First Minister Alex Salmond outlined bills to allow an independence referendum, enable same-sex marriage and increase free childcare among 15 proposed new laws in in his legislative programme for the coming year.
Mr Salmond told MSPs in the Scottish Parliament that it was a "historic package of measures" which would pave the way to an independence referendum, on 4 September 2012.
He said: "It will lead to the best childcare provision anywhere in the United Kingdom.
"It uses all of the powers that we have to support jobs, growth and opportunities for all.
"And it paves the way for Scotland's most important decision in the past 300 years."
The legislative programme includes two bills setting out the Scottish government's proposed replacements for stamp duty and landfill tax in Scotland - the Scotland Act handed powers over these to Holyrood from 2015.
Other legislation is aimed at improving the integration of health and social care, to improve support available for victims and witnesses, to reform post-16 education and to bring bankruptcy law into the 21st century.