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Officers of Assembly

Centuries of parliamentary tradition lie behind the stately black robes and modern duties of the Legislative Assembly officers.

The Clerk's position dates back to 14th century Britain.  At that time and for centuries thereafter, most Members of Parliament could neither read nor write, so the Clerk gave Bills "first reading" by reading them aloud.  This could be very time-consuming: the longest Bill in England's history, the Electric Lighting Bill of 1883, was 400 printed pages!

Modern Clerks advise the Speaker on parliamentary procedure and call the daily order of business during sittings.  With the help of a variety of staff, they also maintain Assembly records, produce the daily agenda, and assist numerous Assembly committees.

Parliamentary Counsel are the Assembly's legal experts.  In the Chamber they advise the Speaker on legal and procedural matters.  Outside it they give similar advice to MLAs and Legislative Assembly staff, and they help MLAs draft new laws.  They are relatively modern in origin; the first parliamentary lawyer was appointed in the British House of Commons in 1838 to help the Speaker deal with legal questions.

Like the Clerk, the Sergeant-at-Arms has been a parliamentary fixture since the 14th century, when he was the Speaker's bodyguard.  Today, the Sergeant-at-Arms looks after MLAs' security at the Legislature and in the constituencies.  The Sergeant-at-Arms also carries the Mace into the Chamber each sitting day, where it remains throughout the sitting as a symbol of the Assembly's authority.

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