Additional sitting of Riigikogu
The Riigikogu passed six Acts and a Resolution at an additional sitting.
The Act on Amendments to the Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Imprisonment Act (382 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 66 votes in favour. The Act amends the Penal Code by introducing two new non-punitive measures, post-punishment supervision of conduct and post-punishment detention. The first of these means the possibility to subject a convicted offender who has served the imprisonment imposed to him or her to the full extent to supervision of conduct, if necessary, and post-punishment detention is detention of a dangerous inclined criminal after he or she has served the sentence, with a view to ensuring social security. Both non-punitive sanctions provided in the Act have the purpose of reducing repeating crime, thereby increasing social security. In the case of post-punishment supervision of conduct, the convicted offender is subjected to the respective surveillance and, at the same time, he or she is instructed to change his or her criminogenous behaviour. The Act also amends the regulation of prison service provided in the Imprisonment Act, and amendments are made regarding doing the shopping and the payment of the savings fund to be handed over to the prisoner on release. Clause 3 42) of this Act enters into force on 1 December 2009. One member of the Riigikogu was against and one member abstained.
The Act on Amendments to the Penal Code, the Public Service Act, the Aliens Act, the Local Government Council Election Act and the Code of Criminal Procedure (416 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 52 votes in favour. One objective of the Act is to organise and harmonise definitions in the provisions concerning the offences against the state set out in Division 2 of Chapter 15 of the Penal Code. The amendments will eliminate the lack of system and the vague structure of the provisions of the specified Division. At the same time, the Act amends the sanctions provided for the offences set out in the same Division in order to thereby improve the sense of security and the credibility of the Republic of Estonia. As a result of the amendments, the sanctions provided in the sections of that Division will be proportional to the danger arising from such acts. As the second purpose, the provisions concerning mass disorder are improved because it is a dangerous offence against the state. For that purpose, in addition to organising a mass disorder which has already been criminalised, penal law liability is also provided for incitement to commission of such act and for preparation of a mass disorder. According to the Act, disregard of a lawful order will also be commission of offence during mass disorder. The amendments will help prevent organising of mass disorders and commission of offences during mass disorders. 30 members of the Riigikogu voted against the Act, nobody abstained.
The Ports Act (393 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 74 votes in favour. The Act provides the safety and security requirements of shipping traffic and the environmental protection requirements for the provision of port services and for managers of ports and operators of ports, as well as the liability for violation of these requirements, and regulates the acts related to supervision in seaports and in ports located in navigable inland waters and in navigable estuaries of the water bodies bordering thereon. Nobody voted against the Act, one member of the Riigikogu abstained.
The Act on Amendments to the Electronic Communications Act (424 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 77 votes in favour. The purpose of amendment of the Electronic Communications Act is to solve the problems which have arisen upon implementation of the Act. The Act provides the definition of unlawful altering of the identification code of the terminal equipment and specifies the necessary elements of a misdemeanour in the case of failure to preserve data. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.
The Emergency Act (447 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 75 votes in favour. As a framework Act, the Emergency Act deals with crises more generally and organises the legal bases for the crisis management system. The Act introduces amendments to the organisation of the performance of crisis management duties both at the functional and territorial level. As a significant added value, the Act regulates the organisation of ensuring the consistent functioning of vital services more thoroughly than the Act which is currently in force, as well as the use of the Defence Forces for ensuring internal security in situations which have not been declared emergencies. The Act enters into force pursuant to general procedure, §§ 40–41 and 51–52 of the Act enter into force on 1 July 2010. Providers of vital services are required to fulfil the obligations arising from clauses 37 (3) 1) and 2) of this Act no later than by 1 July 2010. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.
The Act on Amendments to the State of Emergency Act and the Code of Criminal Procedure (448 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 64 votes in favour. The Act updates the regulation of the State of Emergency Act. Among other things, the Act concerns situations related to mass disorders and specifies the definition of a threat to constitutional order, and the bases for declaring it. For the purposes of this Act, a violent mass disorder means commission of violent unlawful acts by a crowd, that is, causing of proprietary damage or activities posing a threat to life or health. According to the Act, in event of mass disorders, the Government may decide on the use of the Defence Forces or the National Defence League until termination of the state of emergency. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.
The National Development Plan for Energy Sector until 2020 (443 OE) was approved with 80 votes in favour. The requirement of preparation of that development plan derives from the Sustainable Development Act because the specified sector of the economy may endanger natural balance or preservation of biological diversity. The purpose of the national development plan for energy sector is to integrate the specific development plans of the sphere and to provide the general aims of energy policy until 2020. The purpose of the national development plan for energy sector is to set the strategic objectives of the energy sector and to offer possible solutions to the problems which arise, as well as to define the general long-term development objectives in order to ensure continuous, efficient and environmentally sustainable energy supply at a justified price, and economical energy use in Estonia. Nobody voted against the Resolution and nobody abstained.
Four Bills passed the second reading and one Bill passed the first reading.
On the motion of the Cultural Affairs Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act (506 SE), initiated by the same Committee, was concluded. The Act is amended with a view of adding a new section which provides studies on the basis of the curriculum prepared by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). A school which has received the IBO recognition for implementation of the curriculum may provide instruction on the basis of the IBO curriculum. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
On the motion of the Constitutional Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Creative Persons and Artistic Associations Act (502 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. In the words of the initiator, the amendments involve mainly technical specification of the provisions of the Act which is currently in force with a view to avoiding potential problems in the interpretation of the Act. Amendments of the substance concern the supports paid to creative persons as necessary and the period of payment thereof. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
On the motion of the Constitutional Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Public and National Holidays Act (509 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. This Bill is intended to amend the Public and National Holidays Act by adding a clause which provides 23 August as the commemoration day for the victims of Stalinism and Nazism. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
On the motion of the Economic Affairs Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Advertising Act (471 SE), initiated by the same Committee, was concluded. The Bill is intended to specify the regulations which have given rise to different interpretations by implementators of the Act and the exercisers of supervision. According to the Bill, the information provided at the location of economic and professional activities concerning the trade marks sold in such location or the conditions of sale of the trade marks is not deemed to be advertising. The Bill is intended to eliminate the prohibition on advertising which has been established on commercial lotteries. According to the explanation of the initiator, commercial lotteries are allowed in the European Union countries and the current prohibition in Estonia is not justified. Also, it is recommended to eliminate the requirement of including a warning text concerning the harmfulness of alcohol in the cases when a trade mark used for designating alcohol is exhibited in the place of sale of alcohol. In the words of the initiator, this is particularly a problem for mass caterers who should include a warning text also with beer glasses and vodka glasses bearing a trade mark. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
On the motion of the Constitutional Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Estonian Flag Act (529 SE), initiated by the same Committee, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is the intention to replace the current musical signature “Mu isamaa armas” [“My Dear Fatherland”] played at the Pikk Hermann tower on the lowering of the Estonian flag by a signature created on the basis of a fragment of the song by Gustav Ernesaks composed to the words of Lydia Koidula “Mu isamaa on minu arm” [“Land of My Fathers, Land that I Love”]. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
The Riigikogu Press Service 2009