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Riigikogu

The Riigikogu passed seven Acts:

The Riigikogu passed with 66 votes in favour (2 abstentions) the Tobacco Act (350 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act provides the requirements for tobacco products and their packaging, special requirements for the handling of tobacco products, restrictions on sponsorship and prohibition against the promotion of tobacco products and prohibitions and restrictions on the consumption of tobacco products, also supervision over compliance with this Act and liability for violation of the Act. The Act imposes more severe restrictions on the sale of tobacco products and on smoking in public places than before. Upon entry into force of the Act, for example, in casinos and catering places, the bars included, smoking is allowed only in special rooms. Smoking is prohibited in workplaces, also in pedestrians? tunnels and staircases of apartment blocks. Also in a number of public premises. The violation of prohibitions results in a fine of up to EEK 1,200. Upon entry into force of the Act the transitional period for enterprises to create relevant conditions is two years. Smoking, possession or procurement of tobacco products by minors brings along a fine in the amount of up to EEK 600. The punishment is also imposed for tempting or in any other way instigating minors to use tobacco products. The fine may amount to EEK 18,000. For buying or offering a cigarette to a minor the fine may amount to EEK 6,000.

The Riigikogu passed with 45 votes in favour (1 abstention) the Act on the Ratification of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (610 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, the purpose of which is to protect the present and future generations from the devastating results to health, society, environment and economy, caused by the consumption of tobacco and tobacco smoke. The planned measures create the terms and conditions for continuous and essential reduction of the spread of tobacco and exposure to tobacco smoke.

The Riigikogu passed with 79 votes in favour the Environmental Monitoring Act Amendment Act (579 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, which specifies the structure of the environmental monitoring, organised by the state, the organisation for the arrangement of the monitoring programme, the role of the monitoring council among them, and harmonizes the Act with the Environmental Register Act. The Act harmonizes the legislation with the environmental law of the European Union.

The Riigikogu passed with 70 votes in favour the Victim Support Act and the Prosecutor?s Act Amendment Act (564 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act entitles the Social Insurance Board, belonging to the area of administration of the Ministry of Social Affairs, to provide and organise victim support services. During the last months of the previous year 35 officials providing the victim support services have been recruited and trained at the Social Insurance Board who will start working in the Victim Support Division, formed on the basis of the Statutes of the Social Insurance Board. In addition to the provision of victim support services, the task of the named officials is also the involvement and supervision of the victim support volunteers. The regulations of the Minister of Social Affairs, the basis of the activities of the victim support volunteers, have been signed and entered into force in the second week of January of the current year.

The Riigikogu passed with 81 votes in favour the Border Guard Act Amendment Act (555 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act creates the legal basis for the officials? work in the Border Guard. The previous Border Guard Act did not provide for the officials? work in the Border Guard. At the same time the Border Guard Administration, the Border Guard Regions and other Border Guard agencies are in the meaning of the Government of the Republic Act government agencies and administrative agencies in the meaning of the Public Service Act. As the public service is the working in administrative agencies of the state or local governments, the working of public servants must also be possible in the Border Guard.

The Riigikogu passed with 77 votes in favour (1 abstention) the Act on Amendments to § 3 of the Wages Act (570 SE), initiated by the Social Democratic Party Faction. The Act specifies the principle that the amount of the wage is established in the contract of employment and from which the taxes, established by the Act, will be withheld, the personal income tax among them. This will ensure the receipt of the additional income proceeding from the reduction of the income tax per cent. The specified Act also prevents the reduction of deductions directed to the Pension Paying Office, health insurance and unemployment insurance. The specified Act ensures the identical understanding of the notion of wage fixed in the employment contract, avoids redundancy in wage statistics and makes the wage negotiations clearer.

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of three Bills:

The Bill on Amendments to the Aviation Act and State Fees Act (572 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Bill on Amendments to the Universities Act and Institutions of Professional Higher Education Act (616 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Bill on Amendments to the Technical Regulations and Standards Act (604 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

The Riigikogu suspended the second reading of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Code of Enforcement Procedure Implementation Bill (273 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of four Bills:

The Bill on Amendments to the Government of the Republic Act and to Other Acts Arising Therefrom (621 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu On the Use of the Estonian Defence Forces Unit in Performance of International Duties of the Estonian State in the Membership of the NATO Response Forces (629 OE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Bill on Amendments to the Defence Forces Service Act and to Associated Acts (628 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Bill on Amendments to § 60 of the Government of the Republic Act (627 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

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On the motion of the Constitutional Committee the Bill on Amendments to the Local Government Organisation Act (407 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, which had to pass a third reading, was not deliberated.

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At Question Time Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Edgar Savisaar answered the questions about research and development, the privatisation of state enterprises and the development of the Estonian economy. Minister of Finance Aivar Sõerd answered the questions about state finances and the drafting of the budget. Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet answered the questions about the foreign policy of Estonia and about signing the border treaty between Estonia and Russia.

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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