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Last Updated: Monday, 2 July 2007, 06:09 GMT 07:09 UK
Welsh law project finalists named
Assembly members
The winning idea will be discussed by assembly members
Three finalists have been chosen in a BBC Wales project to suggest laws which could be created by the Welsh assembly.

Proposals for a ban on smacking, a ban on plastic carrier bags and a new body to co-ordinate search and rescue organisations have been selected.

The winning entry chosen by the If I Ruled Wales project will be passed on to AMs for consideration.

Under new legislation, anyone in Wales is entitled to put forward their ideas directly to the assembly.

Around 350 ideas were sent in for the project, and the three finalists were selected by an expert panel including Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, constitutional expert David Lambert, Golwg managing editor Dylan Iorwerth and Glyn Matthias from the Electoral Commission.

Baroness Finlay said she felt "really strongly about protecting children from being hit".

New legislation allows assembly measures, or Welsh laws, to be created

"The Children's Act had the opportunity of incorporating the UN convention on children and it didn't happen and it should have happened," she said.

"If you take children who are very little, they are very, very vulnerable and yet we let people hit them.

"And as they grow up and become teenagers and they can fend for themselves, you can't lay a finger on them - it doesn't make sense at all."

Mr Iorwerth and Mr Matthias felt the idea of a group to organise emergency services was worth pursuing.

"If there isn't a body to co-ordinate all the different forms of emergency service, there should be, and a body with statutory powers under the remit of the assembly to do that, I think would be highly sensible," said Mr Matthias.

Both Mr Iorwerth and Mr Matthias agreed the ban on plastic bags was "a strong contender" but needed defining.

Some of the suggestions which did not make it past the panel included making St David's Day a bank holiday and "making every day the first day of Spring".

'Many ways'

If your ideas have not made the final three chosen by the panel, you can still put your ideas directly to the assembly.

The assembly's extended powers under the Government of Wales Act mean anyone in Wales is entitled to put forward their idea on how those powers should be into law.

The ideas can come from anyone, of any age, as long as 10 people back the proposal.

"There are many ways in which you can make sure that your idea for legislation can go forward as a proposal in this chamber," said Non Gwilym from the assembly.

"It's not just a public petition, you can go to an assembly member who can act as a champion for your cause or you can go to a committee as well - they all have the right to actually propose ideas for legislation."

See the three ideas chosen by the panel


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