The Parliament Will Aprove Amendments to Lawmaking Process
The National Council of the Slovak Republic is within its current session approving important amendments concerning the legislative process. The amendments concern on the one hand the preparation of legislation which was submitted to the National Council by the government but it also concerns the legislative process which takes place in the Parliament. VIA IURIS has been actively participating in the preparation of these legal regulations.
Yesterday the Parliament approved a proposal of the Act on the law making process. Latter Act regulates the preparation of laws which are submitted to the National Council by the Government. The proposal of the Act also enshrines rights of the public to participate in law making process. The latter was enforced by VIA IURIS and other representatives of the public. In consequence every governmental proposal of law will have to be submitted for a public discussion. The proposal of law also contains a definition of the collective comment and the obligation to carry out a public discussion in case when the collective comment would be supported by at least 500 persons. However the majority of procedural details of the public discussion (e.g. determination of time limits, definition of the shortened legislative procedure etc.) will still be regulated only in the legislative rules of the Government which is the biggest weakness of the proposal. So even though the public can participate in the preparation of legal regulations, there still persists a risk that their rights would be violated.
Second amendment which is still waiting for a discussion in the Parliament relates to the Rules of procedure of the National Parliament. According to VIA IURIS this proposal does not eradicate at all the most important defects of the legislative process in the Parliament. Even though the submitters of the proposal declare that the proposal prohibits so-called “legislative adjuncts” it is quite easy to avoid this prohibition.
Suggested amendments in the regulation of amending and additional proposals deal only with a part of problems and do not react at all to e.g. very frequent situation where amending and additional proposals in its volume often exceed the original proposal of the law which circumvents and negates previous legislative process.
Submitters of the amendment did not admit any form of participation of the public in the legislative process in the Parliament. However the experience of the public discussions in the framework of the governmental proposals of laws clearly demonstrates that participation of the public in the legislative process contributes to increase the quality of laws because it creates a space for a critical feed-back to the legislative works. The submitters also omitted to regulate in a stricter manner the shortened legislative procedure which in the practice is being often misused for quick and purposeful amendments of laws.
As stated Imrich Vozár, lawyer cooperating with VIA IURIS: „VIA IURIS in the position of the public has been long time actively participating in the legislative process related to the legal regulations in different areas. We thus welcome the proposed legal regulation of this process which guarantees also the participation of the public. On the other hand it is only a half solution because it does not deal with the regulation of the legislative process in the Parliament. From the deputies’ proposal of the amendment to the Rules of procedure of the Parliament it is evident that MPs do not care at all about the opinion of the public and they are satisfied with the current situation, given that suggested amendments are rather pseudo amendments without any systemic impact.”