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Reforming Legislative Process in Poland: What, How and Why? Dr Radoslaw Zubek Potsdam University, Germany October 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Reforming Legislative Process in Poland: What, How and Why? Dr Radoslaw Zubek Potsdam University, Germany October 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reforming Legislative Process in Poland: What, How and Why? Dr Radoslaw Zubek Potsdam University, Germany October 2006

2 Key Areas for Legislative Reform Key areas for reform: Legislative agenda-setting Policy formulation & legal drafting Parliamentary passage

3 Agenda-setting: What? THE PROBLEM: Many actors with right to initiate and low thresholds for initiating legislation: Inside executive –Relatively easy to bypass cabinet legislative plan, –Limited requirements to justify legislative initiatives, –No competition for legislative slots. Inside parliament –Relatively easy to initiate deputies’ bills, –No priority for government bills.

4 Agenda-setting: Why? Regulatory inflation –Legislative interventions are undertaken even though they are not necessary; Legislative instability –Policies (laws) are likely to change a lot if (i) agenda-setters are many, (ii) policy issues are multidimensional and (iii) preferences are heterogeneous.

5 Agenda-setting: How? Cabinet Legislative Planning Committee –Committee agrees a cabinet legislative plan for 6-12 months; –A pre-determined limit on the number of bills creates competition among ministerial bids; –No initiatives allowed outside plan; the Committee includes new bids on a „one-in, one-out” basis. Parliamentary Agenda-setting –Higher numerical limits and more stringent information requirements for deputies-initiated bills; –Explicit hierarchy of bills in parliament.

6 Policy Formulation & Drafting: What? THE PROBLEM: dominance of legalistic over problem- oriented approach to policy making: –Legislative process often starts from drafting a legal text; –Alternative solutions are rarely considered and compared in a systematic manner; –Costs and benefits of regulatory action are rarely, if ever, estimated and quantified; –Limited attention is paid to ensuring preconditions for effective implementation.

7 Policy Formulation& Drafting: Why? Frequent inconsistencies –Frequent inconsistencies occur because the legal text itself changes many times as it makes its way to cabinet; Costly legislation –Legislative interventions are undertaken even though they entail more costs than benefits; Poor implementation –Legislation is a ‘dead letter’ due to lack of preparations for implementation.

8 Policy Formulation & Drafting: How? Quality Checks on RIA –Establish ministerial RIA units to assist with minor laws; –Central RIA unit in PM Chancellery to assist with major laws. Policy formulation separated from legal drafting –Terms of reference, not legal drafts, to be used in pre-cabinet consultations; –Major bills to be drafted by the Government Legislative Centre, and minor bills by ministerial legislative units, before submission to cabinet.

9 Parliamentary Passage: What? THE PROBLEM: extensive parliamentary powers to amend bills, combined with weak party discipline: –Parliamentary committees can rewrite, split and merge bills; –Subcommittees play a dominant role in shaping legislation; –Executive has limited levers to defend legislation against amendment; –Party discipline is weak, coalitions are incohesive and members of parliament can pursue individual law-making strategies.

10 Parliamentary Passage: Why? Unpredictability of legislative outcomes –If policy issues are multidimensional, preferences are heterogeneous, and decisions are made by majority rule, almost any amendment (within reason) can succeed; Frequent inconsistencies –Legislation drafted in sectoral committees is often inconsistent with legislation in other policy areas; –multiple referrals and joint committee sessions help, but also add to the problem of unpredictability.

11 Parliamentary Passage: How? Restrictive rules: –Parliamentary committees to report amendments separately after first reading, subject to approval by plenary; –‘Package vote’ whereby government can set aside committee- proposed amendments; Confidence votes –Government to be able to link a confidence vote with a vote on legislation.

12 Conclusion Two key directions for legislative reform: –A much closer involvement of the centre of government in the legislative process inside the executive; –A much stronger procedural position of the executive in parliament.


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