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The Senate at Work

Parliamentary Records in Electronic Format

The Italian Senate parliamentary records are available on the Senate website in HTML and/or PDF format.
Parliamentary records are published in different sections of the website, according to their nature. Verbatim and summary reports can be found in the Senate proceedingsarea (Lavori del Senato), while the texts of bills and non legislative documents are available in the Laws and Documents section(Leggi e documenti). The heading of each website page contains a link to a list of specific databases by type of document, and to the general search engine which enables users to search the whole website or sections of it by word or combination of words.

What follows is a description of the various types of documents and where they can be retrieved:

Plenary verbatim reports (Resoconti stenografici dell'Assemblea):

This publication, for each plenary sitting, includes, along with the verbatim report, the summary report, Annex A (containing the texts under scrutiny), Annex B (containing the texts of the motions, questions and interpellations submitted in the same sitting, if any), qualified voting tables, and what are called "announcements" of documents received by the Senate.

While a sitting is still under way, a draft verbatim report is drawn up in HTML format and published on-line within forty-five minutes after the end of each speech; the same report is published in its final corrected version within four hours after the end of the sitting (Lavori del Senato » Assemblea » Resoconto in corso di seduta).

The final version of the report is printed to be available by the next morning on paper and in PDF format.
The HMTL/PDF texts of all plenary sittings since the 13th Parliament (9th May 1996) are listed in chronological order on Lavori del Senato » Assemblea » Resoconti: elenco cronologico.
The texts of the sittings of previous Parliaments, starting from 16th May 1963, are available on the same page, but only in PDF-format.

- Search on HTML records (from 9th May 1996) (Ricerca nell'attività dell'Assemblea): searches by word on the whole record texts, on the indexes or specific sections of text chosen by the user. Search is possible for various terms of Parliament simultaneously.

Plenary Agenda (Ordine del giorno) and Business schedule (Calendario dei lavori):

In the section Lavori del Senato » Assemblea», the current and previous Agendas of all sittings of the parliamentary term are available (PDF-format).
The current Business Schedule (in general covering a two-week period) is only available in HTML format, with a link to the fact-sheets of the issues considered.

Committee summary reports (Resoconti sommari delle Commissioni):

In general, for Committee sittings only the summary report is drawn up.
Committee summary reports, like plenary sitting reports, are in HTML format, with links to the speakers' fact-sheets and documents under scrutiny. It is available on line, separately by Committee and in chronological order of sittings, in the section Lavori del Senato » Commissioni e Giunte » (name of Committee)» Resoconti sommari.

Two search engines are available:
- on HTML reports published after 1st July 2004.
- on the only-text version of Committee reports and agendas from the 13th Parliament (9th May 1996) onwards. Searches are possible on more than one Committee at a time.

As far as the PDF version is concerned, all summary reports of two-chamber Committees and Senate Standing Committees are printed in a daily publication called Bollettino. On the Committee section there is a direct link to the latest Bollettino and another to the chronological list from 1992 (Lavori del Senato » Commissioni e Giunte » Bollettini: elenco cronologico).

Committee verbatim reports (Resoconti stenografici delle Commissioni):

Verbatim reports are only drawn up when Committees act in a law-making or drafting capacity, for hearings and during the budgetary procedure. They are published separately and are only available in PDF format, starting from the 14th Parliament (2001), in individual Committee sections.

Bills (Disegni di legge):

Starting from the 13th Parliament (9th May 1996), the texts of bills printed by the Senate, along with Committee reports, are available both in PDF and HTML format.These texts, as well as the data referring to the relevant debates, can be searched from the page Home » Leggi e documenti »Disegni di legge or Home » Banche dati » Progetti di legge.

- Ricerca nei testi dei progetti di legge (only Senate): searches by words contained in HTML texts, also possible for more that one parliamentary term at a time.

- Ricerca semplice and Ricerca avanzata: searches on the fact-sheet associated to each stage, or reading, of a bill (for both Senate and Chamber of Deputies). Fact-sheets contain: number, title, signers, type, current stage, previous or subsequent stages in the other House, data regarding submission and referral to Committees, rapporteurs' names, data concerning the relevant debates (Committees and Plenary), speakers' names, procedural elements, classification by subject).

The fact-sheet section Testi ed emendamenti contains the bill in its original wording and the texts developed during scrutiny (Committee report, text adopted, amendment texts and votes).

Verbatim reports of plenary sittings and summary Committee reports are directly linked on the bill fact-sheet (Senate only); debates relating to bills under scrutiny in the Chamber of Deputies are also linked through the Scheda Camera Lavori Preparatori.

For Senate bills only, there is a link to the documentation dossiers prepared by the Senate documentation departments.

Finally, Votazioni reports the outcome of electronic voting on the bill searched, specifying all individual Senators' votes.

- 1979-1996bills (Ricerca nelle schede dei progetti di legge delle legislature precedenti): only a basic fact-sheet is available, without texts.

- Amendments (Ricerca negli emendamenti e negli ordini del giorno di Assemblea e Commissione): from the 14th and 15th parliamentary term, for plenary and Committee sittings respectively, search is possible by word on the full text of amendments and motions connected to the bills discussed in the Senate or by bill number, first signer, final outcome.

Control and policy-setting documents:

The texts of control and policy-setting documents can be found attached to plenary verbatim reports. In particular, the texts of motions, questions and interpellations are published in Annex B when they are submitted to the House, whereas resolutions and other documents introduced during the discussion are published in Annex A of the report of the sitting when they are discussed.

A specific periodical publication, Fascicolo delle rispostescritte, publishes the written answers to questions given by Government over a period of two weeks. It can be found on the Intranet in PDF format only.

Search of texts and procedural stages of these documents is nevertheless possible using two engines:

- from 5th July 1976, on the Chamber of Deputies website, advanced search on texts and procedural stages of Senate and Chamber records;

- from 30th May 2001, full text search on Senate records only.

Non Legislative Documents

Documents of various nature, not always strictly connected to the legislative process, are traditionally included among parliamentary records. They are divided into groups by type and have Roman notation. Some of them are drafted by individual Senators (for instance, proposals to amend the Rules of Procedure or establish Investigation Committees), some by Senate bodies (the draft Senate budget, the final documents of Committee fact-finding enquiries, resolutions adopted by Committees on preparatory documents concerning EU legislation, or the final reports of Parliamentary Investigation Committees); some are sent to the Senate by other institutions (Presidency of the Republic, Government, Authorities, EU bodies, judicial authority, etc.).

Texts are available in PDF format (from 9th May 1996) and access to the relevant lists is possible through Leggi e documenti » Attività non legislative » Elenco documenti.For each document, like bills, there is a fact-sheet displaying information on the procedural stage with links to the relevant debates. Two kinds of search are therefore possible on non-legislative documents

- Ricerca avanzata documenti e procedure nonlegislative: advanced search of non-legislative documents and procedures, with links to the relevant texts;

- Ricerca per parola sui testi PDF dei documenti: search by word on PDF texts.

The Senate electronic Archives

In September 2003, a document processing system (Hummingbird DM5) was introduced to manage parliamentary records with a view to optimising document distribution among internal users and minimising publishing on paper, thereby saving space and reducing costs. A digital text (in optimised and protected PDF format) for each document is directly sent by the typography to the Legislative Archives, it is checked and classified, then finally validated and stored on a dedicated server.

The electronic Archives of texts are fully accessible on the Intranet. The parliamentary records published daily are available for external consultation on a special page of the website, Gli ultimi atti stampati ('The most recently printed documents'), in the sectionLeggi e documenti, updated during the day and kept on line for a week, where it is possible to read, unload and print such documents. A special link connects to the amendments under scrutiny by the full House.
At present, the electronic Archives of texts contain all parliamentary records starting from the 11th Parliament (23rd April 1992).

As far as parliamentary documents of the 1948-1992 period are concerned, a project for their digitisation is currently under way; by the end of the year, the whole series of plenary sitting reports will be available.

Additional informations