The Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan  
 

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Organization and the rules of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Rules of consideration of laws passed by the Legislative Chamber
(lower chamber) of the Parliament of Uzbekistan

The Constitution of Uzbekistan assigns a special role to the Senate of the Oliy Majlis as a direct participant in the legislative process. A bill introduced to the lower chamber is thoroughly scrutinized by the supreme legislative body of the country. According to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan the following subjects have the right to introduce a bill:

- President of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
- Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
- Deputies of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis;
- The supreme body of the state power on the behalf of the Republic of Karakalpakstan;
- Constitutional court of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
- Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
- Supreme Economic Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
- General Public Prosecutor of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

A bill introduced to the lower chamber goes through the three stages of the legislative process in the Legislative chamber of the Oliy Majlis and after approval by the lower chamber it is considered to be a law and then it is submitted to the upper chamber for consideration. The Senate (as an upper chamber of the parliament) plays an important role in the adoption of legislative acts which ensures the integrity of the bicameral parliamentary system. The role of the Senate in the legislative process is regulated by Article 78 of the Constitution of Uzbekistan whereby powers of the chamber as a supreme lawmaking body are determined. Below, you can get acquainted with the legislative procedures of consideration of laws passed by the lower chamber and submitted to the Senate. This stage of the lawmaking process has a somewhat different objective and differs from the phase when lawmakers develop and debate over a bill in the Legislative chamber. Nevertheless, it does not make the stage when a law passed by the lower chamber is submitted to the upper chamber any less important, and the next crucial phase then starts.

The Senate, is guided by the same principles as the lower chamber when working on a law. However, it is important to point out the following: the Senate does not consider a draft bill but the law as passed; the Senate either approves or rejects the law as a whole, «as it is», i.e. it cannot independently revise, make amendments to or change the wording in any way. This is a prerogative given to the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis alone. In some cases, the Senate may take part in revising articles of law, but this is possible only through interaction with the Legislative Chamber in other words, by means of «conciliation commissions» which will be deliberated below in detail.
Before describing the procedure of approval of laws by the Senate it seems logical to have a close look at the basic stages of the legislative process prior to submission of the law to the upper chamber for consideration.
The order of consideration of bills and passing of laws by the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan
The legislative process in the Republic of Uzbekistan consists of four basic stages: 1) introduction of the bill by the subject of legislative initiative to the Legislative Chamber for consideration in accordance with the established procedure; 2) consideration of the bill by the lower chamber in three readings and its passage; 3) consideration of the law by the Senate passed by the lower chamber; 4) signing and promulgation of the law by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan adopted by the Oliy Majlis.

In accordance with Article 83 of the Constitutions of the Republic of Uzbekistan at the beginning the bill is introduced to the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis exclusively by one of eight institutions who have the right of legislative initiative: the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Cabinet of Ministers, deputies of the Legislative Chamber, the supreme body of the state power on the behalf of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Economic Court and the General Public Prosecutor.
The bill, which is introduced to the Legislative Chamber by any of these eight institutions is then referred by the Speaker of the lower chamber to a «responsible committee» of the lower chamber which conducts an initial analysis, evaluation and revision of the bill. The committee then divides itself into working groups and carries out a preliminary discussion of the bill and makes all preparations for its consideration in the first reading.
At this stage, the responsible committee summarizes suggestions, comments and remarks about the bill received from state bodies, organizations, experts and scientists, and appoints a «rapporteur» from among its own members. During its session, the committee debates the bill together with those who presented it to the Legislative Chamber and representatives of those organizations that made suggestions and comments, as well as the press. After preliminary consideration, the responsible committee submits a modified version of the bill together with all materials and its conclusion to the Kengash of the lower chamber who put it on the agenda of the Legislative Chamber’s session.
The legislative chamber considers the bill, as a rule, in three readings.
First reading: In the process of consideration a need for adoption of the given bill is discussed in the first reading, along with deliberation of the concept of the bill, its conformity with the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan, including international obligations as well as the cost of its implementation and its financial sources. In the first reading deputies hear the rapporteur of the responsible committee or a representative of the institution that introduced the bill, followed by a discussion of the law itself. At the end of session the chamber either approves the bill in the first reading by fixing the term of its preparation for the second reading or rejects it and returns to the initiator.
The responsible committee may recommend the chamber pass the law by means of a vote in the lower chamber thus foregoing the second and third readings.
Second reading: the responsible committee summarizes suggestions (including those made during debates at plenary sessions) and holds a session with a view to studying each new development in detail. Suggestions and remarks could be built it into the wording of the draft bill. A new regular conclusion is put together at the end of the committee meeting together with the newly worded version of the bill based on suggestions and proposals made earlier; the bill is then submitted to the Kengash for consideration by the Legislative Chamber in the second reading. In the second reading the rapporteur of responsible committee informs of results of deliberations conducted in the committee meeting. All suggestions are debated in the second reading regardless of whether or not they have been approved. An item-by-item voting takes place at this stage. As a result of this vote the bill is approved in the second reading and a deadline for submission to the next reading is set (taking into consideration the requirements of legislative techniques and editing). The chamber may also decide to return the bill to its initiator. At this stage, the responsible committee may recommend the chamber forego the third reading and pass the law straightaway.
Third reading: In the third reading the bill is voted on in its entirety, without item-by-item consideration.
This means that no additional amendments to the wording are possible. The law is passed by the Legislative Chamber by a majority vote of the total number of deputies. A law on addenda or amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan or constitutional laws is passed by a minimum of two thirds of the total number of deputies. If the bill is not approved by the Legislative Chamber in the third reading, it is considered rejected and goes back to the bill initiator with a copy of the resolution of rejection of the chamber.
Laws adopted by the Legislative Chamber are submitted to the Senate for consideration within 10 days by the Speaker of the Legislative Chamber together with respective resolutions of the chamber and other materials compiled by the committee in charge.
Rules of consideration of laws and approval by the Senate of the Oliy Majlis
The process of consideration of laws by the Senate, submitted by the Legislative Chamber consists of two basic stages: preliminary consideration of the law by committees of the Senate respectively and consideration of the law at a plenary session of the upper chamber.
a) Preliminary consideration of laws by committees of the Senate

To some extent, this stage is similar to the preliminary consideration of the draft bill by committees of the lower chamber; preparations are made for consideration of the law, but this time during the session of the upper chamber.
A law submitted by the Legislative Chamber is registered by the Secretariat of the Senate and from this moment it is considered to have been received for consideration by the upper chamber. A list of the necessary documents to be enclosed with the law when submitting it to the upper chamber is given below:

A law submitted with materials enclosed is referred to the Chairman of the Senate, who assigns a responsible committee of the Senate to conduct a preliminary consideration of the law passed by the Legislative Chamber.
Next, the law, together with all materials enclosed, is passed over to the General Department of the Secretariat for copying and referral to addressees specified in the assignment of the Chairman of the Senate. Thus, the law is referred to the responsible committee, and copies are submitted to the Chairman of the Senate, the deputy chairman of the Senate, the Chief of Secretariat, the Legal Department, the Department for Information Control and the Department for publications and translations. If the law is about ratification or denunciation of international treaties of the Republic of Uzbekistan, then a copy of the law is submitted to the Department of international Relations as well.
The preliminary consideration of the law by the responsible committee of the Senate should take place within 15 days of receipt of the law.

Within 2 days, the committee forwards copies of the law to the respective state bodies, NGO’s and scientific institutions for evaluation. After review in all suggestions and proposals to the law, the committee in charge of the Senate examines the need to establish a working group to consider the law. The working group deals with whatever issues come up and considers suggestions and remarks. The working group may include senators, representatives of ministries and state departments, academic and business circles, trade unions, NGOs, the mass media, experts.
Meetings of the responsible committee of the Senate are open to the public. During its sessions, the committee checks the conformity of the law with the Constitution and other laws of Uzbekistan, international principles and norms, rules of legislative technique. The committee may also deliberate suggestions published in the mass media or delivered during conferences, «round tables» discussions, workshops relevant to the subject of the law. After preliminary consideration the committee comes to a conclusion. The responsible committee’s conclusion should contain an evaluation of the law with a recommendation for its approval or rejection. This conclusion is then submitted to the Kengash of the Senate, which, based on this conclusion, makes a decision whether to put the law on the draft agenda of the next plenary session of the Senate. The committee has 3 options:

· Approval;
· Rejection and returning to the lower chamber;
· Rejection with a proposal to establish a conciliation commission for joint consideration.

b) Consideration of a law at a plenary session of the Senate
Consideration of a law at a session of the Senate starts with the rapporteur reading out the responsible committee’s conclusion. Senators may take the floor to discuss the law. After consideration, the Senate passes a resolution to either approve or reject the. A law is approved by a majority of votes of the total number of senators.
The law approved by the Senate is submitted to the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan together with a resolution of the Senate for signature and promulgation, but in case of rejection the Senate specifies the reasons for rejection in its resolution. The Legislative Chamber should receive the resolution within 10 days of it being passed, irrespective of whether it was approved or rejected.
The submission procedure is regulated by law. A law approved in a plenary session and properly formalized by the Senate is submitted to the Office of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan within 10 days with following documents enclosed:

· 4 copies of the Law;
· A copy of the Senate’s resolution;
· An electronic version of the law;
· A copy of the conclusion of the responsible committee of the Senate.

The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan signs and promulgates the law within 30 days from the moment of submission. All documents pertaining to the consideration of law, compiled during the process of its adoption, are to be submitted by the responsible committee to the General Department of the Secretariat and the archival depository of the Senate within 5 days after the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan has signed the law.
The order of initiation of conciliation commissions by the Senate
If a law adopted by the Legislative chamber and submitted to the Senate for approval is rejected by the upper chamber with a clause stipulating it be revised by a conciliation commission, the responsible committee of the Senate returns it to the lower chamber and the procedure of establishing a conciliation commission gets underway. It is necessary to point out that a proposal to establish conciliation commission may come from both the Senate and the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis.

The purpose of the conciliation commission is to conduct a joint consideration of law and fully agree on its wording. The conciliation procedure is explained in more detail in a later chapter.
Repeated consideration of law by the Senate
A law examined within the framework of conciliation procedures and passed by the Legislative Chamber in a repeated consideration, is once again submitted to the Senate not later than 10 days from the date of approval by a majority of deputies. If a law approved by the Senate and submitted to the President needs to be reworked, the head of the state submits it to the Legislative Chamber with suggestions and remarks. The Legislative Chamber’s newly-worded version is sent to the upper chamber once again, where it is considered by the Senate in accordance with the general order as if it were a newly passed law approved by a simple majority of votes of senators.
If the law returned by the President, is approved by the Legislative Chamber after repeated consideration in the initially accepted wording, it is sent to the Senate again. Then, a responsible committee of the Senate writes a conclusion and then it is put on the draft agenda of the Senate session. The upper chamber considers the law for the second time and passes a resolution to approve or reject the law. In this case, it should be approved by a majority of two thirds of senators in accordance with an established legislative requirement. Next, approved law, together with a resolution of the Senate, is submitted to the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan for signature and promulgation. Following repeated consideration, the Senate submits its resolution, to approve or reject the law, to the Legislative chamber within 10 days.

Features of consideration of specific legal acts by the Senate of the Oliy Majlis

Legal acts adopted by the Senate and time limits for their notification
The Constitution states that the Senate has the power to organize an intraparliamentary activity to accept resolutions, regulations, decrees and decisions. The principal legal act of the Senate is a resolution. On instructions of the Chairman of the Senate a responsible committee puts together a draft resolution (regulation, decree and decision) of the upper chamber and writes a brief explanatory note to be enclosed along with other related documents. The Kengash of the Senate decides whether to include this draft resolution on the agenda of the plenary session of the Senate and assigns a rapporteur. Following the rapporteur’s presentation and a debate the Senate either adopts the resolution by a majority vote of senators or rejects it.
a) On issues falling within shared competence with the Legislative Chamber
There is a common rule that Senate resolutions concerning issues falling within shared competence with the Legislative Chamber are sent to this chamber within 5 days of its adoption. However, there are a number of issues dealt with together with the lower chamber that have certain features such as resolutions of the Senate to initiate the call for a referendum, approval of Presidential decrees the President on establishment and closing down of ministries and other state bodies, electing members of the Central Election Commission, approval of a candidate for the position of Prime Minister should be sent to the Legislative Chamber and other addressees within 3 days. The Rules of the Senate provide for a period of 48 hours to consider issues demanding a prompt decision such as approval of Presidential decrees concerning a declaration of war and 72 hours for an overall or partial mobilization or declaration of a state of emergency.
b) On issues pertaining to the exclusive powers of the Senate
Resolutions of the Senate on election of the Chairman, Vice-chairmen and Judges of the Constitutional, Supreme and Supreme Economic courts of the Republic of Uzbekistan put forward by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, approval of Presidential decrees concerning the appointment and dismissal of the General Public Prosecutor and his/her deputies, the Chairman of the National Security Service, the Chairman of the State Committee for environmental protection, the Chairman of the Board of the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan, diplomatic representatives of the Republic of Uzbekistan to foreign states are sent to the President of Uzbekistan within 3 days.

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