The Legislative Procedure

Legislative Procedure

Under Article 68 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, “the right of legislative initiative in the Seimas shall belong to the members of the Seimas, the President of the Republic, and the Government. Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania shall also have the right of legislative initiative, provided a draft is supported by no less than 50,000 signatures of the Lithuanian citizens who are entitled to vote. "

The legislative procedure of the Republic of Lithuania is regulated by the Statute of the Seimas, which has the power of law. The said document consistently sets forth the “way” of a legal act from the draft to the law, resolution, the Seimas resolution or the statement.

All draft laws and proposals submitted to the Seimas shall be registered with the Secretariat of the Seimas Sittings. In the process of further consideration and preparation of the draft, each new wording, conclusions, amendments and supplements submitted must be registered with the Secretariat of the Seimas Sittings specifying who submitted them. The Legal Department of the Seimas shall furnish conclusions on the registered draft law stating whether or not the draft is in compliance with the laws which are already in effect, and whether or not it corresponds to the technical rules of law-making.

The legislative procedure in the Seimas can be divided into four main parts:

1) submission of the draft to the Seimas;

2) consideration of the draft law at the principal Committee;

3) consideration of the draft law at the Seimas;

4) adoption of the draft law at the Seimas.

The “scenario” of all these procedures varies. During the presentation of the draft law at a sitting of the Seimas, the initiators of the draft shall set forth the objectives and goals of the draft law and answer questions of Seimas members. Then the Seimas shall adopt the decision whether to commence the procedure of consideration of the draft, whether to postpone it, or whether to reject the draft specifying the motives of rejection. If the Seimas decides to commence the procedure of consideration, the Seimas appoints the principal Committee and the additional Committee to further consider the draft law.

Under the terms of the new Statute of the Seimas, which has come into effect on 1 February 1999, the scope and importance of work of the Seimas Committees have increased significantly. It is at the Seimas Committees that the most thorough analysis of the legal act under preparation is made, consultations of specialists in different fields are provided and opinions are heard. The fact that the new Statute provides for the possibility of the society to take an active part in the legislative procedure is of great importance. The Committees considering the draft law (the principal Committee) announces in the press a deadline of proposals and observations to be presented by the interested persons. Moreover, the principal Committee must send the draft law to all interested State institutions and, if necessary, to public organisations, self-governments, political parties and organisations, so that the said institutions could send their evaluations. The draft law can also be announced to the public for consideration. (The received proposals shall be referred to the principal Committee).

During consideration procedure at a sitting of the Seimas the report of the principal Committee, additional reports by other Committees are heard and a general discussion of the basic provisions of the draft law is held. Later a vote is taken on the amendments to the draft law, which can be presented by persons who have the right of legislative initiative. Finally the Seimas takes a vote on whether to approve the draft law confirmed by the Committee together with amendments adopted at a sitting of the Seimas.

During the passage of the law at a sitting of the Seimas it is decided whether to approve every article of the law; whether to approve the amendments which were presented by the persons having the right of legislative initiative 24 hours before the commencement of the Seimas sitting, and finally - whether to adopt the entire law.

After the documents adopted by the Seimas have been signed by the President of the Republic or the Chairman of the Seimas, and after they have been published in the “Official Gazette” (“Valstybės žinios”), the law or the resolution comes into effect (unless otherwise established). The Seimas Statute also discusses the procedures of repeat consideration and adoption of a draft law which has been passed by the Seimas and returned by the President of the Republic, amendments to the Constitution, approval of the State Budget, etc.

Last updated on 2006-02-21