Dariga Nazarbayeva, the Chairperson of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, held a meeting on the schedule for consideration of draft laws by the Chambers of the Parliament of Kazakhstan. The event was attended by executives from the Majilis, members of the Bureau of the Senate, the Minister of Justice, executives of the Presidential Administration, Office of the Prime Minister and departments of the Chambers of the Parliament.
In her opening speech, Dariga Nazarbayeva noted that despite significantly improved quality of legislative activities, there was still a number of unresolved problems in the general arrangement of the legislative process.
“We should listen to all parties and understand where there are failures in the system that prevent us from fulfilling our main role, i.e. adopting high-quality laws,” she emphasized.
It is worth noting that 90% of draft laws are initiated by the Government. Every year, the Law Drafting Plan is approved to indicate the dates of the draft laws to be introduced to the Parliament.
“However, the Plan is not actually observed; the deadlines for draft law introduction to the Parliament are always extended by the end of the year. In my opinion, this demonstrates poor planning and performance discipline. In this regard, I would like to draw the attention of the Government to the need to improve the planning and follow up the implementation of the Law Drafting Plan,” said D. Nazarbayeva.
According to the Senate Speaker, another issue consists in the poor quality of draft laws introduced by the Government to the Parliament. The Majilis does much work with the draft laws initiated by the Government by introducing amendments or even rewriting the draft law completely sometimes. The amendments suggested by deputies require financial expenses and the Government opinion, which takes time. Often, the opinions of the Government arrive late.
“I will give you just one example – the draft law on subsoil use, gas and gas supply. It arrived at the Majilis on September 11 and was considered there for three months. It arrived at the Senate on December 12. Less all holidays and weekends, literally after three working days we had to consider it in its first reading at a meeting of the Chamber, and after three more working days – in its second reading. Thus, the Senate considered this draft law for only eight working days plus the period of consideration at the meeting of the Senate. Why does this happen? This is just a single example of inconsistency in our actions; however, it gives a certain idea,” D. Nazarbayeva said.
At the meeting, the work of such an important link in the legislative process as the Interdepartmental Commission on Legislative Activities under the Government was highlighted.
“Through its representatives, the Senate has intensified its work in this Commission to discuss the concepts of draft laws at the initial stage in order to have certain influence on the quality of the laws adopted. According to the Commission Regulations, materials on the issues under discussion should be submitted to the Commission members seven working days before the meeting, but often they are submitted late. I would like to draw the attention of the Ministry of Justice and say that this should not happen,” D. Nazarbayeva said.
The right of senators to amend any draft laws was discussed separately. Often, there are situations when senators identify inconsistencies in the draft, propose amendments to improve the draft law, and the drafter tries convincing senators that they will correct all these inconsistencies later, the amendments will be taken into account in the next draft law, but this particular one must be adopted unamended due to the limited time period.
“Senators have never proposed and will never propose to forward a draft law back to the Majilis for no reason. Amendments introduced by senators and draft laws sent back to the Majilis should not be a problem and should be treated as a normal business process. All our proposals are ultimately aimed at improving the quality of draft laws. Poor laws discredit state power,” D. Nazarbayeva emphasized.
According to the Minister of Justice Marat Beketayev, a procedure is being developed to publish key approaches to open discussion by the community together with all stakeholders and people interested before making the concept of a draft law.
Dariga Nazarbayeva also proposed changing the procedure for preparation of international treaties so that senators could take part in their development.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the Senate Speaker encouraged all participants in the legislative process to relinquish departmental interests and work in concert, from discussing the concept of a draft law to adopting the law.
“There are the destinies of a huge number of people, enterprises, businesses behind each law. This is a very serious matter. I urge the Government to revise its Law Drafting Plan for this year, since it is ineffective,” D. Nazarbayeva said.