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On Wednesday, the Riigikogu concluded the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the State Pension Insurance Act and Other Associated Acts (652 SE), initiated by the Government, which had been adjourned at the additional sitting. 38 Members of the Riigikogu supported the motion to suspend the second reading of the Bill and 52 Members were against. According to the Bill, the pensionable age will be equal for men and women and it will rise by three months every year as of 2017, to 65 years.
 
The Riigikogu passed with 49 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the National Defence League Act (658 SE), initiated by the Government, the purpose of which is to provide the legal status of the guards of the National Defence League. The Act defines the circle of persons and agencies where the National Defence League may exercise guarding, the procedure for determining the objects to be guarded and the procedure for payment for guarding. The National Defence League has been engaging in the guarding of the Ministry of Defence, the area of government of the Ministry of Defence, including the Defence Forces, and some missions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1 January 2003. Since then, the legal status of the guards of the National Defence League has been problematic and the legal bases of guarding have also been insufficiently regulated.
 
On the motion of the National Defence Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Penal Code and the Probation Supervision Act (662 SE) was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to bring Chapter 24 “Offences relating to National Defence” of the Penal Code into conformity with the Acts regulating the service in the Defence Forces and with other legislation. Namely, the Penal Code uses the concepts of “garrison regulations” and “Defence Forces official” which have no content in today’s national defence law and which cannot be applied in penal law. Therefore, these concepts will be omitted from the Penal Code pursuant to this Bill.
 
The second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the European Union Common Agricultural Policy Implementation Act (701 SE), initiated by the Rural Affairs Committee, was also concluded. It enables also agricultural producers whose land has not been entered in the register of agricultural support and agricultural parcels to apply for support.
 
The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of five Bills:
 
The Bill on Amendments to the Water Act and the Chemicals Act (710 SE), initiated by the Environment Committee. The directives transposed by the Bill and river basin based approach will allow a more efficient organisation of the monitoring and protection of surface water and groundwater. The purpose of river basin based regulation of the use and protection of water is to protect water bodies in view of integrity of water bodies and in consideration of all factors affecting water bodies, thereby ensuring integration of water management.
 
The purpose of the Bill on Amendments to § 102 of the State Assets Act (713 SE), initiated by the Rural Affairs Committee, the purpose of which is to simplify and speed up extension of the contracts (for the grant of use of land) entered into before the entry into force of the State Assets Act in order to ensure consistent purposeful use and maintenance of lands under nature conservation management.
 
The Bill on Amendments to the Defence Forces Service Act (698 SE), initiated by the Government, which extends the circle of recipients of the single benefit paid by the state if a member of the Defence Forces dies during the performance of his or her duties. Extending of the circle of recipients of the benefit will allow to include in the circle of recipients of the benefit persons who do not belong to the family of the member of the Defence Forces or are not maintained by him or her within the meaning of the Family Law Act. This approach will give a person who lives in a non-traditional family additional knowledge that, in the event of an accident, the state will recognise as a person who needs help also a person who is not entitled to it automatically on the basis of the Family Law Act but who is important for the member of the Defence Forces. According to the Bill, in the future, half of the amount of the benefit to be paid will be paid to the person or persons previously determined by the member of the Defence Forces and the other half to the children, parents, widow or widower of the member of the Defence Forces and other persons who were maintained by him or her pursuant to the Family Law Act.
 
The Bill on Ratification of the European Cooperating State Agreement between the Republic of Estonia and the European Space Agency (699 SE), initiated by the Government. On the basis of the Agreement ratified thereby, Estonia will become a European Cooperating State and it will have the opportunity to start preparing signature of the Plan of space collaboration activities for European Cooperating State (PECS) agreement. Signing of the PECS agreement and launching of cooperation projects of enterprises will give Estonian enterprises an opportunity to participate in high technology development, create new jobs and will be one source for knowledge-intensive export. It will also create the opportunity to participate in the programme for young specialists and several other activities directed at the European Space Agency (ESA) member states, including as an observer in ESA decision-making process. Development of space technologies and terrestrial use of implementations thereof is one basis of the future economic growth in Europe. The central role in this process belongs to ESA which by today unites 18 European countries.
 
On the motion of the Constitutional Committee, the County Assembly Bill (675 SE), initiated by the Estonian People’s Union Faction, was rejected from the legislative proceeding at the first reading. 49 Members of the Riigikogu were for the rejection and 31 Members were against.
 
The sitting ended at 6.55 p.m.
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
 
 
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