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At today’s remote-participation sitting of the Riigikogu, the Bill on Amendments to the Health Services Organisation Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts passed the second reading. Among other things, it will extend the right to receive sickness benefit from the second day of sick leave.

The Bill (355 SE) initiated by the Government will establish the legal basis for the implementation of the measures related to the spread of the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. The finances for the measures will be ensured with the state’s supplementary budget for 2021.

The Bill provides for several regulations relating to COVID-19 that are necessary in order that people were ensured smooth communication with administrative authorities or ensured the possibility to stay away from work when they are close contacts and to receive sickness benefit from the second day of their sick leave.

The COVID-19 pandemic situation has given rise to the need to ensure a convenient solution by the health information system in order to certify certain confirmations concerning vaccination, a negative test result, etc. (“compliance certificate”). The amendment is among other things also connected with the European Union green digital certificate project.

Many countries have taken measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 that impose certain restrictions on people upon their entry into the country (e.g. obligation to self-isolate) and people must submit various documents such as medical certificates, test results or confirmations to meet different requirements. The scope of the green digital certificate project includes three cases of use: the certification of immunisation and recovery and the confirmation of a test result. Irrespective of the European Union green digital certificate project, Estonia wishes to enable a solution developed from the basis of the health information system data for its citizens. The activity will take place on the basis of the person’s wish (to generate a certificate and to allow it to be viewed or not). The time limits for preserving the data in the information system have been set out in the Health Services Organisation Act and medical data are preserved as a general rule for an indefinite period and a shorter time limit has been provided for for certain data. Since there will be no need to preserve the compliance certificates for an indefinite period, a shorter time limit is set out in the Bill.

The second reading of the Bill started at yesterday’s sitting, but it was adjourned then due to the end of the sitting. At yesterday’s sitting, Priit Sibul (Isamaa), Tarmo Kruusimäe (Isamaa), Helmen Kütt (Social Democratic Party), Siim Pohlak (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Kalle Grünthal (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Mart Helme (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Helle-Moonika Helme (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Lauri Läänemets (Social Democratic Party), Mihhail Lotman (Isamaa), Siret Kotka (Centre Party), Jevgeni Ossinovski (Social Democratic Party), Ruuben Kaalep (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Kert Kingo (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Paul Puustusmaa (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Martin Helme (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Eduard Odinets (Social Democratic Party), Henn Põlluaas (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Urmas Reitelmann (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Raimond Kaljulaid (Social Democratic Party), Peeter Ernits (EKRE), Heljo Pikhof (Social Democratic Party), Riina Sikkut (Social Democratic Party), Merry Aart (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Leo Kunnas (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Anti Poolamets (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) and Alar Laneman (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor during the debate. The debate continued at today’s sitting where Riho Breivel (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Rene Kokk (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Andres Metsoja (Isamaa), Jaak Valge (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Helir-Valdor Seeder (Isamaa) and Indrek Saar (Social Democratic Party) took the floor.

Helmen Kütt (Social Democratic Party) and Siim Pohlak (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill on behalf of their factions. 40 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 56 voted against. Thus, the motion was not supported and the second reading of the Bill was concluded.

Another Bill passed the second reading

The Bill on Amendments to the State Budget Act (356 SE), initiated by the Government, passed the second reading. The amendments are connected with the implementation of the Act on the State’s Supplementary Budget for 2021. Under the Bill, the possibility to conclude a contract under public law related to implementation of a domestic support programme at the expense of the funds of the area of government of a ministry will be extended to foundations whose founders include the state. In addition, the Act will be amended by adding a new section to establish the general conditions for the support programmes intended to mitigate the crisis related to the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Helle-Moonika Helme moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill on behalf of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction. 16 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 62 voted against. Thus, the motion was not supported and the second reading of the Bill was concluded.

An interpellation concerning discrimination

Members of the Riigikogu Heljo Pikhof, Eduard Odinets, Lauri Läänemets, Jaak Juske and Helmen Kütt had submitted an interpellation concerning discrimination of families, motivated by an incident at Tartu Art Museum, (No 50) to the Minister of Culture. The museum had refused to sell a family ticket to a mother who had wished to visit the museum with two children because it found that two adults were required to be with children in order that a family ticket could be sold. The interpellators wished to know what the Ministry of Culture had done to prevent such violations in other state museums.

Minister of Culture Anneli Ott said in her reply that the incident at Tartu Art Museum was regrettable but it was a single case and no such complaints had been submitted to the ministry before. Ott said that the ministry had asked museums to review how they had regulated their discount tickets because the Act provided that a discount ticket was intended for up to two adults and children. She noted that, at the same time, an adult did not have to be a member of the family, but it was important that the security of children be ensured. Ott said that for example two friends with their children who were minors could also visit museums with a family ticket. She assured that the interpretation of the Act had been explained to the museum. She noted that that requirement also applied to museums that belonged to the state on the basis of a contract under public law, besides state museums. “We consider it very important that all our museums observe this principle of equal treatment,” Ott said.

During the debate, Eduard Odinets (Social Democratic Party), Kalle Grünthal (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Peeter Ernits (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Tarmo Kruusimäe (Isamaa), Mart Helme (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) and Aadu Must (Centre Party) took the floor.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)

The video recording of the sitting will be available on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service
Merilin Kruuse
Phone: +372 631 6592, +372 510 6179
E-mail: merilin.kruuse@riigikogu.ee
Questions: press@riigikogu.ee

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