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Brazil

Increase Participation in Legislative Process (BR0106)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Brazil National Action Plan 2018-2021

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: House of Representatives

Support Institution(s): House of Representatives Brazilian Senate Municipal Chamber of Piracicaba Legislative Assembly of Minas Gerais - ALMG District Chamber for the Federal District - CLDF Brazilian Institute for Criminal Science - IBCCRIM Intelligent Citizenship

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Legislation & Regulation, Open Parliaments, Regulatory Governance

IRM Review

IRM Report: Brazil Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Commitment 7: Increase participation of various social segments on the legislative process (law developing) through integrated efforts to increase transparency, adjust language, communication and promote innovation.
Lead government institution House of Representatives
Civil servant in charge for implementing at lead government institution Antonio Carvalho e Silva Neto
Position - Department Chief for Project and Management Council - APROGE
E-mail antonio.silvaneto@camara.leg.br
cooperacao.dg@camara.leg.br
Telephone (61) 3216-2010/2045
Other involved actors Government House of Representatives
Brazilian Senate
Municipal Chamber of Piracicaba
Legislative Assembly of Minas Gerais - ALMG
District Chamber for the Federal District - CLDF
Civil Society Brazilian Institute for Criminal Science - IBCCRIM
Intelligent Citizenship
Status quo or problem/issue to be addressed Difficulties to access information about legislative processes.
Main objective Increase the participation of various social segments involved in the legislative process.
Commitment short description Enhancement of transparency over the legislative process by improving the information about progress of bills in order to promote a better follow-up of the subjects as well as a greater participation from citizens and civil society entities.
OGP Challenge addressed by the Commitment Increase the availability of information about governmental activities
Increase civic participation
Increase access to new technologies in order to promote accountability
Commitment relevance Provision of integrated administrative and legislative information (House of Representatives and Brazilian Senate) allowing a better comprehension over the legislative process.
Goal Improve transparency over the legislative process by enhancing the information about progress of bills in order to promote a better follow-up of the subjects as well as a greater participation from citizens and civil society entities.
Situation Initiated in October 2018
Results description Not available.
Implemented until July/2020

Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfill the Commitment Start date: End date: Responsible:
1. Unified thesaurus/ binding description of legislative terms
10/01/2018
02/28/2019 House of Representatives*
Brazilian Senate*
2. Implementation of harmonization over the identification of bicameral legislative propositions
10/01/2018
02/28/2019
House of Representatives*
Brazilian Senate*
3. Provision of initial texts from legislative proposals, articulated on LEXML format, electronically presented, according to the Act nº 95/2998.

07/01/2019

07/31/2020

House of Representatives*
Brazilian Senate*
4. Presentation of information on the progress of bills, with an estimate citizen oriented legislative track on institutional portals

04/01/2019

07/31/2020

House of Representatives*
Brazilian Senate*
5. Propagation of materials to explain the legislative process to citizens, considering public diversity.

12/01/2018

07/31/2020 House of Representatives
Brazilian Senate/Secretariat for Transparency*
Intelligent Citizenship
Municipal Chamber of Piracicaba
6. Participation on 2 national events to share the commitment actions
10/01/2018
07/31/2020 House of Representatives*
Brazilian Senate*
7. Update the Open Parliament Guide based on the lessons learned during the commitment execution.

06/01/2020

07/31/2020 House of Representatives*
Municipal Chamber of Piracicaba
Brazilian Senate/ Secretariat for Transparency*
Labinova/Legislative Chamber for the FD
Legislative Assembly of Minas Gerais - ALMG

IRM Midterm Status Summary

7. Transparency in the Legislative Process

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“Increase the participation of various social segments involved in the legislative process.”

7.1. Unified thesaurus/ binding description of legislative terms

7.2. Implementation of harmonization over the identification of bicameral legislative propositions

7.3. Provision of initial texts from legislative proposals, articulated on LEXML format, electronically presented, according to the Act no 95/2998.

7.4. Presentation of information on the progress of bills, with an estimate citizen oriented legislative track on institutional portals

7.5. Propagation of materials to explain the legislative process to citizens, considering public diversity

7.6. Participation on 2 national events to share the commitment actions

7.7. Update the Open Parliament Guide based on the lessons learned during the commitment execution

Start Date: January 2018                                                                           End Date: July 2020

Editorial note: to see the complete text, visit https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/brazil-national-action-plan-2018-2020/.

Context and Objectives

This commitment aims to increase public participation in the legislative process by addressing the difficulties citizens have in understanding how proposed legislation becomes law. The commitment will improve the integration of congressional administrative and legislative processes and better publicize which stage bills are in and how they are discussed in the legislature. During consultation, justifications for the commitment included the lack of transparency in how bills change during the law-making process, the need to increase citizens’ understanding of legislative processes, and the high technical expertise necessary for understanding legislative procedures. [46]

The IRM researcher received feedback on this commitment from three public servants from the lower house of Congress (Antonio Neto, [47] Vanderlei Batista dos Santos, [48] and Thiago Gomes Eirão [49]) and two members of the Civil Society Working Group (Fernanda Scovino [50] and Rodrigo Roll [51]). They all agreed on the need to increase the accessibility of knowledge for citizens regarding the legislative process. They also agreed on the impact such access could have on open governance.

The commitment proposes creating a dictionary of legislative terms (Milestone 7.1), harmonizing language used by the lower house and the Senate for similar processes (7.2), using technology to publish information on the progression of bills (7.3 and 7.4), raising awareness of these materials (7.5 and 7.6), and documenting these improvements to encourage adoption of similar tools in subnational legislative houses (7.7).

The commitment is specific enough to be verifiable. It addresses the value of access to information by making existing information more accessible and comprehensive.

Similar efforts have been undertaken by other organizations. For example, LabHacker, an innovation lab inside the government, has led regular improvements on how bills are presented to the public since 2013. [52] Other organizations such as the National Union of the State and Municipal Legislative Houses (UNALE) have been working to address similar issues since 1996. However, these efforts have been limited in scope. LabHacker, being part of the structure of the House of Representatives, faces limitations in advancing initiatives involving the Senate, and UNALE’s activities are restricted to state legislatures. This commitment’s potential impact is, therefore, moderate. For the first time, the House of Representatives and the federal Senate will be working together on an initiative to standardize legislative information, including the language and number of proposals in both houses.

Next steps

This commitment is highly relevant, as seen in the context section. However, if the milestones are completed, the commitment does not need to be included in the next action plan. Inclusion of the legislative branch started in the third action plan. That plan addressed a request made by the IRM researcher in the second action plan to expand partners of the plan beyond the federal executive branch.

To increase the commitment’s potential impact, its implementation should include more actors from civil society and institutionalize their participation and training. Such inclusion would make the commitment relevant to civic participation. According to the participant list, only two civil society organizations (IBCCrim [53] and Pulso Público) participated in the consultation phase. Additionally, two civil society members interviewed by the IRM researcher (Fernanda Scovino [54] and Rodrigo Roll [55]) emphasized that—in spite of the innovative and positive milestones of the commitment—a more structured form of civil society participation in the process is desi

[46] Government of Brazil, “Transparency of the Legislative Process—1st Co-creation Workshop,” gov.br, accessed August 2019, https://bit.ly/2uZHyxD.
[47] Interview with IRM researcher, 15 March 2019.
[48] Interview with IRM researcher, 15 March 2019.
[49] Interview with IRM researcher, 13 March 2019.
[50] Interview with IRM researcher, 5 April 2019.
[51] Interview with IRM researcher, 5 April 2019.
[52] Andrew Young, Jeffrey Brown, Hannah Pierce, and Stefaan Verhulst, People-Led Innovation: Toward a Methodology for Solving Urban Problems in the 21st Century (GovLab and Bertelsmann Foundation, January 2018), https://bit.ly/2OWesbt.
[53] Instituto Brasileiro de Ciências Criminais, or Criminal Science Brazilian Institute.
[54] Interview with IRM researcher, 5 April 2019.
[55] Interview with IRM researcher, 5 April 2019.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership