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The Riigikogu passed three Acts:

 

The Act on Amendments to the General Part of the Civil Code Act and the Law of Obligations Act (365 SE), initiated by the Government, which establishes a flexible limitation for the interests of consumer loans of natural persons (the so-called SMS loans) depending on the market situation, was passed with 69 votes in favour. An interest rate or annual percentage rate of a consumer credit contract exceeding such limitation will be contrary to good morals. According to the Act, in case of consumer credit contracts it will be presumed that the value of the mutual obligations of the parties is out of balance contrary to good morals also in the cases when, at the time of grant of credit, the annual percentage rate payable by the consumer exceeds by more than three times the average percentage rate of consumer loans granted to private persons by credit institutions, as disclosed most recently by Eesti Pank. Eesti Pank will organise the monthly disclosure of the specified annual percentage rate on its website. The Act enters into force on 1 May 1 this year. 

The Act on Acquisition of Land on which Usufruct Has Been Established during Land Reform (380 SE), initiated by the Government, which allows a person to acquire the land on which usufruct has been established during land reform if a legitimate expectation of the person who is using the land has arisen in respect of the land, was passed with 71 votes in favour. The Act establishes a regulation of the acquisition of land in order to ensure purposeful use of agricultural land. 

The Act on Ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism (403 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 62 votes in favour. The purpose of the Convention is to enhance the efforts of Parties in preventing terrorism and its negative effects on the full enjoyment of human rights, in particular the right to life, both by measures to be taken at national level and through international co-operation. 

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of seven Bills: 

the Bill on Amendments to the Status of Member of the Riigikogu Act (421 SE), initiated by the Social Democratic Party Faction, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction, the Estonian People’s Union Faction, the Estonian Reform Party Faction, the Estonian Centre Party Faction and the Estonian Green Party Faction, which reduces the rate of compensation of the expenses of Members of the Riigikogu and discards the institution of assistant to a Member of the Riigikogu. According to the Bill, work related expenses will be compensated for to Members of the Riigikogu on the basis of expense receipts in the amount of up to 10 per cent of the salary of a Member of the Riigikogu, instead of the current 30 per cent. This restriction will apply until the termination of the authority of the 11th composition of the Riigikogu. In the opinion of the initiators, this will reduce the expenditure of the budget of the Riigikogu by an estimation of up to 10 million kroons per year. The Bill is going to be brought to the final voting on Thursday, 26 February. The Act will enter into force on the following day after its publication in the Riigi Teataja.

 

the Bill on Amendments to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act(420 SE), initiated by the Cultural Affairs Committee, according to which the manager of a school establishes the conditions of and procedure for the admission to the school, including the procedure for the evaluation of knowledge, skills and experience upon admission to the secondary school (years 10–12). The specific authority to establish the respective procedure will be provided by a Regulation of the Minister of Education and Research. The initiation of the Bill was motivated by the Supreme Court decision of 19 January 2009 which provides that the Act which is currently in force does not allow the manager of a school to establish other requirements for admission to the upper secondary school besides basic school graduation results upon admission to the upper secondary school. The final vote on the Bill is going to be at the sitting tomorrow. 

the Bill on Amendments to the Accounting Act (373 SE), initiated by the Government; 

the Bill on Amendments to the Planning Act (345 SE), initiated by the Estonian Green Party Faction; 

the Bill on Amendments to the Structural Assistance for the Period of 2004-2006 Act (423 SE), initiated by the Government; 

the Bill on Amendments to the Income Tax Act and the Immovables Expropriation Act (400 SE), initiated by the Government; 

the Bill on Amendments to the State Budget Act, the Participation in Legal Persons in Private Law by the State Act and the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act (402 SE), initiated by the Government. 

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of four Bills: 

the Ports Bill (393 SE), initiated by the Government. In comparison to the Act which is currently in force, it specifies the determining of the water area of a port, environmental requirements for the provision of port services, the handling of cargo and the provisions regulating liability. The concepts used and the registration of ports in the ports register are specified, which will help organise the keeping of records on ports and enable state authorities to more effectively perform their functions arising from Acts. Safety requirements for the provision of port services are added as a new obligation. With regulation of the ports register, the bureaucratic administration necessary for the entry of a port in the register will be significantly reduced for the manager of a port. The electronic port register will enable different agencies to effectively obtain accurate information on ports and on state supervision exercised in respect of them. In order to simplify the situation and to improve the competitiveness of small ports, the concept of small port is introduced in the Bill, which will allow simplified requirements to be established for small ports in comparison to other ports in a respective special Act or implementing legislation issued on the basis thereof. The passing of the Acts will ensure compliance with the requirements of the relevant European Union legislation. Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee Urmas Klaas noted that, in the course of the discussions in the Committee, special attention had been paid to the state fees which are charged upon the issuing of building permits for construction of port constructions and the permits for commencing the use of construction works. Together with the relevant agencies, an agreement had been reached that the specified state fees must be in accord with the analogous state fees charged for issuing of building permits. No fee will be charged on constructions which are smaller than 60 m². 

the Bill on Ratification of Protocol amending the Agreement between the Republic of Estonia and the Kingdom of Netherlands for Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital (425 SE), initiated by the Government; 

the Bill on Amendments to the Notaries Act and Associated Acts (411 SE), initiated by the Government; 

the Bill on Ratification of the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks (409 SE), initiated by the Government. 

A Bill was rejected: 

On the motion of the Economic Affairs Committee, the Bill on Amendments to § 4 and § 10 of the Traffic Act (398 SE), initiated by the Estonian Green Party Faction, was rejected at the first reading. The result of voting: 30 votes in favour, 5 against. 

At Question Time, the Minister of Finance Ivari Padar answered the question about the financial situation of the social field, submitted by Toomas Varek. The Minister of Agriculture Helir-Valdor Seeder answered the question about dairying, submitted by Jaanus Marrandi. The Minister of the Environment Jaanus Tamkivi answered the question about the natural building materials use development plan, submitted by Aleksei Lotman. 

The Riigikogu Press Service

 
 

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