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The Riigikogu deliberated the Proposal No 11 of the Chancellor of Justice concerning constitutionality of the obligation to tolerate utility networks and technical infrastructure necessary in the public interest and the fee paid for the obligation to tolerate.
 
Chancellor of Justice Indrek Teder found that the obligation to tolerate utility networks and technical infrastructure necessary in the public interest and the relevant norms of the fee provided are in conflict with the Constitution. “Section 32 of the Constitution provides the fundamental right to property, stating that the property of every person is inviolable and equally protected. According to subsection 2 of that section, everyone has the right to freely possess, use, and dispose of his or her property. According to this proposal, the obligation to tolerate as well as the fee established in the specified norms is unconstitutional,” explained Teder. The society needs such utility networks and technical infrastructure and it is in every way normal that in principle such obligation to tolerate should exist. However, according to the Constitution, a reasonable fee should also be established for that obligation to tolerate. The Chancellor of Justice made a proposal to the Riigikogu to bring the proposal in question into conformity with the Constitution.
 
Chairman of the Constitutional Committee Väino Linde presented the opinion of the Committee, stating that it is indeed sensible to change the current too universal and small fee and to make amendments to the relevant Act. The most reasonable way to do that would be to support the proposal of the Chancellor of Justice.
 
Chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee Ken-Marti Vaher said that, as is known, the regulation which is in force today has not been prepared by the parliament but it has been submitted by the Government. “The Legal Affairs Committee has received a clear confirmation from the parties – the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Justice – that the willingness is there and work on preparation of the new regulation in question has actually already begun, and hopefully it will progress in the near future so that a draft will be prepared,” explained Vaher.
 
Marek Strandberg and Ain Seppik took the floor during the debate. The Riigikogu supported with 78 votes in favour the proposal of the Chancellor of Justice. Vice-President of the Riigikogu Keit Pentus made a proposal to the Legal Affairs Committee to initiate a Bill on amendments to the relevant Act for bringing the Law of Property Act and the Law of Property Act Implementation Act into conformity with the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia.
 
The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of two Bills:
 
The Bill on Amendments to the Local Taxes Act and the Taxation Act and (774 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction, provides elimination of the sales tax and the boat tax from the list of taxes applied by local governments as provided in the Act. According to the amendment, the Act enters into force on 1 January 2012. The Estonian Centre Party Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. The motion was not supported. The result of voting: 35 votes in favour, 40 against.
 
The purpose of the Bill on Amendments to the Commercial Code (733 SE), initiated by the Government, is to simplify the norms regulating the institution of private limited company, in particular, to enable founding of a private limited company without making contributions, to reduce formal requirements for company law documents, to reduce the obligation to involve an auditor, to simplify the regulation of the legal right of pre-emption upon transfer of a share and to eliminate a specified term of the term of office of a member of the management board.
 
The Riigikogu suspended the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management System Act (750 SE), initiated by the Government. The Bill provides the legal bases and procedure for the assessment of the expected environmental impact and the strategic environmental assessment, the organisation of the environmental management and environmental auditing system and the legal bases for giving ecolabels, and establishes liability for violation of the requirements of the Act, with the aim of preventing damage to the environment. The Estonian Reform Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading. The result of voting: 37 votes in favour, 11 against.
 
The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of three Bills:
 
The Bill on Ratification of the Treaty between the Republic of Estonia and the People’s Republic of China on Mutual Judicial Assistance in Criminal Matters (792 SE), initiated by the Government. The Treaty enables to provide extensive mutual assistance in criminal matters and to transmit requests no longer through diplomatic channels but through the traditional central agencies of international judicial assistance, that is, ministries of justice.
 
The Bill on Amendments to the Universities Act and Associated Acts (784 SE), initiated by the Government, formulates more clearly the provisions related to the external evaluation of the higher education in order to ensure better implementation of the regulation. Accreditation will give students and educational institutions an assurance that, through the external evaluation, adequate feedback on the level of the educational institution will be received.
 
The purpose of the Bill on Amendments to the State Budget Act, the Government of the Republic Act and Other Acts (790 SE), initiated by the Government, is to introduce the terminological and contentual amendments arising from the Authorised Public Accountants Act and to specify and amend the wording of the Act in view of the needs that have appeared upon implementation of the Act. The Authorised Public Accountants Act entered into force on 8 March 2010.
 
At Question Time, the Minister of Culture Laine Jänes answered the question about financing of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, submitted by Kadri Simson, the question about the fate of the cultural heritage, submitted by Mark Soosaar, and the question about financing of libraries, submitted by Georg Pelisaar. The Minister of Regional Affairs Siim Valmar Kiisler answered the question about the situation of local governments, submitted by Arvo Sarapuu, and the question about the revenue base of local governments, submitted by Jaan Õunapuu.
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
 
 
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