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The Riigikogu passed with 86 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Funded Pensions Act and Associated Acts (870 SE), initiated by the Government. The amendments establish more specific and stricter limitations on investments in conservative pension funds as regards both instruments and ratings. Also, the requirements for management companies and the procedure for reporting related to pension funds and for disclosure are amended with the aim of increasing the transparency of the activities of the funds and making them more understandable to unit-holders. The flexibility of the rules of exchanging the units and redirecting the contributions of mandatory pension funds is increased and it will be possible to exchange units three times a year instead of the current possibility to exchange units once a year. The Act enters into force on 1 August 2011; clause 1 58) enters into force on the tenth day after publication in the Riigi Teataja, and clauses 1 55)‒57) and § 6 enter into force on 1 January 2012.

The Act on Amendments to § 41 of the Health Insurance Act (873 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 82 votes in favour. The purpose of the amendments is to improve availability of the treatment of metabolic diseases. In addition to the compensation for medicinal products entered in the list of medicinal products, infant formulae and follow-on formulae and nutrients which do not contain a source of phenylalanine, it will be possible to apply for compensation also for other food for particular nutritional uses from the health insurance fund.
 
On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure and Other Associated Acts (599 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to enhance the efficiency and economics of criminal proceedings and to increase conformity of the proceedings with the fundamental rights of the persons concerned. The main measures proposed to achieve this are to disambiguate the provisions concerning charge proceedings and to increase their conformity with the interests of victims; to hold video conferences at proceedings, preliminary hearings and simplified proceedings conducted at the preliminary investigation judge and at the sessions of a judge in charge of the execution of court judgments and in order to ensure the prosecutor’s participation in a circuit court session; to create the possibility to deposit testimonies in pre-trial proceedings at the judge in charge of the execution of court judgments and according to the rules of cross-examination; to consider pre-trial testimony given by a person of less than 14 years of age in a matter relating to a sexual or family violence offence to be evidence in court proceedings if it has been video recorded and if the counsel has had an opportunity to pose questions or if hearing at court may be harmful for a witness of less than 10 years of age in case of another criminal offence, to enable also his or her pre-trial testimony to be used as evidence under the same conditions, etc. 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 Prosecutor’s Office Act (814 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. One of the purposes of the Bill is to emphasise the independence of prosecutors. According to the Bill, the prosecutor’s office is independent in the performance of its functions arising from law and it acts pursuant to Acts and legislation issued on the basis thereof. The Bill provides as a significant amendment the obligation of the Chief Public Prosecutor to submit a review concerning the performance of the functions imposed on the prosecutor’s office by law to the Constitutional Committee of the Riigikogu once a year. The Chief Public Prosecutor may also additionally present reports concerning significant problems which have an extensive effect or need prompt settlement which become known in the course of the activities of the prosecutor’s office to the Constitutional Committee of the Riigikogu. In addition, the Bill discusses the disciplinary liability of prosecutors and imposing penalties on them and the release from service for a disciplinary offence. The Bill also discusses differentiation of the salary rate in connection with working in certain regions (e.g. Ida-Virumaa) and amends the regulation of the on-call time and the conditions of remuneration of prosecutors. According to the Bill, additional remuneration in an amount of up to ten per cent of the salary of the prosecutor will be paid for on-call time during which the prosecutor has to be available twenty-four hours a day and to go to the scene of events if necessary. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Participation in International Civil Missions Act (829 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to organise the system of participation in civil missions and to create a clear legal basis therefor. It also regulates the rights, obligations and social guarantees of an expert who is sent on a mission, like the issues of salary, insurance and training which so far have not been regulated. According to the Bill, the expenses relating to preparation for missions and participation in a mission will be covered from the state budget, generally from the funds allocated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Rescue Board. The Bill defines the area of responsibility in the preparation for missions and participation in a mission, so as to avoid duplication of the activities of agencies as well as additional expenses upon recruiting of experts and procurement of special equipment. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Act on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and Precursors thereof (886 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Act on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and Precursors thereof in order to enable handling of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for training service dogs at the Estonian Public Service Academy. The initiator stated that because instructors of service dogs do not have the permit for handling narcotic drugs which is necessary for them in order to carry out the study process, the quality of the training has deteriorated and this has reduced the capability of sniffer dogs to detect narcotic drugs. 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 Emergency Act and Other Associated Acts (871 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to add uninterrupted telecommunications services as a vital service to the Emergency Act. According to the Bill, uninterrupted telecommunications services is the electronic communications service for the Riigikogu, the President of the Republic, the State Chancellery, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, police authorities, rescue service agencies, prisons and agencies and persons designated by the Government of the Republic, for uninterrupted and reliable transmission of the messages necessary for ensuring the consistent functioning of vital services (radio communication, data communication, SMS, voice call, etc.). The aim of uninterrupted telecommunications services is to ensure communications also in a situation where the usual channels fail to function. Uninterrupted telecommunications services are organised mainly on the basis of the existing commercial operators and networks. In limited cases, use of the transmission connections belonging to the state is provided. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Mental Health Act, the Punishment Register Act, the Probation Supervision Act and the Health Care Services Organisation Act (717 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to enable to apply addiction treatment partly financed from the state budget funds to persons who have committed criminal offences and who have not been punished before and who at the same time are addicted to narcotic drugs. The addiction treatment of a drug addict will be applied in the cases when real imprisonment of six months to two years has been imposed on a person as punishment and the convicted offender agrees with replacement of the imprisonment. Imprisonment is replaced by addiction treatment the duration of which may exceed the duration of a real imprisonment. At the same time, however, a less restricted freedom and application of treatment at the expense of the state will be guaranteed to the person in such case. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Economic Affairs Committee, the second reading of the General Part of the Economic Activities Code Bill (803 SE), initiated by the Government, was suspended. The purpose of this Act is to provide the general conditions and procedure for exercise of freedom of economic activities, and to regulate the commencing, carrying out, terminating and continuing of economic activities, the maintenance of the register, the state supervision and liability. The second reading was suspended because of the great number of motions to amend which had been submitted and the reviewing of which is time-consuming. The second reading of the Bill will continue.
 
On the motion of the National Defence Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Accession to the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques (903 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. This Convention has been done at Geneva in 1977 with the aim of consolidating peace, and wishing to contribute to the cause of halting the arms race, and of bringing about general and complete disarmament under strict and effective control, and of saving mankind from the danger of using new means of warfare. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the Environmental Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Environmental Charges Act and the Taxation Act (912 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to amend the organisation of payment of the pollution charge, the water abstraction charge and the mineral resources extraction charge. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the Finance Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Ratification of the Protocol Amending the Convention between the Republic of Estonia and Georgia for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital (911 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. This Protocol has been signed at Almaty on 17 July 2010. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the Finance Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Investment Funds Act and Associated Acts (907 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The main purposes of the Bill are the following: to regulate the principles of the remuneration of managers and senior officials of banks, insurers and management companies of pension funds and other public funds and undertakings listed on the stock exchange, including payment of performance pays, and the exercise of supervision over the implementation of these principles; to provide the requirements for the offering of certain savings and insurance products which contain an investment risk (the investment deposit and the unit-linked life insurance); to improve the regulation concerning market abuse, in particular to specify the content of the manipulation of the securities market; to make other, more technical amendments which increase the clarity of certain provisions of the legislation concerning the financial sector and try to resolve the ambiguities in the interpretation of the provisions. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the Economic Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Roads Act (882 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the amendments is to transpose into Estonian law the legal provisions necessary for the implementation of the relevant EU directive. The purpose of the Directive is to improve the safety of road infrastructure within the trans-European road network by establishing procedures for road safety impact assessments, road safety audits, the management of road network safety and safety inspections by the Member States. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the Economic Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Waste Act, the Traffic Act, the Maritime Safety Act, the Heavy Goods Vehicle Act, the State Fees Act and the Roads Act arising from Reorganisation of the Road Administration and its Local Offices (892 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. Amendments are introduced to these Acts in connection with the merger of the Road Administration and local offices of the Road Administration as of 1 January 2011. As the Bill essentially only amends the names of the agencies in the Acts then the Act has an impact mainly in terms of legal clarity and is also reflected in the relevant legislation issued by the minister. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the Constitutional Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Chancellor of Justice Act (915 SE), initiated by the same Committee, was concluded. With the amendments, the duties of children’s ombudsman are additionally assigned to the Chancellor of Justice according to Article 4 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, that is, the Chancellor of Justice is granted express authority to deal with the rights of the child. In the opinion of the initiator, granting of such authorities indicates unambiguously that children and their rights are valued in the state and that the state takes the protection of the rights of the child seriously. According to the Bill, the competence of the Chancellor of Justice upon performance of the functions of children’s ombudsman is defined on the basis of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and General Comment no. 2 on Article 4 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the Committee on the Rights of the Child. According to this Document, the Chancellor of Justice is competent to undertake investigations into any situation of violation of children’s rights and conduct inquiries on matters relating thereto; prepare and publicize opinions, recommendations and reports on any matter relating to the promotion and protection of children’s rights; promote harmonization of national legislation, regulations and practices with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and perform other functions relating to children’s rights. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
 
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