What are examples of non-legal rules

Consent laws

The constitutional status and importance of the Bundesrat result mainly from its rights of codecision in consent laws. These laws can only be passed if the Bundesrat and Bundestag are in agreement. In the event of a final no from the Federal Council, approval laws failed.

Which laws require approval is expressly and conclusively regulated in the Basic Law. Basically three groups can be distinguished:

  • Laws that change the constitution.
    Here the Federal Council even has to agree with a two-thirds majority (46 votes) (Article 79.2 of the Basic Law).
  • Laws that affect countries' finances in some way.
    On the revenue side, this includes all laws on taxes, the revenue of which the federal states or municipalities are involved in (Article 105 (3) of the Basic Law): for example wage and income tax, value added tax and trade tax.
    On the expenditure side, this includes all federal laws that establish obligations of the states to provide cash benefits, benefits in kind or comparable services to third parties (Article 104a, Paragraph 4, Basic Law).
  • Laws whose implementation interferes with the organizational and administrative sovereignty of the federal states.
    The states have the right to deviate from federal regulations on the establishment of the authorities and on the administrative procedure through state law. The approval of the Bundesrat is only required if the administrative procedure is exceptional in the federal law due to a special need for uniform federal regulation without The possibility of derogation for the federal states is regulated (Article 84.1 of the Basic Law).

Participation in consent laws: The path of a draft law by the federal government (most common case of legislation)

© Federal Council | 2004

Opposition laws

The Basic Law is based on the basic case of a law that does not require approval. Laws that require the express consent of the Federal Council are explicitly listed in the Basic Law. All laws that cannot be assigned to one of the matters mentioned there are therefore so-called objection laws. The influence of the Federal Council is less than in the case of laws that require approval. He can express his dissenting opinion by filing an objection to the law. The objection of the Bundesrat can be overruled by the German Bundestag.

If the Bundesrat decides to object with an absolute majority (majority of the members) of its votes, the objection can only be overruled with an absolute majority in the Bundestag (majority of members = Chancellor majority). If the Federal Council lodges the objection with a two-thirds majority, two-thirds of the votes cast must come together to reject the objection in the Bundestag, but at least half of all members.

Participation of the Federal Council in objection laws

© Federal Council | 2004

Separation of parts of the law and dispute about the need for consent

Approval or rejection can only ever be approved for one law as a whole; partial rejection is not possible. In individual cases, it is constitutionally permissible for the Bundestag to divide laws that require approval only because of individual regulations: into a law that requires approval and a law that does not require approval. The Bundesrat can, if necessary, lodge an objection to the law that does not require approval, which can, however, be overruled in the Bundestag. The Federal Constitutional Court has approved such a division within the framework of legislative discretion. The Federal Council is of the opinion that this discretion ends when the laws necessarily have to be combined into a technical unit due to their regulatory content.

If there is a dispute as to whether a law requires the approval of the Bundesrat, then the Federal President first decides when the law is promulgated. However, only the Federal Constitutional Court can make a final and binding decision.

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More on the proportion of objection and consent laws:

Poster for the federal legislative procedure: