Today, on April 16, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine plans to consider on its extraordinary sitting the Draft Law of Ukraine on Countering the Abuse of Parliamentary Powers in Law-Making (#1043). In particular, it introduces a special procedure for consideration of draft laws in the second reading. On the one hand, it is an attempt to introduce a mechanism against the "legislative spam", i.e. when MPs abuse their rights to make proposals to draft laws. On the other hand, such measures should be in line with the Constitution of Ukraine and current legislation.

In particular, amendments to the  Law of Ukraine on the Rules Procedure of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine introduces a special procedure for consideration of draft laws in the second reading. It will require a separate decision of the Parliament, which must be supported by at least 226 MPs. Such a special second reading procedure may be applied only to draft laws that received five times or more amendments in excess of the original law articles, but not less than 500 proposals and amendments. The chief authorised committee will produce a comparative table of an initiative. The table will include all the amendments it supports and a limited number of rejected amendments, which factions, groups and non-faction MPs insist upon. Each parliamentary faction or group will be able to insist on only 5 rejected amendments, and non-faction MPs - on 1 amendment.

In such a way, the suggested procedure will limit the number of amendments and proposals that can be put for consideration and voting in the Parliament. Today, all the amendments that MPs insist on are considered at a prelacy session of the Parliament regardless of the decision of chief committee. 

However, draft law #1043 also contains a number of issues. In particular, it restricts the right of MPs on consideration of their proposals and amendments in the Parliament, which is an integral part of their right on making legislative initiatives. Besides that, MPs affiliated in parliamentary factions or groups are restricted in the right to insist on consideration of their amendments and propositions, as long as factions and groups determine which amendments will be included into the comparative table by themselves and, as a result, take over their rights of legislative initiative. Besides that, non-faction MPs will be able to insist on consideration of their amendments and propositions individually, what makes the exercise of the right for legislative initiative even more unequal.

OPORA believes that authors of the draft law have a legal goal to prevent abuses in law-making process by MPs. These abuses have already become widespread and really need to be addressed by the Parliament. Increasing the efficiency of the legislative process is one of recommendations from national and international expert organizations to Ukraine. Similar discussions take place in the parliaments of foreign countries with stable or transitional democracies. It is good that authors are aimed to preserve a complete consideration procedure in the second reading, and introduce new mechanisms only for exceptional cases. There was also an attempt to balance the powers of committees with the rights of MPs. However, this solution for such an acute problem is not the best one, and may result in complex judicial appeals against parliamentary decisions adopted under the special procedure.

We would like to remind that draft law #1043 on counteraction to abuses of law-making powers by MPs was adopted in the first reading yet in September 2019 and became topical again when the Law of Ukraine on Improvement of Banking Regulations (#2571-д) received 16 thousand amendments for consideration. This resonant defat law, which received a record-breaking number of amendments for consideration, concerns peculiarities of litigations in cases involving withdrawal of banks from the market (including the "PrivatBank" case). Such enormous amount of amendments that the certain MPs introduced to draft law #2571-д, adopted in the first reading on March 30, hazards stable functioning of the Parliament and brings significant complications into cooperation of Ukraine with the International Monetary Fund.

Follow the link for a complete analysis of the bill #1043 made by OPORA.