Brandenburg, Germany, regional Agenda (setting) initiative [PAX] - Volksinitiative

General Typology

Instrument
Agenda (setting) initiative [PAX]
Location
Brandenburg, Germany
Political level
regional
Local Name:
Volksinitiative
Normative Level:
constitutional
Legally Binding:
no
Legally Defined:

Article 76 (Agenda initiative) 

(1) All residents shall have the right to submit certain items of political decision-making to the Parliament within the framework of its competence. This agenda initiative may also table bills and motions to dissolve the Parliament. The initiative must be signed by at least twenty thousand residents (..). Their representatives shall have the right to be heard.

(2) Initiatives on the State budget, official emoluments and pensions, taxes and personnel decisions shall not be permitted.

References: Constitution of the Land of Brandenburg, 1992 (accessed Nov. 6, 2019)

§ 2 Definitions
(3) Representatives within the meaning of this Act are the five persons entitled to make and receive certain binding declarations on behalf of the signatories of the agenda initiative. Binding declarations the representatives shall be effective only if they have been signed by at least three of them, unless this Act provides otherwise. 

§ 3 Participation of public offices and municipalities, counties and cities which are not public authorities
(1) The offices and municipalities, counties and cities not subject to public office shall be obliged to cooperate in the preparation and execution of citizens' initiatives  and referendums as well as in the examination of the formal prerequisites for agenda initiatives. The head of the state referendum administration may issue instructions to the offices, municipalities, cities that are not acciciated with a county and counties . 

§ 4a Consultation
The representatives of an agenda initiative may be advised by the Head of the State Voting Committee. The free consultation shall cover all the requirements of the agenda initiative as set out in §§ 4, 5 to 10 and 12 and the requirements for its implementation. 

§ 5 Admissibility
(1) Agenda initiatives shall be admissible in respect of matters of political decision-making which fall within the competence of the Parliament of the State. They may also submit bills and motions for the dissolution of Parliament.
(2) Agenda initiatives on the state budget, salaries and pensions, levies and staff decisions shall be inadmissible.
(3) Agenda initiatives may not include any object on which a referendum has been held unsuccessfully during the past twelve months.
(4) Sections 5 to 7 shall apply to agenda initiatives which seek the dissolution of the Parliament or laws which expressly amend or supplement the wording of the Constitution, or the holding of elections to a constituent assembly. 

§ 6 Formal requirements
(1) The agenda initiative shall contain the reasoned text of a bill or other bill in accordance with § 5 of this Act. It shall have come into existence if
1. it has been supported by the verifiable personal signature of at least twenty thousand inhabitants who, at the time of signing, have the right to participate in agenda initiatives in accordance with § 4, on a separate signature sheet; the signature must have taken place at the earliest one year before the state parliament receives the agenda initiative,
2. it is accompanied by the names of the five representatives; one proxy shall be appointed for each representative.
(2) Section 5 (4) shall apply mutatis mutandis. 

§ 9 Decision on admissibility 

(1) Agenda initiatives shall be submitted to the State Parliament, represented by the President.
(2) If an agenda initiative has not been accomplished because
1. the required number of signatures was obviously not reached,
2. the representatives of the agenda initiative have not been appointed in accordance with § 6 (1) No. 2, or
3. the submitted signatures obviously do not meet the requirements pursuant to § 8, the President of the State Parliament shall return the documents to the submitters of the initiative or, with their consent, hand them over to the Committee on Petitions for further processing. The representatives of the agenda initiative are regarded as applicants within the meaning of § 2 (2) of the Petitions Act of 13 December 1991 (GVBl. p. 643).
(3) Signatures may no longer be submitted after the documents have been handed over.
(4) Immediately after receipt of the agenda initiative, the President of the Parliament of the State shall arrange for the prerequisites pursuant to § 6 paragraph 1 sentence 2 of this Act to be examined by the Head of the State Voting Committee and shall at the same time forward them to the Main Committee of the Parliament of the State and to the Government of the State.
(5) The Head of the State Voting Aministration shall submit a report on the result of the examination within one month.
(6) The Main Committee shall decide on the formal requirements under § 6 and the admissibility of the agenda initiative under § 5 after the results of the examination have been submitted by the head of the State Voting Administration. It shall refer admissible agenda initiatives to the competent committee. The Representatives of the agenda initiative the decision is to be announced by the president of the State Parliament. The Members of Parliament shall be informed accordingly. 

§ 12 Treatment of the popular initiative
1. Representatives of the agenda initiative shall have the right to be heard before the responsible committee.
(2) The state parliament shall decide on an admissible agenda initiative on the basis of a recommendation by the main committee within four months of its receipt by the president of the state parliament. The recommendation for a decision shall set out separately the position of the representatives of the agenda initiative.
(3) If the state parliament rejects the bill or the other bill in accordance with § 5 of this Act, the resolution passed on it shall be published by the president of the state parliament in the law and ordinance gazette for the state of Brandenburg Part I.
(4) If the state parliament adopts the proposal sought by the agenda initiative unchanged within four months, the citizens' initiative pursuant to Article 77 of the state constitution shall lapse.

Section 5 Dissolution of the State Parliament by the people
§ 55 Agenda initiative An application for the dissolution of Parliament submitted to Parliament by agenda initiative shall be signed by at least one hundred and fifty thousand persons entitled to vote. Otherwise, the provisions of §§ 5, 6, 8 to 12 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Section 7 Constituent Assembly

§ 62 Requirements for election to a constituent assembly
(1) The election to a constituent assembly shall take place within six months after publication of the law in accordance with Article 115 para. 4 of the Constitution in the Official Gazette of the Land Brandenburg Part I or after publication of the result of the referendum in accordance with Article 115 para. 3 of the Constitution in the Official Gazette of the Land Brandenburg Part I if
1. the Parliament, with a two-thirds majority of its members, decides by law to elect a constituent assembly, or
2. a. ten per cent of the persons entitled to vote have signed an appropriate agenda initiative and
b. the Parliament does not approve the election of a constituent assembly by a two-thirds majority of its members within four months of submission of the popular initiative to the Parliament by law; and
c. in a referendum, two thirds of those who have cast their vote, but at least half of those entitled to vote, shall vote in favour of holding the election to a constituent assembly.
(2) The provisions of §§ 5, 6, 8 and 12 shall apply mutatis mutandis to the implementation of the agenda initiative under subsection (1) no. 2 letter a). The number of persons entitled to vote shall be determined by the last election or vote.
(3) The provisions in sections 27 to 49 and 51 to 54 shall apply mutatis mutandis to the conduct of the referendum in accordance with subs. 1 No. 2 letter c). The referendum shall take place within six months after expiry of the period in paragraph 1 no. 2 letter b, provided that it has been duly held in accordance with paragraph 1 no. 2 letter a and the provisions in §§ 5, 6, 8 to 12.

References: Gesetz über das Verfahren bei Volksinitiative, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 1993 (accessed Nov. 6, 2019)

Subject Matter:

To submit certain items of political decision-making to the Parliament, bills and motion to dissolve the Parliament or to call a Constitutional Assembly

Actors

Author:
Citizens
Initiator:
Citizens
Decision maker:
Parliament

Requirements

Number Of Signatures:
Issues/Laws: 20 000; Dissolve Parliament: 150 000; Const. Assembly: 10%
Available Time:
Signatures are not allowed to be older than 1 year
Geographical Quorum:
None
Excluded Issues:

Initiatives on the State budget, official emoluments and pensions, taxes and personnel decisions

Other Formal Requirements:

Procedural Elements

Collection Mode:
free
Specify Collection Mode:

§ 8 Signature sheet
(1) The signature sheet shall contain the following information
1. a heading clearly indicating the purpose of the collection of signatures,
2. the full text of the draft law or of the other bill referred to in § 5 of this Act,
3. the serial numbering of the signatures on each signature sheet,
4. the surname, forenames, date of birth, place of residence and address or habitual residence of all signatories in a clearly legible form, 5. the personal signatures,
6. the date of each signature.
(2) Illegible or incomplete entries shall be invalid. This shall also apply to entries which contain a reservation or which have not been made on time.

References: Gesetz über das Verfahren bei Volksinitiative, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 1993 (accessed Nov. 6, 2019))

Interaction With Authorities:
Supervision And Support:
Transparency And Finance:

Practice

Archive:

To conduct an agenda initiative is a requirement to be able to conduct a citizens' initiative afterwards

Remarks:

The English language version here is provided as a courtesy. The German language text is the official version.