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On the motion of the Environment Committee, the Bill on Amendments to § 36 of the Nature Conservation Act (918 SE), initiated by the Estonian Green Party Faction, was rejected at the first reading. 42 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the rejection, 8 members voted against and 1 member abstained. Thus, the Bill was dropped from the legislative proceeding.

On the motion of the Environment Committee, the Bill on Amendments to § 57 of the Environmental Charges Act (919 SE), initiated by the Estonian Green Party Faction, was rejected at the first reading. 41 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion to reject and 7 members voted against. The Bill was dropped from the legislative proceeding.
 
The Riigikogu approved the Estonian Forestry Development Plan until 2020 (909 OE) with 49 votes in favour. The development plan provides a significant increase in the prescribed cut. From the point of view of putting the abundant forest resources to good use and creating jobs, the optimal prescribed cut would be at 22 million m3 a year, while the best scenario for balanced development involves a prescribed cut of 12–15 million m3 a year, which nearly doubles the prescribed cut for 2009. The initiator argues that increasing the prescribed cut will help to create new jobs in the fields of forestry, transport and forest industry. The Development Plan raises the percentage of forest land under strict protection to 10 % of the total forest land and provides additional protection for natural treasures during regeneration cutting. 6 members of the Riigikogu voted against the Resolution. The Resolution enters into force upon signature.
 
The Minister of Internal Affairs Marko Pomerants presented a report on the action taken in 2010 towards the realisation of the main objectives of security policy until 2015. According to Pomerants, the underlying vision and purpose of the security policy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is to reduce the number of accidents leading to deaths or injuries, improve the safety of the living environment and the sense of security. “The principles of security policy push us to work towards ensuring the security of all the members of the society through the cooperation of public, private and non-profit sector. The security policy overview describes by categories the major actions and successes of the previous year of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and its agencies in contributing to a more efficient internal security and prevention of threats,” Minister Pomerants explained. It was the first year for the Police and Border Guard Board to function as a single agency, and the activity of the Information Technology Development Centre of the Ministry of Internal Affairs really took off. As concerns ensuring the sense of security of the population, the Minister remarked that crime level remained at the 2009 level: last year, a total of 48 340 crimes were registered, which is 19 less than in 2009, i.e. a decline of 0.04 %. There has been a decrease in the number of fatalities through accidents, homicides and suicides. 523 people died for these reasons in 2010, while the respective number for 2009 was 581. Pomerants highlighted traffic as a field that has been under a heightened scrutiny and a main priority of the police in recent years. This has resulted in a continuously decreasing number of traffic fatalities. The goals of the national road traffic safety programme have been reached ahead of the predicted term. “Prevention work involving children has yielded excellent results. Children know how to act correctly and how to warn their parents to act correctly in traffic,” the Minister added. In improving fire safety, great attention continues to be accorded to social welfare institutions where fires can lead to very tragic results. Fire safety requirements are checked every year in all welfare institutions. The fire safety situation in schools is also under close observation. The numbers of forest, field and building fires have all decreased. The Minister named water safety as a new field of interest in 2010 which had never before been treated in prevention work. The number of property crimes increased by 722 compared to 2009, while the number of crimes categorised as robberies decreased by 17.5 %. Pomerants also spoke about issuing travel documents with a digital fingerprint image, new residence permit cards, questions related to visa applications and issuing of visas, and illegal border crossings. The Minister also discussed the activities of the Rescue Board and the prevention and combating of intelligence and subversive activities. The biggest successes listed by the Minister of Internal Affairs included the work of the largest state agency in Estonia – the Police and Border Guard Board – in ensuring security during the present economic recession, and the establishing of the European Union internal affairs and justice area IT-agency in Estonia. In this issue, Jaanus Rahumägi took the floor on behalf of the Reform Party faction.
 
On the motion of the Social Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Public Health Act and Associated Acts (906 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. This Bill establishes in the Public Health Act a separate chapter concerning databases related to population health which provides the legal bases for the cancer register, the medical birth register, the myocardial infarction register, the tuberculosis register and the water safety information system. At present, the cancer register, the medical birth register and the tuberculosis register are maintained at the National Institute for Health Development and the myocardial infarction register is maintained at Tartu University Hospital. The water safety information system is a new information system which will be created at the Health Board and which will collect data concerning operators of drinking water, natural mineral water and spring water, the water supply and the quality of drinking water, holders of swimming pools and recreational swimming pools and the quality of pool water and bathing water. The purpose of the Bill is to establish a correct legal basis arising from law for databases operating in the public health sector. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Environmental Committee, the second reading of the Spatial Information Bill (890 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The Bill ensures transposition of the relevant European Parliament and Council directive into Estonian law and creates legal bases for the development of the Estonian infrastructure for spatial information which would be in compliance with the European Union infrastructure for spatial information. For the purposes of this Bill, “spatial data” means any data with a direct or indirect reference to a specific location or geographical area, including data held in databases, describing the location, characteristics and form of spatial objects in geographical space. The Bill provides the requirements concerning spatial data sets and services for making them available and sharing them, the conditions of management of the geodetic system and the address data system and of collection and granting use of topographic data, organisation of the coordination of the development of the infrastructure for spatial information and of reporting, state supervision of establishment of geographical addresses and the liability for violation of the requirements for protection of a geodetic mark. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Cultural Affairs Committee, the second reading of the National Library Bill (863 SE), initiated by the same Committee, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to specify and improve the provisions concerning the functions, the composition of the Supervisory Board, the organisation of the work and the Director General of the National Library, and to update the structure of the Act. The National Library of Estonia Act which is currently in force was passed on 19 March 1998 and it has been amended for six times. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Constitutional Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Public and National Holidays Act (914 SE), initiated by Members of the Riigikogu Mart Nutt, Toivo Tootsen, Toomas Trapido, Maret Merisaar, Trivimi Velliste, Mart Jüssi, Peeter Tulviste, Urmas Klaas, Enn Eesmaa, Ivi Eenmaa, Marko Mihkelson and Mari-Ann Kelam, was concluded. According to the Bill, the Kindred Peoples’ Day will be celebrated as a national holiday on the third Saturday of October. The initiators stated that the aim of the Kindred Peoples’ Day is to increase awareness about Estonians’ belonging to the family of Finno-Ugric nations, to value our origins, our mother tongue and our cultural heritage. The Kindred Peoples’ Day would be a day celebrating the unique linguistic and cultural identity, the national indigenous culture of Estonia, as well as a day to think of other Finno-Ugric nations, to promote their languages and cultures and to speak about topical problems of kindred peoples. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Economic Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Electronic Communications Act and the State Fees Act (855 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The main aim of the Bill is to bring the Acts into conformity with the amendments package of 2009 of the internal market for electronic communications which amends the rules for the internal market for electronic communications dating from 2002. Among other things, the Bill provides the right of the Competition Board to disclose the number of the customers of the communications services provided by communications undertakings and the market shares of undertakings on the basis of the number of customers. On the basis of the Act which is currently in force, these data cannot be disclosed because communications undertakings consider them a business secret. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Finance Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to § 48 to the Income Tax Act (877 SE), initiated by the Social Democratic Party Faction, was concluded. The Bill would enable employers to finance the formal education of employees acquired within the adult education system, without paying fringe benefit tax. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
Due to the absence of the presenter of the report, the Bill on Amendments to the Competition Act and the Penal Code (794 SE), initiated by the Estonian Green Party Faction, was not deliberated.
 
For more details, read the verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian):
 
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
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