The plenary session is the most visible aspect of Parliament's work. During each term Parliament meets in plenary session four times a week, from Tuesday to Friday.
Parliament's most important task, enacting legislation, takes place in plenary session. Parliament enacts new legislation or amends existing legislation on the basis of a Government proposal or a Member's motion. 50 000 voters can bring a legislative proposal to the deliberation of Parliament by signing a Citizens’ initiative. Most legislation results from Government proposals, which average about 250 a year.
It generally takes 2–4 months to consider a proposal, but major legislative projects can take years.
The handling of proposed legislation begins with a preliminary debate in plenary session. The purpose of this debate is to provide a basis for work in the committee to which the proposal is referred. After commit- tee handling a proposal returns to the plenary session, where it is given two readings. In the first reading the content of the bill is decided section by section. In the second reading the bill is either approved or rejected.
Once it has been ratified by the President of the Republic, an Act is published in the Statutes of Finland.
The plenary session is also an arena for timely political debate. In many people's opinion the most important plenary session is Question Time on Thursdays, when ministers must answer MPs' oral questions.
The public is welcome to watch plenary sessions. There are also live webcasts of sessions on Parliament's website.