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The Senate votes the law - Taking the initiative

Like the members of the National Assembly, Senators are first and foremost legislators who vote the laws of the Republic.

They are empowered to take the initiative in tabling bills. They use this right frequently. But the government has priority in setting the agenda for both the National Assembly and the Senate. However, two weeks per month are reserved for a agenda chosen by the Senate (Art 48. of The French Constitution).

Moreover, a sitting day per month is reserved for an agenda chosen by opposition or minority political groups.

To know more

  • The French Parliament passes over one hundred laws a year.
  • The Senate introduces about 8,000 amendments a year.

The Senate's right to take the initiative is expressed primarily in its right to amend bills . This enables both Senators and members of the National Assembly, as well as the government, to modify texts that are under discussion. Non-governmental bills are naturally discussed first by the house to which their authors belong. Government bills may receive their first examination by either the Senate or the National Assembly. But the government's financial bills, including those that concern funding of the social security system, must first be tabled before the National Assembly.

Since 2003, the government's bills concerning territorial organization or representation of French citizens living outside France must first be tabled before the Senate.