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The Riigikogu passed with 89 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Law of Obligations Act and the Code of Civil Procedure (372 SE), initiated by the Government. The Act regulates the transactions in economic or professional activity, that is, transactions between undertakings or between undertakings and public authorities (the state, a local government or other person operating in public interest) with the aim of preventing late payment and improving the general payment discipline. With the amendments, maximum periods of payment are provided for transactions in economic or professional activity deviations from which will be allowed only in limited cases. So, payment periods in transactions between undertakings may not normally exceed 60 calendar days. The Act also provides for maximum time limits (a maximum of 30 days) for the receipt and review of goods, service or other benefit for transactions in economic and professional activities which may be agreed upon in the case when the payment period commences after the receipt or review of the goods, service or other benefit; and other amendments are made. One member of the Riigikogu voted against the Act.

The Act on Amendments to the Nature Conservation Act and the State Assets Act (289 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 50 votes in favour. The aim of the Act is to make transactions conducted with state land as clear and understandable as possible, to ensure purposeful use of state budget funds and to bring the receiving of the compensation for nature conservation restrictions to common grounds. The amendments eliminate the possibility, provided for in the nature Conservation Act, of transferring to the state an immovable with a nature conservation restriction acquired before 1 April 2007 if the owner was aware of the nature conservation restrictions applied thereto already at the time of the acquisition of the immovable and no stricter procedure for protection thereof has been established subsequently. They also eliminate the possibility of offsetting the cost of the assets acquired upon transfer of state assets by auction on the basis of the State Assets against an immovable with nature conservation restrictions in the ownership of the winner of the auction. Problems and questions have emerged upon application of the abovementioned regulations, including as regards purposeful and reasoned use of state budget funds, ensuring equal treatment of persons, etc. 20 members of the Riigikogu voted against the Act.

The Resolution “Formation of the Anti-corruption Select Committee” (380 OE), initiated by the Constitutional Committee, was passed with 70 votes in favour. According to the Resolution, a new Anti-corruption Select Committee is formed pursuant to the new Anti-corruption Act which will enter into force as of 1 April 2013. Members of the Riigikogu Rein Aidma, Andres Anvelt, Helmen Kütt, Lauri Laasi, Meelis Mälberg, Liisa-Ly Pakosta, Aivar Riisalu and Peeter Laurson were appointed members of the Committee, and Kalev Lillo, Jaak Allik, Rein Randver, Priit Toobal, Lauri Luik, Andres Jalak, Tarmo Tamm and Reet Roos, respectively, were appointed alternate members of the Committee. In comparison to the Act which is currently in force, the new Act somewhat extends the authority of the Select Committee to exercise parliamentary scrutiny over the implementation of anti-corruption measures, and enables the Committee to discuss on its own initiative possible cases of corruption of the officials specified in the Anti-Corruption Act and also to provide assessments thereon. The Resolution enters into force on 1 April 2013.

On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Fire Safety Act (363 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The aim of the amendments is to organise the problems that have emerged in practice and to ensure better legal clarity for persons for observing the provisions of the Fire Safety Act. A provision on the avoidance of causing a fire in buildings is added to the Act, and the principles of exercising state supervision to ascertain the causes of fire are amended. In order to increase legal clarity, it is specified which building design documentation and permits for the use of construction works need to be approved by the Rescue Board in order that the local government can grant its written consent and issue the construction permit and the permit for the use of construction works. In addition, the organisation of determining the beginning and end of the period of fire hazard and the period of great fire hazard is specified. The Bill was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the Environment Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Chemicals Act (350 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The aim of the Bill is to increase chemical safety by ensuring better implementation of European Union legislation on chemicals. For this purpose, the Act is brought into conformity with the abovementioned legislation, and the tasks of competent authorities and their liability for infringement of the requirements set for chemicals and the handling thereof are specified. The Bill was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the Social Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Medicinal Products Act and Other Associated Acts (332 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The Bill provides for the concept of sale of medicinal products at a distance which is lacking in the law currently in force, and grants holders of the activity licence of general pharmacy the right to offer for sale at a distance medicinal products for human use (medicinal products not subject to prescription as well as medicinal products subject to prescription) and veterinary medicinal products not subject to prescription. A precondition for the sale of medicinal products subject to prescription in the case of sale at a distance is the requirement that the prescription has to have been issued in electronic form and saved in the Digital Prescription Centre. The sale of veterinary medicinal products subject to prescription will be restricted because there is no digital prescription for prescribing such medicinal products. The Bill provides for an obligation of the relevant provider of pharmacy services to guarantee uniform sales and delivery terms, including the delivery charge depending on the type of delivery (for example, courier, parcel terminal, post office, in-store pickup, etc.) on the whole territory of Estonia. In addition to the above, the Bill provides for the definition of falsified medicinal product and the regulation for the prevention of the distribution of falsified medicinal products. The Bill was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the Environment Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Nature Conservation Act (287 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The aim of the Bill is to specify the requirements for the proceedings for placing a natural object under protection and to amend the Act by adding the regulation concerning the delivery of a decision to place a natural object under protection to a party to the proceedings and the justification of the decision. In addition, it specifies the provisions regulating the moving on shore paths. The Bill also intends to specify the regulation concerning the protection of parks, arboretums and forest stands, to specify the provisions concerning the sale of the species falling under CITES (the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), supplemental feeding of wild game animals and the nature conservation subsidy, and to regulate the requirements for the use of non-native species, as well as to grant the Environmental Inspectorate the right of confiscation. As a new issue, the regulation concerning trade in seal products has been added into the Act because, under the relevant European Union Regulation, Member States should lay down rules on penalties and designate a competent authority ensuring the implementation of the Regulation. The Bill was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the Cultural Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Museums Bill (374 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The amendments establish the bases for the activities of museums and the organisation of museum collections, and the conditions for compensation by the state for damage caused to an owner of an international exhibition. As major amendments as compared with the Museums Act which entered into force in 1996, the scope of application of the Act is restricted (it will not automatically apply to municipal museums and museums of legal persons in public law), the principles of replenishment of museum collections are defined, and the range of museums to whom a museum collection owned by the state may be granted for use is extended. In addition, the digital images of museum objects and digital museum objects will be made available on the web free of charge to everyone. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

On the motion of the National Defence Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Ratification of the Agreement between the Republic of Estonia and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe and Headquarters, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation to Supplement the Paris Protocol (384 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The aim of the supplementary Agreement to be ratified is to simplify the work of NATO Allied Headquarters in Estonia and the implementation of the Agreement and the Protocol, and to ensure the independence of the Allied Headquarters. Conditions are created so that the Allied Headquarters and staffs could be deployed into Estonia and they could be established in Estonia, and that they could operate in Estonia. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

On the motion of the National Defence Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to Acts in connection with the Ratification of the Agreement between the Republic of Estonia and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe and Headquarters, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation to Supplement the Paris Protocol (385 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Acts necessary for the implementation of the supplementary Agreement and to thereby enforce the supplementary Agreement. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

The Riigikogu Press Service

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