The Riigikogu passed seven Acts:
The Act on Amendments to the Penal Code, the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Punishment Register Act, the Probation Supervision Act and the Imprisonment Act (562 SE), initiated by the Government, which allows imposing of community service as a substitutive punishment in cases of misdemeanour, was passed with 78 votes in favour. The Act also enhances application of electronic surveillance. With a view to stabilising and reducing the number of prisoners, the Act creates an opportunity to replace imprisonment of up to six months with electronic surveillance.
The Act on Amendments to the Weapons Act (719 SE), initiated by the National Defence Committee, which permits bayonet knives to be used for civilian purposes, was passed with 82 votes in favour.
The Act on Amendments to the Water Act and the Chemicals Act (710 SE), initiated by the Environment Committee, which allows a more efficient organisation of the monitoring and protection of surface water and groundwater in accordance with the requirements of the European Union water policy framework directive, was passed with 81 votes in favour. The purpose of river basin based regulation of the use and protection of water is to protect water bodies in view of integrity of water bodies and in consideration of all factors affecting water bodies. The Act also regulates drilling and liquidation of bore holes and bore wells.
The Act on Amendments to the Hunting Act and the Ambient Air Protection Act (744 SE), initiated by the Government, which is connected with reorganisation of agencies engaging in collection, analysing and publishing of environmental data, was passed with 82 votes in favour. In the course of this process, the Information and Technology Centre of the Ministry of the Environment and the Centre of Forest Protection and Silviculture were merged into a single administered state authority, the Environment Information Centre. The reorganisation will create preconditions for resolution of the problem with databases which so far have been fragmented.
The Act on Amendments to the Biocides Act (748 SE), initiated by the Government, which transposes the relevant European Union directive concerning the placing of biocidal products on the market in connection with the extension of certain terms, was passed with 84 votes in favour. The purpose of the Directive is to preserve the market of biocides in Europe by extending the transitional period provided in the biocides directive by four years so that it would be possible to complete the active substances review programme. The Act also specifies the scope of application of the Act which is currently in force so that it would be unambiguously understandable to all who apply it. The supervision competence of agencies exercising state supervision is also amended.
The Act on Amendments to § 24 of the Nature Conservation Act (752 SE), initiated by the Estonian Green Party Faction, which ensures more effective protection of protected natural objects, was passed with 77 votes in favour. With the Act in force, it was impossible in certain cases to prosecute a possessor of an immovable who allows activities which damage a protected natural object. Therefore, an obligation is established for possessors of immovables to notify persons who are staying on a registered immovable on the order of the possessor of the immovable of a protected natural object and the restrictions applied thereon, for example, when they are performing certain works on the basis of a contract for services or an authorisation agreement.
The Act on Amendments to the Waste Act, the Earth’s Crust Act and the Environmental Charges Act (700 SE), initiated by the Government, which implements a European Union directive, was passed with 81 votes in favour. It lays down minimum requirements in order to prevent or reduce any adverse effects which are brought about as a result of the management of waste from the extractive industries. The Act improves the opportunities of the state to control the management of extractive waste. The Act influences the business environment, making the activities relating to generation of extractive waste to a certain extent more complicated and costly.
The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of seven Bills:
The Youth Work Bill (676 SE), initiated by the Government, regulates the organisation of youth work in Estonia. As forms of youth work, the Bill regulates the activities of youth associations, youth centres and hobby schools, as well as extracurricular activities of general education schools, youth camps and youth programmes. Subjects of youth work include members of the society who are of 7 to 26 years of age.
Upon the entry into force of the Bill on Establishing Price Limits on Monopolies (597 SE), initiated by the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction, the Estonian Reform Party Faction and the Estonian Green Party Faction, conditions of investment into production of heat will improve significantly, advantages for producers of heat using environment friendly and mostly domestic fuels will be created and the control of Competition Board over heat supply contracts will be enhanced. Also, the share of imported Russian gas in heat production will decrease and the share of domestic fuel sources will increase. Undertakings will be guaranteed security of investments – it was unanimously decided that it will be a 12-year period which will be counted from the start of the production of energy from domestic sources, incl. waste, peat or distilled gas from oil shale processing. The Competition Board will get additional powers to exercise supervision over the formation of the price of heat and the competition, and also to coordinate forms of heat production.
The Art Works Commissioning Bill (756 SE) initiated by the Government, regulates the obligation to commission art works for the aesthetic enrichment of public space upon construction of public buildings.
The main purpose of the Bill on Amendments to the Land Register Act, the Law of Succession Act and Other Associated Acts (725 SE), initiated by the Government, is establishing of a clearer regulation for improving land register entries, as well as resolution of other problems related to the law of succession and maintenance of land registers. In addition to the above, the purpose of this Act is to amend the Land Register Act and other associated Acts in accordance with the developments of the Land Register information system.
The Bill on Amendments to the Social Tax Act (760 SE), initiated by the Government, helps to bring the unemployed back to the labour market and creates better preconditions for generation of additional part-time jobs.
The Bill on Amendments to the State Assets Act (772 SE), initiated by the Finance Committee, concerns the conditions of taking loans for state-founded foundations. According to the amendment, a state-founded foundation may take loans and enter into capital lease contracts only on the basis of a unanimous resolution of all members of the supervisory board.
The Bill on Amendments to the Weapons Act (730 SE), initiated by the Government, provides and enforces the legal provisions necessary for the observance of the relevant European Union directive. It also resolves the problems which have emerged in practice in connection with handling of weapons. The amendments specify control measures with regard to circulation of weapons and grant a possibility to be flexible upon suspension of a weapons permit and to suspend a weapons permit on the basis of an objective danger which may arise from a person.
The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of seven Bills:
The Bill on Amendments to the President of the Republic Election Act (776 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction, the Estonian Green Party Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction, specifies the procedure pursuant to which representatives of the local government councils are elected to the electoral body who elects the President. The Bill provides that representatives are elected in the council in one round of voting and each member of the council has one vote. The candidate or candidates who receive the greatest number of votes are elected. In the opinion of the initiator, this facilitates better adherence to the principles of democracy and proportional representation of the opposition upon election of electors in larger local governments.
The purpose of the Bill on Amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia and the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia Implementation Act (775 SE), initiated by Members of the Riigikogu Rain Rosimannus, Maret Maripuu, Helmer Jõgi, Väino Linde, Tõnis Kõiv, Tarmo Mänd, Jaak Salumets, Peep Aru, Katrin Karisma-Krumm, Lauri Luik, Ivi Eenmaa, Urmas Klaas, Tatjana Muravjova, Harri Õunapuu, Mati Raidma, Paul-Eerik Rummo, Tõnu Juul, Silver Meikar, Igor Gräzin, Imre Sooäär, Taavi Rõivas, Jaanus Rahumägi, Erik Salumäe, Margus Lepik, Kalle Palling, Hannes Astok, Keit Pentus, Raivo Järvi, Robert Antropov, Ene Kaups, Leino Mägi, Rein Aidma, Margus Tsahkna, Mart Laar, Ene Ergma, Elle Kull, Liisa-Ly Pakosta, Mari-Ann Kelam, Mart Nutt, Andres Herkel, Toomas Tõniste, Erki Nool, Trivimi Velliste, Tarmo Kõuts, Lauri Vahtre, Sven Sester, Kaia Iva, Peeter Tulviste, Marek Strandberg, Mart Jüssi, Aleksei Lotman, Maret Merisaar, Urmas Reinsalu and Marko Mihkelson, is to reduce the number of election years without reducing at the same time the number of elections. In order to achieve this, starting from 2027, the Riigikogu and local councils will be elected regularly always in the same year, the first in March and the others in October, and, starting from 2029, the Members of the European Parliament and the President will also be elected regularly always in the same year.
The Bill on Amendments to the Feedingstuffs Act and Associated Acts (777 SE), initiated by the Government, brings the requirements for the placing on the market and use of feed established in the Feedingstuffs Act into conformity with the requirements laid down in the relevant European Union Regulation. A major amendment that is involved for handlers of feedingstuffs will be that national legislation which in force in the sphere of the placing on the market and use of certain feed will be replaced by a directly applicable European Union Regulation. Implementation of the new labelling requirements arising from this Regulation will cause additional expenses for producer of feed. The same Regulation lays down transitional measures of implementation that give producers of feed an opportunity to distribute the costs of preparation of new proper labels and to make use of the labels already ordered.
The Bill on Amendments to the Law of Obligations Act and Other Acts (761 SE), initiated by the Government, transposes into national law the new consumer credit directive of the European Union which harmonises within the Community the detailed requirements for advertising of consumer credit agreements, the pre-contractual and contractual information requirements and the calculation of the annual percentage rate of charge. It also amends and specifies the regulation concerning the right of withdrawal of the consumer, the right of the consumer to repay the credit early and the right of withdrawal of the consumer from economically related and ancillary agreements.
The Punishment Register Bill (762 SE), initiated by the Government, creates the legal basis for transfering of the existing punishment register from the area of government of the Ministry of Internal Affairs under the Ministry of Justice. It also solves the problems which have arisen upon implementation of the Act and creates the legal basis for exchange of data with punishment registers of the European Union member states.
The Bill on Amendments to the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management System Act (750 SE), initiated by the Government, provides the legal bases and procedure for the assessment of 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 Bill on Amendments to the Deliberate Release into Environment of Genetically Modified Organisms Act (768 SE), initiated by the Government, brings the Act which is currently in force into conformity with the requirements arising from the European Union legislation and harmonises the legal space of this sphere. It also improves legal clarity in spheres relating to the use of genetically modified organisms.
On the motion of the Finance Committee, the Bill on Amendments to § 5 of the Income Tax Act (734 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, was rejected at the first reading. The result of voting: 48 votes in favour, 35 votes against.
At Question Time, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip answered the question about “the tiger, the lynx and the hare,” that is, about the economic situation of the state, submitted by Heimar Lenk. The Minister of Culture Laine Jänes answered the question about financing of the sphere of culture and state investments, submitted by Evelyn Sepp. The Minister of Regional Affairs Siim Valmar Kiisler answered the question about the financial situation of local governments, submitted by Arvo Sarapuu.
The sitting ended at 8.12 p.m.
The Riigikogu Press Service
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