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At today’s plenary sitting, the Chancellor of Justice presented to the Riigikogu an overview of her activities over the last year, and she stressed the importance of clear legislative drafting.

In the opinion of Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise, the legal order is knowingly being made more complicated. But clarity of thought is needed in legal provisions. “It is indeed in your power to stop substitute activities in legislative drafting – European funds or not –, to request clear provisions, beautiful, clear Estonian language, and to reject the unnecessary,” Madise addressed the Riigikogu.

In the Chancellor of Justice’s words, the legislative intent that had been made mandatory for the Government before the elections of 2011 was also a waste. The idea was to consider different solution options and their impacts before initiating a legislative proposal. Madise stated that all amendments that actually affected the society were made without a legislative intent and often also without an impact analysis, in violation of the provision of the Resolution of the Riigikogu. “I think there are two options now: either the Government will be required to observe the rule of legislative intent, or the legislative intent will be abandoned, while continuing to require that every important legislative proposal – and in fact, as I said, unimportant legislative proposals should never reach you, or they should be rejected – should be accompanied by an impartial impact analysis based on facts and adequate scientific examination,” Madise said.

In her overview, the Chancellor of Justice also touched upon the issues of the local government law after the administrative reform, dignity at the end of life, and the control of constitutionality. From 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2018, the office of the Chancellor of Justice adjudicated a total of 2364 petitions. The annual report is available here.

During the debate, Külliki Kübarsepp (Estonian Free Party), Hanno Pevkur (Reform Party), Marko Pomerants (Isamaa), Helmen Kütt (Social Democratic Party) and Märt Sults (Centre Party) took the floor on behalf of factions.

Three Bills passed the first reading:

The Bill on Amendments to the Consumer Protection Act (implementation of the Regulation (EU) 2018/302 of the European Parliament and of the Council) (661 SE), initiated by the Government, will amend the Consumer Protection Act by adding provisions that will not permit discriminating between customers on the basis of their nationality, place of residence or place of establishment.

The aim of the Regulation is that customers would not be discriminated with regard to prices or conditions of sale or payment on the European Union internal market when they wish to purchase products or services from another Member State. The Regulation discusses retail sale of goods on the web as well as traditionally, and electronic services (for example cloud services, data warehousing services, website hosting, search engines and internet directories). The Regulation prohibits for example automatic redirection without the customer’s prior consent to an online interface (e.g. webshop) for reasons related to the customer’s nationality, place of residence or place of establishment, as well as application of different general conditions of access to goods or services. At the same time the Geo-Blocking Regulation does not establish an obligation to deliver goods everywhere in the EU. The Regulation does not apply to media services the main feature of which is the provision of access to copyright protected works or other subject matter. The Bill will designate the Consumer Protection Board as the operational and supervisory authority for the Geo-Blocking Regulation in Estonia.

The purpose of the Bill on Amendments to the Income Tax Act (648 SE), initiated by the Rural Affairs Committee, is to exempt from the fringe benefit tax the expenses incurred by an employer in covering the price of a public transport ticket in the cases the employee uses public transport to commute between their place of residence and place of work. The explanatory memorandum notes that the amendment will allow to ensure more favourable conditions to employees. The amendment would indirectly support the continuation of commercial regular services and the functioning of the existing line network.

During the debate, Inara Luigas (Social Democratic Party) and Mihhail Stalnuhhin (Centre Party) took the floor on behalf of the factions.

The Bill on Amendments to the Social Welfare Act (649 SE), initiated by the Social Affairs Committee, is intended to give, starting from 1 January 2019, people living in social welfare institutions the possibility to obtain technical aids at a discount on the basis of the same principle as people living at home.

The deliberation of the first reading of a Bill was adjourned due to the end of the working hours of the plenary:

The deliberation of the Bill on Amendments to the Social Welfare Act and the Administrative Co-operation Act (657 SE), initiated by the Social Affairs Committee, will continue at tomorrow’s sitting of the Riigikogu. The purpose of the Bill is to make access to special welfare services supporting the subsistence and quality of life of the persons with special psychological needs quicker and clearer for both the users and the organisers of the services. Also, a uniform system of organisation for referral to services and provision of services will be created. The Bill is intended to ensure that adults with a mental disorder in need of assistance receive the assistance corresponding to their actual need for support, in order to prevent a worsening of the person’s subsistence and quality of life. The aim of the Bill is to ensure provision of a needs-based and flexible special welfare service. For that, the assessment of the need for a special welfare service and the counselling of persons will be brought to the Social Insurance Board.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian).

Photos.

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
Kristi Sobak
Phone +372 631 6592, +372 5190 6975
E-mail kristi.sobak@riigikogu.ee
Questions press@riigikogu.ee

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