Hesse, Germany, regional Popular or citizens initiative and authorities counter-proposal [PCI+] - Volksbegehren

General Typology

Instrument
Popular or citizens initiative and authorities counter-proposal [PCI+]
Location
Hesse, Germany
Political level
regional
Local Name:
Volksbegehren
Normative Level:
constitutional
Legally Binding:
yes
Legally Defined:

Article 71

In accordance with the provisions of this Constitution, the people shall act directly by popular vote (election, citizens' initiative and referendum) and indirectly by the decisions of the organs appointed by the Constitution.VI. The legislation

Article 124

(1) A referendum shall be held if one twentieth of those entitled to vote submit a request for a bill. The citizens' initiative shall be based on a draft law. The budget, tax laws or salary regulations may not be the subject of a citizens' initiative.
(2) The law on which the citizens' initiative is based shall be submitted to Parliament by the Government, stating its position. The referendum shall not take place if the Diet adopts the desired bill without amendment.
(3) The referendum may only be affirmative or negative. The law shall be adopted by referendum if the bill has been approved by a majority of the voters, but at least one quarter of those entitled to vote.
(4) The procedure for the citizens' initiative and the referendum shall be laid down by statute.

References: Constitution of the State of Hesse, 1946 (accessed Dec. 11,2019)

§ 1

(2) A citizens' initiative may be in favour of the adoption, repeal or amendment of a law.

§ 2
(1) The application for the admission of a citizens' initiative shall contain the following information:
1. a draft law which may be accompanied by a justification including a description of the financial consequences,
2. the personal and handwritten signatures of at least one per cent of those entitled to vote in the last state parliament election. The signatories' right to vote shall exist at the time of signing; it shall be evidenced by a certificate issued free of charge by the municipal authority to the main residence, and
3. the names of three persons of confidence who are individually entitled to make and receive declarations during the admission procedure of the citizens' initiative and the referendum. The application shall be addressed to the State Government and submitted in writing to the State Electoral Director.
(2) The State Electoral Director shall be notified in writing by the trusted representatives of the start of the collection of signatures pursuant to subsection (1), first sentence, no. 2, together with the draft bill pursuant to subsection (1), first sentence, no. 1.
(3) No more than one year may have passed since the application for admission pursuant to subsection (1), first sentence, no. 2 was signed at the time of submission to the State Electoral Director. It shall be made for each signatory on a separate form provided by the holder of the citizens' initiative, which must include:
1. the application for approval of the citizens' initiative and its signing,
2. the draft law pursuant to para. 1 sentence 1 no. 1, 3. the specification of three persons in accordance with para. 1 sentence 1 no. 3, 4. surname, first name, date of birth and address (main residence) of the signatory,
5. the date of signature; and
6. a possibility for the certificate of voting rights of the municipal authority. Signatures on forms which do not comply with the legal requirements of sentence 2 shall not be taken into account in determining the quota pursuant to subsection 1 sentence 1 no. 2; in all other respects § 9 shall apply mutatis mutandis. A signature may not be withdrawn.

§ 3

(1) The State Electoral Officer checks within one week whether the conditions are according to § 2 para 1 sentence 1 No. 2 are met and communicates the results to the Parliament, the State Government and the representatives.
(2) The Parliament deals with the citizens' initiative, once the State Electoral Officer has informed it that the conditions according to § 2 para 1 sentence 1 No. 2 are met.
(3) The State Government within one month will decide on the application for admission. The application for admission shall be accepted if it meets the conditions of § 2 para 1 and corresponds to the provisions of the Constitution, except that in the course of the last year, calculated from the day of receipt of the application at the State Electoral Officer, the same matter was already issue of a successful citizens' initiative. The limitation period will be two years, if earlier such request failed due to lack of approval of the required number of voters.

§ 5
(1) If the application for admission is granted, the State Election Commissioner shall make it publicly known in the State Gazette for the State of Hesse and shall determine the beginning and end of the period within which the voters may register for the citizens' initiative (registration period).
(2) The registration period shall be six months; it shall begin within two months of the public announcement.
(3) The application for admission may be withdrawn until the beginning of the registration period by a written declaration of the trusted persons to the State Electoral Director. The State Election Commissioner shall publish the withdrawal in the Official Gazette of the State of Hesse.
(4) If the State Parliament adopts a law by which the draft law is adopted unchanged pursuant to § 2 para. 1 sentence 1 no. 1, the State Electoral Director shall determine that the has been dealt with; para. 3 sentence 2 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

§ 12
(1) A citizens' initiative shall be deemed to have been established when one twentieth of those entitled to vote have voted in favour of it. The state government shall immediately check whether this is the case.
(2) The number of persons entitled to vote shall be deemed to be the number of persons officially entitled to vote determined at the last state parliamentary elections

Referendum

§ 16

(1) The referendum takes place if Parliament does not adopt the bill suggested by the citizens' initiative unchanged as law. The same applies, if after the veto of Government (article 119 of the Constitution) Parliament does not decide on the law within one month after the receipt of the grounds of the veto, with more than half of the statutory number of its members.

(2) Within two weeks after the promulgation of a law which is accepted after the submission of a draft law on the basis of a legally effective citizens' initiative, the representatives have the right of appeal to the Supreme Court. The application can be based only on the complaint that the act does not match the underlying draft bill of the citizens' initiative.

§ 17

(1) The vote in the referendum is on the acceptance or rejection of the coveted bill.

(2) If the State Legislature adopted the underlying draft bill of the citizens' initiative with amendments, it is to vote in the referendum about whether the coveted law in place of the act adopted by the Parliament should take effect.

(3) If several citizens' initiatives on the same subject are submitted to the Parliament and the Parliament accepted one of requests, a referendum about each of the coveted bills is to be conducted, whether it shall take the place of the law adopted by Parliament.

§ 18

(1) The referendum has to be conducted within two months after the introduction of the bill in the Parliament (article 15 paragraph 1).
(2) The State Government determines a sunday as day of voting, or a statutory holiday.
It immediately announces the date and releases it at the same time with the wording of the citizens' initiative, as well as the printing on the ballot in the State Gazette.

§ 20

(1) The voting is conducted under the protection of voting secrecy, using officially produced ballots.
(2) The ballot question will only to be answered with "Yes" and "No", additions are not permitted.
(3) If several issues are brought at the same time to vote on, the ballot for every single question is to be answered with "Yes" and "No".

§ 22
(1) The law shall be adopted if the majority of the valid votes cast is in favour, provided that such majority is at least one quarter of the votes cast. Equality of votes for the adoption and rejection of a bill shall be deemed to constitute rejection.
(2) If two bills whose content is incompatible ( § 17 para. 3 ) are put to the vote and adopted in accordance with para. 1, the bill for which the larger number of votes cast is in favour shall be deemed to have been adopted. In the event of a tie, the decision shall be made by drawing lots at a meeting of the State Election Committee.

References: Gesetz über Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 1950 (accessed Dec. 11, 2019)

Subject Matter:

To call a referendum on the adoption, repeal or amendment of a law

Actors

Author:
Citizens
Initiator:
Citizens
Decision maker:
Electorate
Lead of counter proposal:
Parliament

Requirements

Number Of Signatures:
Application:1/100 of eligible voters; Conclusion: 1/5th of the electorate
Available Time:
Application: signatures not older than 1 year; conclusion: 6 months
Turnout Quorum:
None
Approval Quorum:
(1) The law shall be adopted if the majority of the valid votes cast is in favour, provided that such majority is at least one quarter of the votes cast. Equality of votes for the adoption and rejection of a bill shall be deemed to constitute rejection. (2) If two bills whose content is incompatible ( § 17 para. 3 ) are put to the vote and adopted in accordance with para. 1, the bill for which the larger number of votes cast is in favour shall be deemed to have been adopted. In the event of a tie, the decision shall be made by drawing lots at a meeting of the State Election Committee.
Geographical Quorum:
None
Excluded Issues:

Budget plan, laws on fees or payments schemes for employees

Other Formal Requirements:

Procedural Elements

Collection Mode:
restricted
Specify Collection Mode:

§ 6
Voters who want to vote for a citizens' initiative, must subscribe to the lists laid out by the municipal authorities.

§ 8
(1) A person has the right to register if it is eligible to vote for the State Parliament on the day of registration.
(2) The registration is done by the inclusion of name, given name, date of birth and main residence, as well as the personal and hand-written signature of the person entitled to registration. A person eliglible to register and declaring that he can not write, the registration is to make officio under note of this statement. A registration may not be withdrawn.
(3) The registration can be done only at the municipality where the eligible person has its main residence at the beginning of the registration period.
(4) The representatives have referendum the right to see the lists during the registration period.

References: Gesetz über Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 1950 (accessed Dec. 3, 2019)

Wording Of Ballot Question:

§ 20
(2) The ballot question will only to be answered with "Yes" and "No", additions are not permitted.
(3) If several issues are brought at the same time to vote on, the ballot for every single question is to be answered with "Yes" and "No".

References: Gesetz über Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 1950 (accessed Dec. 11, 2019)

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

§ 26

(1) The cost of production of the registration lists for the citizens' initiative and their dispatch to the municipality authorities are the burden of the applicants.
(2) For the reimbursement of the resulting necessary expenses of the municipalities and the District Electoral Officer because of the citizens' initiative and a referendum the regulations of the State Electoral Act and the State Electoral Regulation apply.

References: Gesetz über Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 1950 (accessed Dec.11, 2019)

Practice

Archive:
Remarks:

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