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The Riigikogu passed three Acts

The Act on Amendments to the Traffic Act and the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure (508 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 85 votes in favour. It establishes a system between the EU Member States for exchange of data concerning the vehicle and the owner or authorised user thereof. This will facilitate pursuing of cases of traffic offences committed with a vehicle registered in an EU Member State, except for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Denmark, which are mostly connected with cases detected by the automatic traffic supervision system. The body which conducts proceedings concerning a misdemeanour will have the opportunity to submit a request to obtain data concerning the owners, authorised users and users of the vehicles registered in other European Union Member States.

The Act on Amendments to the Defence Forces Organisation Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (487 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 62 votes in favour. It changes the structure of the Defence Forces with a view to realising the changes prescribed in the National Defence Development Plan with the aim of organising the military capability necessary to defend Estonia. 

The Chairman of the National Defence Committee Mati Raidma noted that the Act changes the structure of the Defence Forces in which the staffs of the Land Forces and the Navy will be reorganised. The post of the Commander of the Land Forces is eliminated and the post of the Deputy Commander-in-chief of the Defence Forces is established. 

“The authors of the Bill and the officers who participated in the drafting process are convinced that the Act will improve the management of the Defence Forces and lead to efficient performance of tasks and optimum use of the existing personnel,” Raidma said. 

The Act will also solve the practical problems that have emerged in the implementation of the Chapter concerning the Defence Forces intelligence. The Act creates preconditions for the development of equipped, armed and manned units with rapid response capability. The Act enters into force on 1 August 2014. 

The Act on Amendments to the Value Added Tax Act (506 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 84 votes in favour. It harmonises the rules for defining the place of taxation of electronic communications services and electronically supplied services in the EU which will enter into force as of 1 January 2015. It also provides the special scheme for applying VAT to electronic communications services and electronically supplied services. In addition, the limits of the exemption from taxes of imports of coffee and tea dispatched by parcel post from outside the European Union are brought into conformity with the requirements of the European Union. 

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of a Bill 

The Bill on Amendments to the Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure (468 SE), initiated by the Government, amends the provisions concerning imposition of extended confiscation in the Penal Code, extends the possibility of imposing addiction treatment instead of imprisonment and specifies the regulation concerning application of post-punishment supervision of conduct. The amendment of the Code of Criminal Procedure will enable to use measures for securing an action in order to secure confiscation, substitution of confiscation, a civil action or fine to the extent of assets. 

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of 15 Bills 

The Bill on Amendments to the Penal Code and Other Associated Acts (554 SE), initiated by the Government. In the course of the revision of the Penal Code, two fields of penal law were reviewed, namely criminal and misdemeanour law, and the defining of misdemeanour law from administrative law, and more specifically from administrative coercion. Amendments have been made in the Penal Code and the related Acts which provide for misdemeanour liability. The main aim of the revision was to discuss the possible overlapping and defining of the necessary elements of a criminal offence and misdemeanour, to check the reasonable balance of misdemeanour liability and administrative coercion, and to eliminate excessive punishability. 

The Bill on Amendments to the Family Law Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (546 SE), initiated by the Government, solves the major implementation problems that have appeared during the first three years that the Act has been in force. Minor errors are corrected in order to ensure effective functioning of the Act and unambiguity of the provisions. Several amendments are directed at increasing the legal awareness of the addressees of the Act. The Bill does not introduce fundamental changes in the regulation.  

The Bill on Amendments to the Commercial Code and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (549 SE), initiated by the Government, provides for simplified winding up of private limited liability companies and public limited liability companies. According to the new procedure, it will be possible to merge the assets of a company with the assets of a natural person in the case when the natural person is the sole shareholder of the private limited liability company or public limited liability company. In such a case, the assets of the company will be transferred to the natural person by way of universal succession. The selling and separate transfer of individual rights and obligations which form part of the assets of the company will not be necessary. In that case, the private limited liability company or public limited liability company will not have to go into liquidation. It may be replaced by merger proceedings which is faster. At the same time, a merger results in unlimited personal liability of a natural person for the obligations of the company being acquired. The Bill brings the Commercial Code into conformity with the EU directive concerning mergers of public limited liability companies. 

The Bill on Amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (545 SE), initiated by the Government, amends the procedure for determining procedural expenses applied in civil proceedings. The Bill creates possibilities to make the determination of the financial amount of procedural expenses and the ordering of the payment thereof from the opposing party in civil proceedings significantly speedier for parties to proceedings. The procedure for determining procedural expenses is established, where the expenses are determined within the framework of the particular proceedings in which the expenses were incurred. If, so far, in most cases assistant judges adjudicated the matters relating to the determination of procedural expenses, then in the future the judge who conducts proceedings in the main case will determine procedural expenses. 

The Bill on Amendments to the Courts Act and Other Associated Acts (570 SE), initiated by the Government, changes the procedure for the assumption of office of the assistant judge and reforms the administrative organisation of court registers. In the future, assistant judges will perform service duties only in the maintenance of court registers and in the payment order department. They may not be assigned wider tasks related to the performance of the function of the administration of justice, such as the determination of procedural expenses. Advocates-General support the administration of justice in courts. The management and administrative organisation of the registers is also organised and directors of county courts are freed from the task of register management. Land registry departments and registration departments are structural units of a county court, but regional services of departments are kept. The administration and day-to-day management of court registers will be assigned to one director of court whose only duty will be effective management and development of court registers.

The Bill on Amendments to the Packaging Act and the Packaging Excise Duty Act (561 SE), initiated by the Government, regulates in more detail and increases the transparency of the activities of packaging recovery organisations functioning on the principle of producer responsibility. This will enhance control over their activities. Current practice has shown that the packaging and packaging waste collection system does not function at the necessary level and does not ensure the meeting of the recovery obligation of the state. Recovery of waste, in particular recycling as material will be made significantly environmentally cleaner. More extensive recovery of packaging waste has a direct positive environmental impact through the use of recycled materials. 

The Bill on Amendments to the Packaging Act (568 SE), initiated by the Government, transposes the relevant EU directive on packaging and packaging waste. The illustrative examples for defining packaging bring clarity and uniform understanding of defining a product as packaging in the EU. 

The Bill on Amendments to the Public Water Supply and Sewerage Act (569 SE), initiated by the Government, regulates the organisation of supplying registered immovables with water and the discharge and treatment of waste water through the public water supply and sewerage system. It also provides for the relevant rights and obligations of the state, local governments, water undertakings and customers of water undertakings. If the Water Act regulates the use and protection of water as a natural resource then the Public Water Supply and Sewerage Act mostly regulates the relationships that are created between the local government, water undertaking and customer when water is not considered as a natural resource but as goods. The Act directly affects all water undertakings, local governments on whose territory public water supply and sewerage facilities are located, and the Competition Authority at the state level. 

The Bill on Amendments to the Land Tax Act (558 SE), initiated by the Government, provides for the procedure for the calculation of land tax payable on lands which are in state ownership, that is, which have not undergone the land reform, and specifies which lands are exempt from tax as publicly owned land. Also, local governments will be required to submit the basic data necessary for calculating land tax to the Tax and Customs Board through the land tax information system starting from 2015. 

The Bill on Amendments to the Credit Institutions Act and Other Associated Acts (559 SE), initiated by the Government, establishes new requirements for banks, investment firms and alternative investment fund managers. New capital requirements are established for banks and investment firms. Requirements are established for alternative investment fund managers for greater control of their activities. The Bill is intended to increase financial stability and to ensure the credibility and transparency of the financial sector. 

The Bill on Amendments to the Taxation Act (575 SE), initiated by the Government, establishes the employment register which will allow to collect information regarding persons who work in Estonia. All information relating to working will be gathered into a single electronic environment which will help reduce the administrative burden and overlapping activities of the Tax and Customs Board, the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the Social Insurance Board, the Labour Inspectorate, the Health Insurance Fund and the Police and Border Guard Board in the submission, collection and processing of data. 

The Bill on Amendments to Other Acts relating to Amendments to the Taxation Act (574 SE), initiated by the Government, will ensure the obtaining and use of data from the employment register to be established at the Tax and Customs Board which will secure better and more effective protection of social rights of persons who work. The aim of the employment register to be established at the Tax and Customs Board will be to gather information relating to working into a single system, to reduce the administrative burden by increasing the volume of the data collected electronically, to secure better protection of social rights of persons who work and to simplify the principles of the functioning of the social guarantees system.  

The Bill on Amendments to the Medical Devices Act (562 SE), initiated by the Government, renews the regulation concerning the database of medical devices due to the necessity to extend the composition of the data collected into the database. The data received by the Health Board in the course of market supervision will be gathered in the database. Thereby the data will be made better accessible for the competent authority as well as for the public. The database will be maintained with the purpose of ensuring the protection of human health against risks arising from medical devices. Data will be collected concerning medical devices placed on the market, put into service, distributed for the first time and used professionally for the first time in Estonia, and the related acts connected with clinical investigations, adverse incidents and supervisory procedures. The Bill changes the level of two provisions delegating authority. According to the amendment, the Minister of Social Affairs will approve the requirements for designing, manufacturing, packaging and labelling and the rules for classification of medical devices, instead of the Government. 

According to the Bill on Amendments to the Health Care Services Organisation Act (566 SE), initiated by the Government, the Health Board will be able to check and compare the composition of the practice lists of family physicians. On the basis of the data of the population register, persons not covered by health insurance whose place of residence is not located in Estonia according to the data of the population register can also be excluded from the practice list. The comparison of the practice lists of family physicians and the organisation thereof is necessary because the persons who are on the list but have left Estonia and do not consume the general medical care service keep the lists full. Therefore, family physicians whose practice lists are full cannot add persons who are covered with health insurance to their lists. The Bill provides for the possibility of home obstetrical care which will be provided within the framework of midwifery care.  

With the Bill on Amendments to the Act on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and Precursors thereof (567 SE), initiated by the Government, the database of the early warning system on new psychoactive substances is established. New psychoactive substances pose a potential risk to health. The purpose of the early warning information system is to exchange information between the authorities participating in the system, to monitor the entry into market of new psychoactive substances, and to make proposals to include new psychoactive substances on the schedule of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances established on the basis of the relevant Act and to implement other control measures. 

The Riigikogu did not deliberate the Bill on Amendments to and Implementation of the Maintenance of Law and Order Act (424 SE), initiated by the Government, at the second reading. The Bill was excluded from the agenda for the working week on the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee. 

The sitting ended at 6.15 p.m.

The Riigikogu Press Service

 

 

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