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The Riigikogu passed three Acts: 

The Act on Amendments to the Land Tax Act and the Income Tax Act (299 SE), initiated by the Government, with which the rate of the income tax received by local governments is raised to the extent that would cover the loss of revenue by local governments due to the land tax exemption, was passed with 50 votes in favour (18 against). In addition, the state is exempted from payment of land tax on land used as land for non-residential constructions, the regulation was amended by adding provisions concerning the calculation of the land tax exemption in the case when the boundary of a high density area or the division line of a settlement unit passes through a cadastral unit, and the procedure for calculating the land tax exemption and incentive was specified.  

The Act on Amendments to the Study Allowances and Study Loans Act and Other Associated Acts (236 SE), initiated by the Government, which establishes a state study allowance for students in order to support students in a less favourable economic situation in access to the higher education, their success in studies and completion the study programme in the nominal period, was passed with 64 votes in favour (5 against). Pursuant to the Act, the needs-based study allowance of the student is established with the state budget for every year in three amounts according to the income of the student. The maximum rate of the average income established by the state budget is planned to amount to 280 euro in 2013. Accordingly, the amount of the allowance is 220 euro if the average income of the student is up to 70 euro, 135 euro if the income is 70-140 euro, and 75 euro if the income is 140-280 euro. Upon application for the needs-based study allowance, the parents of a student who is up to 24 years of age are considered members of the family of the student in the case when the student is not married or the parent or guardian of a child. 

The Act on Amendments to the Environmental Charges Act (310 SE), initiated by the Government, which amends the distribution of the mineral resources extraction charge received from deposits of national interest and the related fee for the special use of water, was passed with 54 votes in favour (13 against). The share of the charges payable to the local governments of the locations of mines and quarries will be partly replaced by the support from the equalisation fund. As a result of the amendments, the revenue base of local governments will not change as a whole because the funds freed by the reduction of the share of the charge will be reassigned to local governments by the state budget. This will ensure a stable covering of the basic expenses, and fluctuations in the receipt of the charges will not jeopardise the subsistence of local governments. Local governments will receive 25% of the charge received from deposits of national interest. 

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of three Bills: 

The Bill on Amendments to the State Family Benefits Act, the Social Welfare Act and the Labour Market Services and Benefits Act (294 SE), initiated by the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction and the Estonian Reform Party Faction, with which the benefits to families with children living below the relative poverty threshold will be raised. This will be done in two stages as follows: as of 2015, families with one child will receive a benefit in the amount of 19.18 euro (as of 1 July 2013, 9.59 euro) and families with two or more children will receive 38.36 euro (as of 1 July 2013, 19.18 euro) per family in addition to the family benefits being paid already. As of 2015, the child allowance for the third and subsequent child for all families with three or more children will be increased to 95.9 euro instead of the current 57.54 euro (as of 1 July 2013, to 76.72 euro per month). As of 1 July 2013, the single childbirth allowance in the event of a multiple birth of triplets or more children will be increased to 1000 euro per child, that is, according to the Bill, the single childbirth allowance for triplets will be 3000 euro, for quadruplets – 4000 euro, etc. The Social Democratic Party Faction and the Estonian Centre Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. The result of voting: 15 votes in favour, 51 against. The motion was not supported. The Bill was sent to the third reading. 

The Bill on Amendments to § 177 of the Employment Contracts Act (320 SE), initiated by the Government, provides for the necessary source for covering the increase of the remuneration of the emergency medical staff and the health care professionals financed from the state budget. The Estonian Centre Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. The result of voting: 12 votes in favour, 50 against. The motion was not supported. The Bill was sent to the third reading. 

With the Bill on Amendments to the Financial Management of Local Government Act and the Local Government Organisation Act (311 SE), initiated by the Government, some new principles of financial management are added to the Act, provisions which have proven unclear upon the implementation of the Act are corrected and the restriction on the increasing of the current net debt burden for 2012 is extended. The net debt burden rule is changed on the basis of the principles determined in “The Budget Strategy of the State for 2013‒2016”. The aim is to ensure the financial stability of local governments in the unstable economic environment and to avoid potential financial risks. The Estonian Centre Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. The result of voting: 12 votes in favour, 46 against. The motion was not supported. The Bill was sent to the third reading. 

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of nine Bills and Draft Resolutions: 

The Bill on Amendments to the Health Insurance Act (325 SE), initiated by the Government, amends the provisions of § 72 of the Health Insurance Act which regulate the maximum rates of the visit fee and the in-patient fee. The Bill establishes the maximum rate of 5 euro, instead of the current 3.20, for the fee for home visits and visits for out-patient specialised medical care, and the maximum rate of 2.50 euro, instead of the current 1.60 euro, for in-patient fees. The Estonian Centre Party Faction and Social Democratic Party Faction moved to reject the Bill. The result of voting: 22 votes in favour, 52 against. The motion was not supported. The Bill was sent to the second reading. 

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit of the Use of the Defence Forces in the Performance of the International Duties of the Estonian State in the Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo” (312 OE), initiated by the Government, provides the extension of the time limit of the use of up to three members of the Defence Forces in the composition of the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) until 31 December 2013. 

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit of the Use of the Defence Forces in the Performance of the International Duties of the Estonian State in the Peacekeeping Mission in Afghanistan” (313 OE), initiated by the Government, provides the extension of the time limit of the use of up to 170 members of the Defence Forces in the international peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan in the composition of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) until 31 December 2013. 

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit of the Use of the Defence Forces in the Performance of the International Duties of the Estonian State in the Post-Conflict Peacekeeping Mission in Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Syria” (314 OE), initiated by the Government, provides the extension of the time limit of the use of up to three members of the Defence Forces in the UN-led peacekeeping mission (United Nations Truce Supervision Organization – UNTSO) in Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Syria until 31 December 2013. 

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Use of the Defence Forces in the Performance of the International Duties of the Estonian State in the Composition of the NATO Response Force” (315 OE), initiated by the Government, provides the extension of the use of up to 20 members of the Defence Forces in the composition of the NATO Response Force (NRF) in a military operation organised for the purpose of maintaining or restoring peace and security as provided for in Chapters VI and VII of the UN Charter, or in any other military operation in compliance with generally recognised practices and principles of international law until 31 December 2013. 

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit of the Use of the Defence Forces in the Performance of the International Duties of the Estonian State in the Composition of the European Union Anti-Piracy Operation Atalanta” (316 OE), initiated by the Government, provides the extension of the time limit of the use of up to 15 members of the Defence Forces in the composition of the European Union Anti-Piracy Operation Atalanta (European Union Naval Force Somalia – Operation Atalanta) until 31 December 2013. 

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Use of the Defence Forces in the Performance of the International Duties of the Estonian State in the Work of the International Military Headquarters of an Operation Led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union” (317 OE), initiated by the Government, provides that up to five members of the Defence Forces may be used from 1 January to 31 December 2013 in the work of the international military headquarters located in the operation area upon launching of a new military operation organised for the purpose of maintaining or restoring peace and security on the basis of the provisions of Chapters VI and VII of the UN Charter, led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or the European Union, or any other international military operation in compliance with the generally recognised practices and principles of international law. 

The Bill on Amendments to the Police and Border Guard Act (326 SE), initiated by the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction and the Estonian Reform Party Faction, provides the ensuring of equal treatment of persons in pension schemes. The pensions calculated on the basis of the State Pension Insurance Act, the Old-Age Pensions under Favourable Conditions Act and the Superannuated Pensions Act are indexed with the pension index on 1 April every year. Pursuant to the Police and Border Guard Act, the pensions already granted are recalculated depending on the basis of which Act the pension has been granted. The pensions calculated on the basis of Acts which were in force earlier, such as the Police Service Act and the Border Guard Service Act, are indexed with the pension index on 1 April; the pensions calculated on the basis of the Police and Border Guard Act which entered into force on 1 January 2010 are recalculated together with the change of salary. Thus, the current legal regulation treats special pensioners and ordinary pensioners, and different groups of special pensioners, differently as regards the recalculation of pensions. According to the Bill, the special pensions granted and to be granted, except for the pensions calculated on the basis of the salary of the current year, will be indexed with the pension index as of 2013. 

On the motion of the Social Democratic Party Faction, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Health Care Services Organisation Act (277 SE), initiated by the same Committee, was removed from the agenda for the additional sitting. 

The additional sitting began on 7 December at 1 p.m. and ended on 8 December at 1.45 a.m. 

The Riigikogu Press Service

 

 

 

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