The Riigikogu passed two Acts:
The Sports Act Amendment Act (678 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 82 votes in favour. The Act establishes the sports data base that belongs to the state information system. Its purpose is to keep account of Estonian sports organisations, sports schools, sports buildings and coaches in order to make the organisation and management of sports activities and participation in sports more effective. In order to qualify for state support, a sports organisation must have a development plan and be entered in the sports data base. Besides that, the sports organisation has to update the information entered about it in the sports data base in due time. The fact that the sports register will operate as a state database will also enable to link it with other state and local government databases through X-Road.
The Act on Repeal of the Act on Ratification of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Republic of Italy for the Promotion and Protection of Investments (747 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 72 votes in favour. The reason for termination of the Agreement is that Estonia and Italy have acceded to the EU. Thus, protection of investments and equal treatment of investors is regulated by EU law and mutual agreements between member states are no longer necessary.
The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of six Bills:
303 motions to amend were submitted for the resumption of the second reading of the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Bill (412 SE), initiated by the Government. Among others, the provisions aimed at the separation of basic school and upper secondary school were removed from the Bill. During the preparation of national curricula for basic schools and upper secondary schools and legislative proceeding of the Bill, it was considered important that the fundamental principles of national curricula should be reflected in the Act in order to give them adequate weight in the society and guarantee the continuity of the development of national curricula. Supporting the comprehensive development of pupils, promotion of constitutional values and human ethical principles, relying on Estonian cultural traditions and common European values are emphasised as the basic values of general education schools. In order to stress that basic school and upper secondary school are two clearly separate education levels that have their own purposes, basic school and upper secondary school are dealt with in different articles of the Bill – § 4 and § 5. At the basic school the emphasis is first of all on the comprehensive development of the pupil and shaping the environment appropriate for that, at upper secondary school the emphasis is first of all on preparation for further education and different roles that may have to be fulfilled in life.
The purpose of the Bill on Amendments to the Income Tax Act (180 SE), initiated by the Government, is to guarantee equal treatment of sole proprietors in the taxation of profit received from securities deals. The Bill proposes a system based on the use of investment account that would enable to reinvest the revenues received from certain most common investments without the obligation to pay taxes. It is possible to postpone the payment of income tax if a person determines a bank account as his/her investment account, transfers money to it and after that acquires securities or other financial instruments for that money. If the money received as a result of transfer of these securities is transferred to the investment account, the immediate obligation to pay taxes does not arise in regard to this transfer deal. The money received can be fully invested in other securities. The obligation to pay income tax arises if more money is withdrawn from the account than was transferred to it.
The Bill on Amendments to the Savings and Loan Associations Act and Associated Acts (240 SE), initiated by the Government, abolishes the restrictions hindering the development of savings and loan associations and also adjusts the requirements for the financial soundness of savings and loan associations. The Bill allows to establish savings and loan associations according to the principle that the territory of the association is the administrative territory of several local government units with common borders instead of just one administrative territory as before. The Bill allows to establish associations on work, service or professional basis and on the basis of common economic interests.
The Bill on Amendments to the District Heating Act and Social Welfare Act (716 SE), initiated by the Government, specifies and updates the regulation concerning the provision of the right to suspend heat supply. According to the Bill, a heating undertaking cannot use the right to suspend heat supply during the winter period before ninety days have passed since the receipt of a notice of the performance of a debt obligation and the debt as the circumstance which is the basis for potential suspension of heat supply has not been eliminated during that period. The bases for the grant of subsistence benefits and covering of housing expenses were specified. According to the amendment, a rural municipality or city government can transfer the resources allocated for covering housing expenses calculated in the scope and structure provided by the law directly to the account of the person who provides or has provided public utility services.
The Bill on Amendments to the Penal Code, the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Punishment Register Act and the Probation Supervision Act (562 SE), initiated by the Government, allows imposing of community service as a punishment also in cases of misdemeanour and enhances the possibilities for application of electronic surveillance.
The Bill on Amendments to the Animal Protection Act (745 SE), initiated by the Government, is necessitated by the relevant European Union directive laying down minimum rules for the protection of chickens kept for meat production which can be harmonised only after bases have been established by the Act. The Bill establishes a requirement to undergo training for the persons who directly come into contact with keeping broilers. It also establishes the requirement that persons conducting animal testing have to undergo relevant training on the use of laboratory animals or involve another person who has passed appropriate training in conducting the animal experiment.
The Riigikogu suspended the second reading of the Traffic Bill (475 SE), initiated by the Government. 81 motions to amend were submitted for the resumption of the second reading of the Bill. The amendments concerned regulations connected with agricultural machinery and the right to drive such machines and also issues connected with light traffic.
The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of two Bills:
The Bill on Amendments to the Biocides Act (748 SE), initiated by the Government, is necessitated by the obligation of a Member State to transpose the relevant European Parliament and Council directive concerning the placing of biocidal products on the market in connection with the extension of certain terms. The purpose of the Directive is to preserve the market of biocides in Europe by extending the transitional period established by the biocides directive by four years so that it would be possible to fulfil the programme of evaluation of active substances. The Bill also specifies the scope of application of the Act in force in order to make it unambiguously understandable to all who apply it and supplements the supervision competence of agencies performing state supervision.
The purpose of the Bill on Amendments to the Social Tax Act (760 SE), initiated by the Government, is to help to bring the unemployed back to the labour market and create better conditions for generation of additional part-time jobs.
At Question Time, the Minister of Education and Research Tõnis Lukas in the capacity of Prime Minister answered the question about state upper secondary schools, submitted by Mai Treial, and the question about the plurality of forms of study in the educational system, submitted by Liisa-Ly Pakosta. Minister of the Environment Jaanus Tamkivi answered the question about the land reform of protected areas, submitted by Aleksei Lotman, and the question about the European Union sea strategy, submitted by Maret Merisaar. Minister of Defence Jaak Aaviksoo answered the question about the Israel attack against Turkish ships, submitted by Raivo Järvi.
The sitting ended at 7.05 p.m.
The Riigikogu Press Service
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