MSPs Back Making Emergency Covid Powers Permanent
MSPs have voted to make some emergency Covid-19 powers permanent, including the ability to impose lockdowns and close schools.
Most pandemic powers were due to expire in March, two years after Scotland's first virus case was confirmed.
As well as measures affecting the education and justice systems the new legislation also makes it harder for tenants to be evicted.
But opposition politicians said the bill amounted to a "power grab".
MSPs took five hours to debate more than 90 amendments to the Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) Bill before passing it by 66 votes to 52.
The bill proposes changes in 35 specific legislative areas, many of which originated in temporary Scottish and UK Covid legislation.
The reforms include permanent public health protection powers, similar to those which already exist in England and Wales.
Ministers will also have powers in relation to educational establishments so they can take action to protect public health and ensure the continuity of educational provision.
There will also be increased protection for private rented tenants facing evictions, despite a warning from landlords that the new laws could cut the number of rental homes.
And it will grant a temporary extension of some changes in the justice system to help manage the backlog of court cases arising from the pandemic.
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