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Riigikogu

At Question Time ministers answered the questions of the members of the Riigikogu. A total of 10 items were deliberated.

 

Minister of Social Affairs Marko Pomerants answered the questions about health care problems, reserves of the Health Insurance Fund, financing of health care, cost-oriented prices of health care, relatedness of the social policy and elections as well as the extent of patients? cost-sharing.

 

Minister of Education and Research Toivo Maimets answered the question about the administration of educational system and professional qualifications

 

Minister of Internal Affairs Margus Leivo answered the question about financing the Border Guard.

 

The Riigikogu passed the following Acts:

 

The 2005 State Budget Act (453 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 57 votes in favour (36 against). Next year?s revenue in the state budget is EEK 53.072 billion and the expenditure, EEK 53.042 billion. The Social Democratic Party Faction and the Estonian Centre Party Factions did not support the passage of the state budget. The Isamaaliit Faction moved to suspend the third reading of the draft Act. The result of voting: 36 votes in favour, 57 against. The motion was not supported. The draft Act was put to the final vote and the Act was passed.

 

The Riigikogu passed with 75 votes in favour (1 abstention) the Penal Code and Alcohol Act Amendment Act (371 SE), initiated by the Isamaaliit Faction. According to the Act, the sale of alcohol to minors is considered to be a criminal offence, if committed repeatedly. The Act also allows more severe punishments for such offences.

 

The Riigikogu passed with 48 votes in favour (10 votes against) the Electricity Market Act and State Fees Act Amendment Act (303 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act specifies the obligations of network operators, the competence of the Energy Market Inspectorate and the obligations of the sellers of electricity. For instance, according to the Act, the seller of electricity has to provide the consumers with information about the environmental impact caused by CO2 emissions and radioactive waste as a result of electricity production. The Act also establishes criteria which enable to open the electricity market in the approximate extent of 20 per cent.

 

The Riigikogu passed with 59 votes in favour (6 against, 1 abstention) the Electronic Communications Act (404 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The purpose of the Act is to create conditions necessary for the development of electronic communication in order to promote the development of electronic communication networks and services without giving preference to specific technologies, and to ensure the protection of the interests of the users of electronic communication services by favouring free competition, and to guarantee the purposeful and just planning, allocation and use of radio frequencies and number series.

 

The Riigikogu passed with 68 votes in favour (1 abstention) the Insurance Activities Act (442 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act regulates insurance activities, insurance intermediation and supervision thereof. For the purposes of the Act, insurance activities are activities aimed at conclusion or maintenance in force of insurance contracts or reinsurance contracts and at the payment of indemnity in the event of the occurrence of the ensured event. The regulation in force up to now had become outdated, actual circumstances required the amendment and widening of the scope of regulation relating to insurers and insurance intermediaries; it was also necessary to amend the Act in connection with several European Parliament and Council directives.

 

The Riigikogu passed with 59 votes in favour (25 votes against) the Social Welfare Act and Social Benefits for Disabled Persons Act and Associated Acts Amendment Act (439 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The basic purpose of the Act is to finish the payment, through the Social Insurance Board and pursuant to the Social Benefits for Disabled Persons Act, of caregivers? allowance to caregivers or guardians of persons not less than 18 years of age with a severe or profound disability, and give local governments the right to pay caregivers? allowance pursuant to the Social Welfare Act.

 

The Riigikogu passed with 57 votes in favour (19 votes against) the Social Welfare Act Amendment Act (463 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. A provision delegating authority (clause 6 (81)) is added to the Social Welfare Act, which enables to establish by a regulation of the Minister of Social Affairs social welfare-related statistical report formats and the procedure for their submission. In order to estimate the situation of social welfare and plan its development, it is necessary to gather statistical data (e.g. the number of accepted applications for subsistence benefits by applicants? social status in local governments; the number of persons who received social welfare services by age and gender; providers of services by age, gender and education; social welfare services by sources of financing etc). This duty is also provided for in clauses 6 7) and 8) of the Social Welfare Act, according to which the duties of the Minister of Social Affairs include collection and analysis of information relating to social welfare and dissemination of information to the general public and collection of statistics for that purpose. Welfare statistics forms an essential basis for the formation of the national social policy by the Ministry of Social Affairs.

 

The Riigikogu passed with 49 votes in favour (29 votes against) the Social Welfare Act and Associated Acts Amendment Act (452 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. Amendments made to the Social Welfare Act may be divided into four groups. The first amendment establishes at legislative level the rehabilitation service to which the following persons are entitled: disabled persons, persons applying for determination of disability, children on the basis of a decision of the Juvenile Committee and persons with mental disorders. Second, the Act specifies the bases for the grant and payment of subsistence benefits in order to help families in need and dependent on social aid to get out of the situation. Third, the Social Welfare Act defines children entitled to foster care, specifies their rights and provides for requirements set to providers of foster care and their adult family members as well as establishes a provision delegating authority to the Minister of Social Affair to establish requirements to the care of children and its organisation. Four, a provision delegating authority was added to the Social Welfare Act, according to which the County Governor may, by a contract under public law, transfer to local governments the obligation to organise the procurement of prosthetic, orthopaedic and other appliances as provided for in the Social Welfare Act. Amendments to the State Family Benefits Act increase the quarterly allowances for families with four and five children, for families with six and more children and families raising triplets so as to prevent and ease the situation of families living in the risk of poverty. The amendment ensures families with children assistance from social security benefits so that the existence of children in the family would not make the family a recipient of the subsistence benefit.

 

The Riigikogu passed with 66 votes in favour the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Working and Rest Time Act Amendment Act (440 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act specifies the obligation of employers to organise medical examinations for workers who work during night time before they start work and with regular intervals during work. The Act changes the regulation of the working and rest time of crew members on board of a civil aircraft by establishing a minimum number of local days off and, therefore, liquidates the conflict between our Acts and the relevant EU directives.   

 

The Riigikogu passed with 61 votes in favour the Act on the Accession to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (385 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. Pursuant to the Convention the customs authorities cooperate in the investigation of criminal matters in order to prevent and detect the violations of customs regulations, to hold persons liable and impose punishments for violations of the Community and national customs regulations.

 

The Riigikogu heard:

 

The Report on the Implementation of the Criminal Policy Guidelines. Minister of Justice Ken-Marti Vaher gave an overview of the most important measures taken this year by the Government of the Republic in order to implement the Criminal Policy Guidelines approved by the Riigikogu last year.

 

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of the following Bills:

 

The Bill on Amendments to the State Borders Act (475 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

 

The Bill on Amendments to the Defence Forces Service Act (502 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

 

The E-money Institutions Bill (415 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Union for the Republic ? Res Publica Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. The result of voting: 26 votes in favour, 49 against. The motion was not supported. The second reading was concluded.

 

The Bill on Amendments to the Fishing Act (471 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

 

Names Bill (369 SE) initiated by the Government of the Republic.

 

Bill on Amendments to the Local Government Organisation Act (421 SE), initiated by Member of the Riigikogu Olev Laanjärv.

 

The Riigikogu suspended the second reading of the following Bills:

 

The Bill on Amendments to the Packaging Excise Duty Act, Packaging Act and the State Fees Act (490 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

 

The Medicinal Products Bill (360 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

 

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of the following Bills:

 

Bill on Amendments to the Business Code, Non-profit Associations Act, Foundations Act and Commercial Associations Act (469 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction

 

Bill on Amendments to the Enterprise Support and State Loan Guarantees Act (508 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic

 

Bill on Amendments to the Enterprise Support and State Loan Guarantees Act (459 SE), initiated by the Isamaaliit Faction

 

Bill on Amendments to the Enterprise Support and State Loan Guarantees Act (460 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction

 

Bill on the Ratification of the Convention between the Republic of Estonia and the Kingdom of Spain for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital and the Protocol Thereto (520 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic

 

Bill on Amendments to the Population Register Act (485 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Isamaaliit Faction moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. The result of voting: 6 votes in favour, 26 against. The motion was not supported. The first reading was concluded.

 

 Bill on the Ratification of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Republic of Turkey for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and the Protocol thereto (476 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic

 

Employees Involvement Bill (499 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic

 

Bill on Amendments to the Research and Development Activities Act and the Study Allowances and Study Loans Act (504 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic

 

The Riigikogu rejected the following Bill:

 

Bill on Amendments to §§ 32 1 and 51 of the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act (454 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction. The motion to reject the Bill was made by the Cultural Affairs Committee. The result of voting: 39 votes in favour, 32 against. The Bill was withdrawn from legislative proceeding.

* * *

The Draft Code of Civil Procedure (208 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The deliberation will be resumed at tomorrow?s sitting.

 

The sitting ended at 00.04.

 

The questions asked at the Question Time and the answers to them as well as the verbatim record of the Riigikogu sitting are available (in Estonian) on the Internet at:

http://web.riigikogu.ee/ems/plsql/stenograms.form 

 

The Riigikogu Press Service

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