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Open letter to the people of Wales, 16/09/11

Dear Reader,

On 20 September, all 60 Assembly Members will return to the Senedd in Cardiff Bay for the start of the new Assembly term.

It is there that we undertake the work of scrutinising the Welsh Government, as well as making and scrutinising new laws, and representing the interests of the people of Wales.

As the new political year begins, Assembly Members will have enhanced law-making powers after Wales voted ‘Yes’, with a two-thirds majority, in the referendum in March on the Assembly’s powers.

This means more of the laws that directly affect you will now be made by the 60 elected representatives in Wales, rather than in Westminster.

The Assembly is responsible for making laws affecting your hospitals, schools and environment, as well as laws in the rest of the 20 devolved fields.

We have also changed the way we work in order to be more responsive to the needs of all communities across Wales.

You can get involved in the Assembly’s work in a number of ways. First, you need to know who your Assembly Members are. You can get in touch with them by visiting the National Assembly website at www.assemblywales.org or writing to them at:

The National Assembly for Wales
Pierhead Street
Cardiff Bay
CF99 1NA

The Assembly’s petitions system can also be used to affect change in an issue that matters to you. If you get ten signatures supporting your petition, it will be looked at by our Petitions Committee, which will then decide whether to pass it onto a subject committee to look at the possibility of making law on the issue, or inform the relevant Welsh Government Minister of what the petition is calling for.

Organisations such as charities and community groups can also submit petitions to the committee.

Laws governing the charge on plastic carrier bags and safer cycle routes throughout Wales were both developed after the Assembly received petitions. 

I have been out and about throughout Wales this summer visiting the summer shows and events telling people what we do and urging them to get involved. My message was, and remains, that it is possible for anyone in Wales to have a direct input into the law-making process.      

So ahead of the start of the new Assembly term, on behalf of my colleagues, please tell us, as your elected representatives, what issues matter to you.

Yours sincerely,
Rosemary Butler AM
Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales.