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The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of two Bills:

The Bill on Amendments to subsection 11 (12) of the Institutions of Professional Higher Education Act (431 SE), initiated by the Government, allows to compete to be admitted to student places for officer training at an institution of professional higher education for national defence also immediately after graduation from secondary school, that is, before completion of compulsory military service.

The Gambling Tax Bill (433 SE), initiated by the Government, amends the current regulation of gambling games, specifies or amends tax rates and, in addition, provides several new types of gambling games. Among other things, the tax rate of numbers lotteries will increase to 18 per cent instead of the current 10 per cent. As new gambling games, the Bill provides taxation of the gambling machines used for organising games of skill, and totos which are a combination of a totalisator and betting. 

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of three Bills: 

The Bill on Amendments to the Government of the Republic Act and Other Acts arising from the Merger of the Estonian Motor Vehicle Registration Centre and the Road Administration (439 SE), initiated by the Government, merges the two agencies. The name of the merged agency will be the Road Administration. The agencies are merged with the intention of improving the intercommunication and cooperative capacity of the three closely related spheres – road network, vehicles and public transport –, to reduce administrative costs, improve road safety and improve the cooperation of traffic-related registers. 

The Bill on Accession to the Convention concerning International Expositions and the Protocol of Amendment (454 SE), initiated by the Government, enables Estonia to participate as a full-fledged partner in the cooperation of the contracting parties, in information exchange and in decision-making, which will strengthen Estonia’s links with the contracting parties and Estonia’s ability to influence the decision-making process. Accession to the Convention before 30 April 2009 enables cost saving in participation in the world exposition. 

The Bill on Amendments to the Support of Enterprise and State Loan Guarantees Act (455 SE), initiated by the Government, changes the conditions concerning the circle of the undertakings which qualify for the grant of loan guarantees. The current restriction on size, according to which large undertakings did not qualify for the grant of loan guarantees, is eliminated. The permitted limits upon entry into guarantee contracts are increased. The total amount of guarantee contracts upon the grant of guarantees for business loans will increase to 1.5 billion instead of the current 800 million, and to 1.5 billion instead of 950 million also in the case of the grant of guarantees for housing loans. 

At Question Time, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts answered the question about economic relief packages, submitted by Karel Rüütli, the question about the Government’s energy saving programme, submitted by Mart Jüssi, the question about preservation and creation of jobs, submitted by Mai Treial, and the question about Eesti Energia, submitted by Lembit Kaljuvee. The Minister of Agriculture Helir-Valdor Seeder answered the question about agriculture, submitted by Vilja Savisaar. 

The Riigikogu Press Service