Committee on Petitions and Complaints

The Committee on Petitions and Complaints, also called the Petitions Committee, is one of the Bavarian State Parliament's 14 standing committees. It has a total of 14 members of Parliament.

The committee has existed in its present form since the beginning of the Bavarian State Parliament's first electoral term in 1946. However, the origins of the right of petition, which is enshrined as a fundamental right both in the Bavarian Constitution (Art. 115 BV) and in the German Constitution (Art. 17 GG), go back much further in history. In the ancient kingdoms of the Achaemenids in Persia and the Ptolomaeans in Egypt, the possibility of addressing the regent with requests and complaints was as widespread as it was later in the Roman Empire. Now this former royal right lies in the hands of Parliament.

The Committee on Petitions and Complaints deals almost exclusively with petitions. It advises on motions and draft laws only when they concern the right of petition. In the 17th electoral term, it handled about 30 percent of the approximately 10,000 petitions addressed to the Bavarian State Parliament. The remaining petitions are dealt with by specialised committees. The main focus of its work is on petitions in building and housing matters, on issues relating to the right of residence, marital status, education grants, school travel costs and driving licences, as well as on petitions for clemency and complaints from prisons and district hospitals. When dealing with petitions for building permits, a site visit is made in many cases, during which the relevant committee members then seek a solution on site together with the petitioners and public authorities.

The committee reviews the contested official decisions and obtains written comments from the responsible state ministries within the framework of its right of control over the State Government. Its aim is to find solutions to the problems of those seeking help within the framework of the legal possibilities outside formal legal action.

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