Institution of legislative amendment in the Polish lawmaking process

The quantitative analysis of the practice of initiating and passing amendments in the lower house of the Polish Parliament (the Sejm) aims at determining the role amendments play in the legislative practice of the Sejm (including such hypothetical functions as: amendment as an instrument of technical correction of a project, a mechanism of transactional politics, an instrument used by intraparty factions, or a way of communicating with the electorate), the factors influencing the amendments' success or failure, the extent to which the amendments are used by the Sejm to modify the content of bills, and the actual role the Sejm committees and the Senate play in Polish lawmaking process.

The research will be focused on four issues:

  • The level of political and institutional players' activity and effectiveness in proposing amendments (including the relation between the kind of bill and the political and institutional authorship of amendments) and (in case of parliamentary groups) the relation between their effectiveness in promoting amendments and their voting power, measured with Banzhaf index.
  • Coalitions and political conflicts during amendment votes
  • How often and how deeply the Sejm interferes with the bills
  • The level and depth of Sejm's interference in the content of bills
  • The extent to which the committee's recommendations on passing or rejecting the bill are taken into account by the Sejm

The research is expected to bring brand new empirical evidence concerning the role of amendment in the Polish lawmaking model. The results of the project will contribute to the development of knowledge in the field by:

  1. Formulating a preliminary theory of the role and function of amendment in the lawmaking process.
  2. Determining the level of the Sejm interference in the text of bills, which will contribute to the better understanding of the role of the executive and the legislature in lawmaking process as well as the identification of players responsible for the shape of legislation. This, in turn, will be beneficial for such fields of research as coalition studies, lobbying studies and legislative policy studies.
  3. Determining the actual role of the Sejm committees and the Senate in the lawmaking process.
  4. Examining the scale, the character and the (possible) reasons of amendments being passed against the committee's recommendations, which will later help verify whether such amendments have negative impact on the quality of new law.

Analyzing the changes in the studied phenomena that have occurred in a 16 year-period, which will enable the researchers to examine to what extent the functional structure of Polish legislative process is stable and to what extent it is dynamic and evolving in its character.