One of the key tasks of the Riksdag is to make decisions concerning Swedish legislation. Laws are a set of rules that everyone residing in a country is obliged to follow. Legislation is a way of changing things in society. 

Proposals for new laws, or amendments to laws that are already in force, usually come from the Government in the form of a Government bill. However a legislative proposal can also be presented in the form of a private members' motion from one or several members of the Riksdag. All legislative proposals are prepared by a parliamentary committee before the Riksdag makes a decision.

Legislation may concern anything from the penalty for shoplifting, to the phasing-out of a nuclear power station or changes to the health insurance system.

New laws can only be adopted by the Riksdag

The Riksdag is the only public body with the authority to adopt new laws or to amend existing legislation. A law that has been adopted can only be annulled or amended through a new decision by the Riksdag. 

The Government can also adopt rules that everyone residing in Sweden must follow, but these rules are known as ordinances. The Instrument of Government, which is one of Sweden's fundamental laws, stipulates what must be decided by law and what can be decided by an ordinance.

All laws and ordinances are published in the Swedish Code of Statutes (SFS), which is available in print and on the Internet.
Swedish statutes in translation (the Government)

Proposals from the Government

Proposals for new laws, or amendments to laws that are already in force, usually come from the Government in the form of a Government bill.

If the Government, for example, wants to introduce a new law containing amended rules on overtime, it must first submit a proposal to the Riksdag. For the proposal to be adopted as a law, a majority of the members of the Riksdag must then vote in favour of it. The Riksdag notifies the Government of its decision, which then issues the new law and ensures that it is implemented in the way intended by the Riksdag.

The Riksdag does not only take decisions about legislation

Many, but not all, of the decisions made by the Riksdag concern legislation. Other areas in which the Riksdag makes decisions include the central government budget and goals and guidelines for central government activities.

The EU also decides on legislation

Sweden is a member of the European Union (EU). This means that the Riksdag is no longer the only body with authority to decide what laws shall apply in Sweden; it shares this task with the EU.
Deals with EU matters