Passing of Laws
The passing of laws is the first and foremost power of Parliament. It consists in the elaboration of uridical norms for the regulation of social relations, conformable to the legislative procedure.
The procedure for the adoption of laws is the same in both Chambers of Parliament, and it is regulated by the Constitution and the parliamentary standing orders. The main stages of the legislative procedure include the legislative initiative, examination in parliamentary committees, debate in the plenum of the Chamber, voting, mediation, control of the constitutionality, and promulgation of the law.
The Legislative initiative belongs to the Government, to Deputies and Senators as well as to a number of at least 250,000 citizens entitled to vote. Citizens manifesting their right to legislative initiative must belong to at least one quarter, of the country's counties, and in each one of these counties or in Municipality of Bucuresti, there must be registered at least 10,000 signatures in support of the respective initiative. Fiscal issues, international questions, amnesty, and pardon may not form the object of the citizens' legislative initiative. Legislative proposals involving a modification of the state budget or of the budget of the state social insurance must be substantiated on the information compulsorily required from the Government.
The revision of the Constitution may be initiated by the President of Romania, at the proposal of the Government, or of at least one quarter of the number of Deputies or of the Senators, or of at least 500,000 citizens entitled to vote. The citizens initiating the revision of the Constitution must come from at least one half of the counties of the country, and in each one of these counties, or in the Municipality of Bucuresti, at least 20,000 signatures must be registered in support of this initiative.
Initiatives for the revision of the Constitution are handed in for debate only to ether with the decision of the Constitutional Court attesting the exercise of the constitutionality control. The legislative initiatives of the Government are called draft bills, and are exercised by sending them to one of the Chambers; those of the Deputies, Senators, or citizens are called legislative proposals, and can be presented only in the form required for draft bills. Legislative proposals are submitted for adoption first to the Chamber in which they were presented.
Debates in Parliamentary Committees
Draft bills or legislative proposals are submitted for debate to the Chamber of Deputies or to the Senate together with the advisory opinion of the Legislative Council. They are registered in the order of their presentation. After they have been received and registered, the standing bureau will distribute them to the parliamentarians and send them to the standing committees for examination in the substance and formulation of an advisory opinion.
After they have received the draft bills or legislative proposals, the parliamentarians may advance motivated amendments in writing, which are transmitted to the Standing Bureau at least 6 days before the debate of the draft bill or legislative proposal in the plenum of the Chamber. The amendments are submitted to the examination of the competent committees, whose conclusions are added to the previously drawn up report.
At the request of the chairman of the parliamentary committee informed of the matter, the Legislative Council analyses and issues an advisory opinion on the amendments submitted to the debate of the committee and the draft bills or legislative proposals received by the committee after their adoption by one of the Chambers of Parliament.
The Standing Committee informed of the matter draws up a report including proposals with regard to the amendments resented, to the adoption or rejection of the draft bill or legislative pro osal as well as to the advisory opinions communicated by the committees informed to this purpose.
The report drawn up by the committee informed of the matter is distributed by the Standing Bureau to members of the respective Chamber and to the Government.
The draft bills and legislative proposals for which a report has been drawn up by the committee informed of the matter are entered on the agenda of the Chamber of Parliament. Before it is entered on the agenda, the author of the legislative initiative may withdraw it.
After approval of the agenda by the Chamber, the draft bills and legislative proposals are submitted to debate and adoption in the order in which they were entered on the agenda.
Debates in Plenum
The development of the legislative procedure in the plenum of the Chambers involves a general debate on the draft bill or of the legislative proposal, and a debate by articles. The general debate is preceded by a presentation by the initiator or his representative, of the motives which have led to the promotion of the legislative initiative.
The initiator's intervention is followed by the presentation of the report of the standin committee informed of the matter. The report is presented by a rapporteur designated by the committee. After presentation of the report, the president gives the floor to the parliamentarians in order of their names entered on the speakers' list. The initiator has the right to take the floor before the closing of the general debate.
At the general debating. stage of the legislative initiative amendments can be neither proposed, nor adopted. If the report of the standing committee informed of the matter proposes the rejection of the legislative proposal, after closing the general debate, the president of the Chamber may put the matter to the vote.
After exhaustion of the eneral debate, the Chamber passes to the debate of the legislative initiative by articles, with the modifications proposed in the report of the standing committee informed of the matter.
In the discussion of each article, parliamentarians may take the floor to exp ress their own opinion or that of the group to which they belong. The initiator also may take the floor. In the speeches only amendments can be suggested regarding clarity of expression and style or issues which do not affect he substance of the case and which are of lesser importance.
The discussion of the articles begins with the amendments. During the debates, the parliamentarians or the Government may raise for discussion the amendments rejected by the committee informed of the matter or the amendments handed in to the committee, but not appearing in its report. By way of exception, new amendments may be handed over during the debates in plenum as well. Amendments must refer to the contents of a single article.
In case the amendment has important consequences on the draft bill or ón the legislative proposal, it may be decided to send it for an advisory opinion to the competent committees. The initiator of the amendment has the right to be heard at the proceedings of the committee.
The discussion begins with the amendment proposing the elimination of some texts included in the article submitted to debate, and continues with those regarding their modification or supplementation. In case there are several amendments of the same kind, they are submitted to the vote in the order in which they were presented.
The Chamber decides by distinct vote on each amendment. At the request of the Government or on its own initiative, the Chamber may adopt draft bills or legislative proposals by an expeditious procedure established according to the standing orders of each Chamber.
Voting of the Draft Bill
At the closing of the debate by articles of each draft bill or of each legislative proposal the Chamber proceeds to their final voting. Draft bills or proposals for the revision of the Constitution are adopted by a majority of at least two thirds of the number of members of each Chamber. Draft of organic laws are passed by the vote of a majority of the members of each Chamber. Ordinary draft bills are passed by the vote of a majority of the members present in each Chamber.
If the draft bill or legislative proposal has been adopted,.it is signed by the president of the Chamber and sent for debate to the other Chamber of Parliament. A draft bill or legislative proposal adopted by one Chamber and rejected by the other is sent to the Chamber which has rejected it with a view to a new debate. A new rejection is final.
If one of the Chambers has ado ted a draft bill or legislative proposal in a wording different from that passed by the other Chamber, the presidents of the two Chambers initiate the procedure of mediation through the agency of a parity committee. The Mediation Committee wiII try to eliminate the texts on which there is division of opinion by drawing up a formulation acceptable to the two Chambers. The proposals of the Mediation Committee are entered in a report, which is submitted for debate and adoption to the two Chambers in separate sittings.
In case the Chambers adopt the Mediation Committee's report, the law is sent for promulgation.
In case the Mediation Committee fails to reach an agreement with regard to the issues on which there is division of opinion, or if one of the Chambers does not approve the Mediation Committee's report, as a whole or in part, the texts on..which there is division of opinion are submitted for debate in a joint sitting of the two Chambers, accordirig to the standing orders of these sittings.
Control of the Constitutionality of the Laws
The laws adopted are submitted to a preliminary control as to their constitutionality at the intimation of the President of Romania, of one of the presidents of the two Chambers of the Government, of the Supreme Court of Justice or of a number of at least twenty-five senators, or at least fifty deputies. In order to exercise this right, the law is handed to the secretaries general of the two Chambers, it is communicated to the interested parties, and, after passage of a term of five days, it is sent to the President of Romanra for promulgation. Intimation of the Constitutional Court suspends the term for the promulgation of the law.
If the Constitutional Court has been informed and has declared the law unconstitutional as a whole or in part, the Constitution provides the release of the re-examination procedure. This procedure presupposes an examination of. the objection of unconstitutionality first in the Juridical Committee, and then, on the basis of the report of thls committee, in the plenum of the Chamber, where the law declared unconstitutional is submitted to a single vote only The objection of unconstitutionality of the Court is removed only in case that both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate have adopted the law in the same form, with a ma ority of at least two thirds of the number of members of each Chamber. In case in one of the Chambers the two thirds majority is not obtained, the provisions declared unconsititutional by the Constitutional Court are removed from the law, and the necessary technical and legislative correlations are operated with the Chamber's approval; lf the law as a whole is decfared unconstitutional and the Chambers once more fail to adopt it by at least two thirds majority, it will no longer be sent to the President of Romania for promulgation.
Promulgation of the law
The laws adopted by the two Chambers of Parliament with identical texts are sent for promulgation to the President of Romania. The promulgation is made within 20 days at the most after its reception. Before promulgation, the President may ask Parliament, once only, to re-examine the law within not more than 20 days after the law was received for promulgation.
If, after re-examining the law, both Chambers adopt or reject the ob ections of the President of Romania, the President is obliged to proceed to the promulgation within 10 days after the reception of the law adopted after re-examination. The same promulgation term operates also in the case in which the President of Romania has received the decision of the Constitutional Court bv which the law is declared constitutional.
Coming into Force of the Law
The law comes into force on the day of its publication in the Monitorul Oficial (Official Gazette of Romania), or at the date provided in its text, which date may not be previous to the publication.