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Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council

Rules of Procedure Law of 1975

Promulgations: BGBl. [Federal Law Gazette] No. 410/1975 as amended in BGBl. Nos 302/1979, 353/1986, 720/1988, 569/1993, 438/1996 and BGBl. I Nos 131/1997, 163/1998, 29/2005, 31/2009, 11/2010, 12/2010, 114/2011, 66/2012, 31/2013, 131/2013, 132/2013, 6/2014, 99/2014, 62/2015, 41/2016 and 45/2020

V. Items of Business

§ 21. (1) The following submissions in writing shall be items of business for the National Council and for preliminary deliberation by its Committees:

private Members' motions;

Federal Government bills and other items of business submitted by the Federal Government;

Bills on initiatives and decisions of the European Council and the Council under Art. 23i (1), (3) and (4) B-VG and Art. 23j (1) B-VG; 

Bills on proposals for decisions of the European Stability Mechanism under Art. 50b B-VG; 

Reports and motions of the Main Committee under § 31d (5) and its Standing Sub-Committee on EU Affairs under § 31e (1); 

Reports of the Main Committee under § 31d (5a) and its Standing Sub-Committee under § 31e (1); 

Members' motions for taking action before the Court of the European Union under § 26a;

Members' motions for rejecting an initiative or proposal under Art. 23i (2) B-VG in pursuance of § 26b;

Federal Council bills;

Popular initiatives;

objections by the Federal Council;

stenographic records of parliamentary hearings;

joint reports of Members delegated by the National Council, or the National Council in conjunction with the Federal Council, to international parliamentary organisations and of Members of the National and Federal Councils participating in meetings of the Interparliamentary Union;

reports of the Federal Government and its members under § 28b (4);

reports of the Court of Audit and Federal Financial Accounts;

reports of the Ombudsman Board;

requests for the approval of the public prosecution of Members under § 10 (2 and 3),requests for a decision on possible connections with the political activities of Members as outlined in § 10 (3), and notifications on the part of authorities under § 10 (5);

requests of authorities under Art. 63 (2) B-VG;

requests for the authority to prosecute persons for insulting the National Council;

petitions and citizens' initiatives;

motions and demands to set up an investigating committee under § 33.

(1a) Popular initiatives, citizens’ initiatives, court of audit reports, annual federal accounts and ombudsman’s reports which were introduced for deliberation in the National Council and not disposed of in the previous legislative period shall be deliberated upon by the next elected National Council and preliminarily deliberated on by its committees.

(2) Other items of business of the National Council shall be the following submissions of Committees:

committee motions;

reports of the Rules of Procedure Committee under § 3 RP-IC;

reports of investigating committees;

reports of the Standing Sub-Committee of the Court of Audit Committee (§ 32e (4));

reports of the Main Committee in accordance with special legal provisions; 

Reports and motions of the Budget Committee's Standing Sub-Committee on Affairs of the European Stability Mechanism; 

(3) Other items of business to be dealt with by the National Council shall be

the reports of commissions of enquiry;

questions and answers thereto;

statements by members of the Federal Government;

information about the appointment of members of the Federal Government (Art. 70 B-VG) and State Secretaries (Art. 78 (2) B-VG);

consideration of EU matters under § 74b (1);

elections.

(4) Items of business to be dealt with by the committees shall be the reports of the Federal Government and its members under § 28b (1 to 3). 

(5) Items of business to be dealt with by the Rules of Procedure Committee shall be:

Reasoned objections raised in writing against an administrative fine imposed (§ 54 (4) RP-IC).

§ 22. The items of business enumerated in § 21 above, other than petitions and citizens' initiatives, shall be held to be part of the proceedings in public sittings of the National Council (Art. 33 B-VG). The same shall apply to the reports of Committees, minority reports under § 42 (4) and individual dissenting opinions under § 42 (5).

§ 23. (1) Upon receipt of Federal Government Bills and other items of business submitted by the Federal Government, bills on initiatives and decisions of the European Council and the Council under Art. 23i (1), (3) and (4) B-VG and Art. 23j (1) B-VG, Federal Council bills, popular initiatives, objections by the Federal Council, stenographic records of parliamentary hearings, reports of commissions of enquiry, reports of the Federal Government and its members, reports of the Court of Audit or Federal Financial Accounts, reports of the Ombudsman Board as well as written questions and answers thereto, the President shall direct these submissions to be copied and distributed to the Members. The copying and distribution of reports of Members delegated by the National Council, or the National Council jointly with the Federal Council, to international parliamentary organisations as well as of Members of the National and Federal Councils participating in meetings of the Interparliamentary Union shall be directed by the President after consultation with the members of the President's Conference at a time deemed appropriate.

(2) The President may, after consultation of the members of the President's Conference, exceptionally dispense with the copying of items of business or parts thereof, if such action appears necessary in the interest of economy and administrative expediency. In all such cases, the President shall, however, hold the entire document at the disposal of Members in the Parliamentary Administration.

(3) Requests for approval of the public prosecution of Members under § 10 (2) and (3, first sentence), requests for a decision on a possible connection with the political activities of a Member as outlined in § 10 (3), and information by authorities under § 10 (5), requests of authorities under Art. 63 (2) B-VG, requests for the authority to prosecute persons for insulting the National Council as well as information about the appointment of members of the Federal Government and of State Secretaries shall not be copied and distributed. The copying and distribution of bills, documents, reports, items of information, and communications to be submitted to the National Council under Art. 23c, 23e, 23f (1) and (3), 23g (1) and (2), 23h, 23i and 23j B-VG shall be governed by the provisions of § 31b, the copying and distribution of bills, documents, reports, items of information and communications in connection with Art. 50b, 50c and 50d B-VG by § 74f, and the copying and distribution of petitions and citizens' initiatives by the provisions of § 100 (5).

(4) Written documents regarding items of business - other than committee motions and the reports of investigating committees and the Main Committee - shall be communicated to the National Council during the sittings and referred to the appropriate committee. Such information may be given by referring to a document distributed in the meeting hall. The information about the receipt of documents regarding items of business (§ 49 (1) or (2)) shall be given, in the case of documents to be distributed under (1) above and/or § 26 (6), at the sitting following their distribution, and in the case of the documents enumerated in (3) above at the sitting following their receipt.

§ 23a. (1) The copying and distribution to the Members of items of business as enumerated in § 21, documents received by the National Council, agendas and other parliamentary documents may also be effected electronically. An electronic signature may also be used for this purpose.

(2) Whenever the Rules of Procedure provide for publication in a printed form, publication in electronic form shall also be admissible.

(3) Documents mentioned in (1) above that have been electronically transmitted to the Members shall be deemed to have been electronically copied and distributed within the meaning of the Rules of Procedure.

§ 24. (1) In determining the agenda of the National Council, popular initiatives shall be given priority over all other matters.

(2) Preliminary deliberation on a popular initiative shall commence within one month of its referral to the competent committee; under any circumstances, a report shall be submitted to the National Council within a further four months.

§ 25. The Federal Government may modify or withdraw its bills and other items of business it has submitted at any time up to the commencement of voting in committee. The same provision shall apply to bills concerning initiatives and decisions of the European Council and Council under Art. 23i (1), (3) and (4) B-VG and Art. 23j (1) B-VG and for reports by the Federal Government or its members. After receipt of a note to this effect the President shall have the note copied and distributed to the Members. Any such modification or withdrawal shall, in addition, be communicated to the National Council at its next sitting (§ 49 (1) or (2)).

§ 26. (1) Every Member shall have the right to introduce private Members' motions during the sittings of the National Council.

(2) The motion shall contain the words "Der Nationalrat wolle beschließen" ("...that the National Council resolve...") and the exact wording of the decision which the National Council is requested to take in accordance with the motion. Motions shall be submitted to the President in writing and shall carry the signature(s) of the sponsor(s). They shall clearly identify the sponsor.

(3) The motion may contain a proposal concerning the committee to which it should be referred for deliberation.

(4) Every motion must be supported by at least five Members (including the mover(s)).

(5) Unless the motion bears the signatures of five Members, such support shall be expressed by the seconding Members rising from their seats when asked by the President whether there are any seconds.

(6) All private Members' motions duly seconded shall without delay be copied and distributed to the Members.

(7) If a Committee fails to commence preliminary deliberations on a private Members' motion within six months of referral, the mover(s) may demand that preliminary deliberations should start within eight weeks of their demand being made.

(8) In addition, the mover(s) of a private Members' motion may demand that the Committee to which said motion has been referred report to the National Council one year after referral of the motion. Such demand shall be submitted within six months of referral and supported by at least five Members (including the mover(s)), with no Member supporting more than two such demands per year.

(9) Demands under (7) and (8) above shall be submitted in writing to the President, who shall notify the National Council and the chairperson of the Committee in question.

(10) Committee reports under (8) above shall be placed on one of the agendas of the next two weeks of sittings.

(11) The mover(s) may withdraw his/her/their private Members' motion at any time before a vote is taken on it in Committee. The President shall order the copying of the letter of withdrawal and its distribution to the Members. In addition, every such withdrawal shall be communicated to the National Council at its next meeting (§ 49 (1) or (2)).

§ 26a. (1) Every Member may, within the time allowed under Art. 8 of the Protocol on the Application of the Principles of Subsidiarity and Proportionality, introduce in the sittings of the National Council a private Members’ motion to bring action against a legislative act of the European Union before the Court of Justice of the European Union on grounds of infringement of the principle of subsidiarity.

(2) The motion shall contain the words „Der Nationalrat wolle beschließen“ (“…that the National Council resolve…“) and the wording of the action to be decided upon by the National Council. The action shall meet the requirements of the Statute and Rules of Procedure of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The motion shall indicate the time limit set for bringing action and shall be accompanied by the legislative act the rescission of which is being moved. The motion shall be in writing, duly signed by the mover or movers. It shall clearly identify the mover(s) and be submitted to the President.

(3) The provisions of § 26 (4) – (6) and (11) shall be applied mutatis mutandis.

(4) The President shall immediately after receipt refer motions for action under (1) above to the Main Committee, which shall without delay embark on deliberations of the same.

(5) The decision to bring action under (1) above shall be immediately transmitted to the Federal Chancellery and the President of the Federal Council.

§ 26b. (1) Every Member may in the sittings of the National Council introduce a private Members' motion calling for rejection of an initiative or proposal under Article 23i (2) B-VG.

(2) The provisions of § 26 (2) and (4) to (6) and (11) shall be applied mutatis mutandis.

(3) The President shall immediately after receipt refer motions to reject an initiative or proposal under (1) above to the competent committee, which shall without delay embark on deliberations of said motion.

§ 27. (1) Every Committee shall have the right to present Committee motions for the adoption of laws germane to the subject matter under deliberation in Committee, and to submit a report to this effect in accordance with § 42.

(2) In preliminarily deliberating a Draft Federal Framework Budget and the Draft Federal Finance Act as well as an objection on the part of the Federal Council motions under (1) above shall not be permitted.

(3) The Committee shall also have the right to present committee motions requesting decisions that do not concern the adoption of laws in accordance with (1) above but are germane to the subject matter under deliberation in Committee. If such motions are motions for a resolution or motions requesting the holding of a referendum under Art. 43 B-VG, they shall be annexed to the Committee report on the subject matter in hand.

§ 28. (1) Private Members' motions and Committee motions that would entail financial burdens for the Federal Government in excess of the amounts foreseen in the Federal Budget shall contain proposals on how the excess expenditure is to be covered.

(2) The Committee to which such a motion has been referred for preliminary deliberation shall investigate whether the proposal on covering the excess expenditure is sufficient.