The implementing acts of the Registered Partnership Act passed the first reading in the Riigikogu today. On the basis of these, the Registered Partnership Act that will enter into force on 1 January next year could be implemented in everyday practical situations.
The Registered Partnership Act Implementation Bill (114 SE), initiated by 38 members of the Riigikogu, provides for amendment of more than 80 Acts. The implementing provisions are necessary for example in order that registered partnerships could be entered in the state register, and the partner’s maintenance obligation and right of succession could be determined.
Toomas Vitsut, Yoko Alender, Martin Helme, Mihkel Raud, Jüri Adams and Viktoria Ladõnskaja took the floor during the debate. Representatives of factions who took the floor during the debate presented their positions.
The Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction moved to reject the Bill at the first reading but the motion was not supported. 41 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the rejection of the Bill and 42 voted against. Thus the Bill passed the first reading.
The deadline for submission of motions to amend the Bill is 8 December.
The Registered Partnership Act was passed by the previous Riigikogu. However, before it enters into force at the beginning of next year, the Riigikogu will need to adopt implementing acts which need a majority vote of the members of the Riigikogu to be passed.
Today, the Riigikogu passed four Acts.
- The Riigikogu passed the Act on Amendments to the Work Ability Allowance Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (84 SE), initiated by the Government, which postpones the launching of the work ability reform by half a year, that is, to 1 July 2016. The launching of the work ability reform was postponed in order to develop information systems, prepare implementing legislation and organise work ability assessment. In addition, the Act eliminates the possibility of income void upon transition from pension for incapacity for work to work ability allowance. This ensures smooth continuation of income for people in the form of an allowance. Also, the requirements for the processing of health data are specified. They have to ensure the handling of sensitive personal data in the minimum necessary limits. The Act also simplifies simultaneous application for work ability assessment and identification of a degree of severity of a disability. 61 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the passing of the Act and 16 members were against.
- The Riigikogu passed with 76 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Fisheries Market Organisation Act (101 SE), initiated by the Government. Amendments and specifications were made to the Act that are necessary particularly for better organisation of the grant of support from producers’ organizations in the fishery and aquaculture sector and from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (hereinafter EMFF), and state aid to fisheries. The amendments are necessitated by new legislation issued by the European Commission that was not in place at the time of the passing of the Fisheries Market Organisation Act, and the need to resolve the issues that have been raised in practice.
- The Riigikogu passed the Act on Amendments to the Act on Amendments to the Social Tax Act, the Income Tax Act and Other Acts, and the Income Tax Act and the Social Tax Act (99 SE), initiated by the Government, which postpones the rises in fuel excise duty planned for 1 January 2016 by one month, that is, to 1 February 2016.
54 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the passing of the Act and four voted against. There were six abstentions.
- With 58 votes in favour, two against and two abstentions, the Riigikogu passed the Act on Amendments to the State Budget for 2015 Act (120 SE), initiated by the Government, which introduces amendments to this year’s state budget to adjust the expenditure in connection with changed needs. The total volume of the state budget revenue and expenditure will not change as a result of that but the current year’s expenditure of ministries and other authorities are specified.
The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of five Bills.
- The Bill on Amendments to the State Fees Act (97 SE), initiated by the Government. The Bill will amend state fee rates on the basis of the equivalence principle or cost principle upon performance of acts in the area of administration of the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, and in foreign missions. The amendment will have an impact on all undertakings and natural persons who pay state fees in the event of performance of relevant acts or the issue or amendment of permits. The amendment as a whole will not involve new obligations for undertakings or natural persons, and no additional activities will be required of them.
- The Bill on Amendments to the Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications Act and Other Associated Acts (70 SE), initiated by the Government. The purpose of the Bill is to transpose into Estonian law the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the recognition of professional qualifications. The transposition of the Directive will lead to several amendments in the current regulations concerning the mobility of professionals between EU countries. A European Professional Card can be offered to all interested professions which will allow easier and faster recognition of qualifications. With the amendments, the system will become clearer also for consumers as Member States are called to review the scope of application of regulated professions. In addition, an alert system will be introduced that will oblige national competent authorities to alert each other in the event of professional misconduct, in particular in the health sector.
- The Bill on Amendments to the Electronic Communications Act and the Act on Amendments to the Electronic Communications Act and the State Fees Act (51 SE), initiated by the Government. The Bill will enhance the measures that ensure more efficient use of landline, mobile phone and short code numbering. The Bill provides for resolution of a situation where the numbering has not been introduced or is used inefficiently, including for example to organise fraud schemes for special tariff calls. The Bill will also extend the period for preserving log files collected on activities carried out through the central surveillance equipment of surveillance or security authorities from the current 5 years to 10 years. If a log file that is evidence collected in the course of surveillance with the permission of a court cannot be destroyed before the expiry of the limitation period for possible court actions, the period of preservation of log files will be extended because they may be of importance as evidence in court proceedings.
- The Bill on Amendments to the Health Services Organisation Act and Other Acts (73 SE), initiated by the Government. The Bill regulates the participation of resident physicians in the provision of health service and specifies the conditions of the participation of health care students in the provision of health services. In addition, the Bill will extend the rights of the general medical care service providers and service providers maintaining a hospital or nursing hospital so that they will be able to grant use of immovable property belonging to them outside ordinary economic activities. Also, the range of services of the general medical care service providers and service providers maintaining nursing hospitals will be extended with the physiotherapy service.
- The General Part of the Social Code Bill (93 SE), initiated by the Government. The Bill will establish a new General Part of the Social Code Act in Estonian law that will establish uniform bases for the social protection system and the organisation of social protection in Estonia. The Social Code establishes the legal bases for protecting the person and the family, by preventing, eliminating or reducing social risks integrally, in particular in the event of unemployment, illness, maternity, incapacity for work, old age, loss of a provider, raising children, falling victim to a crime, special social needs and difficulties in coping. The basic concepts of social law – social protection and benefit, and monetary and non-monetary benefit as types thereof – are also defined.
Auditor General Alar Karis gave to the Riigikogu an overview of the use and preservation of state assets in 2014.
Karis noted that the problems highlighted in the survey of the National Audit Office can to a large extent be solved not through the drafting of more strategies and documents with pompous names, but simply by way of agreement between the persons involved.
“If it is then necessary to write the agreement down briefly and call it a plan, then why not. It is important to be aware that it is not a paper or plan, but actions, work and cooperation, that change the real life,” Karis said. He said that, on the basis of the principle of co-functioning of the state, the National Audit Office contributed to the solution of labour market problems with its proposals this time.
Andres Ammas and Aivar Sõerd took the floor during the debate.
In addition to the Registered Partnership Act Implementation Bill, five other drafts passed the first reading. One Bill was dropped from the proceedings in the first reading.
- The aim of the Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Approval of the Consolidated Report of 2014 of the State” (85 OE), initiated by the Government, is to give an overview of the achievement of the goals set in the state budget, and of the financial situation, economic result and cash flows of the state, and to enable the Riigikogu to exercise its auditing function with regard to the Government of the Republic, provide the Government with the opportunity to explain its activities during the accounting year, and submit the information necessary for the Riigikogu to make new resolutions regarding the budget.
- The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of the Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Formation of the Riigikogu Study Committee for Analysing Estonian Drug Policy and HIV Prevention, and for Enhancing Prevention” (122 OE), initiated by 57 members of the Riigikogu. The deadline for submission of motions to amend the draft Resolution is 4 December.
- The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Restrictions on Acquisition of Immovables Act (96 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction. The aim of this Bill is to enable natural persons who are not citizens of the Contracting States of the European Economic Area but at the same time reside in Estonia on the basis of the residence permit of a long-term resident to acquire an immovable with an area of up to 0.2 ha which gives persons the possibility to purchase land in gardening associations. The deadline for submission of motions to amend the Bill is 8 December.
- The Bill on the Ratification of the Estonian-Russian State Border Treaty between the Republic of Estonia and the Russian Federation and the Treaty on the Delimitation of Maritime Areas of Narva Bay and the Gulf of Finland between the Republic of Estonia and the Russian Federation (108 SE), initiated by the Government. The purpose of the treaties is to determine the state border between the Republic of Estonia and the Russian Federation, and to delimit the areas of Narva River and the maritime areas of the Gulf of Finland between the two abovementioned states.
The Estonian Conservative People’s Party moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. With 13 votes in favour, 63 against and one abstention, the motion was not supported.
Henn Põlluaas and Andres Herkel took the floor during the debate.
The deadline for submission of motions to amend the Bill is 9 December.
- The Environmental Monitoring Bill (100 SE), initiated by the Government, will specify and enhance the organisation of environmental monitoring, update provisions and bring the Environmental Monitoring Act of the Environmental Code into conformity with other Acts of the Environmental Code. The Bill focuses mainly on the organisation of the monitoring. The Bill provides for the duties of the responsible persons, and the procedure for the establishment of monitoring stations and areas and the processing and storage of the data obtained in the course of monitoring.
The deadline for submission of motions to amend the Bill is 9 December.
The Bill on Amendments to the Labour Market Services and Benefits Act (92 SE), initiated by the Estonian Free Party Faction, was dropped from the Riigikogu proceedings. It was intended to eliminate the restriction that entered into force on 1 May 2014 to the effect that members of the management board of a company cannot register as unemployed and therefore they have no possibility to receive the unemployment insurance benefit.
On the motion of the lead committee, with 49 votes in favour and 32 against, the Bill was rejected at the first reading and it was dropped from the proceedings.
The sitting ended at 8.45 p.m.
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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