Introduction of bills

Plenary chamberPlenary chamber
Quelle: Landtag Brandenburg
Legislation is a source of law that regulates the co-existence of the members of a state-run community. In the formal sense, a law is any act concluded and passed by parliament in a legislative procedure set down in the Constitution; in the substantive sense, it is any abstract or general legal provision.

Under Article 75 of the Land Constitution, bills may be brought before parliament by Members of the Landtag (Members, Parliamentary Groups, President, Presiding Committee, Committees), the Land government and the residents of the Land in the form of Popular Initiatives and Petitions to Initiate Legislation.

Draft bills must be submitted to the President of the Landtag in writing. They must have a title that is indicative of the content and must be signed by the initiators or authorised signatories. They are copied and distributed to the Members of the Landtag, the Parliamentary Groups, the members of the Land Government, the President of the Land Court of Audit, the Land commissioners and the Council for Sorb (Wend) Affairs.

Draft bills should receive a first reading no earlier than the 13th day after the distribution of printed matter. A draft bill will be postponed if, prior to inclusion on the agenda, a Parliamentary Group or one fifth of the Members of the Landtag object to the failure to comply with this period of time.

As a rule, draft bills are debated in two readings. Draft bills to amend or supplement the wording of the Constitution, the draft Budget Act (Haushaltsgesetz) and addenda, and the draft Local Authority Funding Act (Gemeindefinanzierungsgesetz) are debated in three readings.

If there is a refusal to refer the draft bill to a committee, or if the bill itself is rejected, there is no need for it to be debated.

First reading of a bill

The draft bills are justified and their basic principles discussed (basic debate) during the first reading. At the end of the first reading, the decision may be taken to refer a draft bill to one or more committees. The draft bill is revised by committee members. The committees are obliged to deal promptly with any matters referred to them. One committee must be put in charge if a draft bill is referred to several committees at the same time. Members may obtain information and reports and listen to the views of experts and representatives of the interests concerned to give them a better understanding of the issues.

Written reports must be submitted if resolutions have been taken during committee debates to propose certain amendments to draft bills. This report should include a recommendation to the Landtag as well as the views and requests of the committee in charge. The report must also express the views of the minority and of the committees involved.

Second reading of a bill

The details of the draft bill are debated during the second reading. Any amendments decided during committee debates before the second reading must be compared with the draft bill.

Once the discussions are over, a vote is taken to approve or reject the draft bill. Any proposed amendments are put to the vote first.

Final vote

Before the final vote the Landtag may decide to refer a draft bill to a committee. This takes the form of a written request from a Parliamentary Group or one fifth of the Members of the Landtag. A further reading is necessary if requested by the Land government or the President of the Landtag.

The laws passed are executed by the Landtag President, i.e. the original version is certified by the signature of the President, and published online in the Official Gazette of the Land of Brandenburg, Part I Laws.