The Riigikogu passed eleven Acts and two Resolutions:
The State Budget of the Year 2009 Act (346 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 60 votes in favour (29 votes against). The planned volume of the budget revenue is 97.8 billion kroons and the volume of the expenditure is 98.5 billion kroons. The volume of the budget which was passed has dropped by more than two billion kroons, as compared to the original Bill. The budget was reduced by more than one billion kroons in connection with changes in economic forecast. Nearly half a billion kroons was saved from the funds allocated to the public sector. The operating expenses of ministries were cut by three per cent of the volume of their budgets.
The Peace-Time National Defence Act (339 SE), initiated by the Government, which organises the hierarchy of national defence planning documents and specifies their interconnection, was passed with 88 votes in favour.
The Act on Amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure and Associated Acts (194 SE), initiated by the Government, which enhances the efficiency and economics of judicial proceedings, was passed with 59 votes in favour (29 votes against). It also ensures better protection of unprivileged persons and persons with restricted active legal capacity. Certain state fee rates are changed.
The Act on Amendments to the Defence Forces Service Act and the Health Care Services Organisation Act (324 SE), initiated by the Government, which extends the scope of the Health Care Services Organisation Act to health care administration within the area of government of the Ministry of Defence, with the specifications arising from the Defence Forces Service Act, was passed with 81 votes in favour.
The Act on Amendments to the Defence Forces Service Act, the Health Insurance Act and the Social Tax Act (289 SE), initiated by the Government, which updates the procedure for the performance of the conscript service obligation in alternative service, was passed with 82 votes in favour. The amendments extend the range of new potential places of service. Also, the amount of and procedure for the allowance paid to persons in alternative service is equalised. The making of the decisions related to call-up for and serving in alternative service is defined in more detail and centralised to the competence of the Defence Resources Agency. Institution of the contract of alternative service will secure the rights and obligations of the Defence Resources Agency, persons in alternative service and agencies of place of service.
The Act on Amendments to the Police Service Act (351 SE), initiated by the Government, which changes the payment of the pension for police officers out of state budget funds, was passed with 82 votes in favour. This falls now within the competence of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the case of both police officers and prosecutors who have the right to receive the pension for police officers.
The Act on Amendments to the Forest Act and Associated Acts (327 SE), initiated by the Government, which improves the efficacy of the Forest Act and takes more account of the interests of interest groups, was passed with 76 votes in favour. The Act ensures better compatibility of forestry-related activities with the general objectives of forest policy and avoids possible ambiguous interpretations. The Act ensures preservation of the primeval state forest land for the state and the planning of long-term processes in forestry.
The Act on Amendments to the Local Government Council Election Act (392 SE), initiated by the Constitutional Committee, the purpose of which is to bring the Act into conformity with the Constitution, according to the proposal from the Chancellor of Justice, was passed with 59 votes in favour (24 votes against). The Act amends the election of the council in local governments with several electoral districts like Tallinn where half of the mandates will be divided equally among the electoral districts, with the remaining mandates divided according to the number of voters in the city district. In Tallinn, the council will form electoral districts by city districts, based on the principle that one electoral district is formed in each city district. Also, the council will have to comprise at least 79 members instead of the current 63 in cities with a population of more than 300 000.
The Machinery Safety Act (292 SE), initiated by the Government, which ensures the safety of machinery, partly completed machinery, the equipment, protective systems, components and accessories used in a potentially explosive atmosphere and outdoor equipment, was passed with 72 votes in favour. The Act provides the requirements for the specified equipment, the placing on the market and putting into service and use of such equipment, as well as for machine work and technical inspection, and provides the procedure for the exercise of state supervision over compliance with such requirements.
The Act on Ratification of Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (355 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 64 votes in favour. The Convention is the only international legally binding agreement in the field of physical protection of nuclear material. It establishes measures for the prevention, detection and punishment of offences relating to nuclear material. The objective of the Convention is, in particular, to apply the measures of physical protection during the international transport of nuclear materials. The aim for amending the Convention is mainly to extend its scope, which is now focussing mainly on international transport of nuclear material, to cover more extensively domestic use of nuclear material, storage and transport, as well as protection of nuclear material and facilities from sabotage.
The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit of the Use of the Estonian Defence Forces in Performance of International Duties of the Estonian State under the International Peacekeeping Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina” (386 OE), submitted by the Government, which provides the extension of the time limit of the use of the Estonian Defence Forces with a staff of up to five in the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, led by the European Union Force, until 31 December 2009, was passed with 63 votes in favour.
The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit of the Use of the Estonian Defence Forces in Performance of International Duties of the Estonian State under the International Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo” (387 OE), submitted by the Government, which provides the extension of the time limit of the use of the Estonian Defence Forces with a staff of up to forty in the membership of Kosovo peacekeeping forces, led by NATO, until 31 December 2009, was passed with 63 votes in favour.
The Act 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, was passed with 62 votes in favour. The purpose of agreements for the avoidance of double taxation is to favour investments, to ensure equal treatment of persons and to eliminate double taxation, which may occur as a result of joint influence of the relevant Acts of two states. For the achievement of these purposes, the Agreement imposes restrictions on income taxes, which may be established to the residents of the other state by the state of the source of income. The Agreement also contributes to the creation of additional possibilities for the prevention of tax evasions.
The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of six Bills:
the Bill on Amendments to the Taxation Act, the Commercial Code and Associated Acts (377 SE), initiated by the Government;
the Bill on Amendments to the Forest Act, the Environmental Charges Act and the Participation in Legal Persons in Private Law by the State Act (350 SE), initiated by the Government;
the Bill on Amendments to the Social Welfare Act, the Social Benefits for Disabled Persons Act and Associated Acts (370 SE), initiated by the Government;
the Bill on Amendments to Acts regulating Legal Protection of Industrial Property and Associated Acts (281 SE), initiated by the Government;
the Bill on Amendments to the Electricity Market Act (311 SE), initiated by the Government;
the Employment Contracts Bill (299 SE), initiated by the Government. The motion by the Estonian People’s Union Faction and the Estonian Centre Party Faction to suspend the second reading of the Bill was not supported (22 votes in favour, 36 votes against). Motions submitted to amend the Bill were reviewed and voted on from 6.40 p.m. until 2 a.m.
On the motion of the Reform Party Faction, the Riigikogu suspended the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Public Transport Act and Associated Acts (364 SE), initiated by the Government.
The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of seven Bills:
the Bill on Ratification of the Instruments of Amendment of 2006 of the Constitution and the Convention of the International Telecommunication Union (371 SE), initiated by the Government;
the Bill on Amendments to the Organic Farming Act and the State Fees Act (390 SE), initiated by the Government;
the Bill on Amendments to the Chemicals Act (388 SE), initiated by the Government;
the Bill on Acquisition of Land on which Usufruct Has Been Established during Land Reform (380 SE), initiated by the Government;
the Bill on Making a Declaration of Recognition of the Competence of the International Investigation Committee on the basis of Article 90, paragraph 2 (a) of Protocol I of 8 June 1977 Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (362 SE), initiated by the Government;
the Bill on Approval of Protocols to the North Atlantic Treaty on the Accession of the Republic of Albania and the Republic of Croatia (379 SE), initiated by the Government;
Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit of the Use of the Estonian Defence Forces in Performance of International Duties of the Estonian State in Iraq” (394 OE), submitted by the Government. The Riigikogu did not support the motion by the Estonian Centre Party Faction to reject the Draft at the first reading (19 votes in favour, 43 votes against).
At Question Time, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip answered the question about state budget, submitted by Karel Rüütli. The Minister of Social Affairs Maret Maripuu answered the question about health policy, submitted by Vilja Savisaar, and the question about treatment against a person’s will, submitted by Maret Merisaar. The Minister of Agriculture Helir-Valdor Seeder answered the question about agricultural policy, submitted by Arvo Sarapuu.
The sitting ended at 3.27 a.m.
The Riigikogu Press Service
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