On its last sitting today, the XI Riigikogu passed 14 Acts and one Resolution.
The Riigikogu passed with 68 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Government of the Republic Act in connection with Reorganisation of Estonian Informatics Centre into Estonian Informatics Board (916 SE), initiated by the Government. The purpose of the Act is to reorganise the Estonian Informatics Centre into the Estonian Informatics Board. The planned date of reorganisation is 1 June 2011. The new agency will be in the area of government of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, and it will be created by reorganising the Estonian Informatics Centre. The purpose of the new agency will be to exercise state supervision over compliance with the security requirements set for information systems belonging to the state information system and ensuring vital services, and over compliance with Acts upon taking into use of a database and administration of a database. The agency will also develop a system of security measures of the information systems, the data exchange layer of the information systems and the administrative system of state information systems and organise the development of the state information system as a whole. Two members of the Riigikogu abstained at the voting. Clause 1 of § 1 the Act will enter into force on 1 June 2011, clause 2 on the day following its publication in the Riigi Teataja.
The Riigikogu passed with 60 votes in favour the Maintenance of Law and Order Act (49 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The essence of the Act is to define the concept of “public order” in the legal order of Estonia, to create a coordinated system for prevention and combating of threats to public order and for elimination of violations of order at the level of bodies responsible for maintenance of law and order and at the level of individuals, to define other basic concepts of the field and to provide uniform general principles of exercise of state supervision. This Act also deals with the general and special measures of state supervision which include, among other things, the measures concerning collection of information for the purposes of state supervision and ensuring order at public gatherings. The time of entering into force and the procedure for the implementation of this Act will be established by a separate Act.
The Riigikogu passed with 63 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Public Information Act and the Police and Border Guard Act (891 SE), initiated by the Government. The purpose of the Act is to specify unregulated legal relations and the provisions that are insufficiently regulated, in connection with the establishing of the Police and Border Guard Administration. The amendments specify the Public Information Act with a provision according to which the information concerning the weapons used by the police is classified as information intended for internal use. The Police and Border Guard Act is amended with specifications which regulate the detention of persons, the entry of the police into a fenced or marked immovable without the consent of the possessor thereof, physical examination of persons by police officers, the use of alcometer, the stopping of vehicles, handing over of an intoxicated minor to his or her parents, etc. The Act will enter into force pursuant to general procedure, but with some exceptions, according to which a number of provisions will enter into force on1 January 2012 and Clause 2(32) will enter into force on 1 April 2011 in regard to participating in international civil missions.
The Riigikogu passed with 66 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Aliens Act, the State Fees Act and the Aviation Act (901 SE), initiated by the Government. The purpose of the Act is to establish a uniform procedure for contesting visa procedures. Pursuant to the Visa Code, Member States have to ensure aliens the possibility to appeal against the decision to refuse, annul or revoke a visa. The second purpose of the Act is to bring national law into conformity with the long-stay visa Regulation as regards the period of validity of long-stay visas and the freedom of movement with a long-stay visa. According to the amendment added, the security control of airport employees will be carried out by the Security Police Board. This amendment has been prepared, proceeding from the new EU requirements on aviation security and the need to enforce the Regulation as soon as possible. The purpose of the background check is to assess the suitability of a person to enter (unaccompanied) the security restriction area of an airport or heliport, to receive an aircraft crew member certificate and to perform tasks connected with aviation security. §§ 1 and 2 of the Act will enter into force on 1 July 2011.
The Riigikogu passed with 69 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Investment Funds Act and Associated Acts (907 SE), initiated by the Government. The main purpose of the Act is to regulate the principles of the remuneration of managers and senior officials of banks, insurers and management companies of pension funds and other public funds and undertakings listed on the stock exchange; to provide the requirements for the offering of certain savings and insurance products which contain an investment risk (the investment deposit and the unit-linked life insurance); to improve the regulation concerning market abuse, in particular to specify the content of the manipulation of the securities market.
The Act on Amendments to the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Act (927 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 67 votes in favour. The purpose of the Act is to eliminate the three deficiencies pointed out in the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Act by the European Commission and at the same time to terminate the infringement procedure No. 2008/2292 which states that the relevant Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning integrated pollution prevention and control has not been correctly transposed into the Estonian legal system.
The Language Act (808 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 44 votes in favour. The purpose of the Act is to develop, preserve and protect the Estonian language and to guarantee using the Estonian language as the main language of communication in all fields of public life. The new Language Act establishes, among other things, the requirement of use of Estonian in outdoor advertising, including political outdoor advertising. According to the Acts, signs installed to a public place, labels, names of category of enterprises and outdoor advertisements, including outdoor advertisements installed for the purposes of political agitation, will have to be in Estonian. As regards the use of language in the press, media undertakings have to follow good practice of the use of language in their publications, web pages and television and radio programmes. The Act also defines the relation of sign language and signed Estonian language to the Estonian language. As regards the dialects, the support of the state to the protection, use and development of regional varieties (dialects) of the Estonian language is provided. In the regions where dialects are used, a text in dialect having the same meaning may be added to the text corresponding to the norms of the written language. 18 members of the Riigikogu voted against the Act. The Act enters into force on 1 July 2011.
The Riigikogu passed with 63 votes in favour the Roads Act Amendment Act (882 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The purpose of the amendments is to transpose into Estonian law the legal provisions necessary for the implementation of the relevant European Union directive. The purpose of the Directive is to improve the safety of road infrastructure within the trans-European road network by establishing procedures for road safety impact assessments, road safety audits, the management of road network safety and safety inspections by the Member States.
The General Part of the Economic Activities Code Act (803 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 63 votes in favour. The Act creates the special part to economic administration law which provides the general conditions and procedure for exercise of freedom of economic activities. The Act was prepared with the aim of reducing the amount, extent and complexity of the regulations containing economic administration law, that is, reducing bureaucracy, and eliminating unjustified restrictions to the exercise of fundamental rights in the field of economic activities. One member of the Riigikogu abstained at the voting. The Act enters into force on 1 January 2014.
The Rural Development and Agricultural Market Regulation Act Amendment Act (921 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 65 votes in favour. The Act enables the Ministry of Agriculture and the foundation to provide state aid and de minimis aid besides aid schemes also as individual aid outside the aid scheme. The range of applicants for practical training support will also be expanded. As a result of the amendment, besides agricultural producers, the processors of agricultural products who organise at their undertakings the practical training of pupils or students studying according to the curriculum of the field of agriculture or rural economy may also apply for practical training support. The purpose of the support is to prepare young people for competition on the labour market, prepare skilled labour force and to contribute to practical training.
The Fisheries Market Organisation Act Amendment Act (924 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 62 votes in favour. The purpose of the Act is to create opportunities for better and more purposeful use of the funding allocated for the European Fisheries Fund contribution and for more flexible financing of projects and at to limit the administrative burden imposed by processing of fisheries market contribution, to ensure the granting of state aid to fisheries and de minimis aid according to the rules in force in the European Union, as well as better understanding of the requirements of the Act. Clause 1 of § 1 of the Act will enter into force on 1 July 2011, clauses 14–17 on 1 January 2012.
The Act on Amendments to the Heritage Conservation Act and Other Associated Acts (806 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 57 votes in favour. The purpose of the Act is to regulate the activities of persons who search for objects of cultural value as a hobby and the use of search devices, and to offer solutions to motivate people who find an object of cultural value to inform the state in order to prevent findings ending up in private collections. According to the National Heritage Board, the number of persons who search for objects of cultural value as a hobby, using metal detectors, has considerably increased, which has brought about the need to regulate the use of search devices. According to the Act, it is possible impose a fine of up to 300 fine units (1200 euros) to a natural person for unauthorised use of a search device, instead of the 200 fine units in force at present, and a legal person may be imposed a fine of up to 3200 euros. The Act also increases punishments for unauthorised exploration of heritage monuments or buildings located on heritage reserve, and also for conservation or restoration with unauthorised project design, without the heritage protection supervision or licence of a responsible specialist or project designer. Two members of the Riigikogu abstained at the voting. The Act enters into force on 1 June 2011.
The Act on Amendments to the Research and Development Organisation Act (864 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 59 votes in favour. The Act changes the system of financing of the research and development activities and establishes the Estonian Research Agency, the functions of which will include organisation and carrying out of the assessment of applications for research grants, allocation of personal research grants, as well as analysing of the effectiveness and impact of research grants. As it is, the term of authority of the Scientific Competence Council will end on 28 February 2012. The membership of a research and development institution is determined so that it will involve the participation of support staff which is necessary in the realisation of every research topic, while the current system provides no means for financing such staff. One of the most important aims is to increase the effectiveness of doctoral study: doctoral candidates will be granted social guarantees equal to those of employees and the career system of researchers will be rearranged. For this purpose, the position of junior research fellow is provided mainly to involve Doctoral candidates in research work, the regulation concerning research professor is improved at the level of a relevant Regulation, the definition of post-doctoral researcher is regulated at the level of the Act and several other amendments are made. These amendments should increase the number of students who make it to defending their Doctoral thesis. The Act will enter into force on 1 January 2012, except for some provisions that enter into force in 2013 and 2014.
The Cemeteries Act (888 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 59 votes in favour. The purpose of the Act is to resolve the vague and unregulated situation where there is no legal regulation which would ensure uniformity and consistency in the establishing and administration of cemeteries. Thus, the Act establishes the requirements for cremation or burying the body of a person or the remains of a dead person to a cemetery and regulates the establishing, management and use of a cemetery and the closing of a cemetery for burials. It also establishes the requirements for storing and transportation of the deceased. The Act resolves the vague situation where the maintenance of cemeteries and burial customs depend on the preference of the user or the administrator of the cemetery. The Act helps to harmonise the activities of cemeteries in different local governments.
The Minister of Justice Rein Lang made a political statement in connection with the Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Approval of “Development Objectives of Legal Policy until 2018””.
The Development Objectives of Legal Policy until 2018 (920 OE), initiated by five factions of the Riigikogu, were passed with 68 votes in favour. This document includes several concrete proposals on implementing legal policy and is based on the concept of the analysis of the impacts of legal acts, prepared by the work group of the Ministry of Justice and containing proposals for more effective organisation of the analysis of the impacts of legislation. The purpose of the Development Objectives it to raise the quality of legislative drafting with the help of revised set of rules and instruction materials by demanding more thorough and well considered activities in the initial stages of the drafting of legislation to economise on the resources that have so far been spent in further stages of preparing draft legislation, in connection with repeated submissions for approval, explaining the purposes of the draft legislation to the public as well as correction of the deficiencies of legislation adopted in a hurry. The principle of the expediency of the impact analysis process itself, according to which the thoroughness of impact analysis must be proportional to the importance of accompanying impacts, has been used as a basis. With the passed Resolution, a proposal was made to the Government to submit to the Riigikogu a report on the implementation of the Development Objectives of Legal Policy each year by 1 November at the latest.
At the end of the sitting the President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma thanked the members of the XI Riigikogu for the work done during the four years and acknowledged the contribution of the officials of the Riigikogu Chancellery to the success of the work of the Riigikogu.
The Riigikogu Press Service