At today’s sitting, the Riigikogu passed the Resolution which appoints Janar Holm to the office of Auditor General as of 8 April 2018.
The President noted in the cover letter that Janar Holm who worked as the Deputy Secretary General on Labour and Employment Policy of the Ministry of Social Affairs had a nearly 20-year management experience. Nine-year work experience as the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education and Research and the accompanying close cooperation with other ministries and local governments have given him a very good picture and understanding of the various policy areas and areas of government of the state. Janar Holm’s personal characteristics, experience in shaping policies, and activity in creating strategies and in legislative drafting and in the planning of the state budget provide Janar Holm with a strong basis for performing the functions of the Auditor General.
64 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Appointment of Janar Holm to the Office of Auditor General” (582 OE), submitted by the President of the Republic, and ten were against.
The Riigikogu passed an Act:
The aim of the Act on Amendments to the Emergency Act, the Taxation Act and the National Defence Duties Act (571 SE), initiated by the Government, is to better ensure the keeping of accounts on employments with national defence work obligation, and for relevant authorities to identify persons working in posts with national defence work obligation (including posts providing vital services) who will continue to perform their duties for example in the case of mobilisation. Thus the Act provides a precondition for the establishment and implementation of the Government Regulation “Formation of additional employments with national defence work obligation at providers of vital services, and the procedure for drawing up and amending the list, and for submission of data”. An employment with national defence work obligation entails work obligation before the employer, and such a person is exempt from mobilisation.
Under the previous procedure, the national defence work obligation was implemented only in the public sector. There was no implementing act that would have enabled posts with national defence work obligation to be assigned in businesses designated as providers of vital services under the Emergency Act.
According to the documents that have been prepared, the authorities organising vital services coordinate with the Ministry of Defence the number of employments with national defence work obligation in the businesses providing vital services, and enter notations regarding the relevant personnel of the businesses to the employment register. The register of civil assets also maintains records of the relevant employers.
80 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Act.
Three Bills passed the second reading in the Riigikogu:
The Bill on Amendments to the National Defence Duties Act (572 SE), initiated by the Government, will establish the procedure for imposition of and compliance with national defence duties for completion of national defence tasks during increased defence readiness, mobilisation, demobilisation or a state of war.
The Bill will specify the legal relations of administrative authorities and persons in the organisation of the imposition of and compliance with national defence duties in the current National Defence Duties Act.
Under the Bill, the property inevitably necessary for the provision of a vital service will be included in the list of property that is not subject to expropriation. It is property of providers of vital services that they inevitably need to ensure continuous operation of the service during a crisis.
As on the basis of the analyses made in the national defence law revision, in the opinion of the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Defence, amendment of the legislation relating to the organisation of duties is an extensive and time-consuming process, the amendment of the National Defence Duties Act will be carried out in two stages. At present, the primary amendments for imposition of national defence duties and preparation for compliance therewith that are important particularly in terms of the organisation of military national defence will be made. In the second stage, more thorough amendments will be made within the framework of the national defence law revision (2017–2019).
Under the Bill on Amendments to the Social Welfare Act and Other Acts (558 SE), initiated by the Government, an IT-solution to help young people will be developed, with the help of which a list of young people who potentially need support, together with their contact details, will be displayed to a case manager of a local government. However, that will be done only in the case when for example the social worker has so requested and has confirmed that he or she would deal with young people who need help. This way the local government can identify the need for support in a young person aged 16–26 residing in its area and proactively offer him or her support in returning to education and the labour market. The young person will have the right to tell the social worker at once that he or she does not wish help or the processing of his or her personal data, and thereafter the personal data will be deleted.
Several motions to amend the Bill had been submitted. According to one amendment, the Bill is amended by adding a new section under which the Value-Added Tax Act is amended in connection with the VAT on personal assistant service. Another motion to amend the Bill proposed to amend two sections of the Code of Enforcement Procedure. The amendments to the Code of Enforcement Procedure are connected with the incomes of the debtor on which a claim for payment cannot be made in enforcement proceedings. So in the future a claim for payment cannot be made on compensation paid under the Artificial Insemination and Embryo Protection Act, and on repressed person’s allowance paid under the Persons Repressed by Occupying Powers Act.
During the debate, Monika Haukanõmm from the Free Party Faction, Kalvi Kõva from the Social Democratic Party Faction and Tarmo Kruusimäe from the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction took the floor.
The Free Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. 15 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion, 36 were against, and there was one abstention. Thus, the motion was not supported and the second reading of the Bill was concluded.
The Bill on Amendments to the Liquid Fuel Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (536 SE), initiated by the Government, will amend the Liquid Fuel Act, and in connection with that, the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act and the Taxation Act. The aim of the Bill is to reduce tax evasions, to promote electronic records management, to reduce the circulation of low-quality fuel and to improve the competition conditions in the fuel sector.
The Bill will improve the electronic records management between the Tax and Customs Board, fuel sellers and warehouse keepers. The Bill will create a legal basis for the establishment of the fuel handling system. It was pointed out at the sitting that that would enable the data of the sales transactions concerning liquid fuel released for consumption to be administered in real time, and the supervision of the handling of fuel to be merged into an electronic environment. This way, an overview of the movement of fuel through different purchase and sale chains will be ensured, and sellers of fuel will no longer need to submit reports concerning liquid fuel to the Tax and Customs Board.
At the same time, a legal basis for the establishment of the storage accounts and reporting database will be created. The aim of the database will be to make the data of warehouse operations involving fuel available in real time to the Tax and Customs Board. This will enable the Board to exercise more operational and efficient supervision over the movement of goods both in single warehouses and across warehouses.
The Bill provides for a restriction according to which, as a general rule, fuel can be sold in a quantity that is covered by a security. This will preclude a situation where a seller of fuel could cause unlimited VAT damage to the state. A seller of fuel will retain the entitlement to request reduction of the security presented to the extent of up to 90 per cent of the amount of the security if the seller has operated under an authorisation for the sale of fuel for at least half a year, and the seller and the members of the seller’s management or controlling body have no tax arrears.
Several motions to amend the Bill had been submitted. The Committee proposes to amend clause 24 1) of the Bill (subsection 7 (1) of the Liquid Fuel Act). Proposals from sellers of fuel have been taken into account when submitting the motion to amend. According to the provisions of the Bill, a report must be submitted weekly, i.e. at least four times a month. As a result of the amendment, the administrative burden of filling station managers will decrease as the frequency of the submission of data will decrease to twice a month. Data will be submitted twice a month: concerning the fuels sold from the filling station from the first to the fifteenth day of the current month – on the16th day of the month, and concerning the fuels sold from the filling station from the sixteenth day to the end of the previous month – on the first day of the month.
The Committee also proposes to amend the transitional provision in subsection 36 (8) of the Liquid Fuel Act. In addition to the expected sales quantities of fuel, a prerequisite will be created for a seller of fuel (if the seller has been operating on the market for at least six months by the time of entry into force of the new security system, and the seller and the members of the seller’s management or controlling body have no tax arrears) not to submit an application for reduction of the security to the tax authority. The tax authority will deem a relevant application to have been submitted by the seller of fuel by default. The amendment will contribute to a smoother transition to the new security system by sellers of fuel who are already operating on the market. The tax authority will conduct proceedings for determining a security, and notify the seller of fuel by 15 December 2018 of the amount of the security corresponding to the expected sales volumes of the person, as well as whether the security of the person is reduced pursuant to subsections 44 (22)-(23) or not.
The Committee also proposes to postpone the deadlines for entry into force. The postponement of the deadlines for entry into force will give the possibility to create a system that involves less administrative burden and takes into account the interests of all parties. Different deadlines for entry into force would cause greater confusion, and definitely also larger costs for undertakings in the intermediate transitional periods, and therefore it is reasonable to reduce the stages of entry into force. The later entry into force will also enable the persons concerned to better transfer to new systems and to make preparations for that.
One Bill passed the first reading in the Riigikogu:
The Bill on Amendments to the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (580 SE), initiated by the Government, will include a new type of proceedings – alternative proceedings which will be applied in the case of lesser misdemeanours – in the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure. Alternative proceedings will help save time for people and the police, and avoid excessive punishment of people.
Alternative proceedings will be applied in the case of more simple misdemeanours that involve no direct harm to human life or property. For example, travelling by bus without a valid ticket, ignoring a red traffic light, driving without wearing a seat belt, exceeding the speed limit by less than 20 km/h, and driving a vehicle that does not have motor insurance. In the case of such misdemeanours, a fine will be imposed according to the particular violation in the amount of 20–80 euro.
The use of alternative proceedings will significantly reduce the time spent on paperwork. If today misdemeanour proceedings last for an average of nearly 20 minutes, the duration will hopefully be reduced to about five minutes as a result of the legislative amendment. The implementation of alternative proceedings will save resources to the extent of an estimated one police patrol per 24 hours.
The explanatory memorandum notes that today there are entries concerning nearly 250,000 people, that is, about 20 per cent of Estonian people, in the criminal records database. For example, violations such as travelling by bus without a valid ticket, crossing the street on a red traffic light, or a broken registration plate lamp on a car are also recorded in the criminal records database. In the future, violations on which alternative proceedings are conducted will not be recorded in the criminal records database. This will create a definite distinction between the punishments imposed in the case of more severe violations and the warnings imposed in the case of lesser violations.
With the Bill on the application of alternative proceedings, seven different Acts will be amended, for example, the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure, but also the Traffic Act, the Tobacco Act and the Public Transport Act.
Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) http://stenogrammid.riigikogu.ee/en/201803071400
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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