Deputy Chancellor of Justice-Adviser Nele Parrest took the oath of office before the Riigikogu.
The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the President of the Republic Official Benefits Act (276 SE), initiated by the Government. The Bill amends the present organisation of the protection of the President who has resigned from office or his or her widow or widower. According to the Bill, the Minister of Internal Affairs may arrange the protection of the resigned President pursuant to the danger assessment prepared by a respective police authority. The same principle also applies to the widow or widower of the President. At present, the Act requires that the resigned President be protected on the same bases as the President who is holding the office.
The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of seven Bills:
The aim of the Bill on Amendments to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act (279 SE), initiated by Members of the Riigikogu Peeter Kreitzberg, Sven Mikser, Igor Gräzin, Mark Soosaar, Lauri Vahtre and Marek Strandberg, is to eliminate the provisions from the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act which establish control of authorities over the subject content of educational literature (textbooks, workbooks, etc.) The Bill enables teachers to choose the textbooks to be used at school, that is, to verify the quality of textbooks and the conformity of textbooks to the national curriculum. When choosing the educational literature used in lessons, teachers must follow the national and school curriculum which is currently in force.
The Bill on Approval of Articles of Agreement of International Development Association (290 SE), initiated by the Government, approves the Articles of Agreement of the International Development Association (IDA). After accession to the IDA, Estonia will be able to participate as a full-fledged partner in the cooperation of IDA member states and in decision-making process, and to support the development of less-developed countries through the IDA. The IDA helps support the development of the globally poorest region of Africa and other poor countries which do not enjoy the benefit of the bilateral development assistance of Estonia.
With the Bill on Amendments to the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act, the Tobacco Act and the Alcohol Act (294 SE), initiated by the Government, excise duty is levied on oil shale used for the production of heat. The rate of excise duty on oil shale will be 2.35 kroons per one gigajoule of the upper calorific value of oil shale starting from 2011, and 4.7 kroons per one gigajoule of the upper calorific value of oil shale starting from 2013. It also transposes the provisions of directives to amend the exemption limits of excise goods which a traveller is allowed to import. The Bill provides the tax liability of a traveller who is a natural person in cases when he or she brings excise goods in mobile baggage from another Member State in excess of the maximum limit exempt from excise duty. Excise need not be paid if the traveller certifies that he or she brings alcohol into Estonia in excess of the maximum amount for personal purposes, for example, for organising a family event or some other event.
The Bill on Amendments to the Contained Use of Genetically Modified Micro-organisms Act (268 SE), initiated by the Government, brings the specified Act into conformity with European Union legislation. In essence, the safety of contained use of genetically modified micro-organisms (GMM) is specified with the aim of protecting human health and the environment. Implementation of the Act increases the safety of employees and environmental safety upon contained use of GMM. At the same time, users of GMMs are alerted to the fact that the transport of GMMs by road, rail, inland waterway, sea or air is regulated by legislation concerning carriage of dangerous goods.
The Bill on Amendments to the Non-profit Associations Act, the Foundations Act, the Commercial Associations Act and the Commercial Code and Associated Acts (271 SE), initiated by the Government, eliminates the problems and contradictions which have emerged in practical implementation, enhances the protection of creditors of legal persons, specifies the responsibility of members of the management or controlling body of a legal person, and simplifies the activities of legal persons by removing excessive formality requirements and enabling more flexible management structures.
The Bill on Amendments to the Water Act (287 SE), initiated by the Government, prescribes, among other things, that a permit for the special use of water will not be needed for leaking effluent in small quantities (less than 5 m3 per day) because, in the estimation of the Ministry of the Environment, leaking of effluent in so small quantities in accordance with the requirements does not pose a hazard to the environment. This facilitates the opportunities for citizens to construct individual water treatment systems outside waste water collection areas and, at the same time, reduces the administrative burden of environmental authorities. The Bill provides the prohibition of discharging polluting substances from ships and increases the accompanying liability. Prohibited discharging of polluting substances from ships is punishable by a fine of up to 300 fine units. The same act, if committed by a legal person, is punishable by a fine of up to 500 000 kroons.
The Bill on Amendments to the Road Transport Act, the State Fees Act and the Punishment Register Act (284 SE), initiated by the Government, will help reduce the financial costs and save the time of carriers upon application for road transport documents. According to the study on the assessment of administrative burden arising from the Road Transport Act conducted in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications in 2006, the discarding of duplicating documents and extending of the periods of validity of activity licences as proposed by the Act on amendments to this Act will result in annual cost reduction of nearly 1.5 million kroons for carriers. Also, application for documents will become handier thanks to the possibility of electronic application for several documents.
On the motion of the Environment Committee, the Bill on Amendments to the Environmental Charges Act (304 SE), initiated by the Estonian People’s Union Faction, was rejected (42 votes in favour, 31 against).
At Question Time, the Prime Minister Andrus Ansip answered the question about economic situation, submitted by Toomas Varek, the question about rural life, submitted by Jaanus Marrandi, and the question about fiscal policy, submitted by Kalev Kallo. The Minister of Finance Ivari Padar answered the question about intelligibility of the state budget, submitted by Marek Strandberg.
The Riigikogu Press Service