24. 8. 2009
What is a legislative process?
Under the term legislation we usually understand legal rules such as draft general principles of laws, acts, bills, regulations, orders of the government. From the point of view of the legislative process it is necessary to distinguish legislative process on the government level and on the level of the Parliament. On the government level draft general principles of laws, bills, regulations and orders of the government are prepared. Out of these legal rules only bills are passed to the Parliament; they are called government bills. Apart from government bills, also non-government bills exist, which are results of legislative initiatives of regional governments or groups of deputies. The mechanism of preparation of legal rules, including the mode of their discussing and approving is governed by rules – by the Government Legislative Rules for legal rules on the government level, and by the Act on the Rules of Procedure of the Chamber of Deputies (in czech only) and the Act on the Rules of Procedure of the Senate on the level of the Parliament (in czech only).
- Legislative process on the government level
Legal rules on the government level are prepared by ministries and other central bodies of the state administration (presenters of materials). In the course of preparation of legal rules, their presenters must act in accordance with the Government Legislative Rules which stipulate rules for content and form of the legal rule prepared. Among the general requirements for legal rules belongs detailed analysis of legal and matter of facts; indispensable part of which is reRegulatory Impact Assessment, so called RIA (in czech only). Further requirement is harmony with international treaties (in czech only) and legal acts of the European Community and the European Union. Last but not least there is also requirement for lucidity, comprehensibility and explicitness of a new legal rule.
Drafts of legislative materials are submitted to the relevant bodies (ministries, other central bodies of the state administration, regions, the Office of the President, the Office of the Chamber of Deputies, the Office of the Senate, and such like) for their opinions. The list of these bodies is stated in the Government Legislative Rules. A presenter may send a draft of a legal rule to anybody for comments. The Government Legislative Rules even stipulate a duty to publish legal rules prepared on the Internet where the library of legal rules prepared has been created.
The time limit for the communication of opinions (comments) is 15-20 working days, depending on the type of the material. Comments are divided into fundamental and the other comments which are usually in the form of recommendation, proposal and such like. Presenter of a material discusses comments with the respective bodies and amends material accordingly. In case such comments are not settled, they become a subject of a diagreement which influences the debate of the material in question at the government meeting.
The role of the Government Legislative Council
The Government Legislative Council and its commissions, as an advisory body of the government, is also involved in the legislative process. The Government Legislative Council has a 60-day time limit for giving its opinion starting from the day of submission. Its opinion is important for the debate at the government meeting, in particular in case of materials with disagreements.
As to the legal rules discussed, an important role also plays the Compatibility Department which assesses drafts of legal rules from the point of its harmonization with the Acquis communitaire, and the Committee for Regulatory and Effective Public Administration (in czech only) that assesses regulation impacts.
The government meeting
After the comment procedure, materials are presented to the government meeting. Materials that require a discussion or materials with disagreements are debated in the part B of the government meeting. It is a part in the course of which the individual items are debated, and after the debate there is a vote. The standpoint of the Government Legislative Council is taken into consideration.
Draft general principles of laws, bills and government orders are submitted to the government meeting. In case of an approval of a draft general principle of law, the decision is published on websites of the Office of the Government www.vlada.cz. In case of an approval of a bill, thhe bill is passed to the Chamber of Deputies in the form of a government bill. Government orders approved are published in the Collection of Laws of the Czech Republic. Regulations are after their discussion and approval by commissions of the Government Legislative Council signed by the respective member of the government or by a head of the relevant body. After that they may be published in the Collection of Laws. Terms and conditions for publishing legal rules in the Collection of Laws are stated in the above-mentioned Government Legislative Rules.
Note: The legislative process on the government level is processed through the electronic library of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic eKLEP. It means that a presenter must submite a material into the eKLEP both in the course of the comment procedure and in its submitting to the government meeting. The same rule is applied to the standpoints of the Government Legislative Council. The entire process runs in a electronic way; nevertheless, because of the archival reasons, apart from submitting a material into eKLEP, there is a duty to sent to the Prime Minister three printed copies signed by the respective member of the government (presenter).
- The legislative process on the Parliament level
The government bill in the printed form is dispatched by the Prime Minister to the Chairperson of the Chamber of Deputies. The Chairperson of the Chamber of Deputies passes the text of the government bill to the Steering Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, to all deputies and political group of deputies. The debate on a government bill is held in the framework of three readings. In case the bill is adopted by the Chamber of Deputies, it is passed to the Senate.
- The legislative process seen from the point of view of the President
After the approval of a law by the Senate, the Chairperson of the Chamber of Deputies forwards every act of law to the President of the republic. If any passed act of law is returner to the Chamber of Deputies by the President of the republic within 15 days following its receipt, the Chairperson of the Chamber of Deputies presents such returned act of law to the Chamber of Deputies. If voted for by majority of all deputies, the act of law is published in the Collection of Laws. Otherwise, the act of law is regarded as rejected.
- Publication in the Collection of Laws
Legal rules come into force on the day of their publication in the Collection of Laws. Unless later effect is stipulated, legal rules come into effect on the 15th day after its publication. In case un urgent general interest requires, it is exceptionally possible to stipulate earlier effect, but not earlier than on the day of publishing in the Collection of Laws.