As of the 23rd March 2016 the Scottish Parliament dissolved which meant Joan McAlpine ceased to be an MSP. Joan is now the SNP candidate for Dumfriesshire and will be campaigning hard to win the seat on the 5th May.
The usual sitting days of the Parliament are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
A variety of business takes place in the Parliament Chamber, but much of the Parliament’s work is done through its committees.
The highest profile event in the chamber is First Minister’s Questions, when MSPs ask questions of Nicola Sturgeon. There are also opportunities for General and Themed Questions, when MSPs can directly question Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.
Debates and votes in the chamber are normally based on motions tabled by the Scottish Government, but opposition parties can also raise issues for decision.
Decision Time, which usually takes place at 5 o’clock, is when MSPs vote on the motions discussed that day and any amendments that have been considered during debates.
All Parliamentary debates and committee are streamed live on the Scottish Parliament Website and First Minister’s Questions are shown live on BBC 2 on Thursdays at 12 noon.
Parliamentary committees conduct inquiries into matters within their remit and produce reports that may be debated in the chamber. They scrutinise the Government’s proposals for new laws and regulations. Committees can also put forward their own proposals for new legislation in the form of committee bills. In the course of their inquiries, committee members consider evidence submitted by a wide range of organisations and individuals, commission research or undertake fact-finding visits