Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Frequently asked questions are divided into five groups:
- Document searches
- Publication of the texts of passed acts
- Position in the constitutional system
- Information about senators
- Other question
I. Document searches
1. How can I find information on bills which are currently under debate at the Senate ?
2. Which committee has been assigned a particular bill for debate ?
3. I’d like to know who is the proponent of a particular bill (amendment, modification etc)
4. When is a particular bill to be debated by the Senate?
You will find:
5. Where do I find the texts of particular Senate documents?
6. Where and how can explanatory reports on government bills be accessed?
Explanatory reports make up part of government bills – see the Chamber of Deputies page.
7. Where can I find explanatory reports on Senate bills submitted by the Senate to the Chamber of Deputies?
Explanatory reports make up part of Senate bills – see the Chamber of Deputies page, Documents,
under the In Czech onlyParliamentary Documents heading.
8. Where can I find the wording of particular proposed amendments accepted by the Senate?
9. How can I get a verbatim record of the entire proceedings of a Senate meeting?
10. Where can I find information on when and with what result the Chamber of Deputies debated a bill returned by the Senate with proposed amendments?
11. When was a certain passed act presented to the president for signature?
The information can be found at Senate Documents/Senate prints and further a filter can be used to specify the relevant bill (to choose a term, a type of the print, its present state – in this case closed) and the table shown will enable you to find exact description of the history of the bill (print) including the date of its signing by the president.
12. When, where and under which number was a passed act promulgated in the Collection of Laws of the Czech Republic?
The information can be found at Senate Documents/Senate prints and further a filter can be used to specify the relevant bill (to choose a term, a type of the print, its present state – in this case closed) and the table shown will enable you to find exact description of the history of the bill (print) including the number under which the bill has been published in the Collection of Laws of the Czech Republic.
13. Where can I find the agenda of the Senate committee meetings?
On respective committees’ pages (Senate – Senate bodies – Senate committees), click on ”Documents” and you will find more information including the respective committee’s agenda. Agenda of a current committee meeting may be found in a weekly programme of the Senate too.
14. Where can I find a Senate document if I do not know its number?
II. Publication of the texts of passed acts
1. What is the procedure for passing acts?
Bills (along with state budget proposals, international treaties and written interpellations) are In Czech onlyParliamentary Documents and are available to the public.
A bill to which the Chamber of Deputies has expressed its consent is sent without undue delay by its Chairman to the Senate. If the Senate approves the bill or does not pass a resolution on it or resolves not to deal with it within 30 days of its referral, the bill is accepted. If the Senate rejects a bill, the Chamber of Deputies votes on it again (a simple majority of the votes of all deputies is required for the bill to be passed). If the Senate returns the bill to the Chamber of Deputies with proposed amendments, the vote is then on the wording approved by the Senate (the consent of a simple majority of attending deputies is required for the bill to be passed). If the Chamber of Deputies does not approve the bill in the wording approved by by the Senate, it again votes on the bill in the wording that was referred to the Senate (the consent of a simple majority of all deputies is required for the bill to be passed). If the Chamber of Deputies does not approve the bill either in the wording approved by the Senate or in the originally approved wording, the bill is not passed.
If a bill has been passed, the Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies refers the passed bill to the President of the Republic for his signature. If the President of the Republic returns the bill to the Chamber of Deputies within 15 days of its referral, the Chamber of Deputies is to vote on it again (and the bill is passed, if the Chamber of Deputies insists on the returned bill by a simple majority of all deputies). After the signature of the Prime Minister the act is promulgated in the Collection of Laws.
2. Where are the published texts of acts in digital form?
In accordance with the Act on the Collection of Laws and the Collection of International Treaties, the texts of acts which have been passed are published in the Collection of Laws of the Czech Republic issued by the Ministry of the Interior. An act which has been passed comes into effect (and thus becomes public) on the date of its promulgation in the Collection of Laws and comes into force on the date set in that act. You can find the Collection of Laws in digital form on the following pages:
- Collection of Laws (Interior Ministry of the Czech Republic)
- Collection of Laws of the Czech Republic (Sagit - InfoNet)
- Collection of Laws of the Czech Republic (TORI Soft)
- Summary of Regulations of the Czech Republic (Archivace, s.r.o.)
However, only the printed version of the Collection of Laws is legally binding.
III. Constitutional status of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
1. Who is vested with legislative powers in this country?
Under the Constitution of the Czech Republic, which came into force 1st January 1993, legislative powers are vested in the Parliament of the Czech Republic, which is divided into two chambers: the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.
The Senate is a permanent constitutional institution. It cannot be dissolved and every two years one third of members are subject to reelection.
The Chamber of Deputies has a set four-year electoral term, so every four years all deputies are subject to reelection unless the Chamber of Deputies is dissolved at an earlier date.
Senators are elected under the majority electoral system in single-mandate electoral constituencies for six years. 81 people are elected. Deputies are elected under the proportional representation system.
2. What are the powers of the Senate?
- discusses bills put forward by the Chamber of Deputies (and may approve them, reject them, or return them with amendments); constitutional and election laws must be approved by both chambers in the same wording
- proposes legislation
- comments on proposed European Union legislation and other EU documents, may instigate proceedings for violation of the principle of subsidiarity by an EU act
- adopts statutory measures in the event of the dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies
- approves the ratification of international treaties
- declares war in conjuction with the Chamber of Deputies and approves deployment of foreign troops in the territory of the Czech Republic and sending of Czech troops abroad
- the President of the Senate announces election of the President of the Czech Republic
- the President elect is sworn in to the President of the Senate during a joint session of both chambers, the President of the Senate also accepts President´s abdication
- approves the appointment of judges of the Constitutional Court
- elects members of the Council of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes
- has the exclusive right to sue the President of the Czech Republic before the Constitutional Court for high treason (article 65, paragraph 2 of the Constitution)
- presents to the President of the Czech Republic proposals for the conferring or awarding of state honours
- puts forward two candidates for the position of the Public Defender of Rights and two candidates for the positions of Deputy of the Public Defender of Rights to the Chamber of Deputies
- puts forward candidates for the position of President and inspectors of the Office for Personal Data Protection to the President of the Czech Republic
- the President appoints members of the Authority on the supervision of economic activities of political parties and movements out of the candidates elected by the Senate. Both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies also nominate candidates for the Chairman of the Authority to the President of the Czech Republic.
3. When does the Senate serve the role of a constitutional safeguard?
If the Chamber of Deputies is dissolved, it falls to the Senate to take legal measures in matters which cannot be delayed and which would otherwise require the passage of an act. The unconditional consent of the Senate is required for the passage of constitutional laws and some other legislation, e.g. concerning elections.
4. Are Senate meetings public?
Senate meetings are public unless the Senate passes a resolution to make a meeting or part thereof private, particularly if classified matters associated with defence or state security are to be debated. Debates on bills and legal measures are always public.
5. Who is allowed to take part in Senate meetings?
Apart from senators, Senate meetings may also be attended by the President of the Republic and members of the government and persons authorized under the law to take part in meetings of the Senate and its bodies. Other persons may only take part if the Senate expresses its approval of their participation. The Senate President may call upon such persons to speak.
A place is reserved for the public, guests and representatives of the mass media to watch the proceedings of meetings.
6. How does the Senate vote?
It votes publicly on bills, the approval of international treaties, a declaration of war or of a threat to the state, the extension or annulment of a state of emergency, consent to the stationing of foreign forces on the territory of the Czech Republic and to the deployment of armed forces outside the territory of the Czech Republic. A secret ballot is used to elect officers of the Senate, commissions and members of permanent delegations of the Parliament of the Czech Republic to interparliamentary delegations. At committee meetings the chairpersons are elected by secret ballot; their election is confirmed at a Senate meeting. A secret ballot is also used if the law so requires or if the Senate passes a resolution to this effect.
7. When does the Senate constitute a quorum?
The Senate constitutes a quorum if at least one third of all senators are present. The consent of a simple majority of all attending senators is required for a Senate resolution to be effective. The consent of a three-fifths majority of all attending senators is required for a constitutional act or an international treaty on human rights and liberties to be passed. For a resolution to be passed on a declaration of a state of war or consent to the stationing of foreign forces on the territory of the Czech Republic or to the deployment of forces abroad, the consent of a simple majority of all senators is required.
8. Are the proceedings of the Senate committees and commissions public?
Committee meetings are public unless the law determines otherwise or a committee decides that a meeting or part thereof is not public. Procedures involving disciplinary matters are always in private. Private committee meetings or parts of meetings which have been declared private may be attended by senators, the President of the Republic, government members and other persons who are authorized under the law to take part in meetings of the Senate and its bodies. Other persons may only attend with the consent of the committee. The same principles apply to commission meetings.
Meetings of the Organizational Committee are not public, unless the Committee decides otherwise. Meetings of the Committee on Mandate and Parliamentary Privilege are always private.
9. Can a senator submit a bill?
Bills are submitted to the Chamber of Deputies. They may be submitted by a deputy, a group of deputies, the Senate as a whole, the Government or a higher territorial self-administrative authority. A bill (or its amendment, modification etc.) to be submitted by the Senate to the Chamber of Deputies may be put forward for debate in the Senate by a senator, a committee or a commission. If a draft Senate bill is approved, the President of the Senate is authorised by the Senate to refer it to the Chamber of Deputies. A senator is also authorised to explain the case for the bill to the Chamber of Deputies.
10. Which committees and commissions may be established by the Senate?
Normally at the first meeting of each period of office, the Senate passes a resolution to set up an Organizational Committee, a Committee on Mandate and Parliamentary Privilege and other committees and commissions. Their number, title and workload are not determined by law and are decided by the Senate at its meeting. A committee may set up subcommittees to deal with particular issues. Their members may be senators from other committees.
Commissions are established particularly in cases where tasks come under more than one Senate body or for tasks which do not come under any of the bodies set up by the Senate. Commission members may be other persons apart from senators.
11. Are Senate publications freely available?
Stenographic minutes from plenary sessions of Senate meetings are drawn up to give a precise account of proceedings. Verbatim reports are Senate publications and also serve as written background material for Senate proceedings (Senate Documents, resolutions passed and voting results). Senate publications are publicly available at Senate headquarters and on the Internet.
12. What is a public hearing?
If a proposal is put forward by at least five senators or a Senate committee, the Senate may decide to hold a public hearing. This is intended to discuss certain matters that come under Senate authority with experts and other people who may provide information on the issue under debate. Public hearings may be arranged by any Senate Committee on any issue that comes within its area of authority.
IV. Information on senators
1. Where are senators’ e-mail addresses published ?
An email address of each senator is automatically generated from his/her surname and the first letter of the first name. E.g. an email address of a senator “Václav Radima” would be firstname.lastname@example.org. All senators may be also contacted at email@example.com. You can also use ordinary mail, telephone or fax.
2. Where can I find information on senators?
3. How can I find the addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of senators’ constituency offices?
4. I want to see senators’ property returns, what shall I do?
5. I would like to know the amount of senators’ salaries.
Senators’ salaries are determined by the Act Nr. 236/1995 Coll. on salaries and other belongings associated with the execution of office of representatives of the state power and certain administrative bodies, judges and members of the European Parliament. According to Paragraph 3, Article 2, senators are entitled to obtain treble the amount of an average nominal monthly salary of natural persons according to the data published by the Czech Statistic Authority for the calendar year before last. You will find the text of the act here: http://www.senat.cz/dokumenty/o_senatu/zak236_1995.php.
6. I would like to know if senators’ e-mail addresses are published anywhere on your site.
7. Where can I find contact details for individual senators?
Contact details for individual senators can be found at Senators’ Constituency Offices.
V. Questions - other
1. Can I get information when a particular bill will be put on the Senate agenda?
You will find information about bills under debate on www.senat.cz under the link Documents and Legislation / Senate Prints. If you do not find the required bill there, it is not yet known whether and when the bill is going to be debated.
2. Which constituency do I come under and who is my senator?
The name of your senator and the constituency number can be found by entering the name of your (part of the) municipality or street in the Constituency and Municipality Database Search System.
3. Could you please inform me about the date of the Senate elections and about the candidates?
You will find information about the elections on www.senat.cz under the link Senate / Elections to the Senate. You will find more information, including the list of candidates, on the Central Election Commission web page.
4. I think that my rights are being violated. Whom should I turn to?
Senate’s powers are legislative, not judicial or executive, so it cannot interfere in matters of individual citizens. In case of an appeal for help in a burdensome personal situation, the Senate does not have powers how to comply with the request. There are other institutions that may be of help in concrete situations:
- The Ombudsman: www.ochrance.cz/en
- White Circle of Safety: www.bkb.cz/en
- Ministry of Justice: www.justice.cz
- Police: www.policie.cz/clanek/Police-of-the-Czech-Republic.aspx
5. I am seeking a job in the Senate Chancellery. Would there be an appropriate job opportunity for me?
6. Can I receive list of email addresses at the Senate?
You may use the address firstname.lastname@example.org to email your filing (including filings according to the Act Nr. 106/1999). To report and solve problems related to the web presentation on www.senat.cz, or to share proposals, observations or information on problems with displaying this web page, mail to email@example.com.
7. Where can I find information on opening hours of the Waldstein Palace, Waldstein garden and other premises?
8. Is the Waldstein Palace open to the public on public holidays?
Yes, the Waldstein Palace is open to the public on public holidays as well. You may find the opening hours here.
9. Where can I learn about current cultural events organised at the seat of the Senate?
10. Where can I find information on the history of the Senate palaces and Waldstein Garden?