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the order of the activities, usually established by the constitution, of the highest body of state power responsible for the enactment of laws.
Characteristic features of the legislative process in socialist countries are rules of procedure clearly defined by law; active participation of public organizations of the working masses; scientific substantiation of bills so that they reflect the objective requirements of the social development; and the enactment, as a final result, of laws expressing the fundamental interests and genuine will of the people.
In the USSR, the legislative process consists of four stages. The first stage is the introduction of the bill in the Supreme Soviet by a body having the right of legislative initiative; this is preceded by a thorough preliminary analysis of the bill by the government apparatus and by research institutions. The most important bills are subject to public discussion throughout the country or republic. The second stage is the consideration of the bill by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR or the Supreme Soviet of the Union or autonomous republic, after the report of the representative of the body that introduced the bill. Participants in this discussion are usually deputies of the Supreme Soviet and representatives of its standing commissions and sometimes experts and representatives of the public.
The third stage is the adoption of the bill by vote. The law is considered to be adopted if a simple majority of deputies vote for it; a constitutional law is adopted by a special majority (not less than two-thirds of the votes). The fourth stage is the publication of the adopted law with the signatures of the chairman and the secretary of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet in the official newspapers Izvestiia Sovetov deputatov tmdiashchikhsia (Proceedings of the Soviets of Deputies of the Working People) and in Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR (Records of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR); the publication of the law brings it to public notice and marks its coming into force. In other socialist countries the legislative process is based on similar principles.
In the bourgeois states, the legislative process is characterized by the concentration of the right to introduce a bill in the hands of the chief of state or head of government; the whole legislative activity of the parliament is essentially under his control. Parliamentary committees and various commissions play a very important role in the legislative process. These bodies consider bills on their merits and often determine their future. The adoption of the law by the parliament is followed by its approval by the chief of state and in some countries—for example, France—also by promulgation (the decision by the head of state to publish the law). Only after all this procedure is the adopted law published.
A. F. SHEBANOV