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The Riigikogu passed seven Acts and a Resolution:

The Act on Amendments to the Bar Association Act and Associated Acts (253 SE), initiated by the Government, which improves the quality of state legal aid and ensures better availability of advocates to unprivileged persons, was passed with 76 votes in favour (1 abstention). The Act puts an end to the organisation of legal aid where preliminary investigators and prosecutors were allowed to choose an opposing party convenient for them. The Act also establishes the mechanisms for supervision of the activities of the Bar Association. The right to exercise the supervision is granted to the Minister of Justice.
 

The Act on Amendments to the Defence Forces Service Act (312 SE), initiated by the Government, which creates additional social guarantees for members of the Defence Forces who become ill or are injured due to the performance of their duties, was passed with 76 votes in favour. 

The Act on Amendments to the Red Cross Designation and Emblem Act and the Penal Code (309 SE), initiated by the Government, which regulates the use of the emblem of red crystal in Estonia and in foreign states, was passed with 77 votes in favour. The amendment also concerns the current regulation of the Red Cross designation and emblem with a view to simplifying and specifying the procedure for the use of the distinctive emblem for protection and reference purposes. 

The Act on Amendments to the State Budget of the Year 2008 Act (372 SE), initiated by the Government, which amends the budget lines of the Chancellery of the Riigikogu, the Office of the President of the Republic, the Government of the Republic, the State Chancellery, the Supreme Court and ministries and agencies within the area of government of the ministries, was passed with 50 votes in favour (25 votes against). 

The Act on Amendments to the Estonian Health Insurance Fund Act, the Unemployment Insurance Act and the Environmental Charges Act (348 SE), initiated by the Government, which amends the administration of the funds of the legal persons established on the basis of the specified Act and the provisions concerning the interest received from the investment of the assets and other financial income, was passed with 48 votes in favour (25 votes against). The amendments of the Acts rely on the principle that, the Estonian Health Insurance Fund, the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund and the foundation Environmental Investment Centre being legal persons in public law fully financed from the state budget, it is justified to retain the revenue from the investment of the state budget funds in the state budget. The amendments will result in an estimate of at least 158 million kroons of additional interest revenue received in the state budget in 2009. 

The Act on Amendments to the Water Act (287 SE), initiated by the Government, which prescribes, among other things, that a permit for the special use of water will not be needed for leaking effluent in small quantities (less than 5 m3 per day) because, in the estimation of the Ministry of the Environment, leaking of effluent in so small quantities in accordance with the requirements does not pose a hazard to the environment, was passed with 72 votes in favour. This facilitates the opportunities for citizens to construct individual water treatment systems outside waste water collection areas and, at the same time, reduces the administrative burden of environmental authorities. The requirements for waste water collection areas with a population equivalent of less than 2000 are also mitigated in the Act, according to which the existence of public sewerage system need not be secured 100 per cent in waste water collection areas with a population equivalent of less than 2000. Also, local treatment plants are allowed to be used in small (population equivalent of less than 2000) waste water collection areas on the condition that waste water is treated at least biologically. The Act explicitly provides the prohibition of discharging polluting substances from ships and increases the accompanying liability. Prohibited discharging of polluting substances from ships is punishable by a fine of up to 300 fine units. The same act, if committed by a legal person, is punishable by a fine of up to 500 000 kroons. 

The Act on Accession to the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems (315 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 41 votes in favour. The purpose of accession to the Convention is to ensure, by standardized enforcement measures, effective control of paints used in anti-fouling systems on the ships of State Parties as well as third countries that enter a port, shipyard, or offshore terminal under the jurisdiction of a State Party. The Convention also enables Parties to participate, pursuant to the Convention, in the proposing of amendments to the control of harmful anti-fouling systems on ships in order to prevent the potential use of other harmful substances in the future. As a State Party, Estonia can exchange the results of research and development, the best practice and the experience obtained in the course of the control of harmful anti-fouling systems on ships. 

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Approval of the Consolidated Report of the Economic Year of 2007 of the State” (340 OE), submitted by the Government, was passed with 55 votes in favour. 

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of nine Bills: 

the Rehabilitation Bill (334 SE),initiated by the Government; 

the Bill on Amendments to the Digital Signature Act and the Administrative Procedure Act (320 SE), initiated by the Government; 

the Bill on Amendments to the Value Added Tax Act and the Income Tax Act (353 SE), initiated by the Government; 

the Bill on Amendments to the Taxation Act and Associated Acts (333 SE), initiated by the Government; 

the Bill on Amendments to the Postal Act (297 SE), initiated by the Government. The Estonian People’s Union Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. The motion was not supported. The result of voting: 29 votes in favour, 49 votes against; 

the Bill on Amendments to the Victim Support Act and Other Acts (349 SE), initiated by the Government; 

the Machinery Safety Bill (292 SE), initiated by the Government; 

the Bill on Amendments to the European Parliament Election Act, the Local Government Council Election Act, the Referendum Act and the Riigikogu Election Act (321 SE), initiated by the Government; 

the Bill on Amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure and Associated Acts (194 SE), initiated by the Government; 

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of four Bills: 

the Bill on Ratification of the Agreement between the Republic of Estonia and the Republic of Bulgaria for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income (385 SE), initiated by the Government; 

the Bill on Amendments to the General Part of the Civil Code Act and the Law of Obligations Act (365 SE), initiated by the Government; 

the Bill on Amendments to the Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Imprisonment Act (382 SE), initiated by the Government; 

the Bill on Amendments to the Sustainable Development Act (358 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction. 

At Question Time, the Minister of Finance Ivari Padar answered questions about the state budget, submitted by Karel Rüütli and Toomas Varek. The Minister of Defence Jaak Aaviksoo answered the question about defence policy, submitted by Vilja Savisaar, and the question about compulsory military service, submitted by Aleksei Lotman. The Minister of Regional Affairs Siim-Valmar Kiisler answered the question about regional policy, submitted by Inara Luigas.

The Riigikogu Press Service

 
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