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The Riigikogu passed with 68 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Promotion of Local Government Merger Act (318 SE), initiated by the Government. The purpose of the amendments is to promote the process of voluntary merger of local governments. According tot the Act, merger grants are allocated from the state budget to the local governments formed as the result of a merger. A merger grant of 625 kroons per each resident of a merged local government shall be calculated separately for each merged local government, and the size of such grant shall not be less than 2 000 000 and not more than 4 000 000 kroons per local government. This Act enters into force on 1 January 2009. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.

The Riigikogu passed with 70 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Heritage Conservation Act (331 SE), initiated by the Government. After the entry into force of the Act, conducting of the work involving monuments will be facilitated and less costly economically for owners and possessors of cultural monuments. This is done with a view to ensuring better preservation of objects under state protection. The new regulation concerning the change of protected zones ensures greater legal clarity and, likewise, enables actually necessary protected zones to be established for things which have been designated as monuments earlier in which certain restrictions relating to heritage conservation apply. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.
 
The Act on Amendments to the Animal Protection Act and the Farm Animals Breeding Act (328 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 69 votes in favour. The purpose of the amendments is to bring the Animal Protection Act into conformity with the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes which was approved by the Government on 29 November 2007, and the Convention for the Protection of Vertebrate Animals Used for Experimental and Other Scientific Purposes which was approved by the Government on 10 January 2008. In addition, the wording of the concept “farm animal” and the chapter on liability are amended, with a view to resolving the problems which have appeared during implementation of the Act. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.
 
The Act on Amendments to the Income Tax Act (352 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 45 votes in favour. With the amendment, the implementation of the calculation on a yearly basis and the advance payments system upon taxation of companies is postponed by one year (to 1 January 2010). On 14 August 2008, the Government decided, besides postponing of the deadline for entry into force of the Act, to apply as soon as of 2009 the amendments which provide that liquidation proceeds and payments made upon reduction of the own capital of a company will be taxed at the level of the company who makes these payments. The Act enters into force on 1 January 2009. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.
 
On the motion of the Finance Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the State Budget of 2008 Act (372 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The amendments concern the budget lines of the Chancellery of the Riigikogu, the Office of the President of the Republic, the Government of the Republic, the State Chancellery, the Supreme Court and ministries and agencies within the area of government of the ministries. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
20 November 2008
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
 
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