On Wednesday, House lawmakers adopted the bill amending Law no.202/1998 on the Official Journal of Romania, which stipulates that the Journal should return under the authority of the House.
Thus, according to the bill tabled by PNL and backed by USR, the Official Journal of Romania is to be taken from under the Government’s authority and transferred under the authority of the Lower House.
“According to Article 74 of the Romanian Constitution, which establishes that the legislative initiative lies ‘with the Government, Deputies, Senators, or a number of at least 100,000 citizens entitled to vote,’ corroborated with Article 61(1) of the Constitution of Romania, which establishes that ‘Parliament is the supreme representative body of the Romanian people and the sole legislative authority of the country,’ and with Article 111 of the Constitution of Romania, which talks about Parliament’s ‘oversight’ of the Government, we consider that, in order to eliminate any Government intervention in the legislative process and to remove any suspicions of abuse, as in the case of Government Emergency Ordinance no.13/2017, we should approve the return of the Official Journal Autonomous Administration under the authority of the Romanian Parliament, exercised through the Lower House,” reads the substantiation of the bill.
Likewise, an amendment adopted by the Senate Judiciary Committee stipulates that: “within 3 days from the moment the present law comes into force, through order of the House Secretary General, a Board of Directors is to be appointed at the ‘Official Journal’ Autonomous Administration. (…) The Board consists of 9 members, one of whom is the CEO of the ‘Official Journal’ Autonomous Administration and Chairman of the Board.”
“Mandatorily, the Board of Directors of the ‘Official Journal’ Autonomous Administration consists of one representative of the House Secretary General and one representative of the Finance Ministry,” reads another amendment adopted by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The bill also specifies that, within 7 days from the moment the law comes into force, a Government decision will approve the organisation and functioning of the ‘Official Journal’ Autonomous Administration.
The Official Journal was under the authority of the Lower House until 2012, when Premier Victor Ponta transferred it, via emergency ordinance, under the authority of the Government, before impeaching President Traian Basescu.
On January 22, President Klaus Iohannis sent the law back to Parliament, for re-examination, after it had been previously adopted by the Lower House on 22 December 2017.
In June 2017, Government Secretary General Mihai Busuioc refused to countersign Premier Sorin Grindeanu’s order that dismissed him from office, and without his signature the Official Journal would not publish the act of dismissal, considering that the ‘Official Journal’ Autonomous Administration was under the authority of the Government’s General Secretariat.
The Lower House was the decisive Chamber, with the bill now being set to go to the President for promulgation.