Why are laws made by the government?

Hanisauland: Lexicon @todo: from Preprocess


In a nutshell
When the German Bundestag makes laws, it has to observe rules. Not everyone can simply propose in the Bundestag that a law should apply now. Only the federal government, several members together or the Federal Council (that is the representation of the federal states) are allowed to do this. Before a vote is taken on whether there should be a new law, the members discuss it. You talk to experts and their colleagues about what should be in the law. And then there is a vote. Only if the majority of MPs vote for the new law can it become valid. Sometimes the Federal Council also has to give its approval. The law is signed by the Federal Chancellor and the minister responsible for it. And finally the Federal President signs. After that, the law takes effect.

A new law is to be found

How is a law created? Can I just write to the government as a normal citizen and ask for a law, for example, so that I don't have to go to school for so many years? And is this law then made? Of course, it's not that simple. There are precise rules on how a law is drawn up. This can sometimes take a long time and be complicated.

In Germany, only the federal government, the Bundesrat or several members of the German Bundestag can start a so-called “legislative initiative”, i.e. take the first step towards creating a law.

The government takes action

For example, if the government wants a new law that extends the notice periods for apartments, then it makes a bill for it. She gives this draft to the Federal Council. The Bundesrat gives its opinion and gives the draft law to the Bundestag for further discussion.

The Federal Council becomes active

If the Federal Council wants a certain law to be passed, it first gives a draft law to the government. Then the draft comes to the Bundestag.

Several MPs become active

A single citizen who considers a new law to be necessary cannot bring a bill to the Bundestag himself. Rather, he would have to convince a member of the Bundestag that this law is necessary. This MP must then look for other members of the Bundestag who, together with him, will submit this draft law to the Bundestag for further discussion.

First reading

If the Bundestag has a draft law, it will be discussed three times. These consultations are also called "readings". In the first reading, the so-called fundamental debate, the draft law is presented and the MPs generally express their opinion on it. Then the draft law is sent to a special committee of the Bundestag for more detailed examination. Details are given there and experts are interviewed.

Second reading

In the 2nd reading in Parliament, the members of the committee report on the results of their meeting and what the experts have said about the new law. Mostly, suggestions for changes are put forward.

Third reading

In the 3rd reading there is another debate on the law. The arguments for and against the law are discussed, maybe there are more changes. Then there is a final vote. When the majority of the MPs present has approved the law, the law is passed. In technical jargon, it is said that the law has been "passed". In special cases, however, a law requires the approval of a minimum number of MPs. It is not enough then just the majority of those present. So z. B. be two thirds of the members of the Bundestag for a law that changes the constitution.

Does the Federal Council have to approve a law?

Once the Bundestag has passed the law, it goes to the Bundesrat. The involvement of the Federal Council depends on whether there is a so-called approval law or a so-called objection law.

Consent laws

Approval laws - as the name suggests - only become valid if, after the Bundestag, the Bundesrat also approves. This includes all laws that particularly affect the affairs of the federal states.

All other laws

With all other laws, the Federal Council has only one right of objection. He can only raise concerns about the objection laws, can say that he rejects a law. If the Federal Council actually objects, the law will only be postponed. In another vote, the Bundestag can still resolve it.

When a law has been discussed and passed in the way our constitution prescribes, the law is signed by the Federal Chancellor or the responsible minister. Then the Federal President still has to sign the text of the law. (In technical language, one speaks of “issue”.) The law is then published, i.e. proclaimed, in the Federal Law Gazette. Only then does it come into force, on the day that was laid down in the law.

The wall map "How is a law created?" can be ordered free of charge from the Federal Agency for Civic Education. Shipping costs are calculated.

Further information on the legislative procedure can be found here in the lexicon under the keywords Bundestag, Bundesrat, Legislative, Act and Mediation Committee.

FAQ / Frequently Asked Questions

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