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The Riigikogu passed with 88 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the State Legal Aid Act, the State Fees Act, the Code of Civil Procedure and Other Associated Acts (346 SE), initiated by the Government. The aim of the Act is to improve and simplify the all-digital process of state legal aid by reducing the acts performed on paper both for application for state legal aid and for determining the state legal aid fee and the state legal aid expenses. The Act provides a more favourable state fee rate upon filing an appeal against a court ruling via relevant information systems. The aim of amending the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure is to specify the regulation of the delivery of procedural documents via the e-file system. The Act enters into force pursuant to general procedure, except for clauses 1 2) and 3) which enter into force on 1 April 2013, and clause 1 4) and clause 4 5) which enter into force on 1 January 2014.

On the motion of the Social Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Public Service Act and Other Acts (365 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The aim of the Bill is to bring the Individual Labour Dispute Resolution Act, the Labour Market Services and Benefits Act and the Unemployment Insurance Act into conformity with the new Public Service Act. The amendments concern the application of favourable conditions to officials and employees of administrative agencies, specify the scope of the obligations of the state in relation to the funerals of officials who have died during the performance of their duties, and guarantee that the non-working spouse who has been accompanying an official sent on a long-term assignment and who has been paid the allowance for spouse pursuant to the Public Service Act has the right to receive the unemployment allowance and the unemployment insurance benefit similarly with a person who has received the allowance for spouse pursuant to the Foreign Service Act, etc. The implementing provisions of the Public Service Act are also amended. 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 Police and Border Guard Act, the Rescue Service Act and Associated Acts (364 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The aim of the Bill is to introduce into the Police and Border Guard Act, the Rescue Service Act and the Punishment Register Act the amendments which would ensure sustainable functioning of special services, including the police service and the rescue service, upon the entry into force of the Pubic Service Act. The amendments concern the processing of personal data for forwarding to foreign states, the salaries and social guarantees of rescue service workers, but also the number and staff of the positions at security authorities. The Bill was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the Environment Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Nature Conservation Act and the State Assets Act (289 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The aim of the Bill is to make transactions conducted with state land as clear and understandable as possible, to ensure purposeful use of state budget funds and to bring the receiving of the compensation for nature conservation restrictions to common grounds. The Bill eliminates the possibility, provided for in the nature Conservation Act, of transferring to the state an immovable with a nature conservation restriction acquired before 1 April 2007 if the owner was aware of the nature conservation restrictions applied thereto already at the time of the acquisition of the immovable and no stricter procedure for protection thereof has been established subsequently. It will also eliminate the possibility of offsetting the cost of the assets acquired upon transfer of state assets by auction on the basis of the State Assets against an immovable with nature conservation restrictions in the ownership of the winner of the auction. Many problems and questions have emerged upon application of both of the abovementioned regulations, including as regards purposeful and reasoned use of state budget funds, ensuring equal treatment of persons, etc. The Social Democratic Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of this Bill; 16 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour and 46 voted against. As the motion to suspend was not supported, the Bill was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the Environmental Committee, the first reading of the Bill on the Accession to the 1996 Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972 (373 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The aim of this Protocol is to ensure the performance of the obligation to protect the international marine environment both in marine areas within the jurisdiction of Estonia as well as on vessels and aircraft flying Estonian flag which are staying beyond the marine areas of Estonia. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Victim Support Act and Other Associated Acts (379 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. According to the Bill, these Acts are brought into conformity with the Human Trafficking Directive. With the amendments to the Victim Support Act and the Social Welfare Act, the framework of the services targeted at victims of human trafficking as well as minors who have become victims of sexual offences is created and the rules for the provision of the services are established. The amendments will ensure that a victim and, under certain conditions, also his or her family members have access to victim support services, social welfare services and the state compensation to victims of crime. With the amendments concerning aliens, the regulation concerning aliens is brought into conformity with the Human Trafficking Directive, and the necessary preconditions are created for helping victims of human trafficking who are aliens in staying in Estonia. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

The Riigikogu Press Service

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