Current hour (parliament) - Aktuelle Stunde (Parlament)
A current hour takes place in parliaments such as the German Bundestag . They deal with topics that have been discussed in public or join a debate in which a political group requests further discussion. MEPs' speaking times must not exceed a specified time.
Current Hours usually last longer than 60 minutes, as possible speaking times by members of the government are not taken into account in the timekeeping. But they can also be shorter than an hour if the political groups do not use up the speaking time allotted to them.
After an amendment to the rules of procedure of the German Bundestag (GOBT) , the first current hour in the Bundestag took place on February 10, 1965, i.e. in the 4th legislative period. It is currently regulated in (1) and Annex 5 of the Rules of Procedure. According to the legal definition , this is a “discussion of a specific topic of general current interest in short articles of five minutes” . The current hour can be requested by a parliamentary group or five percent of the members of the Bundestag . In this case, the current hour must be entered by 12 noon the previous day at the latestBundestag presidents are registered. It is less common that a current hour has been agreed in the council of elders or is requested and carried out directly after a question time. Only one current hour is carried out per day.
The Current Hour will be opened by one of the members who requested the debate. The remaining order is determined by the President of the Bundestag in accordance with § 28 GOBT. The duration of the debate is fixed at one hour. If a speaker speaks for less than five minutes, the debate is shortened by the unused time. The speaking time of members of the federal government , the Bundesratand their representatives is thirty minutes and is not counted towards the duration of the discussion. If the members of the Federal Government, the Federal Council or their representatives exceed their speaking time, the current hour is extended by thirty minutes. If a member of the Federal Government, the Federal Council or a representative takes the floor at the end of the current hour that a five-minute reply would no longer be possible, five percent of the members or a parliamentary group can also request that a spokesman for each parliamentary group Word gets.
By the end of the 18th legislative period in 2017, 1,064 current hours had been held across all legislative periods. In the 14th electoral period, 141 current hours were reached, the previous high within a legislative period. In the last 18th legislative period, 89 of the 91 current hours carried out were required regardless of the question time, i.e. requested in advance by a parliamentary group or five percent of the members of the Bundestag. Only two actual hours were given directly after a question timeapplied for and carried out. No current hour was agreed in the council of elders. This basic distribution can also be seen in all previous legislative periods since the introduction of the possibility in the 9th legislative period that the current hour can be requested independently of a question time or in advance by a parliamentary group or five percent of the members.  
Many current hours are broadcast live by the Phoenix television station. In addition, plenary minutes are produced that can also be accessed on the Internet, e.g. B. at the current hour about the "I love you" virus . 
The relevant regulations of the German state parliaments reveal clear differences in the understanding of the current hours. Proportional access rights or deadlines for submitting an application can make dealing with really topical issues take a back seat. There are parliaments in which the parliamentary groups can take turns proposing the topic without any further requirements as to how topical it is. These include, for example, the Bavarian State Parliament  or the State Parliament of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania  . In the state parliament of Baden-Württemberg, on the other hand, a request for the current hour can be expressly rejected if there are no significant new facts compared to the last plenary deliberation on the topic . While the application for the current hour in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has to be submitted almost a week before the consultation  , the application can be submitted to the state parliament of Rhineland-Palatinate one day before the meeting.  As a special feature, the rules of procedure of the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia even contain a “current quarter of an hour” for committee meetings. 
Five members of the National Council can request that a current hour be held within a 48-hour period. It then replaces Question Time , with which National Council meetings usually begin. The topic is proposed in rotation by one of the clubs. The speaking time is 10 minutes for the first speaker and the member of the government or state secretary responsible for the topic and five minutes for all other speakers. Two MPs from each club should have their say. If the "hour" lasts more than 90 minutes, the President of the National Council can declare it over. 
There are also current hours in the Federal Council based on similar guidelines.
- Internet parliamentary television of the German Bundestag
- German Bundestag: Data Handbook on the History of the German Bundestag 1949 to 1999 , pp. 2706–2707.
- German Bundestag: Data Handbook on the History of the German Bundestag 1990 to 2010 , Chapter 11.2 “Current Hours”, pp. 1–2.
- Plenarprotokoll 14/102 (PDF-Datei; 2,7 MB) S. 9541–9559
- § 65 Paragraph 3 Clause 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Bavarian State Parliament
- § 66 Paragraph 1 Clause 2 of the Rules of Procedure of the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania State Parliament, pdf
- § 59 Paragraph 1 Clause 3 of the Rules of Procedure of the Baden-Württemberg State Parliament as pdf
- § 66 Paragraph 2 Clause 4 of the Rules of Procedure of the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania State Parliament, pdf
- § 101 Paragraph 1 Clause 2 GO LT Rhineland-Palatinate, Rules of Procedure LT Rhineland-Palatinate as pdf ( Memento from April 2, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
- § 60 of the rules of procedure of the North Rhine-Westphalia state parliament
- Website of the Austrian Parliament - Glossary: Current Hour