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Information bulletin
No. 133 (April 20, 1948)

How laws are made,   pp. 14-17 PDF (2.2 MB)

Page 14

DEMOCRATICALLY - constituted
and popularly-responsible law-
making bodies are an integral part
of a democratic form of government.
In the US Zone such law-making
bodies have been established at three
levels of government; the local level,
the state level, and in a limited sense
the zonal level. In combination with
the British Zone, a fourth law-making
body, the Bizonal Economic Council,
has been created to function in the
economic fields affecting the two
Because of the great number of
local legislatures and their limited
authority, no systematic Military
Government review has been con-
ducted of their activities, and hence
no adequate data is available for the
past year on which to base a general
review of the legislative activity of
such local bodies. This report will
therefore deal primarily with the
work of state government and, in
somewhat lesser detail, the Council of
States and the Economic Council.
Within each state in the US area of
control there is a state legislature
elected every four years, which car-
ries out its mandate under state
constitutions ratified by the voters
in the southern states in November,
1946, and by the voters of Bremen in
October, 1947. These legislatures are
all unicameral bodies, with the ex-
ception of Bavaria, which has a
second chamber called the senate.
All of the US Zone states have a
parliamentary form of government
with a somewhat stronger executive
in Bavaria than in the other states.
Consistent with normal practice in
the parliamentary form of government,
the executive branch minister presi-
dent and cabinet actually drafts and
prepares most of the bills to be con-
sidered by the legislature.
Although   Individual  members
of the legislature have the power
to introduce bills on their own,
in  practice  almost  no  use  is
made of this power. While the cabinet
has primary responsibility for prepar-
ing the bill for carrying out its
policies, each of the state legis-
latures has created eight to 10
standing committees to study these
and other bills. Bills are normally
referred to these committees after
their first reading.
SINCE THE inauguration of the state
legislature, a pattern of continuous
session with short recesses from time
to time has become established. In
the past year, they have met for
periods ranging from a few days to
several weeks.
When the first democratically-
elected state legislatures met in De-
cember, 1946, they faced a tremendous
job. To begin with, they had Lo
select a minister president and then
to ratify his government. They had to
constitute themselves as legislative
bodies, adopt rules of procedure, and
form standing committees. Their
legislative dockets were lengthy, fir
in addition to considering a number
of bills designed to cope with a
series of postwar economic and
social problems, they had to consider
basic bills designed to implement tile
general provisions of the newly-
adopted constitutions.
Some of the bills necessary to
implement the constitution were
concerned with the completion of the
structure of the government itself,
such as that establishing a constitu-
tional court.
The US Zone Council o
initiates legislation on tho
economic subjects which
zonal uniformity, and the E
Council legislates on. econor
ters that affect more than o
The Control Council had, o
adopted a number of laws
Germany, and US Military
meat had issued a number
in fields where it had partlc
cupation objectives. The sta
latures, therefore, had to fi
appropriate, but basic, place
hierarchy of law-making age
Moreover many of the sta
lators were new to their tas]
been 13 years since such
cratically-elected  legislatu
functioned in the states al
were only a relatively few 1
had . had previous experi
representatives in a legislati
In view of these factors, it I
surprising that the record of
legislatures has not been im
During the period betw
cember, 1946-when the sta
latures first went into sess.
August-September, 1947, wh
each recessed for a little moi
month-the Hesse legislature
only 40 laws; the Wuert
Baden legislature, 23; the Bre
and the Bavarian, 19.
plemented the structure
government as provided fo
state constitutions, such 4
establishing the constitution8
the third branch of the gov
Wuerttemberg-Baden passed
stitutional court law in Mi
(the law subsequently was si
by Military Government
among other things, it did not
the right of appeal by indivi
the highest court in clvi
questions); Bavaria in June
same year, and Hesse in D
1947. Bremen's constitution I
How Laws Are Made was ab-
stracted from German Govern-
mental Organization and Civil
Administration, a cumulative
review prepared by the Civil
Administration Division as part
of the Report No. 30 of the
Military Governor.

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