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Riigikogu

The Riigikogu passed seven Acts and two Resolutions:

The Riigikogu passed with 54 votes in favour (12 against) the Election Acts, Referendum Act and Penal Code Amendment Act (836 SE), initiated by the Constitutional Committee. The Act specifies provisions concerning electronic voting for the use of electronic voting at the next elections. The Act also makes amendments to the organisation of elections and to the work of electoral committees. The principle of political balance of division committees is also enacted.

The Riigikogu passed with 75 votes in favour the Identity Documents Act and State Fees Act Amendment Act (879 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act stipulates the employment of biometric data in identity documents. So far there has been no legal basis for that. Beside other personal data, the Act enables also to enter images of fingerprints or data on them into the identity document, as well as images of eye irises or data on them, and the data concerning the colour of hair.                                  

The Riigikogu passed with 72 votes in favour the Local Governments Organisation Act Amendment Act (812 SE), initiated by Members of the Riigikogu Jarno Laur and Mark Soosaar. The Act stipulates that each member of the local government council has the right to belong to at least one committee.                                  

The Riigikogu passed with 66 votes in favour (1 against) the Bank of Estonia Act Amendment Act (720 SE), initiated by Members of the Riigikogu Liina Tõnisson and Mart Opmann. The Act brings the Bank of Estonia Act into conformity with the requirements, set forth in the Treaty establishing the European Community and the Statutes of the European System of Central Banks and the European Central Bank for the central banks of full members of the Economic and Monetary Union. The Act makes amendments to the provision pursuant to which the President of the Bank of Estonia can no longer be a member of the Board of the Bank of Estonia, the term of office of the President of the Bank of Estonia is extended to 7 years and a restriction stipulates, that the same person cannot be the President of the Bank of Estonia for two terms of office in succession.

The Riigikogu passed with 53 votes in favour (3 against, 4 abstentions) the Forest Act (833 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act provides for a financial security for ensuring the obligation of reforestation. A financial security is obligatory in case of clear cutting more than two hectares in the following types of forests: hepatica spruce forests, wood sorrel spruce forests and wood sorrel bilberry spruce forests. The reforestation provides for either a planting of new trees or sowing of tree seeds and a soil scarification for that purpose as well as later care of forest cultures. Pursuant to the Act, the financial security provided for those works cannot be less than EEK 3,000 or more than EEK 20,000 per hectare.

The Riigikogu passed with 64 votes in favour the Environmental Charges Act Amendment Act (876 SE), initiated by the Environment Committee. The Act promotes a more economic use of mineral reserves and ensures a better fulfilment of the tasks assigned to local governments by the Waste Act. 15 percent of the cutting right fee of the growing forest, sold for regeneration cutting, proceeds to the state budget, and 15 percent of the revenue accrued from the sale of timber, received from the regeneration cutting, will be directed through the foundation Environment Investment Centre Foundation back to the environment protection. In 2006 the share of the revenue from state forests, to be allocated to the state budget, is expected to amount to EEK 195 million.

The Riigikogu passed with 33 votes in favour the Act on the Accession to the 2001 International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (877 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The purpose of the Act on the Accession to the Convention is to ensure that the Republic of Estonia and the persons who have suffered losses on the territory of Estonia have the right to receive benefits for pollution damages caused by the bunker oil bleedings or leakage on board of ships or proceeding from ships. The Convention binds the registered owner of a vessel with a gross tonnage of over 1,000 ships, registered in a State Party, to take a sufficient insurance or any other financial security, in order to cover the responsibility for the pollution damage, according to valid rates. The Act on the Accession to the Bunker Oil Convention also regulates the supervision over the insurance required by the Convention in ports, for ensuring that all the ships visiting Estonian ports have the required insurance. The Maritime Administration which at the moment carries out random checks, has a supervisory function, as does a legal person in private law, to whom the power audit has been conferred, pursuant to the Act.

The Riigikogu passed with 64 votes in favour (2 against, 1 abstention) the Resolution of the Riigikogu On the Appointment of Priit Pikamäe to the Office of Justice of the Supreme Court (901 OE), submitted by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The Resolution provides for the appointment of Priit Pikamäe to the office of Justice of the Supreme Court.

The Riigikogu passed with 36 votes in favour the Resolution of the Riigikogu On the Use of the Estonian Defence Forces Unit in Performance of International Duties of the Estonian State in the Membership of the NATO Response Forces (887 OE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Resolution gives the right to use the Estonian Defence Forces Unit with a staff of up to 15 members of the Defence Forces beginning from 1 July 2006 to 31 January 2007 in the membership of the NATO Response Forces.

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The Riigikogu did not pass unamended the Foreign Relations Act which the President of the Republic refused to proclaim.  In the President’s opinion several provisions of the Act are in the conflict with the Constitution. According to the President, the Act entitles the President to inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about his/her foreign relations activities, which is not in the conformity with the competence of the President of the Republic. Another conflict in the Act, according to the President, is the fact that the programme of a foreign visit of the President is drafted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, without having harmonising it previously with the President. The Constitutional Committee stated that the Act was in the conformity with the Constitution and recommended to pass it unamended. But the Foreign Affairs Committee did not support the passage of the Act unamended. The result of voting for the passage of the Act unamended was the following: 20 votes in favour, 52 against. Amendments will be made to the Act.

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of three Bills:

The Bill on Amendments to the Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure Witness Protection Act and Code of Misdemeanour Procedure (599 SE), initiated by the Legal Affairs Committee;

The Bill on Amendments to the Alcohol, Tobacco and Fuel Excise Duty Act (909 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Bill on Amendments to the Unemployment Insurance Act and to the Republic of Estonia Employment Contracts Act (884 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

The Riigikogu suspended the second reading of the Public Procurements Bill (816 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of 10 Bills:

The Bill on Amendments to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and their Source Materials (899 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Bill on Amendments to the Social Welfare Act, Value Added Tax Act, Public Health Act, State Fees Act and Code of Civil Procedure (918 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Bill on Amendments to § 13 of the Administrative Cooperation Act (885 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction, Estonian Centre Party Faction and Estonian People’s Union Faction;

The Bill on Amendments to § 42 (4) of the Medicinal Products Act (827 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction, Estonian Centre Party Faction and Estonian People’s Union Faction; The Isamaaliit Faction, Res Publica Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. The motion was not supported. The result of voting: 34 votes in favour, 47 against.

The Bill on Amendments to the Fishing Act (905 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, The Isamaaliit Faction and the Res Publica Faction moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. The motion was not supported. The result of voting: 12 votes in favour, 47 against.

The Bill on the Ratification of the Copyright Treaty of the World Intellectual Property Organization (906 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Bill on the Ratification of the Performance and Phonograms Treaty of the World Intellectual Property Organization (907 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic:

The Bill on Amendments to the Explosive Substances Act (892 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Bill on Amendments to the Apartment Associations Act, Apartment Ownership Act, Building Act, Energy Efficiency of Equipment Act and Housing Associations Act (895 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Bill on Amendments to § 27 of the Privatisation Act (903 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Isamaaliit Faction and the Res Publica Faction moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. The motion was not supported. The result of voting: 13 votes in favour, 44 against.

At Question Time Minister of Justice Rein Lang answered the questions about the freedom fighting, the area of government of the Ministry of Justice, the salaries of prison officers and corruption. Minister Paul-Eerik Rummo answered the question about the Victory Monument to the Estonian War of Independence. Minister of Regional Affairs Jaan Õunapuu answered the questions about the supervision over the activities of local governments and the problems of Setumaa.

The sitting ended at 8.46 p.m.

The questions asked at the Question Time and the answers to them as well as the verbatim record of the Riigikogu sitting are available (in Estonian) on the Internet at: http://web.riigikogu.ee/ems/plsql/stenograms.form 

The Riigikogu Press Service

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