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The Riigikogu passed two Acts: 

The Gambling Tax Act (433 SE), initiated by the Government, which amends the current regulation of gambling games, specifies tax rates and provides several new types of gambling games, was passed with 46 votes in favour (1 vote against). The tax rate of numbers lotteries will increase to 18 per cent instead of the current 10 per cent. The Act provides taxation of the gambling machines used for organising games of skill, and totos which are a combination of a totalisator and betting.
 
The Bill on Accession to the Convention concerning International Expositions and the Protocol of Amendment (454 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 64 votes in favour. The Convention enables Estonia to participate as a full-fledged partner in the cooperation of the contracting parties, in information exchange and in decision-making, which will strengthen Estonia’s links with the contracting parties. And Estonia’s ability to influence the decision-making processes. Accession to the Convention before 30 April 2009 enables cost saving in participation in the world exposition.
 
The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of four Bills:
 
The Bill on Amendments to the State Assets Act (436 SE), initiated by the Environment Committee, creates preconditions for forest owners to be able to acquire the state-owned forest land bordering on their registered immovable.
 
The Police and Border Guard Bill (343 SE), initiated by the Government, provides the merger of the Police Board, the Border Guard Administration and the Citizenship and Migration Board, which belong to the area of government of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, into one agency as of 1 January 2010. According to the Bill, the name of the new agency will be the Police and Border Guard Administration and it will be essentially a police authority.
 
The Bill on Amendments to the Government of the Republic Act and to Other Acts in connection with Establishing of Police and Border Guard Administration (344 SE), initiated by the Government, introduces substantial and technical amendments to several Acts in connection with the planned merger of police authorities, border guard authorities and the Citizenship and Migration Board into the Police and Border Guard Administration.
 
The Bill on Amendments to the Notaries Act and Associated Acts (411 SE), initiated by the Government, grants notaries the right to register marriages. Also, notaries will have the right to issue apostils (certificates of authentication of public documents of Estonia) and notaries are granted the right to engage in conciliation and arbitration proceedings for extra-judicial adjudication of disputes.
 
The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of two Bills:
 
The Bill on Amendments to the Investment Funds Act, the Insurance Activities Act, the Credit Institutions Act, the Securities Market Act and the Estonian Central Register of Securities Act (461 SE), initiated by the Government, brings national law into conformity with the principles arising from the EU Directive on qualifying holdings. Thus, the supervision authority of the financial undertaking in which an acquisition is proposed is to be informed of an acquisition or increase of a holding where the thresholds of the holdings acquired are 10%, 20%, 30% and 50 %. The Bill provides the obligation of full cooperation and information exchange between the acquirer and the supervision authorities of the undertaking in which an acquisition is proposed.
 
The Bill on Amendments to the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act (453 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, the Estonian Reform Party Faction, the Estonian Green Party Faction, the Estonian People’s Union Faction, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction, creates reporting system in the organisation of the work of the Riigikogu as a significant amendment. The procedure for participation of members of the Government in Question Time and the notification thereof is amended. In difference to the version of the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act which is currently in force, amendments provide that the Prime Minister (in the event of his or her absence, the minister substituting for him or her) and the ministers appointed by him or her take part in every Question Time. The Bill provides the obligation of the Riigikogu Committees to prepare an explanatory memorandum also when submitting draft legislation for the second reading. According to the Bill, the factions of the Riigikogu will have the right to initiate the deliberation of a matter of significant national importance in the plenary assembly of the Riigikogu once a year.
 
At Question Time, the Minister of Social Affairs Hanno Pevkur answered the question about cuts in social sector, submitted by Mai Treial, and the question about health care and social policy, submitted by Jaak Aab. The Minister of Culture Laine Jänes answered the question about financing of sport, submitted by Evelyn Sepp, and the question about sports policy, submitted by Karel Rüütli. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet answered the question about Estonia’s position at the UN Racism Conference, submitted by Enn Eesmaa.
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
 
 
 
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