Passage of Laws
The law is an act enacted by the National Assembly in legislative session.
Laws that contain a systematic set of norms regulating a particular field may also be referred to as codes.
Organic Laws are those designated as such by this Constitution, those enacted to organize public powers or developing constitutional rights, and those which serve as a normative framework for other laws.
Any bill for the enactment of an organic law, except in the case of those defined as such in the Constitution itself, must first be accepted by the National Assembly, by a 2/3 vote of the members present, before the beginning of debate on the bill. This qualifying vote shall also apply to the process of amending organic acts.
Laws defined by the National Assembly as organic acts shall be sent, prior to promulgation, to the Constitutional Division of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice for a ruling on the constitutionality of their organic status.
The Constitutional Division shall reach a decision within ten days of receipt of the communication. If the Constitutional Division rules that the law is not organic, such the law shall lose the organic status.
Enabling laws are those enacted by a 3/5 vote of the members of the National Assembly to establish the guidelines, purposes and framework for matters that are being delegated to the President of the Republic, with the rank and force of a law.
Enabling law is to set the period for the exercising thereof.
The initiative for introducing legislation belongs to:
- The National Executive Power.
- The Delegated Committee and the Standing Committees.
- Members of the National Assembly, at least three in number.
- The Supreme Tribunal of Justice, in the case of laws relating to judicial procedures and organization.
- Citizen Power, in the case of laws relating to the organs comprising the same.
- Electoral Power in the case of laws relating to electoral matters.
- The voters, in a number at least equivalent to 0.1% of all permanently registered voters.
- The State Legislative Council, in the case of laws relating to the States.
The discussion of bills submitted by citizens in accordance with the provisions of the preceding article shall be initiated no later than the regular legislative session following that during which the bill was introduced. If debate does not begin within such period, the bill must be submitted for approval by referendum in accordance with law.
The States must be consulted by the National Assembly, through the State Legislative Council, when legislation in matters relating to them is being considered.
The mechanisms for consultation of citizens and other institutions by the Council with respect to such matters shall be established by law.
To be enacted into law, every bill shall be debated twice, on different days, following the rules established in this Constitution and the pertinent regulations. Once the bill is approved, the President of the National Assembly shall declare the law enacted.
During the first debate, the statement of legislative intent shall be considered and the objectives, scope and viability of the same shall be evaluated in order to determine the appropriateness of the law, and the articles shall be discussed. Upon approval at the first debate, the bill shall be sent to the Committee directly concerned with the subject matter of the law. If the bill relates to several Standing Committees, a mixed committee shall be designated to conduct a study and prepare a report.
Committees studying bills shall report the bill out within no more than 30 consecutive days.
Once the bill has been reported out of committee, the second debate on the bill shall begin, being conducted article by article. If the bill is approved without amendment, it shall be enacted into law.
However, if amended it shall be returned to the Committee concerned for inclusion of the amendments by such Committee within no more than 15 consecutive days; once read the new version of the bill at a plenary session of the National Assembly, it shall decide as appropriate by majority vote on any articles as to which a discrepancy exists, and on any other articles relating thereto.
Once the discrepancy has been resolved, the President shall declare the bill enacted into law.
Debate on bills still pending at the end of a legislative session may be continued during the next regular session or during a special session.
During the process of debating and approval of bills, the National Assembly or Standing Committees shall consult the other organs of the State, the citizenry and organized society to hear their opinion about the same. The following shall have the right to speak during debates on proposed laws: the Cabinet Ministers, as representatives of the Executive Power; such justice of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice as the latter may designate, to represent the Judicial Power; such representative of Citizen Power as may be designated by the Republican Ethic Council; the members of the Electoral Authority;
the States, through a representative designated by the State Legislative Council; and the representatives of organized society, on such terms as may be established by the Regulations of the National Assembly.
Once the law has been enacted, it shall be promulgated in duplicate with the final language as approved during the debates. Both copies shall be signed by the President, the two Vice Presidents and the Secretary of the National Assembly, with the date of final approval.
One of the copies of the law shall be sent by the President of the National Assembly to the President of the Republic for purposes of promulgation.
The President shall promulgate the law within a ten day period following the date on which the President receives it. During this period the President may, by Cabinet Ministers resolution with statement of grounds, ask the National Assembly to amend any of the provisions of the law or rescind its approval of part or all of it.
The National Assembly shall decide by majority vote of those deputies present on the matters raised by the President of the Republic, and then shall send the law back to him for promulgation.
The President of the Republic must proceed to promulgate the law within five days of receipt, without the possibility of new objections. When the President of the Republic considers that the law or any of its articles is unconstitutional, he shall be required to request a ruling from the Constitutional Division of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, within the ten day period allowed the President for promulgating the law.
The Supreme Tribunal of Justice shall reach a decision within 15 days of receipt of the communication from the President of the Republic. If the Tribunal declines to rule the provisions referred to it unconstitutional or fails to reach a decision within the aforementioned period, the President of the Republic must promulgate the law within five days of the Tribunal’s decision or the expiration of such term.
When the President of the Republic fails to promulgate the law on the terms indicated above, the President and the two Vice Presidents of the National Assembly shall proceed to promulgate it, without prejudice to such liability as the President may incur by reason of his omission.
The point at which the approving law of an international treaty, agreement or convention must be promulgated shall be left to the discretion of the National Executive, in accordance with international practices and the convenience of the Republic.
Laws are repealed by other laws and are abrogated by referendum, subject to the exceptions established in this Constitution. Laws may be amended in whole or in part. A law that is amended in part shall be published in a single text that incorporates the amendments passed.