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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 and 62/2015

X. Special Provisions regarding the Consideration of Bills

§ 69. (1) Bills shall reach the National Council in the form of motions submitted by Members, the Federal Council or one third of the Members of the Federal Council, and as government bills.

(2) Every petition filed by 100 000 citizens entitled to vote or by one sixth of the citizens entitled to vote in each of three provinces (popular initiative) shall be submitted by the Federal Election Board for consideration by the National Council. The popular initiative shall concern a matter to be settled by federal legislation and may take the form of a bill.

3) Bills under (1) and (2) above other than private Members' motions shall only be admitted to a first reading if the National Council so decides. A motion to this effect may be made either before entry into the agenda of the sitting following the distribution of the bill or after the end of the deliberations of that sitting.

(4) A first reading shall take place in the case of bills submitted by Members (private Members' bills) if explicitly required in the text of the bill. If the mover demands that the first reading take place within three months, this demand shall be considered in drafting the agendas of the National Council. At the time of the first reading of such a bill, the mover or, in the case of several movers, the one designated by them shall be given the floor first.

(5) The first reading shall be confined to a discussion of the general principles of the bill.

(6) During the first reading the only motions allowed shall be motions for the appointment of a special committee for the preliminary deliberation on the bill. After the first reading, the President shall refer the bill to a committee.

(7) In cases in which no first reading is envisaged, the President shall refer popular initiatives, government bills and bills moved by the Federal Council during the second sitting following their distribution and private Members' motions during the sitting following their introduction.

§ 70. (1) The preliminary deliberation by the committee shall be followed by the second reading of the bill. Committee motions for the adoption of legislation shall immediately go to the second reading.

(2) The second reading shall consist of a general debate of the bill as a whole (general debate), deliberation on individual parts of the bill (special debate) and voting. The general and special debates shall take place at the same time unless the National Council otherwise decides upon a motion to that effect made by the rapporteur.

§ 71. (1) If the general and special debates are held separately, motions to adjourn proceedings, to refer the bill back to the competent committee, or to refer it to another committee may be made during the general debate. Such motions shall be voted on after the list of speakers in the general debate is exhausted.

(2) At the end of the general debate a vote shall be taken on whether the National Council is ready to enter upon the special debate.

(3) If the National Council decides to enter upon the special debate, the same shall follow immediately. If the National Council refuses to open the special debate, the item shall be lost.

§ 72. (1) At the beginning of the special debate the President shall determine which parts of the item of business are to be considered and voted upon separately or jointly. In so doing s/he shall respect the principle that the division of the special debate should facilitate the debate and promote the understanding of the subject in hand. If an objection is raised, the National Council shall decide without debate.

(2) If several comprehensive motions have been submitted, the National Council shall decide which of these shall form the basis of the special debate.

(3) Amendments may be moved by every Member in respect of each individual part of the bill as soon as the special debate on that part has been opened and shall be included in the deliberations if they are supported by at least five Members including the mover. Unless the motion bears the signatures of five Members, such support shall be expressed by the supporting Members rising from their seats when asked by the President whether there are any seconds.

(4) Amendments shall be submitted to the President in writing and read by one of the Members who has signed them. Upon the President's instruction, however, the reading may be effected by one of the secretaries.

(5) The National Council may refer every such amendment to the competent committee and adjourn the deliberation until the committee presents a new report on the bill in question.

(6) After a part of the item of business has been deliberated it shall be put to the vote. After the list of speakers has been exhausted, the National Council may decide

1. to adjourn deliberation,

2. to refer the subject matter back to the competent committee, or

3. to pass on to the next item on the agenda.

A decision according to (3) above shall terminate consideration of the business in hand.

§ 73. (1) If the general and special debates are held jointly, the provisions of § 72 (2-5) shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(2) Even if the general and special debates are held jointly, the President may rule that parts of the item of business be debated and voted on separately. If an objection is raised, the National Council shall decide without debate.

(3) Once the list of speakers on the entire item of business (1 above) or on each part thereof (2 above) is exhausted, the National Council may decide

1. to adjourn deliberation,

2. to refer the subject matter back to the competent committee, or

3. to consider the matter lapsed.

A decision in accordance with (3) above shall terminate consideration of the business in hand.

§ 74. (1) The third reading, i.e. the vote on the whole bill, shall take place once the bill has been adopted in the second reading. Upon the President's proposal or a motion by a Member the National Council may decide not to have the third reading immediately after the second reading but to postpone it to some later date.

(2) The only motions that may be made during the third reading are motions to resolve contradictions that may have resulted from the decisions taken in the course of the second reading, to correct typographical or linguistic errors. Draft resolutions cannot be submitted during the third reading.

(3) A debate on motions made during the third reading shall be allowed only if the National Council so decides in individual cases. Speaking time in such a debate shall be limited to five minutes for each speaker.