Committees of the Seimas
The Seimas shall form committees from among its members for the consideration of draft laws and other issues assigned to its competence by the Constitution. The list of the committees shall be established by the Statute of the Seimas.
The committees of the Seimas shall be formed during the first session of the newly elected Seimas and shall be made up of no less than 7 and no more than 17 Seimas members (with the exception of the Committee on European Affairs) according to the principle of proportional representation of the parliamentary groups. The exact number of members of each committee shall be determined by a decision of the Seimas.
The Committee on European Affairs shall be made up of no less than 15 members according to the principle of proportional representation of the parliamentary groups. Seimas members who are on the other committees, and members of the Board of the Seimas may be members of the Committee on European Affairs.
Chair and Deputy Chair of a Seimas Committee
The committee shall elect its Chair and Deputy Chair. The committee Chair and Deputy Chair shall be approved by the Seimas. If the Seimas does not approve the presented candidate, the committee must select another candidate.
A member of the Board of the Seimas (except the case of the Committee on European Affairs), a Seimas member - Government member, the Chair or Deputy Chair of a Seimas commission may not serve as a committee Chair and Deputy Chair.
The Chair of the Committee on European Affairs shall be elected from among the members of the Board of the Seimas. The Chair of the Committee on European Affairs shall have Deputies, one of which is the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. The number of Deputy Chairs shall be established by the Seimas. The Chair and Deputy Chair of a committee shall be re-elected when the committee is formed anew.
Subcommittees of the Seimas
For the execution of the main trends of activities, committees may form subcommittees from their members. A subcommittee must comprise at least 5 members. A subcommittee Chair shall be elected by the committee and approved by the Seimas. The number of Chairs of subcommittees accorded to the Seimas parliamentary groups must be in proportion to the number of the Seimas members belonging to them. The regulations of the subcommittees shall be approved by the committees.
Working Procedure of the Seimas Committees
The trends of activities of the Seimas committees, as well as their powers and working procedure shall be established by the Statute of the Seimas and other laws. Under the new Statute of the Seimas which has come into effect on 1 February 1999, the scope and importance of work of the Seimas committees has increased significantly. It is at the Seimas committees that the most thorough analysis of the draft laws and other legal acts under preparation is made, consultations of specialists in different fields are provided and opinions are heard.
The committees of the Seimas shall be responsible and accountable to the Seimas. Committees must during the set time discuss and present conclusions on the issues referred to them for consideration, and perform other tasks assigned to them by the Seimas. Committees shall be responsible for the timely establishment of necessity of appropriate laws and other legal acts, initiation, according to their trends of activities and competence, of the preparation thereof, and the commission of detailed conclusions relative to the drafts thereof.
The Seimas committees shall work in accordance with the plans approved by the committees themselves, which must be co-ordinated with the work programme of a Seimas session. Such work plans shall state the persons responsible for the implementation and time limits of the implementation. Work plans of the committees and agendas of sittings shall be publicly announced and transferred to the Speaker of the Seimas and the Secretary General of the Seimas.
The activities of the committees shall be co-ordinated by the Speaker of the Seimas, the Board of the Seimas in accordance with the work programmes of the Seimas sessions and work plans of the committees. Committees may themselves approve the rules of working procedure, which must be in compliance with the Statute of the Seimas.
In order to prepare issues which are subject to consideration, committees may form from among their members preparatory working groups. The said groups may include other Seimas members upon their consent, as well as representatives of State institutions, parties and public organisations, experts and scientists. Funds for the experts of such groups shall be allocated in accordance with the approved estimate of expenditures of the committee.
Powers of the Seimas Committees
The main powers of the committees with respect to issues within their competence shall be:
1) to debate draft laws, prepare conclusions, and discuss issues referred to the committee for consideration;
2) on their own initiative or under the instruction of the Seimas, to prepare drafts of laws and other legal acts subject to enactment by the Seimas, and to analyse the necessity of new laws or the amendments to laws in effect;
3) to prepare and submit to the Seimas drafts regarding the harmonisation, supplementing or elimination of contradictions in laws;
4) to consider the Government Programme; on their own initiative or under the instruction of the Seimas, to consider programmes of activities of Government or other State institutions, each within its specific field, and to submit their conclusions to the Seimas
5) to consider, within the limits of their competence, candidates for heads of state institutions who are appointed by the Seimas or for the appointment whereof the approval of the Seimas is necessary, as well as candidates for deputy heads, and to consider the dismissal from office of said officers;
6) to consider preliminarily a draft of a law of the Republic of Lithuania pertaining to the approval of the financial indicators of the State Budget and municipal budgets, and budget performance account;
7) to analyse and control the economic efficiency of the funds of the State Budget of the current year, consider and submit conclusions and proposals on the items and programmes of a draft State Budget for the next year, presented by the Government, on the issues within the competence of the committees, to seek rational choice of programmes and distribution of allocations for it;
8) consider proposals to form and abolish ministries and other State institutions;
9) while performing parliamentary supervision, to hear information and reports furnished by ministries and other state institutions on the manner by which the laws of the Republic of Lithuania and other acts passed by the Seimas are being implemented; on their own initiative or by the advice of the Seimas, to consider yearly reports on the activities of the State institutions accountable to the Seimas, and to present their conclusions to the Seimas;
10) to consider proposals of voters and public organisations;
11) to prepare a work plan of the committee co-ordinated with the work programme of the Seimas session;
12) prepare the estimate of the committee expenditures within the amount appropriated for the committee; and
13) to take part in the interparliamentary relations of the Seimas.
Procedure of Co-operation between the Seimas Committees
In discussing issues within their competence, the committees shall have equal rights and obligations. Issues which are within the competence of several committees may be prepared and discussed by these committees jointly on their own initiative or upon the instruction of the Seimas or its Board. For this purpose they may set up joint working groups, hold joint committee sittings which shall be presided over by the Chairs of these committees in succession.
The committee shall have the right to submit a proposal to the Seimas or the Board of the Seimas concerning the passing over of the issues under discussion to another committee for consideration. The committee shall have the right to present its opinion on the issue discussed by another committee, as well as to ask another committee to present its conclusions, which must be submitted within 15 days. While considering a draft law, the additional committee appointed by the Seimas must present its conclusions to the principal committee and the Seimas.
Sittings of the Seimas Committees
During a session, regular committee sittings shall be organised not less frequently than once a week. During a Seimas sitting, committee sittings shall be organised only with the consent of the Seimas. Between ordinary Seimas sessions, there shall normally be a one-month adjournment in the work of the committees.
Regular and extraordinary committee sittings shall be held upon the proposal of committee Chairs. Extraordinary committee sittings shall be also held at the request of more than 1/3 of the committee members or upon the instruction of the Seimas or the Board of the Seimas. A preliminary agenda of a regular committee sitting shall be usually approved during the preceding committee sitting. During an extraordinary sitting, only the issues submitted by the initiators of a committee sitting shall be considered.
Committees may have closed sittings, when the information related to the State or commercial secret, or other information the use and furnishing whereof are restricted by law, is provided during the deliberation.
Committee sittings and decisions adopted shall be deemed lawful when more than half of the committee members are present at the sitting. Committee sittings shall be presided over by the committee Chair or by the committee Deputy Chair upon the instruction of the Chair. Prior to the Seimas' approval of a committee Chair, sittings shall be presided over by the eldest member of the committee.
In committee sittings, including closed sittings, Seimas members who are not members of those committees may participate with the right of deliberative vote.
The Committees may invite to their sittings other Seimas members, as well as members of municipal councils, representatives of ministries, other state institutions, parties, public organisations and educational institutions, specialists, scientists and other necessary persons, having co-ordinated it with heads of these institutions or organisations.
Committee sittings shall be open for representatives of the mass media, with the exception of closed sittings. Following each committee sitting, a report is prepared to the Seimas Press Service, in which the essence of discussions on the issues concerned and the decisions adopted are set forth.
Hearings in the Seimas Committees
A committee may decide to organise special hearings of the committee for preliminary discussion of a draft law and proposals and amendments submitted in regard to it when the committee carries out a parliamentary examination, as well as for the drawing up of draft conclusions concerning the issue under consideration.
Experts, representatives of the interested institutions and groups of the population, persons having the right of legislative initiative, shall participate in hearings of the committee in which the proposals and amendments concerning the legal act under consideration shall be discussed. Decisions shall not be adopted during hearings.
For the organisation of such hearings and preparation of conclusions concerning the draft, the committee must appoint two responsible committee members (usually, one from the Seimas majority and one from the Seimas minority), as well as decide on what experts, interested persons and public officers should be invited to hearings. Upon a decision of the committee or at the request of the committee Chair, closed hearings may be also held.
A schedule and agendas of hearings shall be publicly announced and referred to the Speaker of the Seimas and the Secretary General of the Seimas.
Decisions of the Seimas Committees
Committee decisions shall be adopted by open, simple majority vote of the committee members participating in the sitting. In the event of a tie vote, the vote of the committee Chair shall be decisive. When a member of the committee requests that voting on his proposal be conducted, the Chair of the committee sitting must put said proposal to a vote.
If the minority of the committee members, which consists of at least three Seimas members, expresses a separate opinion concerning the issue discussed by the committee, this opinion must be announced together with the decision of the committee.
Decisions shall be adopted in joint sittings of several committees if each committee expresses their support for the decision. Committee decisions and conclusions shall be presented to the Seimas in writing.
For state institutions, decisions adopted by Committees shall be recommendatory. When sending their recommendations and proposals to state institutions, Committees shall inform the Secretary General of the Seimas about this and, if necessary - the Government. Upon receipt of recommendations and proposals of the Seimas committees, state institutions, except courts, must consider them. The Committees must be informed about the results of such consideration and measures which have been taken within 15 days from the receipt of the proposals or within other period of time established by the committees.
Powers of the Seimas Committees when Exercising Parliamentary Control
The committees shall, due to their competence, have the right to control how laws are observed and recommendations and proposals of the committees are taken into consideration; on their own initiative or upon the instruction of the Seimas, to carry out parliamentary scrutiny of separate problems; on their own initiative or upon the instruction of the Seimas, to consider annual reports of the state institutions accountable to the Seimas.
If a committee decides that it is necessary to hear the information of a Government member or the officer of any other state institution (except courts), the committee Chair shall notify the Government member or the head of any appropriate state institution of this. In this event, the Government member or any other officer must, not later than within two weeks (unless otherwise requested by the committee), participate in a committee sitting; if the said person fails to attend the sitting - the committee Chair shall inform the Seimas of this. The committees shall have the right to demand from state institutions (except courts) and officers documents, conclusions in writing, as well as reports and other necessary material.
Seimas Committees Conclusions, Reports and Participation in the Seimas Discussions
The committee shall prepare conclusions and make reports during the Seimas sittings on issues which it prepared, conducted parliamentary scrutiny whereof, or was the principal committee while examining them, and shall prepare supplemental conclusions and make supplemental reports on the issue s which were referred to the committee for additional examination.
The committee conclusions shall be a comprehensive description of consideration at the committee. They shall contain information on the proposals and amendments received during the consideration, experts who took part therein, amendments to the draft proposed by the committee or the conclusions made by the committee on the issue considered. The Board of the Seimas shall establish the requirements for committee conclusions and the form thereof.
The committee members shall participate in discussions on all other issues according to general procedure.