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CHAPTER I. THE POLITICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE ORGANIZATION
Article 18. The political and administrative organization of the Federative Republic of Brazil comprises the Union, the States, the Federal District and the Municipalities, all of them autonomous, as this Constitution provides.
Paragraph 1 - Brasília is the federal capital.
Paragraph 2 - The federal territories are part of the Union and their establishment, transformation into States or reintegration into the State of origin shall be regulated by a supplementary law.
Paragraph 3 - The States may merge into each other, subdivide or dismember to be annexed to others or to form new states or federal territories, subject to the approval of the population directly concerned, by means of a plebiscite, and of the National Congress, by means of a supplementary law.
Paragraph 4 - The establishment, merger, fusion and dismemberment of municipalities shall be effected through state law, within the period set forth by supplementary federal law, and shall depend on prior consultation, by means of a plebiscite, of the population of the municipalities concerned, after the publication of Municipal Feasibility Studies, presented and published as set forth by law.
Paragraph 4: CA nr. 15, September 12th 1996.
Article 19. The Union, the States, the Federal District and the municipalities are forbidden to:
I - establish religious sects or churches, subsidize them, hinder their activities, or maintain relationships of dependence or alliance with them or their representatives, without prejudice to collaboration in the public interest in the manner set forth by law;
II - refuse to honour public documents;
III - create distinctions between Brazilians or preferences favouring some.
CHAPTER II. THE UNION
Article 20. The following are property of the Union:
I - the property which presently belongs to it as well as that which may be attributed to it;
II - the unoccupied lands essential to the defense of the boundaries, the fortifications and military constructions, the federal routes of communication and the preservation of the environment, as defined by law;
III - the lakes, rivers and any watercourses in lands within its domain or that wash more than one State, that serve as boundaries with other countries or that extend into foreign territory or proceed therefrom, as well as bank lands and river beaches;
IV - the river and lake islands in zones bordering with other countries, the sea beaches, the ocean and off-shore islands, excluded the islands which are seats of municipalities, excepted those areas of interest to pubic service and federal environment unity, and those referred to in article 26, II;
Words in purple added by CA 46, May 5th 2005.
V - the natural resources of the continental shelf and of the exclusive economic zone;
VI - the territorial sea;
VII - tide lands and those added to them;
VIII - the hydraulic energy potentials;
IX - the mineral resources, including those of the subsoil;
X - the natural underground cavities and the archaeological and historic sites;
XI - those lands traditionally occupied by the Indians.
Paragraph 1 - In accordance with the law, the participation in the results of the exploitation of petroleum or natural gas, hydric resources for the purpose of generation of electric power and other mineral resources in the respective territory, continental shelf, territorial sea or exclusive economic zone, financial compensation for the exploitation thereof, is assured to the States, Federal District and the municipalities, as well as to agencies of the administration of the Union.
Paragraph 2 - The strip of land up to a hundred and fifty kilometers in width alongside the terrestrial boundaries, designated as boundary zone, considered essential to the defense of the national territory and its occupation and utilization shall be regulated by law.
Article 21. The Union shall have the power to:
I - maintain relations with foreign states and participate in international organizations;
II - declare war and make peace;
III - ensure national defense;
IV - allow foreign forces, in the cases provided for in a supplementary law, to pass through the national territory or to remain therein temporarily;
V - declare a state of siege, a state of defense and federal intervention;
VI - authorize and control the production and trade of military materiel;
VII - issue currency;
VIII - manage the foreign exchange reserves of the country and control financial operations, especially those of credit, exchange and capitalization, as well as insurance and private security;
IX - prepare and carry out national and regional plans for the ordaining of the territory and for economic and social development;
X - maintain the postal service and the national air mail;
XI - operate, directly or through authorization, concession or permission, the telecommunications services, as set forth by law, which law shall provide for the organization of the services, the establishment of a regulatory agency and other institutional issues;
Clause XI added by CA 15, August 15th 1995. The former text was more detailed; the present text remits several matters to the law.
XII - operate, directly or through authorization, concession or permission:
a) the services of sound broadcasting and of sound and image broadcasting;
Clause XII added by CA 15, August 15th 1995. Original text included the expression 'and other broadcasting means'.
b) the electric power services and facilities and the energetic exploitation of watercourses, jointly with the states wherein those hydro-energetic potentials are located;
c) air and aerospace navigation and airport infrastructure;
d) railway and waterway services between seaports and national borders or which cross the boundary of a state or territory;
e) interstate and international highway passenger transportation services;
f) sea, river and lake ports;
XIII - organize and maintain the Judicial Power, the Public Prosecution and the Public Legal Defense of the Federal District and territories;
XIV - organize and maintain the civil police, the military police and the fire brigade of the Federal District, as well as providing financial assistance to the Federal District for the execution of public services, by means of an specific fund;
Clause XIV amended by CA 19, June 4th 1998.
XV - organize and maintain the official services of statistics, geography, geology and cartography of national scope;
XVI - classify, for indicative purposes, public entertainment and television programs;
XVII - grant amnesty;
XVIII - plan and promote permanent defense against public disasters, especially droughts and floods;
XIX - establish a national system for the management of hydric resources and define criteria for the concession of the right to their use;
XX - establish directives for urban development, including housing, basic sanitation and urban transportation;
XXI - establish principles and directives for the national transportation system;
XXII - perform the services of maritime, air, and border police;
Clause XIV amended by CA 19, June 4th 1998.
XXIII - operate nuclear energy services and facilities of any nature, exercise state monopoly over research, mining, enrichment and reprocessing, industrialization and trade in nuclear ores and their by-products, taking into account the following principles and conditions:
a) all nuclear activity within the national territory shall only be admitted for peaceful purposes and subject to approval by the National Congress;
b) under regime of permission, authorization is given for the utilization of radioisotopes in research and for medical, agricultural and industrial use;
Letters b, c, and of this clause were amended by CA 49, February 8th 2006. The CA supressed the regime of concession from letter b, removed the expression "as well as for other analogous activities" from letter b, added text of letter c, and turned former letter c into letter d.
c) under regime of permission, authorization is given for production, commercialization and utilization of radioisotopes with half-life equal to or shorter than two hours;
d) civil liability for nuclear damages does not depend on the existence of fault;
XXIV - organize, maintain and carry out inspection of working conditions;
XXV - establish the areas and conditions for the exercise of placer mining activities in associative form.
Article 22. The Union has the exclusive power to legislate on: I - civil, commercial, criminal, procedural, electoral, agrarian, maritime, aeronautical, space and labour law;
II - expropriation;
III - civil and military requisitioning, in case of imminent danger or in times of war;
IV - waters, energy, informatics, telecommunications and radio broadcasting;
V - the postal service;
VI - the monetary and measures systems, metal certificates and guarantees;
VII - policies for credit, foreign exchange, insurance and transfer of values;
VIII - foreign and interstate trade;
IX - guidelines for the national transportation policy;
X - the regime of the ports and lake, river, ocean, air and aerospace navigation;
XI - traffic and transportation;
XII - beds of ore, mines, other mineral resources and metallurgy;
XIII - nationality, citizenship and naturalization;
XIV - Indian populations;
XV - emigration, immigration, entry, extradition and expulsion of foreigners;
XVI - the organization of the national employment system and conditions for the practice of professions;
XVII - the judicial organization of the Public Prosecution and of the Public Legal Defense of the Federal District and of the territories, as well as their administrative organization;
XVIII - the national statistical, cartographic and geological systems;
XIX - systems of savings, as well as of obtaining and guaranteeing popular savings;
XX - consortium and lottery systems;
XXI - general organization rules, troops, material, guarantees, drafting and mobilization of the military police and military fire brigades;
XXII - the jurisdiction of the federal police and of the federal highway and railway polices;
XXIII - welfare;
XXIV - directives and bases of the national education;
XXV - public registers;
XXVI - nuclear activities of any nature;
XXVII - general rules for all types of bidding and contracting, with observance of the art. 37, XXI, in the case of the direct public administration, autarchies and foundations of the Union, States, Federal District and municipalities, and of the art. 173, paragraph 1, III, in the case of public companies and public corporations;
Clause XXVII amended by CA 19, June 4th 1998. The former text made no distinctions between the Administration and the public companies; as consequence, a big company like Petrobrás had to face the same restrictions as a public hospital to sign their contracts.
Read comments about the bidding legislation in Brazil.
XXVIII - territorial defense, aerospace defense, maritime defense, civil defense, and national mobilization;
XXIX - commercial advertising.
Sole paragraph - A supplementary law may authorize the States to legislate upon specific questions related to the matters listed in this article.
Article 23. The Union, the States, the Federal District and the municipalities, in common, have the power:
I - to ensure that the Constitution, the laws and the democratic institutions are respected and that public property is preserved;
III - to provide for health and public assistance, for the protection and safeguard of handicapped persons;
III - to protect the documents, works and other assets of historical, artistic or cultural value, the monuments, the remarkable landscapes and the archaeological sites;
IV - to prevent works of art and other assets of historical, artistic and cultural value from being taken out of the country, destroyed or from being deprived of their original characteristics;
V - to provide the means of access to culture, education and science;
VI - to protect the environment and to fight pollution in any of its forms;
VII - to preserve the forests, fauna and flora;
VIII - to promote agriculture and cattle breeding and organize the supply of foodstuff;
IX - to promote housing construction programs and the improvement of housing and basic sanitation conditions;
X - to fight the causes of poverty and the factors leading to substandard living conditions, promoting the social integration of the unprivileged sectors of the population;
XI - to register, monitor and control the concessions of rights to research and exploit hydric and mineral resources within their territories;
XII - to establish and to implement an educational policy for traffic safety.
Sole paragraph - A supplementary law shall establish rules for the cooperation among the Union and the States, the Federal District and the municipalities aiming at the attainment of balanced development and well- being on a nationwide scope.
Article 24. The Union, the States and the Federal District have the power to legislate concurrently on:
I - tax, financial, penitentiary, economic and urbanistic law;
II - budget;
III - trade boards;
IV - costs of forensic services;
V - production and consumption;
VI - forests, hunting, fishing, fauna, preservation of nature, defense of the soil and natural resources, protection of the environment and control of pollution;
VII - protection of the historic, cultural and artistic heritage, as well as of assets of touristic interest and landscapes of outstanding beauty;
VIII - liability for damages to the environment, to consumers, to assets and rights of artistic, aesthetic, historical, and touristic value, as well as to remarkable landscapes;
IX - education, culture, teaching and sports;
X - establishment, operation and procedures of small claims courts;
XI - judicial procedures;
XII - social security, protection and defense of health;
XIII - legal assistance and public defense;
XIV - protection and social integration of handicapped persons;
XV - protection of childhood and youth;
XVI - organization, guarantees, rights and duties of the civil policies.
Paragraph 1 - Within the scope of concurrent legislation, the competence of the Union shall be limited to the establishment of general rules.
Paragraph 2 - The competence of the Union to legislate upon general rules does not exclude the supplementary competence of the States
Paragraph 3 - If there is no federal law or general rules, the States shall exercise full legislative competence to provide for their peculiarities.
Paragraph 4 - The supervenience of a federal law over general rules suspends the effectiveness of a state law to the extent that the two are contrary to each other.