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Section V: Legislation

Article 59

(1) The orders and prohibitions binding upon all must be based on the law.

(2) Draft Bills may be presented by Members of the House of Representatives, by the Senate or by a petition for a referendum.

(3) The public shall be informed of proposed legislation. Draft Senate Bills shall be communicated to the House of Representatives at the latest at the time when the affected sections of the population are informed.

(4) Every Bill must be read and debated in the House of Representatives in at least two readings. In general, a preparatory debate on the competent committee shall take place in the period between the two readings.

(5) A third reading shall be held at the request of the President of the House of Representatives or of the Senate.

Article 60

(1) Bills shall be passed by the House of Representatives with a simple majority, unless the Constitution provides otherwise.

(2) Bills shall be signed by the President of the House of Representatives without delay and then promulgated by the Governing Mayor within two weeks.

(3) Each Bill and legal ordinance shall specify the day on which it is to enter into effect. In the absence of such specification, it shall enter into force at the end of the fourteenth day after its promulgation.

Article 61

(1) All residents of Berlin shall have the right to bring to the House of Representatives certain Berlin-related subjects of the political formation of will that lie within its decision-making competence. The initiative must be signed by 20,000 Berlin residents of at least sixteen years of age. Its representatives shall have the right to be heard on the competent committees.

(2) Details shall be the subject of a law.

Article 62

(1) Petitions for a referendum may be aimed at making, amending or rescinding laws as long as the legislative competence lies with Land Berlin. They may also be aimed at passing other resolutions on policy issues affecting Berlin and under the jurisdiction of the House of Representatives. Only one petition for a referendum on any one subject shall be admissible within one legislative period.

(2) Petitions for a referendum relating to the state Budget Act, official salaries and pensions, charges, fees levied by municipal corporations, as well as personnel-related decisions, shall be inadmissible.

(3) The draft Bill or other resolution on which the petition for a referendum is based shall be submitted to the House of Representatives by the Senate together with a statement of its point of view as soon as proof of the necessary support for the petition for a referendum has been furnished. At the request of the representatives of the petition, the referendum must be held if the House of Representatives has not adopted the draft Bill or other resolution proposed by the petition unchanged in its essential contents within four months.

(4) If a petition for a referendum has been successful, a referendum must be held within four months. This deadline may be extended to as much as eight months if that would enable the referendum to be conducted at the same time as an election or other referenda. The House of Representatives may put its own version of a draft Bill or other resolution to a vote at the same time. The referendum shall not be held if the House of Representatives adopts the draft Bill or other resolution proposed by the petition unchanged in its essential contents.

(5) The President of the House of Representatives shall sign the Bill brought about by the referendum; the Governing Mayor shall promulgate it in the Berlin Gazette (Gesetz und Verordnungsblatt für Berlin).

(6) Petitions for a referendum may also be aimed at premature termination of the legislative period of the House of Representatives.

Article 63

(1) A petition for a referendum on a draft Bill or other resolution pursuant to Art. 62 para 1 requires as proof of support the signatures of at least 20,000 people entitled to vote in elections for the House of Representatives. A referendum must be held if at least seven percent of the people entitled to vote in House of Representatives elections agree to the petition within four months. A law or other resolution pursuant to Art. 62 para 1 shall be deemed to have been adopted by a referendum if a majority of those voting and at least one-fourth of those entitled to vote in House of Representative elections cast their vote in favour of the law or resolution.

(2) A petition for a referendum on a draft Bill that would amend the Constitution requires as proof of support the signatures of at least 50,000 people entitled to vote in elections for the House of Representatives. A referendum must be held if at least one-fifth of the people entitled to vote in House of Representatives elections agree to the petition within four months. A law amending the Constitution shall be deemed to have been adopted by a referendum if a majority of at least two-thirds and at least half of those entitled to vote in House of Representatives elections cast their votes in favour of the law.

(3) A referendum aimed at premature termination of the legislative period of the House of Representatives requires as proof of support the signatures of at least 50,000 people entitled to vote in elections for the House of Representatives. A referendum must be held if at least one-fifth of the people entitled to vote in House of Representatives elections agree to the petition within four months. The referendum shall become effective only if at least half of those entitled to vote cast their votes, with a majority in favour of early termination.

(4) Details concerning petitions for a referendum and relating to referenda, including the publication of the proposal on which the referendum is based, shall be the subject of a law.

Article 64

(1) The Senate, or a member of the Senate, may be authorised by a law to issue legal ordinances. The content, purpose and extent of the authorisation issued must be set out in the law. The legal basis must be referred to in the legal ordinance.

(2) In order to establish zoning plans and landscape plans, the boroughs may be authorised by a law to issue legal ordinances. The authorisation may also cover other building-law activities which, according to Federal legislation, are to be regulated by statutes, as well as nature conservation legislation banning changes. This shall not apply to areas of outstanding urban policy importance. Details shall be the subject of a law.

(3) The House of Representatives shall be notified without delay of the legal ordinances under para 1. Administrative ordinances shall be submitted to the House of Representatives upon request.

Article 65

(1) With the establishment of uniform conditions in Berlin, legal provisions which previously were valid only in parts of Land Berlin shall be replaced by legal provisions which are valid throughout the Land.

(2) Inasmuch as previous legal provisions address competences which cannot be easily attributed to a specific constitutional body, these shall devolve on the Senate; the House of Representatives may decide otherwise.