The Senate's legislative power area mainly covers issues relating to the organisation and functioning of the federal system: the Constitution, the laws concerning the status, powers, institutions and funding of the federated entities (the Regions and Communities), the laws governing intrafederal cooperation, conflicts of competence, conflicts of interest, as well as the exercise of the right to substitution, the laws in respect of the Constitutional Court, the Council of State and federal administrative courts. Also worthy of mentioning are the Senate's powers in issues which are particularly touchy in Belgium: the use of languages in administrative affairs (for matters that come under the scope of the federal State) and the measures that aim at preventing discrimination for ideological and philosophical reasons.
Completeness requires that we also mention the laws on the funding of political parties and, not surprisingly, the laws on the organisation of the Senate and the status of Senators.
As a rule, the Senate exercises legislative authority on a par with the House (plain bicameral procedure). In institutional matters, the Constitution often requires qualified majorities. In a few matters, the Senate's legislative power is limited to proposing amendments (right of evocation).
In cross-cutting matters, in other words federal matters that affect the powers of the Regions and Communities, the Senate can draft information reports. It can do so in practically all matters. The drafting of such reports is the fullest expression of the principle of participation, even though its implementation is limited to a paralegislative power.
The Senate still has a number of other powers. These powers comprise the processing of written questions, the nomination or appointment of senior judges (in the Constitutional Court, the Council of State and the High Council for Justice), the resolution of conflicts of interest, interparliamentary cooperation and subsidiarity checks.
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