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Riigikogu

The Riigikogu passed four Acts and two Resolutions:
 
The Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act (412 SE), initiated by the Government, which provides the bases of organisation of studies of the basic school and upper secondary school, the rights and obligations of a student and a parent or guardian of a student, the rights and obligations of the employees of the school, the bases of management and financing of the school and the bases of the state supervision exercised over the schooling and education at the school, was passed with 55 votes in favour (28 against, 1 abstention). The Act regulates the activities of schools operating as institutions under the administration of a rural municipality or city administrative agency and schools operating as institutions under the administration of the Ministry of Education and Research. The fundamental principles of national curricula are reflected in the Act in order to give them sufficient weight in the society and to ensure consistent development of the curriculum.
 
Supporting the comprehensive development of students, promotion of constitutional values and human ethical principles, relying on Estonian cultural traditions and common European values are emphasised as the basic values of general education schools. In order to stress that basic school and upper secondary school are two clearly separate education levels that have their own purposes, basic school and upper secondary school are dealt with in different sections of the Act – § 4 and § 5.
 
At the basic school, the emphasis is first of all on the comprehensive development of the pupil and shaping the environment appropriate for that, while at upper secondary school, the emphasis is first of all on finding direction for further education and preparation for different roles that may have to be fulfilled in life. Introduction of the syllabi of career studies at the basic school and economy and enterprise at the upper secondary school is provided.
 
As a new provision, an opportunity of co-financing of students and parents for participation in hobby groups, long day groups and boarding school facilities is provided. The maximum time limit for students to arrive at the school of their residence is 60 minutes. At basic schools where the language of instruction is not Estonian, organisation of a level of Estonian language instruction has to be ensured which would enable graduates of the basic school to continue studies at an educational institution where the language of instruction is Estonian. The Act also allows to punish a parent by a fine of up to 200 fine units if his or her child who is subject to the obligation to attend school has not been entered in the list of any school or has failed to attend more than 20 per cent of lessons without reasonable excuse during a quarter of an academic year.
 
Lauri Luik, Lauri Vahtre, Marek Strandberg, Mailis Reps, Peeter Kreitzberg and the Minister of Education and Research Tõnis Lukas took the floor in negotiations.
 
The Act on Amendments to the Savings and Loan Associations Act and Associated Acts (240 SE), initiated by the Government, which eliminates the factors hindering the development of small and medium sized enterprises, was passed with 83 votes in favour. The Act creates a favourable legal environment for development of savings and loan associations, strengthens social control of savings and loan associations and ensures their financial soundness. Through the regulation of ensuring financial soundness of savings and loan associations, the Act provides the necessary capital and liquidity requirements which are first of all in the interests of protection of members and customers of the association. The Act brings the terminology used in the Savings and Loan Associations Act into conformity with the terminology used in the Commercial Associations Act and other Acts of the financial sector.
 
The Act on Amendments to the Aliens Act (736 SE), initiated by the Cultural Affairs Committee, which solves the problems of foreign students taking up studies in Estonia in connection with the transition evaluation of higher education level curricula and recognition of curricula by the state that is required upon application for a residence permit for studying, was passed with 63 votes in favour.
The Act on Making a Declaration on the basis of Article 14(1) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (731 SE), initiated by the Government, which recognises the competence of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and enables individuals or groups of individuals in Estonia to address the Committee, was passed with 55 votes in favour. The activities of the Committee are regulated by an international Convention to which Estonia acceded in 1991.
 
The 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 15th Rotation of the NATO Response Force” (751 OE), submitted by the Government, which provides the use of up to 45 members of the Estonian Defence Forces, as necessary, in the composition of the 15th rotation (NRF-15) of the NATO Response Force (NRF) from 1 July 2010 until 30 June 2011, in a military operation organised for the purpose of maintaining or restoring peace and security, as provided in the UN Charter, or in any other military operation in compliance with generally recognised practices and principles of international law, was passed with 52 votes in favour.
 
The Minister of Justice Rein Lang made a political statement in connection with the development objectives of criminal policy until 2018.
 
The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Approval of “Development Objectives of Criminal Policy until 2018” (757 OE), submitted by the Social Democratic Party Faction, the Estonian Green Party Faction, the Estonian Centre Party Faction, the Estonian Reform Party Faction, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction and the Estonian People’s Union Faction, was passed with 59 votes in favour. The document defines the long-term aims and activities of criminal policy from which the public sector has to take guidance in planning and implementing its activities. The aim of criminal policy is to ensure security of the society by preventing offences and responding to them, reducing the damage caused by offences and dealing with offenders.
The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of nine Bills:
 
The Bill on Amendments to the Human Genes Research Act (741 SE), initiated by the Government, amends the provision which regulates the procedure for withdrawing the consent of a person to become a gene donor.
 
The purpose of the Bill on Amendments to the Plant Propagation and Plant Variety Rights Act, the Rural Development and Agricultural Market Regulation Act and the State Fees Act (746 SE), initiated by the Government, is to transpose into the Estonian law the relevant European Union Council directive on the marketing of fruit plant propagating material and fruit plants intended for fruit production which entered into force in autumn 2008. It also transposes the relevant Commission Directive providing for certain derogations, for acceptance of vegetable landraces and varieties which have been traditionally grown in particular localities and regions and are threatened by genetic erosion and for marketing of seed of those landraces and varieties, which entered into force in autumn 2009 and sets new requirements.
 
The Bill on Amendments to the State Borders Act and Other Acts (749 SE), initiated by the Government, provides objectively measurable requirements for organisation of the entry of vehicles to road border points and for the waiting area of border crossing. It also sets out the principles of the organisation of the border crossing waiting list and provides that the data necessary for maintaining a border crossing waiting list are to be processed in the database of the border crossing waiting list.
 
The Bill on Amendments to the Electronic Communications Act and the Information Society Services Act (727 SE), initiated by the Government, improves the protection of the fundamental rights of persons from messages intended for direct marketing. The Bill specifies under which conditions it is allowed to send such messages. In addition, the procedure for carrying out a public competition provided in subsection 9 (4) of the Act which is currently in force is specified. It also extends opportunities to notify a person of events that pose a threat to his or her life or health, by using modern information channels.
 
The Bill on Amendments to the Official Statistics Act (739 SE), initiated by the Government, attempts to distinguish official statistics more clearly from other statistics and creates a uniform legal framework for keeping official statistics.
 
The Bill on Amendments to Acts relating to Ownership Reform (715 SE), initiated by the Government, solves legal and organisational problems that have emerged upon return of and compensation for unlawfully expropriated property. The Bill enables local governments to terminate the relevant proceedings for the return of property and compensation proceedings. Repeal of the relevant provision of the Principles of Ownership Reform Act will preclude the potential possibility to submit claims against the state or local governments in an approximate amount of 100 million kroons. The Estonian Centre Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. The motion was not supported. The result of voting: 27 votes in favour, 40 votes against.
 
The purpose of the Bill on Amendments to the Weapons Act (719 SE), initiated by the National Defence Committee, is to allow bayonet knives produced before 1946 to unrestricted commerce as cut-and-thrust weapons. Bayonet knives are permitted to be used for civilian purposes in the European Union countries as well as in most of the countries of the world.
 
The Bill on Amendments to the Hunting Act and the Ambient Air Protection Act (744 SE), initiated by the Government, is connected with reorganisation of the collection, analysing and publishing of environmental data. In the course of this process, the Information and Technology Centre of the Ministry of the Environment and the Centre of Forest Protection and Silviculture were merged into an administered state authority, the Environment Information Centre. The reorganisation will create preconditions for resolution of the problem with databases which so far have been fragmented.
 
The Bill on Amendments to § 24 of the Nature Conservation Act (752 SE), initiated by the Estonian Green Party Faction, is intended to ensure more effective protection to protected natural objects because, in the legal order currently in force, it is impossible in certain cases to prosecute a possessor of an immovable who allows activities which damage a protected natural object. Therefore, the Bill establishes the obligation of possessors of immovables to notify persons who are staying on a registered immovable on the order of the possessor of the immovable of a protected natural object and the restrictions applied thereon, for example, when they are performing certain works on the basis of a contract for services or an authorisation agreement.
 
On the motion of the Cultural Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Youth Work Bill (676 SE), initiated by the Government, was suspended.
 
On the motion of the Economic Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Maritime Safety Act and Associated Acts (653 SE), initiated by the Government, was suspended.
 
The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of three Bills:
 
The Draft Code of Administrative Court Procedure (755 SE), initiated by the Government, is in the most part based on the Code of Administrative Court Procedure which is currently in force and the Code of Civil Procedure applied in parallel with it. The new Code does not include the general reference to the Code of Civil Procedure which so far has caused several disputes regarding application of the Act. Effectiveness of legal protection of the administrative court has been improved by eliminating unnecessary formal and substantive requirements for filing of an action, and simplifying amendment of an action and transition from one type of action to another. The Bill enables to apply for provisional legal protection already at the time of challenge proceedings and the authority of the court upon application of provisional legal protection has been extended by providing an opportunity to issue precepts also directly to the addressee of an administrative act. Resolution of matters by agreement will be facilitated: a special conciliation procedure for reaching a compromise will be implemented and an opportunity for the respondent to admit an action is provided. The Bill makes a significant contribution to speeding up judicial proceedings in administrative matters.
 
The Bill on Amendments to the Code of Enforcement Procedure and Other Acts (763 SE), initiated by the Government, enhances conducting of enforcement proceedings. The Bill replaces the current possibility of imposition of a fine by a court by the regulation of the penalty payment imposed by a bailiff. In event of seizure of an account or a claim, the existing or a future bank account or a claim of the debtor will remain seized until satisfaction of the claim. Opportunities to withhold amounts from the income of the debtor upon fulfilment of a claim for maintenance support for a child are extended. Provisions concerning expiry of the limitation period for the enforcement of a pecuniary punishment or a fine to the extent of assets imposed for a criminal offence are specified.
 
The Bill on Amendments to the State Secrets and Classified Information of Foreign States Act and Other Acts (764 SE), initiated by the Government, amends, besides the State Secrets and Classified Information of Foreign States Act, also the Gambling Act and the Emergency Act.
 
On the motion of the Economic Affairs Committee, the Jobs Creation Bill (740 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, was rejected at the first reading. The result of voting: 45 votes in favour, 36 votes against.
 
On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee, the Bill on Amendments to the Penal Code (728 SE), initiated by the Estonian Green Party Faction, was rejected at the first reading. The result of voting: 30 votes in favour, 3 votes against.
 
At Question Time, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip answered the question about the future of Estonian Air, submitted by Mai Treial, the question about the revenue base of local governments, submitted by Arvo Sarapuu, and the question about the problems relating to the Victory Monument of the War of Independence, submitted by Lembit Kaljuvee. The Minister of Internal Affairs Marko Pomerants answered the question about compliance with the requirements established for firing ranges, submitted by Georg Pelisaar, and the question about the activities of voluntary rescuers, submitted by Kalvi Kõva. The Minister of Justice Rein Lang answered the question about lack of punishments for enslaving in Estonia, submitted by Aleksei Lotman, and the question about the press, submitted by Jaan Kundla.
 
The sitting ended at 7.57 p.m.
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
 
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