A Bill amending the rules of procedure and internal rules of the parliament passed the second reading in the Riigikogu. It provides that the minutes of committee sittings will have to be more detailed, and requires the positions of the members of the Riigikogu and the results of votings to be written down in the minutes by name.
According to the Bill on Amendments to the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act (175 SE), initiated by the Constitutional Committee, the minutes of a committee sitting must reflect in summary form the course of the committee sitting, and the development of the decisions and positions adopted. The positions of the people who take the floor at the sitting will be reported by name, and the results of voting will also be entered in the minutes by name.
The Bill will also specify the entry into force of the Resolutions of the Riigikogu. According to the Bill, a Resolution of the Riigikogu will enter into force upon signature unless the Resolution sets out a different deadline.
The Bill also provides for an amendment of the list of the draft Resolutions of the Riigikogu that are deliberated in a single reading. The draft Resolutions concerning the replacement of members or substitute members of the select committees, committees of investigation or study committees of the Riigikogu will be included in the list, because it is not expedient or necessary to conduct several readings of them. With the implementation of the amendments, the replacement of members would be quicker.
Ten motions to amend the Bill had been submitted for the second reading, which concerned the recordings and other materials of the committees, involvement of stakeholders, affiliation of members of the Riigikogu to committees, and the rights of the members of the Riigikogu in asking questions at the sittings of the Riigikogu. During the second reading, the Riigikogu introduced a motion to amend into the Bill according to which the committees will involve in the discussions on Bills the stakeholders concerned who had been involved in the preparation of the Bills and who wish to participate in the discussion in the committee.
Kalle Laanet, who presented the Bill on behalf of the Constitutional Committee, said that the aim of the Bill is to specify what the minutes of a committee sitting have to contain. He added that, according to the Bill, the minutes will be sufficiently detailed and personalised to understand how decisions were reached.
“It will be for every committee to decide how they can prepare minutes conforming to the requirements,” Laanet said “In order to ensure conformity of the minutes with the law, it will be possible to use ancillary materials, which can be, among other things, for example, recordings. And if we are speaking of ancillary material, then the committee will decide on the use and preservation of ancillary material by negotiating with the members what will be done with it.”
Laanet noted that, at present, three committees of the 11 standing committees record their sittings, and two committees record partially, and two committees of the three select committees make recordings.
The Free Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. 30 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion, 48 were against, and there were no abstentions. The motion was not supported by the Riigikogu.
Jüri Adams, Andres Herkel, Mart Helme, Mart Nutt, Märt Sults and Eiki Nestor took the floor during the debate.
The Riigikogu passed the Act on Amendments to the Maritime Safety Act (128 SE), initiated by the Government, which specifies the maritime safety requirements. It specifies the classification of marine casualties, the scope of safety investigation, the relevant cooperation, and the rights and obligations of the investigative body arising from the relevant EU directive. The market surveillance of recreational craft and personal watercraft is also specified.
The main emphasis of the amendments is on the differentiation between an investigation conducted by the Estonian Safety Investigation Bureau (ESIB) and an investigation conducted by the Estonian Maritime Administration, in the case of marine casualties and incidents. The Act specifies the definition of marine casualty: in the future, a person going missing from a ship and an assumed loss of ship will also be deemed to be a marine casualty.
The market surveillance competence of the Maritime Administration is extended to recreational craft and personal watercraft. The abovementioned surveillance competence is taken away from the Road Administration because they lack the relevant competence and practice.
70 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Act, 6 were against, and there were no abstentions.
The second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Riigikogu Election Act and Other Acts (160 SE), initiated by the Constitutional Committee, was adjourned in the Riigikogu. The Bill will update the procedure for conducting, organisation and supervision of elections. According to the amendments, the national electoral service, which would be established as a separate structural unit of the Chancellery of the Riigikogu on the basis of the Elections Department of the Chancellery and would be independent in the performance of the functions arising from Acts concerning elections, would be the organiser of elections at the state level. The National Electoral Committee will remain responsible for ensuring the fairness and lawfulness of the elections; it will ascertain the election results, exercise supervision over the organisers of the elections, and review complaints.
The Bill will also extend the possibilities of persons to report election violations. According to the Bill, a person will have the right to submit an application concerning deficiencies in the organisation of the elections to the national electoral service in a free-form manner. The application is intended as an addition to complaint, enabling a person to address the organiser of the elections to solve a problem pursuant to the simplified procedure, and to have a quick solution to the problem.
According to the Bill, the Act would enter into force as of 1 January 2017.
Anneli Ott, Oudekki Loone, Siret Kotka, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Märt Sults, Martin Helme, Andres Herkel and Jüri Adams took the floor during the debate.
The second reading of the Bill will be resumed at tomorrow’s sitting.
The first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Status of Members of the Riigikogu Act and the Local Government Organisation Act (181 SE), initiated by the Constitutional Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Local Government Council Election Act and Other Acts, Prohibiting Decoy Candidates (177 SE), initiated by the Free Party Faction, and the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the State Budget Act (173 SE), initiated by the Free Party Faction, were also transferred to tomorrow’s sitting.
Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian): http://stenogrammid.riigikogu.ee/et/201603221000
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu (NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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