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The Riigikogu passed with 81 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Act on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and Precursors thereof (259 SE), initiated by the Government. The Act provides a prohibition on handling the chemical compounds potentially harmful to health gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL) and 1,4-Butanediol (1,4-BD) for the purpose of causing drug intoxication to a person. These are substances which, when administered orally, are transformed in the organism into the psychotropic substance gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) which is also known as “liquid ecstasy”. The amendment helps restrict the availability of chemical compounds potentially harmful to health that are used for the purpose of achieving a psychoactive effect, and avoid causing damage to health.

The Act on Amendments to the Maritime Safety Act and the Ports Act (300 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 79 votes in favour. The aim of the amendments is to simplify and harmonise the administrative proceedings applied to maritime transport by establishing a legal basis for using a single national electronic marine information system for individuals and state authorities. At the same time the Maritime Safety Act and the Ports Act are brought into conformity with European Union legislation and the requirements of international conventions. The amendments will help significantly reduce the administrative burden of maritime transport and increase the attractiveness of maritime transport as an important and sustainable transport channel. The Act enters into force on 1 July 2013.

The Act on the Denunciation of the Convention Concerning the Formation of an International Union for the Publication of Customs Tariffs (324 SE) was passed with 68 votes in favour. The aim of the Act is to denounce the Convention Concerning the Formation of an International Union for the Publication of Customs Tariffs. At present, the field is regulated by Council Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87 and the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System adopted by WCO (World Customs Organisation), which in conjunction with the Council Regulation regulates this field in significantly more detail. The International Union for the Publication of Customs Tariffs was formed in Brussels on 5 July 1890, and the Republic of Estonia acceded to this Union in 1923 on the basis of a corresponding Act.

On the motion of the Rural Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Land Reform Act and Amendments to Other Acts arising therefrom (335 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The aim of the amendments is to solve the problems that have appeared in the law that is currently in force and to provide for the changes necessary for speeding up the completion of the land reform. The main problems that are intended to be solved with the Bill and accordingly the main aims of the Bill are the following: the regulation of the acquisition of the land necessary to service a construction in common ownership in situations where any of the co-owners does not wish to acquire the land; the solution of the problems related to the acquisition of land units which cannot be used independently and which are bordering on an immovable; the reduction of the amount of land retained in state ownership encumbered with the right of superficies for the benefit of owners of existing structures; the provision of the obligation to carry out the land reform as regards the land granted for use pursuant to Estonian SSR Farm Act; and the establishment of the deadlines necessary for faster completion of the land reform. Besides the Land Reform Act, the Bill also amends the Law of Property Act Implementation Act, the Republic of Estonia Principles of Ownership Reform Act, the Earth’s Crust Act and the State Assets Act. The Bill was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the Rural Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Territory of Estonia Administrative Division Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (352 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The Bill proposes amendment of the procedure for changing the administrative-territorial organisation so that voluntary merger of local governments would not be restricted by merging regions prescribed by the Government of the Republic. It also proposes to expressly allow local governments in special circumstances, that is, local governments located on islands, to merge also when as a result of the merger of local governments there will be no common administrative border between the territories of the local governments. The purpose of the Bill is to promote the merger of local governments and the organisation of the administrative division of the territory which will lead to a rise in the administrative capacity of local governments and their ability to prepare successful project applications, the improvement of the availability and quality of the public services offered by local governments on their territories, and the development of cooperation capacity of local governments. The Bill was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the Social Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Public Service Act and Other Acts (365 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The aim of the Bill is to bring the Individual Labour Dispute Resolution Act, the Labour Market Services and Benefits Act and the Unemployment Insurance Act into conformity with the new Public Service Act. The amendments concern the application of favourable conditions to officials and employees of administrative agencies, specify the scope of the obligations of the state in relation to the funerals of officials who have died during the performance of their duties, and guarantee that the non-working spouse who has been accompanying an official sent on a long-term assignment and who has been paid the allowance for spouse pursuant to the Public Service Act has the right to receive the unemployment allowance and the unemployment insurance benefit similarly with a person who has received the allowance for spouse pursuant to the Foreign Service Act, etc. The implementing provisions of the Public Service Act are also amended. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

On the motion of the Cultural Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act and Other Associated Acts (340 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The aim of the Bill is to update the organisation of education. According to the Bill, the possibility to found a basic school and an upper secondary school operating as a single institution, and a general education school and a hobby school operating as a single institution will be eliminated as of the entry into force of the Act on 1 September 2013. A basic school and an upper secondary school operating as a single institution or a general education school and a hobby school operating as a single institution as at 1 September 2013 will be allowed to continue to operate as a single institution. The Bill specifies the responsibility of the state and local governments for providing education opportunities for students with special needs. According to the Bill, it will be possible to continue to grant hobby education at a general education school, but this will not require a separate type of school, the general education school-hobby school. The Bill provides that the rural municipality government or city government establishes a school district for every municipal school, and the responsibility for the provision of general secondary education is regulated more clearly. With the Bill, the word “pedagoog” [“teacher”] is replaced with the word “õpetaja” [“teacher”], and several other amendments are made. This Act amends, besides the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act, also the Republic of Estonia Education Act, the Republic of Estonia Child Protection Act, the Private Schools Act, the Hobby Schools Act, the Pre-school Child Care Institutions Act, the Vocational Educational Institutions Act, the General Part of the Economic Activities Code Act, the Public Health Act, the Rescue Service Act, the Security Act, the Adult Education Act, the Superannuated Pensions Act and Code of Criminal Procedure. The Estonian Centre Party Faction moved to reject this Bill at the first reading. 16 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion to reject and 39 members voted against. Thus, the motion was not supported and the Bill was sent to the second reading.

On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Police and Border Guard Act, the Rescue Service Act and Associated Acts (364 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The aim of the Bill is to introduce into the Police and Border Guard Act, the Rescue Service Act and the Punishment Register Act the amendments which would ensure sustainable functioning of special services, including the police service and the rescue service, upon the entry into force of the Pubic Service Act. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Fire Safety Act (363 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The aim of the Bill is to organise the problems that have emerged in practice and to ensure better legal clarity for persons for observing the provisions of the Fire Safety Act. As one practical issue for reducing the number of fires caused by carelessness, the Bill provides that, upon smoking or using open flame in a building, causing a fire hazard must be avoided. The Bill also amends the principles of exercising state supervision to ascertain the causes of fire. In order to increase legal clarity, it is specified which building design documentation and permits for the use of construction works need to be approved by the Rescue Board in order that the local government can grant its written consent and issue the construction permit and the permit for the use of construction works. In addition, the organisation of determining the beginning and end of the period of fire hazard and the period of great fire hazard is specified. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

The sitting ended at 7.02 p.m.

The Riigikogu Press Service

 

 

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