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At today’s sitting, the Riigikogu approved three Resolutions which amend the membership of the Gambling Tax Council and the Anti-Corruption Select Committee of the Riigikogu, and release a justice of the Supreme Court from the office of justice.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Appointment of Members of the Gambling Tax Council” (646 OE), submitted by the Finance Committee, provides for the appointment of member of the Riigikogu Enn Meri as a member of the council. Under the Resolution, Paavo Nõgene, who had been appointed as a member of the council as the representative of the Ministry of Culture, is also excluded from the membership of the council, and Tarvi Sits, Secretary General for Cultural Heritage at the Ministry of Culture, is appointed as a member of the council to replace him.

78 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Resolution, and there was one abstention.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Amendment of the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Formation of the Anti-Corruption Select Committee”” (638 OE), submitted by the Estonian Free Party Faction, provides for the appointment of Artur Talvik as a member of the select committee to replace Andres Herkel.

71 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Resolution.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Release of the Justice of the Supreme Court Lea Kivi from the Office of Justice” (630 OE), submitted by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, provides for release of justice of the Supreme Court Lea Kivi from the office of justice as of 1 November 2018 at her request.

The explanatory memorandum notes that on 30 April 2018 justice of the Supreme Court Lea Kivi had submitted a request to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, requesting him to make a proposal to the Riigikogu to release her from office as of 1 November 2018 at her request in connection with retirement of the justice due to old age.

66 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Resolution.

One Bill passed the second reading in the Riigikogu:

The aim of the Bill on Amendments to the Military Service Act and Other Acts (447 SE), initiated by the Government, is to abandon the special pensions that were created to compensate for low wages in the state sector in the 1990s and at the beginning of the 2000s in the Defence Forces, the police, the border guard and the prosecutor’s office.

The explanatory memorandum notes that the amendments would enter into force at the beginning of 2020, according to the Bill. Special pensions will be eliminated during a transitional period, and persons who are in the service on 31 December 2019 will continue their entitlement to special pension. Persons who enter the service after 1 January 2020 will not be entitled to a special pension. The amendments will have a long-term impact. The granting of pensions will go on for up to another 30–40 years, and the payment for 70–80 years. At this stage, the amendment will not affect pension costs. The increase of costs will begin to diminish after 20–30 years.

During the debate, Ants Laaneots from the Reform Party Faction and Uno Kaskpeit from the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction took the floor.

The Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. The motion was not supported: 17 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour and 42 were against. Thus the Bill passed the second reading.

One Bill passed the first reading in the Riigikogu:

The Water Bill (643 SE), initiated by the Government, has been drafted within the framework of organisation of environmental law. At the same time, certain amendments are intended to be incorporated into the content of the Act. For example, amendments are planned in the issue of water permits and the registration of activities which pose a limited risk to the aquatic environment, which will reduce paper work and speed up the adoption of decisions.

It has become apparent in practice that several activities are not so dangerous for the aquatic environment that a water permit would be needed to perform them. At the same time, the Environmental Board needs to direct such activity in order to preclude their cumulative effect on the aquatic environment. In the future, such activities that have minor effect will have to be registered in the Environmental Board, instead of applying for a water permit. For example, disposal of 5-100 cubic metres of solid substances or installation of a geothermal system into a water body will require a registration.

The definition of water body will be specified. Fish farm ponds and tanks, rain water collection systems and other similar construction works established for a specified purpose will not be treated as bodies of water. Such construction works do not have safeguard zones, but the general water protection requirements will continue to apply to them.

For marine research, the regulation of issuing research permits to foreign vessels will be provided for. This is necessary because at the moment the Ministry of Foreign Affairs applies the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which are very general, to the application for such permits. In the future, the Ministry of the Environment will issue the permits.

On the proposal of the Ministry of Social Affairs, the provisions regulating drinking water, mineral water and bathing water that were in the Public Health Act will be brought into the Bill. The requirements for persons responsible for water sampling and persons taking samples of drinking water, which so far have been in separate Acts, will also be consolidated into a single regulation.

The provisions relating to state supervision have been specified, and the necessary elements of misdemeanours have been updated in the Bill. For example, the rates of punishment for legal persons will be increased. They will increase from the current maximum rate of 32 000 euro to 400 000 euro.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) http://stenogrammid.riigikogu.ee/en/201806121000.

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.)

Riigikogu Press Service
Marie Kukk
631 6456; 58 213 309
marie.kukk@riigikogu.ee
Questions: press@riigikogu.ee

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