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The Riigikogu passed with 91 votes in favour the Pre-School Child Care Institutions Act Amendment Act (116 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction. The amendments create legal conditions for the realisation of the national investments programme “A Place in Kindergarten for Every Child”. Pursuant to the Act, the Government is authorised to establish the conditions of and procedure for allocation and use of the support from the state budget for creation of places at pre-school child care institutions, renovation of child care institutions and the funds for salaries of teachers of child care institutions. The Bill also sets out that the rate of cost-sharing for local governments and the requirements for allocation of additional funds for salaries are defined by these conditions. This Act enters into force on 1 January 2008. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.

The Protocol Additional of 8 December 2005 (III) to Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to Adoption of Additional Distinctive Emblem (129 SE), initiated by the Government, was ratified with 85 votes in favour. The Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 (hereinafter Geneva Conventions) recognise three names and emblems: the red cross, the red crescent and the red lion and sun. The use of the emblems of the red cross and the red crescent has proven problematic in countries where Christian and Muslim communities are divided and neither constitutes a significant majority of the population. To resolve the situation, the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions, and relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem (hereinafter Protocol III) was drawn up which establishes the use of a new distinctive emblem, the red crystal. The emblem of red crystal should be used, in particular, by those states and national societies who cannot use the red cross or crescent for religious, cultural or political reasons. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.

On the motion of the Environmental Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to § 36 of the Packaging Act (127 SE), initiated by the Estonian Green Party Faction, was concluded. According to the Bill, packaging undertakings (except persons who sell packaged goods) are required to guarantee the recovery of the packaging waste generated from the packaging of the goods packaged thereby and from imported packaged goods to the extent of at least 60 % annually and by way of recycling, at least 35 % annually of the total mass of packaging waste; and at least 15 % annually for the total mass of each type of packaging, as of 1 January 2009. The Draft was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the Constitutional Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the National Audit Office Act (110 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to eliminate the discriminating age limit of 65 years for working in the office of the Auditor General. The Draft was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the National Defence Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to § 40 of the National Defence League Act (92 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to change the deadlines provided for in the National Defence League Act in order to facilitate completion of the process of transfer of property which is to be transferred to the ownership of the National Defence League. Meeting of current deadlines has proven impossible, the returning of property to the National Defence League being a time-consuming process. The Draft was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the Constitutional Committee as the leading committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Persons Repressed by Occupying Powers Act (162 SE), initiated by the Social Democratic Party Faction, the Estonian Reform Party Faction and the Pro Patria Res Publica Union Faction and, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to facilitate the paying of the benefit for repressed persons such that submission of expense receipts would not be required upon payment of the health promotion benefit of 2500 kroons. The Bill intends to eliminate the requirement of individual proof of the costs incurred in restoration of health by stages, with regard to 1000 kroons as of 1 January 2008 and with regard to the remaining 1500 kroons as of 1 January 2009. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

On the motion of the Finance Committee as the leading committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act (168 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction, was concluded. The Bill was prepared with the intention of repealing the excise duty exemption for confiscated excise goods in order to ensure taxation of excise goods on an equal basis. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

The Riigikogu Press Service

 

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