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Information bulletin
No. 133 (April 20, 1948)

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


Page 15


too recent to permit such legislation
as yet.
The critical field of local govern-
mental structure,  one  in  which
Military Government has a vital
concern because of its policy of local
autonomy and decentralization, is not
included in the record of legislation
passed by the state legislatures.
Legislative bills on this vital matter
are in the process of being drafted
but as yet have not come up for
legislative action.
In connection with laws implement-
ing constitutional provisions, both the
Hessian and Bavarian legislatures
have passed legislation on sociali-
zation. Hesse's law provides for the
appointment of state trustees   as
directors  for  the  rather  limited
number of enterprises which are to
become   public-owned  under   the
Hesse constitution; Bavaria's law
provides for the creation of a com-
mission which is to investigate and
prepare recommendations for the
legislature on enterprises that could
be socialized "if consideration of the
general good requires it."
S EVERAL of the laws enacted by
J the state legislatures have been
on subjects common to all, although
the laws themselves have not been
uniform. These laws include compen-
sation of legislative members, bud-
gets, and  special assistance  and
dispensations to physically-disabled
persons, victims of fascism, and ex-
pellees and refugees.
Other enacted laws deal with
critical economic problems prevalent
in each of the states. Laws, for
example, have been passed to impose
stiff fines Or penalties for crimes
against the public economy and to
tighten  distribution  controls over
scarce commodities. Bills have also
been passed to effect financial adjust-
ments resulting from postwar dis-
locations and to equalize revenues
between state and local government.
The form of Military Government's
review of state legislation underwent
a marked change with the adoption
of the state constitutions and the
establishment  of  democratically-
elected state legislatures late in 1946.
Prior to that time the various German
state governments had been acting
under powers granted to them by
Military Government and therefore,
APRIL 20, 1948
when a state government wished to
enact a law, it had to obtain the prior
approval of Military Government.
This situation was changed when the
constitutions were adopted which
provided for a delegation of powers
from the people to a government
composed of elected representatives.
L'AWS PASSED by a state legis-
Ll lature  under a   constitutional
grant of powers derived from the
people did not base their authority
upon Military Government. In view
of this, Military Government drop-
ped its requirement for prior approval
of state-enacted legislation. Military
Government did, however, reserve
to itself the right to suspend or
nullify legislation when such legis-
lation was in conflict with quadri-
partite  legislation,  international
agreements to which the United
States was a party, or those powers
reserved to Military Government in
order to effectuate the basic policies
of the occupation.
Each state Military Government
office maintains close liaison with the
state legislature. This liaison serves
to keep Military Government abreast
of developments within the legislature
and to provide a means of advice and
consultation to the Germans when
they desire it. But Military Govern-
ment has been careful to refrain from
attempting to dictate policies to the
German legislators while a bill is
under  consideration.  Such  inter-
ference would obviously interrupt the
normal legislative process and stul-
tify the democratic forces at work
within the state legislature.
When a bill has been enacted by
the state legislature it is formally
transmitted to Military Government,
which  reviews it in light of is
policies. Only in rare cases, however,
has Military Government suspended
or nullified German state legislation,
and only in those cases where funda-
mental principles of democracy were
violated or conflicts existed with
Control Council legislation.
WHILE THE legislative activities
of the US Zone Council of
States decreased with the establish-
ment of democratically-elected leg s-
latures in the states, and the creation
Richard Hildebrandt, former SS general, stands in court at Nuremberg to
hear a 25-year sentence pronounced upon him for war crimes and crimes
against humanity. Fritz Schwalm (seated, left), former SS lieutenant-
colonel, received a 10-year prison sentence. Hoffmann (right) was sen-
tenced to 25 years.                                     (Signal Corps)
INFORMATION BULLETIN
15


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