At today’s sitting, the Riigikogu supported the proposal of the Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise to bring subsection 47 (3) of the Social Welfare Act into conformity with the Constitution.
The Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise said that the part of the Social Welfare Act that did not allow general care home residents to receive support from the state for buying technical aids they needed had to be brought into conformity with the Constitution. Madise explained that the problem concerned specifically § 12 of the Constitution that spoke of the requirement of equal treatment, and subsection 28 (4) according to which people with disabilities should enjoy special care of the national government and of local authorities.
Madise explained that the problem was that if a person who needed assistance lived at his or her home and covered the costs necessary to live at home himself or herself or with the help of close ones, the person would, for example, get the necessary DAISY-player with the support of the state if he or she was blind. “However, if a person has gone to a general care home and covers the costs related to living there through the fee, he or she does not receive such help. There is no reasonable justification for treating general care home residents worse like this,” the Chancellor of Justice said.
Madise said that, on the other hand, there had been arguments that all such technical aids like wheelchairs, rollators, DAISY-players, support pillows and many other things should be available at care homes. “Unfortunately this is not so in fact, and nor can it be, because general care homes mostly operate under private law and they are managed from the fees for care home places,” the Chancellor of Justice noted. Madise pointed out that such homes were governed by private law and that such technical aids had to be paid for anyway, either by all residents solidarily – regardless of whether they needed such technical aids or not – or by those who needed the technical aids. “Consequently, also in the case of such an amendment, a general care home resident would be treated significantly worse than a similar person who needs assistance and lives at home,” Madise explained.
Member of the Constitutional Committee Peeter Ernits gave an overview of the discussion that had been held in the Constitutional Committee and said that the committee had supported the proposal of the Chancellor of Justice.
The Chairman of the Social Affairs Committee Helmen Kütt gave an overview of the discussions that had been held in the Social Affairs Committee and pointed out that the Social Affairs Committee had also supported the proposal of the Chancellor of Justice.
78 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the proposal of the Chancellor of Justice.
The Social Affairs Committee was charged with the task of initiating a Bill for bringing the Social Welfare Act into conformity with the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia.
The Riigikogu passed three Resolutions:
The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Appointment of a Member of the Gambling Tax Council” (529 OE), submitted by the Finance Committee, provides for the appointment of member of the Riigikogu Lauri Luik as a member of the council to replace Mart Helme.
The Resolution had been submitted on the basis of Mart Helme’s letter in which he expressed a wish to resign from the post of member of the council. Under the Gambling Tax Act, the Riigikogu forms the Council for Allocation of Grants from Gambling Tax Revenues which includes six members of the Riigikogu, and one representative from the Ministry of Education and Research, one from the Ministry of Culture and one from the Ministry of Social Affairs.
63 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Resolution.
The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Amendment of the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Formation of the Riigikogu Study Committee to Draw Up the Development Objectives for the State Reform”” (531 OE), submitted by the Social Democratic Party Faction, provides for the appointment of the current substitute member Tanel Talve as a member of the study committee to replace Ivari Padar. Liisa Oviir was appointed as a substitute member of the committee to replace Tanel Talve.
58 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Resolution, and there were 4 abstentions.
The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Amendment of the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Formation of the State Budget Control Select Committee”” (530 OE), submitted by the Estonian Reform Party Faction, provides for the appointment of Aivar Sõerd as a member of the select committee to replace Jürgen Ligi. Inara Luigas was appointed as a member of the committee to replace Tanel Talve.
58 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Resolution, and there was one abstention.
One Bill passed the second reading in the Riigikogu:
The Bill on Amendments to the Administrative Procedure Act and Other Acts (497 SE), initiated by the Government, will update the regulation of electronic operations in administrative proceedings which may be specified or restricted by special Acts.
The most important amendment is that sending documents electronically will be made equal to delivery by post. It is possible to deliver documents electronically via the Estonian information gateway (@eesti.ee), special information systems (e.g. e-Tax Board) or the e-mail address of the party to the proceedings. At the same time, the Act is planned to resolve the key issue as to when a document is considered to be delivered electronically. As a rule, it is the moment when the information system has registered the acceptance thereof or the addressee has confirmed receipt. The general rules for electronic issue of legal acts will be provided for. Among other things, the part concerning the use of digital signature and digital seal will also be updated.
Two motions to amend the Bill were submitted during the second reading. One motion to amend concerns clause 31 (1) 2) (regulating the publication of documents in a newspaper) of the Administrative Procedure Act. The provision will be amended by adding the condition that it would be possible to publish a document in a newspaper also when the e-mail address of a natural person is known but he or she does not confirm receipt of a document forwarded to the e-mail address.
One Bill passed the first reading in the Riigikogu:
The Bill on Amendments to the Municipal Council Election Act, the Riigikogu Election Act and Other Acts (504 SE), initiated by the Estonian Free Party Faction, is intended to ensure broader freedom of speech and to repeal the absolute prohibition on outdoor political advertising. The Bill provides for the repeal of the prohibition on outdoor political advertising that has been established for the whole period of active campaigning, and for limiting the prohibition to just one election day. It also provides for specification of the rules set for outdoor political advertising.
During the debate, Artur Talvik from the Free Party Faction, Jaak Madison from the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction and Helmut Hallemaa from the Centre Party Faction took the floor.
Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) http://stenogrammid.riigikogu.ee/en/201711141000.
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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