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The Bills on amendments to the Electronic Communications Act and on amendments to the Rescue Act and the Weapons Act passed the second reading in the Riigikogu today.

The Bill on Amendments to the Electronic Communications Act (138 SE), initiated by the National Defence Committee, will enable the Government to establish an information and authorisation requirement regarding the technology used in communication networks, in order to thereby ensure a high level of security of communication networks.

The explanatory memorandum to the Bill notes that, with a view to ensuring the quality of networks, to minimising the impact of cyber-attacks and to preventing political manipulations, it will have to be ensured that the establishment of communication networks and the provision of communications services by means thereof is effected with the help of secure technology and by reliable partners.

During the second reading, on the motion of the lead committee, an amendment arising from an opinion of the Government was incorporated into the Bill. In the Bill, coordination proceedings were replaced with information and authorisation proceedings. The Bill was amended by adding a clause according to which, in order to ensure national security, the Government may establish, by a regulation, an obligation for communications undertakings to inform of the hard- and software used in their communications networks and to apply for an authorisation to use the hard-and software of a network.

During the debate, Valdo Randpere (Reform Party), Riho Breivel (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Kalle Grünthal (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Andres Metsoja (Isamaa) and Johannes Kert (Reform Party) took the floor.

The amendments proposed in the Bill on Amendments to the Rescue Act and the Weapons Act (128 SE), initiated by the Government, are linked to the launch of the crisis information service, the involvement of volunteer rescuers, the tasks of the Rescue Board, and the specification of the Weapons Act.

The Bill values the role of volunteer rescuers. According to the proposal, the social guarantees in place for volunteer rescuers engaged in rescue work will also be extended to volunteer rescuers engaged in prevention work. In addition, the five-year validity period of the medical certificate of rescuer will be eliminated. In the future, family physicians will be able to determine the validity period on the basis of the person’s health indicators. In the future, a medical certificate of a driver of a power-driven vehicle will be accepted as a certificate of medical examination. Moreover, in the future, an amendment will also allow volunteer rescuers to certify the absence of health disorders with other permitted medical certificates, e.g. a medical certificate of assistant police officer or police officer, a medical certificate obtained upon application for a weapons permit, etc.

The amendment will create a legal basis for the Rescue Board to process the causes of fires, and legal clarity about the content and activities of prevention work. In addition, the requirements for marking the locations for blasting explosives upon explosive ordnance disposal will be provided for, and the supply of food and drinking water to all people engaged in rescue work will be ensured.

Under the Bill, the Weapons Act will also be specified, and explosive ordnance specialists of the Explosive Ordnance Centre of the Rescue Board will be granted the right to carry and use firearms for self-defence.

The Bill will also amend the tasks of the Emergency Response Centre. The processing of help and information notifications, which also means provision of the crisis information service, is mentioned as a task of the Emergency Response Centre. The Emergency Response Centre may involve volunteers in the provision of the crisis information service.

During the second reading, amendments were incorporated to amend the classification of weapons. It is provided that the data of the weapons belonging to weapons collections of museums will not need to be entered in the Register of Service and Civilian Weapons. The requirement that a person may acquire, own and possess a sporting firearm only if he or she is a member of a shooting sports organisation or a shooting sports club will be restored.

If the Act is passed, it will enter into force on 15 May. By way of exception, clauses 2 and 4 concerning the amendment of the Weapons Act would enter into force retroactively as of 1 March.

During the debate, Toomas Kivimägi (Reform Party), Heljo Pikhof (Social Democratic Party), Jevgeni Ossinovski (Social Democratic Party), Urmas Kruuse (Reform Party), Tarmo Kruusimäe (Isamaa) and Hanno Pevkur (Reform Party) took the floor.

The Social Democratic Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill; however, with 38 votes in favour and 47 against, the motion was not supported and the second reading of the Bill was concluded.

Due to the end of the working hours of the sitting, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Assistant Police Officer Act and Other Acts (measures related to the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 disease) (170 SE), initiated by the Government, was adjourned. The deliberation of the Bill will continue at Wednesday’s sitting.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)

Video recording of the sitting can be viewed later on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service
Epp-Mare Kukemelk
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