STF) will be voted by the Plenary of the House and, in order to be accepted, it needs the support of 342 deputies. In the vote, parliamentarians will comment on the report by Mr Paulo Abi-Ackel (PSDB-MG), who requests that the complaint be rejected.

The Order of the Day can start with the presence of 52 deputies, since the opening quorum of the session is 51 parliamentarians. Once initiated, Abi-Ackel - the rapporteur - will speak for 25 minutes, followed by President Temer or his lawyer for the same amount of time. Following the manifestation of four speakers, two opposites and two in favor of the Presidents’ temporary removal from the Office, a request for closure of the discussion may be submitted, provided that at least 257 deputies have registered their presence. The actual voting can only start with the presence of 342 deputies.

According to the General Secretariat of the Bureau of the House, the order of voting of the states will be as follows: the parliamentarians will be called in alphabetical order, by State, alternately from North to South, just as in the impeachment vote of President Dilma Rousseff.