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Andres Jalak, who assumed membership of the Riigikogu in connection with resignation of Indrek Raudne, gave the oath of office today.

The Riigikogu passed with 85 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Ambient Air Protection Act and Other Associated Acts (104 SE), initiated by the Government. The amendments ensure transposition of the relevant Directive into Estonian law and create an opportunity to capture and transport geologically stored CO2 in Estonia. Carbon dioxide capture and geological storage (CCS) is a bridging technology that consists of the separation of gaseous carbon dioxide (CO2) from the industrial emissions (mainly in power plants, but also steel industry and other installations), its capture, liquefaction, transport under pressure to a storage site and injection into a suitable underground geological formation (group) meeting certain conditions for the purposes of permanent storage.
 
The Act on Amendments to the Health Care Services Organisation Act, the Labour Market Services and Benefits Act and the Social Welfare Act (128 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction, was passed with 85 votes in favour. The aim of the Act is to establish an allowances system allowing a start-up allowance in an amount of up to 15 000 euro for doctors commencing their practice with a view to motivating them to take up practice in rural areas. The allowance is meant for doctors who after the completion of residency commence work at local and general hospitals and in family physician practices which are located outside the attraction centres of Tallinn and Tartu and the regions bordering thereon. This Act also amends the Labour Market Services and Benefits Act such that opportunities to obtain help in job search would be better ensured to persons wishing to find a job. The amendments harmonise the rules on helping job seekers primarily with regard to the principles for the calculation of and the rates of benefits. Section 1 of the Act enters into force on 1 June 2012 and §§ 2 and 3 enter into force on 1 January 2012.
 
On the motion of the Finance Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to § 5 of the Value Added Tax Act (134 SE), initiated by the same Committee, was concluded. The initiation of the Bill was motivated by the intention to preserve the reduced limit of the refund of value added tax upon sale with value added tax refund (tax free) which is in force temporarily (1.01.2010-31.12.2011). The proposal to reduce the limits has been made by the Estonian Traders’ Association, the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association and the Estonian Association of Travel Agents. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications supports the proposal. In its opinion, the tax-free limit which was reduced to 38.5 euro for two years in January 2010 has had a positive impact on the tourism sector. According to the Bill, the limit will be made comparable with that in neighbouring countries and the limit of 38 euro will be established for tax free sale. The amendment will have a favourable effect on the growth of tourism which in turn will increase budget receipts. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Constitutional Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Prosecutor’s Office Act (126 SE), initiated by the same Committee, was concluded. The Bill regulates the remuneration of prosecutors. The amendments are due to the need to keep the salaries of prosecutors in proportion to the salaries of judges and other higher state officials in order to ensure the balance between the different branches of power. The Constitutional Committee has initiated this Bill on the proposal of the Finance Committee in order to separate this issue from the so-called “cluster Bill” (100 SE). The Bill provides that, upon determination of the remuneration of prosecutors, guidance is taken from the principles for determining the salaries of judges and the monthly salary rate of the Chief Public Prosecutor may not exceed the salary rate specified in subsection 2 (1) of the Salaries of Higher State Servants Act multiplied by the highest salary rate index specified in subsection (2) multiplied by factor 0.85. 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 Act on Amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure and Other Acts (123 SE), initiated by the same Committee, was concluded. The Bill changes the deadline for entry into force of the Act on Amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure and Other Acts. The Act on Amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure and Other Acts which amended the legal regulation of surveillance had been passed in the Riigikogu on 17 February 2011, and 1 January 2012 had been established as the deadline for entry into force of the Act. The aim of the amendments is to postpone it by one year and to enforce the Act on 1 January 2013 because the Chancellor of Justice has ascertained that clauses 12615 (2) 2) and 3) are in conflict with the Constitution and the Ministry of Justice is preparing a Bill for bringing these provisions into conformity with the Constitution and for amending several other provisions concerning surveillance in the same Act. 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 Act, the Rescue Service Act and Other Acts arising from Reorganisation of Agencies (116 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The Bill was drafted in connection with reorganisation of the local agencies of the Rescue Board and their merge with the Rescue Board, the establishing of a strong joint alarm centre and transfer to the single emergency call number 112, and reorganisation of prefectures into regional structural units of the Police and Border Guard Board. According to the Bill, as of 1 January 2012, prefectures will no longer operate as independent police authorities, and the work of current police authorities will be organised as a single governmental authority, the Police and Border Guard Board. The local agencies of the Rescue Board (rescue centres) will be merged with the Rescue Board. The Bill introduces in the Acts the amendments necessary therefor. The Estonian Centre Party Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of this Bill. 52 members of the Riigikogu voted against the motion and 39 members voted in favour. Thus, the motion was not supported and the Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Economic Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Merchant Shipping Act and the Maritime Safety Act (82 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The Bill brings national law into conformity with the European Parliament and Council directive regulating the insurance of shipowners for maritime claims. The Directive is part of the so-called third maritime safety package and its main aim is to better ensure the covering of the damages caused by marine casualties by tightening the requirements relating to the payment of compensations. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Economic Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Estonian Development Fund Act (102 SE), initiated by the same Committee, was concluded. The aim of the Bill is to subject the activities of the Development Fund which are related to governing of venture capital to the requirements of the Investment Funds Act, and to enable the state to acquire units or shares of the venture capital fund established by the Development Fund. In addition to the above, the principles of financing the operating expenses, including the development monitoring of the Development Fund are amended and the content of the acts performed in connection with the development monitoring is specified. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
 
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