STANDING ORDERS OF THE SENATE
Sittings Department and Library of the SenateJanuary 2007
1. - At the request of the President of the Senate, the Chairman of the Referrall Committee, the Chairman of a Group or the Government, the Chairmen's Conference may decide on a vote without debate or a vote after limited debate on a Government or member's bill. The Conference shall also fix a deadline for the tabling of amendments17(*).
2. - A decision on a vote without debate or a vote after limited debate may only be taken with the agreement of all the Chairmen of Political Groups.
1. - If there are grounds for a vote without debate, the Committee may not meet to examine the text and associated amendments for seventy-two hours after the deadline for the tabling of amendments has passed. All Senators and the Government shall be informed of the date, venue and objective of the meeting immediately.
2. - The signatory, or one of the signatories, to each amendment may participate in the Committee's debate. Government participation is a matter of right. In a departure from the provisions of paragraph 1 of Article 18, Ministers may attend votes taken at this meeting.
3. - If, in the course of this sitting, the Government raises a question of admissibility based on Article 41 of the Constitution, debate shall be adjourned and the President of the Senate shall be informed immediately. Inadmissibility shall be allowed as a matter of right if it is confirmed by the President of the Senate.
4. - If the President of the Senate and the Government are in disagreement, the procedure set out in paragraph 6 of Article 45 of the Standing Orders shall be followed.
5. - If an inadmissibility exception is based on the provisions of Article 40 of the Constitution or on the provisions of the Organic Law relating to Finance Laws, inadmissibility shall be assessed by the Finance Committee.
1. - If there are grounds for a vote without debate in a public sitting, any amendment rejected by the Committee may, before general discussion ends, be raised again by the author, who shall have five minutes to present them. This shall be followed by a vote on these amendments, on those adopted by the Referrall Committee if there are any, and on the Article to which they refer. The same procedure shall apply to sub-amendments on which the Committee has not given a ruling.
2. - The President shall put the whole of the text to the vote, and in the case of Articles other than those adopted under the terms of the preceding paragraph, the amendments adopted by the Committee. Before the vote is taken, an opportunity to speak for five minutes shall be given to one representative from each Group.
3. - The Committee's report shall include in an annex the amendments that it has rejected.
1. - If there are grounds for limited debate, an opportunity to speak will only be given to the Government, the Chairman and Rapporteur of the Referrall Committee, the authors of the amendments and, on each amendment, a speaker with a contrary view. Interventions other than those of the Government may not exceed five minutes.
2. - Subject to the provisions of paragraph 3 of Article 44 of the Constitution, the President shall only put amendments, Articles and the whole of the Government or member's bill to the vote.
3. - Before a vote is taken on the whole of the Government or member's bill, an opportunity to speak for five minutes may be given to a representative of each Group.
1. - A vote without debate shall automatically become a vote after limited debate if the Government so requests. This request must be formulated no later than four days before the date scheduled for the vote on the text in a public sitting.
2. - In such cases, a vote after limited debate is mandatory if the Government has tabled one or more amendments after the Committee has given its opinion.
Government and member's bills on which a decision has been taken in relation to a vote without debate or one after limited debate may only be the object of the initiatives referred to in Article 44 of the Standing Orders at the meeting of the Committee, or in a public sitting if they emanate from the competent Committee or the Government18(*).
The following may not be the object of a vote without debate procedure or a vote after limited debate procedure: Government and member's bills dealing with revision of the Constitution, Institutional Acts, Government and member's bills or bills granting and amnesty, finance Bills, Government bills covered by Article 38 of the Constitution, Government bills authorising the extension of a state of siege, Government and member's bills relating to the electoral system in parliamentary assemblies and local assemblies, concerning the fundamental principles underlying the free administration of local authorities, their competences and resources, concerning the fundamental guarantees accorded to citizens in the exercise of public freedoms, or laws presented to the Parliament under the terms of paragraph 2 of Article 10 of the Constitution.
* 17 In its Decision of 7 November 1990, the Constitutional Council considered «... that these various provisions, which relate exclusively to amendments from Senators, are not in themselves contrary to the Constitution, as the deadline chosen for tabling amendments is determined in such a way as not to impede the effective exercise of the right of amendment, and that the possibility of tabling sub-amendments subsequently is not prohibited».
* 18 In its Decision of 7 November 1990, the Constitutional Council considered that: «these rules are not contrary to the Constitution as... there has been no change to the provisions of paragraph 7 of Article 44 of the Standing Orders whereby prejudicial and incidental motions may not be presented during the discussion of texts that have been placed on the priority agenda in line with paragraph 1 of Article 48 of the Constitution.»