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Sittings Department and Library of the Senate

January 2007
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Article 48

1. - The Government and Senators shall be empowered to propose amendments and sub-amendments to texts that have been submitted for discussion before the Senate, or which are the object of a vote without debate procedure.

2. - Amendments and sub-amendments shall be restricted to those that are put in writing and have been signed by one of the authors and tabled with the Senate Bureau. A Senator may not, on an individual basis or as a member of a Political Group, be the signatory or a co-signatory of several identical amendments or sub-amendments. Amendments and sub-amendments must include a brief reasoning. They shall be communicated by the President to the competent Committee, and printed and distributed. However, failure to print and distribute an amendment or sub-amendment shall not prevent it being discussed in a public sitting.

3. - Amendments are only admissible if they relate directly to the text with which they are associated or, in the case of additional Articles, if they are not deprived of any link with the objective of the text under discussion. Sub-amendments are only admissible if they do not have the effect of contradicting the meaning of the amendments to which they refer.

3a. - Except for provisions that specifically concern them, sub-amendments shall be governed by the same rules of admissibility and discussion as amendments19(*).

4. - In strongly contested cases other than those referred to in Article 45, the issue of the admissibility of amendments and sub-amendments shall be presented, before they are discussed, for a decision by the Senate. An opportunity to speak shall only be given to the author of the amendment, a speaker against and the Committee (five minutes each) and the Government. No explanation of the vote shall be allowed.

Article 49

1. - Amendments shall be discussed after the text that they seek to modify has been discussed, and shall be voted on before a vote is taken on the text.

2. - When amendments contradict one another, and in the absence of a contrary decision by the Chairmen's Conference, they shall be the subject of a joint debate;  at the end of this discussion, they shall be voted on in the following order:  deletion amendments followed by other amendments starting with those that depart furthest from the proposed text, and in the order that they oppose, overlap and complement one another. However, if the Senate has adopted a motion of precedence or a reserve, under the conditions set out in paragraphs 6 and 8 of Article 44, the order of speaking shall be modified accordingly.

3. If the Senate discusses a Committee's report and the conclusions contained in the report raise a preliminary question, they shall take priority over amendments dealing with the substance of the issue under discussion.

4. - The President shall only submit amendments and sub-amendments tabled with the Senate Bureau for discussion in a public sitting.

5. - The Senate shall not discuss an amendment unless it is supported in the debate. After the debate has opened, the Government may oppose the examination of any amendment that has not previously been submitted to the Committee.

6. - Opportunities to speak on each amendment, other than explanations of the vote, may only be offered to one of the signatories, the Government, the Chairman or Rapporteur of the Committee and a Senator with a contrary view. The signatory of the amendment shall have five minutes to describe the basis of the amendment, and the speaker with the contrary view shall have the same amount of time. Explanations of the vote shall be allowed for a period not exceeding five minutes.

6a. - An amendment that is withdrawn by the author after discussion has commenced may be taken up by a Senator who is not a signatory. Discussion shall resume from the point it had reached.

7. - When the Committee believes that certain amendments could, if they were adopted, have the effect of profoundly changing the whole of the text being discussed by the Senate, it may ask for them to be remitted to it for new examination. In these circumstances, remittance is a matter of right. The Committee must present its conclusions during the same sitting, except by agreement with the Government.

Article 50

At the request of the Committee concerned, the Chairmen's Conference may decide to fix a deadline for the tabling of amendments. The decision of the Chairmen's Conference shall appear on the agenda.

* 19 A new paragraph arising from the Resolution of 20 May 1986, and declared compliant with the Constitution by the Constitutional Council in its Decision of 3 June 1986: «Considering that the right of sub-amendment cannot be dissociated from the right of amendment given to Members of Parliament and members of the Government by paragraph 1 of Article 44 of the Constitution, the provision introduced by the Resolution in Article 48 of the Standing Orders complies with the Constitution, and should not allow the Government to challenge the genuine exercise right of amendment of Members of Parliament provided for in Article 44 of the Constitution.»

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