Overview of the Riigikogu sitting 19 November 2008
The Riigikogu passed seven Acts:
The Act on Amendments to the Traffic Act and the Penal Code and Associated Acts (179 SE), initiated by the Government, which organises the regulation concerning traffic offences and steps up the sanctions system, was passed with 77 votes in favour. A punishment of up to 300 fine units or detention, or withdrawal of the right to drive for up to one year is established for driving a power-driven vehicle or a tram by a person whose blood alcohol content exceeds the permitted limits. Driving a power-driven vehicle or a tram in a state of intoxication is punishable by a pecuniary punishment or up to 3 years’ imprisonment. The exceeding of a speed limit by 21 to 40 kilometres per hour by a driver of a power-driven vehicle is punishable by a fine of up to 100 fine units or withdrawal of the right to drive for a period of one month up to one year.
The Act on Amendments to the Commercial Code and the Penal Code and Associated Acts (332 SE), initiated by the Government, which provides a regulation to prevent malevolent persons from appointing, without the knowledge of the shareholders or the management board of a private limited company, strangers as members of the management board and supervisory board of the company by forging documents, was passed with 77 votes in favour. To that end, stricter formal requirements were provided for the minutes of a meeting of shareholders, a record of voting or a resolution of shareholders in the cases when a resolution of shareholders is the basis for the election of a member of the management board. The Penal Code provides that the court may apply a prohibition on business as supplementary punishment with respect to a person, that is, prohibit him or her from acting as an undertaking, a member of a management body of a legal person, the liquidator of a legal person or a procurator, or from participating in the management of a legal person in any other way during a certain period of time. A prohibition on business eliminates persons who fail to adhere to fair business practices from business for a certain period of time. This will ensure the reliability of the economic environment of Estonia.
The Temporary Administration of Payment of Salaries related to Average Wages in Estonia Act (296 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, the Estonian Green Party Faction, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction, the Estonian People’s Union Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction, which regulates the payment of the salaries related to the average wages in Estonia until 28 February 2010, was passed with 77 votes in favour (1 abstention). The Act provides freezing of the specified salaries which cannot exceed the average wages in 2007. Besides the salaries of Members of the Riigikogu, the salaries of the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, Ministers, the Commander of the Defence Forces, the Auditor General, the Chancellor of Justice, judges of all instances and the Gender Equality Commissioner are also related to the average wages in Estonia. The salary of the President cannot exceed the average wages in the fourth quarter of 2007 multiplied by the corresponding coefficient and the other salaries cannot exceed the average wages in 2007 multiplied by the corresponding coefficient. The freezing of the salary of Members of the Riigikogu will be regulated by a separate Act.
The Temporary Administration of Salary of Member of Riigikogu Act (342 SE), initiated by the Constitutional Committee, which regulates the payment of salary to Members of the Riigikogu until 28 February 2010, was passed with 53 votes in favour (1 vote against). According to the Act, the average wages in the fourth quarter of 2007 in Estonia will remain the ceiling in the calculation of the salary. The act does not change the system of the salary of Members of the Riigikogu: the salary of a Member of the Riigikogu will remain related to the average wages in Estonia. The Act provides the maximum permitted amount of the salary in the specified period. If the average wages fall, the amount of the salary will decrease respectively.
The Act on Amendments to the Penal Code (322 SE), initiated by the Government, which amends the General Part of the Penal Code by adding two provisions, was passed with 67 votes in favour. The first of these provides punishability of an attempt of instigation to crime, the consent to a proposal to commit a crime and an agreement to commit a crime. According to the Act, for an attempt of instigation to crime, a punishment is imposed on a person pursuant to the same provision of the Act which sets out the liability of a principal offender and which in case of serious crimes may amount to life imprisonment. The other provision sets out the possibility to be released from liability by abandoning an attempt of instigation, an agreement or consent.
The Act on Amendments to the Income Tax Act, the Value Added Tax Act and the State Fees Act (347 SE), initiated by the Government, which amends the time schedule of the reduction of income tax rate and postpones the reduction of the income tax rate by one year, was passed with 49 votes in favour (24 votes against). This means that for both natural and legal persons the rate will be 21 per cent in 2009 and will start to reduce again in 2010, amounting to 20 per cent; the rate will be 19 per cent in 2011 and 18 per cent starting from 2012. The increase of the rate of basic exemption is also postponed by one year. In 2009, the rate of basic exemption will remain at the current level, that is, 27 000 kroons per year. It will be 30 000 kroons in 2010, 33 000 kroons in 2011 and 36 000 starting from 2012. Third, the possibility to deduct from income increased basic exemption for the first child is temporarily eliminated in 2009.
The Act on Amendments to the Aviation Act and the State Fees Act (330 SE), initiated by the Government, which enhances air safety and aviation security, was passed with 65 votes in favour (1 vote against). The rights of the officials exercising state supervision are extended, the necessary elements of misdemeanours are amended, the regulation concerning the airworthiness and inspection of the airworthiness of an aircraft is specified, the requirement to take guidance from radio communication rules in two-way radio communication during flight is added, the regulation for conducting the examination of the state of health of aviation specialists is amended, the regulation for testing the specialist language of aviation is added, the procedure for making register acts and entries is amended, the provisions relating to the immediate vicinity of airports and heliports and protection zones are added, the organisational bases of aviation security are specified and the Civil Aviation Administration is appointed the competent authority within the meaning of the European Union Regulation regulating common rules in the field of civil aviation security.
The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of seven Bills:
the Bill on Amendments to the Income Tax Act (352 SE), initiated by the Government;
the Bill on Amendments to the Animal Protection Act and the Farm Animals Breeding Act (328 SE), initiated by the Government;
the Bill on Amendments to the Promotion of Local Government Merger Act (318 SE), initiated by the Government;
the Bill on Amendments to the Forest Act and Associated Acts (327 SE), initiated by the Government;
the Bill on Amendments to the Estonian Health Insurance Fund Act, the Unemployment Insurance Act and the Environmental Charges Act (348 SE), initiated by the Government;
the Bill on Amendments to the Defence Forces Service Act and the Health Care Services Organisation Act (324 SE), initiated by the Government;
the Bill on Amendments to the Peace-Time National Defence Act (339 SE), initiated by the Government.
The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of three Bills:
The purpose of the Bill on Amendments to the Government of the Republic Act and to Other Acts, related to Merger of Environmental Authorities of the Ministry of the Environment, the State Nature Conservation Centre and the Radiation Protection Centre into the Environment and Nature Protection Board (367 SE), initiated by the Government, is to reorganise the administration of the environment. In that connection, a single Environment and Nature Protection Board is going to be established by merging the environmental authorities of the Ministry of the Environment, the State Nature Conservation Centre and the Radiation Protection Centre. The Estonian Green Party Faction moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. The motion was not supported. The result of voting: 8 votes in favour, 45 votes against, 1 abstention.
The purpose of the Equal Treatment Bill (384 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction, the Social Democratic Party Faction and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction, is to ensure that everyone is protected against discrimination on the grounds of race, nationality, colour, religion or beliefs, age, disability or sexual orientation. The Bill provides the principles of equal treatment and the tasks in the implementation and promotion of the principle of equal treatment, and resolution of discrimination disputes. The relevant Acts of the European Union Member States, in particular, the relevant Acts in Finland and Germany, were also taken as models in preparing the Bill. The specified Bill is in legislative proceeding for the third time, because the Bill was not supported with the required 51 votes in favour in two previous votings.
The basic content of the Bill on Amendments to the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act (368 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, the Estonian People’s Union Faction, the Estonian Reform Party Faction, the Estonian Green Party Faction, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction, is to create reporting system in the organisation of the work of the Riigikogu and to provide the obligation to prepare an explanatory memorandum of the Committee when submitting draft legislation in the legislative proceeding for the second reading. According to the Bill, a Committee of the Riigikogu may prepare a report for analysing an issue within its competence or for exercise of supervision. For that purpose, the Committee appoints a rapporteur from among its members who ensures preparation of the draft report and the submission thereof for approval to the Committee. The Bill was prepared by the working group for organising the work the Riigikogu, which comprised representatives of all factions.
At Question Time, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts answered the question about the European Union funds, submitted by Toomas Varek, and the question about creating preconditions for energy investments, submitted by Marek Strandberg. The Minister of Justice Rein Lang answered the question about ensurance of fundamental rights, submitted by Karel Rüütli. The Minister of Internal Affairs Jüri Pihl answered the question about the organisation of crossing the border in Narva and South-East Estonia, submitted by Inara Luigas.
The verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) is available at:
The Riigikogu Press Service
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