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DEBATING How are debates organized in the law-making body in the Netherlands Barbara Blokker Debating Table of content The senatePage 3 The rulesPage 4 BibliographyPage 6 The Senate I have chosen to inform you about how debates are organized in the senate The 75 members of the Senate Eerste Kamer of the Dutch Parliament the States General are elected by the members of the twelve Provincial Councils The Senates main duties are in the legislative field but it also plays a role in scrutinising the actions of the Government Formally the Senate could only reject or accept legislation In practice however it has rather more possibilities and debates are of importance For example statements made by government ministers in debates on bills draft legislation can play a role in future lawsuits The debates in the Senate contribute to the interpretation of a law Moreover members of the Senate can elicit undertakings from ministers about the implementation of a law Directly after a bill has been passed by the House of Representatives it is sent to the Senate Here the bill is submitted to a parliamentary committee The committee decides whether the bill can be immediately put on the agenda of the full chamber or whether there should first be preparatory study of the bill If a bill is immediately put on the agenda of the full chamber it will be passed as a formality without a debate The preparatory study of a bill consists mainly in written correspondence and the exchange of documents The members of the committee present the views of their parliamentary party in writing and put questions to the Government The Government replies in a note or memorandum of reply Sometimes there may be several rounds of correspondence but one is generally considered sufficient After the written preparations have been completed the Senate is notified
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