Bill 20 is on Okotoks town council's agenda once again.

At today's meeting, council will be reviewing two responses from Municipal Affairs Minister Ric Mciver, after they wrote to him over their concerns about Bill 20 and the Local Government Fiscal Framework (LGFF) earlier this year.

They were one of many municipalities concerned with several aspects of the bill, including the ability for the provincial Cabinet to remove councillors and have bylaws released or amended. 

In his letter, Minister McIver referred to amendments made to the bill that addressed both concerns, including the removal of councillors being stripped back to Cabinet being able to call for a vote of electors rather than removing councillors outright. 

The bylaw aspect of the bill was also mended, specifying that Cabinet could be able to amend or repeal a bylaw under certain circumstances, including if "the bylaw exceeds the scope of the MGA or otherwise exceeds the authority granted to a municipality under the MGA or any other statute, conflicts with the MGA or any other statute, is contrary to provincial policy, or contravenes the Constitution of Canada."

McIver also addressed concerns from council that were not amended, including changes to fundraising for municipal elections and the introduction of parties into local elections.

Regarding campaign donations, the minister says the current system only accounts for third party advertisers (TPAs) advertising for certain candidates, but not specific issues.

"The proposed changes require TPAs who are interested in an issue (rather than a specific candidate) to register and report their finances. We are further proposing to restrict contributions to $5,000, and for contributions to only be made by Albertans, Alberta companies, or Alberta unions. We are also proposing to further develop expense limits in the regulations."

McIver's letter states that introducing party affiliations for local elections, starting in Edmonton and Calgary, was also done in the interest of transparency.

In his letter, McIver thanked the Town for their feedback and said he would continue to consider feedback as the bill moves through the legislative process.

Some issues raised by council, including the increased time and money required to carry out elections without voting tabulator machines, concerns about councillors feeling more accountable to the province than to their constituents, and the lack of a definition of what is considered to be "public interest" were not addressed in the letter.

Minister McIver's letter can be seen here.