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At Question Time ministers answered the questions of the members of the Riigikogu.

Minister of Defence Sven Mikser answered the questions of Arvo Sirendi about the increase in security during Estonia’s belonging to NATO, the question of Trivimi Velliste about the field exercises of the Defence Forces organised at the time of severe frost and the question of Elmar Truu about the barracks for the members of the Defence Forces.

Minister of Agriculture Jaanus Marrandi answered the question of Rainis Ruusamäe about the restrictions to the acquisition of immovables, the question of Kalev Kotkas about the situation in fishery and the question of Janno Reiljan about the use of the benefits of the SAPARD.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Liina Tõnisson answered the question of Mart Nutt about observing the Language Act by the Road Administration.

The Riigikogu passed the following Acts and the Resolution:

The Bank of Estonia Act Amendment Act (1241 SE), initiated by Members of the Riigikogu Kalev Kukk and Mihkel Pärnoja, was passed with 55 votes in favour (1 vote against). The Act added the provisions to the Bank of Estonia Act regulating the aim of the central bank and the collection of statistics, the Act updates also the provisions concerning the independence of the central bank that enable the Bank of Estonia to participate in the work of the European System of Central Banks.

The Rent Dispute Resolution Act (1070 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 44 votes in favour (2 votes against, 3 abstentions). Pursuant to the passed Act, a local government unit may establish a lease committee which is an independent body within a local government that resolves rent disputes. For resolving a dispute arising from the residential lease contract a lessee or a lessor of residential space may turn to the lease committee or to the court.

The Act on Amendments to the State Secrets Act, Public Service Act, Code of Criminal Court Appeal and Cassation Procedure, Code of Civil Procedure, Code of Administrative Court Procedure and Code of Criminal Procedure (1245 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 61 votes in favour. The Act stipulates the fourth level of state secrets classified as “restricted”, the need for which arises from the aim set by the Republic of Estonia to join NATO. The Act brings the State Secrets Act also into conformity with the Emergency Preparedness Act and ensures a better protection of the information related to the crisis management than before. The Act makes the work of the Committee for the Protection of State Secrets more effective and releases the Committee of excessive duties that are not primary in the sense of the Act and for the organisation of the work of the Committee.

The Act on Amendments to the War-Time National Defence Act and to Other Acts (1249 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 67 votes in favour.
The Act proceeds from the multi-stage scheme of raising the preparedness of the Defence Forces that enables to flexibly react to growing international tension and to fulfil the duties assumed by the state of Estonia with international agreements. While so far mobilisation was dealt with only in the war-time context (substantively the starting point was that the mobilisation and a state of war will be declared together), at present the Act provides the possibility to declare and carry out the mobilisation without establishing a formal state of war.

The Riigikogu passed with 56 votes in favour the Individual Labour Dispute Resolution Act Amendment Act (1074 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act eliminates the obstacles aggravating rapid and optimal solution of labour disputes. The Act enables the Labour Dispute Committee to more economically spend the funds of the state budget.

The Riigikogu passed with 54 votes in favour the Bankruptcy Act (1085 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. Through the bankruptcy proceedings the creditors are satisfied out of debtor’s property pursuant to procedure prescribed by law by way of transfer an debtor’s property or by the rehabilitation of an debtor’s enterprise. Debtors, if they are natural persons, are given a possibility to relieve of their obligations through the bankruptcy proceeding pursuant to procedure prescribed by law.

The Riigikogu passed with 41 votes in favour the Land Improvement Act (1246 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act regulates the construction and maintenance of the land improvement system, stipulates the requirements for the persons acting in the field of land improvement and establishes the bases for exercising the state supervision and the procedure for monitoring the compliance with the requirements of the Land Improvement Act.

The Professions Act and State Fees Act Amendment Act was passed after its second legislative proceeding. The Act stipulates that compositions of professional councils are submitted for the approval to the Government of the Republic by the Minister of Social Affairs. In forming the composition of a professional council the Minister of Social Affairs relies on the motions of the representatives of the employees, employers, trade and vocational associations and the state. The Act enters into force on May 1, 2003.

The Riigikogu passed with 33 votes in favour the Hunting Act Amendment Act (1236 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act reworded subsection 20 (2) of the Law on the Protection and Use of Wild Fauna in such a way that the elimination of circumstances causing helpless situation of animals and the obligation to organise taking of an animal who has got into helpless situation back to nature is not assumed by the Rescue Board, but rescue service agencies administrated by a county government and rescue service agencies of local governments, in case they have been formed.

The Riigikogu passed with 34 votes in favour the Identity Documents Act Amendment Act (1145 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act supplemented the list of travel documents that Estonia recognises when crossing the border. The group of persons to whom diplomatic passports are issued has also been extended, and supplementary conditions for the issue of the named document have been established.

The Riigikogu passed with 31 votes in favour the Precious Metal Products Act (1175 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act establishes the requirements for the handling of precious metal products and the requirements for the determination and certification of the fineness of precious metals, the organisation of supervision over the compliance with the Act and the liability for the violation of the law.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu On the Use of the Estonian Defence Forces Unit in Performance of International Duties of the Estonian State under the International Peacekeeping Mission in Afghanistan (1285 OE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 40 votes in favour (1 vote against). The Resolution provides the use of the Estonian Defence Forces Unit with the staff of up to 12 members of the Defence Forces under the international peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan led by the International Security Assistance Force with the term of up to ten months beginning from sending the Estonian unit to the mission region.

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of the following Bills:

The Bill on Amendments to the Republic of Estonia Act on the Members of the Riigikogu Official Wages, Pension and Other Social Guarantees (1184, 1193, 1207 and 1216 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, Estonian People’s Union Faction, Estonian Reform Party Faction and Member of the Riigikogu Lauri Vahtre. The Bill was sent to the third reading. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Social Affairs Committee is 23 January, 12.00.

The Bill on Amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia for the Election of Local Government Councils for Four Years (1181 SE), initiated by 40 members of the Riigikogu. The Bill was sent to the third reading. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Constitutional Committee is 31 January, 16.00.

The Riigikogu suspended the second reading of the following Bills:

The Equality and Equal Treatment Bill (1198 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Constitutional Committee is 27 January, 12.00.

The Restrictions on Acquisition of Immovables Bill (1187 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Rural Affairs Committee is 27 January, 10.00.

The Bill on Amendments to the Motor Third Party Liability Insurance Act and the Insurance Activities Act (1163 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.
The term for submission of motions to amend to the Economic Affairs Committee is 29 January, 12.00.

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of the following Bills:

The Small Enterprise Development Bill (938 SE), initiated by Members of the Riigikogu Urmas Laht and Kalev Kallo. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Economic Affairs Committee is 24 January, 12.00.

The Bill on Amendments to the Act on Prevention of Importation and Exportation of Goods Infringing Intellectual Property Rights (1264 SE), initiated by the Finance Committee. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Economic Affairs Committee is 28 January, 12.00.

The Bill on Amendments to the Legal Chancellor Act and Associated Acts (1265 SE), initiated by the Constitutional Committee. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Constitutional Committee is 24 January, 11.00.

The Bill on Amendments to §§ 149 and 217 of the Code of Civil Procedure (1266 SE), initiated by the Constitutional Committee. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Constitutional Committee is 24 January, 11.00.

The Bill on Amendments to the Working Procedure of the President of the Republic Act, Legal Chancellor Act and Defence Forces Service Act (1276 SE), initiated by the Constitutional Committee. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Constitutional Committee is 23 January, 11.00.

The Bill on Amendments to the Bank of Estonia Act, State Audit Office Act and Courts Act (1277 SE), initiated by the Constitutional Committee. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Constitutional Committee is 23 January, 11.00.

The Bill on Amendments to § 25 of the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act (1213 SE), initiated by Members of the Riigikogu Jaanus Männik and Janno Reiljan. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Cultural Affairs Committee is 27 January, 10.00.

The Bill on Amendments to § 24 of the Working and Rest Time Act (1239 SE), initiated by Members of the Riigikogu Tõnu Kauba, Peeter Kreitzberg, Endel Paap, Nelli Privalova, Viive Rosenberg, Ants Ruusmann, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Vladimir Velman and Jüri Võigemast. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Social Affairs Committee is 23 January, 12.00.

The Bill on the Ratification of the Amendments to the Cooperative Agreement on Pension Insurance between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Russian Federation and to the Protocol Thereto (1250 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Social Affairs Committee is 24 January, 12.00.

The Bill on Amendments to § 48 (7) of the Income Tax Act (1287 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Finance Committee is 23 January, 11.00.

The Bill on Amendments to § 6 of the Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications Act (1270 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Cultural Affairs Committee is 27 January, 10.00.

The Bill on Amendments to the Government of the Republic Act and Foreign Relations Act (1273 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Foreign Affairs Committee is 27 January, 10.00.

The International Military Cooperation Bill (1275 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The term for submission of motions to amend to the National Defence Committee is 27 January, 10.00.

The Bill on Amendments to the Aviation Act and Rescue Act (1262 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Economic Affairs Committee is 29 January, 12.00.

The Bill on the Ratification of the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (1259 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Economic Affairs Committee is 24 January, 12.00.

The Bill on Amendments to § 63 of the Government of the Republic Act (1261 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Constitutional Committee is 23 January, 11.00.

The Bill on Amendments to the Chemicals Act (1271 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Environment Committee is 29 January, 12.00.

The Bill on Amendments to the State Family Benefits Act (1286 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Social Affairs Committee is 24 January, 12.00.

The Bill on Amendments to the Notaries Act, Notaries’ Fees Act, Notarisation Act, Sworn Translators Act and Business Code (1243 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Legal Affairs Committee is 27 January, 11.55.

The Bill on Amendments to the Prosecutor’s Office Act (1274 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Legal Affairs Committee is 24 January, 12.00.

The Bill on Amendments to the Bailiffs Act, Code of Enforcement Procedure and State Fees Act (1269 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Legal Affairs Committee is 27 January, 11.00.

The sitting ended at 23.28.

The Riigikogu Press Service

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