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Today was the last sitting of the 8th session of the Riigikogu.

The Riigikogu passed the Bill on Amendments to the Peace-Time National Defence Act and the Defence Forces Organisation Act (880 SE), initiated by the National Defence Committee, with 89 votes in favour. The purpose of the Act is to update the terminology related to national defence and to rename the current Strategic Plan for Military Defence as the National Defence Strategy. The Act enters into force on the day following its publication in Riigi Teataja.
 
The Riigikogu passed the Local Government Organisation Act Amendment Act (835 SE), initiated by the Government, with 87 votes in favour. The Act specifies and disambiguates the educational requirements for appointing rural municipality and city secretaries to office, following the principle of legal clarity. This Act enters into force on 1 March 2011.
  
The Act on Amendments to the Notaries Act, the Notaries’ Fees Act and the Euro Adoption Act and Associated Acts (833 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 91 votes in favour. The amendments eliminate the unconformities between the provisions of the amendments to the Notaries’ Fees Act and State Fees Act made by the Act on Amendments to the Land Register Act, the Law of Succession Act and Other Associated Acts, and the amendments made to the Notaries’ Fees Act and State Fees Act by the Rescue Act, the Fire Safety Act and the Euro Adoption Bill, which will enter into force on 1 January 2011. The Act enters into force on 1 January 2011.
 
The Act on Amendments to the State Assets Act (840 SE), initiated by the Rural Affairs Committee, was passed with 89 votes in favour. The amendment makes it possible for an agricultural producer, who has been tilling the land under a temporary land use contract, to become the owner of the land in cultivation which they have been legally using and ameliorating so far. As a precondition, they must have been the last legal user of the land prior to its transfer. The present Act enters into force on the following day after its publication in Riigi Teataja.
 
The Act on Amendments to the Health Care Services Organisation Act (856 SE) & (209 SE), initiated by the Government and the Estonian Centre Party Faction, was passed with 91 votes in favour. The purpose of the Act is to regulate the employment opportunities of the students who are studying to become health care professionals, i.e. to create the possibility for students to practice as trainee doctors. Another purpose is to bring the current legislative regulation into conformity with the European Parliament and Council directive on the principles of the recognition of professional qualifications.
 
The Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and electricity Excise Duty Act and the Act on Amendments to the Defence Forces Organisation Act (861 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 89 votes in favour. The amendments harmonise the Act with the corresponding European Union directive which raises the minimum rates of excise duties on tobacco products and specifies the definitions of tobacco products with a view to ensuring harmonised application of the excise duty. In addition to the amendments arising from the directive, the Act extends the special conditions for operating the excise warehouse to wine production. It also specifies the conditions of excise duty exemption of fuel brought from other Member States and from non-Community countries by travellers. The Act will have a positive impact on the business environment and the activities of undertakings. The Act enters into force on 1 January 2011.
 
The Media Services Act (827 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 88 votes in favour. The Act provides the procedure for the provision of audiovisual media services and radio service, i.e. the media service, the principles of the activities and the requirements for service providers. It also provides the procedure for granting activity licences for the provision of television broadcasting service and radio broadcasting service to persons in private law and for registration of the provision of an on-demand audiovisual media service, and the principles of the protection of a person who provides information to a person who processes data for journalistic purposes, that is, the source of information. Pursuant to this Act, the Broadcasting Act is repealed. §§ 47 and 48 enter into force on 1 July 2011.
 
The Act on Amendments to the Traffic Act and Associated Acts (874 SE), initiated by the Economic Affairs Committee, was passed with 90 votes in favour. The amendments specify the scope of application of the Traffic Act, the regulation of the limitation period of fines for delay, the use of emergency lights of emergency vehicles, the bases for establishing the rates of compensation for towing a vehicle to a guarded storage facility and storing it there, and the transitory provisions relating to the date of the medical examination of drivers of power-driven vehicles and the right to drive. Entry into force of the new Traffic Act as well as these amendments is postponed by six months: both will enter into force on 1 July 2011, instead of 1 January 2011. Clauses 21 and 25 of § 1 remain in force until 18 January 2013, clause 20 will enter into force on 19 January 2013.
 
The Act on Amendments to the Public Procurement Act and Associated Acts (860 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 53 votes in favour. The Act ensures a more specific regulation of the sphere in order to organise public procurements more effectively. Establishment of a public procurement procedure improves procedural clarity, uniformity of actions by tenderers, control through supervision proceedings, continuity despite staff changes, and helps to ensure the application of the principle of transparency and controllability. This Act enters into force on 1 January 2011; clauses 7, 11–16, 18, 52 and 70 of its § 1 will enter into force on 1 January 2012; and clauses 43 and 71 of its § 1 on 1 January 2013. 36 members of the Riigikogu voted against the Act.
 
The Act on Amendments to the Forest Act (843 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 74 votes in favour. The Act creates the preconditions for the adoption of digital conveyance documents. For this purpose, the obligatory form requirement of the conveyance document is eliminated and the possibility to prepare a digital conveyance document is provided. Also, the flexibility and transparency of the provisions concerning the planning of regeneration cuttings in a state forest is increased and the mistakes which have become apparent in the Act are eliminated.
 
 
At the end of the sitting, the Riigikogu received Santa Clause, who gave humorous gifts as well as praise to all factions represented in the Riigikogu. Santa Clause wished everyone good holiday spirit and a happy new year.
 
For more details, read the verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian):
Photos of the visit by Santa Clause can be found at: http://fotoalbum.riigikogu.ee/v/2010/Riigikogu/Joul2010/
 
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
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