Under the Act that was passed in the Riigikogu today, detained persons and persons taken to recover from intoxication can also be detained in prisons.
The main purpose of the Act on Amendments to the Imprisonment Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (transfer of the tasks of detention) (275 SE), initiated by the Government, is to create the possibility to also detain the detained persons punished by arrest, the persons detained for a short term (for 48 hours) and the persons taken to be delivered from intoxication in regional prisons, in addition to convicted offenders and persons held in custody. Prisons will not take over the buildings currently used by houses of detention.
As custodial institutions with similar tasks are operating in Tartu and Jõhvi, under the Act, to save on costs and so that the institutions could focus on their main activities, the tasks of Tartu detention house are transferred to Tartu Prison and the tasks of Jõhvi detention house are transferred to Viru Prison. At the same time, the necessary expenses are transferred from the budget of the Police and Border Guard Administration to the budget of the area of government of the Ministry of Justice.
56 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of passing the Act and 17 voted against.
Kert Kingo (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor during the debate.
Five Bills passed the first reading
The Bill on Amendments to the Code of Enforcement Procedure and the Bailiffs Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (291 SE), initiated by the Government, will amend the current model for distributing the claims of public authorities so that, similarly to private claim owners, owners of public law claims will be able to choose bailiffs for themselves.
The Bill will also amend the provisions on bailiffs’ fees. The bailiff’s principal fee will be lowered to 50 per cent of the fee rate where the debtor fulfils a claim on the basis of a payment schedule and the payment schedule is entered into within the time limit granted for voluntary compliance with the claim. For example, in the event of a claim of up to 1,000 euro, the bailiff’s principal fee is 225 to which VAT is added, i.e. 270 euro in total. Under the Bill, in the event of a claim of 1,000 euro, the debtor will have to pay the bailiff’s principal fee in an amount of 112.50 euro, 135 euro with VAT included. The lower fee should motivate debtors to look for solutions.
A new official operation of a bailiff will be established, namely drawing up an enforcement profile of the debtor. The official operation is intended to assist parties seeking enforcement in assessing the viability of collecting a claim. For that, a bailiff will be able to give the party seeking enforcement a complete overview of the enforcement proceedings initiated against the debtor and the economic situation of the debtor, which would enable the party seeking enforcement to decide whether it is expedient to submit an application to initiate enforcement proceedings. The cost of the official operation will be 15 euro and it will be paid by the party seeking enforcement.
The Bill provides that proceedings in an enforcement matter can be transferred to another bailiff if the enforcement matter has been in proceedings for at least three years. Under the current law, this can be done when a bailiff has been conducting proceedings on a claim for at least four years.
According to explanation, the current bailiffs system has been experiencing operational difficulties for several years due to decreasing revenues. Therefore, practice is inconsistent and some bailiffs are unable to ensure the rights of parties to proceedings. According to the Bill, the state will begin to pay a fee to bailiffs for collecting monthly maintenance. Covering the costs involved in proceedings is the debtor’s obligation, and collecting maintenance is an unprofitable activity for bailiffs, as a bailiff can ask a fee of 292 euro just once, on the initiation of an enforcement matter, for compulsory enforcement proceedings that can last for 18 years or more. According to the Bill, the amount of the fee paid by the state for collecting maintenance will be up to 100 euro in a calendar year for an enforcement matter. The estimated budget cost per year will be 0.5 million euro.
The Bill on Amendments to the Code of Enforcement Procedure and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (315 SE), initiated by the Government, will make amendments in the regulation of the termination of enforcement proceedings and in other associated Acts in order to simplify the termination of enforcement proceedings in civil claims. The Bill will make the following major amendments: bailiffs will have the possibility to terminate enforcement proceedings in civil claims in the event of expiry of the limitation period for enforcement and, in the future, an application for termination of enforcement proceedings due to expiry of the limitation period for enforcement will be reviewed by non-contentious procedure in court. The bailiff will be provided the right to request a principal fee for proceedings to the extent of 50 per cent in the event of termination of proceedings, and a new fee for reviewing an application for termination of enforcement proceedings due to expiry of the limitation period will be provided for. A longer term for reviewing an application of a debtor will be provided for for bailiffs for 2021, and the bases for interruption and suspension of the limitation period for the enforcement of a claim arising from an enforcement instrument will be specified.
The Bill on Amendments to the Chemicals Act and Other Acts (296 SE), initiated by the Government, will implement the requirements of the relevant European Union Regulation that harmonises the rules concerning the making available, introduction, possession and use of substances or mixtures that could be misused for the illicit manufacture of explosives. The aim of the regulation is to limit the availability of such substances to members of the general public, and to ensure the appropriate reporting of suspicious transactions throughout the supply chain.
The main purpose of the EU Regulation is to ensure a better and more uniform implementation of the requirements in Member States. This is taken to mean equal treatment of economic operators that operate in the sector and the free movement of explosives precursors in the internal market, including through e-commerce. In addition, it is intended to ensure that explosives precursors are used for the intended purposes.
For more effective implementation of the requirements for explosives precursors, according to the Regulation, economic operators, professional users and online marketplaces will have to inform the Police and Border Guard Board of suspicious transactions. This will apply in the case when they make explosives precursors available to the general public. Stricter requirements have also been established for the background check of persons who wish to acquire precursors.
The Bill on Amendments to the General Part of the Environmental Code Act and Other Acts (repeal of the Environmental Register Act) (292 SE), initiated by the Government, will update the procedure for handling environmental information in state databases. To replace the environmental register, an environmental portal to consolidate environmental data will be established which will display the environmental information stored in various databases. The Estonian Nature Information System (EELIS) and the register of mineral resources that have so far been functioning as subordinate information systems of the environmental register will be established as independent databases.
A new webpage consolidating environmental data, an environmental portal, will be established which will enable central access in the online environment to the environmental information stored in state databases and will provide a causally and spatially interconnected overview of the state of the environment. Ensuring access to various databases through a single webpage will not mean the establishment of an independent database, but an information technology solution that will facilitate the use of data. The environmental portal will be the one and only gate for all public data of the area of government.
The purpose of EELIS that will be established as an independent database will be to collect in a systematised manner and to ensure public availability of data on spatial objects related to the environment. The data of EELIS will be disclosed in the environmental portal. Since the existing solution for EELIS has become technologically outdated, the development of a new EELIS has also been started alongside with the Act.
The explanatory memorandum notes that the process of organising the databases containing environmental information has been going on for a long time already. Among other things, an environmental monitoring database KESE, an environmental permits information system KOTKAS, and a research and recreational fishing database TEHA containing fisheries permits and data have been established. Since the current environmental register will be replaced by a webpage, but the great majority of the current lists/data of the environmental register are and will continue to be collected in EELIS, a legal basis will be given to EELIS as well as the register of mineral resources that have so far been operating as subordinate information systems of the register. The subordinate information systems of the environmental register are the original sources of the data collected in the environmental register, that is, databases under the Public Information Act.
Peeter Ernits (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor during the debate.
According to the explanatory memorandum to the Bill on Accession to the 2010 Protocol to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996 (HNS Convention) (302 SE), initiated by the Government, the convention and the protocol establish an international system for compensation for marine pollution damages in connection with the carriage of hazardous and noxious substances by sea. Estonia is planning to accede to it. The convention has not yet entered into force internationally and accession to the Protocol simultaneously means accession to the Convention.
The Convention obligates the registered owner of a ship registered in a State Party to maintain sufficient insurance or other financial security to cover possible pollution damage caused by hazardous and noxious substances according to the limits in place.
The convention also establishes a fund (HNS Fund) with the aim of providing compensation for the damage exceeding the limits of the insurance of the registered owner of a ship carrying hazardous and noxious substances. The resources for the compensation for damage are made up of the contributions to the HNS Fund. Companies receiving by sea the hazardous and noxious substances covered by the convention additionally have a reporting obligation and make contributions to the Fund on the basis of a relevant decision of the Assembly of the Fund and an invoice issued by the Fund. Contributions to the HNS Fund are made by persons who were the receivers of contributing goods in the State in the preceding calendar year. The HNS Convention obligates the owner of a ship to hold insurance or other financial security and a certificate certifying it.
At the beginning of the sitting, on the proposal of the Social Democratic Party Faction, the Estonian Centre Party Faction and the Estonian Reform Party Faction, the Riigikogu decided that its plenary sittings of the following working week would be held with remote participation. 68 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the decision, 19 were against and there was one abstention.
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.)
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